HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! Looking for something to read instead? Check out our new Working Futures anthology »
HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! Looking for something to read instead? Check out our new Working Futures anthology »

Ideas Do Matter, But That Has Nothing To Do With 'Intellectual Property'

from the keep-up-folks dept

Glyn Moody points us to a website put together by Microsoft, Philips and DSM -- three giant companies that have relied heavily on intellectual property laws to fend off upstart competitors and disruptive innovation -- called Ideas Matter - the value of intellectual property. As you can tell from the title, the website focuses on two key points, which they then try to conflate as a single point: (1) Ideas matter and (2) because of that, intellectual property is important.

Of course, there's a huge problem with this: while ideas do matter, that has nothing to do with intellectual property. As people are quick to point out in our comments any time we suggest that ideas are being blocked or censored by intellectual property laws, such laws are not supposed to apply to ideas. In fact, it's explicit with both copyright and patent law. In copyright law, protection is supposed to be applied to expression, not ideas, and the difference is supposed to be key -- even if it isn't always observed. Similarly, with patents, protection is supposed to be applied to inventions, not ideas -- again even if that isn't regularly observed in practice.

To be honest, I find this particularly nefarious and disingenuous, in that any time people point out that ideas are being censored, defenders of IP laws insist that there's a split and "ideas" are not covered. Yet, when these same folks seek to push forth a propaganda campaign in support of greater protectionism, they use the claim that "ideas matter" to support those laws. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the site's name and premise itself, the rest of the site is filled with ridiculous and unsupported propaganda, such as this laughably misleading video that seems to assume that because certain things are protected by intellectual property laws, they wouldn't exist without them. It also tosses out ridiculous debunked industry figures on "losses" due to infringement. This is extreme propaganda.

Filed Under: copyright, ideas, intellectual property, patents
Companies: dsm, microsoft, philips

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Jun 2011 @ 11:45pm


    Even one of your infamous "morons in a hurry" can easily discern that general statements are being made, and not "legal treatises" analyses of law.

    General statements being made that are nefarious and disingenuous and seeking to influence people's positions and policy.

    Why not just simply come out and say what you mean? All patents, even from Nobel Laureates,are invalid because, after all, every one of them "stood on the shoulders of giants", are blatantly obvious, are laughably supported by those who point out that they serve the function of imparting useful information to the public worldwide, kill sick kids, etc., etc., etc.

    Because that's not what I mean at all. Why would you say that?

    Can people abuse the system? Yes, and some do. But exceptions are not the rule, and to focus on just the 6 sigma extremes is hardly a basis by which to level what is clearly a personal animus to a an entire body of law that experience reading many of the tomes here teaches me is understood at largely a very superficial level.

    Yes, some people abuse the system, but that's not the key concern. The key concern is, as noted in the Constitution, that these systems are designed to "promote the progress," and the economic evidence suggests that the system as a whole DOES NOT DO THAT, and, in fact, hurts the progress.

    I find that to be a problem.

    As someone who has profited off of such a broken system, you, apparently, feel otherwise.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.