Fine — But, Can I Patent “Cynical?”

Filed as News on November 9, 2006 10:34 am

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You probably heard Flickr trying to patent “interestingness” as a function of a photo’s popularity. Well, it was picked up by Boing Boing and Slashdot recently — and Thomas Hawk has some strong words on it as well.

Allowing a community to be editors and allowing interestingness (which is really popularity) to determine media promotion is a central feature seen on many different Web 2.0 sites. Digg uses their user input to determine their own version of interestingness (the digg front page). They use a proprietary algorithm that like Flickr’s is based on user activity. Reddit uses user input. Sites like YouTube and Odeo highlight popular content on their sites as well based on user input, activity, etc.

Flickr/Yahoo trying and “own” the concept of interestingness is a slap in the face to every other community that is being built outside of Yahoo! and it puts the threat of legal pressure on any non Yahoo! community.

I like this to Amazon’s attempt at trying to patent the one-click purchase model, which was also quite ludicrous, but seemingly trying to capitalize and legally “own” something that the community had embraced in many forms in recent years.

Sure Thomas Hawk is a CEO of a competing product (Zooomr), but I think the man’s got a point.

What do you guys think? is Flickr crazy? Or, crazy like a fox?

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