Can One Guy Educate The World Via YouTube?

from the very-cool dept

This one is a bit personal. A dozen years ago, when I moved out to Silicon Valley from New York, I shared a house with two super smart guys, who had also just moved out to the area. One was a buddy of mine from college, and we needed a third guy to cover the third bedroom in the house we had just found. After asking around among friends, we were introduced to Sal Khan, who was looking for a place as well. We used to sit around and talk about cool ideas for businesses. I think we lived in the same house for a year, or maybe two, before going off in separate directions, though we ran into each other at the movies here or there, and every so often would email each other. About a year ago, Sal sent me an email mentioning a project he was working on called the Khan Academy, in which he videotapes himself teaching various educational lessons on anything from math to chemistry to history to finance and beyond. He even has a whole special section on the credit crisis, with an analysis of both former Treasury Secretary Paulson's plan, as well as current Treasury Secretary Geithner's plan.

It's really impressive. And now a lot of people are noticing. Just a few weeks ago, I was literally out walking my dog, and started talking to someone else walking their dog, who was telling me all about this amazing thing, the Khan Academy. And, more recently, Slashdot had a nice post about it, noting that it's basically one "very, very devoted man" and a YouTube channel, which is now getting over 100,000 views per day -- all of which are under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution-share alike license. The Slashdot piece was based off of an article from the San Jose Mercury News, which quotes Sal talking about how he's trying to teach people the way he wishes he were taught -- where they make subjects interesting and "show the beauty of what they" are teaching.

Now, I may be biased since I'm proud to see my old housemate be so successful with his project but it's these sorts of projects that really do help demonstrate the kinds of powerful new opportunities the internet and things like YouTube allow. While giant companies like Viacom want to convince the world that YouTube's success is really all about people wanting to watch clips of Viacom content, and others tell us that without DRM or strict copyright no one creates useful or compelling content, here's just one guy, who is helping to educate the world and is flipping the basic model for educational information on its head by recognizing that great things happen when information is shared and more people are knowledgeable.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Yeah, I started watching one of their chemistry lectures. AWSOME!!!!

     

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  2.  
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    V, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Hope

    One can only hope, but someone that is trying to make money at the cost of others will try to stop him probably.

    Patents and copyrights are there for this purpose after all to stop others from acquiring and using knowledge.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Yes, this IS what the Internet should be: a means to share knowledge!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    (but I haven't finished the series yet, just watched the first couple. lol. I bookmarked it a while ago but now I'm back to reading my chem book because I want to finish it. Then I'll probably start on another chem book I have followed by more chem books and eventually I want to study biology).

    You know what I want to do is download these things and burn them to DVD and watch them on my television. I wonder if they have a download page? I know I can probably rip them off Youtube but am wondering if I can explicitly download them. Uhm.... I remember reading something about getting them for $3? That's not bad actually, can they send me a DVD set for maybe $20 or something? Haven't really looked into the license agreement.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    You know big corporations will do everything in their power to destroy it.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Sadly, yeah :(

    "Knowledge is power...Hide it well" (quote from Warhammer40K).

     

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  7.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re:

    answer to your question:

    "all of which are under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution-share alike license"

    Which basically means you can do anything you like provided you acknowledge the original author. Also, if you create a derivative work you must share it under the same terms.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, I just read that. LOl. AWSOME!!! Now I won't feel guilty about burning it to DVD.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    But how does Kahn pay the bills?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    "all of which are under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution-share alike license."

    A license exactly designed to circumvent copy protection laws, at least to some extent. But remember, no art nor music nor video would ever be produced if it weren't for 95 year copy protection laws.

    and patents are equally as much of a scam as are anti copy privileges. It's always in the name of promoting the progress but that's just the stated purpose, the true purpose is to destroy progress for personal gain.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    Re:

    He's in dept, he has to take a loan, that's how.

     

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  12.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    You forgot your /sarcasm tag...
    Or did you?
    ; P

     

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  13.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 3:52pm

    Re:

    Who cares? Thats his business.

     

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    trilobug, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:18pm

    Good for him.

    Well, now you can say "I knew you when..."

