This Week in Intellectual Property, February 4th

This Week in Intellectual Property, February 4th

Rent Check

Our current copyright system requires screening software like YouTube’s ContentID, but the largely automated nature of the software enables extortionists to threaten unsuspecting YouTubers.

 

News and Commentary

AEI’s Michael Rosen’s history of Disney’s role in our current copyright system. It all centers around the term of Mickey Mouse, who first appeared in 1928’s “Steamboat Willie.” Mickey should have entered the public domain twice, but extensions in 1976 and 1998 will keep him out of the intellectual commons until (at least!) 2024.

Netflix news: once a fellow traveler with tech companies, Netflix is now aligning itself more with Hollywood by joining the Motion Picture Association of America. This shift from Silicon Valley, which is generally more dovish on copyright, to Hollywood, may be a harbinger of Netflix pushing for “shameless rent-seeking” in the words of Internet Association’s Michael Beckerman.

But no good deed goes unpunished: Netflix has been sued by the cult Osho International for use of unauthorized footage in its docuseries Wild Wild Country.

 

New Research

How many lives have new drugs saved? An NBER study estimates that had no new drugs been invented after 1981, the years of life lost before age 85 would have been twice what it was. In dollars and cents the per-life year cost was $2,837. The case for patenting is strongest in the pharmaceutical sector, but this cost-benefit analysis is important for analyzing an alternative to patenting in the form of a prize system for pharmaceuticals.

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By |2019-02-04T14:12:07-07:00February 4th, 2019|Blog, Intellectual Property|