Thursday, March 06, 2008

"No One Likes a Bully: The IIPA and Canada" UPDATE

William Patry hits one out of the ballpark here: "No One Likes a Bully: The IIPA and Canada"

This blog article blows my mind. Its not a must read; that is trite. How about a civic duty?

It exposes in my opinion a clever corruption of the term "International" and lots of other clever corruptions.

For a company in battle for survival now with Microsoft, whether they know it or not, I personally expect no less to come from him.

In fact, I expect much more from him, not just in his preferred field of copyright but to the roots of what is copyright law, in its framing a competitive marketplace for intellectual goods and services, that serves best the public interest. That may in a US context, require examination of the Sherman Act and how the Copyright Act must fit with that Act and answer also to the public interest in that particular law, its twin evolution and history, against industry trusts and harmful monopoly power. Copyright is after all a grant of monopoly by the people to the creator and the holders of those copyrights, which may not be the creative, fuzzy and warm artists often projected as the author, but rather people who are instead servants subject to the power of the creator and copyright holder, like the members of the Writers Guild of America and most members of ACTRA here at home.

This is not to tarnish him or his views in any way, but it is a wake call to all consumers really, that I read in the undertones, of what is at the root of the problem: the corruption he exposes of process, word and deeds (our government appeared ready to walk into a "trap," that Industry Minister Prentice has fended off to date, possibly to his credit, a story in the making perhaps?).

Another such wake up call is Professor Lawrence Lessig's new calling "Corruption". No more copyright issues, he has moved on, perhaps identifying his best use of his considerable human capital as well as his followers perhaps in the realization that the copyright law he loves, is but a tool of anti-competitive manipulation in context of industrial property and competition laws.

There is no other person like Lessig, in energizing an issue and in being in fearless pursuit of the truth, the true scholar's passion and obsession. Smell and all, at the end of 10 years of study, just as the Creative Commons is very well known, so may be the awareness of corruption both on those who participate in it and those who watch it occur, in complicity.

This blogger will say a small prayer tonight, optimistic that the truth will win out. That once corruption is brought to fuller American awareness, that America will properly deal with it.

We in Canada, whom William Patry assists greatly, in filling in much of our "broken news" in his post, owe Mr Patry a greater debt of gratitude, not for this exposure of the process we may have succumbed to and its evils, but for what he exposed for his own countrymen to fit into their reality and figure out for themselves, where his country has gone wrong.

Certainly, there will be battles, where spin and FUD get plied, where "success should not be penalized", etc, etc, etc. Its old news and old angles to come. Screaming billionaires making monopoly profits are just somehow not that sincere in protestations, where the games played evolved into rules beyond any recognizable public interest. The unscientific v. the scientific. The media "mashing of the issue" v. the truth that the MSM is an issue itself, if it cannot get the answers for, and by the people the MSM claims to serve.

We hope the people win this one. The cold Hell otherwise is also a fitting and deserving end, if they lose. I certainly do not want to reside there.

Ariel Katz, a very thought provoking law professor at the UofT who teaches competition law and intellectual property, and who is the Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce, has just released an interesting paper that needs a full examination. Its available here, entitled "Making Sense of Nonsense: Intellectual Property, Anti-trust, and Market Power." The policy twins in industrial property, competition and intellectual property (patent, trademark, copyright, design, trade secret law), clash.

The legal people may have their debate:
what about the "people" and their representatives?

This is the type of provocation that might tip to a larger debate. This professor has worked the issue hard as to whether copyright collectives should exist anymore for example. Always an interesting challenging point of view. This one must have some wet spots but harder spots too, with great learning potential. It may address what challenges William Patry in this blog post must surely have to address by day, particularly as a monopolist in one market is about to move to compete directly with his own firm. Does Professor Katz deal with the Sherman Act / Clayton Act with this situation or it is a non-obvious extension to a future article as a monopolist may again embrace and extend its market? Stay tuned after this law and economics article gets its due digest.

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