A well-known example is Alexander Clavel who, in 1859, founded Ciba AG, a silk-dyeing business using a French patent with no license. Ciba later became Ciba-Geigy, which later became Novartis. One of the biggest pharma corp in the world today.
Source: Swiss National Museum, Zurich.
 : Patents were only introduced in the Swiss law in 1907.
It has been noted for some time that one of the barriers to entry for a new company in the US is their lack of defensive patents.
> In the UK, he was called "Slater the Traitor" because he brought British textile technology to America, modifying it for United States use. He memorized the designs of textile factory machinery as an apprentice to a pioneer in the British industry before migrating to the United States at the age of 21.
There has to be some reasonable line between incentivizing investment and "everyone had a right to everyone else's ideas".
If it is also the case that patent holders purposely withold the very trade secrets that is the bargaining chips that gets you a patent according to the spirit of the law, then if it isn't a racket, it's still immoral and needs to stop being allowed.
So many patents these days are completely devoid of the secrets they are supposed to both protect, and publish. Little is thus gained for the public good, and much is lost.
It strikes me as odd that patents has such a strong support in the US, as generally there seems to be the case that the government isn't wanted where it's not absolutely needed, and I find it hard to see how one could argue that patents are so integral to society that they should fall in that category according to the metrics that seems to be used for other commonly government controlled areas.
At least it seems plausible that the current way of "incentivizing investment" is not working, and we might even be better off completely without it.
It is, when most "R&D" is trivial compared to the revenues you command, and is stealing off earlier ideas, government subsidies, and so on, anyway...
Besides, you said it yourself: "protecting". It obviously is a protection racket, and is an artificial limitation imposed on the market by legal dictum.
Artificial because, unlike e.g. police protection against mere theft or contract law, this one, as history shows, is not necessary for the market to operate and grow.
But any mechanical contraption is ultimately just physics at work, and physics is just math as well. So, what's the difference?
This is also why patent trolls are such a nuisance, since defensive patents don't work on entities that don't produce anything.
Isn't this just argument to moderation?
Moreover, patent portfolios that inhibit competition through the threat of a lawsuit are disincentivizing investment and competition.
You're meant to pick two extreme positions and imply the reasonable compromise is midway between them.
Instead you chose one extreme and one reasonable sounding position.
Not all, certainly, and I cannot quantify how much as a fraction. However, I can give the anecdote of a former friend who worked in audio needing to get a patent on something (encryption I think) to get industry certification for their products. Their patent was modified by the lawyers from something novel to something which already existed, but the patent was granted anyway and nobody really cared because the patent was only applied for to get the certification.
It isn't a startup because it needs a lot of resources and the patent portfolio isn't very useful against patent trolls because they intentionally have no production that could be infringing on anything. But I think they also act as insurance for defense costs.
Luckily for us all otherwise we might never had a certain patent clerk figuring out relativity.
Edit: Also the Swiss Patent Office was founded in 1888 which is more inline with what I remember as Einstein worked there since 1902.
Do you know under which mandate did it operate then?
Germany and the United States put (tarriffs) pressure on Switzerland and the turn of the century, forcing them to protect their patents in Switzerland. They unhappily obliged after years of talks and trade issues - in 1907.
PS: specifically chemical patents
Maybe what changed in 1907 was that French patents were protected as well?
Also glad he didn't patent it.
What's interesting is that the same basic dynamic likely applies to even highly developed economics. The tariffs are likely just the beginning. We will see even Western countries abandon "free trade" and strong, active states taking firm control of the economy in order to drive growth. The key words that will define the economic future will be "political economy."
The assumption that South America and Africa are pro free trade is not true. Indeed, most of the countries with the highest tariffs are in Africa.
I also think of government support for industry as orthogonal to free trade. Yes, countries have certainly sped up their development through the use of tariffs. By transferring money from consumers to people accumulating capital they increased the effective savings rate of the country and increase growth. But you can also literally just tax consumers and pass the money on to industrialists in the form of cheap loans like the Japanese did in their development. They didn't go off the gold standard until the Great Depression but I'm sure you could industrialize through fiat currency too though no cases come immediately to mind.
I'm not entirely happy telling current poor countries "Suffer now so your grandchildren can be rich" even it that's what my ancestors did for me. And I'm certainly not going to advocate the sort of violent labor movement suppression that seems to have always gone hand in hand with rapid industrialization. I suspect that a lot of truths about the world are going to change as AI develops over the next half century so I feel like I shouldn't be advocating sacrifices I'm not sure will pay off.
