Archive for October 8th, 2012

October 8, 2012

Free Culture Movement

free culture

cc

The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other forms of media. The movement objects to overly-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system ‘permission culture.’ ‘Creative Commons’ is a well-known website which was started by legal activist Lawrence Lessig. It lists licenses that permit sharing under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various creative-commons-licensed productions.

The free culture movement, with its ethos of free exchange of ideas, is of a whole with the free software movement. Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU project (a free UNIX competitor, and free software activist, advocates free sharing of information. He famously stated that free software means free as in ‘free speech,’ not ‘free beer.’ Today, the term stands for many other movements, including hacker computing, the access to knowledge movement, and the copyleft movement. The term ‘free culture’ was originally the title of a 2004 book by Lawrence Lessig, a founding father of the free culture movement.

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October 8, 2012

Information Wants To Be Free

wikileaks

paywall

Information wants to be free is a slogan of technology activists invoked against limiting access to information. According to criticism of intellectual property rights, the system of governmental control of exclusivity is in conflict with the development of a public domain of information. The iconic phrase is attributed to American writer Stewart Brand who, in the late 1960s, founded the ‘Whole Earth Catalog’ and argued that technology could be liberating rather than oppressing.

The earliest recorded occurrence of the expression was at the first ‘Hackers’ Conference’ in 1984. Brand told Steve Wozniak: ‘On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.’

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October 8, 2012

Evergreening

evergreening

Evergreening refers to a variety of legal and business strategies by which technology producers with patents over products that are about to expire retain rent from them by either taking out new patents or by buying out or frustrating competitors, for longer periods of time than would normally be permissible under the law.

Evergreening is not a formal concept of patent law; it is best understood as a social idea used to refer to the myriad ways in which pharmaceutical patent owners use the law and related regulatory processes to extend their high rent-earning intellectual property rights, otherwise known as intellectual monopoly privileges, particularly over highly profitable ‘blockbuster’ drugs.

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October 8, 2012

Patent Troll

troll patent

Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company who enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered aggressive or opportunistic with no intention to manufacture or market the patented invention.

The Patent Troll was originally depicted in ‘The Patents Video,’ which was released in 1994 and sold to corporations, universities, and governmental entities. The metaphor was popularized in 2001 by Peter Detkin, former assistant general counsel of Intel, who chose the term from among a number of suggestions during a discussion with Anne Gundelfinger, Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Intel.

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October 8, 2012

Patent War

patent wars

A patent war is a ‘battle’ between corporations or individuals to secure patents for litigation, whether offensively or defensively. There are ongoing patent wars between the world’s largest technology and software corporations. Patent wars are not a new phenomenon. The Wright brothers, attributed with the invention of the airplane, sought to prevent competitors from manufacturing airplanes through litigation, stifling the development of the American airline industry. Alexander Graham Bell, credited with inventing the telephone, was dragged into a patent war against his rivals, which involved, in just 11 years, 600 lawsuits.

One notable case was Bell’s lawsuit against Western Union, a telegraph company backed by Elisha Gray (also credited with inventing the telephone). In the digital age, the rapid pace of innovation makes much of the patent system obsolete. In the 1980s, technology corporations in the United States and Japan engaged in a patent war, creating a scenario where companies were forced to ‘fight patent with patent.’ This bilateral patent war, partly exaggerated by the media, subsided by the mid 1990s.

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