Next week at Esther's
Thursday, March 9, 2000 by Dave Winer.
Sorry not much time to write this week, lots of stuff going on.
We got a response from Amazon's Jeff Bezos this morning.
He stops short of swearing off using patents against his competitors, which is my sole issue relating to patents. Unused patents are harmless. Maybe I wasn't clear in my earlier writing.
The concern is about patents used to stop things from happening. The logical outgrowth of that is software developed solely by lawyers. If you want that kind of software and web services, stay quiet. If you care about the future of technology, now is an excellent time to make your point of view known, respectfully of course.
Next week, at Esther Dyson's PC Forum conference in Phoenix, AZ, I'm leading a panel of experts, exploring a vibrant new area of technology, Web Applications. My fellow panelists are Evan Williams of Pyra, Peter Miller of 1010data.com, Dan Bricklin of Trellix, Steve Guttman of HalfBrain, Ken Rhie of ThinkFree, and Eric Krugler of Bitlocker. I'm going to write a 10 minute intro over the weekend, and probably will send it out via email.
Kevin Werbach, who is the conference's managing editor, offered space in the evening on Tuesday for an industry discussion on patents. If you're going to Esther's and would like to discuss this, please let me know; if there's enough interest, we'll reserve a room. I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with my point of view, as usual.
As a writer, there are no blocks to what I can express, as long as it's an original expression, I can even quote other writers, as long as I do it fairly and with attribution. When I do that, no lawyer is allowed to interfere. We call this freedom of speech, and while not absolute, it is guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Talking with Werbach, who is a writer, earlier today, I asked how he'd feel if he couldn't express an idea that I had already expressed? He agreed it would be hard to be creative that way. Same with software, say I.
I wish we could go back in time, when politicians and lawyers used our software instead of trying to control it. I guess it's our fault, it must be, because if they really loved what we were doing, they wouldn't interfere with it.
In the meantime, we're plugging away on Weblogs.Com, adding new features, creating a hub for this fast-growing part of the Web.
Early next week, while I'm in Phoenix, we'll start offering free sites at Weblogs.Com, for anyone who wants to cover any issue, whether it be geographic, corporate, legal, political, technological, personal, humorous, familiar, strange, alternative or whatever.
We've started over 3000 new sites in the last 90 days. Our objective for the next 90 days is 10,000 sites. We're moving forward with the vision outlined in The Two-Way-Web and How to Make Money on the Internet. We're investing in the voice of the Web. Patents be damned.