Takes a thief to catch a thief
Takes a thief to catch a thief
This time, the Library went (comparatively) nuts, allowing widespread bypassing of the CSS encryption on DVDs, declaring iPhone jailbreaking to be “fair use,” and letting consumers crack their legally purchased e-books in order to have them read aloud by computers.
But the exemptions that did make it were carefully thought out and actually helpful this time around. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they must be re-argued every three years, and the Library has taken so long getting its most recent ruling out that that the next review happens just two years from now.
So enjoy your exemptions while you can.
Ponder the difference between the comedian and the musician. Both create and perform works to entertain audiences, but they go about protecting that work in different ways. The notoriously litigious music industry often resorts to the legal system to protect itself from pirates and samplers. But comedians don’t. So why hasn’t the joke well gone dry?
In both cases, though, comedy flourished, and neither required official IP laws. “Conventional wisdom would have us believe that this [lack of official protection] entails a tragedy of the commons and suboptimal supply of jokes,” write the chapter’s authors. “Our research makes us pause. We see an operating market.”
Their takeaway is not that we don’t need rules, but that we should be doubly vigilant against the “careless expansion of legal protections.” Informal norms might work well enough within different communities (and the smaller the community, the easier social norms are to enforce), and changing the official rules could produce unintended changes in the type of creativity that people engage in.
IP rules are needed, but they aren’t “necessarily right for stand-up or for every creative practice.” And that’s no joke.
But are patents always good? Can patenting always act as the silver bullet in effectively protecting novel and useful inventions against imitation and infringement across different industries and intellectual property regimes?
Extensive research studies – including those I have published with Professor Fiona Murray at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – have found that the answer is unfortunately, but not surprisingly, ‘no’. Patents are simply not always good and effective.
“Humanity’s capacity to generate new ideas and knowledge is its greatest asset. It is the source of art, science, innovation and economic development.”
The development of new technologies underpinning the knowledge economy calls for a review of the copyright aquis. Together, we need to create greater incentives to maximise creativity, innovation, education and access to culture, and secure Europe’s competitiveness.
Exclusive rights stimulate investment and the production of cultural and knowledge based goods. Simultaneously, exceptions* to those rights create a balanced system that allow for the use of creative works to support innovation, creation, competition and the public interest. Well-crafted exceptions can serve both goals: preserving rewards and incentives for creators while also encouraging innovative re-uses that benefit the public.
While exclusive rights have been adapted and harmonised to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy, copyright’s exceptions are radically out of line with the needs of the modern information society. The lack of harmonisation of exceptions hinders the circulation of knowledge based goods and services across Europe. The lack of flexibility within the current European exceptions regime also prevents us from adapting to a constantly changing technological environment.
Europe requires a balanced, flexible and harmonised system of exceptions that is in step with the 21st Century knowledge economy. The European Commission took a first step with the publication of the Green Paper, “Copyright in the Knowledge Economy.” The signatories of this declaration call upon the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States to take this Declaration into account and engage in policy and norm-setting on copyright exceptions to:
* Copyright law grants an exclusive right to creators to regulate and control the use of their work. Limitations and exceptions balance the monopoly right of the creator, in the public interest. For example to promote education and learning, support a free press, deal with market failure etc.
What are the Costs of the Patent System? – Stephan Kinsella – Mises Economics Blog
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