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Friday, September 17, 2010

New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) just released a useful new study entitled Policy Complements to the Strengthening of IPRs in Developing Countries. It significantly undermines the claims of "public interest" advocates who wail that they just know intuitively that improved legal protection for intellectual property rights (IPRs) are merely one more means through which developed countries oppress developing countries. While such claims often sound lofty and compassionate, very ugly prejudices often lurk beneath them. Fortunately, by actually studying real data, the OECD found that such claims are wrong as applied to actual developing countries: "[T]the results point to a tendency for IPR reform to deliver positive economic results."

Continue reading New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 12:27 PM | Capitalism, Copyright, Global Innovation, Human Capital, IP, Innovation, Internet

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

FCC & Free Press - Send Lawyers, Guns and Money to Regulate the Internet

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

So goes the FCC's stacked "706 Report" on broadband this week, which said that Americans aren't getting broadband in a "reasonable and timely basis," the first negative conclusion since the report's inception.

Using the standard developed in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) - which recommends "that every household in America have access to affordable broadband service offering actual download (i.e., to the customer) speeds of at least 4 Mbps and actual upload (i.e., from the customer) speeds of at least 1 Mbps" - the Commission determined that by this benchmark "broadband remains unavailable to approximately 14 to 24 million Americans." (Not that 14 - 24 million Americans don't have high-speed access, as has erroneously been reported.)

The FCC is building its war chest so that it can justify Lilliputian Internet regulation of network providers. Through a number of recent proceedings, statements and reports - e.g., the Open Internet NPRM, Cellular Competition Report, and "Third Way" NOI - the 706 Report traffics in the same meme: network providers just aren't doing their job, so they must be coerced or shamed into proper "compliance."

Not uncharacteristically, The Free Press heralded the new, rather dour (and now redundant) broadband assessment. Said the lugubrious, special interest lobbyists - "Now that the FCC has taken the first step of acknowledging America's broadband problem, we hope that it will advance policies to reverse this decline though the promotion of real competition and true consumer choice."

Continue reading FCC & Free Press - Send Lawyers, Guns and Money to Regulate the Internet . . .

posted by Mike Wendy @ 10:20 AM | Broadband, Capitalism, Capitol Hill, Communications, Innovation, Internet, Net Neutrality, Regulation, Software, The FCC, Universal Service, Wireless, Wireline

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Keep the Internet Corporate-Free Says Anti-Business Free Press

I just have to chuckle at this sophomore opinion piece recently penned by the Free Press. Its main memes: Corporations are evil. Do not trust corporations, because they are evil. And, oh by the way, corporations want to control you and the FCC, because...they are evil.

Good golly, we get it.

Continue reading Keep the Internet Corporate-Free Says Anti-Business Free Press . . .

posted by Mike Wendy @ 8:52 AM | Broadband, Capitalism, Communications, Innovation, Internet, Net Neutrality, Regulation, The FCC

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TechDirt Errs Again: Copyrights Are the Definition of "Market Forces" in Action.

I just read the latest Deep Thought from the editor of the blog TechDirt, Mike Masnick, who must be the only person, other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who often uses the royal "we" when expressing a personal opinion. In Pushing for More Stringent Copyright Laws Is the Opposite of Allowing "Market Forces" to Act, Masnick rants that granting legally protected private exclusive rights, (a.k.a., "private property rights"), to private producers of socially valuable resources like expressive works will thwart what Masnick calls "market forces":

[I]t's flat out wrong to say that copyright (or patents, for that matter) are about "allowing market forces" to act. By definition, copyright and patent laws are the opposite of allowing market forces. It's the government stepping up and providing monopoly rights because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that basic market forces don't work in those areas and, thus, the government needs to step in and "correct" some sort of imbalance.

This is all--as Masnick might put it--"flat out wrong...." Economists and the economically literate know that if we want "market forces" to encourage the consumer-driven private production of any resource (including expressive works) then we must grant exclusive rights to private producers of that socially valuable resource. In other words, property rights---government-granted, legally protected exclusive rights--are required to use "market forces" to encourage the production of any resource.

