I have just founded the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF). The inaugural message announcing it is reproduced below:
Welcome to the website for the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), a new center formed to build public awareness of the manner in which laws and policies impede innovation, creativity, communication, learning, knowledge, emulation, and information sharing. As noted in the sidebar, the Center opposes state intellectual property (IP) law as contrary to private property rights, and in particular seeks abolition of patent and copyright and other state laws, policies, and practices that distort or impede innovation. We intend to provide news commentary and analysis and scholarly resources from our unique pro-property, pro-market, pro-innovation, anti-IP perspective.
Our Advisory Panel comprises most of the leading radical, pro-market, anti-IP thinkers in the world. Our home, for now, and main activities, will be centered around this Site. Key anti-IP publications are collected on our Resources page; on our blog we intend to carry regular news and analysis, including that of many of the members of the Advisory Panel. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.
Over at Forbes.com, Reihan Salam had something rather unexpected but very welcome to say about the CEO of a major corporation:
That the success of the Kindle is good news for Amazon should go without saying. But it represents a remarkable environmental advance as well. The publishing industry in the U.S. felled roughly 125 million trees and generated vast amounts of wastewater. And, of course, physical books have to be transported by trucks, which generate carbon emissions, exacerbate congestion, increase traffic fatalities and cause wear-and-tear on already overburdened roads. One assumes that Bezos didn’t have the environment foremost in mind when he pushed the Kindle concept forward, yet he’s arguably done more to fight climate change by threatening hardcovers and paperbacks with extinction than any number of environmental activists.
Salam goes on to argue that Amazon will ‘win the internet’ through the Kindle and its rapidly growing ebook sales. I don’t know about that. What does it mean to ‘win the internet’? He only considers Facebook as a rival. What about Google? Android and ChromeOS are poised to dominate the mobile phone and tablet pc markets, putting Google into direct competition with the Kindle. Then there’s Google Search, Books, Voice, Gmail, Docs, Maps, Chrome browser, TV, and so on and so forth.
But bravo to Salam for daring to recognize in public the (probably unintended) positive environmental externalities of business decisions and technological innovation driven by profit-seeking amidst market competition — indeed, for daring to rank them on par with or above that of ‘altruistic’ environmental activists.
Cross-posted at Is-Ought GAP.
Those without any sound principles about rights and economics are totally confounded by the issue of gene patents. The author of “The absurdity of patenting genes,” in The Guardian, for example, first observes, “Patents are a sensible idea, because people are more likely to invest in innovation …”. But on the other hand, “patents also act as a barrier to innovation, and gene patents bring these disadvantages into stark relief.” So, patents are sensible, because they stimulate innovation … yet they also hamper innovation. Mmm-hmm.
Libertarians, however, having a better understanding of the nature of property rights, are increasingly recognizing that all patents are unjust (see my The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide). And something about gene patents–having the state grant monopolies on the way our genes are configured–is especially galling. Thank goodness this is being fought by the heroic David Koepsell, who is producing the anti-gene patent documentary Who Owns You? (see also Koepsell – Quinn “Debate” on Gene Patents; David Koepsell: Another Austrian-Influenced IP Opponent). And it’s also good that a federal trial court recently ruled against gene patents, in Association for Molecular Pathology and ACLU v. USPTO and Myriad (see Federal Court Invalidates Breast Cancer Gene Patent, Ronald Baily, Reason‘s Hit & Run; Court: Essentially All Gene Patents Are Invalid, Patently-O). [Keep reading…]
Proponents of intellectual property rights and patents say that without them, drug companies could not profit. They’d just be undercut by generics, which would lead to a downward spiral of decreasing innovation, undercutting the entire industry. Furthermore, socialists argue that a truly free market would not get drugs to the poor. These arguments fail for several reasons: research costs, trade secrets, incentives for continuous innovation, and incentives for rapid worldwide distribution.
The brilliantly innovative band OK Go has decided to leave its label, EMI, and start up its own company, Paracadute Recordings. The band’s Damian Kulash explains why in a fascinating interview with Leo Laport on TWIT. This presages the direction a lot of creators and artists will start to take as they leave the copyright-mired Old Media Dinosaurs behind.