A Key Myth That Drives Bad Policy: Stronger IP Laws Mean More Creativity

from the debunk-it dept

Ars Technica has an article highlighting Rep. Marsha Blackburn's "conservative tech policy goals," which has a heavy focus on ramping up intellectual property laws and enforcement. Of course, I don't see how that's any different than the "liberal tech policy" these days. Of course, this reinforces the general point that intellectual property issues are not partisan, as both major parties seem to be beholden to the interests of those who abuse IP laws.

However, as Ars demonstrates, Blackburn makes a fundamental economic fallacy in her reasoning -- and it's this fallacy that seems to be made over and over again in debates about intellectual property:
Proposition 1: The ascendant economic sector is the Creative Economy

Proposition 2: The primary commodity in this economy is intellectual property.

Proposition 3: The Creative Economy thrives online, in what is a unique, prosperous, and until recently free marketplace.
The mistake is thinking that "intellectual property laws" are the same as creative output. It's a nefarious fallacy that we see all the time. It leads to the false claim that "more IP = more creative economy." And yet, the final point in the list kind of highlights the fallacy. In fact, studies that looked into the reasons why creativity has thrived online found that it was often the absence of strict IP enforcement that resulted in such a free and open marketplace.

Furthermore, the whole basis of this line of thinking is to ignore that much of what has made the internet valuable is not that it's a broadcast medium for professional content, but that it's a communications medium, built around sharing content and speech. As Ars properly notes:
It results in a view of tech policy that is all about increasing the protection for intellectual property with little concern for the important connectivity, civic participation, and access to knowledge the Internet also provides--think e-mail, the robust political debate at online blogs, and Wikipedia, none of which need "stronger" IP protections.
It's really quite unfortunate that so many of our elected officials, no matter what their political party, seem to have fallen for the same fallacy, that seeks to turn the internet into the next version of television, rather than focusing on what the internet actually does well.

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  1. identicon
    Darryl, 21 Jan 2011 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Find me a media executive...

    average US wage is 10 times the wage of the average Chinese,

    Chinese manufacturing industry would probably allready be 100 times or more than the USA's manufacturing industry.

    Japanese managers, went to the US after WW2 and they studied US industries.

    They saw everything THEY DID WRONG, and went back to japan and did it right.

    That is why Japan is technically more advanced than the US.

    No one really buys much in the way of US products, but the world buys ALOT of things made in China.

    The US is not seen as a great technological force anymore, quite a few other countries have taken over in science, and industry, and technology.

    IP laws are just the same as laws that protect people from entering your house and taking something they do not own.

    What do you want IP reform in the US for ?

    So you can give all your US developed IP to other countries that can use it far better than the US can.

    So what do you have then, if you give away your crown jewels?

    Nothing,, thats what,

    You do not know anything, that anyone else knows, you cannot do anything cheaper, better, or differently than anyone else.

    And you (as a country) does not have the capability to compete without the original IP.

    And what is wrong with developing your OWN IP ??

    Like everyone else does, how are you going to advance as a nation if you do not have anything that sets you apart ?

    or if you do invent something great, that would help you and your country, you are happy to give that information away to anyone who wants it, so they can profit from it, and not you !!.

    It's the arrogance of the US that will be its downfall, we can all see it coming, except it appears if you live in the US !!.

    You benifit from IP every day, and you benifit from it, every minute of every day.

    If IP laws were 'relaxed' then that would not make more IP available, it would simple ensure it is kept secret by the owners of that IP.

    Just like the military has to do.

    YOU will not ever get more access to IP, regardless of the law, except if you are capable of developing your own IP.

    If that is not beyond you're capabilities.

    It's a bit sad to see the once Great America, who put man on the moon, and nuked Japan, being such a basket case today.

    And all its people can do is fight for what they can get for free, or on the cheap.

    Don't you think you have some bigger problems ? or is it you just dont care ?

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