Further to Aga’s statement that Intellectual Property laws should not apply internally, I too would envisage a system where people collaborate on inventions, innovation and software in a seasteading community in an "open source" way.
As Larry has indicated, there still needs to be individual incentive. People still need to have the possibility of receiving two things for their efforts:
To do this I would see a mechanism for providing something that might be called “Invention Tokens”. This is not actually money, but it provides a means of recognising people’s efforts, and also later providing a way to distribute profits in a reasonable manner. Team members may all get a base token amount and those doing exceptional work would get much more. Alongside this, people involved would still need to be paid, but at a lower rate than otherwise or at least provided with the minimum for living.
There are a large number of projects for new processes, inventions, innovation, software that will be required for the seasteading community itself. Collaboration will be essential. But the beneficiaries of this will be those living on the seasteads. So these people benefit from the efforts, as well as being rewarded with money and tokens individually and within the teams, for their work.
Inventions that can be sold outside the community would bring in much needed foreign money. Also, as the products and services are replicated to new seasteads that are sold, then money comes in for potential distribution based on tokens acquired.
It does not have to be a purely cooperative type of system. Tokens could be timestamped and could diminish in value over time to part value say, so new inventions will be encouraged with sufficient potential percentage of the overall money that is made later.
This is a system somewhere between open source, where if money is received it is based on charity, and the current patent system which appears to be unwieldy, requires an individual to be involved in a number of processes in getting to production and finishes up more like a lottery in terms of actually getting a large windfall, or even repaying the costs of patenting.
Further, I would expect all relevant inventions and software to be applied for International Patents by this community, specifically by a company registered in an existing country for the purpose. This can then be done as a specialist task with funding from the community to apply for the patents. This frees up the inventors, engineers and software developers. Also bringing products and services into production can be done by project managers and teams set up for the task.
In summary, those participating
a) get to specialise in their preferred areas of invention, support, production.
b) they can freely collaborate and can be more productive,
c) they have the knowledge of being part of something much bigger than they could do themselves,
d) products for the seasteads will be of direct benefit to those involved and can be rolled out for free or at least at much lower cost than otherwise,
e) they get recognition for their efforts,
f) they would be expected to get paid later based on how productive they have been,
g) the community still gets patent rights so where products or these patent rights themselves are sold outside the community, relatively large amounts could still be obtained to be distributed later to the individuals,
h) tokens could be sold by individuals in a market system in order to realise money early.
In short, it may not be for everyone, but it does not have to be. For the right people it could be of great benefit and could help to propel the seasteading movement once such a community gets established.