Polar Beer

And now: the effects of blogging on Ultracold Polar Molecules

26 August 2006

The wonders of copyrighting

How far can you push copyrighting ? If you are allowed to patent and copyright anything that is novel and potentially useful, can you then patent a photon ? Take photons at a wavelength of, say 1540.3 nm. Ever since the universe began (or perhaps starting a couple of seconds afterwards) these photons have been produced by Nature, by the emission of atoms and black bodies. If I were to make a laser diode that emits at this wavelength, starting from some esoteric alchemical mud like Pb0.34587Se1.66413, can I then claim to have "made" these photons and hence own the copyright on them ? What uncountable sums of money that would make me ! Even if every photon cost a measly 10-15 Malcorazonian Credits, a mere milliwatt of power at "my" photon wavelength would earn me a 100 of them every second in royalties alone. Considering that a vast majority of the induhviduals in the Universe use my photons without even knowing about it, just from their stars and forest fires and bread toasters, imagine the mind-boggling number of credits I could earn in compensation for having had my invention unjustly used. Even if a tight-fisted judge were to award me 10-10 credits for a photon used by an induhvidual, that still makes a whoppable 1013 credits per second per solar system ! Multiply that by the mean density of inhabited star systems, and I'm now comfortably established till the end of creation.

How much more interesting we have made this dull and boring universe with our economics and our intellectual property rights.