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Why IP Laws Are Blocking Innovation 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the same-old-song-and-dance dept.
DrJimbo passes along this quote from Groklaw: "The White House is asking us to give them ideas on what is blocking innovation in America. I thought I'd give them an honest answer. Here it is: Current intellectual property laws are blocking innovation. President Obama just set a goal of wireless access for everyone in the US, saying it will spark innovation. But that's only true if people are allowed to actually do innovative things once they are online. You have to choose. You can prop up old business models with overbearing intellectual property laws that hit innovators on the head whenever they stick their heads up from the ground; or you can have innovation. You can't have both. And right now, the balance is away from innovation."
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Why IP Laws Are Blocking Innovation

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  • No IP was a contributing factor.

    • by NFN_NLN (633283) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:58PM (#35182124)

      No IP was a contributing factor.

      I don't know what you people are talking about. There is considerable innovation in America today. The US is the leader in CDOs, derivatives, tax avoidance, and is always coming up with new and innovative schemes to part working people from their money.

      No lack of innovation there, it's just misdirected.

      • by Zorpheus (857617) on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:10PM (#35182222)
        Yes because this stuff is not patented!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by blair1q (305137)

        TFA is built on the premise that crime would pay if there weren't patents on the crime methods.

        Napster? Really?

        Napster wasn't hit with a patent suit for its method of stealing music. It was busted up because it was stealing music.

        I couldn't read the rest after it started with that. Someone tell me if it redeemed itself.

        • Napster wasn't hit with a patent suit for its method of stealing music. It was busted up because it was stealing music.

          If you're going to be anal about terms you should make sure you aren't playing fast and loose with them yourself. Napster didn't *steal* anything.

          Patents != Copyright, however IP covers both Patents and Copyright.

          • by blair1q (305137)

            If you enable people to make illegal copies of their copyright material, and to find more people to make illegal copies from, and you make money from it, how is that not stealing?

            The prosecutor can be more distinctive about the term he wants to use, but since the money you collected belongs to the copyright holders, it doesn't matter that you invented the machine that made you that money.

            And my point stands. The idea that stifling crime is stifling innovation therefore it shouldn't be a crime is a canard.

            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              If you enable people to make illegal copies of their copyright material, and to find more people to make illegal copies from, and you make money from it, how is that not stealing?

              Napster was no more stealing than the person who wrote the first FTP client and server was stealing.

            • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:33PM (#35182730)

              If you enable people to make illegal copies of their copyright material, and to find more people to make illegal copies from, and you make money from it, how is that not stealing?

              You cannot 'steal' a digital bit. It simply exists and is copied or erased. But you cannot 'take' or 'steal' it in any way.

              Napster is a bad example but for a different reason. Napster was busted for violating the copyrights of the music they were allowing to be traded.

              How about Guitar Hero being killed because the copyright holders of the songs demanded ridiculous amounts when the game amounts to free advertising for them? They are certainly in the rights to do so, but it doesn't mean that 'innovation' isn't being stifled by it.

              Patents are the bigger problem. Specifically software patents, but patents in general too. That Tivo can be sued because someone patented a completely vague idea without actually building their idea hurts everybody. Vonage also got sued over really technical things that Verizon (I think) purchased patents for and then sued Vonage. Worse, 'Patent Trolls' - companies that literally don't make anything purchase lots of patents solely for the purpose of suing companies who actually create things - *that* stifles innovation significantly.

              I'm not advocating illegal sharing of copyrighted works. I am advocating that the current mindset of today's 'media' companies is very short sighted and backwards. Digital copies, instead of being a 'product' like a CD, are now the 'advertising' they should be using to drive people to buy things that aren't available in infinite supply. (This is not saying that because it's illegally available they should just give up).

              Digital copies can be made in infinite numbers at just about zero cost. Say I'm selling apples and one day, someone comes and, without taking any apples, creates an apple tree next to my apple stand. Now apples are available for free right next to me. The value of my apples is lowered. I have not lost anything, nor been deprived of anything. There are simply more apples on the market and that causes value to go down. An infinite supply of apples puts the 'value' of any one apple at zero. I can complain that free apples exist - this is what 'media' is doing today. Or I can shift to having people come to my cart to by my 'worm free' apples. Instead of selling apples, I'm now providing a service of quality apples. I can certainly take apples from the tree too, I just spend time verifying they are worm free; that's the 'value' I am providing.

