Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


There is a nice interview with the president of Ultimate Fighting Championships (Dana White) in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, on June 7th, in the Sports section. This sport now seems to be bigger (in terms of revenue) than both boxing and WWF. Who came up with the idea? According to White: "this thing started in 1993 when a bunch of TV guys wanted to answer the question, "What fighting style is best?" Would a boxer beat a wrestler? And so on .... These guys never knew they were creating a sport at all. They just sort of fell into it." Innovation here proceeded as it often does -- through good luck.

Larry (Bud) Melman

Yesterday's New York Times had an obituary for Calvert DeForest aka "Larry (Bud) Melman" of "Late Night With David Letterman" fame. It reported, as some of you may remember, that NBC claimed ownership of the Larry (Bud) name when Letterman moved to CBS ---- and Calvert was barred from using the name again. Another example, perhaps small, of the evils of intellectual monopoly. link here

Vinters with personal flair can't brag on wine labels

A NYT article (May 9th, p A4), "Vinters with personal flair can't brag on wine labels", discusses how a new trade agreement between the EU and United States puts sharp limits on labeling of wine bottles. It seems small European growers may not be able to indicate they use oak barrels and other methods that would distinguish themselves from the larger, more "industrial" U.S. wine makers.

Innovation Easily Imitated? --- Fifty Year Anniversary of Containerization

Without patents, innovations will be imitated, and hence not developed. So goes the logic underlying most economic models of innovation. The case of the development of containerized shipping (a major transportation innovation) offers valuable lessons regarding this logic. If an innovation was to be easily imitated, the innovation of putting cargo in a box would seem to be a good candidate. Someone would load the first box on a ship, and then everyone would start doing it. Yet as Marc Levinson discusses in the 25 April, 2006 edition of the Financial Times, "Unforeseen consequence: how a box transformed the world," it took the industry a long time to understand how important the box would be, and how to use it. In fact, "the most remarkable aspect of its [the box] history is that no one foresaw how the box would change everything it touched, from ships and ports to patterns of global trade."

Plumbers union in Philly blocking new toilets

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that city plumbers are blocking new waterless urinals since they require less pipe and hence less work. In the story the reporter, Inga Saffron, contacted mayoral candidates to find out where they stood on the issue. Typical answer: no comment.


Most Recent Comments

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Excellent writing services available online!

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Replying to Stephan: As I noted elsewhere, I'm fine with abolishing the system, just don't think

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the

Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples

Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you

Bonfire of the Missalettes!

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since