informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Mar 06 2012, 8:26 PM Category: Science/Technology Source: TorrentFreak Print

History Shows That Copyright Monopolies Prevent Creativity And Innovation

by Rick Falkvinge

We all too frequently hear that the copyright monopoly is supposed to encourage creativity and that the patent monopoly is supposed to encourage innovation. Most lawyers whose jobs depend on the belief in these myths even claim that the monopolies fulfill these functions to the letter. But when we look at history, a different pattern emerges.

Let’s start around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In that day and age, copyright monopoly laws were in force in the United Kingdom, and pretty much the United Kingdom alone (where they were enacted in 1557). You know the “Made in Country X” that is printed or engraved on pretty much all our goods? That originated as a requirement from the British Customs against German-made goods, as a warning label that they were shoddy goods made in Germany at the time. It spread to pretty much global use.

But Germany didn’t have copyright monopoly laws at this point in time, and historians argue that was the direct cause of Germany’s engineering excellence overtaking that of the United Kingdom. In the UK, knowledge of handicrafts was expensive to come by. Books and the knowledge they carried were locked down in the copyright monopoly construct, after all. In Germany, however, the same knowledge was available at print cost – and thus, engineering skills proliferated. With every new person learning engineering, one more person started to improve the skill set for himself and for the country at large. The result is that Germany still, 200 years later, has an outstanding reputation for engineering skills – the rise of which are directly attributable to a lack of the copyright monopoly.

There are more examples. Pharmaceutical companies argue how they absolutely, positively need the knowledge monopolies we call patents in order to survive. The company Novartis is one of the worse offenders here. The claim that patent monopolies are needed is not only false in an objective light – as in the patent monopolies not being needed at all today for the pharma industry – but more interestingly, Novartis itself was founded in a time and place when no such knowledge monopolies existed – more specifically, in Switzerland in 1758 and 1859. If the patent monopolies are so vital for success, how come the pharmaceutical giants of today were successfully founded in their complete absence?

Rather, the pattern here is that the people who have made it to the top push for monopolies that will lock in their positions as kings of the hill and prevent people who do something better from replacing them. It’s a power grab.

In Sweden, the telecoms infrastructure giant Ericsson was founded making a telephone handset that directly infringed on a German patent from Siemens – or at least, would have done so with today’s monopoly laws. A Norwegian company later copied Ericsson in turn. Nobody cared. Today, with the patent monopolies we have today, Ericsson would not have survived the first phone call. And yet, Ericsson is one of the giants pushing for more restrictive monopoly laws. Of course they are; they have been successfully founded already. What innovative giants of tomorrow are we smothering stillborn through these monopoly constructs?

Indeed, the United States itself celebrated breakers of the monopolies on ideas and knowledge as national heroes when the country was in its infancy and building its industries. When the US was still a British colony, the United Kingdom had this idea that all refinement of raw material into desirable products should happen on the soil of the United Kingdom, and only there. Industrial secrets were closely guarded, and the United States sought to break the stranglehold for its own benefit. When somebody brought the British industrial secret of the textile mills to the United States, for example, he was celebrated by getting an entire city named after him and named a father of industry as such. Today, the same person would have been indicted for industrial espionage.

Or why not take a look at Hollywood and the film industry? In the infancy of filmmaking, there was a patent monopoly blanket on the entire concept of moving pictures owned by Thomas Edison, who was adamant in claiming his legal monopoly rights. In order for innovation in the area to flourish, the entire industry moved from the then-hotseat of moviemaking, New York. They moved as far away as they could, west across the entire country, and settled in a suburb outside of Los Angeles. That was outside of the reach of Edison’s patent monopoly lawyers at the time, and so, moviemaking took off big time. Today, the fledgling industry wouldn’t have been outside of the reach of those monopoly lawyers.

I could end with mentioning Internet and how monopolies try to tame it from every angle, but I am sure everybody can fill in the blanks here. Just for fun, we could mention Bill Gates’ famous quote that if people had taken out patent monopolies when the web was still in its infancy, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. It is consistent with the overall pattern.

The pattern here is clear: copyright monopolies and patent monopolies encourage neither creativity nor innovation. Quite the opposite. Throughout history, we observe that today’s giants were founded in their absence, and today, these giants push for the harshening and enforcement of these monopolies in order to remain kings of the hill, to prevent something new and better from replacing them. Pushing for copyright monopolies and patent monopolies was never a matter of helping others; it was a matter of kicking away the ladder once you had reached the top yourself.

But for the rest of us, it makes no sense whatsoever to carve today’s giants in stone. We want them to be replaced by something better, and the copyright and patent monopolies prevent that.
__
Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.





Latest Science/Technology
- Changing the Climate Change Narrative
- Marc Morano debates climate change on CCTV
- CUPID Drone To 'Shock The World' With 80,000 Volt Stun Gun
- Female Takes Testosterone, Starts Objectifying Women, Thinking Pornographically, & Becomes Interested In Science
- The Problem Isn't "Patent Trolls." The Problem Is Patents.
- Warmist: 'Every Weather Event in the Modern World is Attributable to Climate Change'
- Hollywood's Villain: Kim Dotcom
- Kim Dotcom: The Man Behind Megaupload









No Comments Posted Add Comment


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

SWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong Home - 07/25People Wearing Sagging Pants Face $500 Fine, Jail In Florida City - 07/22U.S. Admits Its MH17 ‘Evidence’ is Based on YouTube Clips & Social Media Posts - 07/23Woman With Allergies Arrested and Imprisoned for Buying Sudafed - 07/24Bill Maher Slams Police State Militarization - 07/24California Cop Arrests Man for Video Recording "Private Cars" from Public Sidewalk - 07/24Daily Show Slams Highway Patrol "Banditos" Robbing People Through Forfeiture Laws - 07/24A Kind Woman Stops to Rescue Ducklings on the Roadside, Cop Shows up, Writes Her a Ticket for It - 07/25

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top