On Patents and Copyright

I do wonder how much my position on the so-called “copyright wars” in the music industry is coloured by the way abuse of patent laws is wrecking the software industry, where I earn a living.

While I don’t know enough about the specifics of the recent patent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung to comment on that specific case, I know much this sort of thing can stifle innovation and competition. When you have so-called “patent trolls”, companies whose entire business is to buy up obscure patents from defunct companies, then raise money from patent lawsuits, you know something is badly broken.

There’s a strong element of land-grabbing and rent-seeking about the whole thing, and the way parts of the music industry behave has a similar smell. Not that I don’t believe creative artists are entitled for fair compensation for their work. But a lot of the draconian copyright enforcement legislation written by lobbyists employed by big media companies will have much the same effect as the broken patent laws in protecting established monopolies. It’s not in the interest of consumers, and I don’t believe it’s ultimately in the interests of the artists either.

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2 Responses to On Patents and Copyright

  1. Serdar says:

    I have a piece in the works for one of the pubs I write for about the long-term implications of the Samsung/Apple fight. I’ll link here when it’s up.

  2. Tim Hall says:

    Some websites I’ve read today suggest the verdict in favour of Apple could well be overturned on appeal. This one is far from over.