28 February 2011

IP in a Nutshell

This story tells you everything you need to know about IP:

The Senate is taking up the Patent Reform Act, which would significantly overhaul a 1952 law and, supporters say, bring the patent system in line with 21st century technology of biogenetics and artificial intelligence. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch hails it as "an important step toward maintaining our global competitive edge."
Congress has been trying for well over a decade to rewrite patent law, only to be thwarted by the many interested parties — multinational corporations and small-scale inventors, pharmaceuticals and Silicon Valley companies — pulling in different directions. Prospects for passing a bill now, however, are promising.

Fundamentally, IP is simply a monopoly privilege, which is why businesses spend millions of dollars in lobbying fees whenever the status is challenged.  The argument, when is all is said and done, is never about property rights; it’s about money.  In fact, IP serves as a sort of soft corporate welfare.

So don’t be fooled about arguments about how IP is a fundamental part of property law.  It isn’t.  IP is all about money.  In fact, if you read the constitution, you will find that the case for IP is utilitarian in nature.  None of the founding fathers believed that IP was a legitimate extension of property rights.  They simply saw IP as way to encourage invention and innovation.

So, when people start to wax eloquent on the subject of intellectual property, and the changes that must be made to the system, simply ask yourself this one question:  How much money do they stand to make from the changes?  Their answer will tell you everything you need to know.

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