Maybe I'm crazy but think about this. The most incredible, powerful, useful thing in the world is free and it is built on on open source. The internet! Maybe if we did away with copyrights and patents, everything would bloom like it has. Maybe instead a company holding a patent for a drug at three hundred dollars a bottle we let competition bring the price down. It would cause losses for the the powers that rule us, but it would create competition so companies would try harder to innovate. 

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Comment by Philip Jackson Armstrong on June 4, 2012 at 5:33am

There is no guarantee of success.They already do the research and development without knowing what the out come will be. And they make grotesque profits on volume alone.

No one is charging me for the internet infrastructure. I only pay to connect to an endpoint.

Comment by jay H on June 3, 2012 at 7:30pm

I firmly support open source development but it only works where the development itself is relatively low cost... software apps are a good example.

It doesn't work when you have a $100,000, 10 year drug development cost. Somehow that must be paid. Of course if you're selling quack medicine, that's not a problem. If you are actually producing a drug with FDA proven effectiveness and safety, someone has to invest the money, and it's only fair they get something for their risk.

BTW only the protocols and basic structure of the internet are 'free'. The infrastructure is incredibly expensive

Comment by Philip Jackson Armstrong on June 3, 2012 at 7:19pm

 The point is improving the world for everyone not for a just a few. The internet is a paradigm for what collaboration can do. Free flow of information that created an incredible tool that everyone can use. If the internet was patented it wouldn't exist. If drugs weren't patented they would be more available in the same way. Every advancement is built on a previous idea. To hold an idea captive holds the next idea captive. Life is not about how many toys you have in your house, it's about progress.

Comment by jay H on June 3, 2012 at 6:50pm

There is a lot of abuse of the system with patent trolls, and companies suing everyone on the planet... but there is an underlying issue: Is it fair that you spend years and a lot of money developing something, only to have anyone copy it virtually for free?

Getting a drug through FDA takes tens of millions, maybe more, and substantial risk (many promising drugs fail to pass) plus the development of manufacturing techniques to produce it. Should someone copy it just for the cost of production (which is quite low)?

Of course there is the other extreme where companies (Scientology Apple) patent stuff they've never even made, or something that was painfully obvious, and use the courts not to collect royalties, but to suppress competition.

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