Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is Intellectual Property Necessary?

An interesting argument from UK's Adam Smith Institute - though I think it's more an argument against copyrights than all IP:


- Dickens could make money from Americans without copyright
- Musicians could feed themselves before Edison
- Plant breeding could bloom before the US Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970
- Software got written before the 1981 SCOTUS decision in Diamond vs Diehr
- Most of the 2009 Billboard Top 40 music earners made most of their income from live performances, not recordings
- Harry Potter novels sold enough in their first twenty-four hours to keep J K Rowling in style

...why do we think they need state protection now? The plain truth is that because of the grip of the small number of media giants who control the production, marketing and distribution of their favoured artists, many more undiscovered artists subsist on live gigs in local venues. And because of the modish patent trolls who have no intention of ever exploiting their patents, many innovators never even know someone else “owns” an idea until the writ arrives end up broken.

19th century libertarians ranked Intellectual Monopoly as state created privilege that impoverishes the majority. We should heed them: they are still destructive, unnecessary, statist and evil.

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