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Amazon Patents 'Maintaining Scarcity' of Goods 240

theodp writes "Back in Biblical times, creating abundance was considered innovative. That was then. Last Tuesday, GeekWire reports, the USPTO awarded Amazon.com a broad patent on reselling and lending 'used' digital goods for an invention that Amazon boasts can be used to 'maintain scarcity' of digital objects, including audio files, eBooks, movies, apps, and pretty much anything else."
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Amazon Patents 'Maintaining Scarcity' of Goods

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  • Re:And of course ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by holiggan ( 522846 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:31AM (#42795775)

    You have a choice: do your business somewhere else. That's part of the "free market" you talk about. The freedom to do business with whoever you choose. Nobody is forcing you to buy with Amazon. Just "vote with your wallet". You are part of the free market too.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:01AM (#42795961)

    But when you have finished reading your book(s), can you freely give them to a friend ? I can do that with the paper books that I have, but electronic ones ?

    I use an old Sony eReader. It supports ePub format, with or without DRM.

    And I also have Calibre, which can remove DRM for legally acquired eBooks.

    So, yes, I can give my ebooks freely to friends.

  • Re:And of course ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:18AM (#42796123)

    The problem with digital media is too cheap to produce. So the idea of supply in essence goes to infinity (or at least such a high number that it doesn't matter anymore) So using good old Supply and Demand the price of all digital media goes down to 0, no matter what the demand is, or the elasticity of supply and demand.

    Free stuff that is good right? Well perhaps in the short term, but in the long term it creates the problem that it isn't free to create the information. It takes time and talent for writer to write a story good enough to be well liked and published. Software takes man hours of people with skill sets. Music takes talented people who need to dedicate good portions of their life for to their art...

    My career is in writing software, I get paid to offer my services to an organization. The organization is willing to pay for my services as long as it deans my cost to be equal or less then the value I provide them. If I am producing stuff of little or no value due to a saturated market where anything I write already has a free version of it, and what ever I write must be offered for free too, means my value is 0, thus my bargaining costs will be 0 too (AKA I will not get paid for my work, or have no work).

    If out of work, I will need to change my profession to a skill that has a lower supply and a higher demand. That means giving up skills that I am good at and go to something else. Now enough people do this we loose quality digital media and we get "Fan Fiction" quality stuff where if we are lucky we may get a good product every once in a while, but most of it will be complete garbage, or just rehashing what already exists with little innovation or new ideas.

    Now here comes the Alternative Open Source business models and touting the profit of such companies such as Red Hat and IBM.... Sure Consulting services, and special distribution and configuration and training services are still in effect for some software. But that really works when you have something of a decent complexity. Now a lot of innovative stuff is too easy to use to be Consulting on. RMS who made money selling Tapes of Emacs. Well those tapes cost money to buy, and he had limited resources to create such tapes and mail them out, allowing supply and demand, as they didn't have the internet widely available at a fast enough speed, making media distribution obsolete.

    There is greed, and there is being valuable and compensated for your value. If amazon flooded the market, there will be less authors willing to make digital media and will go back to printed, just because they can make more money off of printed books, even if they sell less. As with all things in life there is a balance, Greed is the case where the balance is broken. But most people who are not greedy do want more out of their lives.

  • Re:And of course ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:27AM (#42796213)
    Which planet's history did you study? Because it sure as hell wasn't this one's. With a few tiny marginal exceptions, there has never been an 'agricultural commons'. Farm land throughout the ancient and medieval world was always owned by somebody, whether it was quasi-state aristocracy, wealthy oligarchs, or more modest private farmers (the lattermost being rather rare actually before the modern capitalist world you disparage). Frequently land was awarded to soldiers (*privately* not collectively) after campaigns, Rome was famous for doing this, though it was by no means the only civilization to exercise the practice. Of course the next time those soldiers were deployed, they frequently came home to find their land had been 'reassigned' which underscores the dangers of the state. (Jefferson rightly said that any state powerful enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everything you have.)

    I could give you a whole lecture on feudalism and how the ages of exploration and enlightenment laid the political theoretical foundations for the sea change in civic life enabled by the industrial revolution. You really need to study history in depth and realize how oppressed humanity was before the development of capitalism created a middle class society to counterbalance previous aristocratic/oligarchic power structures. Power structures that recreate themselves whenever an anti-capitalist ideology seizes control of society, since redistribution of wealth by force crucifies the middle class and puts the bulk of society under the boot of a politically empowered few.

    All this being said, any kind of intellectual property law is a farce against the nature of any truly free market because it violates real property rights. It essentially posits that I cannot use my materials to make things I want to make because somebody else "owns" the "idea" of using materials that way. No government should be able to tell somebody that they cannot make things with their own property, or configure their property in some way that another lays claim to. Either you own something (physically!) and have control over its disposition or you don't. The whole concept of "intellectual property" should be excised from society.
  • Commons (Score:4, Informative)

    by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:11AM (#42796681)

    With a few tiny marginal exceptions, there has never been an 'agricultural commons'. ...
    I could give you a whole lecture on feudalism and how the ages of exploration and enlightenment laid the political theoretical foundations for the sea change in civic life enabled by the industrial revolution.

    You better not, because you're not qualified to do so.

    "Originally in medieval England the common was an integral part of the manor, and was thus legally part of the estate in land owned by the lord of the manor, but over which certain classes of manorial tenants and others held certain rights. By extension, the term "commons" has come to be applied to other resources which a community has rights or access to. "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons#English_commons [wikipedia.org]

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