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.

Competition creates innovation

Matt Berninger, "The National"'s vocalist, is quoted in today's New York Times Magazine:

People seemed to fall for us after listening to our records many, many times. The corporate model has collapsed, but small-label bands playing to 200 people a night can pay the bills and raise a family on it. That's why we'll have better and more interesting innovations

McCain to YouTube: ever heard of fair use?

Lessig's blog has posted an interesting letter from the McCain campaign to Youtube about their take-downs of videos that "are clearly privileged under the fair use doctrine".

Open access to NIH funded research gains momentum

Inside Higher Ed reports that "legislation requiring NIH-supported research to be online and free is on fast track, encouraging those who want that requirement for all federally supported research". The legislation is receiving bipartisan support and is part of an appropriation bill that Congress wants to pass.

I believe the bill has potentially disruptive effect on the academic publishing model. Needless to say, publishers have mounted furious opposition. Read the article for some of the bogus arguments they are trying to make, such as the risk of lenghtening the time researchers would spend processing their papers (comparing it to the requirement police officers have to file their reports). As if the time we need to fine-tune our papers to comply to the minutia of each journal's different editorial requirement was well spent.

Sen. McCain on net neutrality

John McCain from allthingsdigital:
"There should be as little government regulation of broadband as possible. Walt notes that the telecom industry is re-aggregating back into "one unified AT&T."
... we should let the market and technology solve the Net-neutrality issue: "When you control the pipe you should be able to get profit from your investment."

Obama requests Creative Commons License for presidential debates

Barack Obama's web site reports a letter sent to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean urging the DNC to make the video from any Democratic Presidential debate publicly available after the debate for free and without restriction under a Creative Commons license.

"I am a strong believer in the importance of copyright, especially in a digital age", he writes, "But there is no reason that this particular class of content needs the protection". Unfortunately, Obama does not seem to hold any unconventional views on copyright.

Defense lawyer in RIAA cases interviewed

Slashdot has recently posted a depressing interview with Ray Beckerman, a defense attorney representing people sued by the RIAA. Beckerman is also author of the blog Recording Industry vs The People

Watch google!

Robert Cringely has a nice article on pbs.org describing Google's secretiveness and unfair business methods in its advertisement services. A monopolist engaging in monopolistic practices is hardly surprising, and perhaps not worthy of mention even in this site. However I believe Google deserves special attention. Google is slowly but steadily working towards acquiring a dominant position in delivering human knowledge and information. Not only because it is the default search engine for most internet searches, but also because Google is actively storing all sorts of information. Take a look, for example, at its google base project, or at the more famous google library project. Google's chosen motto is "don't be evil", which many interpret to mean "we won't be Microsoft". Indeed, Google distinguishes itself from the software giant because it does thing just right. We all like its products, but this unfortunately increases its dominant position. For these reasons, I believe we should monitor Google's practices very carefully.

Record labels might have lied to Antitrust in Napster case

The Napster case is not over. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports the latest chapter of the legal battle. The music industry is still pressing its case against Hummer Winblad and Bertelsman for investing in Napster. The defendants claim that the record labels forfeited their copyright claims when they illegally coordinated to monopolize digital music distribution. The DoJ found no evidence of wrongdoing, but new documents reveal that the labels might indeed have coordinated and shared information, and lied about it to the DoJ.

This is relevant because the penalty for copyright misuse (e.g. using copyright as a tool to validate antitrust) is unenforceability of the copyright in court until the misuse has been purged and its effects no longer exist -, which is tantamount to losing the copyright and releasing the intellectual property on the public domain. Free Madonna downloads coming soon to a computer near you!


Most Recent Comments

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An analysis of patent trolls by a trademark lawyer

Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime It is one of the finest websites I have stumbled upon. It is not only well developed, but has good

Killing people with patents I'm not really commenting the post, but rather asking if this blog is going to make a comeback

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