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UN Bigwig: The Web Should Have Been Patented and Licensed 411

An anonymous reader writes "Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing has unearthed an amazing video where the head of WIPO, the UN agency responsible for 'promoting' intellectual property, suggests that Tim Berners-Lee should have patented HTML and licensed it to all users. Amazingly this is done on camera and in front of the head of CERN and the Internet Society, who look on in disbelief."
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UN Bigwig: The Web Should Have Been Patented and Licensed

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  • Hindsight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:25AM (#37652770)

    Always 20/20, especially if you're a greed-focused farging bastage.

    • Re:Hindsight (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:21AM (#37652960) Homepage

      ...and ignore that the web might not have grown quite so popular if everybody had to pay for everything and stick to some individual's arbitrary rules.

      • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:34AM (#37653194)

        web might not have grown quite so popular

        I expect that would be WIPO's goal. The idea that people give stuff away, particularly intellectual property, undermines their whole existence. That something could become a standard, ubiquitous and free is their worst nightmare and they probably feel that the web's success is their failure.

        • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @08:14AM (#37653282) Homepage Journal

          You are right, but it's not just WIPO. If the government officials KNEW what they were getting with the Internet 20 years ago, they would have outlawed the entire thing back then, it was much easier - nobody knew what it was.

          The cat is out of the bag. The absolute power corrupts absolutely, and when you are a representative of an organization that is responsible to nobody, that consists of politicians who are there specifically because that type of power is responsible to nobody, realize - they are playing with this 'world government' idea - nobody elected them.

          These are little dictators, stealing your sovereignty one step at a time.

          • You do realise that people elected the representatives of governments which then went on to form the UN, yes?

            It's like business only your vote isn't weighted by your material wealth.

          • If the government officials KNEW what they were getting with the Internet 20 years ago, they would have outlawed the entire thing back then, it was much easier - nobody knew what it was.

            Al Gore had a pretty good idea what he was getting into. He wanted to change the world.

        • by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @10:13AM (#37653706)

          While I'm always for cynicism, there is a 'basis' for this.

          There is a long history, especially in the progressive movement to monetize everything. It's an essential part of modern politics. We must monetize all work so that all work is treated equally. Child-rearing must be monetized. House work must be monetized...

          From this context, intellectual property is just a way to monetize the retention and spread of knowledge.

          Remember back in the day when the telco monopolies dominated, a lot of R&D was in fact subsidized by telecom service revenue. You got the great bell labs and everything that way... including languages like C++. Most of the open source movement dreams of this era when software was giving out for free... while forgetting it was pretty much all subsidized by being integrated into a telecom monopoly. That provided long term stable cash flow.

          With the telco monopoles broken up, how do you fund long term jobs and ensure the money reaches those contributing these products?

          Intellectual property. It prevents the products from having their cost drop to 0 and thus keeps money in the system. Would less money be made in the grande scheme of things by fewer downstream products and companies? Who knows... but they do have a rational for their obsession with intellectual property and its the monetization of all work.

          • by malkavian ( 9512 )

            Ok, so all those companies that provide a product for free are going down the pan? High grade support is where the money seems to be for a lot of things.
            Sure, some things help to have the IP paid for, but some find other avenues. Knowing the price of everything doesn't necessarily imply you understand the value of anything.

        • The idea that people give stuff away, particularly intellectual property, undermines their whole existence.

          You can't give intellectual property away. You can't give it at all. It doesn't exist, not as a tangible, physical thing and not even the law treats it as such.

          Basing entire industries and economies on licensing products would lead to the special kind of madness espoused by the WIPO boss in the article. Imagine it, the tremendous and world changing development of the internet shackled and mired by law

          • Without exaggeration, humanity itself would have been set back a decade. And for what? So a handful of private companies and lawyers could make a little more money.

            And not even that. Locking things up is a pie-shrinking enterprise. The company that does it gets a bigger slice than they would have otherwise, but they only come out ahead if they're the only one doing it. If everybody does it, well, what do you get when twenty different companies each do something that increases their own share by 25% but shrinks the whole pie by 10%?

