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KateTheCapitalist
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It is true that all of the copyrights for Sherlock Holmes have expired, therefore those works are 'in the public domain'. It is not the case that the estate cannot garner further revenue – that depends on the terms of the license granted to a publisher. If e.g. Random House obtained a license to publish some work of Doyle’s in exchange for some per-copy royalty, that obligation still exists unless there is an explicit clause terminating the obligation to pay. You’d really have to read the agreement to see what it says. I read my agreements, and there is no clause to the effect that “We don’t have to pay for sales once copyright expires”.

“Entering the public domain” is, pretty much defined as “copyright has expired”. People may declare that a work is “in the public domain”, but US copyright law does not define the concept “public domain”, and it’s just a common way of talking about expired copyright.

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It is possible to have trade secrets without the "inevitable disclosure" idea. If you work for a company, learn its trade secrets, and then deliberately disclose them to a competitor, that is properly illegal. But it's another thing if the employer can say that the trade secrets are things that have become habits for you, so that, regardless even of your own desire in the matter, you would inevitably disclose them, if you worked for a competitor -- and then uses that as a basis for preventing you from changing jobs.

So if you are a "star player" for a company then maybe some personal habit of yours, such as your handwriting, or your typing style, or your method of composing music or flipping omelets, if the job involved such a thing -- might become a "trade secret" of the company, which they then own (not you). So you can never leave, unless you change careers entirely, or retire, or die.

Objectivism (as far as I know) does not support the notion of signing yourself into slavery. But such a thing used to be possible, because your freedom could be regarded as a "property," separate from yourself, which would originally belong to you but could be signed away. "Inevitable disclosure" hearkens back to that sort of idea, because it creates a situation where an aspect of you can become the property of someone else; thus, as I said, the intellect of one person becomes the property of another.

Sometimes I sense this notion that "if you disagree with these ideas then you probably think it's okay to rob banks" or something, but that is not the case. What I disagree with is more like the sort of thing like when Hank Rearden was blackmailed into signing over the patent to Rearden Metal. That kind of thing happens not just to the Hank Reardens of the world but to lots of people, all the time, in a corrupt system, and further, the system will be developed in such a way as to make that sort of expropriation easier to commit and harder to resist, to make it look like it's just laws and contracts operating as they should, to make it look like the sort of people who think that sort of expropriation is going on under a cloak of "legality," probably oppose patents and contracts, and think it's okay to rob banks.

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10 hours ago, necrovore said:

It is possible to have trade secrets without the "inevitable disclosure" idea.

What is most unfortunate is when multiple inventors are competing and there are many paths to take to create X. One inventor takes the very expensive route and the product is created. Now the others know of a way to do it. They know at least that the expensive route will pan out. Until then none of them dared to go that route. In other words, the idea that it is impossible will prevent one from moving forward. Once the competition shows you that it is possible, they created competition for themselves. The idea that "it can be done" allows for copies or similar things.

At that point a government could say it is a copy, or not. Even if it was independently created. The only way for it to not be a copy is if it was done without any knowledge of the existence of the product. And that can't be proved.

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Objectivism does not countenance signing yourself into slavery, it does support the concept of a contract. When I hire a painter to paint my house, that contract entails that the painter must do specific work: paint my house. A contract can also specify, for reasons tangentially relating to trade secrets, that a person cannot harvest the firm’s clients and start a competing business for a period of a year. The only reason why the firm hired you in the first place is that you promised to abide by this contract clause, so if you don’t like it, work for someone else. Or, you and your buddies can get together and agree to refuse any such contracts, which might lead to a labor shortage and thus some change in the contract.

A contract that prohibits a person from “using their own writing style” in future employment is plainly unenforceable. The subject matter of trade secrets in law is better defined that a unilateral declaration “we consider this to be a trade secret”. An employer can only lay claim to actual work product created in the course of employment, or limit employee use of kinds of knowledge previously owned and protected by the firm, as stated in the contract and subject to short time limits.

Your accusation that people are routinely forced to sign over patents needs to be concretized. I suspect that you’re referring to the fact that a firm will typically contractually require its employees to assign their patents to the firms. Therefore the scientist who, working as an employee for a drug firm using the firm’s resources discovers a cure for Alzheimer’s cannot seize the resulting patent and claim it as his own. The scientist has to abide by whatever IP-sharing agreement is in the contract. If you have a specific real case that illustrates your concern, please direct us to the details.

