January 06, 2005

Is IP Binary? Bill Gates Thinks So

Okay, I know everyone has posted on this Bill Gates thing already. But 'geez' (to quote Dan Gillmor). Could you be any more unsophisticated in your take on something complex, and counterintuitive to traditional economics? I mean, it's not 0 or 1 people. Some IP protection is good, for the fostering of more innovation and development, because of the obvious incentives to give creators some ability to monetize their development. And some commonly shared IP is good, for the fostering of more innovation and development, because of the obviously open way that people can take ideas and run with them. How 'bout that? Both ways are necessary, and must be balanced, to foster innovation. Way to be unsubtle, Bill.

Question: what would have happened to the internet had the development of the modem been locked down the way Bill locks down all his stuff? Would it be Betamax all overagain? The issues are not binary.. one or the other. Both ends of IP spectrum need to exist... the commons as owned by all of us is necessary for incentivizing a lot of development and original development needs short term (17 years for patents, etc) compensatory incentives for development. But remember, copyright as recently extended is 95 years for works for hire, or 70 years past the death of a creator, and trademark and tradesecrets are forever (don't tell DeBeers, but trademarks are better than a diamond ring... if you really love your babe, a money-making trademark may be where it's at). In particular, copyright duration and term changes, and the rubber-stamping PTO guys, as pushed by incumbents, have weighted this situation too far to the direction of locked down IP.

c|Net asks and Bill sez in response, that there are "modern-day sort of communists" involved:copycommies.jpeg

Um. That would be short term competitive, until we have so much lock-down in the US, that all innovation happens elsewhere.. which is perfect because we are so behind here anyway, what with our slow 'broad (mid) band' and our locked down, proprietary cell phone systems, among other thing. Things like this disincentivize uses and socialization with technology that the rest of the world is years down the road adopting and integrating into their lives and work. We are losing our leading position in so many ways, here. Heavy handed IP is just the start. And binary thinking is the way to keep ourselves on that path.

Update link: check out this on Thomas Jefferson, the commons and IP.

In the meantime, the copy commies have been hard at work illustrating their thumb-the-nose view toward Bill's words:


Posted by Mary Hodder at January 6, 2005 08:57 AM | TrackBack

Gotta love those copyleft graphics! Someone needs to get them on a T-shirt. I have to say I personally vasilate between a) copyright/patents are a necessary evil of modern society and b) modern society is an unecessary evil. If people, and more importantly corporations (which are "legal persons" with a lot of peoples rights by US law but not the constitution) were inherently trustworthy and not inherently greedy then things could be better. The deep seated question is - this inherent greed to get the most for least, which is the cornerstone of economics and modern society, is that an inherent property of human society or something that can be erradicated and replaced with a different cornerstone?

Posted by: Blog Gently at January 6, 2005 12:48 PM

Opensource :
" some new modern-day sort of communists "
kill american people ?

Microsoft :
" some new modern-day sort of esclavagist "
kill apache people ?

Uf uf

Posted by: nada at January 10, 2005 02:30 AM