      • Re:Hindsight (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @09:01AM (#37653434) Homepage Journal

        Actually it would be just as popular, but it wouldn't be using HTML. And it wouldn't be called 'the web'. But the same functional result would be here.

        Unless perhaps it was licensed for free, and control was used just to help keep the garbage out... donno.

        • Re:Hindsight (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AmberBlackCat ( 829689 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @12:23PM (#37654514)
          The way the current patent system works, they'd probably find some way to get gopher, ftp, bittorrent, and text messaging shut down, all on the grounds that it violates a patent on HTML. Something about a method of creating something based on text. But on a computer.
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        it would have been just as popular. nobody would remember lee though except as a huge turd mentioned only in few wikipedia articles and pc mag archives from '90s.

        it's just that it would be "sss" or "hyper-gopher" or "annotated ftp" or something similar that would have been used, to get around the licensing issues. or just very complex ansi markup if the href was the point of the patent.

        hyper text being a seperate invention from the web-serving techniques(which are very simple protocol rules) - and being so

      • Funny you say that. When I first tried the web in July of 1994, I thought it was a stupid bandwidth hogging ripoff of gopher and would go nowhere. This was back in the NCSA Mosaic days and a 14.4k SLIP was a badass Internet connection. When web pages were black text on grey backgrounds.
    • It might not be too late, there's stories on here all the time about people patenting the obvious many years after it's already become a universal standard. Didn't someone just patent wifi?
    • Re:Hindsight (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <graham.rick@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:29AM (#37653178)
      From Wikipedia: The Washington Post reported in 2003 that Lois Boland (USPTO Director of International Relations) said "that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights." Also saying, "To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO
      • Re:Hindsight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mikelieman ( 35628 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:58AM (#37653252) Homepage

        His opinion completely overlooks the fact that it's my intellectual property right to choose whatever licensing I want for my product, and if I *choose* to release it to the public domain OR under any other terms, that is my right.

      • Re:Hindsight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @10:39AM (#37653870) Journal

        A worryingly narrow starting point, as it do not allow any re-examination of the concepts within the term "intellectual property". Seems similar to how the mission statement of the Norwegian group tasked with updating the nations copyright law, specifically leaving out any chance of the group to re-examine the reasons behind the laws existence. This is the kind of deification of old thoughts that worries me these days. We are unwilling to go back and have a long hard look at the words of the founders of modern society, and evaluate their continued validity (or lack there of). As such, we are no better then the people that run their lives by a holy text that has stayed unchanged for a millennium or more.

    • Considering I wouldn't have my current career if this guy had his way, I would just like to say a hearty "fuck you" to Francis Gurry and all that agree with him on this issue.

  • by __Paul__ ( 1570 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:26AM (#37652772) Homepage

    ...voted for this guy?

    (Yes, pedants, I'm aware we don't get to vote for them)

  • what a ridiculous idea... it's not like anyone would try patenting ridiculous ideas such as 1 click purchases or pre existing stuff and sue others... it's been completely patent free haha

  • Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot.spad@co@uk> on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:26AM (#37652776) Homepage

    It takes a monumental denial of reality to say something that stupid; anyone with even partial brain function is fully aware that if the underlying technologies of the web had been patented by Sir Tim (or similar) and licensed then we wouldn't be posting on Slashdot right now because nobody outside of large multinationals would even be *using* the web for anything.

    • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Motor ( 104119 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:17AM (#37652946)

      Head of Intellectual Property at UN thinks Intellectual Property makes things better.

      Pope thinks Catholicism makes the world better.

      News at 11!

      • Re:Impressive (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MysteriousPreacher ( 702266 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:36AM (#37653008) Journal

        It'd be more akin to Pope claiming that the human race would have been more successful if everyone back in the 2nd century had followed Paul's advice to remain childless. Remaining true to an ideology is one thing; asserting ideology in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is an entirely different matter.