              For the music industry, the 'value' is in live performances and merchandising. You simply can't produce a live performance infinitely, it can only be done at the concert with those musicians for a finite set of people.

              But unfortunately we have billions of dollars fighting this basic fact of the digital world. Best description I've heard "Trying to make digital bits not copyable is like trying to make water not wet".

            • If you enable people to make illegal copies of their copyright material, and to find more people to make illegal copies from, and you make money from it, how is that not stealing?

              Infringement of copyright is not stealing because the U.S. copyright statute does not use the word "steal" or "theft" to describe it, except in the (nonbinding) title of the No Electronic Theft Act. It's far closer to trespass than to theft.

    • by avilliers (1158273) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:33AM (#35183540)

      It's a bit sad, considering the amount of energy spent on Slashdot discussing IP and innovation, that a sweeping and incorrect generalization like "No IP protection in the Baroque" that is still considered "Insightful." You would have hoped that people would have spent a fraction of the time writing and ranting instead reading.

      There were of course considerable legal efforts used to keep smart people in place and harvest their output. This was an era when monopoly rights were routinely granted to restrict competition and the wealthy were obsessively worried about secret knowledge.

      If you were, say, a glassblower in Venice, it would be impossible to take that knowledge and use it elsewhere within Venice; risky to use it outside Venetian control; and downright fatal if you did use it outside Venice and then returned home. By comparison, a patent lawsuit where most of the time you split the profits is downright encouraging.

      In the arts, Handel basically had to defect from Hannover to compose in England.

      This is not to over-dramaticize; states were weaker and their understanding of what could be considered a "valuable innovation" much more limited. I don't know how you could reasonably compare "IP" restrictions and say one era was better or worse; they were just very different. It would depend what you were trying to do.

      I'm afraid my own opinion is fairly bland--clearly IP laws hurt innovation and clearly IP laws help innovation. (I could give personal examples of both--projects killed because an invention was patented but not developed by a competitor; projects not considered because you couldn't establish exclusivity and thus saw no path for ROI.) They have different effects in different industries. The proper balance between freedom, basic fairness and innovation is tricky.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:20PM (#35181742)

    Patents. Bloody software patents, and fat cats using patents to bludgeon little guys. IIRC, the intention was pretty much the opposite - patents were supposed to be a way to put the law on the side of the little guy. Where did it all go wrong?

    As for copyright - no more damn extensions. Indeed, ratchet back.

    • by Moryath (553296) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:48PM (#35182016)

      Where it went wrong is when the "big guys" were allowed to pull tricks like patent-slamming and overwhelm the patent office.

      That and when the rules were changed so that a corporation, rather than an individual, got to own the patent.

      Absurd patents have always existed, but now they're allowed to destroy industries - and not just the software patent. When Wizards of the Coast [thefreelibrary.com] was granted a patent on card games, for instance, the patent NEVER should have been granted. It's a motherfucking joke [patentstorm.us].

      A copy of Mr. Hoyle's Games Complete, circa THE YEAR 1750, offers every single mechanic WotC's patent describes that could possibly be counted as a nontrivial change. The idea of a "trading card game" in the patent ought to have been invalidated by, to name one early example "The Base Ball Card Game", produced by the Allegheny Card Company in the year 1904.

      But some dope-on-a-rope in the patent office, overworked and underbrained, granted the patent to WotC. Sheer lunacy but the patent-slammers prevailed yet again.

      And before you say "well but you could sue to have the patent invalidated" - NO. The point is that crap like this should never be granted. Most of the competing CCG-makers simply folded up shop after WotC started demanding royalties. It took until years later for Wizkids to finally offer a lawsuit to try to invalidate WotC's patent, and then it got settled without judgement [icv2.com], meaning WotC can still bully and make asses of themselves on an obviously invalid patent.

      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Friday February 11, 2011 @08:21PM (#35182306)
        A junk patent is a valuable thing these days. It may not stand up in court, but it doesn't have to - the costs of fighting it would be so great, most people would rather just settle. It's cheaper than winning.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by CajunArson (465943)

      are patents, and fat cats using patents to bludgeon little guys.

