Open letter to candidates

Just like everyone else, we at Casa de Wyatt have been inundated with postal and email from the various campaigns.  Several of the emails promised the candidate would create jobs and included an invitation to contact the campaign with any questions or concerns.  So I did.  I emailed both the Romney and Obama campaigns the same letter.  I wondered when I sent them how I’d post the responses.  In the current climate, simply posting one above the other would likely draw fire for exposing my bias.  (Un)fortunately, I don’t have that problem because it’s been two weeks and nobody responded.  For what its worth, here is the letter I sent.

Dear {Campaign contact},

One of the most significant factors suppressing job creation is the insane degree to which intellectual property law favors only the very largest corporations.

Jury finds patent on “look and feel” for online stores valid, infringed
Considering that Digital River was operating their service BEFORE the patent was issued, this should have been prior art.  The basis of the suit is that the COSMETIC aspects of the service infringed.  All the money extracted by Lodsys and DDR in these suits represents economic vitality that is shifted from innovators to non-practicing entities who have justly earned the name patent trolls.

Textbook Publisher Pearson Takes Down 1.5 Million Teacher And Student Blogs With A Single DMCA Notice
The DMCA causes chilling effects as service providers find it easier to club users with a sledgehammer than to seek safe harbor.  In this case the hosting service risked a $75,000 a year client over a $120 form from a decades old textbook.  Note that the content HAD BEEN REMOVED when the takedown occurred and the collateral damage included more than a million non-infringing sites.

Gene patent case could impact patients, research
My mother died of cancer and it is offensive in the extreme that our government presumes to grant the right of anyone to dictate how research should proceed to cure it through genetic means.  According to US law, because Myriad Genetics did some pioneering work on a particular human gene, they are now able to dictate who else can advance scientific knowledge concerning that gene.  Since genes are part  of a much  larger system, it is possible someone researching something entirely different could discover an interaction with the patented genes and be forced to abandon their research.  Worse, patent holders could discover such interactions and excessively broaden their claims.

ANA Board Opposes Microsoft’s Decision to Implement ‘Do-Not-Track’ Default Function for Internet Explorer 10 Browser
According to the ANA letter, “the Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the Secretary of Commerce and the President of the United States have publicly and repeatedly recognized the merits of the current system” in which consumers must opt-out of being tracked rather than opting in.  Does your candidate believe that the right model is that consumers by default have no privacy protection unless we take explicit action to protect ourselves?

These are just a few recent headlines and they are typical.  There are plenty more about ACTA, CETA and all the aggressive legislation that is being rammed through while the political climate vastly favors corporate interest.  The result is that innovators of all stripes – software, science, music, movies and more – are increasingly taking their content creation to countries with more balanced protections.  As a software author, one of the main reasons I stay with IBM rather than start my own company is that one single patent infringement suit, even an invalid one, could wipe out a small or medium business.  People are willing to start a business and risk that their idea won’t sell.  But many hesitate to start a business when the major risk is that large competitors can easily swat you down based on patents that should NEVER have been granted, or claimed infringement of copyrights that are decades past their useful life.  This is lunacy.

If your candidate is serious about job creation, then how bad does it have to get before he addresses the massive power differential between individuals and corporate interests with respect to intellectual property?  Where is my government representation?  Where is my safe harbor?   Where are the checks and balances that are supposed to provide homeostasis in the balance of power?  Without these, there is no meaningful job creation outside of large corporations.  If your candidate wants my vote, I want answers to these questions.  What does he plan to do about IP law?  And please no lists of how the other side is worse.  I don’t want “lesser evil” I want positive action and true representation.

Kind regards,
— T.Rob

Disclaimer: My views are quite obviously not those of IBM and I do not speak for IBM in any official capacity.

About T.Rob

Computer security nerd. WebSphere MQ expert. Autist. Advocate. Author. Humanist. Text-based life form. Find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
This entry was posted in Clue train, Rant, Tech and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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