>What's interesting is that the same basic dynamic likely applies to even highly developed economics.
Marx used this a lot 200 years ago.
The author of that article is this fella . While I do not doubt his writing abilities, I do doubt his expertise in economics and his political motivations.
Simply put, I do not show up at X field and pretend to know things just because I think I’m smart, even if I don’t have anything to do with said field. It’s interesting how with economics everyone thinks they can do just as much.
If you would like a basic intro to free markets checkout Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose series on YouTube. It’s from the 80s but well worth the time investment. It’s an easy to understand documentary series and at the end he talks to a group of people about the subject shown.
You're unlikely to find a datasheet for the latest MediaTek chipset through Google or Baidu, but you won't get sued for sharing a copy with a friend. You can't buy sample quantities through a distributor and MediaTek won't talk to you unless you're a serious player, but it's not hard to buy a couple of chips or a few reels if you know the right person.
Information isn't free, but it doesn't have a price tag either - it's exchanged as part of a reciprocal guanxi network. Much like the BBS warez scene, information gradually percolates from a core of well-connected peers to a wider network, creating a hierarchy of esteem and a duty of reciprocity that incentivises the continued flow of information. I share with you today, in the expectation that you will share with me tomorrow.
At least this Chinese version in the electronics is more democratic and let's the little Chinese startup try out things quickly and get into a full commercial relationship if things succeed. I understand American companies used to do this early on but eventually rent extraction mindset took over.
But this behavior extending up into actual corruption is very much a current problem for that country
Addressing guanxi seriously: My understanding is that guanxi works against opportunity and the free market; not anyone can get a loan at the bank, for example; instead it requires personal relationships. Economists I've read said the lack of arms-length commercial relationships hold back economic development and opportunity in China, but that was written maybe 20 years ago and possibly things have changed. I do know that Communist Party connections, and particularly connections to the 'royalty', the families of leaders, are highly valuable and are at least sometimes seen as necessary for success in business.
Context matters, I think is what we can all agree on. Unfortunately, in order to agree on the appropriate context, we have to see each other as peers and working for the same goal. (I think this is what's fucked with the current American political system -- it's less "you have your facts, I have mine" and more "you think this context/lens is what matters, I disagree and choose these base assumptions."
Naive realism wrote bigly.
I think its perceived more negatively nowadays by the Chinese with 'newish' (more 1990-2000s) terminologies such as the "关系户" (guanxi-hu) which is roughly translated into English as person with a lot of connections and/or is politically savvy and can gain a large advantage in society or conducting business through their network. Note that Chinese govt. (especially the lower rungs) tend to be corrupt/non-transparent and society is more about giving gifts (originally between friends and families, basically bribery if asking for a favour) so this tends to give a much more unfair advantage than Western society (the politically transparent ones).
Chinese people (usually media) either think negatively of these kind of people as they see them having an unfair advantage while some respect and aspire to be guanxi-hu because of how well-connected they are.
This describes most markets that are not in fungible commodities.
and, tbh, transparency doesn't matter at low volumes. If someone can afford to carry a prototype to production, the difference between the average and lowest potential guanxi price for a single chip is negligible.
I think one key is that Shenzhen's manufacturing culture was not too centralised or formalised. This let a culture to emerge. I think your emphasis on is right. Culture, not ruleset or ideology. Emergent, not designed by some philosopher.
Most people want an absolute answer, an absolute truth about intellectual property. A clear right and wrong that tells us what IP laws should be. The answer needs be true for chemistry in the 18th century, aeronautical engineering in the 19th, medicines in the 20th and software in the 21st. I don't think this truth exists.
Ideology is not the way out of this. Ideological thinking (eg Stallman, Rand, Marx, Plato) is important as an exercise, but when people actually buy into ideology we're doomed to fail. The way an ideological thought process goes is usually:
(1) Start from fundamental truths, usually moral truths. Property is exploitation. Unfree software is immoral. Selfishness is the only true love. Platonic forms are the truest truths. etc. Prove your truths metaphysically. Hold them self evident. Make them immutable.
(2) Find some complicated but (seemingly) airtight way that everything good about life, the universe and everything will inevitably follow when people accept the Fundamental Truth. Software will be better. The economy will be better. We will achieve a classless harmonious society. Technology will advance. etc.
