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Linux Journal: Talking Patents

“As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others,
we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any
invention of ours; and this we should do freely and
generously.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the
globe seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by
nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space,
without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in
which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of
confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in
nature, be a subject of property.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Two centuries after Jefferson left his patent office, we have
this whole new world – the Net – made by our own thinking power,
expressed in the idea we call code. In Code and other Laws of
Cyberspace, Lawrence Lessig points out “The Internet was built for
research, not commerce. (Indeed, until 1991, the national Science
Foundation forbade its use for commerce.) Its protocols were open
and unsecured; it was not designed to hide.”

“So the Net was a marketplace for ideas before it became a
marketplace for things.”

“Two centuries after Jefferson left his patent office, we have
this whole new world – the Net…”

“That world was endowed by its creators with three qualities
that would please both Franklin and Jefferson:

  • “Nobody owns it
  • Everybody can use it
  • Anybody can improve it”

“We can thank our founding hackers for all three. Jeff can also
thank them for helping put Amazon in business.”

“Now we need to finish talking him over to the right side of the
fence – the side where we’re all talking this thing through.”

Complete
story
.