Why Innovation Is Under Attack

from the three-reasons dept

This is a guest post from Michael A. Carrier, law professor at Rutgers and the author of the excellent book Innovation for the 21st Century, which covers many of the issues we regularly talk about here.

Innovation is under siege. Techdirt has cataloged the threats posed by increasingly aggressive copyright laws. I'd like to offer three reasons why we find ourselves in this situation.
  1. The first reason is the overheated rhetoric used by copyright holders. Today's debate takes place on a playing field marked by "theft," "piracy," "absolute property," and "rogue websites." The terms are trumpeted from the highest echelons of government. They are bellowed from Hollywood and the record labels. And they have controlled the debate.

    It does not matter that the assertions are false. Nowhere (other than in the mythical world propounded by copyright holders) do property owners have absolute rights. The rights to exclude, use, and transfer that make up property law are subject to at least 50 limits, such as easements, zoning, eminent domain, public access to beaches, and anti-discrimination laws.

    It is also crystal clear that taking a physical good (and leaving nothing for others) is far different than "taking" a copyrighted work (which, as sampling shows, can increase demand). The nonrivalrous nature of the copyrighted work means that one personís consumption does not diminish the amount left for others to consume. In fact, "pirates" often are some of the entertainment industry's best customers.

  2. The second reason for the threats to innovation is copyright owners' panic upon the introduction of new technologies. John Phillip Sousa thought the player piano would lead to "a marked deterioration in American music." Jack Valenti famously thought the VCR was to the American public as "the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." The panic has extended to numerous technologies, including MP3 players, p2p software, DVRs, and digital radio and TV.

    But in fearing the potential of the new business models, copyright holders offer a classic example of market leaders that fail to appreciate disruptive innovation. Clayton Christensen famously showed that, when faced with a new technology that threatens to upset a profitable business model, market leaders tend not to appreciate the full potential of the new paradigm.

    A decade ago, the recording industry responded to Napster, which was striving to be "the online distribution channel for the record labels," not by striking a deal that would have seamlessly transported the industry into the digital era, but by suing it. While the record labels may have won the battle in shutting down Napster, they began to lose the war, as former users migrated to other p2p networks.

  3. The third reason is what I call the "innovation asymmetry." By that I mean that courts and policymakers overemphasize the importance of infringement. Infringing uses of a technology are presented on a silver platter by copyright holders that have every incentive and ability to highlight figures of "massive" infringement, however flawed they may be.

    In contrast, the noninfringing uses are more abstract and not advanced by such a band of zealous advocates. It is difficult to put a dollar figure on the benefits of enhanced communication and interaction. In addition, the uses are more fully developed over time. When a new technology is introduced, no one, including the inventor, knows all of the beneficial uses to which it will eventually be put.

    Just to offer two examples, Alexander Graham Bell thought the telephone would be used to broadcast the daily news, and Thomas Edison thought the phonograph would be used to record the wishes of old men on their death beds. Nor is the disappearance of the new technology likely to be lamented, as it will not disrupt settled expectations. This asymmetry, combined with costly litigation (which ensnares small technology makers in a web of complex tests and unaffordable lawsuits) explains why courts do not appreciate innovative technologies.
As we confront numerous threats to innovation -- ACTA, the PROTECT IP Act, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Obama Administration White Paper on IP enforcement -- these are just some of the challenges that we face. Figuring out ways to refocus the debate on key issues in innovation, rather than in protectionist efforts, is going to be key.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 6:52pm

    Recorded music sales have been cut in half since Napster.

    Trying to claim piracy isn't the reason just makes people roll their eyes.

    If you don't want to pay for the music you consume, go make your own.

     

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      Phil Bowyer, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:15pm

      Re:

      Piracy isn't the reason. People had the ability to pirate long before napster, and the music biz was able to make a buck or two.

      There are so many other factors contributing to the demise of the music industry. Price points, release windows, and lack of proper digital strategies (forced DRM, low quality files) are just a few. Crap music, manufactured bands, and lawsuits are a few more.

      It's easy to blame piracy, but the reality is that there's a whole lot more going on, and those problems won't just go away because you are blind to them.

      There are many bands and artists making livings with music because they aren't boo-hooing. They are out there connecting with fans, listening to what they want, and delivering it to them. Piracy for them is a non issue, because fans actually want to support them.