To do this properly, you'll probably need to produce a very long, very boring book that works out all the details. This is how roads and police will work without government. This is how the economy will work without money. This is how software will be an industry when everything is strictly GNU. This is how hover boards will be invented.
This step is inside baseball. Anyone who can slog through "Objectivist Epistemology" or "Das Capital" is... you need to be a hardcore believer.
(3) Keep adding to no. 2. The more pages, the better. No. 1 can never change. No. 2 now needs to explain the entire world. Don't give up. Keep going. There is no such thing as a corner you can't argue your way out of with enough new terms. Degenerate Socialist State. Core-periphery modes of production.
Keep going. Stay motivated. There is no such thing as a corner you can't argue out of with enough focus on a relevant totality, the transitory nature of social forms and a dialectical sense of motion through conflict and contradiction.
...This road goes nowhere. There is no absolute truth of life the universe and everything. You asked the wrong question.
I totally agree that the IP/copyright systems that exist today and are being promoted as the no. 1 priority in international law... they are not good systems. At least, it would be very helpful to have other systems as well. The best systems will probably emerge, not be designed by lawyers.
Thriving, may be, but not exactly dominating the consumer market. The vast majority of software companies still keep their code well under wraps.
Open source is a bit like that. Much like a book has to be read rather than merely used/worn, Open Source Software has to be cloned/forked/apt-get-ed/'make'd and so forth.
Now if you were to buy a pair of leather shoes then the particulars of what chemicals and processes were required to tan the leather may well be learned from the 'Principles of Leather Tanning' but tweaked a bit to a proprietary recipe that could be kept 'under wraps'.
Regarding the Open Source desktop applications, Libre Office is not a clone of Word/Excel/Access/Powerpoint. Same with Gimp, it is not a feeble clone of Photoshop. These tools may be able to use the same file formats but there is a different ethos to them. For some people the UX of Libre Office is far superior to MS Office - no ribbon and therefore no need to Google search the simplest of tasks. If you are dealing with data - as in CSV files - then OpenOffice is your friend, MS Office just ruins it. This does not affect people doing glorified to-do lists and glorified receipts in Excel but if you are reading in data from some code you have written then OpenOffice is the more productive tool.
Never mind that MS have a long long history of playing dirty.
I distinctly recall that back when the netbook first appeared, MS did a 180 on their efforts to kill Windows XP because Vista could not run on such low spec hardware.
Never mind that later on you could find Dell selling Windows equipped netbooks with a rebate campaign that made the higher spec Windows variant actually cheaper than the lower spec Linux (Ubuntu) variant (what is the chance that MS was funding that campaign?).
Damn it, these days Microsoft waves the OEM license fee for tablets with a screen below 9 inches.
For mobiles it is a little different, because iOS locks people to their browser, but at least on Android users would be using Chrome.
Heck I am typing this on a chromebook, simply because I realized 80% of what I do is webbrowsing anyway.
Look, guys, I'm not saying open-source isn't important! And I'm definitely not saying there aren't any great open-source programs out there! All I'm saying is: on the current market, most companies that produce software choose to distribute this software under a closed-source license. What's so hard to accept about this simple observation?!
Most companies' has a very limited audience and a very narrow purpose; it can't benefit from the network effect.
Google search. Windows. Office. Facebook. Cisco. Intel. Amazon AWS. Amazon retail. Most Adobe products. Most Oracle products. iOS and most of what Apple does. Salesforce. Workday. Most of what nVidia does. Most of what Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and pretty much every other chip maker does. Most of what Samsung does. The core software of: PayPal, Square, Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, et al. The list keeps going.
Most of what every major tech company does is closed off.
The tools are largely open source. The actual pieces of the companies that generate revenue are not. They love open source, when it isn't about their revenue generation.
Ask Facebook to show us all of their source code.
Nearly the entire tech industry is built on massive, closed products.
Google search by itself generates more operating income every year than every public open source company combined, by a factor of ten. Ask Google to show you all the source code to search.
The commodification of services that used to be cutting edge happens all the time, and if not for artificial patents would happen even faster.
You then need someone to pay what is essentially an administrator to keep track of the changes.
The reason why a company would do that is because of the name recognition advantage they get from this. "Oh you need someone to tune your Linux performance for your super computer cluster, we have the guy who it's named after on staff."