        • by Sun ( 104778 )

          It's akin to keep claiming that the earth is the center of the universe 200 years after Galileo was punished for saying otherwise. Don't put such feats of, well, belief beyond the Catholic church.


    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @08:38AM (#37653370)

      It takes a monumental denial of reality to say something that stupid ...

      Its the United Nations. The same U.N. that chose North Korea to head the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. The same U.N. that chose Gaddafi's Libya to chair the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

    • by roskakori ( 447739 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @09:19AM (#37653490)

      [I]f the underlying technologies of the web had been patented by Sir Tim (or similar) and licensed then we wouldn't be posting on Slashdot right now because nobody outside of large multinationals would even be *using* the web for anything.

      Case in point: Hyper-G/Hyperwave []. It was developed at about the same time as the WWW. It was technically pretty solid (renaming documents didn't break links, integrated search engine, powerful authoring tools) and even didn't use an abbreviation that took longer to pronounce the the full name.

      AFAIR it soon moved out of the academia and was turned into a commercial product, so it basically did what the WIPO head suggested.

      These days it doesn't even have an Wikipedia article anymore. According to its homepage [], it found a niche for corporate intranets and now competes with SharePoint.

      There are plenty of other early hypertext systems [] comparable to the WWW (going back to the 60ties). I seem to recall that Douglar Engelbart's [] NLS was heavily patented, though I cannot find a reference for this right now. (Though partially these systems certainly failed because of insufficient technology and lack of a target group. You can't blame everything on patents).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:36AM (#37652810)

    He talks about the possibility that the burden of developing the web could have been shared by the users. Well, it was shared. The development of the web was as shared as it could have been. Hundreds or thousands of open source developers contributing pieces to it. Some commercial companies trying as well. All users paying for their share of the bandwidth. The web is a wonderful example for how sharing the burden can work without a traditional organization apportioning the shares. This guy simply doesn't get that. He may know something about the P in WIPO, but the I seems to be somewhat underdeveloped.

    • mod points today. That was insightful, I wish the poster would get a /. account.

      • by griffjon ( 14945 )

        The web is indeed probably the best example of a miracle of the commons, where everyone using non-rivalrous goods builds a larger, greater ecosystem that would otherwise be possible.

    • by openfrog ( 897716 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @09:51AM (#37653596)

      The web is a wonderful example for how sharing the burden can work without a traditional organization apportioning the shares. This guy simply doesn't get that.

      Agreeing with your insightful post, but a nuance about him not 'getting it': take notice how he talks about "sharing the burden among the users". We may be witnessing a new approach by WIPO and a fresh Newspeak idiom in gestation, where appropriation of the public good by private entities is presented as 'sharing'.

  • WIPO == Idiots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zabzonk ( 1467209 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:41AM (#37652824)
    I worked at WIPO as a consultant for a year - a bigger collection of clueless f*ckwits would be hard to find.
  • If only... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mudshark ( 19714 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:45AM (#37652848)

    This certainly might have prolonged Gopher's viability.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:46AM (#37652852) Journal

    A surgeon will recommend to operate. A lawyer to do legal work. A soldier to kill someone.

    This guy is at WIPO, patents and such is what this guy does. You won't get creative commons out of him.

    The problem is not even this guy, the problem is his opposition. There isn't one. As always, "Yes Prime Minister" has the example. Story: Hacker is given the task of coming up with a new transport policy involving road, rail and air. He soon learns that each sector is represented by a civil servant fighting not for the common good but for HIS sector.

    This story alone does not cover it. In another story his chauffeur comments on a radio story and points out that all the decisions for public transport, public schools and public healthcare are made by people that go to private hospitals, send their kids to private schools and have chauffeur driven cars. Which Hacker sayed they need because else they would have to make public transport a lot more reliable...

    The problem ain't sector reps fighting for their sector, the problem is the common man, the non-commercial, the non-status quo, has no such rep fighting for their cause.

    People who are in ivory towers have plenty of sky bridges connecting them to other ivory towers. But never ever a connection to ground level. I have seen it myself, even if some newbie tries, the disconnect is already so great once they have enough power that any contact attempt is extremely uncomfortable so they soon learn not to do it again.