      Yes you used all the correct terms to get an Insightful mod on Slashdot while saying the exact opposite of what really happens. Please name for me the last "little" guy who was sued for patent infringement, especially for software patents..... Usually it's the "little guys" suing Microsoft, Google, etc. etc.

      The reason is money. Despite the narrative that Slashdot likes to portray of multi-billion dollar companies suing some open source develop

      • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @06:28AM (#35184778)

        Here's the thing. Sending you a nasty-gram explaining that your product is infringing on the following 27 patents will take 1 company lawyer maybe 1 hour.

        That doesn't mean they are suing you. It's not a suit, until it gets to court. We only hear about the big vs big, because they are the only ones who can afford going to court.

        You, as a private person or even a small company, does not have the resources to defend yourself against 27 patent infringement claims.

    • by gilesjuk (604902)

      It went wrong when people started to patent things they had no intention of putting into practice. Such patents are like laying land mines or snares and waiting for someone to set them off.

      I think a patent should expire after 6 months if they haven't been utilised in a product.

  • by WebManWalking (1225366) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:23PM (#35181766)
    The original goal of copyrights and patents was to reward people for creating things that benefit all of us, not to create huge corporations that prevent people from creating things that benefit all of us.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:32PM (#35181850)

      Orson Scott Card had a comment about the impossibility of expecting a bureaucrat (and presumably by extension, lawyer) to be able to understand the spirit of a law. Can't remember the quote offhand, but the gist of it is, if they understood enough about how the world works to be able to understand when to follow and when to ignore the letter of the law, they wouldn't be willing to be a bereaucrat.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      We don't have to ditch patents or copyright to fix the problem, but I do think it's more realistic to push for that than for meaningful reform. What they could do is require that patents be used and that the plaintiff demonstrate a genuine effort to minimize damages when asking for damages. Additionally, measures to bar gatekeeper patents would be important as well.

      And, yes I know, easier said than done.

    • What kind of communist nonsense is this?

      When somebody has done something good, their childrens childrens children* deserve an ongoing income too!!!

      * -copyright is life plus 70 years, possibly longer if Disney pays up again to the right politicians

    • by yeshuawatso (1774190) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:53PM (#35182836) Journal

      My two cents:

      From Article 1 Section 8 of the US constitution:
      The Congress shall have the power...To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

      No where in that line does it state that a patent or copyright is to grant any persons, natural or otherwise, a way to guarantee PROFITS or STIFLE COMPETITION. It specifically says: "...PROMOTE the PROGRESS OF SCIENCES AND USEFUL ARTS."

      PROMOTE != PROFIT

  • IP Law Results (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:29PM (#35181820)
    It has become disgustingly easy to patent something that really should not be patentable. One result of the fast and loose IP laws is an entirely new method of profit for enterprise: using the court system as a means of revenue (i.e. sue for profit.) In the end, the IP laws have become the United States undoing because how can we be technological innovators and leaders if the would-be inventor is scared off by some superfluous patent over something ridiculous.
    • Re:IP Law Results (Score:5, Informative)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:40PM (#35181944)

      Prime examples:
      http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5443036.html [freepatentsonline.com]
      What is claimed is:

      1. A method of inducing aerobic exercise in an unrestrained cat comprising the steps of:

      (a) directing an intense coherent beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus to produce a bright highly-focused pattern of light at the intersection of the beam and an opaque surface, said pattern being of visual interest to a cat; and

      (b) selectively redirecting said beam out of the cat's immediate reach to induce said cat to run and chase said beam and pattern of light around an exercise area.

      2. The method of claim 1 wherein said bright pattern of light is small in area relative to a paw of the cat.

      3. The method of claim 1 wherein said beam remains invisible between said laser and said opaque surface until impinging on said opaque surface.

      4. The method of claim 1 wherein step (b) includes sweeping said beam at an angular speed to cause said pattern to move along said opaque surface at a speed in the range of five to twenty-five feet per second.

      http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6368227.html [freepatentsonline.com]

      1. A method of swinging on a swing, the method comprising the steps of: a) suspending a seat for supporting a user between only two chains that are hung from a tree branch; b) positioning a user on the seat so that the user is facing a direction perpendicular to the tree branch; c) having the user pull alternately on one chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward one side, and then on the other chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward the other side; and d) repeating step c) to create side-to-side swinging motion, relative to the user, that is parallel to the tree branch.

