Thursday 1 October 2009

Intellectual property , thoughts arising from a seminar

I attended a very informative seminar this afternoon, Ray Corrigan talking about the book The Public Domain, by James Boyle.

Doug Clow has produced a superb liveblog from the event, so I needn't add anything about what was said.

(Aside: How do people do that - produce liveblogs? I saw Doug typing, but how can he follow what's being said at the same time? He clearly does, but there's no way I could do that, but then I've never been any good at taking notes even for myself.)

A couple of observations.

- Yes, of course, the general case is right. It is difficult to understand how anyone defends some of the nonsense. And dangerous nonsense too. But...

- I am uneasy about the comparison with environment issues. Global warming really is the big one. We are talking about 'the end of civilisation as we know it' with global warming, and I do not think IP concerns are on the same scale.

It's not that I don't think it's outrageous, some of what's gone on about IP - the prosecutions, the fines, patenting gene sequences and the like. But I think the cause is damaged by the comparison with global warming, because it is claiming too much.

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