Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


Does copyright lead to innovation?

Mario Stargard submits the following observations about whether copyright leads to innovation:

Sure it does. Seems that every time a P2P protocol is shutdown, new ones emerge to circumvent the previous problems.

Napster had the problem of being centrally controlled, and attacked by the RIAA. Gnutella and eDonkey had the problem of being inefficient for large files and they faded into irrelevance but also suffered from some legal setbacks. Kazaa had the problem of still having some central controls that were legally attacked. Bittorrent has the problem of throttling, and now legal problems because pointing to a copyright work is copyright infringement a la Pirate Bay. Kind of makes you wonder if a torrent file is a derivative work.

The throttling issue is being worked on by utorrent, a client that is implementing a udp based bittorrent protocol. udp has the advantage of not having tcp's congestion control mechanism. It is this mechanism that is being exploited by the Deep Packet Inspection throttlers at major ISP's such as Bell Canada. ISP's will, of course, have to innovate a new throttling mechanism to overcome this new development. Throttling is an intellectual property issue because, at least in Canada, the last mile to consumers is controlled by media companies.

Continued works on avoidance schemes and anonymous networks are being fueled by these developments. The Onion Router (TOR) and the freenet project are two great examples. http://www.torproject.org/ http://freenetproject.org/

TOR is currently a mechanism that almost any Bittorrent client can use to obscure your IP address.

What is this leading to? Will the use of encryption or the possession of certain software eventually become a criminal offense? One wonders.


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