Stirling Westrup’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Jul 30th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    (untitled comment)

    Porn is one of the classical areas where a 'pay to have more produced' model would work well. In fact since the artistic merits of the work is arguably low, there are schemes that work better than in the music industry.

    For example, a famous porn actress could star in a free but short porn clip, with a possibility of 3 different ways it could be extended. Folks would pay .50 or so to vote for their favorite choice, and then a short time later the next segment would be free released as well, with yet another vote for the next segment.

    This would produce the porn equivalent of a choose-your-own-adventure, with folks voting with their wallets as to which acts they would most like to see.

  • Dec 31st, 2009 @ 11:13am

    A Novel Idea

    I don't want to appear to be supporting patent trolls (indeed, I am rather vehemently anti-patent) but it suddenly occurred to me that there was an argument in favour of OPTi, and one that I've never seen in print.

    The above article made it clear to me than one can view the marketplace of innovation in evolutionary terms. The failure of uncompetitive companies can be directly linked to the idea of "survival of the fittest", and companies like OPTi that live off the hard work of others can be viewed as parasites in the biological sense.

    Now, a surprising finding of evolutionary theory is that parasites are good for a population. They force the population to be more fit on average and better able to withstand hardships as a whole, and they increase the rate at which members of the population evolve, by reducing the chance of population members ending up in evolutionary dead ends.

    Of course 'parasite' is not generally a term of praise because no individual likes to be targeted by a parasite, but their mere existence in a population often causes globally beneficial behaviours that outweigh the harm they do.

    Now, the real question is: do some analogous benefits accrue to the population of productive companies? Its not obvious that they do or don't. Companies aren't exactly like organisms and its unclear if they can be said to reproduce, pass on their genetic codes, and die in a sufficiently similar way for the findings of evolutionary biology to hold. Then again, most findings of evolution are surprisingly robust to changes of reproductive mechanism, so it would be best not to rule out the possibility.

    I would love to see some scientific study done to see if this relationship between patent trolls and parasitology holds. If it does then attempts to curb patent trolls may actually do more harm than good.