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Wright Brothers vs. Glenn Curtiss

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the battle-of-the-patents dept.

Patents 304

jvmatthe writes "Today's All Things Considered on NPR had a story about intellectual property and patents from America's history that could have been ripped from today's Slashdot headlines, yet it happened almost a century ago. It discussed how the Wright Brothers, considered the fathers of modern heaver-than-air-flight, had tried to lock up the skies after their patenting of the ideas used to build their airplanes. They had a long, bitter legal battle with Glenn H. Curtiss who also made airplanes; Curtiss is credited with being "the first to make a public flight in the United States, the first to sell a commercial airplane, the first to fly from one American city to another, and the first to receive a U.S. pilot license", among other things. Here's where it really gets interesting: the patent battles dragged on and apparently could have actually hindered the growth of the American airplane industry. It wasn't until World War I that people put aside their differences for the common good and the industry worked together in a spirit of free exchange of ideas! So, does is this a sign for how we might eventually get out of the patent mess we're in now? Some catastrophic event brings everyone together and the locking up of ideas with overly broad patents finally ends? For more reading, the NPR story focussed on Unlocking the Sky by Seth Shulman."

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wright brothers... (-1, Offtopic)

Two Eyes of Greg (548407) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335126)

well... why did the wright brother not team up with the other dudes? then no trouble, and more money... especially money... to buy lots of coke!

it's a sign (3, Funny)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335130)

I think it's a sign that we need to go to war with a country with a more enlightened intellectual property policy.

And lose.

Heavier (1, Offtopic)

Squareball (523165) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335136)

Heavier is spelled heaver in the summary... so get ready for the millions of people to tell you about it!

Re:Heavier (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335186)

Let's not forget the improper use of "does" in the third-to-last sentence in the summary...

but really, does who cares?

How is this redundant? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335391)

He's the first person to tell us about it. "You're the first person to mention this... redundant!" Fucking retarded moderators. ThinK!

attention public (-1, Offtopic)

redhotchil (44670) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335139)

project Pork is about to begin..

weeeeeeee

It took a world war? (1, Troll)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335140)

So, maybe this invasion of Iraq might help break this whole patent/IP thing wide open?

Re:It took a world war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335378)

Good job moderators! What was this poster thinking? Talking about war and patents in an article about patents and war. Completely offtopic.

Re:It took a world war? (3, Insightful)

#!/bin/allen (136622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335762)

There are several books in the response to that statement.

The problem with recent wars is that nobody got scared enough to put aside their economic differences.

In the first half of the last century, the government didn't have the power or will to control individual's lives the way it wants to now. It also had several sever upheavals to remind it what was important. We haven't had that, really, since the Korean war.

I'm not in favor of going to war to help straiten out intellectual property. The war that did that would probably be personally devastating for a large percentage of the population.

I'm in favor of Common Sense. Look at the reason these laws were originally created. Look at what they do today. Decide if the original purpose is still valid. Change the law based on that decision.

Review Intelectual Property Law

that's true (1)

geddard (602755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335145)

Imagine building the atomic bomb with all your enemies looking over your shoulder.

That's how it feels right now about developing standards.

You're building a standard for your company's next product, and you need your competitor's approval...

wtf???

Boogie Gal [pearlytan.com] ---

Re:that's true (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335228)

That's BS man. Companies should compete on implementations of open standards. No one is forcing you to give up your secrets on how your implementation works 100% faster than the rest, etc.

Re:that's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335535)

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,503863,00.asp [eweek.com]

Look, larger companies don't want standards. That's the reason why companies don't want standards (if all possible). It's just that their internal management foils them from operating efficiently enough to capitalize.

What are you talking about?? (2)

alienmole (15522) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335287)

You're building a standard for your company's next product

Well, if you're building it on your own, without anyone else knowing about it, then it's not a standard, is it? Unless you're talking about internal company standards, in which case you can do what you like, just don't expect the rest of the world to accept it. The point is that to increase the chance for your product to be widely accepted, it helps to conform to agreed-on standards. What's so complicated or confusing about that?

The underlying issue that I think you're missing is that you only need standards when the product you're creating is just one of many similar alternatives. If you had a truly innovative product, you wouldn't need any standards, you'd just create your own. Take Dean Kamen's Segway, for example. He didn't have to come up with an open standard for a gyroscopically stabilized two-wheeled human transporter - he just invented it and patented it (although he still runs afoul of road use standards, but that's a different issue).

So, if you want to be creating your own standards, you have to actually invent something, not just manufacture the same recycled pap that the company down the road is creating.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335147)

I claim this fp on behalf of Red Hat.

Glory hole discovered! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335152)

I just discovered a hole between two stalls in one of men's bathrooms at our university. I suspect it is a glory hole! I am tempted...

Go for it, dude. Here's the protocol! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335175)

3.0 What's the protocol to see who does what?

I've seen little talking in adult theaters. It does happen but mostly stuff happens by sight and by a standard protocol.

3.1 If you want to be the person who helps the other person cum:

1. Go into a booth; close and lock the door, if possible.
2. Drop some money in the video machine.
3. Sit down if the establishment provides a place to sit.
4. Expose your genitalia (usually by dropping your pants) and get hard.
5. Wait for someone to come into the booth next to you or check the person out in the next booth by looking through the glory hole. Don't be shy about this, almost everybody who is there is looking to be checked out by the person in the next booth.
6. If you like what you see, stick your finger through the glory hole far enough so that the other person sees it. Withdraw it to show him you are ready to receive him. If you want him to use a condom, place it in the hole between you now.
7. If the other person wants you to play with him, he will stand up and place his penis through the hole. If he doesn't, he won't. If he will use the condom you placed in the hole, he will take it now. Sometimes he will just want you to watch him play with himself.

