Another Example Of Less Intellectual Property Protection Leading To More Innovation

from the innovation-without-IP dept

ZeroPaid, TechCrunch and Wired are all pointing to a video interview done by writer Thomas Crampton of a guy in China, who talks about how much more advanced P2P technology is in China, mostly because the makers of that technology don't have to constantly hide themselves underground or fight with the entertainment industry and the government just for the right to exist. While some are saying this is quite a revelation (others are pointing out that the claims seem exaggerated), it shouldn't be surprising at all to find out the technology is getting better without the constant pressure from the entertainment industry. For years, we've seen example after example after example of where the fight to more stringently protect intellectual property in the name of innovation has actually done the opposite, slowing down the pace of innovation. In fact there are whole books on the topic. This is merely another example. While the entertainment industry has continued to insist that more stringent copyright laws help promote innovation, that's increasingly being proven incorrect.

Amusingly, it seems that the "protectionist" China is leading the way with much more free market policies on these issues. Two and a half years ago, we pointed out that, despite all the problems with rampant "piracy," the Chinese music industry was doing extremely well -- because those musicians had learned to adapt and embrace new business models that didn't require directly selling the music. It's only two years later that musicians outside of China seem to be catching up.

However, the more important lesson here is in understanding the unintended consequences at play. The RIAA and the MPAA (and Congress, through the generous donations of those two organizations) have talked about how important it is to "protect" content -- but in doing so, they crippled the industry for developing P2P tools, which have the potential to be a much more important part of economic activity in the future. Better tools for the distribution and promotion of content are quite important, and by cracking down on that in the name of "piracy" we've now hurt the US's ability to lead in that field -- and without any real benefit to the content creators the industry was so anxious to protect. It's really the same as any other protectionist policy. If you protect an industry, it just allows others elsewhere to be more innovative and more nimble and to take control over that industry. It simply destroys the industry at home where it's supposedly "protected" and hurts consumers by offering them less innovation for more money.
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Filed Under: china, competition, free markets, innovation, p2p, regulations


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  1. identicon
    Jorge, 17 Oct 2007 @ 6:30pm

    Let me get this straight: a fake technology is proof that less IP results in more innovation?

    That's some might fine logic you've got there. I hear the Bush Administration is hiring people like you.

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