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:18pm

    SO much of the educational system is redundant, copycat, parroted information.

    This is one example of how the bubble will soon burst in most educational circles.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

    Re:

    But how does Kahn pay the bills?


    The article notes that people have given him plenty of money. Famed venture capitalist John Doerr just gave him $100,00.

     

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  17.  
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    whatever, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

    grammar

    It's "based ON".

    OK?!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re:

    I care. Mike is spinning this as a way to say look what happens without IP. It matters how he pays the bills. One guy with some investment money is not a sucessful business and does not prove that all IP is unneeded.

     

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  19.  
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    rjk (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:56pm

    Sal @ GEL

    great talk from Sal about the Khan Academy at GEL.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTXKCzrFh3c

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    There is tons of other evidence, that you willfully ignore, supporting the idea that IP is not needed and there is little to no evidence supporting the opposite. This is just one piece of evidence.

    Of course you care, you unfairly benefit from IP and you care if you lose your unearned and undeserved monopoly rents to the benefit of society. You're selfish.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:16pm

    KHANNNNN!!!!!

    Sorry. Had to.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:16pm

    KHANNNNN!!!!!

    Sorry. Had to.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I thought Creative Commons needed copyright, which is IP, in order to work. Am I wrong?

     

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  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mike is spinning this as a way to say look what happens without IP.

    No. I'm not. I'm just pointing out what YouTube enables with or without IP. The argument was not that it shows we don't need IP, but to point out that plenty of people create tons of really compelling content for reasons other than what you and your industry friends insist is necessary.

    One guy with some investment money is not a sucessful business and does not prove that all IP is unneeded.

    He's making a living. You have a problem with that?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Of course you care, you unfairly benefit from IP and you care if you lose your unearned and undeserved monopoly rents to the benefit of society. You're selfish."

    Nice piece of fiction there. Just keep making stuff up to support your point.

     

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  26.  
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    DontRespond, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of the few times I see you address AC's, I wonder why you would even care what that AC said? Why does your friend have to be making a profit doing what he's doing anyway? Isn't doing something good for people and seeing a constant rise of views enough to say he's doing something worthwhile without having to ask about profit?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I'm just pointing out what YouTube enables with or without IP"

    Fair enough.


    "He's making a living. You have a problem with that?"

    Not at all. More power to him.

     

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  28.  
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    kid mercury (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

    khan is fantastic. my only gripe is that some of his economics lessons reveal a limited understanding of monetary economics that is sure to be misleading to its viewers (but still far better than most economists, including nobel prize winners). khan is definitely a winner though, more power to him.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know it's true.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (and so does everyone else)

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    IP is anti-freedom.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Who said anything about profit? I asked about paying the bills. While giving everything away is nice it does not buy necessities like food. The answer is that he pays the bills because people have invested in his work. In other words his business model is luck.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All business models involve risk.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "In other words his business model is luck."

    No, his business model, like most others, involve risk. and it's not the job of the government to reduce risk, the purpose is to promote the progress and produce more aggregate output. and IP is not needed and only gets in the way. It's expensive to implement and it interferes with our rights and privacy for no good reason. The fact that you unfairly benefit from it and are unwilling to take any risks and would much rather parasite off of the work of others like most IP maximists is no excuse to keep IP.

     

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  35.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 28th, 2010 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The answer is that he pays the bills because people have invested in his work. In other words his business model is luck.

    Can you name a single business model that's different?

     

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  36.  
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    Jose_X, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 3:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Right, most CC licenses do not go all the way to public domain.

    However, people who use CC licenses do not have the option to leverage a ton of copyrighted works. Thus, they give much (not all) access, yet frequently are denied access.

    In a world where everyone could have full access, the biased field would not exist and it would be easy to give full access since you would have full access as well.

    This said, I can live with CC+friends in the sense that we just need to promote artists that use these and shun the others. Over time, with enough quality CC-share-alike works, it will effectively be as if copyright almost didn't exist. And with CC, we can all contribute to build superior works (see Wikipedia).

    Spread the word, and put your money where it counts.

    Meanwhile, patent law needs reform to make sure what you and others create (mostly independently) are not deemed illegal under any circumstances.

