Showing posts with label immaterial rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immaterial rights. Show all posts

May 3, 2012

Intellectual Property - Breaking the Rules...

If Intellectual Property is a fundamental right (such as physical property), it strikes me as rather odd that it can be limited in time. Patents are normally limited to 20 years. Books and recorded music have protection times varying between 70 and 90 years.

If we are talking fundamental rights, could such be limited in time? That is something that goes with no other negative rights. Either a right is for ever or not at all.

The alternative, time limited rights, would give us an unpredictable and rather unpleasant society.

Putting this into the concept of Intellectual Property – I guess even the most hard core IP-lobbyists would agree that everlasting, infinite copyright and patents could result in some really troublesome consequences.

This is a clue that Intellectual Property cannot be a fundamental right. Every time politicians, record companies or lobbyists try to mess around with protection times, they undermine their own claim for the sanctity of Intellectual Property rights.

One does not fiddle around with fundamental rights. They are not relative nor negotiable.

Then we have the fact that alleged Intellectual Property rights conflict with fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, the right to privacy and some aspects of property rights.

A good rule of thumb is that fundamental rights are not in conflict with each other.

There are strong reasons to be suspicious about Intellectual Property rights. They do not behave as any other rights.

This leads me to believe that there is something fishy about Intellectual Property. That it is not a fundamental right at all. It might be described as a positive right – that is, a privilege but not a proper part of the fundamental set of rules that build society.

January 8, 2010

This IS the Market, Stupid!

Working with Pirate MEP Christian Engstr̦m in the European Parliament, I often come in contact with advocates for Intellectual Property Рe.g. lobbyists from the film, music and book industry. And one thing almost always strikes me...

They don't seem to have a clue about what's really going on.

They don’t seem to realize that we now live in an information society with hyper distribution. And if some of them might have some sort of a clue after all, it seems they think the Pirate Party or Christian himself invented the internet, free flow of information and file sharing. (We sometimes respond to that, saying “No, that was someone much more clever”. But they really don’t seem to catch the subtle humor, nor the message.)

What the Pirate Party does, is “just” to point out what policies are reasonable in our new society.

Billions of people are online. Al of them can, at least in theory, connect with each other. And there are often a surprisingly sort distance (or few links) between person B and person Q. A thought, an idea or an application can spread over the world in just a few days. All kinds of data that are on my computer could be transfered to yours. Or to that that of a bike repair man in Chile. If it is good and interesting enough.

Some entrepreneurs have got the message. They start net applications, they set up web stores (that often are more successful the more specialised they are), they start their own media channels and they start projects where people cooperate. In most cases it can be done with very little money. And if they choose, they can address a global market.

The IP-lobbyists from the entertainment industry, on the other hand… They refuse to see or to accept the real world as it is. They are upset, because people don’t want to go downtown to a store to buy their products engraved to plastic discs anymore. They go bananas if someone shares the information he or she has bought with someone else. They curse the Internet. They want so supervise, filter and control the flow of information. They want to cut people of from the net. They have no problem making the world a worse place for everybody else – e.g. all the entrepreneurs, scientists, students, activists, artists, blogers and ordinary people that every day spontaneously fills the Internet with life and creativity.

The IP-lobby does not make any real effort to accept, embrace and make use of our new reality and of the information society. They could, if they wanted. And they could make a lot of money doing so. But so far, they seem unable and unwilling to think outside the box.

Sometimes it’s almost amazing. We met with a person from the book publishing sector. That person told us, with a stiff upper lip, that the amount and the multitude of information on the Internet is a problem – as no one can handle the selection process, deciding what should be published and not. So… von oben.

An online information society with a multitude of information and hyper distribution is the new market. And in many ways it is a much more free market than the old one. You should accept it – or get out of the way.

And let’s face it. Some products, business models, concepts and stuff will end up in the trash can – as they don’t fit our modern society. And they should end up in the trash – making open space for things that are new, profitable, focused on the future, viable and blooming.

No one can tell what tomorrows business concepts will look like. But you don't need to worry. We'll find out, eventually. The market will solve that. On its’ own. There will always be talanted people developing new stuff for new markets. You might call it capitalism, spontaneous order, progress, the invisible hand, dynamic effects or what ever you like. But it will be there.

Trust the Force!

[This blog post in Swedish]

November 10, 2009

Brands and counterfeit vs. file sharing

In the EU, the word "piracy" is often used both for counterfeit goods and for file sharing. Naturally, this is a deliberate way to confuse the discussion.

The Pirate Party has no problems with brands, as they give consumers important information. And we are against counterfeit of goods. Counterfeit infringes on the brand. And counterfeit goods are usually poorer and sometimes plain dangerous. People have the right to know what goods they are buying and who the producer is.

The Pirate Party is also pro non commercial file sharing between private individuals.

From our standpoint, everything becomes strange and wrong when the EU tries to confuse counterfeit with file sharing. E.g. in a communication from the EU Commission, practically all the text is about counterfeit - but still everything boils down to measures to prevent file sharing. The Commission ought to know better.

Swedish Pirate MEP, Christian Engström, spent this morning in the European Parliaments committee on legal affairs to try to get people to grasp this.

This is also an important distinction when it comes to the ACTA trade agreement - that also tries to bundle counterfeit with file sharing.

[In Swedish]

October 15, 2008

The Democratic Deficit revisited

A few weeks ago the European Parliament voted on the Telecoms Package.

At the last minute the EP managed to stop parts (created by the copyright lobby) of the package aimed to filter the internet and to close down internet access (without judicial process) for people engaged in e.g. file sharing. So far, so good.

Now, it turns out, the European Commission seems to have removed all references to this EP-decision in its working papers – preparing the Telecoms Package for a second reading in the EP or an OK in the Council. This we where not supposed to know. But the document leaked out...

It is not to bold to guess that this is the work of the French EU presidency and its friends in the copyright lobby. They simply will not take no for an answer. Not even a clear no from the EP.

(Personally, I am pro copyright. But I will not accept mass survilance, limitations in citizens rights or give up the freedom of the internet. And I think it is a really bad idea to use laws to save an outdated business model.)

Read more and find the relevant links at

April 3, 2008

La, la, la! I can't hear you. La, la, la!

When the Swedish Parliament holds a hearing on Immaterial Rights on the Internet today – they have decided not to invite anyone who is critical against the Control State and Big Brotherism that might follow.