The Wired editor on the IP implications of DIY culture
Chris Anderson expects to be sued. Any day now.
In a talk last night to promote his new book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, the Wired editor and Slate's David Plotz discussed -- among many other things -- the IP implications of the maker movement.
Anderson mentioned the new synergies that are developing between makers and the more established tech and manufacturing firms. GE, he pointed out, was itself founded by a tinkerer -- Thomas Edison, "the heart and soul of American industry" -- and the corporate behemoth is now tentatively trying to forge relationships with the firebrand manufacturers of the maker movement. GE, Anderson said, now sponsors maker spaces. It hosts open innovation competitions -- with the award being production by, or investment from, GE.
"Thomas Edison is an interesting example," Plotz noted, "because Thomas Edison, of course, spent much of his life using patent law -- using the law -- to destroy competitors." Patent law at this point, Plotz continued, is "obviously something that's become a terrible weight on the American economy." So what's going to happen, he asked, when the tinkerers get tinkered with -- when the makers run up against other people's patents?