Copyright and patent law is supposed to act as incentives for the creation of new content or inventions. Yet, as we've pointed out recently, there's little economic evidence that it does so. Instead, the evidence suggests that stronger intellectual property laws seem to come after the fact
. In other words, when there is little IP protection, there is often quite a bit of creation and invention -- and then those that did that creation and invention decide that they want to protect it retrospectively. That's not the purpose of IP law, but it's what seems to happen. And, look no further than China to see it happening again. China, of course, is notorious as a haven for intellectual property infringement, which (not surprisingly) has resulted in business model innovation
. However, now that China is hosting the Olympics, it's suddenly worried about making sure the video of the games will not be copied in an unauthorized manner
(found via Against Monopoly
). Note the obvious irony. You can walk around malls in parts of China and buy any kind of unauthorized software, music and movies for next to nothing... but when it comes to China's own content, suddenly copyright is a big deal. And, of course, it wasn't copyright that acted as the incentive
for China to host and show the Olympics -- but now the country is using it to protect
the content. Copyright is being used for protectionism, not as an incentive.