[Fsfe-ie] Possible opinion formers: academics

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Thu Dec 4 01:15:17 CET 2003

Hash: SHA1

On 3 Dec 2003 at 0:41, James Heald wrote:

> The advice can get depressing: protect everything, talk to no-one,
> never let anyone have your source code...
> Real entrepreneurs may actually have the most unrealistic view of the
> usefulness of patents.  Almost a prerequisite of keeping their
> business going is they have to believe in every aspect of it 120%,
> including the value of their IP protection.  And if they still have a
> business, that probably means their IP protection hasn't (yet) been
> tested...
> But it would be interesting to know even from these people how useful
> they think patents really are in the software arena, or whether
> copyright, closed-source and trade secrets are actually a lot more
> important -- that, and really focussing on the product itself,
> customer satisfaction, and quick market response.

Worse than this, you will do yourself out of funding if you dare say 
anything against the "patent everything" line. I tried in my new 
business proposal to say that I wanted to take out software patents 
in order to ensure anyone could use my ideas without fear of getting 
sued and was immediately told "That's a deal breaker. You say that 
and you will be seen as being either a fool or soft and neither 
inspires investor confidence. They are looking for an animal".

Remember, these guys aren't too hot on the intellectual stuff 
generally. They want to know how to make money and that and only that 
matters. People, society, the environment or the other man are simply 
there to be exploited and if they can't be, to be foisted off as 
baggage to someone else. Trying to argue intellectually against IP to 
these people will simply bore them at best - I suggest arguing it as 
simply as "software patents = less profit" which is true in all 
except the most exploitative business models - which are dinosaurs 
becoming extinct except for perhaps Microsoft.

You may think I'm being unfair. Well, I've read all the entrepreneur 
books and was actually shocked at what they said - it's a far less 
moral game than drug dealing whose punters at least actually want the 
product - and it's rare to shock me anymore :)

Still, better being an entrepreneur than working in some god awful 
hierarchy with incompetent bosses ordering you to deliberately 
sabotage your work ... :(


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