(Guest post by Amir Michail)
Title: Patents and Copyright vs Web Traffic
Software patents are intended to reward innovation, especially by
startups with limited resources. But in today's Web 2.0 world of
social sites such as twitter, a service is more useful when it has
more users. Even if the implementation contains something that is
worthy of a patent, getting such a patent is not particularly
important because the service will generally have an overwhelming
advantage over its clones in terms of number of users -- new users
will generally pick the service with the most users, thus resulting in
much more web traffic growth for the original service.
Similarly, one could argue that copyright is unnecessary on the web --
those who copy are unlikely to get anywhere near as much web traffic
as the original source. For example, someone may copy posts verbatim
from a popular blog, but it is unlikely that he/she will get anywhere
near as much traffic. In particular, people already linked to the
original source, thus giving it higher PageRank.
Admittedly, there are occasions where things don't work out like this
and where patents and/or copyright would have been helpful.
Consequently, we could have a law that requires search engines to
provide a link back to the original source if any for each search
result. This would be done using a completely automated heuristic
matching algorithm. In this way, those who copy are even less likely
to get anywhere near as much traffic as the original source.