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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

What is most unfortunate is when multiple inventors are competing and there are many paths to take to create X. One inventor takes the very expensive route and the product is created. Now the others know of a way to do it. They know at least that the expensive route will pan out. Until then none of them dared to go that route. In other words, the idea that it is impossible will prevent one from moving forward. Once the competition shows you that it is possible, they created competition for themselves. The idea that "it can be done" allows for copies or similar things.

At that point a government could say it is a copy, or not. Even if it was independently created. The only way for it to not be a copy is if it was done without any knowledge of the existence of the product. And that can't be proved.

Ayn Rand dealt with the issue of two inventors working independently on the same invention, and one beating the other to the patent office.  The first one to the patent office is entitled to the patent.  This would be even more true if the second inventor's work depended on knowledge of the first's.

But if one inventor patents the very expensive route and another makes a less expensive route work, the second inventor should be able to patent the route they made work.

 

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On 1/14/2023 at 3:32 PM, Doug Morris said:

But if one inventor patents the very expensive route and another makes a less expensive route work, the second inventor should be able to patent the route they made work.

As a designer, good design practice was not to stipulated the process, unless it is necessary. This allowed fabricators to bid what they deemed necessary to meet the design specifications most economically.

Patents, per Rand required the material object being patented, but not the process by which it was produced. If a cheaper process can be found, perhaps there would be value in it to the inventor/holder of the patent.

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On 1/14/2023 at 10:18 AM, Easy Truth said:

The only way for it to not be a copy is if it was done without any knowledge of the existence of the product. And that can't be proved.

And therein is a big part of the problem.

 

Patent and copyright infringement is supposed to refer to the theft of an idea which only occurred to the perpetrator because of the victim.  But short of mind-reading technology this cannot be proven, which means that the only sensible alternative is to ban all similar uses of that idea as if they'd been inspired by the original.

 

This whole conversation would be much simpler if we could read peoples' minds to discover the source of any given idea.

 

On 1/14/2023 at 10:37 AM, DavidOdden said:

Your accusation that people are routinely forced to sign over patents needs to be concretized. I suspect that you’re referring to the fact that a firm will typically contractually require its employees to assign their patents to the firms. Therefore the scientist who, working as an employee for a drug firm using the firm’s resources discovers a cure for Alzheimer’s cannot seize the resulting patent and claim it as his own.

When I worked at Boston Scientific that was a standard clause in everybody's contract.

 

I mean, if I'd thought of any way to improve their processes I certainly would've handed it over to the company (as they routinely talked about and encouraged) but less because of that clause and more because Boston Scientific is just a great company to work for.  If I'd had a similar insight several years later while I was working at Covidien (which had the same boilerplate clause but was not the best place to work) I probably would've quit my job and then sold my idea to Boston Scientific.

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An AI system could come up with a huge number of permutations of musical notes and copyright each one. At that point preventing any new piece of music or writing to be owned by another. I'm not sure what there is to prevent this from happening. A person could then only use public domain stuff or pay up.

In the case of patents there is a payment that has to be made that may mitigate a system that spits out "random ideas".

With the internet, it seems the concept of property will be attached to "community" which will be "agreements" rather than determined by geography. And that kind of property would exist based on agreement … per community. I assume someone has come up with a way to deal with it.

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"Brains in a silicone or quantum jar" would have to be excluded from obtaining copyright. It isn't apparent that anyone has yet developed a generalized artificial intelligence. I suspect a reading of the "legalese" involved in copyright/ patent laws could 'find' intent as a condition of application, so in that sense an "AI" system,( and without the 'generalized' qualifier would lack intent) that creates musical scores should not qualify as an author. Or it could be that it needs to be codified , lol

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9 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Patent and copyright infringement is supposed to refer to the theft of an idea

Maybe this is the root of the problem, in these discussions. Because copyright and patent infringement is widely talked about in social media as “theft” or “piracy”, people quite reasonably identify an important difference between theft and infringement – deprivation. A common retort is “but you are depriving them of their livelihood!”. I think instead the attention should be in what the fundamental claim of patent and copyright law is, it is a claim that a particular expression can be property.

When a person trespasses on my tangible property, there is no theft (permanent deprivation). The discussion should look at the similarity between trespass to land or chattels, and trespass of intellectual property. I think the parallelism (identified by Rand) between claiming and maintaining a claim to lands and goods qua property that were not previously owned because the person recognizes their value applies equally to the concrete expression of an idea, and that’s where the discussion should be focused.

 

5 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

An AI system could come up with a huge number of permutations of musical notes and copyright each one. At that point preventing any new piece of music or writing to be owned by another. I'm not sure what there is to prevent this from happening.

