Ideas Do Matter, But That Has Nothing To Do With 'Intellectual Property'

from the keep-up-folks dept

Glyn Moody points us to a website put together by Microsoft, Philips and DSM -- three giant companies that have relied heavily on intellectual property laws to fend off upstart competitors and disruptive innovation -- called Ideas Matter - the value of intellectual property. As you can tell from the title, the website focuses on two key points, which they then try to conflate as a single point: (1) Ideas matter and (2) because of that, intellectual property is important.

Of course, there's a huge problem with this: while ideas do matter, that has nothing to do with intellectual property. As people are quick to point out in our comments any time we suggest that ideas are being blocked or censored by intellectual property laws, such laws are not supposed to apply to ideas. In fact, it's explicit with both copyright and patent law. In copyright law, protection is supposed to be applied to expression, not ideas, and the difference is supposed to be key -- even if it isn't always observed. Similarly, with patents, protection is supposed to be applied to inventions, not ideas -- again even if that isn't regularly observed in practice.

To be honest, I find this particularly nefarious and disingenuous, in that any time people point out that ideas are being censored, defenders of IP laws insist that there's a split and "ideas" are not covered. Yet, when these same folks seek to push forth a propaganda campaign in support of greater protectionism, they use the claim that "ideas matter" to support those laws. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the site's name and premise itself, the rest of the site is filled with ridiculous and unsupported propaganda, such as this laughably misleading video that seems to assume that because certain things are protected by intellectual property laws, they wouldn't exist without them. It also tosses out ridiculous debunked industry figures on "losses" due to infringement. This is extreme propaganda.

Filed Under: copyright, ideas, intellectual property, patents
Companies: dsm, microsoft, philips


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  1. icon
    Jay (profile), 13 Jun 2011 @ 10:15pm

    *sigh* Rebuttal time.

    "I just find it funny that people specifically point out this particular Disney short as some sort of sign that IP law is broken even though it has legally been used for derivative works. It's almost like you guys just read something somewhere and then start spouting it again without actually researching any of your opinions."

    You do realize that under Michael Eisner, Disney became such a hated name that it helped to create Pixar as we know it today?

    You also realize their "vault" idea, where they lock away their works, bringing them out every 20 years with an "update" is only possible because of copyright preventing anyone else from making their own modifications?

    How about their suing a guy that worked for them? Link

    Oh wait, there's plenty of inner problems I could get into, such as the similarity of Kimba and Simba. Maybe, just maybe, I know a thing or two about Disney and their copyright crusade. I know a little about Disney's hypocrisy in using other materials and not compensating the authors (Brothers Grimm, Tezuka, etc). Perhaps, it's better to stop passing judgement and be conducive to the debate instead.

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