      Try getting a wide angle lens so you can see the whole picture.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:21pm

        Re: Re:

        All I see are thieves so you're wrong; it's piracy.

         

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          Nicedoggy, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I too see only thieves but they go by the name of CEO's today LoL

           

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          Jay (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 7:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Blame piracy for the death of tapes and floppies as well.
          *rolls eyes*

           

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            NotMyRealName (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The only reason I ever used a floppy disk was for sneakernet piracy. I imagine there may have been some legitimate uses for them, but I rarely ran across it. Maybe someday the **AA will use p2p as their poster child for legitimate transfers while decrying the next new thing.

             

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          Brad, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          As a business would you rather sell fewer items, spend more on advertising and promotion yourself and have no "piracy" or would you rather have a free promotional avenue, greater exposure and ultimately more sales with "piracy"?

           

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      Nicedoggy, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:22pm

      Re:

      Assuming that piracy is the cause, which is debatable.

      Most of that cut was caused by backlash to the litigation strategy that they took, the movie industry is only now going to do that and they didn't suffer from piracy far from it their record revenues year after year are just a testament that piracy most probably is not the primary cause of falling revenues for the music industry.

      If people take a good look at the numbers what they see is the fall of the CD as a medium for distribution, that means people don't want to buy CD's they want digital and the industry refuses to make it available and they pay the price for it, only now they are starting to give people what they want and only now revenues for digital are growing and are more than half the revenues for that sad industry already, if they had took that path a decade ago they probably be in a better place.

      Also it is funny to claim loses when everybody can see artists making hundreds of millions of dollars in live gigs, bringing in more money today than in past eras, can you shown a graph of the top 100 earnings of the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's? You be surprise by what that graph would show you.

      If you want to get absolute control of every instance build an army, because the public don't care and only a police state would change that attitude and even then as the USSR proved it is not possible to stop, it was a capital crime to listen to western music there and somehow western artists had millions of fans inside the USSR, the same in China.

      There are things you can charge and control and there are things that are just beyond control.

      Also I want to know why you people just don't put a price tag and ask for the money up front for it, what dumb person give something away and ask for money after?

      Companies broke the social contract that they made with the public and now are crying foul?

      Cry me a river.

       

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      rubberpants, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

      Re:

      Movie industry profits have never been higher.

       

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        Someone, May 14th, 2011 @ 12:36am

        Re: Re:

        I think that's due to the fact that everything is nearly $15.00 a ticket in the states; unless you're talking BluRay (or however you spell it) and DVD sales- which I'm sure are now dismal from Redbox, Hulu, and Netflix banking on low monthly and rental costs - and people can copy the disks themselves too.

         

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      Nick Taylor, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:58pm

      Re:

      It doesn't make "people" roll their eyes, it makes idiots roll their eyes.


      1) "Youth" spends around $350 Billion dollars cell-phones/related products/services a year. Since Texting was invented a trillion dollars has been sucked out of people's disposable income.

      2) There is massive competition from video games - bigger than hollywood.

      3) There is also competition from very expensive and lucrative major-act tours. A couple of years back, U2 took 1/3rd of a billion out of music-buyer's pockets. Every year someone like Madonna or The Stones does something comparable.

      4) There is a recession - which for your core-market actually started well before the crash. Rent has gone up astronomically in the face of stagnant wages

      5) Music is no longer the prime conduit of youth culture that it was. It is less relevant. I'm a musician, I should know.

      6) People who share music spend more than people who don't. If anything file-sharing is comparable to payola-free radio rather than "theft" of anything as ephemeral as information.

      Aside from all that - this idea that you should be able to work once (or get someone else to work once) and get paid forever is illogical, unworkable and frankly immoral.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:56pm

        Re: Re:

        1. "youth" spends 350 billion? cite.

        2. video games have been around since the 1980s.

        3. There is always competition for concert dollars in the summer. Has been for decades.

        4. The recession might have played a part, but not fifty percent worth...

        5. Music is just as big in peoples lives as it has ever been. I've been self-employed in music for 15 years, I should know.

        If it wasn't, then no one would mind if the pirate sites got shut down...

