Patent and copyright law are stifling innovation and threatening the global economy according to two economists at Washington University in St. Louis in a new book, Against Intellectual Monopoly. Professors Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine call for abolishing the current patent and copyright system in order to unleash innovations necessary to reverse the current recession and rescue the economy. The professors discuss their stand against intellectual property protections in a video and news release linked here.
The Supreme Court’s decision April 30 to raise the bar for patents on products combining elements of pre-existing inventions is a landmark in the battle against so-called “nuisance patents” and just one more sign that the tide is turning against overly restrictive and costly intellectual property right protections, suggests a pair of economists from Washington University in St. Louis.
Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computers, has issued a challenge to the music industry, saying Apple would support an open online music marketplace if the four-largest music companies would drop the use of digital-rights management software — the technology that prevents the copying of music sold online. Jobs’ challenge, which some consider shocking, is just the latest brick to fall in the inevitable collapse of a legal wall that since 1999 has been obstructing technological progress and preventing people from enjoying more and better music at a lower price, suggests Michele Boldrin, Ph.D., an economist at Washington University in St. Louis who studies the hidden costs of intellectual property rights protections.
His new book is titled The Politics of Piracy: Intellectual Property in Contemporary China.
Spurred by concerns over China’s booming economy, the Bush administation plans to crank-up pressure on Chinese authorities to curtail the rampant theft of intellectual property — the black market in pirated films, software and equipment that costs American companies billions in lost sales. While anti-piracy rhetoric plays well in Washington, a new book on the “Politics of Piracy” in China suggests that external diplomatic pressure will have little effect on China’s ability to enforce international norms on copyrights, trademarks and patents. “The key to gaining enforcement of those laws lies at the local level,” says the book’s author, WUSTL China specialist Andrew Mertha.