logo

Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Innovation

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


back

It isn't the Facebook idea; it's the execution

The Facebook story has attracted a lot of attention (for example, link here at Wikipedia). The boy genius programmer and now billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, remains in the news with the Winklevoss legal suit link here. They want to reopen the negotiated settlement they accepted some time ago for several millions, thinking that they might now get billions, given the rise in Facebook's stock price.

Their claim for any cut, much less a bigger one, seems questionable, given their argument that Zuckerberg stole their idea while he coded for their idea (actually a dating site rather than the social network that Facebook has become).

I wasn't aware that an idea was property, much less protected property, so I suppose that Zuckerberg capitulated rather than carry on fighting to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness. He must regret that decision now.

In any case, the real story with Facebook is how this kid created this major success story in websites. The idea for it is a tiny part of the total. The real genius was in creating the organization that has gone on to be so hugely popular -- finding the right people to staff it and the financing for a really expensive investment -- to become the major public spokesman for the company, to get the technology right, and to make most of the many difficult decisions along the way. Unless he had a guiding partner, he has to be considered brilliant.

This is a case in point, supporting the thesis of Techdirt's Mike Masnick that concept always plays second fiddle to execution. Someday, the story on how it was done will have to be written in a lot more detail than we have been given so far. It should be a great read.

It also seems to be a lesson in how intellectual property rights can get abused by the threat of legal proceedings that lead the party in the right giving up.


Comments

Indeed, in IP, as in life, execution is everything. Whether or not one is a fan of Zuckerberg, it seems pretty apparent that his company has quite effectively and uniquely executed and marketed its product, regardless of the origin of Facebook's basic idea. If CU does reopen its patent litigation against FB, this may turn out to be one of the few instances in which I hope that an IP enforcement defendant wins.


Submit Comment

Blog Post

Name:

Email (optional):

Your Humanity:

Prove you are human by retyping the anti-spam code.
For example if the code is unodosthreefour,
type 1234 in the textbox below.

Anti-spam Code
SevenQuatroSevenTwo:


Post



   

Most Recent Comments

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the

Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples

Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you

Bonfire of the Missalettes!

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? I wondered about TFP, because I had heard that TFP was increasing. Apparently, it depends on who

Music without copyright I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will