[PLUG-TALK] IEEE P1817 "Consumer Ownable Digital Personal Property"

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Wed Mar 16 01:13:45 PDT 2011

On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 11:57:47PM -0700, Alex Young wrote:
> However inhuman, this DRM stuff makes some sense right now,
> as we can easily copy data.  But what sense will it make once
> we can also copy things with 3D printers?  Is this really the
> direction we want to go?  Won't we innovate without direct
> incentive?  I know many of us are not motivated in a
> fiduciary manner and yet still contribute.

I strongly agree with almost all of what Alex wrote, but he
inadvertently repeated a bit of FUD that we need to flush
from our brains.

There are about 10 million patents issued worldwide, per year. 
Most are stupid crap - if you read them, you can usually imagine
coming up with something better after a week or two of tinkering.
That's what comes from leaving innovation to corporate research 
departments and lawyers.  99.9% of the world is not engaged.

Now, imagine 7 billion people, all tinkering a few hours a week,
and permitted to collaborate, adding small increments onto ideas
from elsewhere.  The innovation potential is staggeringly awesome. 
If everyone had 3D printers, the tinkering rate would skyrocket. 
So the key is to increase tools, connection, education, wealth, 
and social approval for tinkering and geekery.  

My name is on quite a few patents.  That is part of why I left
the corporate world.  I don't hate corporations, but they and
their customers would be more successful if patents weren't
restricting innovation.  If the Lemelsons and Kearns of the
world had honest jobs instead, innovation would move faster.
More importantly, it would be better attuned to the real world
problems of ordinary people.

Patents perform the same function that shotguns perform in
liquor stores.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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