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  • May 30th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    It does, kind of.

    It should be repeated that crazy IP laws and aggressive enforcement, while often hindering innovation, also serves to funnel innovation through companies (where they can monetize them). Even in areas where it doesn't outright hinder the development of new technology it makes sure it happens in an environment where it can be controlled and profited from.

    As it turns out this results in a massive net decrease in human innovation overall. But it protects not just the revenue companies generate for currently-available technology (that's heavily IP-encumbered), it also makes it staggeringly difficult to innovate outside of those environments.

    Where this is really hurting us is interoperability (which is, in part, how this protects corporate profits). Companies in general have little interest in making their products work together, and the greatest and most widespread interopability successes have occurred when they were forced (kicking and screaming) by innovation happening outside of their walls that results in technology consumers want.

    Phrased more simply, if MP3s hadn't existed and been widely available royalty-free (or royalty-reasonable) before solid state portable music devices we would today have our music in whatever formats Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Creative, etc. woud have developed and protected with copyrights and patents - and none of it would have worked on each other's hardware.