TED Conversations

Kaustuv De Biswas

Co-Founder, Vibrant Data


This conversation is closed.

Despite the controversy over patents, what is a progressive take on authorship in the collaborative world?

Live TED Conversation: Join TED Fellow Kaustuv Be Biswas

A US- and India-based entrepreneur whose experimental design firm, dplay, is building open-source toolboxes for design.

This Conversation opens on Nov. 8th at 1:00PM ET


Closing Statement from Kaustuv De Biswas

There is a clear unresolved bifurcation between the desire to share collaborate freely, and the need to own and protect - more so in the creative domains. With the current backdrop of the US patent reform bill - which does not quite capture the common frustrations (eg. commercial giants hard to compete with), the conversation touched upon some interesting ideas and facets - from 'micro-patents', to 'free-essentials', to 'open patenting rounds' to 'ownership responsibilities' . Thank you all for an interesting hour!

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  • Nov 8 2011: Aditya - ideally, and ideologically - i am in complete agreement with you. however, we exist under not only the rules of the legislator, but more importantly - under the regime of human nature: it is human to want to own, to need to own. it is not a "bad" thing to have ownership or claim authorship of something by default. it is true that the system underwhich most of us create is suffocating and abusive and needs to be changed. but i wouldn't rule out ownership as such.
    • Nov 8 2011: Eyal - I'm not ruling authorship out. I'm talking about how authorship almost plucks a 'blooming flower' of an idea from it's plant. I'm pointing towards how patents reserve their potent seed like nature and prevent so much fertility they can cause. I'm not saying ownership is "bad" but I'm also saying that complete ownership comes in the way of growth. What do you think?
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      Nov 8 2011: eyal, ownership is not a bad thing - however, dont you think that - if there is an opportunity for a community to develop it further - there should be a way to enclose that as well?
      • Nov 8 2011: i agree.
        my only reservation here would be that you will need to accurately define what an "idea" is, and what would it take to develop one. it's easy to see what the patenting system is paramount to the pharma industry, but at the same time how, as you correctly say, is almost destructive in other areas, and no wonder that open-source has originated essentially in the SW universe.
      • Nov 8 2011: Kaustuv - absolutely. which is why i believe in relational ownership, if you like, which is much more relevant to the world of collaborative design/development, your original point. i really believe that the patent system will collapse at some point.
      • Nov 8 2011: Do you mean if an owner is sitting on a neglected idea should a community have the option to foster it?
        • Nov 8 2011: I think yes. Doing that should also 'compulsorily' involve the owner in some way. This, I think provides ownership to both the owner and the community and prevents the idea from dying and helps it to branch out in the future.
        • Nov 8 2011: Kyle - this model basically exists in the pharma industry, only there a company can "sit" on a patent for a drug for 30 years i think - then in becomes a "generic" drug and is open to all to develop and sell. what if we bring that model to all other IP-protected things?
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        Nov 8 2011: In this day & age, the idea that you can keep any information from getting out into the world and being used how people see fit to use it is becoming passé. With sensitive information, it can cost more money and energy to keep something secret than the information is actually worth.

        At any rate, there will countries that don't respect intellectual property, pirates, poor kids who want to watch films they can't afford, and even people who willfully disrespect patents on medicines to provide them to the needy... whatever the holders of abstract copyrights, patents, and trademarks think about it.

        The Bern Convention is obsolete, and the Digital Millennium Copyright act is not any kind of successor. Whatever we do about this subject, we have to accept the fact that the content of most patents and copyrights can be disseminated around the world in a matter of seconds..

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