Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Add Madison's Fears Of Intellectual Property To Jefferson's

from the be-very,-very-careful dept

A bunch of folks have been pointing me to a series of posts at the Volokh Conspiracy blog concerning intellectual property. The one that kicked it off may be the most interesting. For a while, we've pointed people to Thomas Jefferson's views on "monopolies" and his overall reluctant feeling towards patents and copyrights. Many of Jefferson's feelings on this topic were made clear in letters between himself and James Madison. However, Madison is often credited with convincing Jefferson that patents were necessary when Jefferson was against the idea entirely. The post on Volokh, though, shows that Madison was, like Jefferson, very aware of the dangers of such monopolies and warned that it should only be used in the rarest of cases:
But grants of this sort can be justified in very peculiar cases only, if at all; the danger being very great that the good resulting from the operation of the monopoly, will be overbalanced by the evil effect of the precedent; and it being not impossible that the monopoly itself, in its original operation, may produce more evil than good.
You might want to remember this any time someone insists that the founding fathers were huge supporters of stronger and stronger intellectual property laws.

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 20 Jun 2007 @ 10:40am

    Re: read US Constitution

    Mike, you are a clueless moron

    Always nice to hear from you angry dude.

    Just read the US Constitution.

    I have. You, on the other hand, seem to only be selectively reading it.

    "Congress shall have power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

    This is not a universal "ok" for patents. It very clearly says that *for the purpose of promoting progress of science and useful arts*. In other words, if it's NOT promoting such progress, it's a problem. And that's true in this case.

    The quotes from Madison and Jefferson -- who were the ones who debated and eventually crafted how this language would be presented -- clearly shows their intentions. It's folks like yourselves who pretend they meant something different.

    Looking at what they said leading up to the creation of the constitution shows their specific fears -- and looking at what's happening today shows that those fears have been realized.

    Folks like you who want to pretend the founding fathers meant something different than they did want to ignore the real purpose of the patent system. Reading what they wrote is important -- no matter how much you don't want to believe it's true.

    Petition the Congress to amend US Constitutuon or just shut up

    There's no need to change the constitution. It's quite clear that patents are only to serve the purpose of promoting progress and innovation. When it's not doing so, those patents are unconstitutional.

    Btw, I've noticed that you never responded to my request to hear about your patent. You also never explained the disparity between claiming you had a patent years ago, and then claiming that you just got your first patent. It would be great if you responded to that, as it would help clarify your position.

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