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Patents for Harnessing Demons

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    I ve had discussions with one of our lab members about protecting an innovation they ve come up with. They would like to sell licenses to corporations but are
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 4, 2005
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      I've had discussions with one of our lab members about protecting an
      innovation they've come up with. They would like to sell licenses to
      corporations but are also attracted by an open source route. One
      example to think about is the MP3 format which charges for the decoder
      rather than the file:
      http://www.mp3licensing.com/royalty/
      and do a variant of that strategy.

      I share below Flemming Funch's recent post on the movie The Corporation
      http://www.thecorporation.tv I'm very struck by the thought that
      corporations have all the rights of humans but none of the
      responsibilities. They seem very much like the demons which Jesus
      drives out in the Gospels. Or like the jinns (genies?) in the Quran.

      I've been wondering about a form of Patent (for intellectual property)
      that would allow humans to use it without permission (and hence for
      free) but would require corporations to ask for permission with each use
      (and pay). That would be a way to harness the genies. There are
      Lithuanian folk tales where the demons are used to power windmills, etc.
      I'm just wondering what's the practical way to do that.

      I appreciate our thoughts and I share Flemming's post.

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      http://www.ms.lt
      ms@...
      +370 (5) 264 5950
      Vilnius, Lithuania

      Flemming Funch
      http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-001578.htm
      http://www.openleader.com/index.php/Cyfranogi/Corporations

      I finally saw the movie The Corporation. I mentioned it previously here.
      It is a documentary about, well, corporations. Very well researched,
      about the history of the concept of the corporation, and about how
      (badly) corporations often end up behaving, following quite naturally
      from their foundation, from what they're defined as. In brief, a
      corporation is a legal person, but a person with often huge amounts of
      resources, and no need to answer to the same standards as regular
      humans. The obligation of the people who run a corporation is to make
      large and increasing amounts of money for the people who own it. They
      might be nice enough people on their own, but their job is simply to
      acquire as large profits as possible. It is quite harmonious with that
      aim to use child slave labor in foreign countries, or to let foreign
      armies eliminate protesters who object to the environmental record of
      their factories. Maybe not right, maybe not moral, but a corporation has
      no conscience. It luckily has some people running it, who sometimes have
      a conscience. But in itself it doesn't. So, if we evaluate a typical
      multi-national corporation as if it were a person, it would fit every
      criterion for being a psychopath. It can continously get away with all
      sorts of irresponsible and destructive behavior. Yes, it might get
      fined, somebody might get fired, somebody might even go to jail, but
      those are just expenses and minor inconveniences. The corporation itself
      typically goes on. Unless it somehow fails to make profits.

      Another enlightening aspect is the economic concept of externality. It
      is basically when a business makes a decision that causes costs (or
      possibly benefits) to be incurred outside that particular organization.
      You make it somebody else's problem, essentially. For example, a
      corporation might cause heavy wear and tear on certain public roads, but
      might let the local city government bear the costs of that. Or it might
      pollute, and let somebody else worry about that. Or it might let some
      army clear the way for its oil business, or remove people who were
      standing in the way of their business. Externalities can be great for a
      company's bottom line, making great profits, but at high costs
      elsewhere. So that when we add up the total accounting, it is anything
      but a beneficial and profitable activity. I.e. it causes much more
      damange or uses many more resources than what good comes out of it.

      It doesn't have to be that way. The movie provided some bright spots,
      although not all that many. Business leaders might start thinking
      differently, and some do. Thinking about how to run a sustainable
      business, where what they do actually is beneficial, also when we count
      the external influences.

      Interestingly I saw the movie in a local business college. One of the
      professors had persuaded the school to purchase the movie, so she could
      show it to students. Which obviously would be rather controversial, as
      that's a place where students are taught to do exactly the kinds of
      things the movie warns against. But change starts by being conscious of
      what is going on, of course. And, most likely, corporations will change
      to the degree that somebody figures out a way for it to be profitable to
      be sustainable and ethical.
    • Neil McEvoy
      ... Not sure if you could distinguish that way, as one way to do it is to make it free for non-commercial use, and then once you start making money from it
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 4, 2005
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        > I've been wondering about a form of Patent (for intellectual property)
        > that would allow humans to use it without permission (and hence for
        > free) but would require corporations to ask for permission with each use
        > (and pay).

        Not sure if you could distinguish that way, as one way to do it is to make
        it free for non-commercial use, and then once you start making money from
        it then you pay for it etc. that pre-supposes a person won't use it
        commercially, so is that what you want to achieve? ie a person could
        profit from its use, but a corporation couldn't?

        N.
      • Andrius Kulikauskas
        Hi Neil, I d like to draw a distinguish where a person - including a sole proprietorship or any arrangement where the owners are liable for their actions - is
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 4, 2005
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          Hi Neil,

          I'd like to draw a distinguish where a person - including a sole
          proprietorship or any arrangement where the owners are liable for their
          actions - is allowed to profit commercially without asking permission.
          But entities like corporations, whose owners have liability limited by
          the assets of the corporations, would have to deal with the patent holder.

          It seems like something that could be done within the existing legal
          framework. I'm just wondering what the best way to set this up would
          be, and what might be the consequences.

          Thank you for your reply!

          Andrius

          Neil McEvoy wrote:
          >>I've been wondering about a form of Patent (for intellectual property)
          >>that would allow humans to use it without permission (and hence for
          >>free) but would require corporations to ask for permission with each use
          >>(and pay).
          >
          >
          > Not sure if you could distinguish that way, as one way to do it is to make
          > it free for non-commercial use, and then once you start making money from
          > it then you pay for it etc. that pre-supposes a person won't use it
          > commercially, so is that what you want to achieve? ie a person could
          > profit from its use, but a corporation couldn't?
          >
          > N.
          >
          >
          >
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          Andrius Kulikauskas
          Minciu Sodas
          http://www.openleader.net/?leader=AndriusKulikauskas
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