        6. This is a hilarious myth that gets spread around by tech sites. Some bogus piracy-biased site did a study a few years back and now it's touted as reality. It isn't. Pirates don't buy, they rip off.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Number 6 was actually the Canadian government, not that you're interested in factual information.

           

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          Jay (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 11:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          1) Not a big deal

          2) How the hell does video games being around since the 80s have anything to do with being massive competition for music? That's non sequitar

          3) But they're making more money at concerts by increasing prices.

          4) When consumers cut spending, that's a recession. The first area cut is usually entertainment. Hence, you're also seeing a lot of cable cutters who only want internet.

          5) How? It plays a part, but where do you really have a conduit for musicians other than Youtube or a fan website? It's a niche, same as other forms of entertainment.

          6) Actually, the ones that proved this were working in the UK for the major labels. pdf link

          Basically, the music industry has been growing despite all the piracy. BPI, and you got owned by your own research.

           

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      Bergman (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 8:08pm

      Re:

      I don't buy CDs because they are insanely overpriced. The same argument applies to DVDs. I don't pirate music. I vote with my dollars to not support DRM-laden music download schemes that violate my rights as a consumer under copyright laws (on that note, why is it not actionable in court when DRM violates a consumer's right under the law, in the name of preserving rights the copyright owner lacks under that same law?)

      I do occasionally buy an MP3 I like (usually from Amazon, since they don't block my ability to play my property on whatever player I like) and I've never made a bootleg copy of such downloads.

      Claiming that I and others like me are statistical proof of a rise in piracy (not buying DRMed or overpriced CDs, therefore sales of DRMed music or CDs are down) is absurd.

       

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        Ken, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Record labels and the movie industry like a physical product like a CD or DVD because they can control how many units are out there. Scarcity and a supply that is less than a demand is what drives up prices to they cling on to these physical mediums that no one wants anymore. Downloads there is an endless supply and cannot be easily controlled which is why the movie and music industries are resisting it so much.

         

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      Steveorevo, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:20pm

      Re:

      Could not agree more.

      As an independent software developer, the whole argument about piracy can't stand up to the hard cold facts. Pirates that convert to paid users: 0.0%. I have tons of users that have zero.zero percent of ever paying for a legitimate license. Yet they continue to use my software without regard. I'd charge 1/10nth the price of my own software if every actual user paid for it.

      Here's another prime example:
      http://smellslikedonkey.com/wordpress/?page_id=274

      The URL the author presents in this TechDirt post is B.S. Not only do pirates outright steal, they hurt the industry further by redistribution. Yeah, you can say that pirates also buy 75% more tickets and DVDs, but they also create 90% of loses. Paying an author $9 and then stealing $90 dollars doesn't make any sense what so ever.

      FAIL

       

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        Brad, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:16pm

        Re: Re:

        "pirates" that do not pay are not in your market anyway. Even if piracy was eliminated it would make little or no effect on your actual earnings. So in reality you are not losing money.

        In many cases it is the thought of someone using a product without paying is what really bugs many creators and IP holders, not the fact that they are not making money from them because with or without piracy they would not be making money from them anyway.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 10:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you joking? If someone really wants something, they buy it. You'll notice that happening every day, everywhere in the world.

          But if people can get the same thing for free, they of course take that route.

           

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            Jim O (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 12:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "But if people can get the same thing for free, they of course take that route."

            Your logic is flawed here. Anyone can get any movie for free, but millions of people subscribe to Netflix anyway. Anyone can get any song for free, but millions of people subscribe to Pandora anyway. There are thousands of games that anyone could steal for free but Portal 2 has sold something like 4 million copies. I think it's pretty clear that your statement is just wrong.

            There is enough free stuff (legal and otherwise) on the internet to keep people busy for lifetimes, and yet people still happily pay for stuff all the time.

            Give someone a compelling reason to pull out their wallet and they will. Complaining that people will always steal if given the chance isn't productive (and it's clearly wrong).

             

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              Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2011 @ 9:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not anyone can get a song or a movie because many people refuse to put their computers at risk to illegally download, older folks who aren't tech savvy, etc.

              If you think there's a netflix for music, bring it on.

