Box Office Patents

Forbes: Box Office Patents.

It’s the kind of plot twist that will send some critics screaming into the aisles: Why not let writers patent their screenplay ideas? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office already approves patents for software, business methods — remember’s patent on ‘one-click’ Internet orders? — even role-playing games. So why not let writers patent the intricate plot of the next cyberthriller?

So in other words, a law grad called Andrew Knight actually wants to see the world RMS described in his ‘Patent Absurdity’ article for the Guardian, where Les Miserables was unpublishable due to patent infringement. Incredible.

He himself plays the classic lines, familiar to those who followed the EU software patenting debate:

Knight agrees, up to a point. He won’t reveal the exact details of the plots he’s submitted to the Patent Office, other than to say they involve cyberspace. And he says patents would apply only to ideas that are unique and complex. But he worries that without patent protection, some Hollywood sharpies could change ideas like his around and pass them off as their own.

”I’m trying to address a person who comes up with a brand-new form of entertainment who may not be a Poe, may not be a Shakespeare, but still deserves to be paid for his work,” Knight says. ”Otherwise, who will create anything?”

A perfect pro-patent hat trick!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted August 19, 2005 at 12:11 | Permalink


    Further, I find it disconcerting how attached people get to ideas. Get over it folks, ideas are worthless. Completely and utterly worthless. It’s execution that counts, and nothing else. Now get off your high idea horse, knuckle down, and make it reality, and then maybe you’ll have something worth protecting.

    PS.: please enable comment preview or at least put a mention somewhere on the form about how comments should be formatted.

  2. Posted October 27, 2005 at 05:56 | Permalink

    FYI, I NEVER said, ‘’Otherwise, who will create anything?’’ Dan Fisher, the author of the article, misquoted me. Clearly people are willing to create new plots in the absence of patent protection — take history, for example. Nevertheless, plot patents, I assert, will increase creativity in the entertainment industry.

    Andrew Knight

  3. Posted November 11, 2005 at 18:34 | Permalink

    I have started a fictional wiki entry for “The Zombie Stare“. The effort began as comical “it was just a dream” ending–a cheap ending to a silly story such as would often conclude a middle school composition assignment.

    What do you think?

    Wiki fictional works are licensed by the GNU Free Documentation License, which makes them freely available to copy and adapt, but the resulting works must remain under the GFDL.