My point is that if you're not paying with your time, and most people are not, then someone else is paying for it. The rent doesn't go away, it's just getting covered by someone else.
But it's not a wash. The difference is that with Linux all those contributors not only get a usage license for an OS but they also get all the control over it.
You're a startup with some new kind of device or service? Good luck getting $PROPRIETARY_SOFTWARE ported to it if you're not HP/Dell/etc. and can guarantee sales in the millions. Heck, even HP didn't manage to convince Oracle and Microsoft to continue their IA64 support, despite major dollars being involved.
Where I work, one of two reasons for saying "we can't do that" is when hitting the limitations of nature (obviously). The only other one is when proprietary software is involved, commonly encountered with e.g. networking gear or server/BMC firmware.
While we don't get to not obey the laws of nature, the other one just sucks. It should be us doing the tradeoff between the benefits of doing something and the amount of work required to make it happen. It shouldn't be up to some 3rd-party vendor which is unlikely to consider us important enough to quickly implement a feature we want or heck, even fix a bug without having to wait $LONGTIME. With free software, that's exactly how it is.
If you want control over your own fortune, you don't get that with proprietary software.
2) There's nothing about commercial software that says that you can't give out/sell the source code to all or some customers.
Obviously desktops aren’t at 99% unless you’re running Linux.
No, compilers should also count, and i'm not just talking about drivers. Everything from data storage (file system) to data transfer between the different racks of a supercomputer is usually proprietary. Seriously, look it up.
> Obviously desktops aren’t at 99% unless you’re running Linux.
No, even your Linux desktop is far from being 100% open source. How about the BIOS? The Intel microcode? Even open source GPU drivers interface with proprietary interfaces on the actual hardware. And let's not forget that many Linux distros don't make it very clear if what you are installing is actually free software or a proprietary blob. The reality is that it's very hard to have something fully running on free/open source software from A to Z.
I feel like you’re listing small pieces of the system and for some reason acting as if those are the majority of the code.
I strongly disagree. Here are four notable counter-examples:
1. Desktop Linux. I'm a religious Linux desktop user, but MacOS is definitely a better operating system.
2. Office suites. Libreoffice/OpenOffice/whatever-we're-supposed-to-call-it-these-days is stuck in the 1990s.
4. Large web services (Google Search, GMail, Facebook).
Notice that four these examples, where closed-source software outshines OSS in quality, cover 90+% of most people's computer time...
Open source software seems to do especially well mostly when the end-user of the software product is a programmer/software engineer/IT type.
Being unable to use MS Office was one of my big regrets of working on Linux for a long time. When I finally learnt LaTeX, that at least removed the need for Word ;-) (Although I still miss PowerPoint, LO Impress really doesn't impress me very much at all.)
The last time I used powerpoint (several years ago) I found the learning curve much higher and even after I started getting the hang of things had to keep fighting it for stuff like code snippets.
Throw in a makefile with an inotifywait watcher and you've got a WYSIWYG interface.
Libreoffice is a breath of fresh air for me to use.
The only thing they have improved in the newer office is the intruduction of 64 bit excel so I can do large (100x100+) matrix operations without external plugins.
The only good thing I can say about Impress is that every time it crashed, it successfully restored my editing state when I started it up again.
I don't think anyone cares about that beast enough to maintain it properly. It should just be scrapped and its resources directed towards Calc and Writer
That's precisely his point: Experienced users deal well with open-source software, because much of that was designed with them in mind. But in all too many cases, it doesn't play well with pretty much everybody else.
I'd call myself experienced but I could never use Open/LibreOffice. It wasn't just the UI; they just couldn't even open MS Office documents without destroying half of their layouts.
My other observation was that a lot of the "formatting" that I see in office documents is unnecessary and only there because the software makes it easy.
The problem with that statement is: if a colleague sends me his Word document, I don't care how unnecessary his formatting may or may not be, I want to see the stupid thing on my laptop, preferably in the same state he saved it in! And right now, LibreOffice rarely delivers on that.
I tried it 5 minutes ago.
Here's an example: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1YHaKdXh2olSeVdX8ybhF1SG6fyDm...
