Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Skin clients (July 7)

No wonder Microsoft applies for patents for the most ridiculous functions and procedures, that are invented within other operation systems decades ago.


open source gains ground with exponentially accelerating speed, people become aware of that their job might be on the line. That is a good thing. Many are those who are totally dependent on Redmond and see with increasing fear the forthcoming paradigm shift.

Lawyers are worried too. No more law suits for ridiculous things when all is open source.

Kalevi Nyman

Re: Intellectual property’s blue period (July 6)

My children put their names on things because of pride of achievement, not because they think they are “”intellectual property”” and have “”value.”” Did Picasso also put prices on all his drawings?

Why don’t patents and copyright last forever? Because we know that having ideas flow back into the common pool of the public domain is part of what makes us a civilized society. What freedom have we if everything we see and touch has to be licensed from someone else?

That corporate greed to which you correctly refer is trying to eliminate the public commons. If they had managed to have their way some centuries ago, you would pay royalties per word on your use of the English language, and I would pay royalties to read it (every time I read it).

At some point, things have to drop out of this licensed “”competitive market”” and into the public domain where people can use them without the meter running. Innovation and creativity die if you have to hirelawyers to negotiate licenses for every cultural reference.

Shane Schick writes: “”Although strategies vary from firm to firm, all businesses rely on the protection and monetization of intellectual property to drive profits. Absent that protection, there’s little incentive to invest, invent or innovate.””

All generalizations are false, and your article is rendered weak by the ones you make above. Untold numbers of people (especially artists) invent, invest, and innovate with no expectation of “”monetization.”” Innovation and creativity did not start with the invention of the patent office. I’m inventing this letter and investing time writing to you with no hope of compensation. Do not underestimate or belittle the non-monetary rewards of human creativity.

Indeed, many people in the open-source software community eliminate the whole need for “”monetization.””

Ian D. Allen

Re: Intellectual property’s blue period (July 6)

I must contradict Shane Schick when he writes, “”all businesses rely on the protection and monetization of intellectual property to drive profits. Absent that protection, there’s little incentive to invest, invent or innovate.””

Not only do not all businesses rely on intellectual property protection for their business success, many businesses rely on the very absence of intellectual property protection. And I’m not talking about commercial piracy.

The movie and theatre industries rely on the public-domain status of works by Shakespeare, Dickens, Cervantes, and anonymous Greeks to produce new versions and derivatives of old works without having to pay out royalties to generations of descendents who had no hand in creating the original.

It is true, to a point, that without the protection of IP laws, many businesses and business models would fail. It is equally true, however, that overlong, overbroad, and overdeep IP protection is at least asserious a problem. Too much IP protection is just as much an obstacle to investment, invention, or innovation, as too little.

Wallace McLean

Re: Intellectual property’s blue period (July 6)

While collecting Monopoly Rents on a useful invention/artistic creation may be a popular business model, it is certainly not the only one.

Many folks in the Open Source/ FLOSS business community for example freely share their intellectual property, but bill clients for the use of skills to exploit that property to meet the clients requirements.

Come to think of it, that is the same business model that many of your readers and advertisers use when dealing with products from conventional firms like Microsoft. Many folks call themselves VARs and will gladly sell a license to Windows along with the skill to get it to run and do something useful. FLOSS VARs just share the base software, and so can offer the same result at often a lower cost as the intellectual property just goes back into the shared reusable pool.

That pool is kinda like what university research used to be like, a pool of reusable knowledge that advances mankind.

Charles MacDonald
Stittsville, Ont.

Re: Canadian hospitals put wireless on critical list (June 29)

Great article! It’s nice to have this tone asserted in Canada .

Brent Brill
Li Quata

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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