intellectual property

debates over intellectual property issues seem to hinge on the question of stimulating or hindering innovation while transnational condemnation seems to miss the degree to which asian nations are jumping on board legalistic profiteering while young westerners are increasingly pirating regardless of their more general political philosophies.

i would prefer to suggest that the dilemma was already solved in the advent of home movies which clearly stated that one was free to enjoy such entertainment in non-commercial settings.

it seems reasonable to me that any profit i receive from sharing a commodity should return a practical proportion to the originator of said commodity.

however, if i receive no profit from sharing said commodity, i don’t see why I should be due anything less than thanks for promoting the products of said originator. if they are concerned with their own profit, then i would suggest that they focus on providing their commodity in formats that provide superior user experiences (such as large-screen technologically innovative movie theaters, high quality recordings, intelligent interactive searchable personalized databases, live (as most musical artists are forced to subsist anyways), etc.).

for instance, providers of AIDS drugs in Africa should have access to all the latest pharmaceutical advancements and only be obliged to provide originators with a sustainable proportion of whatever income, if any, that they receive from distributing such products. such large scale exposures would presumably be advantageous to the evaluation of such products and provide further avenues for innovation. meanwhile, developed markets would presumably continue to sustain the much higher mark-ups that they generally do for most products anyways.

the practicality of such a proposal hinges on 2 key issues apparent in its original statement. how do we measure profit that i receive, and what is a reasonable proportion?

i wouldn’t have even thought of the first question, but it was such a huge sticking issue during the epic hollywood writers strikes of 2007-8. the writers were fighting for a cut of the internet income of the content providers (ironically, in this context), but these producers were claiming they couldn’t actually fix that exactly. that may sound a little absurd, but I can imagine (and I really have no idea if this was their real logic) that I have a website that generates ad revenue, and I have a whole bunch of music and movies that viewers can chose from. How do I allocate royalties to which content? I suppose I would allocate it based on proportions of the content selected which I would presumably also know. So, ok, that wasn’t so hard to solve, but perhaps I still don’t understand the producers’ real argument, or perhaps it just really made no sense.

so what’s a reasonable cut? i would suggest sliding scales based on my profit, the cost of the innovation, and the time since innovation. currently governments appear to primarily legislate intellectual property rights strictly in reference to time (in the US, currently life+70 years for copyright -who is gonna make all that money now that MJ’s dead?- and 20 years for patents), and leave the cost haggling to concerned parties. while the free market MIGHT be satisfactory for commodities for which supplies are actually adjustable by producers, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES ALREADY REQUIRE GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE TO SUPPRESS THEIR SUPPLIES, so it would give more freedom to markets if governments actually made clear restrained proposals regarding the amount of suppression that they would provide. such interference should be particularly restrained given the important social and practical benefits provided by intellectual advancements which can further stimulate, rather than hinder, broad-based manufacturing and job creation. this proposal suggests that legislators should attempt to define reasonable proportions of profit, which would do well to take into account time past from, as well as cost of, the original innovation.

this proposal is based on the belief that such a framework would provide a superior environment for consumers, pre-empt arguments about property rights hindering innovation, and truly promote radically beneficial social and technological innovations.


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