               

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        techflaws.org (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 1:19am

        Re: Re:

        Here's another prime example: http://smellslikedonkey.com/wordpress/?page_id=274

        Quote from the conclusion of said example:

        How much does it hurt? probably not a whole lot. Thereís probably a few of these people that would have bought our game in the first place so itís not really a big deal.

        FAIL!

         

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        Ken, May 14th, 2011 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        If you charge people a price they are willing to pay they will. If you overcharge people will get around that. Adobe Photoshop is the most pirated software there is and it is because it is way over priced.

        It costs a lot to develop software but the cost of distributing it is very low so it makes more sense to sell individual units at a low price and sell a lot of them rather than sell a few units for a high price.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Photoshop is also the most heavily pirated software because all your friends use it too. You want to be like your friends, right? Some of them are professionals!

           

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        indieThing (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re:

        You're obviously making bad software that isn't up to scratch then. I've been making independent software for over 25 years and have never had a PROBLEM with piracy. Of course my software has been pirated, many, many thousands of times, but it's not a PROBLEM.

        If you are making good software then you'd probably be better off looking into why you're not making money, rather than burst a blood vessel.

         

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      Ken, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:48pm

      Eliminate the label middleman.

      Music has never been more popular and new bands as well as old bands are making music and plenty of it. The artists aren't the ones hurting. It is the record labels that are the dinosaurs going extinct. In the age of the Internet record labels are the needless middleman.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 10:56pm

        Re: Eliminate the label middleman.

        Needless to say, you have no idea what you're talking about. I hate to break this to you, but the record labels aren't going anywhere, and certainly aren't going to be extinct.

        There are probably more labels now, than ever before. Yes, 4 corporations own all the major labels now, but there are more indies than ever.

        Bands have no interest whatsoever in doing everything themselves and on the internet. They won't get very far that way.

        That's why bands try to get signed to labels. Always have, always will.

         

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          cc (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 12:35am

          Re: Re: Eliminate the label middleman.

          "Needless to say, you have no idea what you're talking about."

          Doesn't he?

          "I hate to break this to you, but the record labels aren't going anywhere, and certainly aren't going to be extinct. There are probably more labels now, than ever before. Yes, 4 corporations own all the major labels now, but there are more indies than ever."

          With the recording industry reportedly dwindling in size and an increase in the number of record labels, you have a greater number of people trying to share a shrinking pie. Basic math doesn't lie: there's a bright future for that profession, so let's all start record labels!

          "Bands have no interest whatsoever in doing everything themselves and on the internet. They won't get very far that way."

          Speak for yourself. There are tens of thousands of bands doing just that, going it alone, releasing music under CC licenses and encouraging people to share it.

          Just look at the hundreds of thousands of songs on Jamendo. If they aren't getting anywhere doing that, why are such overwhelming numbers of musicians doing it? Can you picture this in ten years?

          "That's why bands try to get signed to labels. Always have, always will."

          The world is ALWAYS changing. If you ever think it's stopped changing, it's because you've been left behind.

           

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        Someone, May 14th, 2011 @ 12:33am

        Re: Eliminate the label middleman.

        I full on agree. The way most authors capitalize the most now is by independent publishing companies to digital media sources- ipad, kindles, etc.

        Why should other art forms think they're special and able to avoid the technology fads?

         

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          Ken, May 14th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

          Re: Re: Eliminate the label middleman.

          The music industry wants to force you to buy the song separately for every medium you want to play it on. RIAA has made statements in the past that burning a CD to a computer is theft even if you do not share it with others. They want to make it so if you buy a CD it can only be played on a CD player. If you buy an mp3 you can only play it on an MP3 player. In fact if the music industry got their way there never would have been mp3s.

          Copyrights used to be only concerned with making copies but it is now becoming the right to dictate how the work is played, and how it is used.

           

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      IronM@sk, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:16pm

      Re:

      So you are saying that sueing Napster has caused a reduction in recorded music sales. Congratulations, sir, you have just proved a point.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 10:35pm

      Re:

      Thank you for failing basic statistics.

       

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      techflaws.org (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 1:08am

      Fixed that for you

      Trying to claim piracy is the reason just makes people roll their eyes.

       

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      RadialSkid (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

      Re:

      If you don't want to pay for the music you consume, go make your own.

      Sorry, can't hear you over the free, LEGAL music I'm blasting right now.

