Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Patents, copyright, and innovation

I've written before about my concerns about software patents. I closed that entry by saying

This is my reluctant stance, because I know companies need some intellectual property protection in certain cases. The current situation with software patents seems troubling to me, though, and seems destined to reduce our resilience and adaptibility as a society. I welcome your thoughts to help me (and to help society) think through this issue.

Now Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig has published a passionate presentation on the matter. Take a look, think, read other opinions, and decide what you will do.

Note: This is a presentation, not a sound bite, so have a bit of time (about 30 minutes), and be sure your sound card is turned on.

I'm not against the idea of copyrights and patents. I am not encouraging people to break existing law. I do not want to steal from the artists, writers, engineers, inventors, and others who create things we do value. I do think copyrights and patents have moved into areas that are troubling for society in general and you and me in particular. I am still thinking about this, and I'd welcome your ideas, too; just add a comment to this posting.

Thanks to Presentation Zen for the link to Lessig's presentation.


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