Subject: Re: [openip] Re: "rights" and "freedoms"
From: Jean Camp <Jean_Camp@harvard.edu>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 10:17:23 -0500

>> The dominant forces in the
>>world economy seem to be (successfully) pushing hard in the opposite
>>direction, what with lengthening copyright terms, allowing patenting of
>>patterns of human interaction (Priceline) and human genes, ....

The french revolutionary period is a great place to look for cases where
intellectual property controls were  overly constrained (under the old
regime) and then  too loose (after the first revolution).  In both cases
there was a race to the bottom in the 'popular' press, with even policitcal
commentary becoming pornography.  Both extremems resutl in the same output;
not enough quality material being circulated and used. I would say that the
state of software reliability argues that the contraints are wrong for
software now. The policy needs to change one way or the other.

One thing about the explosion of weaving -- only in the UK were the weavers
able to successfully resist other advances that made them less valuable. In
the US the lack of weavers enabled adoption of newer technologies.

In contrast  here is the problem with intellectual property: the WTO. There
is no place which is free to explore the possibilities of intellectual
property policy  if the WTO manages to se global standards. And we could
never know the price in lost wealth  -- and remaining poverty -- paid for
making the wrong choice (paid by those who did not make the choice).

regards,
Jean