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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Politics and IP

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.


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Professional Inventors Alliance lobbies against patent "reform" bill

Under the headline, "SAVE THE U.S. PATENT NOW! IT'S THE HEART AND SOUL OF AMERICA'S ECONOMIC SYSTEM" the Professional Inventors Alliance ran a two-full-page ad in the New York Times (Monday, April 7, p A10 and A11, not available on line). The alliance has a website link here which has a single webpage with some of the thrust of the ad, but tells little more about the group.

It is an attack on the Patent Reform Act (S. 1145) and an ostensible plea to unions to join the Alliance in opposing the legislation. It asserts that "the fundamental dependence of America's economy [is] on America's patents" and that "U. S. patented inventions have been the primary source of America's historically unparalleled wealth." It also claims that "the growth of America's GDP [is] generated by American manufactures products and that there is "nearly universal opposition to the IT sectors self-destruct proposals for patent reform." It then identifies the members of the Senate Judiciary committee who voted for the bill and those in the House who did so.

It finally gets to what it calls the patent destroying provisions of the bill: tipping off potential infringers by the 18-month publication of pre-issuance submissions; replacing the first inventor-to-file in place of the actual inventor; restricting the apportionment of damages to the incremental value of the invention, not its total value; giving priority to venue for suits where the infringer resides; and allowing post grant challenges of patents for their entire 17-year lifetime.

Here we go again with the same questionable claim that patents promote innovation. More clearly, they provide some with large incomes. Who else could afford a double-page spread like this. It also identifies the issues on which the losers from the pending bill choose to fight it.

Lessig: the courts won't apply the constitution so politics must

Economist magazine has a great story on Larry Lessig and his attack on copyright extensions link here. Because the article is open, I will not try to summarize it. But the subhead conveys the essence of what Lessig is up to: "Copyrights will not expire so long as Congress is free to be bought to extend them again."

His approach is refreshing. He doesn't oppose copyright but rests his case on the constitution which allows a monopoly limited in time. He argues that in practice there is no limit. Since his appeal to the courts failed to get one, he has chosen the political route, to force legislators to enact one.

Will They Never Learn?

The US Congress is working overtime to create new coyright cops while in Canada they busy passing a new DMCA - with such minor considerations as fair use to be considered at some future time by a committee.

Open access to NIH funded research gains momentum

Inside Higher Ed reports that "legislation requiring NIH-supported research to be online and free is on fast track, encouraging those who want that requirement for all federally supported research". The legislation is receiving bipartisan support and is part of an appropriation bill that Congress wants to pass.

I believe the bill has potentially disruptive effect on the academic publishing model. Needless to say, publishers have mounted furious opposition. Read the article for some of the bogus arguments they are trying to make, such as the risk of lenghtening the time researchers would spend processing their papers (comparing it to the requirement police officers have to file their reports). As if the time we need to fine-tune our papers to comply to the minutia of each journal's different editorial requirement was well spent.

Sen. McCain on net neutrality

John McCain from allthingsdigital:
"There should be as little government regulation of broadband as possible. Walt notes that the telecom industry is re-aggregating back into "one unified AT&T."
and
... we should let the market and technology solve the Net-neutrality issue: "When you control the pipe you should be able to get profit from your investment."

Against Monopoly

James Surowiecki sounds a cautionary note in The New Yorker about "Exporting I.P."

The U.S. has demanded in recent free-trade agreements that foreign governments import I.P. regimes even though they hinder access to protected technologies. After repeating the I.P. party line that protection is necessary to spur innovation, but that a "balance" is necessary to protect the interests of entrepreneurs, inventors, and consumers alike (excuse me while I adjust the scales...there, that's it), he points out that the American economy grew rapidly in its youth by ignoring I.P. laws. He might have pointed out that foreign authors got paid on their American sales even without an American copyright law.

He nails it at the end by pointing out that I.P. laws making the world safe for Pfizer, Microsoft, and Disney don't deserve the name free trade. Now if he could just ditch the balancing act.

Disney Silent On Anti-Semitic Copyright Violations?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of freeing Mickey Mouse into the public domain and having a robust fair use of his image. But if Disney is going to insist on bribing Congress to extend copyright terms in order to keep Mickey under copyright, and if they are going to bully casual Internet users over the unauthorized use of Mickey's image, why are they not suing Hamas over their own use of Mickey?

If I were to make my own video using Donald Duck to convince people to divest themselves from organizations connected to Hamas, am I to assume now that Disney would have nothing to say about that either??

Obama requests Creative Commons License for presidential debates

Barack Obama's web site reports a letter sent to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean urging the DNC to make the video from any Democratic Presidential debate publicly available after the debate for free and without restriction under a Creative Commons license.

"I am a strong believer in the importance of copyright, especially in a digital age", he writes, "But there is no reason that this particular class of content needs the protection". Unfortunately, Obama does not seem to hold any unconventional views on copyright.

The RIAA - Washington Nexus

With enough momentum, copyright reform has the potential to one day become a political issue in Washington. But its naive to think that it will ever become a partisan issue.

Still, many are sitting up and taking notice of the current cozy relationship between the RIAA and the Democrats.

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Most Recent Comments

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the

Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples

Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you

Bonfire of the Missalettes!

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? I wondered about TFP, because I had heard that TFP was increasing. Apparently, it depends on who

Music without copyright I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will