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A new economy, or a new product from the old economy?
From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_ flora.ca>
I am looking for feedback on this section of my draft submission. I am trying to introduce the idea that there are differing business models in a new economy, and that "Intellectual Property" is just one - potentially outdated - model. From: <http://russell.flora.org/drafts/copyright-2001.html#new-economy> (Note: HTML version contains many links) A new economy, or a new product from the old economy? This copyright review process is intended to "ensure that the Copyright Act remains among the most modern and progressive in the world, as promised in the January 2001 Speech from the Throne." (Copyright reform introduction web-page). Further, the introduction to A Framework for Copyright Reform indicates: The federal government is committed to ensuring that Canada's copyright regime remains among the most modern and progressive in the world. The objectives to be met through the reform process are: * to create opportunities for Canadians in the new economy; * to stimulate the production of cultural content and diversity of choices for Canadians; * to encourage a strong Canadian presence on the Internet; and, * to enrich learning opportunities for Canadians. In trying to achieve this goal, some basic assumptions about what the purpose of the Copyright Act is, who it should be serving, and what would be considered modern in the face of an ongoing transition from a primarily Industrial economy to the unknowns of the future Information economy. If one goes to the website of the the World Intellectual Property Organization's website and reads their About WIPO they indicate: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. These works - intellectual property - are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts. This organization, which Canada has signed treated with and which Canada seems to be taking direction from, is introducing a new set of assumptions. These assumptions are that intellectual works should automatically be thought of as Intellectual Property. The phrase "Intellectual Property" is a highly politically motivated phrase, biasing towards a very specific narrow interpretation of a number of related laws such as the Copyright, Patent, Trademark and other acts. This phrase pushes use of an analogy to property that many disagree with, and it pre-assumes that the future intellectual economy will be based on the property-focused models from the industrial era. To read opposing viewpoints one can first go to the origins of copyright in the United States, "The Founders' Constitution" (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, Document 12), and read a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson which suggests: If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. In my own software discipline there is also obviously considerable writing on this idea, and we can also read from the Free Software Foundation's Words to Avoid which speaks of "Intellectual Property": Publishers and lawyers like to describe copyright as ``intellectual property.'' This term carries a hidden assumption---that the most natural way to think about the issue of copying is based on an analogy with physical objects, and our ideas of them as property. But this analogy overlooks the crucial difference between material objects and information: information can be copied and shared almost effortlessly, while material objects can't be. Basing your thinking on this analogy is tantamount to ignoring that difference. This issue of language is also talked about in magazines such as in a recent Open Magazine editorial from July 2001 which indicated of Microsoft's Craig Mundie's commentary about Open Source software: In one fell swoop, Mundie commandeered the knowledge economy and turned it into the intellectual property economy. This extraordinary bit of legerdemain equates intellectual capital with intellectual property, analogous to the 19th-century economic policy of tying the supply of money to the physical supply of gold/silver We must keep the above in mind when considering any potential copyright reforms. Those of us who think about and are trying new business models that may form the basis for a new economy question whether or not the concept of "Intellectual Property" is necessary -- or even compatible with -- the creation of "opportunities for Canadians in the new economy". --- Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> Free Sklyarov http://www.dibona.com/dmca/ http://www.freesklyarov.org/ http://www.flora.org/dmca/ Oppose DMCA in Canada! (C) reform process.... http://russell.flora.org/drafts/copyright-2001.html My submission... -- For (un)subscription information, posting guidelines and links to other related sites please see http://www.flora.org/dmca/
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