       

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      Ken, May 14th, 2011 @ 8:57pm

      Anonymous Coward is a BIG GOVERNMENT LIBERAL

      Copyright laws have created an atmosphere were almost nothing can be created with generating lawsuits or threats of lawsuits. Very few ideas are original. Almost every invention or idea is built from what came before. It is only going to get worse to a point you now need a good lawyer to create anything.

      The government that will be required to monitor and enforce the current laws and the new ones coming up will require heavy handedness that we have never seen in this country. Say goodbye to limited and Constitutional government because IP is giving way to every freedom imaginable. IP Maximilists are the new BIG GOVERNMENT advocates that any liberal or socialist could ever dream of.

      You Anonymous coward are a Big Government Liberal.

       

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      Acer905, May 15th, 2011 @ 6:05pm

      Re:

      ... Ever heard of the Radio? just sayin. If its been broadcast, its yours to listen to whenever you want.

       

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        Ken, May 15th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Its funny you should mention it because the music industry has been trying to shut down radio since it started playing music.

         

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      Michael Gregoire, May 16th, 2011 @ 9:13am

      Re: Music sales/"Piracy"

      @Anonymous Coward: Go ahead and bury your head in the sand and ignore the real reason why the music industry is hurting.

      http://www.excursionsinmusic.com/random-notes/supply-demand-killed-the-music-industry/

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 7:47pm

    Also I want to know why you people just don't put a price tag and ask for the money up front for it, what dumb person give something away and ask for money after?

    I couldn't agree more. I've suggested to bands that Kickstarter is the way to roll numerous times the past couple months.

    Until the PRO IP act takes effect, and it becomes beneficial again to take advantage of label support and PR, it's the best choice.

     

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      Nicedoggy, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:13pm

      Re:

      LoL

      The PRO IP Act will never affect the public, it does stifle business but the public is immune from it.

      What the PRO IP Act do about radio and free legal web sources that are essential for promotion?

      Because I don't see people loosing the ability to record sounds any time soon do you?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:48pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't understand your question; free web promotion has nothing to do with piracy or the pro ip act.

         

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          G Thompson (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 11:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh web promotion has everything to do with it since you acknowledge that a lot of recent DCMA takedowns were for legally promoted music sent by labels marketing divisions when those same labels legal divisions instead sued.. Communication between marketing depts and legals is non-existent..

          And the So called PRO IP act, which is just the USA becoming what it was pre 1941, isolationist, will only hurt your economy more.

          Seen the rate of exchange of the US$ lately compared to rest of the worlds currency?

          Or for an even better education on markets, the USA has a population of approx 311 million people which is as of May 2010 a whopping 4.5% of the worlds population (6.918billion estimated as of May 2011)

          Taking into consideration that 4/5 (a very conservative estimate) of the world is dirt poor and in your framework of purchase power doesn't matter, that still leaves over 1Billion people who do NOT reside within the USA and have the potential to purchase or not the music that they want, at the time that they want it..

          But hey, according to people like yourself, and the current USG, they are probably all terrorists..

           

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          Nicedoggy, May 14th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Then you don't understand "piracy".

          Any open vector is a source of piracy, so free radio, web free services and promotional material released for free can be copied and distributed, but incredibly when it is released by some people is not piracy but when it is release by others is piracy, where is the sense in that?

          The end result is the same, people will get the music for free.

           

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        Jay (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 11:53pm

        Re: Re:

        "The PRO IP Act will never affect the public"

        Orrin Hatch said the SAME thing about the DMCA as he downloaded a song. He claimed fair use would prevent abuse.

        Now he wants to pass the PROTECT IP Act.

        Haven't we had enough litigation?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2011 @ 3:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But jobs! The economy. America! And freedom.

           

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          Nicedoggy, May 14th, 2011 @ 5:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes indeed, but how any law will affect your ability to copy or reproduce anything inside your own home?

          It may affect some social interactions, you may not be so open about in public, but in private what changes really?

          Even underground rampant piracy will still be rampant piracy.

           

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    Rick, May 13th, 2011 @ 8:05pm

    the quality of astroturf these days

    The moronic sniping by "Anonymous Coward"(s?) above shows just how weak an argument today's astroturf dollar buys for the copyright lobby.

