Discussing The Declared Value system - a proposal to liberate copyright/patent monopolies

I have been contributing to a thread on Google+ about a copyright/patent reform proposal by Karl Fogel.

While the specific proposal is interesting, I am most happy about the overall themes.

  • Recognition that we are talking about statutory monopolies, and all monopolies have a social and economic cost which must be considered.
  • Recognition that there is a need for registration and renewal for this monopoly, after a possible formality-free grace period.
  • Recognition that this monopoly should come at an economic price (registration/renewal fees, taxation, etc) to the monopoly rightsholder.

Whatever specific reforms are suggested, debated and discussed, these offer a critically needed starting point.

Statutory knowledge monopolies and supply management

Two forms of government manipulation of the marketplace have become the most controversial aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Canadians: supply management and statutory knowledge monopolies. Each are government interventions in the marketplace between producers and consumers, each have a stated public policy purpose, and each are controversial.

WIPO Conference Reflects Contrasting Views on Climate Change, Innovation, IP

While the issue that brought me into the copyright debate was IT property rights and into the patent debate was software patents, there are many other ways that PCT's impact other areas of policy I am concerned with.

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development has posted an article summarising some of the recent debates at WIPO around PTC and climate change. Some of these discussions are going to mirror the Development Agenda debates in ways that tie together economic development, climate change and government granted monopolies with other geopolitical conflicts.

Human Rights Groups to Challenge Special 301

A release from the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) indicates that on Tuesday July 20, a group of public interest organizations, represented by Sean Flynn, Associate Director of PIJIP, will file a complaint alleging that U.S. trade policy in the Obama Administration violates international human rights obligations.

In this case the issue is the promotion of policies restricting access to affordable medications around the world. The report is also abused to promote other highly controversial policies which go beyond or contradict internationally negotiated treaties in areas of patent, copyright, trademark and related rights.

My impressions of the DyscultureD Canadian audio blog

I am a big fan of audio blogs. Some people call them Podcasts because Apple iPod users seem to claim responsibility for making them popular. Leo Laporte over at TWIT.tv, a large audio/video blogging network with a long history in broadcasting, tried to convince people to call them Netcasts as they were simply broadcasting over the Internet. While I'm a listener to a few TWIT.tv shows, and a few other non-Canadian shows, I have always been looking for Canadian shows that cover some of the technology and political stories from the uniquely Canadian perspective.

Mr. Moore's comments about anyone who opposes aspects of C-32

Canada Newswire has posted video of the speech given by Heritage Minister James Moore. His closing, at around 7 minutes into the second video, is a rant against people like myself who are critical of aspects of the bill which are harmful to creators.

IMHO My most radical view in this debate has been that legal protection for technical measures has to respect the Canadian constitution, and that TPMs protecting contracting and eCommerce be legally protected in the appropriate provincial legislation.

It is important we know what type of extremism we are up against with the current Heritage Minister, in order for us to push forward amendments that will make C-32 less harmful to the interests of Canadian creators.

(See also: Michael Geist's comments)

I embedded the videos below.

Throne speech threatens to throw water at the drowning

From the Throne Speech delivered earlier today:

To encourage new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research, development and artistic creativity contribute to Canada’s prosperity, our Government will also strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright.

This speech takes as an assumption the very thing politically debated and inadequately studied, which is the link between "stronger" Patent/Copyright law (stronger meaning tilted in favor of incumbent copyright holders) and the encouragement of new ideas, research, development and artistic creativity. The reality is that PCT is to creativity and innovation like water is to humans: too little and you dehydrate and die, too much and you drown and die. We are already drowning and the government has threatened in the throne speech to throw more water at us.

IIPA would rather people "pirate" than switch to legal competitors

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) tipped their hand a bit in this years submission to the “Special 301" report process. While they again attacked Canada for having strong copyright law that is different than the USA, the most telling was their opposition to policies encouraging legally free of charge Open Source in their submissions for Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Encouraging legally free software is by far the best policy instrument to reduce software copyright infringement for the less financially rich countries and individuals of the world. For the vast majority of the worlds population the only viable options are to infringe royalty-based software or switch to royalty-free alternatives. The fact the IIPA is encouraging countries to have policies which increase infringement rather than have people switch to competing software is telling about their actual goals.

This is consistent with what past Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes previously stated, "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else".

Google, China, Hillary Clinton and the filtered Internet

By now you will have read many articles derived from the statements made by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer at Google about China.

The primary issue that Google was bringing up was a simple and not politically hot one. Companies need to know that the government of countries they are trying to do business in will have laws and enforce them against those who attack the physical or virtual infrastructure of these businesses.

Many of the comments and articles about this incident suggested Google was trying to protect online free speech. I do not buy that argument in this case.

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog ...

How Automakers Abuse Intellectual Property Laws To Force You To Pay More For Repairs

Interesting discussion is attached to this TechDirt article. This is not just a Canadian issue, but a global issue. It is also not just about automobiles, but about all forms of tangible property rights being eroded by intellectual monopoly laws.

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