Linked by Christian Schaller on Tue 19th Apr 2005 18:26 UTC
Legal We today face the risk of software patents being approved in the EU because not enough parliamentary members will be showing up to vote. Due to this it is important for those of us who oppose software patents to make sure EU parliament members see the damage software patents cause, so they realize it is important to be there to vote providing the needed absolute majority. But sending out a clear message is also important for the process of patent reform in the US and other places who have fallen into the trap of introducing them.
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@ Mike S
by I'm not telling on Wed 20th Apr 2005 19:54 UTC

Observe which political system is responsible for building the wealthiest and greatest city in the world, New York City: Capitalism.
How on Earth do you come to a statement like this as some sort of objective truth? New York is certainly not the largest city in the world. I doubt that land value of New York exceeds the land value of Tokyo. As to 'greatest', how does one say that New York is 'greater' than Shanghai, Moscow or Delhi, or Sao Paulo? (All of which have 2 million or more people than New York.) It seems to me that using New York as the examplar of why the world should adopt the US's ideology de jour is rather provincial. If someone were to determine that Shanghai has become 'greater' than New York, are we all to consider changing to the sort of economic and political structures found in China? Should we then decide that Confusanism is an economic virtue because is it common in 'the greatest city on Earth'?

This does apply to patents and IP protections. In our (USA) past, we had much weaker protection of IP that we do today, particularly if the owner of the IP was not a US citizen. If a student of history were to advise developing nations, she might well advise them to copy the policies that US adopted; but she might advocate the weaker protections of the late 18th and early 20th centuries (when the US was industrialising rapidly) rather than the current policies of the US. Perhaps a developing nation should advocate something like a seven year patent and a seven year copyright, which is more along the lines of our Founding Fathers.

Please remember that IP law is used to establish monopolies. This is very nice for people that want to use some idea or expression to make capital, but it not a free market. So, are you a free market capitalist, or a 'I earned/inherited it, so can do what I damn well please with my money' capitalist? These are both widely help views, but they are quite distinct. It is not reasonable to call the later a free market capitalist, since they routinely attempt to subvert free markets when they can better profit by establishing a monopoly. There is no clearer way to recoginize this distiction than to note how the length of a copyright has been growing. For all practical purposes, anything copied after 1923 has been granted a permanent monopoly by our (bought off) politicians acting on behalf of a few major multinational corporations. How is this an example of a free market?