Continue reading TechDirt Errs Again: Copyrights Are the Definition of "Market Forces" in Action. . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 11:10 AM | Capitalism, Copyright, IP, Innovation, Internet, Mass Media, Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism, Trademark

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Send In the Clowns: A Review of Oberholzer-Gee and Stumpf's Copyright and File-Sharing (Part 1)

And where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns…
Don't bother—they're here.
—Judy Collins/Stephen Sondheim, Send in the Clowns

Recently, Nate Anderson of Ars Technica published File-sharing has weakened copyright—and helped society. This story's title summarizes the thesis of a "new" paper by those Grokster-loving, Free-Culture-Movement Professors, Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Coleman Strumpf (collectively, "OGS"). Their "new" paper is entitled File-Sharing and Copyright. Fortunately, their non-sequitur thesis does not follow from their clown-car collection of factual, legal, economic, and historical errors that poses as "scholarship."

Indeed, I just published a blog post and a longer paper to show that those who listen to the likes of Oberholzer-Gee merely end up accusing the Government Accountability Office of decades of wrongdoing by celebrating the "positive economic effects" of criminal racketeering. The blog post is entitled, Why Copyright Industry Costs-of-Piracy Studies Correctly Ignore the "Positive Economic Effects of Criminal Racketeering; the paper is entitled, Punk'd: GAO Celebrates the "Positive Economic Effects of Counterfeiting and Other Criminal Racketeering.

Continue reading Send In the Clowns: A Review of Oberholzer-Gee and Stumpf's Copyright and File-Sharing (Part 1) . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 7:46 PM | Antitrust & Competition Policy, Capitalism, Copyright, Cyber-Security, Economics, Global Innovation, IP, Innovation, Internet, Mass Media, Software

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

AT&T's New Wireless Pricing Plan - Does It Help in the Net Neutrality Debate?

The Deal's Chris Nolter believes AT&T's new wireless data-plan pricing - i.e., billing for tiers of data consumed instead of an all-you-can-eat approach - will affect not just the wireless world, but may also affect Net Neutrality regulations in the wireline space, too.

I'm not so sure.

Though tiered pricing for wired broadband has met with little success, Nolter suggests that if it can be done successfully in the capacity-stressed wireless context, then a positive precedent can be set for similar pricing for wireline broadband providers.

According to Nolter, "AT&T's wireless billing plan may help draw out the FCC on its thinking, and guide the arguments of the broadband providers in the net neutrality negotiations." He blithely adds, "If wired broadband providers can make the case that wireless tiered pricing works, they will have evidence to sway the FCC -- or ammunition to blast the agency's rulings in court."

Continue reading AT&T's New Wireless Pricing Plan - Does It Help in the Net Neutrality Debate? . . .

posted by Mike Wendy @ 12:57 AM | Broadband, Capitalism, Capitol Hill, Communications, Innovation, Internet, Net Neutrality, Regulation, The FCC, Wireline

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mr. Scott Goes to the State Department

Broadcasting & Cable reports that Ben Scott is leaving the radical outfit, Free Press, for the (hopefully not so radical) U.S. State Department. There, he will advise the State Department on "innovation policy."

Hmmm...

Of all the times I have read or heard him speak, the one moment that sticks out in my mind most was an odd exchange five years ago with Senator Byron Dorgan on S. 2686 (regarding this), the 109th Congress' attempt to impose stultifying Net Neutrality mandates on network providers. I say odd only in that, if you don't know how hearings work, questions are scripted. Senators pitch softball questions to favorable witnesses to back up the truths asserted by the inquisitor. For the Democrats on hand, Scott was the "home team" during a hearing run by Republicans (they still had the Congress and could control the hearing agenda).

Continue reading Mr. Scott Goes to the State Department . . .

posted by Mike Wendy @ 3:09 PM | Broadband, Capitalism, Capitol Hill, Copyright, IP, Innovation, Internet, Net Neutrality, Open Source, Regulation, The FCC

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Business Insider Attacks James Cameron for "Whining" That Piracy Undermines the Risky Studio Investments That Enabled Cameron's Films To Enrich Millions of Lives

When you read a "business magazine" edited by persons with at least a GRE-level grasp of modern economics, you will not encounter headlines like "Walmart Whines That It Would Be Richer If Poor People Didn't Shoplift," or "DirectTV Whines That Signal Theft Keeps 'The NFL Sunday Ticket' from Raking In More Cash," or even "Capitalist Stooge Steve Jobs Whines That iPod Counterfeiting Keeps Him from Becoming Even Richer."