    This is just how the system works, calling this guy an idiot only helps keep the system in place. Sadly getting a useful opposition in place is nearly impossible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alex Belits ( 437 ) *

      A surgeon who will recommend to operate when it's not necessary, will lose his license, can be sued for malpractice and may even face criminal charges if he knew that he endangers a patient without a good reason for it.

      This asshat, on the other hand, has no oversight over his whoring to corporations, and should never be placed into any such position.

    • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:25AM (#37653156)

      I also experienced very nice example of this during the fight against the software patents directive in Europe. I had a discussion with a guy from WIPO and at one point said that software patents were generally bad for small companies. Rather than denying this like EICTA (the organisation representing mostly large ICT companies), he fully agreed with that.

      But then he went off the cliff: he argued that this is actually how the system is supposed to work. By making sure that most small companies will be driven out of business or swallowed by larger ones, you get a consolidation in the market. And consolidation is good for efficiency, cost cutting etc. Basically, he considered software patents as a market optimisation tool to get rid of all the fragmentation, to speed up the "natural" evolution that any economic sector is supposed to go through (starting out with many small time independent businesses, followed by a consolidation phase that leaves a few giants to rule it all).

      That said, WIPO isn't the worst. Countries such as India and Brazil also have a say in there, and they're far less extremist than the Western world (at least for now). WIPO is in fact so annoying to the current extremists that the US, EU and friends completely bypassed it with ACTA. So anyone arguing against UN bodies with the argument that those people are not accountable should be careful, because there at least you have countries from all over the world that have a say rather than only the interests of your own administration (or rather your own "IP"-lobbyists) and some self-selected partners.

    • by S3D ( 745318 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @08:00AM (#37653258)

      A surgeon will recommend to operate. A lawyer to do legal work. A soldier to kill ...this guy

      I strongly object extrajudicial killings. Brain surgery looks like a human and compassionate way to deal with this guy.

    • A surgeon will recommend to operate. A lawyer to do legal work. A soldier to kill someone.

      - a good professional surgeon will recommend to weigh in options and only operate if it is truly necessary. A lawyer will recommend to seek legal advice, and he probably would be correct. A soldier would not recommend to kill someone, that's the job of Ministry of Offense. Donald Rumsfeld would recommend to kill a bunch of people and he would insist to do it with very few soldiers to ensure that the civilian population wouldn't object much against a bigger invasion.

      A soldier would recommend to NOT go to

    • Maslow was wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rjh ( 40933 ) <> on Sunday October 09, 2011 @09:59AM (#37653628)

      Years ago I had some serious back trouble that could have been addressed quickly with some painful surgery, or slowly with painful therapy. My surgeon (Dr. Charles Grado, and if you're reading this, thank you) was adamant that he wouldn't touch a scalpel until we'd exhausted all other possibilities. I thought that was weird and told him so. He told me that he took an oath to first do no harm, and that surgery stood in opposition to this. You can't claim you're "doing no harm" while you're cutting into flesh: you're clearly, obviously, doing harm. The only question is whether your actions are the least harmful way of restoring health. Doc Grado is one of the best doctors I've ever known.

      My father and cousin are both judges. Despite their polar-opposite political views, they're agreed that any lawyer who starts off by saying, "well, let's file some legal papers" is an incompetent. A lawyer's job is to solve your problems, and jumping straight to court is a great way to multiply them instead.

      My gunsmith is a career soldier who characterizes his experience in Vietnam as "99% boredom I don't mind remembering and 1% terror I'm trying to forget." Per him, only fools try to solve problems with firearms. You see, if you do that, they might try to solve you right on back with one, and you won't like that at all.

      Finally, I'm an ivory-tower academic who left a Ph.D. program because I was convinced I could do better work, more meaningful work, in the private sector. My job nowadays involves taking cutting-edge research and integrating it into real-world production systems. So, "never" a connection to ground level? My own career says otherwise.

      tl;dr version: Maslow said when all you have's a hammer the whole world looks like a nail. This is true only until you find nails that explode into shrapnel and maim you horribly when you hit them. Once you hit one of those nails, you get real careful before you swing that hammer again.