      2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method is practiced independently by the user to create the side-to-side motion from an initial dead stop.

      3. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of: e) inducing a component of forward and back motion into the swinging motion, resulting in a swinging path that is generally shaped as an oval.

      4. The method of claim 3, wherein the magnitude of the component of forward and back motion is less than the component of side-to-side motion.

      • by slinches (1540051)

        The problem is that while well known now, there was no published prior art on this 'cat chasing laser exercise' technology back in 1993. Youtube didn't exist until 12 years after the patent was filed so there weren't widely published videos available. Actually, I think this may be a case where the patent system has succeeded. Someone may have seen the patent and learned the technology and then when the patent expired they used and spread the idea to the benefit of cats everywhere.

        Seriously though, these

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:31PM (#35181832) Homepage Journal
    examine western european history in the 300 years in between 300 AD and 600 AD. you will see that the feudalization of economy and politics in that period closely resembles the feudalization of economy, and now intellectual sphere in our modern times.

    a concept is like a bridge. once you give the ownership of the bridge to someone, that someone has the control of that bridge, can use it to do anything, toll anyone, deny access to anyone. and buy more bridges. eventually, most of the bridges get concentrated in the hands of minority, which then end up controlling the social, political and economical aspects of life through their power. its the inevitable result of inheritance-supported, unlimited ownership.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kohath (38547)
      It's easy to draw vague parallels between any two broadly-defined historic periods of time to allude to any particular connection you want. It's silly to take such connections seriously without a great deal of very specific supporting evidence.

      If you meet a man, and that man reminds you of an old friend, it doesn't follow that he is definitely your old friend's brother.

  • by Stregano (1285764) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:34PM (#35181874)
    I am a web developer by day, and am a software developer by night. I make software so that I can sell it. One of my biggest worries is that I will make a really great piece of software, start selling it, then some big company filled with lawyers starts suing me because it run in Windows, and according to some messed up, obscure patent, I can't do that. I understand that they would not touch me right now since, let's face it, none of you have heard of me (as with the rest of the world). I am not banking hardcore. It is possible that one single program I write will though. That is a very high possibility. I try to program safe and not go too insane with the software I make and sell. If I go insane and make something incredible, these sleazy, douchbag lawyers will want a piece of my pie even though they had nothing to do with it, so they sue me. You should not be allowed to simply buy up a patent. You should be required to have a working model of what the patent is for. If you have a software patent for software that does not exist and you have no proof it exists, why are you allowed to own it? You have nothing to do with the software outside of a small piece of paper saying it. You have no programmers on payroll. You have no engineers on payroll. You are not paying or contracting anybody to make these innovations, you simply own them to say you do. I think it should be revamped to make these people show proof of concept at the very minimum in order to own a patent. Unfortunately, for people like me who make just as much selling software on the side as I do at my normal job (and it is not a small amount, it is just not big either), it is only a matter of time before the "I can retire now" software gets sold off, and then I get sued for some software patent from a company that has nothing to do with software outside of having a piece of paper saying they can. Proof of concept, or you lose it.

    If these patent trolls started losing patents for no proof of concept, that would up the innovation then and there as other big companies would be bringing in people to make a proof of concept so they could own the patent. A 2 for 1 deal and it is super simple. Innovation gets sparked, and patent trolls get smacked in the face. And all we do is force the patent trolls to show proof of concept of every single patent they own.
    • Proof of concept, or you lose it.

      Perhaps the original inventor had a working model, but a nonpracticing entity bought the patent from the inventor's employer when the inventor's employer went bankrupt.

      Besides, a working model requirement wouldn't clear up, say, the video codec situation. Any of the companies holding patents in MPEG-LA's AVC pool probably has the expertise to write its own AVC encoder and decoder.