Predictably, real business magazines and journalists don't publish such quasi-Marxist drool because it is so vacuous. As economist Joseph Schumpeter famously argued, profits enrich particularly thoughtful, creative capitalists because market economies drive producers to innovate. Instead of engaging in a Punch-and-Judy battle to "perfect" competition against non-innovative producers of fungible goods, smart producers can make risky investments in order to innovate and differentiate their products so they can--if consumers really love their work--earn significant profits, (some of which must be re-invested in the next round of risky innovation).

Consequently, real business journalists know that stealing from today's "rich" innovators merely punishes and deters the risky, costly innovation that drives the American economy and creates American jobs. Competent "business magazines" thus reject the economics of dictator Robert Mugabe: they do not smirk and sneer that whenever capitalists innovate successfully and get "rich," then they should not "whine" if others steal from the investors who made the risky investments that let them get rich by innovating.

But Business Insider is not a real business magazine. It has seemingly embraced "Mugabenomics." It appears that Business Insider would thus condemn Steve Jobs if he "whines" about the counterfeiting or shoplifting of iPods. Surely Jobs is now rich enough that stealing from Apple is OK with Business Insider--even though, from the perspective of Apple's investors, the vast sums paid to Jobs are a cost of doing business that reduces their potential profits and their ability to re-invest in more new innovations.

Continue reading Business Insider Attacks James Cameron for "Whining" That Piracy Undermines the Risky Studio Investments That Enabled Cameron's Films To Enrich Millions of Lives . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 12:19 PM | Capitalism, Copyright, E-commerce, Economics, Generic Rant, IP, Innovation, Internet, Mass Media

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Public Knowledge's "Copyright Reform Act of 2010": More Banal Cheerleading-for-Piracy.

For several years now, the interest group Public Knowledge has been announcing that it was working with Professor Pamela Samuelson of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Law (the "Samuelson Clinic") to develop a comprehensive set of proposals for "balanced" legislative reform of our current copyright law, the Copyright Act of 1976.

Repeatedly, Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn has stressed that this copyright-reform effort would be "balanced," serious and thoughtful--not some die-copyrights-die exercise in Free-Culture-Movement nuttiness. Gigi Sohn also stressed that her academic collaborator, Professor Pamela Samuelson, was also taking copyright reform seriously and was no longer, (as Gigi once put it), "a culture warrior like Professor [Lawrence] Lessig."

These oft-repeated pledges of seriousness and "balance," (and denials of "Lessigness") were needed because Public Knowledge brings much baggage and little credibility to the table of "balanced copyright reform." It has long been among the Free Culture Movement's most blindly strident defenders of the most deliberate and dangerous forms of Internet piracy. In the past, Public Knowledge has promoted blatant piracy--not "balance."

Continue reading Public Knowledge's "Copyright Reform Act of 2010": More Banal Cheerleading-for-Piracy. . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 1:01 PM | Capitalism, Copyright, IP, Innovation, Internet

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Copyrights in Music Do NOT Exist Only "To Benefit [Matthew Yglesias]"

Matthew Yglesias is the "progressive" mind behind the modestly titled blog Yglesias. In three recent posts, he turned the vast erudition bestowed by his B.A. in Philosophy toward the analysis of the economics of music and intellectual property. Indeed, Mr. Yglesias did so with such profound, if baseless, confidence that he deigned to declare those who disagree with him "absolutely insane."

In The Futile Struggle Against Free Content, Intellectual Property is About Consumers, and Marginal Costs and Average Costs, Mr. Yglesias thus proved publicly a point that research and humility enabled me to discover privately: an Econ-101-level understanding of economics is woefully inadequate to understand almost any real-world market, much less the economics of music or intellectual property. As a result, Mr. Yglesias' posts are useful not because they provide useful insights--they don't--but because they nicely illustrate five fatal mistakes in the economic analysis of intellectual property often made by those whose self-esteem exceeds their self-edification.

Continue reading Copyrights in Music Do NOT Exist Only "To Benefit [Matthew Yglesias]" . . .

