I knew it! The current laws for patents and copyrights are a result of greed and lack of "The common good."
The current laws for patents and copyrights are abused.
Almost every law is abused in some way or another. Food stamps, for example. Food stamps aren't bad, and help a great deal. And are also abused a great deal.
A law being abused doesn't mean the law is bad (and a law not being abused doesn't mean it's good). Just because it's being abused doesn't mean it should be completely removed - you have to understand why it was written in the first place, and understand the ramifications of if it were removed.
The current laws for patents and copyrights do benefit "the common good", despite the abuse.
They allow artists to actually make money. Artists making money means that more art gets created. Not just more art, but better art, since they can work full-time on it as their job, instead of as a hobby. What's better? Assassin's Creed 3 or Random Flash Game #27? That's not to say that all AAA games are better than all hobbyist games... but the vast majority of AAA games (or commercial indie games) are more polished than the vast majority of hobbyist made-over-the-weekend games.
We're not talking innovation here, but polish and refinement. Finished products (whether by indies or AAA developers), not half-finished paintings.
The current laws for patents and copyrights are man-made non-natural creations.
They were created and grown only over the past 500 years. Cash - a standardized form of currency that represents value but has no value in itself - is also a man-made creation, created within the past 2500 years.
This is why it doesn't make sense to get into a moral outrage at China or Switzerland pirating everything, and to realize our trying to enforce copyrights in that nation is us trying to force a set of artificial and unnatural rules the West made up to solve a problem that was occurring 500 years ago (and that it just so happened to have worked well enough in our cultures that we decided keep it around since the time that we've created it).
The current laws for patents and copyrights were created to benefit the public.
Copyrights were created to allow artists to profit without publishers stealing their work and keeping the money for themselves, and copyrights were also created to keep corporations (and governments, originally) from holding monopolies on certain works that should (eventually) become the property of the public.
Because the duration of copyrights have been extended and extended and extended, the monopolies do exist, just de-facto instead of de-jure.
Patents were created to share innovation by publishing inventions and discoveries, instead of keeping them hidden as "trade secrets".
Patents provide a safe and legally-enforceable way to share your inventions with the world, while still letting you profit off your inventions for a fixed number of years.
The current problem with patents is that the United States Patent and Trademark Office doesn't (and isn't capable of) reviewing each patent anywhere near as thoroughly as they should, so they grant patents for things that have already been patented, and grant patents for obvious things, and grant patents for things everyone already knew about, and grant patents for things that should never be allowed to be patented (like design, look and feel, and things like that).
The current main problem with patents is that the government bodies awarding them just do a very exceptionally poor job.
Trademarks are also created to benefit the public. However, you don't have any complains were trademarks so I don't need to go into it.
Trademarks are the one of the three (Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks) that actually has been abused the least. It is directly intended for the consumer's benefit, but because it actually also benefits corporations, they're cool with it the way it is as well.
The current laws for patents and copyrights need to be revamped and re-balanced, but shouldn't be removed.
Artists need to get paid for their work. No, people online don't "deserve" to have something "for free" just because they feel like it.
No, I don't want to beg for donations. No, I don't want to have to be patronized. Yes, I want to eat. Yes, I want to make artistic creations for a living.
(Just slapped this together - pardon the sloppiness of it. I just thought it was easier to illustrate as a triangle)
By the by, you should read Free Culture - it's a long read (and freely downloaded), but it's fairly well written. Warning: It's also biased, being written by one of the strongest "Hippie" advocates - the person who founded the Creative Commons. I don't want to feed you more propaganda on a side you're already leaning towards, but there is enough factual information in the book to make the risk worth-while. Just be balanced in your reasoning, and hear all sides before you take up arms.
There's alot of other people in various positions on that triangle ("gotta catch 'em all" torrent collectors, for example; open source developers who don't feel the need to ram virality down people's throat for another example, and companies and artists that are out to make a living but not to burn down villages on their way to riches), but almost everyone is slanted to one of the three extreme points - and the foundational slanting of each of those three points is based on selfishness - just not always for money.
Edited by Servant of the Lord, 09 January 2014 - 11:50 PM.