      • by Stregano (1285764) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:51PM (#35182054)
        If they don't have a working model, then they don't really have it outside of a piece of paper, do they? When it comes to codecs, use it or lose it. Sure they can write something up, so they should. If all you have is a piece of paper saying you own something, but you don't have it, well that is pretty dumb if you ask me. You don't truly own it since you don't have it. You say that you do so that you can sue if anybody really makes it. That needs to be stopped. These are to the point where companies are owning ideas. That is why we have not seen many super innovative thing in the software market. Sure, there are some incredible ones out there that are new, do not get me wrong, but there could be so many more if these companies did not "buy ideas".
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stephan Kinsella, an IP lawyer, has written an essay basically demolishing the philosophical and empirical reasons for supporting IP:

    http://mises.org/books/against.pdf

    Highly recommended reading!

    • by brit74 (831798) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:58PM (#35182122)
      Assuming you think there's anything to libertarianism. I certainly think libertarians have started from a flawed position, and their logic goes off the rails because of their bad starting point.
      • Assuming you think there's anything to libertarianism. I certainly think libertarians have started from a flawed position, and their logic goes off the rails because of their bad starting point.

        And what do you think that flawed position is?

        I think libertarianism starts from the belief that people are inherently selfish and that rather than try to outright fight human nature - a war that has been and apparently will be fought and lost countless times - we should channel it for the best possible good. But maybe I don't understand the basis of libertarianism, so perhaps you could explain it to me.

  • by sdguero (1112795) on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:40PM (#35181934)
    The thesis "Current IP law stifles innovation" is a good one, however I don't agree with the examples provided in the paper. I think a more persuasive argument would have used company vs company lawsuits are are going crazy right now (between the like of Apple, RIM, and Sony) and the hoops that things like the GPL has to jump through to placate Novell selling out to M$ amongst other attacks on open source software. Comparing the situation to the aircraft industry pre-WWI and using other examples of stifled innovation would have given our current situation more context as well. /sighs

    Anyway, I just think the sheer amount of licensing boondoggles and lawyers required to build any kind of useful tech device these days is completely out of control, and I don't know if the paper made that clear (it didn't to me anyway).
    • by DrJimbo (594231)
      sdguero said:

      The thesis "Current IP law stifles innovation" is a good one, however I don't agree with the examples provided in the paper. I think a more persuasive argument would have used company vs company lawsuits are are going crazy right now

      From the fine article:

      Let's take Android. It's something new and the world is loving it. So what happened once it became a hit? Patent and copyright infringement lawsuits up the kazoo. Is that going to encourage innovation? And it's not just Android. It's any successful technical product. They all have to spend millions in litigation. And it's a drain on the economy too, because when the plaintiffs win, that money isn't a win for innovation, not when the law allows patents to be owned and litigated by entities that make nothing at all but litigation.

      Just to be perfectly clear, the lawsuits against Android are actually filed against Google. They are a prime example of the "company vs company lawsuits" that you complain are not in the fine article.

  • I tried to read the link. It was long and rambling. Using Napster as your starting point for a discussion will immediately turn off your target audience. Go back to your unabomber shack you wingnut.

  • Wireless access for everyone will spark innovation? There's someone in a cabin in the woods in Montana ready to build the next Google. If only she had broadband?

    Wireless access for everyone will enable residents of rural communities to share videos of their cats with the world. That's it.

  • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Friday February 11, 2011 @07:53PM (#35182068) Journal

    Current intellectual property laws are blocking innovation.

    To be absolutely clear, 'intellectual property' as a term comprises copyright, patents, and which other things that have actual laws and legal definitions? The quote comes from groklaw, but for those not in the know, it might help to be unambiguous about it

  • ... are too easy to game by way of ignorance and overwhelming the staffs ability to approve them. Not to mention lobbying, bribes and kickbacks. People just do not have the skills to properly assess patents/copyright, I mean come on amazon's 1 click patent and others relating checkout? I mean seriously.

    They will just be abused endlessly, they should be junked. What really needs to be innovated is the business model, laws that grant legal monopolies would merely force innovation on the business model end,

  • The people I want to hear most from are not the IP intellectual discussions about moot points of IP policy, but from actual patent holders who have innovative technologies that have been blocked from innovating by the patent system.

