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” However, the “typewriter inventor” could certainly charge for more than the sale of the first one. “
I was not referring to the sale of the first typewriter as if you could buy one and self-manufacture more, but the first sale doctrine, applied to each typewriter that you have legitimately purchased; It’s that concept that allows resale of used LPs, books, CDs, whether the publisher likes it or not, as long as they are legal (“originals”) and not unauthorized copies.
“Now, if he also invented the font that the typewriter typed in, he could copyright the font.”
A few things I remember from books I have read on copyright history and computing ethics:
Typeface-copyright is illegal. “Fonts,” when referring to digitizations that generate such typefaces, can be copyrighted as programs. You could blatantly imitate the typing style from a copyrighted font in your own program that draws characters as long as you don’t copy the binary images directly, and it’s not considered copying the font. We say “font” today usually meaning typeface. This issue pre-dated the typewriter. Behold the Press (the U.S. has a constitutional freedom named after this invention.) Boxes of little metal blocks with the shape of a character carved into the top were sold, called “typefaces.”
“What I think is unreasonable, is trying to license each typewriter to the end consumer and trying to lay claim on the documents they create using the typewriter itself.” (typewriter-> You meant your dvd authoring equipment, right?)”
You found what I was hinting at. Some historical research might show that the courts did not allow what’s quoted directly above to happen with typewriters – or film movie cameras – paint brushes – chalk boards – erasable marker boards – the ball point pen – musical instruments (except for keyboard demos based on copyrighted songs) – or numerous other patented tools pre-dating the computer age – I could imagine such examples brought up as evidence to challenge the format-royalty concept. I have heard a rumor recently that a major disc replication company is refusing to pay the royalty, and is threatening to do just that, let ’em sue, then make it backfire with evidence that all file-format-patents might be illegal.
Anyone remember a recent “business method patent” dispute on the idea of – pouring milk onto a bowl of corn flakes?! Anyone who has been in a hospital, camp, or boarding school dining area for breakfast has seen more than enough prior art to bust that one. I think I will try pouring a glass of BEER on my bowl of cheery oes and file for a patent of my own. I always thought that something that does the same thing as what has gone before and just looks a little different, is not an invention. The EP/SLP mode on the VHS recorder might be prior art for “a method to compress video by differentially blending interlaced fields” for example. I have seen it do that!
(I never knew writing impromptu essays could be such an enjoyment until this thing called the internet…)