Amazon Goes Open Source; Gives Its Intellectual Property Away


Reading in between the lines of this announcement regarding its spat with publisher MacMillan, we can surmise that Amazon has released all of its intellectual property into the public domain:

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. (Emphasis added)

Amazon’s publicity intern here throws out a particularly loaded aside. A MONOPOLY! That’s a bad thing, Pavlovian dogs: salivate!

Except Macmillan has a monopoly over its property. Its intellectual property, but it owns those titles, sort of, after investing money in them and getting a contract. Since Amazon is against companies having monopolies over their intellectual property, I can only assume that Amazon is releasing all of its source code and is transferring all of its patents to the public domain, immediately. Otherwise, Amazon is in its own terms a no-good dirty monopolist.

I was going to say, “Ain’t it funny that,” but it’s really not funny that the black paintbrushes come out when someone is not freely sharing his property with the namecallers. Information wants to be free! and all that business. Health care wants to be free! None of that crap wants anything on its own. People without it or without enough of it want someone else’s, pure and simple. I have the urge at this point to throw out From each according to his ability, to each according to his id, but many people would think I’m going off the deep end.

It’s a steady erosion of cultural justification of property rights. This little message from Amazon and its tossed off use of a trigger word for some small sympathetic effect is a little thing, but a lot of little drops melt stone.

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