Is Freeing Up Intellectual Property Not In Our Economic Interest?
from the says-who? dept
Andrew Leonard, at Salon.com, has written an article picking up on a few different recent stories concerning how the entertainment industry is still trying to overly protect pieces of intellectual property. One of the stories he picks up on is that documentary we wrote about recently that can't be watched anymore, because the licenses to some of the content in the film have expired. Leonard finishes his piece by saying the reason this isn't getting much of a response is because there's no economic incentive in the industry to free up this content and let it be seen. This, unfortunately, is a misconception about the discussion over intellectual property. Too many people seem to assume that the idea of freeing intellectual property is somehow "anti-capitalist" or bad for the economy, when it's much more likely that the reverse is true. The idea behind the market is to let the market decide the price of a good, and that doesn't change if that value is zero (which it can be if the supply is infinite, as is the case with intellectual property). Intellectual property laws, however, set an artificial barrier, making the market inefficient. So, if anything, it's these intellectual property protections that are causing problems in the market. And, as people are beginning to realize, it is absolutely possible to make money off of content that most think have no economic value. Opening up that "long tail" opens up plenty of new opportunities to make more money, because the market expands. The resources available to make new goods and services becomes much wider, and those raw materials feed into new, valuable offerings that do have economic value. So, while making a documentary available again may not seem to have direct positive economic value, that's short-sighted. Opening up that content makes it possible for someone to figure out a way to add economic value to it.