3.2 If you want to be the person who cums:

1. Go into a booth; close and lock the door, if possible.
2. Drop some money in the video machine.
3. Sit if you wish but standing up is the generally accepted indicator that you are not willing to play with anyone else.
4. Expose your genitalia (usually by dropping your pants) and get hard. You will find it more difficult to get someone to play with you if you don't have at least a half-mast hard-on.
5. Wait for someone to stick their finger through the glory hole.
6. Put a rubber on now if you want. Place your penis through the hole. Some guys will just play with you; others will suck you; a few will want you to penetrate them anally.

3.3 If you want to take turns:

If you stop playing with someone before they cum, and stand up with yourself exposed and hard, that is a general signal that you would like to take turns. That is, it's now time for him to withdraw his penis and allow you to place your penis through the glory hole so he can play with you. Your best opportunity to make this happen is to find someone who is sitting down (looking to play with someone) and is willing to play with you (responds when you stick your finger through the glory hole).

This will result in one of two things happening - the other person will either oblige or refuse. The typical refusal is shown by the person sticking his penis back through the glory hole or by leaving and looking for someone else to play with.

On occasion, the person being played with will want to help you cum. He will signal this by withdrawing his penis from the glory hole before he cums and putting his finger through the hole. If you want to be played with, place your penis through the hole. If you aren't ready to be played with, stick your finger back through the hole after he does. Negotiate from there.

There have been many occasions that I have refused to take turns and just wanted to make the guy cum. For example, if I want to go through a few guys that evening before I cum, I won't let the first guy play with me and risk cumming too early. I think some guys take it as a rejection and it is not meant that way.

3.4 If you want to have anal sex:

Follow the same procedure as above, except place your anus as close to the glory hole as possible. When the person on the other side sees this, he will attempt to penetrate you through the glory hole. You should shortly begin to feel him pressing his penis or finger up against your anus (or nearby). Guide his penis or finger to where you want it to be. Please note: usually if the other person is not at least 6+ inches long, this is a pretty difficult position and penetration may be impossible. You may have to settle for his finger.

And, if you do this without a condom, you have a death wish.

3.5 If you want to have sex with someone in an adjoining bathroom stall:

A favorite of truckers - the bathroom stall is the only major anonymous sex stop on or near interstate highways. The protocol is very simple.

If you want to play with someone, go to a stall at the farthest end of the bathroom. Close the door, pull your pants down and wait. When someone comes into the next stall, move your foot so that you know the other person can see it and slowly start tapping it. If the other person wants to be played with, they will kneel down and place their penis under the stall wall.

The more things change... (4, Interesting)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335157)

the more they stay the same.

This should be a lesson to us all that although we think that the problems we face are new atnf will soon lead to the end of the world as we know it, we must remember that there have been patents, big companyies, monopolies and greedy people in the past who held great sway on the way things were done. But somehoe things worked out and we made it through. Think of that the next time you get too woried about the end of the world or how evil BillG is.

Re:The more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335389)

OK this is off topic but so what. I'm genuinely curious. I keep reading posts where people are calling Linux users "dirty fat scum bags" or "dope smoking hippies" or "communists" or my personal favorite "black t-shirt wearing long hair greasy slime bags". Obviously this is a stereotype. I'm sure there are many upscale, rich, preppie Linux users out there, but does the stereotype hold true for the most part? Are you guys a bunch of long haired dope smoking, acid tripping, hippie wannabees?

Re:The more things change... (2)

mbogosian (537034) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335782)

[W]e must remember that there have been patents, big companyies, monopolies and greedy people in the past who held great sway on the way things were done. But somehoe things worked out and we made it through.

We must remember that there were always people (however few) that weren't too complacent to fight these large corporations. For the pendulum to swing back, there must be something pulling it. But you're right, this is a valuable thing to keep in mind. It is important to remain optimistic that these discussions do have value in the efforts to bring things back to being tolerable again.

Comforting (4, Insightful)

paulywog (114255) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335161)

It's always nice to listen to NPR. Usually they make intelligent arguments that very precisely make your point. That show did just that...

The summary was "not only do you have to be creative and intelligent to make something successful, but you also have to share it."

Re:Comforting (-1, Flamebait)

gotvim (610753) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335303)

Yeah if your an upper-middle class white kid going to college, living off of your parents, NPR is great! NPR is not for the real world! NPR sucks!

Re:Comforting (0)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335463)

Wow. NPR scooped by a made for TV movie from the 70s.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0078496

It's a good movie, covers the subjects well. It was on the History Channel a while back.

Its too late (1)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335163)

" So, does is this a sign for how we might eventually get out of the patent mess we're in now? Some catastrophic event brings everyone together and the locking up of ideas with overly broad patents finally ends?"

I don't think so... no catastrophe can cure us at this stage. We are far too gone now. Back in 1914 if you saw somebody lying wounded on road you would take him/her to the hostpital, today you Rob the person.

So most probably if you have a bit catastrophy coming, you can expect a patent on the method to fight it. Period

Re:Its too late (2)

Squareball (523165) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335208)

I think you are mistaken. Look at what happened on 9/11/01. People were helping strangers. A lot of people lost their lives while trying to carry people down 85 flights of stairs because they were handicapped. Don't under estimate us! I saw the lines of people lining up to give blood that day. When called upon, we DO unite.

Re:Its too late (3, Informative)

radja (58949) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335259)

people may help. but most patents are in the hands of large companies. Companies almost never help, look at the pharmaceutical industry and Africa's AIDS problem.

Re:Its too late (1)

maxconfus (522536) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335561)

didn't Africa's PM deny any importing of HIV drug for infants?

