Thursday, April 24, 2003

Things that go Bump in the Night

Make Your Own Rules "Using the patent system as a private regulatory vehicle circumvents the checks and balances to which government-made law is subjected. Constitutional guarantees of individual rights can be invoked only against the government, not against a plaintiff suing for patent infringement. Thomas gives the example of patents that have been granted that regulate the content of speech, including ones for making sales pitches or delivering advertising over networks. Government control of expression is strictly circumscribed. " Yet all indications from the courts are that privately held patents offer their owners the ability to suppress or punish speech without reference to these limitations," Thomas wrote last year in the Houston Law Review."

Interview: Cory Doctorow "But some time in the last five or ten years, all of the action has migrated to intellectual property, primarily copyright. Copyright has become this stupendous weapon for abridging privacy and for abridging freedom -- and those freedoms include things like the freedom to speak."
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