samedi 29 août 2009

M. Mandelson on "intellectual property": #fail

Rejuvenated no doubt by his summer holidays with his billionaire bosses, M. Mandelson returns to his duties determined to save the cultural industries from the depredations of illegal downloaders. His simplistic article argues "that taking something for nothing is wrong," with no consideration of the changed reality of the public interest when that "something" has in fact a marginal cost of distribution that approaches zero.
If he informed himself elsewhere than the decks of media moguls' yachts, he might find that the public interest actually lay in shortening copyright terms, and restricting the grant of (often ludicrous) patents. Duke University law professor James Boyle's book The Public Domain outlines the case for a radical reform of intellectual property law from its present corporate hegemony. It's a free download licensed under Creative Commons, yet its publisher, Yale University Press expects to sell more physical copies of the book as a result. Go figure, M. Mandelson.
Naturally M. Murdoch's lackeys didn't see fit to publish my comment to this effect alongside the article.

2 commentaires:

  1. If people aren't paid for what they invent/produce, where's the incentive to put it out there?

  2. Good point. There are many such incentives other than purely financial--in the free software world the sustained effort that goes into developing computer operating systems works on an exchange/peer esteem basis; native American gift economies; the public profile/publicity profile of artists, performers, and writers; free+pay_for business models; just the damn desire to get your ideas out there and be damned...

    If you want to read more, you could do worse than start with Richard Stallman's updated (2009) Copyright versus Community in the Age of Computer Networks...