Re:Its too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335703)

Got to be an American with a grasp of geography that good... Africa doesn't have a president. South Africa, the country, has a president called Thabo Mbeki, a man who is diverting funding away from AIDS treatment programs towards law enforcement - the simple reason being that very few of the rich South African elite minority get AIDS (it is predominantly a problem among the poorer majority), but there are a lot of South Africans who are going to riot when the realise what Mbeki is actually doing.

Re:Its too late (3, Interesting)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335231)

I don't think it is so much that we would rob the maimed person. I think it is more likely that we would just keep walking, trying hard not to notice the utter pain the other was experiencing.

Re:Its too late (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335445)

There was an experiment once on this I caught on TV. They had 4 different folk lying in agony on the sidewalk. One was a businessman, another a "rough" looking man. There were also an attractive woman and an unattractive woman.

The results are obvious. The businessman and the good-looking woman got help almost straight away. The other woman took a bit longer and the scruffy man didn't get anyone helping at all, despite appearing to be rolling around in agony.

Group psychology played a large part in it. Once one person helped, others quickly followed. This can be observed anywhere; the basis of most human behaviour revolves around imitation. It is the process that allows children to develop and it doesn't stop at adulthood. The blood donations on 9/11 would have been the same; once some folk did it, a trend was started. Not many of them would have had the original thought to donate blood without something else planting the idea in their mind.

Re:Its too late (2, Funny)

chthon (580889) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335525)

Funny that they helped the businessman. I thought that ties were to be used to help them out of their agony.

What about AFTER??? (3, Insightful)

dennison_uy (313760) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335165)

"... It wasn't until World War I that people put aside their differences for the common good and the industry worked together in a spirit of free exchange of ideas! So, does is this a sign for how we might eventually get out of the patent mess we're in..."

This assumption is a bit scary. What about AFTER such catastrophies?

Following this line of thinking, then everything should just go back the way it were. After 2 world wars and 9/11 where are we now? There's still RIAA, there's still Microsoft and their DRM.

Some things just never change, it's sad that you need a catastrophe just to realize that.

Re:What about AFTER??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335249)

A free exchange of ideas is good. Let's help Sadam target the Scud missiles.

does this mean... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335176)

that in 100 years the government will have to bail out microsoft whenever the balance sheets don't look too good?

War Patents (1)

badnews_bear (607583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335191)

I think that if we went into a major war today, we would not see the same thing that happened in World War II. Companies can profit from war if they get military contracts. If a company develops a technology that the government can use, they (the company) would want to keep those ideas as close to them as possible so another company doesn't come along, develop the same thing for a cheaper cost. At any rate, selling to the military is big business now, and unless this hypothetical war went on for a number of years, like World War II, then I don't forsee anyone working together for the common good. Just look at the medical industry for many examples. Drug companies hold onto their research because they want to be the one that develops the cure for cancer, so they can sell it to the world.

Re:War Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335462)

Companies can profit from war if they get military contracts.

Many wars have been fought partially because of the profit available. War is good for the corperations, and the Bush familly has known this for a long time...

Re:War Patents (1)

ProfBooty (172603) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335624)

I think things would be different if the US was attacked/invaded as companies U.S. manufacturing and R&D facilities would be in danger, no matter where they would be located. It companies would have some incentive in working together if their physical assets are in danger, and there is no option to move elsewhere.

Put aside? (5, Informative)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335193)

It wasn't until World War I that people put aside their differences for the common good and the industry worked together in a spirit of free exchange of ideas!

It's my understanding that the two parties didn't just "put aside" their differences, the US government paid off each side and told them to quit fighting and get to work building better airplanes and that the government wouldn't allow enforcement of any of their patents. For the good of the country.

Tech Review article by Shulman (1)

F452 (97091) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335197)

Shulman wrote an article about this in a recent Tech Review. You can read part of it at http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/shulman10 902.asp [technologyreview.com] . (It's premium content so you need to be a subscriber to read the whole thing.) Good stuff.

fp (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335200)

I'm so so sorry. And now I've apologised, you have to mod me up.

Patenting something already invented (-1, Troll)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335207)


all this discussion about who invented the airplane in the USA

and the real inventor was a Brazilian named Santos Dummont whose first flight was in Paris, France.

tsc, tsc, tsc

Re:Patenting something already invented (1, Informative)

ParnBR (601156) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335252)

In fact, Santos Dumont is considered the father of modern heavier-than-air flight in many countries other than the USA. This is because the first heavier-than-air flight with witnesses was with his airplane 14-bis. The Wright Bros. allegedly flied before Santos Dumont, but they didn't have witnesses. Also, the 14-bis was self-powered. Santos Dumont made his public demonstration in the Bagatelle Field, in Paris, in 1906, while the Wright Bros. only could publicly show their airplane in 1908. Just for the sake of information.

Re:Patenting something already invented (2)

leandrod (17766) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335319)

>
the 14-bis was self-powered

Just to make it clear, the 14-bis was able to take off on its own engine's power, while the Wright Flyer needed to be catapulted.

And BTW, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who was an accomplished inventor, also commissioned Cartier to create the first wristwatch, among more than 100 other inventions.

Having independent income as a prosperous farm-owner, he refused to patent anything so that his inventions would benefit humankind.

He had to fight, and won, the Wright Bros. in Europe too over their attempt to patent the airplane.

He committed suicide when, already broken by seeing his biggest invention misused in The Great War (AKA WWI), he had a triumphal reception in the then-capital Rio de Janeiro during which several well-known Brasilians died in an airplane crash in the Guanabara Bay intended to honour him.

Re:Patenting something already invented (3, Informative)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335370)

Wrong on several counts. While the Wright Brother's first flight wasn't "open to the public", they did have several witnesses, as they invited some people from the local coast guard station to watch. Also, Santos Dumont's public flight was mere seconds of barely controlled flailing around at a time when the Wrights were making figure eight flights around pylons.

