[cryptography] Embrace the decline!

James A. Donald jamesd at echeque.com
Tue Nov 16 16:50:07 EST 2010

On 2010-11-16 03:36, Marsh Ray wrote:
 > I'm a software developer, and once in a blue moon the
 > occasion comes around where some crypto-related algorithm
 > needs to be selected. Having heard about this:

Which tells us "Certicom patented the concept of ECC, not
some specific implementation"

They patented the *concept* of ECC, even though concept and
implementation was published in 1985

As you may be aware, I have recently renewed my patent on the
concept of the wheel, so before you drive anywhere, pay up.

Of course, in the US, there are fifty states, and in many of
those states, a judge will make sure the jury finds for a
patent troll if the troll slips him a small sum in small used
bills, and most patent cases are held before such judges, in
some backwater out-of-the-way state with no connection to the
plaintiff, the defendant, or the alleged implementation of
the intellectual property, whichever state had the cheapest
judge, since the bribery cost for New York judges, Sacramento
judges, and San Francisco judges tends to be pretty high.

Congress has constitutional authority to reduce the patent
troll problem by prohibiting forum shopping, but these days
prefers to regulate private enterprise, rather than state
employees.  The rule should be that you can only sue a
company for patent infringement in the state in which the
company was incorporated.

You are exposed to patent trolls no matter what technology
you use.

In general, to get anything done legally, you need lots of
permissions from lots of people, lots and lots of people,
more every day, patent trolls being one more roadblock of a
great many. And if you have need ten permissions, and each of
these rent collectors wants more than ten percent of the
vigorish, it is not going to get done.

So how do people get anything done in twenty first century

Embrace the decline!

Long ago, I advised my boss at Eikon, that his proposed
course of action, though ethical, was illegal, to which he
replied "The sword of the law has two edges, both of them
blunt".  The most practical course of action is simply to fly
under the radar.  They won't come after you unless there is a
substantial vigorish, and by the time you get a substantial
vigorish, you will probably have enough funds to hire the
Russian Mafia, hire a politician, hire^H^H^H^H^H inspire
various misunderstanders of Islam, and move to Singapore.

Reflect on the proposed victory mosque at at Park 51.  The
factory at Park 51 suffered extensive damage in the 9/11
attack, due to parts the plane and parts of people landing on
it, and could never be repaired or replaced, because any
repair would require too many permissions from too many
different authorities, each wanting the lion's share of the
vigorish, so stands damaged and empty to this day, with bits
of the 9/11 passengers still in it to this day.

But Imam Rauf, unlike the owner, has no trouble getting all
the permissions he needs for a victory mosque, because if
anyone creates difficulty for him, instead of paying off the
bureaucrat making trouble, Imam Rauf drops a gentle hint that
if Rauf does not get what he wants, some other Muslims,
immoderate Muslims quite unlike the wonderfully moderate
Rauf, might blow up the offender.  Rauf, of course,
understands that Islam is the religion of peace, but if he
does not get what he wants, might inspire some of those
dreadful misunderstanders of Islam to blow you up.

So the moral of the fact that the towers have fallen, and,
ten years later, still cannot rise again, is that to get
anything done in twenty first century America you must either
fly under the radar, or have plausible means to threaten to
blow up the radar. Patent trolls are more tollbooth of many,
are generally the least of your worries, and your exposure to
patent tolls is entirely unrelated to your choice of
technology.   If you expect enough vigorish to attract patent
trolls, (which strikes me as mighty optimistic) converting to
Islam is a more relevant way of avoiding patent trolls that
trying to find a technology free from patent trolls.
Converting to radical environmentalism might also help.
Perhaps you should consider becoming a radical
environmentalist Muslim once the money starts rolling in.

When small, fly under the radar.  If you get lucky and become
big, then worry about blowing up the radar.

The patent troll problem is merely one part of a broader
problem - the decline of Western civilization:  That problem
is that if you pay off people to refrain from doing bad
things to you, you will get more and more people threatening
to do bad things to you.  In the final stages of state
decline, presaging final collapse, broader and broader state
power, the power to destroy, is delegated to more and more
people subject to less and less state discipline.  Patent
trolls are merely one more consequence of irresponsible
judges with too much power and not enough restraint, and
irresponsible overpowered judges are merely one more
consequence of the expanding bureaucracy and regulatory
apparatus that has prevented the towers from rising again, or
the factory at Park 51 from being repaired, to which problem
the only solutions are evasion while you are small, and
flight or reprisal if you grow large.

Patent trolls generally go after big companies, like
Microsoft, and if a patent troll buys a judge, a big company
can buy a politician - or, which comes to much the same
thing, a hit man - which latter alternative looks to be
becoming more popular.

As Roissy in DC says:  "Embrace the decline".  If you will
have enough vigorish that the patent trolls come after you,
which you probably will not, you will have enough vigorish to
hire some misunderstanders of Islam.

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