If a person has the talent to improve someone else's creative work, then they should have the talent to create their own original work - without having to anyone else's.
For example, let's say that you like the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Let's say you have some ideas about how you could "improve" the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, you are unable to reach agreement with the rights holders for the Tolkien works.
No problem! Just go write YOUR OWN set of stories with YOUR OWN characters.
If you are unable to create your own works from the ground up, then you are unlikely to do well with those of others, and this brings me to my next point:
If I develop a creative work that the world loves, then I don't want others tramping in and screwing it up with their own versions of it - hawking them as members of my created universe. (Ever see the Ladders commercial from a few years ago, where the guy's trying to play tennis and then this mob of incompetent tennis players swarms the court? It's like that.)
Not only is someone who trespasses on another's copyrighted works (and trademarked properties) stealing from the original creator, but they are also diluting product quality.
Sorry to go slightly off-topic here (My question is on the subject of obviousness, but relates to an example other than the one in the article.)
I have had a question about patent invalidation ever since the Lodsys threats against iOS app developers:
Can a patent be invalidated for obviousness if it BECOMES obvious years after it was initially issued. In other words, with regard to the "upgrade button" of the Lodsys patent in question with regard to iOS apps, making in-app purchases may have been very difficult to achieve in 1993, but it is not really a challenge today, because of the overall development and proliferation of web technologies. So, I look at that case and wonder, "Who are they kidding? A patent for an 'upgrade button'?"
Given the pace of technological development in general, it seems to me that invalidating patents when they are rendered obvious by a general advance in commonly-available technology is a necessary part of a functioning technology-driven economy. However, I don't really have any knowledge of patent law, and I DO know that frequently commonsense and the law have enormous divergence.
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