Craig Hockenberry writes at his blog how the coming of the Internet allowed developers to distribute their products online and take small software developers mainstream. Today, independent developers create many of the best-sellers for platforms such as Apple’s App Store.
But there is a dark cloud on the horizon:
But this expanded distribution is also putting our business at risk: there are people in this new market who claim a right to a part of our hard work. Either by patent or copyright infringement, developers are finding this new cost of litigation to be onerous.
The scary part is that these infringements can happen with any part of our products or websites: things that you’d never imagine being a violation of someone else’s intellectual property. It feels like coding in a mine field.
My fear is that It’s only a matter of time before developers find the risks and expenses prohibitive and retreat to the safety of a larger organization. We’ll be going back to square one.
A similar scenario is playing out in numerous industries, from books to music & movies to fashion. Entrepreneurs in many industries are battling corporations and moochers who are trying to use the intellectual property regime to either strangle or leech from those trying to push civilization forward.