Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Some final thoughts on "The Future of Ideas"
The entertainment industry groups are scared shitless over the new ability of normal people to make exact, high fidelity, copies of content which they purchase. While we all have a right to fair use the industry sees us all as pirates wanting to pull down their businesses. To save their collective asses they will lobby the governement by throwing their money around to get the congress to pass the most obscene laws imaginable. We've got to stop them. Start at the EFF and figure out what you can do. Copyright law is out of control. The original framers of the U.S. Constitution had the idea that the country would suffer if innovation on old ideas could never occur because those old ideas were perpetually protected. They understood, over 200, years ago what our lawmakers seem completely incapable of seeing. Works of art and culture should not be perpetually protected by copyrights. Eventually they need to fall into the public domain to fuel the creativity of future generations. Mickey Mouse must someday be set free. Software and business process patents are probably evil. We should demand of the U.S. Patent office that they become more stringent when they change policies so that we are not stuck with bad regulations. If software patents are not going away then they should be severly limited in duration. Again innovation and economic growth are at risk. None of these battles is new. They are just the constant push and pull between corporations, the government, and the people and usually there seems to have been a decent balance struck in most cases. Now the political system is drunk with corporate money so the balance is shifting to wards companies that shortsightedly want to protect their meager profits in their existing businesses while they fail to understand that all of this change will only sprout new industries for them to grow on and prosper. If RCA had listened to studio execs when they invented video tape there wouldn't have been a home VHS market. There are other ways to maximize shareholder value.

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