A New Battelfield: Ownership of Ideas

Noel pointed me toward this article in the Internaltion Herald Tribune about intellectual property.

I have pulled out just a few quotes below:

“In certain cases,” said Elsa Lion, an analyst at the London research firm Ovum, “technology companies are beginning to realize they have more to gain by releasing patents to the general public than by hoarding licensing income.”

Companies, even those the size of Intel, could one day be blocked from marketing a particular product whose design is made up of hundreds of thousands of patents just because an opportunist has claimed ownership of a single patent, said Adam Jaffe, dean of arts and sciences at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and a patent expert.

Ideas that are free, widely available and instantly duplicated were impossible to contemplate in the days when copyright and patent law took root, a time when the expenses needed to print, distribute and sell a book or movie were considerable.

Some intellectuals say that the more such rights are expanded, the less good the public reaps, a benefit that government’s protection of innovation once intended. And now some companies are starting to agree, arguing that the race for rights and royalties can actually harm competition.

Well, certainly sounds to me like we would all be a lot better off if we freely exchanged ideas! At CivicActions, we believe in the free exchange of ideas and have put our, err, money where our mouth is.

The Herald’s UI is horrible. It does not make browsing an article or copy and pasting easy or intuitive. It is far easier to read the article if you select print page.

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