The Null Device

Plot patents

The latest innovation from the US intellectual-property industry, following software patents and business model patents, is plot patents, i.e., the possibility of patenting a storyline and suing those thieves, parasites and second-handers who infringe on it, ushering in a new golden age of Randian/Galambosian creativity and wealth, and/or a new dark age where freedom of expression belongs solely to those with deep pockets or powerful backers:
The value of a performance is protected by copyright; the value of an invention is not. An artistic innovator is given but two choices absent patent protection: to sacrificially innovate for the unearned benefit of thieves, or to not innovate. Both options are morally and practically repulsive.
The firm in question is confident that storyline patents will stand up in court, and has started filing and publishing them; for a fee, you can patent your latest story. Mind you, the US Patent Office hasn't actually decided on whether such patents are valid, but until and unless it shoots them down, the holders of the applications are entitled to litigate against those infringing their patents.

There are 2 comments on "Plot patents":

Posted by: gjw http://the-fix.org Mon Nov 7 09:37:37 2005

There might be some prior art to worry about: http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article255.asp

Posted by: amby http:// Tue Nov 8 20:53:22 2005

The first to patent the 7 basic plotlines wins!

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