Most likely you're blocking cookies or some Google domains or something. Try on a clean browser. Or try
wget --content-disposition "$link"
Sorry but that comes across as a bit ignorant in my opinion. It seems to me you have never studied how non-programmer powerusers use excel/word/powerpoint. People are running their entire businesses on excel macros/ms access/and other cobbled-together systems. Heck, I don't think you could even do pivot tables till office 2007. That rules out a large chunk of the financial industry.
Were Excel data tables the same before 2007 (or was it 2010)? Right now they're very easy to use but not sure about earlier.
Just because I would rather solve the task with R instead of Excel doesn't make me a more experienced user, it simply makes me an experienced open-source user rather than an experienced Microsoft user.
No one is arguing that unfunded projects will kick the ass of funded ones. However, innovation that can be shared will produce more innovation.
In the case of Mac OS, probably. UNIX licenses are available and it's not like Apple has exactly turned Darwin into a vibrant open source community.
As far as large web and cloud services more broadly? It would certainly be a much different world.
The origin of modern MacOS/iOS is definitely open source.
I believe you mean OS X, not MacOS.
Apple could switch OS X to entirely proprietary underpinnings and few customers would even notice. In fact, OpenStep ran just fine on top of NT. [And also on top of then-non-open Solaris].
Apple confusingly renamed OS X to MacOS a few years ago.
Office suites just don't build for Linux. Mainly because the people buying are not there, I would wager. For personal, I still loathe most.
Games, it's true. But the same situation. Luckily, I don't do 3d shooters anymore. Steam mostly works. Otherwise, most of my game time is on the PS4.
Yes. The article and the parent regard industrial benefits.
Most of the propriety alternatives that you mention derive a great deal of their value from networked capabilities, made possible due to the proliferation of GNU+Linux on servers.
In this way, the availability of GNU+Linux without traditional copyright restrictions has been a huge boon to the commercial software industry, just as the availablity of printed knowledge without traditional copyright restrictions was a huge boon to various German industries.
It's kind of an interesting situation since it looks like source code even though it really isn't.
Much of it is technically amazing, and absolutely fantastic for technical users, but not really suited for the general consumer market. (With some notable exceptions, of course - see Firefox.)
"I should be able to prevent anyone from producing anything too similar throughout my entire life, and my heirs should be able to stop them for another lifetime after I'm gone."
"Because the money they make is money I could've made."
"So, make another work that you can monetize?"
"But why would I work if I have to work?"
I can understand copyright to a degree, but the lengths we've agreed to in the West is absolutely ridiculous and ripe for abuse by companies that are built on aggregating IP.
Human progress, our progress, comes from the work being done, not the money that can be made from it.
While money also end up funding other work, it's blindingly clear through the distribution of money and the proliferation of various speculation markets, that actually doing work to earn money is almost seen as 'earning' it in a roundabout way.
All you really need to do if you have real money, is to do nothing at all. Because while you can earn even more by doing something, even absolutely safe positions will get you a higher lifetime income increase than the average worker can expect over their lifetime.
It's simple math that shows how extremely we've devalued work, and I believe it has a negative effect on lots of things, some that might even too obvious to be visible at all.
Guess who pushed the copyright laws to where they are now ...
How are they going to monetize it if the printing presses will just print the work for free?
The vast majority of books made most of their sales shortly after publication. By the time the copier could get a copy of the published book, typeset their edition, and go into production almost everyone who wanted the book had bought a copy from the original publisher.
Stephen Breyer, back when he was a law professor at Harvard rather than a Supreme Court Justice, wrote an article in the Harvard Law Review called "The Uneasy Case for Copyright" exploring the idea that because of the limitations of copying technology much of earlier copyright law really didn't do much.
It's an interesting argument, but technological advances in copying have made it largely inapplicable for the present day.
But there are of course two sides to this story. Pirated editions back then as today increase the popularity of the artists, often more than their agency could do.
Unsurprisingly, even in the 19th century they came to a similar solution like our current music industry (minus the unsuccessful DRM part). You can't pirate live performances: "When he returned in 1867, he had mastered a way to generate alternative income streams based on his celebrity status. He performed readings of his work to packed houses and collected the receipts from the door."
Could work the other way too, though. Alexander von Humboldt had troubles with one of his books because a pirated translation into English was completed before the authorised version. Unfortunately, the pirated translation was so shoddy the book got really bad reviews in England...
Plus: lot's of iron and coal easily accessible and many big commercially usable rivers for transportation.
If you burn money for years designing a molecule, you could say you "own" the molecule, so you patent it.
