Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Why The Intellectual Property Law Making Business Seems Devoid Of Intellect

from the empirical-evidence?--whazzat? dept

The EFF's Deep Links is pointing to an opinion piece in the Financial Times about how WIPO is working on a new treaty to give webcasters additional intellectual property rights that they don't need and don't want. Yes, it's true that a few big companies want those "rights" -- even if they'll only serve to shrink the overall market, including the piece of those big companies. The FT piece, written by James Boyle makes a few points worth calling out. First, is the recognition that international intellectual property law is this ongoing game of leapfrog. Basically, one country puts in place onerous intellectual property laws, and then others feel they need to boost their own intellectual property laws for "parity." However, the "parity" often involves leapfrogging the original set of laws... and then the original country has to boost their laws as well. This WIPO treaty seems to be an example of just that. However, even more important is this point: "intellectual property laws are created without any empirical evidence that they are necessary or that they will help rather than hurt." This is the argument we've been making for years. For us, the question of intellectual property isn't a "moral" issue. It's not about how "information needs to be free." It's an economic issue, plain and simple. There's increasing evidence to show that many of these intellectual property laws tend to harm innovation and slow down economic development. It would seem like these are the types of things that anyone making intellectual property laws would want to understand. Instead, they seem to insist that "more protection is better" when the evidence has shown the opposite to be true. So why is it that none of the people making the laws seem interested in understanding the actual impact of intellectual property laws or bother to wonder if they're actually needed? Instead, they just listen to a few lobbyists from a few big companies, and assume what they say is good must be true. The end result is damaging for everyone.

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  1. identicon
    dorpus, 27 Sep 2005 @ 1:10pm

    Is the Copycat Business Full of Intellect?

    What happens when thousands of different companies sell the same product, all claiming to be better than the other?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Faust, 27 Sep 2005 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Is the Copycat Business Full of Intellect?

    Then some of them try to improve the product to increase sales, and decrease the cost of manufacturing, etc. to try and improve on price.

    Or, they paint it red, give it a more aggressive name and inform the world that buying their product will give you sex appeal, wealth, health and happiness -- even if the product in question is just a simple razor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    dorpus, 27 Sep 2005 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Is the Copycat Business Full of Intellect?

    My personal experience says that the market becomes saturated with low-quality products, I don't have the time or money to keep trying each brand until I find a better one. Even the "good" brands keep going out of business anyway. I thought about buying whitening strips for my teeth in the drug store yesterday, but I was frustrated by the 200 different brands all claiming the same benefits, so I walked away without buying anything. They all cost a lot of money anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Pete Austin, 28 Sep 2005 @ 2:18am

    Re: Is the Copycat Business Full of Intellect?

    The same thing happens as for replies here - people soon realise which are the "low quality products".

    Meanwhile back in the real world, the escalation of IP laws is a real problem for authors because so many more things are "owned" and the overhead of acquiring rights to use extracts is expensive in time and legal fees. If anything we need less "protection", for example reducing copyright to 10 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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