  • Their Goals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @05:46AM (#37652856) Homepage
    The copy of copyright and patent supporters is to prevent systems like the internet from being founded. This is a great example: were the important protocols and general structure patented, what you know of as the internet would not have been delayed or more expensive, it would have never existed. It is quite obvious that the greater good is of no concern to IP supporters, only their own profits.

    Yet these people are still given free rein of our legal system and allowed by the weak minded to claim that copyright and patent infringement is "theft," while the real theft is that of the copyright and patent holders from society as a whole. It's time that stop, before the next big innovation is prevented. End these archaic systems this decade, support the abolition of imaginary property.
    • by sgt101 ( 120604 )

      How would writers (novelists for example) make a living without copyright? Isn't society enriched by their work? My mind is enriched by their work - isn't it fair that they are compensated for the work and value that they create?

      • by sgt101 ( 120604 )

        And as for patents, they have a purpose of guaranteeing publication of . If you abolish them altogether get ready for more black boxes and permanent monopolies on ideas via trade secrets.

    • Not to defend the asshole in this example, but the opposite extreme (espoused by you) won't be any better. Here's a question for you: under your model, who pays for pharmaceutical research and expensive FDA trials if the resulting drug can be manufactured by anyone for pennies on the dollar compared to the upfront investment?
  • Its not the World Intellectual Freedom Organisation.

  • by tramp ( 68773 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:05AM (#37652912)
    Luckily Tim Berners-Lee did have a vision about his idea and probably even knew about the lack of vision of those greedy bastards.
    • Tim Berners-Lee did have a vision

      Well he was working at CERN. I wonder if Tim wants to tell us more about those FTL neutrinos?

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:06AM (#37652916) to keep people from resolving their differences at the point of a gun.

    If you turn laws into something that people can no longer turn to for fairness, then what?


  • "In related news, Mr. Doctorow also emphasized his continued belief that the revolution should have been televised, and the buggy whip industry subsidized".
    • by Phrogman ( 80473 )

      Your new to this internet thing aren't you? Cory Doctorow - a big proponent of Open Source, Creative Commons and one of the founders of the blog Boingboing is the guy who REPORTED the UN Guy's comments, not the guy who made them. I mean I know its common practice on /. not to RTFA, but you got it thoroughly ass backwards here dude.

      With regards to the revolution, what exactly has been our source of information on the Arab Spring revolutions? The internet and TV mostly in my case :)

  • No he didn't (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:29AM (#37652984)

    The relevant quote:

    Intellectual property is a very flexible instrument. So, for example, had the world wide web been able to be patented, and I think that is a question in itself, perhaps the amount of investment that has gone into or would be able to go into basic science would be different. If you had found a very flexible licensing model, in which the burden for the innovation of the world wide web had been shared across the whole user community in a very fair and reasonable manner, with a modest contribution for everyone for this wonderful innovation, it would have enabled enormous investment in turn in further basic research. And that is the sort of flexibility that is built into the intellectual property system. It is not a rigid system...

    What he says is that *if* the web had been able to be patented, (which is not clear), and *if* you could find a flexible licensing model which is fair (which is certainly not clear to me, though he doesn't seem to make an opinion), then you could spend any money received from licensing on basic research.

    He does not state that the web should have been patented. He even goes so far as to say that he's not sure it could have been patented. He's simply discussing how money received from licensing could be used. I don't really want to download a 240 meg video just to clear up this issue, but just looking at the wording it's clear that he's responding to something about licensing fees. My guess is that somebody commented that the purpose of patenting the web would be to get rich. I'd appreciate it if someone who's seen the video could comment.

    Anyway, I'm rather rabidly anti-software patent. But this kind of bullshit "reporting" doesn't do us any good. Whipping up a frenzy over a non-issue just makes us look stupid.