The proof is in who made a success of building aircraft after the first one. Santos Dumount's plane was crap, and went on the scrap heap of history. Wright Brothers, because they understood the concepts of control and aerodynamics, went on to build a highly successful aircraft company based on ever better aircraft. By 1908, the Wrights were demonstrating flights of an hour or more and carrying passengers.

Re:Patenting something already invented (3, Interesting)

leandrod (17766) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335527)

> Wrong on several counts.

Not.

> While the Wright Brother's first flight wasn't "open to the public", they did have several witnesses

But took years to publicise and demonstrate, because they didn't want to benefit humankind as Alberto Santos-Dumont wanted, but just to make a profit.

> Santos Dumont's public flight was mere seconds of barely controlled flailing around at a time when the Wrights were making figure eight flights around pylons.

Still their flights were secretive, and his were open to the public. He didn't ever need a catapult, and at the time taking off was considered the proof of the pudding.

> The proof is in who made a success of building aircraft after the first one. Santos Dumount's plane was crap, and went on the scrap heap of history. Wright Brothers, because they understood the concepts of control and aerodynamics

Alberto Santos-Dumont's models nrs. 19 to 22, the Demoiselles, were nice, graceful light airplanes that reached 96km/h and were used for travelling around up to 18km. He used them to visit friends in the country, as he used his balloons to go around in Paris. It was small enough to be transportable in an automobile. His idea was that it would be used by private individuals.

> went on to build a highly successful aircraft company based on ever better aircraft.

Good they succeeded where they should have started, at services, instead of robbing everyone else the benefit of the airplane for 17 years.

I wonder why only First-World Westerners are allowed any glories. Even former Pres. Clinton admitted to Santos-Dumont's merits. Your aggressiveness and arrogance shows you are a mostly insecure person.

Re:Patenting something already invented (3, Informative)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335611)

because they didn't want to benefit humankind as Alberto Santos-Dumont wanted, but just to make a profit.

It might frighten you to learn this, but making a profit on your work is not evil.

Besides, what does that have to do with anything. You tried to make it sound like the Wright Brothers didn't fly until after Santos Dumont, and you asserted that there were no witnesses to the 1903 flight. I showed that you were wrong, and you came back with this crap about them not publicizing it. Did you know that the day of the flight, they approached local newspapers and nobody was interested in the story?

He didn't ever need a catapult
And by 1906, neither did the Wrights.

Good they succeeded where they should have started, at services
I don't know where you get this idea from. They built an airplane company that built airplanes. Those are things, not services. They built them to make money, which evidently you consider evil, but they were highly successful at it and the name Wright was on an aircraft company until well after World War II.

Your aggressiveness and arrogance shows you are a mostly insecure person.
The fact that when you can't win an argument on your phoney made up "facts" you resort to personal attacks shows a lot more about your personality than it does about mine.

Re:Patenting something already invented (2)

leandrod (17766) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335773)

>
making a profit on your work is not evil.

When you have built only small, missing parts on much that has been done by other people much before you.

When there were other people doing the same thing at the same time with equal or superior success, depending on the measure used.

When these people give away their work to humankind, and you want to have the power of prohibiting everyone's else use of the work for egotistical reasons.

Then yes, it is.

Furthermore, define work. Inventions are inventions, they are not labour or a product or a property.

>
You tried to make it sound like the Wright Brothers didn't fly until after Santos Dumont

Read again. I didn't. I said that Santos-Dumont's 14-bis didn't need a catapult, unlike their Flyer.

>
you asserted that there were no witnesses to the 1903 flight.

I didn't, that was another person. And if this another person was wrong in letter, was right in spirit.

>
the day of the flight, they approached local newspapers and nobody was interested in the story?

Santos-Dumont didn't need to approach the newspapers because he worked in the open. Have you ever thought about how patents hinder progress by causing people to work in secret?

>
And by 1906, neither did the Wrights.

Yet they toiled in secret, while Santos-Dumont in the open.

>
They built an airplane company that built airplanes. Those are things, not services.

OK, got me here. I just took you on your apparent meaning. Sorry for this.

>
They built them to make money, which evidently you consider evil

No, I don't. I consider egotism an evil, and money the root of all sort of evil, but not an evil in itself. Now patents and copyrights are evils, specially in the conditions I explained just above.

>
you resort to personal attacks

I didn't, you did. I only reacted to your unhappy "Santos Dumount's plane was crap, and went on the scrap heap of history", and by your dishonest hint that he didn't knew aerodinamics by writing en passant "Wright Brothers, because they understood the concepts of control and aerodynamics".

Re:Patenting something already invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335709)

Even former Pres. Clinton admitted to Santos-Dumont's merits.

Pres Clinton, aviation historian? Or just trying to kiss someone's ass one day? You be the judge!

lol.

Re:Patenting something already invented (1)

rodgregori (611622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335754)

the airplanes of the Wright brothers used to bend their wings! Santos-Dummont's flight was documented, public and filmed. And he did fly around the eiffel tower. Santos-Dummont is recognized as the "father of aviation" in Europe. Just check these links: http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Dictionary /Santos-Dumont/DI41.htm http://educate.si.edu/scitech/impacto/graphic/avia tion/alberto.html http://perso.wanadoo.fr/blimp/SantosDumont.htm

Re:Patenting something already invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335786)

And he did fly around the eiffel tower

I know it's hard for you Santos-Dumontians to figure out, but, there's a difference between a dirigible and an aeroplane!

