Do you want faster horses or do you want unicorns?

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“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they’d have said ‘faster horses’ “ (Henry Ford)

O’Reilly’s recent post on “Faster Horses” speaks of where the great leaps in mankind’s innovation have come from; basically citing Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, The Wright Brothers, and other 21st century innovators in the great steps they have taken individually on behalf of mankind.  He goes on to ask -along with others- where our next great innovations will come from:

“Where is our patent office today? Who is our Einstein? Are we the first generation in many years incapable of true innovation?”

I would agree that the greatest ideas of the web are yet to be realised, however it is not our imagination holding us back nor is it for lack of brilliant inventor-developers; what has destroyed the bright future of our generation is not the number of genius’ we’ve created but rather the consumer culture that requires every innovative step along the way to be copyrighted!  It is simple, we know the future, we have the vision, we even have the technology in place to do all we dream of; but, we are not allowed to put together the parts that will invent the next light bulb, car or airplane! The Wright Brothers did not have to request permission for the copyrighted rotation of a propeller, Ford did not check the moral rights of the throttle, and Edison did not have to request biomedical permission to use the chemicals in a filament!  And yet here were are waiting for the legal legislation that will allow us to create an application for a gradebook app or use the code for the citation of public works.

In short, we have becomes victims of consumer culture.  O’Reilly’s post laments what we have not achieved: the cure to aids, the flying electrical cars, the online doctor, the robots that stop starvation, the new media, art and culture… all of these innovation we were promised as the next generation, have been squashed because of the copyright laws held up by: biomedical conglomerates, publishing corporations and companies like Disney who want to sell you ideas that they stole off of someone else.  It is time for a manifesto that stands on the shoulders of giants; it is time that our generation stopped pandering to the greed of consumption.  Where is our ideology that will hail a new era of factual logic: where is our “congito ergo sum”, our “know thyself”, our “one step for man, one giant leap for mankind”?!

A proposed solution: never in my lifetime have we needed more, a proof of pure logic!  Philosophers, theorists and especially mathematicians lend me your ears!  It is time that a new Riemann’s theorem gauntlet be laid down to disprove the ownership of original ideas.  Pure logic must answer this call: a mathematical proof that can demonstrate that no idea is original, that all ideas are built upon one another and that no single idea is definitive in time, space or mass that it would deserve to either belong or be worth value to any one entity.  Honestly, I’m begging the philosophers and mathematicians to earn their eternal reputation and glory: destroy copyright as we know it!  Give us this freedom and we will give you innovation as you have never known: faster horses than you ever imagined, and hell well even thrown in a couple of unicorns!  It is time that we set our inventors free from the slavery of copyright.

~ by dfflanders on November 11, 2008.

10 Responses to “Do you want faster horses or do you want unicorns?”

  1. Sounds like monetary blasphemy to me. Who will PAY for this??

  2. Indeed I was perhaps a bit hasty to not qualify that innovation must be free in certain domains, such as Academia. In the same way that students can photocopy pages out of a book to help innovate their minds so should Academic developers be able to copy code from any application so greater innovation can occur.

  3. Copyright and intellectual property were designed to protect inventors in order to encourage invention. I don’t see that _aim_ as being inappropriate or less relevant now, but it’s quite clear that the implementation we have today is rather too focused on protectionism rather than reward.

    “If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders.”
    – Hal Abelson

  4. A couple questions just for my own curiosity.
    Are you in favor of abolishing all copyright? or simply that having to do with technology e.g. code?
    I think you may have already answered this in your last comment, but do you think these things should be public or only available to those in academia for learning purposes? It seems to me like it would be hard to build an internet based company if anyone can take what you have created and use it themselves. Sure, it would be great to make this stuff simply for the betterment of society, but the bills have to be paid somehow.
    I think I agree with you but I am pretty ignorant on this topic so please forgive me if my questions aren’t properly grounded.

  5. comment from twittersphere http://twitter.com/zbeauvais/status/1100567740

  6. Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution solves this problem very neatly: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”

    Was has been distorted is the concept of “limited times”. Recent copyright, patent and trademark changes (whether to bring the US in alignment with global initiatives or to “protect the Mouse”) have made “limited” extend – particularly for copyright – well beyond the needs of the original writers/inventors!

  7. Interesting backlog of patents building up: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/07/change-your-life-backlog-oliver-burkeman

  8. How about just allowing to inventors freedom to copy and develop but only grant the originator power to claim royalties?

    Fair to the originator and would free up development.

  9. example of where people make even more money without the copyright protecitonaism in place: http://techdirt.com/articles/20091217/1834337418.shtml

  10. example of where people make even more money without the copyright protectionism in place: http://techdirt.com/articles/20091217/1834337418.shtml

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