     

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    Prashanth (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    Too...much...sense...too...much...logic...must...viscerally...respond...in...a...trolling...fashion. ..(with...too...many...periods...indicating...stress...for...the...speaker...to...say...this)...must ...defend...old...guard...AAAARRGGGGHHH!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:13pm

    What has Techdirt identified as hurtful to "innovation"?

    1. Patents "bad"

    2. Copyrights "bad"

    3. "Bad" laws should be repealed, especially when all they do is support persons, big and small, who have simply failed to adapt by embracing new business models that do not rely on patent, copyright, and any other government grants of monopolistic power.

    Why not just simply repeat the above refrains, rather than engage in long winded articles using terms out of the US Constitution, since, after all, their use would be unnecessary if these "bad" laws were simply legislated out of existence?

     

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      The eejit (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 12:13am

      Re:

      When epople keep whinging about 'Big Government' yet do nothing about the shoddy state of IP law int he US, there's a wonderful thing called Cognitive Dissonance. I would have expected that the Tea Party would have been big on reducing government's influence on Copyright/patent/trademark law.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2011 @ 9:22pm

    Artificial road blocks won't stop the progression of digital distribution. People need to adapt to figure out how they can make money in this world. If I am a software developer and there is a technological breakthrough that no requires an actual person to code I better know how to support that and work with that or start looking for a new expertise.

    The distribution of physical media is not in demand or needed like it once was. So the creators and distributors of that physical media better figure out how they can serve the artist in some other way. They are still needed for recording unless the artist can do that themselves. Nope we will get the government to pass laws so people still need us!!!

    Btw I subscribe to rdio and love it so don't give me bs about me just being a pirate.

    Provide existing reasons to subscribe or purchase because dropping $15 for an album just isn't going to happen. People consume the content too quickly and too frequently.

     

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    alex (profile), May 14th, 2011 @ 3:58am

    What do you mean by "innovation"?

    When I read the headline I thought this was going to be about the patent system and how it hampers innovation rather than encouraging it, but in this article you're talking about copyrights like those held on musical works.

    Also, when you talk about innovation, you don't seem to be referring to innovation within the creative field; you're talking about innovation in the industry. So if an entrepreneur is considering setting up a new type of p2p file sharing company, the following could definitely be said to hamper such innovation:

    1. Bad rhetoric about those infringing copyright
    2. Copyright holders' fear of new technologies
    3. A bias towards exaggerating effects of piracy

    (sorry for the crude paraphrasing)

    Conversely, if you ask the same of whether those three things would stop (or dissuade) a band from recording and releasing a "new sound" album, the points seem a bit irrelevant.

    Sorry if that seems a little pedantic, but I think it's good to define what innovation we're actually talking about here. The rights of a content holder to sell copies of their content, and the rights of a company to sue another company because they own the [insert outrageous patent here] are very different and should be treated differently.

     

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      Ken, May 14th, 2011 @ 9:03pm

      Re: What do you mean by "innovation"?

      To write any music now requires a lawyer and a team of researchers to make sure the song isn't even close to sounding like another or you will get another letter from a different lawyer telling you to cease and desist.

       

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    Nicedoggy, May 15th, 2011 @ 4:05am

    Hilarious video showing how IP law is totally out of control.
    Intellectual Property: How to Review a Patent Application (F.ing hilarious, including the part where she says, someone can have more things on their product and still infringe yours, even if the product looks nothing like yours and also patents costs between 4 and 8 thousand dollars and others can come and make a patent on top of yours where they will not be able to produce it but can stop you from producing something too LoL)

    And some people say Youtube have only LoLCats in it.

     

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    burdlaw (profile), May 15th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Nicedoggie - Your ignorance of patent law is funny

    If I patent the wheel and you invent a wheeled cart your cart infringes my patent because it uses my patented invention, the wheel. But, you could patent your cart and stop me from putting my wheel on a cart, since you not me invented that combination. This has been the law for 220 years. What is LOL is you not understanding it and embarrassing yourself by posting to show your ignorance. "Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt" - A. Lincoln

     

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      The eejit (profile), May 15th, 2011 @ 10:41am

      Re: Nicedoggie - Your ignorance of patent law is funny

      But then, nothing derivative can be invented. IS that not a huge hindrance to innovation, or am I missing the point?