Santos-Dumont flew a Dirigible (a GAS BAG) around the Eiffel Tower in 1901. While he may have flown a Demoiselle around it later, he's noted in aviation history for his 1901 flight in a GAS BAG.

Sheesh!!!

Re:Patenting something already invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335541)

Totally bogus argument, as it always has been since 1906.

"This is because the first heavier-than-air flight with witnesses was with his airplane 14-bis"

The Wrights had no witnesses? Their first flight was witnessed by John T. Daniels (who took the famous *picture*), Robert Westcott, Thomas Beacham, W. S. Dough, Benny O'Neal and Johnny Moore. The Wrights flew in 1904 and 1905 at Huffman Prairie, just outside of Dayton and along a heavily travelled trolley line. By October of 1905, the Wrights were flying their Flyer III for 24 miles and 38 minutes. Octave Chanute, the famous engineer and mentor to the Wrights, witnessed a flight. Amos Root published an account of a flight he witnessed in his "Gleanings in Bee Culture" magazine in early 1905 about the Wrights and their work. Many Ohioans swore out statements saying they witnessed their flights (see Frank Lahm's work in 1931 about this point).

Along comes Santos-Dumont, quite a nice guy for sure, but with a technologically dead-end vehicle based on a Hargrave boxkite that couldn't do better than 722 feet in 21 seconds. Alberto was simply lucky he didn't die in the thing. It was uncontrollable.

"Santos-Dumontians" like to always tout the flight of the 14-bis as being the first because they like the quality of his witnesses. The fact remains that hundreds of citizens witnessed the Wright flights while Santos-Dumont was flying dirigibles.

I believe these people do a great disservice to both the Wrights and Santos-Dumont's work when they insist he was the father of the aeroplane. The story of the Wrights is every bit a story of the struggle to find the secrets of *controlled* flight. There's nothing in the 1902 glider, which their patent was based, that precluded it being built thousands of years ago. And Santos-Dumont contributed to aviation's growth in 1909 with probably the first GPL'd aeroplane - the Demoiselle [mae.org] .

Why not claim Clement Ader or Sir Hiram Maxim as the inventor of the airplane before Santos-Dumont? They hopped off the ground as well. But the difference is, as is with the 14-bis, their vehicles were uncontrollable.

To say that anyone other than the Wright Brothers are the father(s) of aviation is plane wrong :-)

Huh? (2)

alienmole (15522) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335337)

What are you talking about? Dumont's first flight of a heavier-than-air vehicle, as opposed to a balloon, was three years after the Wright Brothers. He could have just sent off to them for the plans...

Factual corrections are appreciated...

Re:Patenting something already invented (3, Interesting)

richieb (3277) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335475)

and the real inventor was a Brazilian named Santos Dummont whose first flight was in Paris, France.

There were many who build machines that looked like birds and who tried to fly them. Santos Dumont was one of them, and his machine actually got of the ground.

However, the Wrights not only got a machine into the air, they figured out how to control it.

None of the others, like Santos Dumont or Gustav White, or Samuel Langley, had any idea how to steer an airplane (the rudder does not cause the turn).

The Wrights figured this out and designed a control system that allowed them to fly circle (literally) around any of their competition, who took years to catch up.

not likely (2, Insightful)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335221)

"a sign for how we might eventually get out of the patent mess we're in now"
Not likely... That was a time when corporations weren't as powerful as countries.

No (2)

GMontag (42283) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335229)

So, does is this a sign for how we might eventually get out of the patent mess we're in now?

No.

Another industry has cropped up since then with a common enemy. The legal industry views anybody with an idea or a bank account (us) as the enemy and have been on a relentless, full frontal assault ever since they got all States to require JD degrees before testing and licensing. The first wave was packing the legeslative branches full of those that had read the law and it has been a down-hill slide ever since.

One good turn... (-1, Troll)

kc0dxh (115594) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335239)

Does this mean that if the US attacks Iraq we get our music back?

So... (1)

jamis (16403) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335245)

"It wasn't until World War I that people put aside their differences for the common good and the industry worked together in a spirit of free exchange of ideas! "

that means if the US invades Iraq, it'll put an end to all patent disputes! Really! I'm suprised Bush hasn't tried that one yet.. :-)

Patents or intellectual property? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335258)

It's not patents but intellectual property that is the problem. Patents expire after a given amount of time so if you come up with a neat gizmo someone else can make your gizmo or an improved version after fifteen years and pay no royalties. With intellectual property though the rights last forever so if you go and write a story where Mickey Mouse goes to visit Bugs Bunny you'll get sued (twice). Intellectual property; stories, ideas, songs, DNA, etc, needs to expire and become public domain after a certain period of time just like patents. This will do two things; keep the companies hungry and looking for new ideas and let the little guy get into the game without facing years of litigation over alleged infringement.

Re:Patents or intellectual property? (2)

leandrod (17766) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335656)

>
It's not patents but intellectual property that is the problem.

There is no "intellectual property". This is just a misnomer to an aggregation of totally unrelated fields of trademarks, copyrights and patents. No intellectual construct is subject to property rights: trademarks are the right to ones' own name, and patents and copyrights are temporary monopolies granted by governments to incentive specific actions.

>
With intellectual property though the rights last forever

All three of patents, copyrights and trademarks should expire, patents and copyrights after sometime and trademarks if they get unused. The US Congress has just to stop extending copyrights, which extensions are inconstitutional anyway because they fail to foster "the useful arts".

What story? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335264)

Why don't the words "a story" in the article link to the actual story? Instead, there are direct links to everything BUT the story..

Why is that?

Hello? (-1, Troll)

inerte (452992) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335266)

Santos Dumont [google.com] invented the airplane.

And the wrist watch too! =)

The poster twisted the end of the story a bit (5, Informative)

codingOgre (259310) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335267)

It wasn't until World War I that people put aside their differences for the common good and the industry worked together in a spirit of free exchange of ideas!

