martes, mayo 15, 2007

Patenting the justice

I think everyone will agree here that some things should never be allowed to belong to any individual, as the rivers or the air above. These are public domain goods. They were given to us by the mother Earth.

Now, inspiration, ideas, that's another story.

For some other people, by no means what a human being's mind produces can be stolen. It can be bought, trade or given away, never stolen. If they were, there would be no motivation for innovation. In the long run, inspiration, ideas, would disappear.

For some people, they may become also public domain if they serve to a greater cause, like some benefit for the human beings. Free circulation of ideas, they say, bring much more powerful thinking and innovation. We may again agree here on some examples of such benefits. Woudn't it be immoral to own the formula to cure some mortal illness and allowing thousands of people to suffer and die before permitting the formula to be freely produced? Yes, it would. And sadly, it's already happening in the pharmacy industry.

If things went that bad there, you can imagine where computer programs we use daily can go.

For some corporate citizens have being filing patents for years, stealing what was given for free, and making a private asset of them. Now, they seek to make you pay royalties for hundreds, thousands of stolen ideas that were previously innocently spread in universities, forums and an army of willing developpers.

By allowing this trade, you're actually helping strip the authors of their work, and permitting all sorts of abuses, like speculation and manipulation of ideas. A world of great fortunes, tycoons, multimillion suits and maybe some charity.

Would it be better a world of free thinking, based on your own work and merits, based on justice instead?

Some less concerned people use a more practical approach, and only think of free as open source, a way to spread more efficiently innovation, but this doesn't provide enough confidence in the system since it's not a phylosophical position.

Free software, justice for all.