Sunday, March 19, 2006

Patenting Thoughts

We move ever forward towards the utterly & inescapably absurd.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled This Essay Breaks the Law, Jurassic Park's own Michael Crichton informs us of a case that will be heard before the Supreme Court of the United States this Tuesday:
  • The Earth revolves around the Sun.

  • The speed of light is a constant.

  • Apples fall to earth because of gravity.

  • Elevated blood sugar is linked to diabetes.

  • Elevated uric acid is linked to gout.

  • Elevated homocysteine is linked to heart disease.

  • Elevated homocysteine is linked to B-12 deficiency, so doctors should test homocysteine levels to see whether the patient needs vitamins.
ACTUALLY, I can't make that last statement. A corporation has patented that fact, and demands a royalty for its use. Anyone who makes the fact public and encourages doctors to test for the condition and treat it can be sued for royalty fees. Any doctor who reads a patient's test results and even thinks of vitamin deficiency infringes the patent. A federal circuit court held that mere thinking violates the patent. [emphasis added]

Unbelievable. Patent law abuse knows no bounds. I thought the notion of ideas as things was bad? Now you can't even think about patented ideas! Crichton's essay is a must read. Anyone who thought the whole Blackberry patent scandal was a total abuse of the system will most certainly recoil at the extent of this legal hubris. I mean your portable e-mail device is one thing, but mind/thought control?! What country do we live in again??

Sometimes I get confused...

More "Intellectual Property" News
I'm sure I could come up with a dozen or so more items for this list, but why not read a comic book instead?

Hmm, I wonder why someone doesn't try to trademark, patent, and copyright the idea of a story depicted in text & illustrations bound in a cheaply produced newsprint format?

Breathe Deep

Here's a simple, effective counter to the legal absurdities that are being used to cheat society out of it's cultural birthright--cliched as it might be: Ideas aren't formed in a vacuum. Stewart Brand wrote:
Recursion is the essence of science. For example, science papers cite other science papers, and that process of research pointing at itself invokes a whole higher level, the emergent shape of citation space. Recursion always does that. It is the engine of scientific progress and thus of the progress of society. [emphasis added]
So go ahead, patent it all. Copyright (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) everything. "Fair Use"? Ignore it entirely or lie about it until it just goes away. While you're at it, why not charge us for the very air we breathe?

These attempts at (and notions of) "intellectual property" control (and worse, now even the very thought you think) are just as stifling & damaging to the common good of the society in which we live as trying to license the air we breathe would be to the individual.

Take away the air of ideas. Create a vacuum. Watch society, culture, science, etc. all come to a grinding halt as they slowly suffocate in the pollution of legal abuses...

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