The automatic output of a computer program is not protected by copyright law, only the creative – non-mechanical – creation of a human is protected by copyright. That’s a legal point, not a philosophical – I’d say that the law has it right. You don’t even need an AI, you just need to know what the vocabulary of music is (♯, ♪, A etc) and the most elementary system of rules about meaningful sequences of those letters, and you can easily generate all possible “pieces of music”, up to length n (the set is unbounded).

 

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16 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Patents, per Rand required the material object being patented, but not the process by which it was produced. If a cheaper process can be found, perhaps there would be value in it to the inventor/holder of the patent.

Patents Limit and deny freedom I have the right to my own property to make and sell as I please if i copy someones idea and sell that product cheaper than they can it isnt theft because I am not taking their property I am only copying a non scarce idea if you say I can not make a certain type of fishhook because someone made it first and so they get a monopoly you are treading on my freedom to use make and sell as i see fit

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@KateTheCapitalist, individuals complying with patent law in America make new inventions available under different premises than you are using to rationalize "freedom" in the broader context at play. The "non-scarce" idea has to pass into the public domain first presumably, not by your fiat.

Edited by dream_weaver
punctuation modifications. see reply
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7 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

@KateTheCapitalist, individuals complying with patent law in America, make new inventions available under different premises than you are using to rationalize "freedom" in the broader context at play. The "non-scarce" idea has to pass into the public domain first, presumably not by your fiat.

The patent law in america is blatant violation of property rights you can not own an idea its imposible so to claim you do just violates others ability to make and trade as they see fit

 

Edited by KateTheCapitalist
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7 minutes ago, KateTheCapitalist said:

The patent law in america is blatant violation of property rights you can not own an idea its imposible so to claim you do just violates others ability to make and trade as they see fit

 

@KateTheCapitalist , there is a process to change the laws of this country. As Washington was credited with having stated and Rand paraphrased, let us raise a standard to which the honest will 

 

Edited by dream_weaver
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3 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

@KateTheCapitalist, there is a process to change the laws of this country. As Washington was credited with having stated and Rand paraphrased, let us raise a standard to which the honest will repair 

 

no there is not if voting worked they would make it illegal im not going to let my rights be trampled on by the ignorant majority the only solution is dissociation and radical change 

Edited by KateTheCapitalist
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2 minutes ago, KateTheCapitalist said:

no there is not if voting worked they would make it illegal im not going to let my rights be trampled on by the ignorant majority the only solution is dissociation and radical change 

You are welcome to start a thread on that note/topic, if you so desire. 

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1 minute ago, dream_weaver said:

You are welcome to start a thread on that note/topic, if you so desire. 

You are the one who brought it up I was arguing against IP and Patents bc of the ethical wrong

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5 minutes ago, KateTheCapitalist said:

You are the one who brought it up I was arguing against IP and Patents bc of the ethical wrong

I was referring to the "throw in the towel" approach to the process of civilization muddying the waters of what Rand clearly put forth in her essay on patents and copyrights. I happen to agree with Rand on this point, to the extent I understand her. You have offered me nothing to persuade me to check my compass, or adjust my sails.

Edited by dream_weaver
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17 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

I was referring to the "throw in the towel" approach to the process of civilization muddying the waters of what Rand clearly put forth in her essay on patents and copyrights. I happen to agree with Rand on this point, to the extent I understand her. You have offered me nothing to persuade me to check my compass, or adjust my sails.

Again like I said in my first response in this whole thread I dont agree with Rand on every little thing and I think she failed to think objectivism through in some places so completion and revsion of her philosophy is needed what I am saying is that Rand fails to account for the issues of violation of rights in her views on copyright which are logically against objectivism 

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28 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

https://courses.aynrand.org/works/patents-and-copyrights/

Would you care to walk us through the article and point out where you imagine she digresses from the process of reason, step by step?

My critique of the whole thing is you cant own an idea or a product of your mind you cant homstead it and its not scarce so its not property and thus claiming so is irrational

Edited by KateTheCapitalist
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4 minutes ago, KateTheCapitalist said:

My critique of the whole thing is you cant own an idea or a product of your mind you cant homstead it and its not scarse so its not property and thus claiming so is irrational

So if I do not avail you to the idea or the product of my mind, you can neither homestead, nor claim it as your own? (ignoring both your typos and grammatical errors)

 

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3 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

So if I do not avail you to the idea or the product of my mind, you can neither homestead, nor claim it as your own? (ignoring both your typos and grammatical errors)

 

If you see my profile English isnt my first language im originally from China 

anyway you do not make anything that is ownable with your mind ideas are all commons because they can not be owned
you can not homstead your ideas nor can I

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