Saturday, December 6, 2008

Intellectual Property needs to go.

I've recently looked at two book covering intellectual property, Against Intellectual Monopoly and The Public Domain. There is no common benefit to granting intellectual property rights to authors or inventors. The James Madison and his compatriots erred when the granted the power to grant patents and copyrights to Congress. The prevailing idea that individuals need the protection of IP in order to have an incentive to create is not proven by the historical record. According to A Farewell to Alms very few of the inventors of the key textile machinery that formed the basis of industrialization made any money from their inventions. Inventors invent because it's in the psychology to do it. Think about the students who go to medical school or law school to make lots of money. How many people go into engineering to get rich. They may expect a decent salary, but they aren't looking to get rich. Elimination of IP would force entrenched businesses that rely on it to make money to change their business plans to more along the lines of a company like Red Hat because their potential competitors will have much lower barriers to enter the market.