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Re:patents and consumers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on March 22, 2005 04:37 PM
I find the phrase "use patents to protect open content" troublesome.

It is customary in risk management to first

  • identify the asset to be protected - here "open content".
  • Then to identify the threats in the assets' environment,
  • the vulnerabilities to these threats,
  • the types of impact to be reduced,
  • and then the safeguards - here patents - used to mitigate the risk.


Now, in traditional risk analysis, there are four types of impact:

  • destruction of data

  • illicit modification of data

  • denial of service, and

  • disclosure of information



Now, "open content" must mean something else than public content, closed content, proprietary content. I presume it is closer to public content, yet somehow different. Can open content be destroyed? Presumably, there exists multiple copies - mirror sites or backups in a safe place - so the short answer is no. Can open content be illicitly modified? If the source is illicitly modified, then yes, but that does not mean good copies does not exist. Can authorized users experience denial of the service of open content? If it is available from only one source, then yes, but not every mirror site or backup solution. The short answer is no. Can open content be the victim of disclosure of information? Here the answer must be no, if the use of "open" has any meaning at all.

Presuming "open" means anything worthwhile, we have an asset on which threats have negligible impact - if any - so why are patents a good safeguard or countermeasure?

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