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 10:17 AM | Advertising & Marketing, Capitalism, Copyright, E-commerce, Economics, IP, Innovation, Internet, Mass Media, Software

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Cheer Up, Canada: Thomas the Tank Engine Is Not a Conservative

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 12:11 AM | Capitalism, Generic Rant, Media Regulation, Security

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The L.A. Times and Huffington Post Blast Patry's Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 9:58 AM | Books & Book Reviews, Capitalism, Copyright, Cyber-Security, Economics, IP, Internet, Internet TV, e-Government & Transparency

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Full Performance Rights for Recording Artists Are Still the Right Answer

posted by Thomas Sydnor @ 10:00 PM | Capitalism, Copyright, Digital TV, IP, Internet, Trade

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments Turns 250

posted by Adam Thierer @ 10:50 PM | Books & Book Reviews, Capitalism, Economics, General, Generic Rant, Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Zittrain's Pessimistic Predictions and Problematic Prescriptions for the Net

posted by Adam Thierer @ 8:52 AM | Advertising & Marketing, Books & Book Reviews, Capitalism, Googlephobia, Googlephobia, Innovation, Internet, Interoperability, Mass Media, Net Neutrality, Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism, Privacy, Search

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cato Unbound Debate: Lessig's Code at Ten (Part 4: Lessig's response)

posted by Adam Thierer @ 12:15 AM | Books & Book Reviews, Capitalism, Commons, Economics, Free Speech, Generic Rant, Innovation, Internet

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Cato Unbound Debate: Lessig's Code at Ten (Part 1: Declan's Lead Essay)

posted by Adam Thierer @ 2:57 PM | Books & Book Reviews, Capitalism, Commons, Generic Rant, Internet

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

10 Years Ago Today... (Thinking About Technological Progress)

posted by Adam Thierer @ 2:07 PM | Capitalism, E-commerce, Generic Rant, Innovation

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Of Holiday Gift Guides and New Media Business Models

posted by Adam Marcus @ 10:48 AM | Capitalism, Generic Rant, Innovation, Mass Media

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Monday, December 1, 2008

"Techno-Nationalism": Debating the "where" of innovation

posted by Bret Swanson @ 4:32 PM | Capitalism, Global Innovation, Human Capital

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama's Entrepreneurial Lesson

posted by Bret Swanson @ 12:32 PM | Capitalism, Innovation

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

After the Crash

posted by Bret Swanson @ 4:41 PM | Capitalism

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Deep Insights, on Economics . . . and Life

posted by Bret Swanson @ 11:07 AM | Capitalism, China, Global Innovation, Human Capital, Innovation, Taxes, Trade

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The X-Box 360 Red Ring of Death: A David and Goliath Story

posted by Adam Marcus @ 1:27 PM | Antitrust & Competition Policy, Capitalism, Economics

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Crisis or Opportunity?

posted by Bret Swanson @ 10:50 AM | Capitalism, Education, Global Innovation, Trade

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Biography of Georges Doriot, Founding Father of Venture Capital

posted by Berin Szoka @ 5:44 PM | Capitalism, Global Innovation, Innovation, Taxes

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Rise & Inevitable Fall of Tech Giants

posted by Adam Thierer @ 9:47 AM | Capitalism, Generic Rant, Innovation, Internet

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Capitalism IS creative

posted by Bret Swanson @ 5:35 PM | Capitalism

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  New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
FCC & Free Press - Send Lawyers, Guns and Money to Regulate the Internet
Keep the Internet Corporate-Free Says Anti-Business Free Press
TechDirt Errs Again: Copyrights Are the Definition of "Market Forces" in Action.
Send In the Clowns: A Review of Oberholzer-Gee and Stumpf's Copyright and File-Sharing (Part 1)
AT&T's New Wireless Pricing Plan - Does It Help in the Net Neutrality Debate?
Mr. Scott Goes to the State Department
Business Insider Attacks James Cameron for "Whining" That Piracy Undermines the Risky Studio Investments That Enabled Cameron's Films To Enrich Millions of Lives
Public Knowledge's "Copyright Reform Act of 2010": More Banal Cheerleading-for-Piracy.
Copyrights in Music Do NOT Exist Only "To Benefit [Matthew Yglesias]"
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