I also listened to that NPR broadcast and there is a clarification I would like to make. The parties involved didn't just set aside their differences for WW1. The U.S. government had to step in and effectively end the lawsuit by paying *both* parties. This action then cleared to way for all parties in the airplane industry to work together.

Re:The poster twisted the end of the story a bit (2)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335483)

In latest news, the U.S. government stepped in and effectively end the war between the RIAA and Napster by paying both parties. This action has cleared the way for the music industry and file-sharing pirates to work together.

Re:The poster twisted the end of the story a bit (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335769)

I also listened and was going to point that out; but, I would like to add that the NPR show also said it wasn't the U.S. Government pay off to both sides that cleared the way for "all parties...to work together."

Rather, they disallowed them from claiming ownership of their individual advances in the ensuing years.

So basically, the U.S. Government *forced* them to share.

nice idea, but... (2)

tongue (30814) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335282)

nice idea, but I don't think that one-click-shopping is going to win any wars. What are we gonna do, bombard them with books?

Oh, I can see it now (2, Funny)

clausiam (609879) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335343)

[Tough Army Sgt]: Guys, let's move - the enemy is just ONE CLICK AWAY to the North. [Jeff Bezos ]: I heard that and I own any ONE CLICK process - I'm gonna sue your sorry asses for this patent infringement.

Re:nice idea, but... (1)

SkankhodBeeblebrox (581971) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335357)

Indeed... I think trying to compare the importance of flight to a war-effort to ANY Intellectual Property patent is going to result in strange looks and white canvas shirts with reeaally long arms that tie in the back.

Flight revolutionized the world at the time, none of this IP patent nonsense is really earth-shattering

Re:nice idea, but... (2)

Gigs (127327) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335426)

Actually the free flow of ideas is exactly what is needed. Theses Islamic countries are set up so that their base of power comes from an uneducated populace. A modern society cannot function under total socialist polices, which don't kid yourself Islamic rule is a form of socialism. Central management can not be robust enough to make sure that everyone can have two cars, a DVD player and a computer at their house. And as such if we simply start introducing these people to these simple things we take for granted. Social change will occur all on its own. As an example women will be given rights and the ability to work because they will be needed to produce the goods that the new and enlightened society demand.

Great! (0, Offtopic)

Cheap Imitation (575717) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335299)

Great! Let's start a war!

Oh, wait... we already are....

Re:Great! (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335700)

Could it be that G.Bush is sick of all these patent problems too? I mean, everybody knows that all this weapons of mass destruction stuff is bullshit. It is all about freeing up the system.

change the world through catastrophe? (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335304)

I think it's more then a little delusional/sappy to think that a catastrophe would change anything at all, for more then a temporary spell, for more then one reason.

The first and most obvious reason, to me, is that it happened once and only changed things for a few years in one example. Today, we are back to being closed/secretive/competitive, so in my opinion, that just shows that if it happened once it'll probably happen again. A temporary shift, and then back to where things were. It seems human competitive nature tends towards this.

Another reason I don't think it would happen is because of the shrinking globe. They put aside their differences for what reason? Protecting the country and the world. Today, the motivations are still there, but due to the shrinking world and godlessness, people are much less likely to care about such things enough to put aside their closed ideas.

*i say godlessness as an atheist. I know that I myself am much less willing to put my life on the line for silly ideas, political, country, or otherwise, then I would be if I believed I would be "going to a better place" when I did die bravely. I think that if you look at most wars, you can see that the root motivation behind men fighting and being willing to die was "god and country" or just "god". In todays society, there is a greater percentage then ever of people who've dismissed religion and would hence be unwilling to participate.

Also, didn't a catastrophe already happen? Things are just getting worse.

godlessness (2)

alienmole (15522) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335413)

*i say godlessness as an atheist. I know that I myself am much less willing to put my life on the line for silly ideas, political, country, or otherwise, then I would be if I believed I would be "going to a better place" when I did die bravely. I think that if you look at most wars, you can see that the root motivation behind men fighting and being willing to die was "god and country" or just "god". In todays society, there is a greater percentage then ever of people who've dismissed religion and would hence be unwilling to participate.

That may be true for meaningless wars, but when there's something real at stake, this attitude is a cop-out. Are you saying you wouldn't have wanted to enlist to fight in, say, World War II?

The problem is that societies are so used to using religion as a crutch and justification, that they've forgotten that there are actually very good underlying reasons to behave morally, responsibly, and for the good of society. Belief in god, in a sense, actually damages people's moral compass, because they no longer have as strong a reason to think for themselves on moral issues.

For an interesting fictional treatment of this subject, see "Towing Jehovah" by James Morrow. It speculates on what would happen if people no longer had a god looking over their shoulders.

What is an invention/Who was first (3, Insightful)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335308)

Aeroplane, Car, Computer, Telephone... Name an invention as famous as these, where there is a single inventor (or group of inventors). The difference between innovation and evolution is often in the eye of the beholder. Especially when you have a closer look.

Otto Lilienthal could also be considered as the father of aeroplanes. He has done various research and the Wright Brothers work is based is on his. Of course your free, not to consider a sailplane as an aeroplane.

The idea was also articulated by da Vinci 400years before (with an inpractical flapping mechanism).

Re:What is an invention/Who was first (3)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335451)

Anyway, everybody knows that Clément Ader [monash.edu.au] was the first to fly a plane, in 1890, way before the Wright brothers.

Re:What is an invention/Who was first (2)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335716)

Depends on what you call a plane and what you call fly.

Charles Parsons (England) let a small 100m "fly" before it crashed. It was driven by a steam engine.