       

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      abc gum, May 15th, 2011 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Nicedoggie - Your ignorance of patent law is funny

      "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity" - Abraham Lincoln

       

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      Nicedoggy, May 15th, 2011 @ 8:12pm

      Re: Nicedoggie - Your ignorance of patent law is funny

      220 years? Oh that is why it was never seriously enforced then, because it leads to absurd results.

       

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    Darryl, May 15th, 2011 @ 11:06pm

    Patents enhance innovation

    When a new technology is introduced, no one, including the inventor, knows all of the beneficial uses to which it will eventually be put.

    Just to offer two examples, Alexander Graham Bell thought the telephone would be used to broadcast the daily news, and Thomas Edison thought the phonograph would be used to record the wishes of old men on their death beds. Nor is the disappearance of the new technology likely to be lamented,


    It is clear that at least ONE application for that invention has been thought of, usually by the inventor.

    But NOTHING in the world has that ability for you to know what all the possible applications of that "thing" would be !

    Try to think of ANYTHING, that you have that could be possibly used for another purpose in the future to meet some specific task that you have yet to encounter?

    Bell invented 'voice over wires', that was the critical component to the telephone.

    Most news is broadcast by a person with a microphone, that puts his voice over wires and through a speaker.

    Communication was allready widly used when bell invented voice of wires, before bell new was broadcast over wires via morse code.

    So bell was not wrong in 'thinking of a future application for his invention' he was exactly right, he created that invention to meet a specific need.

    That need was to make it easier to communicate over wires, (you dont have to learn morse code to talk to someone).

    Edison did not just claim that his voice recorder invention would 'ONLY' be good for death bed statements.

    He was fully aware of the commercial benifit of recording music, speeches and so on.

    It is silly to consider that these people invent things to meet a very narrow criteria, and have not considered as many possible applications for their idea.

    But it is not even their responsibility to 'transform' that invention for another application.

    Nor, does it matter if they do not see future applications, they invented that item for a task and if someone else can use that invention to perform another task then both groups benifit.

    The guy that invented the cathode ray tube (CRT), did so to study the physics of the electron.

    The guy that invented Television used the CRT to display images.

    The invention of the CRT was an enabling invention without which TV would not have been invented (or as early).

    So television would not have been possible without the inventor of television using a large number of other inventions, but in so doing coming up with something totally new and different, which in itself is an invention.

    The guy that invented TV did not invent the CRT, or electronics or the electron valve, or the transistor or discover radio, or invent 'voice over wires'.

    But he used all those things and with his own invention created something new and valuable.

    Without all those other invention his invention would have been impossible.

    So how does patents stifle technical advancement again ?

    Im glad you are not a professor of history, or economics, or science.

    But being a laywer you are of course mostly interested in conflict and argument (and money).

     

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    Darryl, May 15th, 2011 @ 11:13pm

    Nor is the disappearance of the new technology likely to be lamented

    Nor is the disappearance of the new technology likely to be lamented


    What kind of statement is that ??????

    first, how does a technology disappear ?

    It does not, and it a rather odd, or silly statement to make.
    Or, was it just saying words for the sake of it ?

     

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    David, May 16th, 2011 @ 5:24am

    I find it hilarious (no, not really) how the anti-copyright mob are capable of simultaneously saying:

    a) copyright is outdated and on the way out, everything is and should be free, artists should find a new business model (i.e., selling teeshirts)

    and

    b) piracy doesn't actually harm sales of music, in fact it often increases them, and artists should welcome it as free advertising.

    It's rather like the jihadis saying simultaneously:

    a) 9/11 wasn't us, it was Mossad, or the CIA

    and

    b) 9/11 was great, America had it coming!

    Both classic examples of Doublethink.

     

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      Jay (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 6:10am

      Re:

      "a) copyright is outdated and on the way out, everything is and should be free, artists should find a new business model (i.e., selling teeshirts)"
      b) piracy doesn't actually harm sales of music, in fact it often increases them, and artists should welcome it as free advertising.

      There's no dissonance in how copyright, as it stands, does nothing for artists, and filesharing has allowed artists the freedom to route around gatekeepers.

