Depends what you mean by squashed. Traditionally inventors were hired by companies who would then get 100% of the rights to whatever invention they came up with during their employment. In return the company would market the product and hopefully make it successful, giving the inventor a steady (if not meager) pay check. This is the same with publishing - you can pay to print your own book but then you wouldn't have the backing of people who know what they are doing to promote it. Without this component people have a tendency not to take you seriously... I mean if your invention was so great why hasn't someone bought it and promoted it yet? This is a pervasive attitude within our society - you can't blame it all on the evil big companies. Consumers have a pretty big role in this dynamic too.