     

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  37.  
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    reechard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 5:25am

    upside-down thinking

    I remember hearing this young man describe his concept which I paraphrase roughly:
    Lectures should be assigned as homework to be completed/viewed before "class"
    The scarcity of in-person student and teacher "classroom" time should be reserved for student questions and individualized assistance from the teacher.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and another problem with copy protection laws is that these copy protection content starts to occupy broadcasting airspace, restricting what we can do on broadcasting airspace and taking away from broadcasting content that can be delivered on public airwaves and it takes up government monopolized cable space as well doing the same exact thing. It's not fair for those who want to release their content for free that they have to compete with government monopolized distribution channels that want a monopoly on both the distribution channel and the content and it's not fair for consumers who have to deal with distribution channel and content monopolies and have their rights restricted in terms of what they can do with such monopolized channels. ALL content delivered via government monopolized channels (ie: broadcasting spectra and cableco infrastructure) should be FREE to copy and redistribute. Anything less is unacceptable.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The govt should NEVER, EVER grant a monopoly on both the distribution channel and the content. We've put up with this nonsense far too long as a society, making it very difficult for artists and content creators to get non copyright material distributed and giving consumers convenient access only to monopolized content delivered through monopolized distribution channels in a way that restricts our rights to deliver our own independent non monopolized (ie: CC like) content via those channels and to freely copy and distribute the content delivered on those monopolized channels. This is completely unacceptable just because the govt and monopolists have no regard for morality and it should never ever be tolerated. Our currently monopolized system needs to be corrected.

     

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  40.  
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    crade (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Creative Commons is often about volunteering your time, and I saw nothing in this article to claim it was a "Business Model" story.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All business models involve risk. Not all of them involve 'give it away and pray'. I'd argue that give it away and pray is not a good plan.

     

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  42.  
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    reechard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re:

    Even before that, it's clear this is a non-profit project and Khan's chosen profession, after he "sold out" and worked as hedge-fund analyst. His words.

     

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  43.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    DRM and other restrictions

    Right on, Michael. In college, I was ready to drop out, and certainly not interested in going beyond a bachelor's degree if I got that far. An "incompetent" professor (his first and last year of teaching) didn't get through all the material in our physics course, but left me with a deep and abiding love of physics and the scientific mathod - and caused me to end up with a doctorate! Condolezza Rice prevented that from becoming TWO doctorates, but that is another story.
    BUT, on the subject of DRM, etc., my wife (the singer) was trying to promote a musician - but his CD was "not for distribution", so eventually that all went away. If he only knew how much that "not for distribution" CD cost him! She is too non-confrontive to tell him, or to let me tell him, but to (mis)quote Marlon Brando, "(He) coulda been a contender!"

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And luck!

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Right, most CC licenses do not go all the way to public domain.

    Yeah, "most do not" as in "none do".

     

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  46.  
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    Prostagma, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    K_Academy

    Typically each download of the video cost $0.99, most of the latest ones are HD so it does makes sense to watch on TV. The advantage of such lesssons is you can pause, rewind etc. if you did not understand the concept for instant review, so keep your remote close by

     

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  47.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 7:05am

    Re: Hope

    "Patents and copyrights are there for this purpose after all to stop others from acquiring and using knowledge."

    Patents do not stop you from acquiring knowledge, in fact they teach the best mode for an invention. They also give you knowledge that allows you to either improve upon or even leapfrog the invention.

    While a patent says that you cannot use an invention it is a fact that no inventor will sue an individual for use as long as use does not generate significant income. It simply is not economical to enforce a patent unless infringement is at least ten million dollars.

    Copyright has significant fair use exceptions and most copyrighted material which conveys knowledge would be available through public libraries. And do not forget that all published patents and patent applications are available free of charge. They are a treasure trove of knowledge if people simply take the time to learn how to understand them.

    Trade publications are also a treasure trove of knowledge. While most articles are written with by specific companies with their own bias reading these publications over time tends to give the reader a broad perspective. Trade publications are usually free to qualified readers, including students. See: http://www.inventored.org/trade/

    It has been my experience that there is a vast body of knowledge available for just the effort of seeking it and actually being willing to invent the effort in understanding. The problem is that most people are too lazy to take advantage of what is available.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  48.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    A means to share knowledge!

