@ roger and @ old faithful.
You guys really should read up on the guy who invented the interval timer for your windshield wipers. A classic tale of theft by having more money than you to drag your sorry butt through the courts forever. He won eventually but he lost his health, his sanity and any money he was finally awarded went to the his lawyers. Personally I think he should have walked into the board room with an AK-47.
@Roger_the_Intern: your example is very convincing as pertaining to industrial spying and outright theft (I do find it hard to believe that he had just one set of plans and blueprints, though), but the fact of the matter is that inventors, like most other creators, usually end up with the short end of the stick. In other words, they are just pawns in the intellectual property debate which has, in my opinion, solely been used by monopolies for what is, essentially, the right to print money.
One of my best friends has basically ruined his health himself in patent fights and lawyer fees to retain control of his inventions, and after going bankrupt after losing all the money he had in his fights, almost succeeded taking his own life. I actually have shares for the basic concept behind one of his inventions. Did I fight for the right to this invention? Are you kidding? Unless you have millions, you don't stand a chance. Like everything else in this world, it has been appropriated by the modern racketeers, the litigation lawyers.
Now at 68 years of age, my good fiend has finally understood that and, just like my brother in law the jazz musician who now manages his own tours, has his own label and produces his own CDs (want a dedicated copy?), now does it completely by himself, building his inventions directly from his buddy's garages without any patent protection. He is happier for it because, just like my brother in law, he has understood that the whole intellectual property issue is basically a smoke screen designed for one purpose, to make those who have money richer, and to keep those who actually create the means by which our society has advanced, stay in line and keep quiet in their their basements, labs and garages.
Intellectual Property can also extend to patents.
I know first hand of an account where an inventor had his ideas (in the form of drawings, schematics, etc.) stolen from a safe in his home. His promised payday for the rights to the patent were around $4 million, and the company that was paying him for it ultimately folded because of the loss. And wouldn't you know, the company's main competitor beat them to market by 6 months with the EXACT SAME TECHNOLOGY and has made billions from it. (Yes, I said billions)
How would you feel if the culmination of years of your work was taken from you? Could you survive the loss of 10 years of paychecks? Does this change your mind on the value of copyright?
Reminds me of a certain friend whining about someone borrowing one of his dvds and not returning it. Implying that person was a thief. Complaining about so many dishonest people in the world. He wasn't too impressed when I pointed out that he himself was a thief since all his dvds were pirated anyway.
@tlimvvo2max: Although I disagreed a few of your other posts, I totally agree with your post about rights to do whatever one wants with one's creation resting with the creator, no one else.
Unfortunately, and the reason I so vehemently fight the so-called "Intellectual Property Rights" issue, is that the issue has been subverted by the greedy and powerful who have suddenly come to realize too late that the Internet is freeing people off their control.
Protection of "Intellectual Property"? Yeah, right. Tell that to the Bob Marley Family.