Dean Baker wrote about the role that intellectual property plays in the scope of inequality, and I followed-on by analogizing the removal of intellectual property protections (i.e. government refusing to recognize what was once a property right) to the abolition of slavery after the Civil War. Obviously the two examples diverge significantly, but as a tool for reducing inequality removing a property right is a far more effective tool to reduce inequality than redistribution.
Sean Mooney discusses the most recent episode of the Ipse Dixit podcast, where Matt Furie, creator of Pepe the Frog, discusses his legal efforts to stop the far right from weaponizing his once-innocent meme into a tool of fascist propaganda.
Vice reported on how Beverly Hills police officers attempted to trigger Instagram’s copyright filters to stop a livestream of police misconduct. While the blame lies on the police officers and the streams stayed up, such filters easily pick up background noise and can seriously hinder the sharing of news.
News and Commentary
The Internet Archive hosted an event on controlled digital lending (CDL) myth busting, focusing on separating the myth that CDL is piracy from the fact that, unlike piracy, CDL preserves the exact number of books which are available for reading that were once in print. Also discussed was the fact that since CDL relies on the sale of physical books, it removes the leverage that larger publishers and e-book distributors have over authors when negotiating royalties.
Gerald Barnett criticizes a recent op-ed singing the praises of the Bayh-Dole act by pointing out that while the law is touted as a way to “induce” investment into commercial research, there was nothing pre-Bayh-Dole to stop private firms, the government, or universities from investing research. What the assignment of patent rights under Bayh-Dole did (contrary to the intent of the law) was to create opportunities for patent holders to demand licensing fees from alleged infringers and hold up the implementation and commercialization of the fruits of federally sponsored research.
In TechDirt, Mike Masnick criticizes a law that would provide copyright registration fees for winners of the Congressional Art and App Competition. While this piece of feel-good legislation likely will have little impact, it does reinforce a narrative of ownership and exclusivity for cultural works which should be shared.
Music reviewer and educator Rick Beato discusses how he was able to address the copyright strike against his YouTube account in a recorded livestream. The outpouring of support from prominent YouTubers helped his case, but he’s certainly lucky compared to smaller accounts with less support.
In the Financial Times, Martin Wolf writes about the barriers to international cooperation and global vaccination posed by intellectual property laws, acknowledging the old canard about the need to promote innovation but equally recognizing that there are laws to get around them to distribute sorely needed vaccines to everyone on Earth.