      Copyright law basically comes to what can be enforced. Biz Markie sampled a song and retroactively was told he had to pay for a license. Copyright did not help him create the new song, nor did it help the original artist. When I listen to a remix, the original artist has nothing to do with it, but a license is enforced.

      When people fileshare, what tends to happen is someone finds interest in an artist and what they do. This supposed "piracy" that everyone mentions, is actually sharing interest in a band.

      Teenagers find ways to download songs since it's no longer a barrier to entry. Free is good for them to find music they enjoy. Compare this with the CD era or even the record era, where they had to buy all the vinyl records. So with that disposable income, the songs give way to increased sales for artists in other areas. /example

      This is actually backed up by the fact that not only is the UK music industry doing even better regardless of the Digital Economy Act, but you also have the US music industry doing well while the recording industry is doing poorly. Almost all economic data on the validity of copyright tell the story that enforcement does nothing. All it does is piss people off and make them not want to support you.

       

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    Eva, May 16th, 2011 @ 5:45am

    The results of studies often ....

    ....approve the opinion of the payer.

    The atom lobby releases studies that proove that their technology is safe.

    The tobacco lobby releases studies that proove that cigarettes don't harm your health

    And the Sharehoster lobby releases studies that prove, that their business model - offering anonym accounts to their customers, which are mainly used to share music and film files, while cashing on advertising - doesn't harm the musicians...

    You mention yourself, the results of the quoted study are at least disputable:

    "Now, it's worth taking the study with at least some grains of salt, given that it was funded by Vuze, a company trying to sell licensed videos via BitTorrent and has had trouble getting content companies to sign on. However, given how many other studies have said the same thing, can we finally put to rest the idea that those who file share "aren't customers" as many in the entertainment industry insist?"
    (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090604/0117405122.shtml)

    Which serious studies do say the same?

     

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    Mr. Feasible, May 16th, 2011 @ 7:35am

    Souza was not wrong. It is entirely true that mechanization has contributed to the deterioration of music. Gradually, melody and harmony have died out. Machine-like rhythms which repeat almost endlessly predominate. Music is factory-made by people who use their music machines to bring their personal brand of noise into the world. There is very little in modern music that is human, subtle, graceful and joyful.

     

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    David, May 16th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    I have learned by experience to check any factual claim by Jay, so I checked his claims about Biz Markie. Surprise, surprise, he turns out to be wrong (again, naturally).

    In fact, Biz Markie (or his management) *did* ask for permission to use a sample from Gilbert O'Sullivan, and O'Sullivan refused on the grounds that Markie's song was a comic number debasing the original. Markie went ahead and released the song anyway; O'Sullivan sued, and won substantial damages. Which surely vindicates copyright law as protecting artists' legitimate interests, artistic as well as financial.

    (There is a video of O'Sullivan explaining his position here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsAjmtKLz2M )

     

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      Jay (profile), May 16th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

      Re:

      *sigh*

      And in the update to this story, Weird Al does the exact same thing to Lady Gaga. He asked for permission, but how copyright law is supposed to work, his derivative use shouldn't work to outlaw a parody.

      What Biz Markie's lawsuit did, was to require a ton of sample licensing in the 90s and early decade before the internet took off and made this really dumb to do. This hurt innovation by requiring record labels to get "insurance", so it made it harder for artists to use samples of songs. Link

      Then we have all the other "rights" that need to be protected. Link

      So in order for people to support new artists, they have to pay the ones that came first. Not only do they have to pay the ones that came first, but everyone else that's along for the ride!

      If that doesn't sound like a Ponzi scheme, I don't know what is.

      In regards to your discussion on the music sales, I'm also informed that there's other forms of entertainment that rival the music industry. Have you also looked at those forms of revenue? What may be happening is the money is going elsewhere.

      What my point was above: the AC was trying to say that a piracy biased site was saying that the music industry was increasing. I merely proved him false. In regards to current trends, I believe the end of the pdf is the most poignant now. "Finding new places and new ways to collect royalties has never been so important"

      Doing that by the PROTECT IP Act is like trying to squeeze ketchup out of a packet with a sledgehammer.

       

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    David, May 16th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    ....and Jay is also wrong (or out of date) in claiming that the decline in record sales is offset by healthy live music sales: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/may/15/live-concerts-audiences-stay-home

     

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


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