    • No, you have to read between the lines. It's clear that he is trying to pander to his audience with the promise (or admonishen) that, had they patented it, they would all be taking treasure baths right now. And he justifies it by saying that proper management would have fleeced every single user on an ongoing basis in an amount that was small enough that everyone would be willing and able to pay it.

      It's classic evil genius. Just remember - the easiest way to tell if a lawyer is lying is if his lips are movi

    • Re:No he didn't (Score:4, Informative)

      by AmElder ( 1385909 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @11:28AM (#37654186) Homepage

      No, Cory Doctorow gets it right. I've watched the video and, to promote my own posts for moment, I summarise above [], but he's responding to comments by both Rolf-Dieter Heuer [] and Lynn Saint-Amour []. You can see when he starts to compose his response, it's at 44:10 on the video just after Lynn Saint-Amour says "if it [the web] was patented, the internet community would have found a way to route around it." His remarks also reply to Rolf-Dieter Heuer, who asserted that patents, as a commercial tool, do not serve as a way to measure the basic research which produces "substantial change" instead "incremental change" (13:40) Therefore primary research serves, Heuer believes, as the most important driver of innovation.

      In this context, Gurry is speaking up for the idea that traditional IP instruments should be used as the primary tools to drive innovation and to measure it. Don't be fooled by the mild tone of these kinds of meetings, it really is a tunnel-vision view. He's disagreeing with everyone who spoke before him.

  • ... the UN, through the ITU-T, already has its own set of protocols (X.400 et al) it can play around with, instead of giving bad advice to people inventing internet protocols and specifications. The internet does not need you, you are damage.

  • For some reason, we always succeed to plant clueless people in positions like this. If it wasn't so very dangerous it would be funny...

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:29AM (#37653170) Homepage

    For your basic corporate conservative, the only things that have value are those things that are owned by somebody. And that's a private owner, not a government.

    So, for instance, breathable air is worthless under this philosophy. Worthless, that is, unless you can charge people to breathe it, maybe put it in cans []. I wish this were a joke, but the corporations, with the World Bank practically forcing the government's hand, already tried to do the same thing to rainwater [].

  • France had MiniTel (expensive, slow, clunky and hard to use). I think they turned it off a few years ago.

    Europe had the ISO networking standards. These were intellectual train-wrecks written in ivory towers by architecture astronauts; too complex to implement or use, and by the time people starting implementing then, the "RFC" world had solidly taken over. (We're left with the awfulness of X.500, X.509 and so forth).

    This guy isn't necessarily an idiot. But it's who we need to fight.

  • Apply for the job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frisket ( 149522 ) <peter@[ ] ['sil' in gap]> on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:40AM (#37653210) Homepage
    The guy is delusional and an asshole, but then he was employed to be delusional and an asshole, for an organisation full of delusionals and assholes, pursuing objectives set by assholes, for assholes; and he satisfies the requirements perfectly.

    The job of Director of WIPO is still open for applications (closes 18 Oct): []

    And never forget that your government that you elect[ed] is in favour of all this crap. If you don't like it, the proper remedy is to take the matter up with your friendly local pubic representative.

  • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @07:55AM (#37653246) Homepage
    More than once - they called it CompuServe [], GEnie [], and AOL []. Remember them?
  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Sunday October 09, 2011 @08:14AM (#37653280) Homepage

    An invention that has never been protected by patent, copyright or trademark has changed the present and future of humanity in a vast and previously unimaginable way forever. It has reformed societies and toppled tyrants, revolutionized old cultures and inspired new ones. This was twenty years ago: If it were protected by patent, it would only just now have entered the public domain - at the earliest.

    Meanwhile, the small minds that preach the value of imaginary property invent nothing but combinations of buzzwords that bamboozle the patent office, and cannot conceive of the value of an idea that is not locked away, or of the profit humanity gains from it.

  • by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) < minus punct> on Sunday October 09, 2011 @04:32PM (#37656122)

    This guy needs FLAMEBAIT tattoo'd on his forehead. Surrounded with blink tags.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan