Groklaw on Plotline Patents

Wow. It’s hard to comprehend just how bad an idea plotlines patents actually are. I think I’ll need a bit more coffee before I could even attempt to try. Still, there is little doubt that intellectual property law is heading toward a precipice.

Some particularly good quotes from Andrew Knight’s justification for plotline patents:

There is little fear that artistic creation will be halted due to the enforcement of patent protection newly applied to artistic inventions. … In fact, most artistic concepts today are very old–which is precisely the problem that must be remedied by patent protection for artistic inventions. Unless patents on artistic inventions are upheld and enforceable, the great artistic minds of the day will be compelled to continue composing predictable love songs for pop stars and slightly altered dialogues for carbon copied movie plots.

Really? Does that make any sense to anyone?

There is currently little motivation for artistic inventors to innovate new plots, themes, and methods of expression.


A patent system that sanctions and defends patents on artistic inventions, such as new and nonobvious plots, will spur an array of never-seen-before, never-experienced-before, intellectually inspiring forms of entertainment. A patent system that lethargically clings to an as-of-yet unarticulated rule that artistic inventions are not patentable subject matter because they are not closely enough related to a mechanical gear or an electronic integrated circuit will guarantee our nation the same repertoire of mind numbing movies and dime-a-dozen boy bands.

I can’t help but think that this is merely the absurd argument which demonstrates the vacuousness of
software patents.

Light Field Photography with a Hand-Held Plenoptic Camera

A group at Stanford has created an interesting new camera using a combination of conventional camera and a microlens array to form a “plenoptic” camera. This link hit our photography mailing list yesterday, and I spent some time reading it. It’s really quite clever. Basically it uses the microlens array to serve as thousands of tiny lenses. Each of these “sub-lenses” images the target scene over a narrow field of view from a different spatial location. Then, computer software can take these individual images and recombine them in flexible and clever ways: allowing you to refocus images, shift perspective, and all sorts of other cool ideas.

Very neat stuff.