    Not just to share knowledge but also a means to allow collaboration. Internet has allowed inventors who often do not have peers in their immediate geographical area to support each other and to avoid many pitfalls which would have ended their ability to succeed.

    For example, we have been tracking fraudulent invention promotion companies for about fifteen years and publishing information about the companies, their employees and the exact nature of the scam they run. Massive amounts of information is available abut invention promoters at http://www.InventorEd.org/caution/.

    We do the same thing for inventors trying to license their inventions. Some companies are notorious for acting nice and getting as much information as possible from the inventor, telling the inventor that they are not interested at the time and then putting an infringing product out. When they are caught they the company then whines about vicious trolls. We try to help inventors avoid those companies and if all the companies in an industry are cut from the same cloth we try to connect the inventor with a good litigator. It is amazing how having a litigator in tow tempers conduct of larcenous big companies.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  49.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "the purpose is to promote the progress and produce more aggregate output. and IP is not needed and only gets in the way."

    Today the cost of just the patent is at least $30,000. When you factoring in the inventors time and other costs a published patent is at least a $100,000 proposition. No one will teach their invention if they do not get anything in return.

    How many people on TechDIRT even have $100,000 or more in liquid assets? Have you considered how many years an inventor has to work and save in order to get a patent?

    Patents are an asset just like designs to produce a product, advertising and marketing to create name recognition and so on.

    People who violate patents are the parasites, not the inventor.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  50.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I'd argue that give it away and pray is not a good plan."

    Every time an inventor shows their invention to a large company they face this. At least one in ten will steal the invention.

    It is amazing how big companies want inventors to "give it away and pray" & pray & pray. The idea is that as long as we are praying they are profiting. Anyone who studies the history of invention without the TechDIRT blinders on knows that praying is not productive and kicking tail is what is productive.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org

    Other Affiliations:
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Re: A means to share knowledge!

    Do you really have to post that shit after EVERY message. No one gives a crap.

     

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  52.  
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    buffy, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re:

    you can use Apple TV ($99) to stream these and other youtube/internet videos to your TV. or download them and burn them yourself (seems like too trouble...).

    We have a Tivo but honestly my iPhone + headphones is my fave youtube environment... and it's extremely portable.

     

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  53.  
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    darryl, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I can, every business model that actually sells a product or service for money.

    All businesses that do not rely upon someone giving a 'donation'.

    There is a huge difference beteen 'risk' and 'luck', one can be controlled and managed, and the other cannot.

    You do not drive your car based on "luck" you drive it based on specific and controllable risk.

    So when you finally get to where you are going you do not say "wow, that was pure luck that I got here", you say "I drove carefully, and in a controlled and planned way and I reduced the risk to a level where I did not require "luck".

    The list of business models that are different to one based on luck would be far too long to list here.

    But we could start with your business model Mike, is it based on "luck" ?????

    What about your CFm+ crap ?? is it based on 'luck' or by providing a vaible business model ?

    Mike, you never answer questions, you pose other questions, is that because you are incapable ?

    Here is a business model for you mike,

    What about your local milk bar ? does it rely on luck to make a profit and to survive ?

    Or does it rely on selling products and services that people are willing to pay for ?

    Like milk shakes and taste nice, that people are willing to open their pockets and pay cash for !!

    He has risks, the weather might be bad and not many people want to drink milk shakes in cold weather, but that is 'risk' not 'luck'.

    You can manage risk you cannot manage luck, you know before you start that some days will be cold and you will not sell as much, and some days will be hot and you will sell alot of products.

    only a fool would base their business on 'luck', and only someone equally foolish would claim that all business are based upon luck...

    Is your business model based on luck mick ? where in your equation does 'luck' come into it ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    darryl, Aug 6th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re:

    wow, $100 dollars, that will buy him alot !!!! or is that supposed to be $10,000 dollars ? if so, that still is very little, and would not last most people for more than a month or two.

    I would be pissed off if my business made less than $10,000 per month. that is a feeble figure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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