Friday, March 20, 2009

... and in further electronic reading news

(image courtesy Amazon's blog kindle)

Coming soon to the Discovery Channel... Is the Kindle the result of patent subterfuge?

Amazon's increasingly popular electronic reader is now the subject of a patent dispute. Discovery Communications, owners of the Discovery Channel, are suing Amazon, saying the Kindle violates a patent Discovery has held since 2007.

It's funny -- for an industry generally thought to be teetering on a precipice, there seems to be a lot of interest in the potential profits of publishing's future.

Thanks to for the tip.

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Anonymous said...

Wrong again, John. There seems to be a lot of interest in protecting intellectual property and revenue from patent royalties.

John McFetridge said...

What exactly is the difference between, "profits of publishing" and, "revenue from patent royalities?"

I know I'm just a paranoid freak, but it seems a small step to me from "intellectual property" to "property." Things would probably be much the same for me in the communist paradise, but so far publicly-owned everything (or, should we say "unprotected property") doesn't have a great track record.

Infringer said...

There is a chasm between intellectual property and real property McF. IP is not property at all, but is rather a state granted monopoly allowing particular entities to dictate who can or cannot perform various prcesses with information. IP rights control behaviour, not property.

In the case of patents in particular, these monopolies are often granted in haste and erroniously. If a property analogy will help though, how about picturing the government granting someone else the right to put a toll booth outside your front door so that you can't leave your house without paying this third party.

All patents aren't like this of course but a great deal of technology and software patents are.

John McFetridge said...

You know, Darryl, property is also nothing but a state-granted monopoly - from the Oklahoma land rush, the Hudson's Bay Company being granted almost all of Canada to recent cottagers' loss of their 'property' when the state monopoly was lifted.

In pure ideology there is no difference at all. It all depends on some form of state-granted rights.

Good for you to have faith in the lawmakers to trust that they'll never infringe on property rights the way you want them to infringe on intellectual property rights, but my experience with lawmakers is that once they taste blood....