rc3.org

Strong opinions, weakly held

File sharing doesn’t seem to diminish creativity

Just as background, here’s what the Constitution says about intellectual property:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

The Constitution makes it clear that copyright and patents exist not to make sure that people can profit from their creations but to encourage innovation and creativity. Researchers at the University of Kansas have found that the number of creative works being produced have increased since file sharing became available. It’s important to keep this in mind when people talk about strengthening copyright laws or escalating copyright enforcement. Piracy may be unethical, but it doesn’t seem to be stifling the production of creative works.

5 Comments

  1. The real problem with strengthening IP laws here is that it is often not the artist himself that owns his work; it’s the record company he’s signed to. There are reasons to strengthen IP laws, but those mostly relate to actual counterfeiting of products (which is a public safety issue), not piracy.

  2. Founding Fathers said:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    Rafe said:

    The Constitution makes it clear that copyright and patents exist not to make sure that people can profit from their creations but to encourage innovation and creativity.

    I read this very differently. Quite the reverse, actually.

    The Constitution makes it clear that copyright and patents exist to make sure that people can profit from their creations in order to encourage innovation and creativity.

    You seem to be saying that protections exist so that people can be innovative and creative. But people could be innovative and creative without the protections, so what is the purpose of explicitly including them in the Constitution? It is to allow the creator to receive compensation for their work (for a limited time).

    The founding fathers realized that society as a whole benefits from the innovation and creative works that arise because these protections are in place.

    I am not defending the current ridiculous situation at the USPTO, only that our founding fathers were some really smart guys.

  3. No, they are clearly there so that people can profit, but the objective is not profit, it’s innovation and creativity. The founders correctly assessed that profit is a strong incentive to innovate, but what we see now are a lot of firms that use these laws to make money, but not to innovate or produce creative products. If the current IP regime in this country is enabling people to profit but is not encouraging innovation and creativity, then it needs to be revised so that it is in more line with the actual Constitutional objective.

  4. I agree with both of you and I think this is a chicken and egg argument. If I had to choose, I would side with Rafe on this issue due to the sentence construction of the copyright clause.

    A bigger issue with current copyright laws is that they are not for a limited time, thus clearly violating the constitution. I don’t care what the Supreme Court said in Eldred v. Ashcroft, they got it wrong, big time.

  5. Rafe, thanks for the clarification. I think we are saying the same thing – the framers were looking to encourage innovation by providing an incentive. Your original post made me think that you were claiming the clause’s purpose was not to allow for any profit.

    Jeff, the copyright laws bother me less than the current insanity that is the patent process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2016 rc3.org

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