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.


What the New York Times doesn't want you to know

The start of what will no doubt be a continuing series:

Dear New York Times:

Laudably, articles in Sunday's NYT address the need for innovation. Not one mentions the single most important ingredient needed to encourage innovation - patent reform. Patents no longer serve to encourage innovation. Rather, rent-seekers see who have the best ideas and use patents to blackmail them. Software has been one of the great engines of growth. Yet Bill Gates said: "If people had … taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today." Industry is now at a standstill and there can be no new direction for American innovation without a radical patent reform. Let us roll back patent protection in software; enforce the existing standard of non-obviousness; and eliminate the kidnapping of ideas for ransom by providing an independent invention defense. This - without public money, and unlike the random assortment of stimulus spending currently being proposed in Congress - would build the foundation for sustained economic growth.


Michele Boldrin, David K. Levine, and Stephen M. Silberstein


Michele Boldrin is Joseph G. Hoyt Distinguished Professor, and Chairman, in the Department of Economics at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and a CEPR Research Associate. He is co-author of Against Intellectual Monopoly from Cambridge University Press, August 2008.

David K. Levine is John H. Biggs Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the President of the Society for Economic Dynamics, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and an NBER Research Associate. He is co-author of Against Intellectual Monopoly from Cambridge University Press, August 2008.

Stephen M. Silberstein co-founded, and served as the first President of, Innovative Interfaces Inc., the world's leading supplier of computer software for the automation of libraries.


Regretfully, the Times is somewhat schizophrenic when it comes to so-called intellectual property. The Times by many is characterized as "left wing" but when it comes to content, it is as far "right wing" as you can get without going in circles.

Yesterday, in typical fashion, the Times wrote: Digital Pirates Winning Battle With Studios. Once again the times has writing a one sided puff article that supposedly demonstrates how piracy hurts the content industry.

By coincidence, Jim Cramer had a piece on his CNBC show concerning Netflix. (The website for CNBC was not responding while I am writing). The take-away from Jim's show is that the consumer is "saturated" with already bought CDs and Netflix offers the consumers a better economic choice than buying a CD.

I seriously doubt that the New York Times will truly provide a balanced analysis of why "content' isn't selling. The Times will probably continue to shill for the content industry.

I expect that our second in the series of news not fit to print will be our letter about the "piracy" article.
Here is the link to the CNBC video: NFLX: The Reel Deal?

A subtle point to this video is that the word "PIRACY" is not even mentioned. Clearly, the take away is that secular changes are occurring to the DVD market which is causing the decline in sales. Basically, the consumer is "saturated" with DVDs and consumers don't want to buy.

The New York Times is continuing with it biased article concerning copyright: Copyright Challenge for Sites That Excerpt This article is pure FUD, take a look at Comment #12, which by the way was an Editor's Selection. How this post could qualify as an Editors Selection is beyond me. Post #12 states: "Excerpting can be dangerous if the quote is taken out of context or modified in any way." Well getting out of bed in the morning can be dangerous, so I guess the Times considers the revelation that excerpting can be "dangerous" must be a Eureka moment, like Einstein discovering Relativity.

What I also think is absurd about much of the copyright debate, fair use copying is under attack, but no one seems to bring up the issue of whether the original content is even "good". The underlying content that is being quoted could be good or bad, if bad isn't this content "dangerous" within the FUD that Commenter #12 is trying to foster?

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