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Monday, May 17, 2004

Lessig in Wired
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Lawrence Lessig has a good column up in Wired, entitled "Protectionism Will Kill Recovery." Cast in the form of a speech by a major-party candidate to an audience of tech innovators, it concludes: "Those hurt by transition can be helped by the government. But cries for protection must not be answered by economic folly. Your silence in the face of that folly is understandable. But your silence will only guarantee that folly prevails. And the consequence of that folly - continued protectionism - will benefit no one. Not the rich, not the poor. Not America, not the world."

Along the way he discusses intellectual property, including: "Intellectual property is vital to growth. But the law must be fit to technologies, rather than 21st-century technologies being forced to fit 19th-century laws. Copyright and patent laws could be simplified; the rightful and efficient protections they promise could be made much easier to navigate. Their aim should be to encourage competition and innovation. It should never be to protect the old against the new."

Lessig and I disagree on many specific issues, but I certainly have no quarrel with the sentiments expressed in that paragraph.

posted by James DeLong @ 11:39 AM | General

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