Copyright/Patent Law Archives



More Generally: Politics (155)

January 24, 2009

Kant on Copyright

Regular readers are no doubt aware that I don't believe in intellectual property. That is, I don't believe that you can have property rights in ideas or, generally, in intangibles. I have, however, noted that I support anti-plagiarism laws, and even suspect that they are capable of doing most of the good that so-called 'intellectual property' laws do. (Our current copyright and patent laws, in my opinion, do more harm than good.) Kant, however, has an interesting argument (which is even more or less comprehensible - a rare find in a Kant text!) against the unauthorized publishing of books. The section is fairly short so I will publish the whole thing without authorization...
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July 21, 2007

Economically Optimal Copyright Term is 14 Years

According to economic analysis recently published by Cambridge Ph.D candidate Rufus Pollock, the optimal term for copyright is 14 years. Presumably, this means that a 14 year term would maximize utility across society in an idealized free market or some such. This is of interest to me because I don't believe that one can hold libertarian property rights in information or ideas (or intangibles generally), and so I take copyright and patent law to be constructed in the social contract (which means that its enforceability by goverment is limited, in terms of what the government is morally permitted to do),...
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June 5, 2007

RIAA Case Against Tanya Andersen Dismissed With Prejudice

Some time ago I reported on the case of Tanya Andersen, the 41 year old disabled single mother who was wrongly sued by the RIAA for allegedly downloading Gansta Rap on Kazaa (actually, the RIAA alleged that the offender was her daughter, who was 7 at the time) and responded by counter-suing them for just about everything in the book (including, notably, racketeering, fraud, and electronic tresspass). Now Recording Industry vs. The People is reporting that the RIAA has agreed that the case be dismissed with prejudice. This means that the RIAA admits Andersen's innocence...
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February 7, 2007

Windows Vista EULA Prohibits Users From "work[ing] around any technical limitations in the software"

Michael Geist reports on Windows Vista's End-User License Agreement. Apparently it is now a violation of the agreement to "work around any technical limitations in the software." In previous versions of Microsoft software, "technical limitations" have frequently included not working, so it looks like we'd all better obey the Vista license agreement and leave the CD in its shrinkwrap on the shelf where it belongs...
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December 5, 2006

MPAA Needs to Steal Your Identity to Fight Privacy - I Mean 'Piracy'

Wired is reporting that the Motion Picture Association of America's lobbyists have successfully killed an anti-pretexting bill in California. Pretexting is the practice of pretending to be someone else in order to gain access to that person's private records. An aide to the California Secretary of State was quoted as saying "the MPAA told some members [of the legislature] the bill would interfere with piracy investigations." What on earth gives a private organization who wants to extort money from you with frivolous lawsuits the right to lie to your utility providers in order to steal your personal records?...
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April 29, 2006

Canadian Recording Artists Oppose Suing Fans, DRM

The founding of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, a group representing several Canadian bands and recording artists, was announced last Wednesday in response to World Intellectual Property Day. The group, representing some of the most prominent Canadian recording artists, including the Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, and Sarah McLachlan, was formed in response to the fact that the intellectual property debate has thus far been controlled by recording industry mega-corps who do not have the artists' interests in mind. Contrary to the claims of said mega-corps, CMCC asserts the following: "Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical" "Digital Locks [i.e. DRM]...
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