What's interesting about B&M Gates Foundation isn't what they do with their donations, so much as what the investment arm of his foundation invests in...like pharmaceutical patents, tobacco, petroleum (BP), experimental and controversial crops (Monsanto), and even investments in news/media (to keep people thinking it's all for the good of the children).
It's a pretty foundation with dirty hands. Philanthrocapitalism is very profitable and tax free.
"I found myself to be saying the following often this week: this is what you get when an older generation tries to legislate something they don't fully understand or don't fully realize what repercussions their decisions might have for the rest of the world. This is this generation's 'generation gap', and this time around the gap has a global effect."
Here are some things to keep in mind before we condemn the older generations for the ills of the patent and copyright systems today.
Those who originally developed the technologies of the www, upon which the Internet is built, are certainly not youngsters today. Yet they had the foresight to NOT patent their creations.
If you visit some of the "search for prior art" articles on Groklaw you'll see that most things covered by today's patents (many that are being litigated now) generally have decades of prior art. Which would indicate that today's old farts were yesterday's inventors of the very technology you use and wish to stay free (as in Freedom).
On the other side of the coin we have the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, who's been schmoozed by Bill Gates (the king of patent troll funding). One wonders, how soon after Microsoft's Skype has been added to Facebook will the patent suits start flying towards Google + ? Does anyone think Mark would refuse to go along with such a thing?
Then there are today's gamers. They will put up with any kind of restrictions to their Freedoms as long as they can get their gaming fix. How many of the game developers are young people? Yet many are fine with encumbering their products with restrictive EULAs and DRM.
The truth is that greed knows no age boundries. Old, young, it doesn't matter. Legislators are paid to be selectively ignorant. They have favors to pay back for the campaign funds they received, or the perks from paid lobbyists.
And then there are lawyers, many involved with the litigations that are making technology news these days are young, aggressive, arrogant and infinitely greedy for control and power...and money, lots and lots of money.
Of course it depends on your definition of "young." If your dividing line is 50 and under, then you might need to rethink your assumptions. From what I can tell, some of the worst cases that have been discussed here on Techdirt are Righthaven, HB Gary, and others involved in bringing mass lawsuits against citizens accused of torrenting movies (Hurt Locker for example), seem to be in their 40s (I could be wrong, but the ones I've seen don't exactly look elderly).
Getting the older generation of legislators out of office is not going to change anything. The young ones will soon be mired in the same sludge of selective ignorance. I'm not saying that things can't get better, I'm just saying that waiting for the old farts to retire isn't a solution.
The GPL does NOT make copyright null and void, anymore than a Creative Commons license makes copyright null and void.
The GPL is merely a license on TOP of copyright that grants more rights to the user. It also requires the user to pass along the same rights to others, if they distribute.
If someone violates the GPL, then they are back to basic copyright, which allows no rights at all (all rights reserved and all that). So, Copyright is the foundation that the GPL rests upon. Without copyright there's no use for GPL (copyleft). (No, I'm not a lawyer, but you don't have to be a lawyer to understand the simple terms of a GPL license)...the FSF home page explains it quite clearly. http://www.fsf.org/
Google has no history of using software patents aggressively. None.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has a HUGE history of either suing, or paying others to sue, or investing in patent troll companies - owned by former MS execs - for purposes of suing.
Does anyone think Microsoft bought Skype for any reason other than patents?
Then there's Nokia, being raped and pillaged by Microsoft's lapdog, Elop. And when Nokia is truly on its last leg, who do you think will try to get all those lovely Nokia patents? I'm thinkin' it'll be the company responsible for the pillaging.
Or how about Novell? Similar story, same sad type of ending.
I so enjoy reading Techdirt, it's one of the few sane voices in the world of copyright madness.
However, I'm always dismayed at the use of the word "consumer", or of the phrase "having consumed", in regards to the acts of listening to, or watching, music and movies.
It seems to play directly into the hands of those who believe their content is somehow being stolen when today's young people merely copy for personal use.
I have watched a great many movies, and listened to a lot of music in my 60 years, but never once have I actually consumed any of them. They always seem to still be there for me to watch or listen to again.
In fact, if the act of listening actually consumed a song, then all those old LPs, cassettes, CDs (and, yes, even a few old 8-tracks) I still own would have been emptied decades ago.
If people can be led to believe they've actually 'consumed' a song after listening to it, then they'll be happy to re-purchase it every time they want to hear it again, right?
Sounds silly, doesn't it? But that's basically the way language works. If the so-called Content Industry can actually get the world to accept a new meaning to the word "consume", then they'd be happy to charge all those gluttonous consumers for each and every instance.
Anyway, just wanted to add my thoughts. I might be labelled a music fan, and I can certainly be called a customer after all the music I've purchased (since 1958, when I bought my first 78 - OMG, Elvis! - with my allowance money, it cost 35 cents), but I refuse to ever be called a "consumer." My music collection is still here, to be inherited by my son when I'm gone.