Eric Schmidt On How To Encourage Innovation
from the don't-see-anything-about-stronger-copyright-laws dept
A bunch of folks have been sending in Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent op-ed on how to encourage more innovation in the US. The suggestions make perfect sense and there’s nothing in there that I disagree with. He says Congress should encourage more competition, and be careful not to pass legislation that favors incumbents over upstarts. This is absolutely true, but the likelihood of that happening is pretty dismal, given how big a role big company lobbyists have in drafting legislation, and given how campaign contributions work today. He also talks about more open information access and the importance of keeping talented skilled workers here, rather than pushing them to other countries.
Of course, it’s notable that he says nothing about intellectual property. I’m guessing this is on purpose. Technically, the lever that the Constitution supposedly gives Congress to encourage innovation is intellectual property policy — but these days, that clearly conflicts with Schmidt’s first point about not passing laws that favor incumbents. These days, that’s exactly what copyright and patent policy have become: protectionist measures to prop up incumbents at the expense of real innovators.
So, on that note, it’s really refreshing to see recommendations for what Congress can do to encourage innovation that doesn’t include ratcheting up IP laws — though, it’s disappointing that he didn’t go so far as to suggest moving those laws in the other direction.