    I used to be against most forms of US IP, but now in a position where I may be able to actually capitalise on some of my own IP, I find the system much more friendly than I thought. While I still find my own knowledge lacking, here are the two things I wish were reformed:

    -A paten

  • Nearly all industry in the US seem to be either intellectual property or service oriented. Manufacture and agriculture are critically diminished and everything it getting outsourced and sent overseas. What we have left is IP which, as we know thanks to the secret ACTA negotiations, IP has become a matter of national security.

    But Obama doesn't want to know the truth. He is in the pockets of those who want to keep their arsenal of intellectual property... and arsenals they are as we see an increase in IP's

  • My crystal ball, my Magic 8-ball, and my Steve Jackson Tarot deck all agree that the USA has deliberately shackled innovation for the last 10 years. I don't know why. But the signs are unmistakable, even for those who can't sense the aether.

    There was no question what would happen when the US Patent Office was changed to fee based financing. The flood of junk patents, and their suppressing effects on innovation are a surprise to no-one. In the intervening years, there has been ample opportunity to revert.

    Sim

  • IP = Internet Protocol and Intellectual Property rights as copyright, patents, and trademarks for corporate control of creativity and innovation are the biggest block to innovation.

    Open Idea Protection (OIP) for the artist, scientist, engineer... is needed.

    1. The artist, scientist, engineer... that is the driving intellect should have exclusive and lifelong rights to their creations and innovations irrespective of any corporate/government investments. Allow artist, scientist, engineer... to contract out r

  • by initialE (758110) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:36PM (#35183030)

    We know what we want changed, but what do you think Obama will say? The cynic in me says he's probably going to blame it on the Chinese or something. "We have great ideas, but they keep stealing them away. So we don't have ideas anymore. Bad Dog!" Any competent lobbyist can turn this drive for innovation into a tool to push their agenda.

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:39AM (#35183562)

    I'm going to buck the trend here and say it's NOT patents and copyrights and IP laws that are blocking innovation. No, it's a little more of a direct cause: An unproductive workforce that expects to get paid just for showing up with a degree.

    There are a lot of people out there in the professional world, in technical professions, in engineering, in project management, etc. who can talk and talk but can't or won't deliver results. A lot of people full of degrees and education and smooth talk but no actual practical skill or work ethic. All hat and no cowboy as some say. I interview people all the time who bill themselves as hard-core in-the-weeds technical people, but when you actually dig and ask probing questions you find it's all superficial and the person actually isn't really capable of providing much value. For example:

    Me: So, you write C++ software and work at XYZ corp, great! We're looking for C++ talent. Tell me about a project that you worked on!
    Candidate: Well, we developed software that did ABC...
    Me: We? No, what exactly did YOU do?
    Candidate: Well, I worked on a major sub-component of the software...
    Me: OK, so what are some of the algorithms and/or data structures you used while writing the code?
    Candidate: Um, well I didn't use much of that. I provided analysis and resolution of major defects...
    Me: So you fixed bugs. That's cool. What are some of the common C++ mistakes you have identified?
    Candidate: Uhh, I didn't really get deep into the code. I basically facilitated the analysis.
    Me: Oh, so you talked to the engineers and wrote bug reports?
    Candidate: Well, no, but I ENABLED them to deliver their results by...
    Me: ...

    It sounds like the "So what exactly do you do, Bob?" segment in Office Space, but these people are everywhere, and not all of them are interviewing. Many are in nice comfortable do-nothing jobs in corporate division 23 department B in high tech companies everywhere. These people are dragging down our companies and our country and need to go away.

    This country has a major talent gap. You guys all deride the government when they talk about the huge shortage of technical talent but it's absolutely true. We have a shit-ton of people with "Engineer" on their diploma. We have a lot of people who claim to be technical but simply sit in meetings and "enable" others who are actually doing the work. We have a very, very small number of actual implementors who know their stuff and can actually innovate.

    I don't know what the solution to the problem is, but think I see the symptoms all around me every day.

  • by CristalShandaLear (762536) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:56PM (#35186922) Homepage Journal

    It seems to me it all comes back to the pesky problem of whether a corporation is a person, with the same rights as a person. To me, the anser is an obvious no, but for some people, the answer is yes, and I have yet to figure out why.

    But it seems to me, giving corporations personhood is key to what a lot of people are saying here, particularly the poster who pointed out that issuing patents to corporations and not people is a problem. However the Supreme Court has declared that corporations are people. So now what?

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