Sir George Cayley let a small glider fly, which carried a boy (1853).

Or, following your link a bit further,
John Stringfellow [easynet.co.uk] should be considered the first pilot (1848).

Re:What is an invention/Who was first (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335753)

Lilenthal must be given a huge amount of credit in the work that lead up to the invention of the aeroplane.

Lilenthal's lift tables were used by almost everyone in that era, including the Wright Brothers (in 1900 and 1901). They ended up being wrong because Lilenthal had used the accepted value of Smeaton's Coefficient at the time, which was wrong and destroyed the value of his tables. (Values at the time ranged from .002 to as high as .006).

The Wright Brothers, independently, measured the value of Smeaton's Coefficient at .0033 and this, in part, helped them accurately calculate lift.

Today, with all of our technology at our disposal, this value has been refined to .003289. The Wrights were off by only .000011!!

sigh (2)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335312)

"Some catastrophic event brings everyone together and the locking up of ideas with overly broad patents finally ends?"
Well... There was a catastrophic event, and although the people DID get together, it seems that other parties are just locking up peoples freedoms to A: make a filthy profit or B: get more control themselves. In the meantime trying to create another war to hide the fact that they themselves are listening less and less to their own people and the rest of the world.

Even that won't help (2)

jridley (9305) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335323)

No, going to war won't help. Companies these days wouldn't fail to enforce a patent no matter what was going on. The only way they'd cooperate with infringing companies would be under presidential order and threat of being shot for treason. And even if that happened, the minute the threat was over, they'd be in court suing for compensation.

Discovery Channel! (2)

Timmeh (555676) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335345)

If anyone is interested in this stuff, mostly Glenn Curtiss stuff, I'd reccommend the Discovery Wings channel. I was never much for planes until I got that channel when we ordered digital cable. It's great stuff, I love watching the pieces on the modern technology as much as I love watching all of the historical stuff. I've seen 3 or 4 different shows (3 shows a day, an hour a piece, repeated more or less continuously for an entire day) on Glenn Curtiss and it helps you put a human face on early aviation, makes it more interesting when it's not just planes and dates. I don't think I've seen a show on yet devoted to patent fights over airplanes, but it has been mentioned several times in passing. Discovery Wings channel and the Discovery Science channel are reason enough to your average nerd to get digital cable. (Disclaimer, i don't work for any of the cable companies or the discovery channel. :P)

classic 1) 2) ??? 3) profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335356)

1) Patent design of airplanes
2) Everyone else rips you off anyways.
3) You begin sueing left and right
4) ????
5) PROFIT!

Wright Brothers, Schmight Brothers (1)

archetypeone (599370) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335367)

What about Richard Pearse [nzhistory.net.nz] ?

Glen Curtis Museum (5, Informative)

Lahjik (181864) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335385)

Since you have just about Slashdotted the poor little Glenn Curtiss Museum just down the road from me, let me give you some highlights about this amazing man. More information at the Glenn Curtiss Historical Site [glenncurtiss.com] .

Glenn Curtiss was not only a true pioneer in the world of aviation, but also in motorcycles. He had the distinction of being the "Fastest Man Alive" for a good period of time after putting his V-8 motorcycle to the speed test. The motorcycle featured at the small museum in Hammondsport, NY - about 1 hour south of Rochester, NY in the heart of New York's Wine Country. The motorcycle, really just a huge engine with a very small seat, is quite an impressive little beast [centennialofflight.gov] .

Curtiss also developed and implemented seaplanes and aircraft carriers. My wife's grandfather actually saw Glenn Curtiss piloting one of his "Flying Boats" [first-to-fly.com] . Her grandfather was beaten by his blind father for insisting that there was a boat flying over Keuka Lake!

If you are ever in Upstate NY I highly recommend the Glenn Curtiss Museum. The last time I was there, they even had a great exhibit of classic comic book covers by Dick Ayers [comics.org] .

Re:Glen Curtis Museum (3, Insightful)

oldstrat (87076) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335710)

I also used to live just down the road from Hammondsport in Tyrone.
Got to go a round in the night trainer when I was a kid(they won't even let you touch it now).
One thing to note is that Glenn was very much in touch with other inventors of his time.
It was very very common to share information and techniques, and 'steal' them.
But there are a few things overlooked about that time, and most any other, and it applies directly to computer code.
There are only a limited number of ways to build a practical device with available technology be it an aileron, or a shopping cart.
Worse yet who is to define the difference between the function of flexable portion of a wing and an aileron?
Written craftily enough, there could appear to be no difference, especially if the reviewer knew nothing of a budding technology like aviation.

Another point, a lot of what happened to Curtiss, Tesla and others is what happened to Visicalc creator Dan Bricklin and others in the software world of the not so distant past.
Sometimes it's not who is better, first, or best, but simply who is the best connected politically, or has the deepest financial pockets.

4 letter acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335386)

The next "catastrophe" won't be WW3. It will be AIDS. Of course I don't think we can expect governments to pay off the pharmaceutical companies until it is far too late.

In other news.. (1)

Plutor (2994) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335388)

In other news, one-click shopping reveals the location of Osama bin Laden and brings Al Qaeda to a standstill.
Coming up next, how the opening of DNA sequencing technology patents will thwart Saddam Hussein's evil machinations.

Does this remind anyone else of 'Connections'?

Also worth noting.. (3, Interesting)

papskier (263483) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335403)

that they mentioned that even after WWI no airplane patents were issued for nearly 50 years, and American airplane technology still led the world. Also, in the early days of computers (back in the 50's and 60's), all the big players had patents on their technologies but also had informal agreements to not enforce them, for the good of the industry.

