Property is no longer theft

On: September 13, 2011
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About Marnick van der Zee
Ever since I was young I could work my way around VCR and install TV's. I started studying Chemistry but quit after I got my Propedeuse. I followed the New Media BA course @ the UvA. My BA thesis was about the content filter of YouTube and their strategy to keep their primary source of entertainment online (copyrighted content) without risking lawsuits. My main interest are new media subjects related to economic circumstances


A patent war is the latest problem that has hit the Internet culture and it’s innovation. There have been a lot of statements and press releases about the subject in the media. Hardware giants like  Apple and Samsung have been battling each other in courts all over the world. The main problem is about the technology involving tablet PC’s. Apple has the Ipad and Samsung has the Galaxy tab. Apple is claiming plagiarism and says that Samsung is copying the look and feel of their Ipad.

The claims of plagiarism are as old as Greece philosophy But this ongoing dilemma shows a new side of the technology. Apple has always been renowned because of their beautiful design but Samsung has won awards as well. So are these claims and legal tactics, the notion of doing good business and staying ahead of your competitors. The Galaxy tab has been forbidden to be released by European courts except for Holland, This judgement has made it’s impact on technology sceptics. It clearly shows that innovation is slowed down by patents and companies. But that doesn’t mean that copying other people’s invention should be allowed.

My interest in new media have mostly been related too re-mediation, legal developments, User generated content and policies involving user information. These new claims and ongoing struggles between the biggest players in Silicon Valley have made it interesting to watch their moves. Open source technology and free software have always been struggling to grow under the shadow of large corporation as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Symantec. The corporation can hire the brightest minds in the world and give them the audience they seek.

Lawrence Lessig, founder of the Stanford center of Internet and Security, wrote in his paper ‘the architecture of innovation‘ about this subject. He uses Yochai Benkler’s idea of a communication systems three layers. The physical layer are the wires that connect the computers with each other. The logical layer is the system that controls the access. The content layer is the different information that is used in a system. This idea of layers is fragile if someone who controls a layer is excluding other persons. Tablet PC’s are the latest revolution in computer use. Statistics of sales have seen an increase in tablets and a decrease in laptops and PC’s. If one corporation have made the most advanced and successful tablet then they can control the innovation that they give subsequent models. The Ipad doesn’t have USB but the Galaxy Tab does have a USB. This technology is old but it is used and understood by billions of users. It could show and increase in tablet progress.

Because of the internet technology, patents are no longer valuable for one country. Still every country sees it by the hand of it’s own laws. The Internet has lifted boundaries but has it’s effects on the innovation of technology and the problems of borrowing certain aspects of someone’s invention. The design claim by Apple is of course completely valid. The claim that it ‘feels’ the same as the Ipad is really personal and is a hard claim to build a case on. There struggle and legal issues shall go on for a while but it shall show interesting debates about the freedom of information.

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