The problem with the patent system is that it's necessary in a world where you need money to do any simple thing, because states cannot fund every research project, since it's impossible to know the outcome of every research.
But obviously you cannot patent everything, and that's where the patent system is failing. There is no good legal definition of a worthwhile invention.
Software is not patent-able because it never really is an invention that requires to burn a lot of money, unlike other domains of research. Anybody can write any kind of software.
But patents are still relevant where research requires expensive resources.
"Copyright law's grip on film, music and software barely touches the fashion industry ... and fashion benefits in both innovation and sales, says Johanna Blakley. In her talk, she talks about what all creative industries can learn from fashion's free culture.."
In practice, authors sign away the ownership to a publisher in a profit sharing deal and it ends up protecting the publishers profit.
Makes me wonder of there is a business model for protecting user data, by managing any user-business data relation/permission and hunting down any company who is inappropriately using data from any member and collecting the fines. That would be the first protection racket that I'd like...
In the absence of copyrights, and with plagiarism being rampant (as the article claims) how could authors command favorable royalty agreements? Could a rival publisher not just print the same book, sans royalty agreement, and undercut the original publisher?
AS for the article: The richest countries have strong IP protections, generally, that might indicate something.
Certainly creative trademarks, brands etc. - I don't like Disney but I think they have the right to protect Mickey Mouse so long as they are a viable entity/business.
Drugs ... this is one place where innovation might come to a halt of things could not be protected. I'm aware Unis do a lot of key research, but bringing something to market is hugely expensive.
Also remember a lot of patents are defensive in nature - their only purposes is to prevent trolls. So that's a sad artifact of it all.
No doubt the system needs an overhaul.
The assumption here seems to be that their riches come from IP protections. It could be argued that the IP protections are a result of lobbying from rich companies.
I am not arguing that the causation is wrong, but the implied claim does not follow from the observation.
I strongly disagree with that. Just like with patents, the regulative protection must end at some point so the cultural and technological heritage is shared among all descendants, and not just a few lucky. The protection duration is already too long, not too short.
you have something in the line that correlation is not causation?
So most industrial growth happened after patents were part of commercial practice.
I suggest patents are less important now than they were then at least for what they are supposed to be used for ... patents may be increasing in terms of corporate importance, but more as a general legal asset than anything. Trademarks and copyrights is a whole other thing.
Patents were necessary only when public disclosure had value. In the world where the same things get developed almost simultaneously by different people at different places and anything can be quickly reverse engineered the public gets no value in return for granting monopoly through a patent.
Books and movies seem to be retaining pricing power for some reason. I feel like the ultimate reason behind this is that books and movies take a lot more time and attention to consume.
I know for me, I would be far more inclined to read and watch more of them if it were easier to break them up into chunks. Give me a specialized movie player that lets me pause and start movies by scene, make individual books and movies super cheap, sure, I don't mind paying cable-like fees for something actually useful and I'd watch movies a scene at a time by the dozen. Give me a feed reader that mixes in book chapters, in order, with my normal news feed.
Essentially, I don't want to waste time on crappy platforms. Just give me the damn content in a way that makes sense for me to use it. I may get to the point where my appetite for information is so voracious, I'll just mass pirate stuff and upload it all into a personal database so I can chunk it myself.
I haven't read the article yet, but wow will that interact with: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/06/eus-copyright-proposal... 
However if we get rid of them there is a need to socialise creative production so that artists of all shapes and hues in all creative fields can still afford to live simply doing what they love to do.
It's a fair trade. Producers can copy and extend whatever any human has created but in return they have to produce enough to look after them.
Which is just a royalty with extra steps.
The problem with most attempts to subvert a capitalist/market economy is that they all only manage to obfuscate the usage of money and ownership and replace a lot of it with centralized control.
Your idea still requires ownership of IP and compensation for it.
That's the very first sentence...
This is absurd. How stupid does one have to be to think this? Copyright serves only one purpose: to make profits for the author and, more importantly, to make profits for the publisher and distributor by exploiting the author's work. These days it almost exclusively does the latter. Copyright is not about contributing to or advancing society. It has nothing to do with that regardless of the original intentions behind it. Copyright is about making money for a few individuals or groups at the expense of the wider society. The sooner the idiotic conventional thinking quoted above is replaced by a proper analysis, the closer we are to fixing this atrocious system that's holding us back.