30 July 2007

Spreading the Intellectual Monopoly Madness

How mad is this?

Advanced European countries are increasingly looking for channels to school their neighbours and worldwide free-trade agreement partners on the enforcement of western-style intellectual property rights.

And how bad is the premise:

The basic underlying assumption of the meeting was that a stronger intellectual property system is beneficial, and that UNECE members have knowledge and ideas to patent and protect. A source characterised the view as: A well-designed intellectual property regime increases national wealth and benefits consumers by stimulating research and investment into new technologies and innovative products, and by enabling the transfer of technology, including between countries at different stages of economic development.

Well, no, actually. As history shows, intellectual monopolies do nothing to increase national wealth overall: they just make the holders of the monopolies richer. Society as a whole loses out. Spreading this kind of misinformation is downright immoral.

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