The comparison is also ridiculous because you can iteratively improve written works, like wikipedia, so mistakes are not at all permanent.
The same cannot be said of brain surgery. If you screw up, you can't just roll it back or fix the mistake. So of course I wouldn't want a crowd of people (some not experts) working on my brain. The experts wouldn't be able to fix the non-experts' mistakes.
The whole point of Wikipedia is that it progressively improves, not that it's correct the first time every time.
The comparison is just utterly bogus on so many levels.
It seems like a bit of a pickle, to me, this whole unpaid internship thing.
On the one hand, it can really be a great opportunity for the intern, as Nate said.
But on the other hand, abuse is pretty common in the form of slapping the "internship" label onto what is really an entry-level job, where competence is already assumed/required.
Also, I think "intern" and "internship" are no longer well defined (if they ever were), and that makes the ethics of unpaid internships difficult to talk about. For some definitions of internship, I think it's totally fine. For other definitions, it's absolutely not. And for yet other definitions, it becomes a grey area where I feel distinctly uncomfortable about the whole thing, but probably wouldn't raise too much of a fuss.
I think Mike meant that IP laws themselves become broader and stricter (or come into existence at all) after periods of great innovation. Meaning that the laws didn't exist as incentive when the innovation happened, but rather were put in place afterwards.
I don't have a lot of background in that, so I can't verify it in a broad sense. But it's certainly true of software patents at the very least.
I agree with your post as a whole (as well as most of what you write on techdirt), so don't take this the wrong way. But I find your first sentence problematic:
"It's always fun talking to big time patent system supporters, because it's easy to predict their arguments."
I hear people say this a lot about others that they disagree with, as if being predictable is somehow a bad thing. But it's not a bad thing. Your arguments are easy to predict as well, Mike, because (by and large) you are consistent. And that actually *adds* to your credibility.
Of course, it *is* bad to stubbornly hold on to viewpoints that go squarely against the available evidence. Which is perhaps really what you intended by that (and which is the real failing of patent supporters). But predictability in itself is not bad at all.
"Actually, you are wrong. While you are correct that the first post had a lot of that sort of thing, later posts were REMARKABLY tame in terms of comments. The vast majority of them were longer, well argued, well written and well thought out.
"There was an occasional idiot mixed in, but for the most part, the dialogue was quite advanced."
Okay, but that was only intended as a small part of my point (and I apologize if it came across as the main point).
My point was that she did suffer significant and extreme verbal abuse associated with this issue. So I find it highly questionable when you say, "Lily, it's not abuse if we're just asking you to rethink your positions," because you're not looking at the whole of what's been happening, only the parts that you and other calm, non-abusive people have participated in.
"...saying that she's shut down the entire blog due to too much abuse. Lily, it's not abuse if we're just asking you to rethink your positions that appear to not be particularly well thought out."
While I certainly don't agree with Lily's stance on copyright issues (and in fact agree with most if not all of your points here, Mike), I think it's unfair to say that she hasn't received abuse on her blog.
When I read through the comments of her first infringing post, there are a lot of, "Stupid bitch," and, "Hypocritical cunt," kinds of posts. Some of the comments were very aggressive and sounded fairly threatening. And it wasn't just a few, but a pretty large volume. I don't imagine that volume went down with subsequent posts.
Even though I strongly disagree with her, I don't fault her for taking down her blog under those circumstances. Not everyone was trying to have a rational dialogue with her.