Exactly! (5, Funny)

Evro (18923) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335406)

So, does is this a sign for how we might eventually get out of the patent mess we're in now? Some catastrophic event brings everyone together and the locking up of ideas with overly broad patents finally ends?

Yes, as World War III looms on the horizon, the world unites to stop the patent madness and give us the uberweapon we really need: One Click Shopping!

Explain to Me... (2)

reallocate (142797) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335410)

...why Orville and Wilbur should have gone to all that trouble and then just given it all away? If you invest years of effort, labor, and money in creating something that didn't previously exist, why aren't you entitled to reap the benefits?

Legitimate issues with software patents and digital media copyrights have fostered the projection of the free software/open source "philosophy" onto society as a whole. That's utopian. This "philosophy" works in the specific egalitarian sub-culture that emerged around Unix. It won't work in any environment in which people plan on controlling the results of their efforts in order to maximize their gain. In other words, any human environment populated with something other than comfortable, well-fed saints.

Re:Explain to Me... (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335556)

If you invest years of effort, labor, and money in creating something that didn't previously exist, why aren't you entitled to reap the benefits?

Sure, you are entitled. But a lot of inventions were done by people where greed wasn't the motivation. Science and discovery once had a appeal. Now it's the moola.

Re:Explain to Me... (2)

reallocate (142797) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335686)

With rare exception, it's always been about the "moola". Expecting to benefit from your work isn't greed. It's normal human behavior. Commercial artists, musicians and writers are in it for the money. That's what the word "commercial" means. Ditto people we call "inventors".

The idea behind patents and copyrights is to encourage the development of new inventions and new art in return for a degree of protection and exclusivity. You might call that "greed", but I don't. The notion that art and invention are the result of flashes of inspiration that come to altruistic people is wrong. It takes hard work and money, even if someone did have a legitimate "bright idea". Sometimes it takes the resources beyond the capacity of a single person. Even Michelango needed money.

Harold Pitcairn (3, Insightful)

richieb (3277) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335417)

You should read about Harold Pitcairn [nationalaviation.org] . He had a number of patents on autogyro and helicopter technology. When WW II started the Pitcairn allow the US goverment the use of his patents. The goverment let a guy name Sikorsky build helicopters as Pitcairn was busy with other war material production.

After the war, the patents were not returned and Pitcairn sued the goverment. The case lasted for over 20 years and eventually (after Harold Pitcairn's death) the Pitcairns won.

Meanwhile, think of the largest companies that build helicopters today.

The Wright brothers actually figured out how airplanes turn and developed a system to control the flight of an airplane. Curtiss just used their results and ideas, improved the implementation but did not do his own research.

"the first to receive a U.S. pilot license" (2)

Gerv (15179) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335428)

If he was the first to receive a U.S. pilot license... who was his examiner?

Gerv

Fathers of modern airplanes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335439)

That would be Santos Dumond, a Brazilian scientist that was living in Paris at the beginning of the 20th Century. In 1906 he flew the first "modern" airplane. Self-propelled, sustained flight. That's the airplane that started it all. A real airplane.

And before I forget, right about that time he went to Cartier and ordered a special watch with a leather strap that he could attach to his wrist. That's right, the first wrist-watch was his idea. How else would he keep the time while flying his airplanes?

The turning point: war with Antarctica (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4335447)

The nation's inventors and technocrats will come together when the War on Antarctica [salon.com] commences.

so whatcha gonna do about it? (0, Offtopic)

blastedtokyo (540215) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335493)

Great story but all it does is reinforce what everyone on this site already knows and believes. Today, please, do something about it!

-Send the story to a coworker who doesn't agree with you,

-send a copy to your congressman,

-update your sig to reflect your beliefs,

-get a Free the Mouse bumpersticker [bumperactive.com] and wear it,

-give money to the EFF,

-release a piece of music, writing, photo, idea you came up with to Creative Commons [creativecommons.org] .

-Send a thoughtful letter to the editor to 3 different publications you read.

C'mon people, we don't need more witty remarks.

FREE THE MOUSE!!!!

The main difference between then and now (3, Insightful)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335516)

is before wwi wars were just starting to be mechanized, with still a lot of rifles and calvary - now we (and 'them') have the bomb! About the worst thing that could happen then (very bad no doubt) was trenchfoot and mustard gas, and produced some hero's like Baron Von Richthofen [richthofen.com] and Eddie Rickenbacker [richthofen.com] . Now we put up for risk vast civilian areas of Bhagdad and Chicago, live in fear of genetically engineered killer virusus, and, gasp, script kiddiez [globalideasbank.org] !

Aliens are the key... (1)

maxconfus (522536) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335540)

Ronald Reagan once quipped while in office that, 'if aliens landed on this planet and attacked people of the world would lay down their grudges and join forces to defeat the aliens'.

Re:Aliens are the key... (1)

mwjlewis (602559) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335774)

If alien's attacked the world, I belive that there is a lot more to worry about then patents and DRM.
Yes, I belive that the world would come together.

Look at the support that the US got on 9/11/02. Maybe we can team up with the aliens and have them attack Al Quada. (sp)

I could see it happening. (1)

mwjlewis (602559) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335670)

1)The USA Nukes Iraq.
2) Oil Prices Go Sky HIgh
3) Competing Car/Engine manufactors Partner/team up (share trade secrets/patents) to produce REAL WORLD alternitive fuel engines
4) Profit.

Hollywood... (2)

mbogosian (537034) | more than 12 years ago | (#4335707)

Actually, this kind of thing was not limited to the (then to become) airline industry. Movie production was done largely in New York, until producers realized they would be much more likely to get away with using Thomas Edison's patented motion picture camera without paying exorbitant licensing fees (which Edision was fanatical about enforcing) if they were on a different coast.

And Hollywood was born....
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