Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, BoingBoing, WordPress, Tucows si DEX Online sunt printre cei care protesteaza azi impotriva adoptarii proiectului de lege SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) propus spre discutie in House of Reprezentatives a Statelor Unite pe 26 octombrie 2011 de catre Lamar S. Smith (House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative), sprijinit de alt 12 co-sponsori. Protestele se indreapta si impotriva proiectul de lege PIPA (Protect Intellectual Propriety Act) propus in Senatul Statelor Unite pe 12 mai 2011 de catre senatorul Patrick Leahy si sustinut de 11 copartizani.
Pentru a înțelege fundamentele problemelor, un bun rezumat al discuției făcute de Stephan Kinsella în Against Intellectual Property este prezentat de Sheldon Richman:
there is a distinction between physical objects and ideas that is crucial to the property question. Two or more people cannot use the same pair of socks at the same time and in the same respect, but they can use the same idea—or if not the same idea, ideas with the same content. That tangible objects are scarce and finite accounts for the emergence of property rights in civilization. Considering the nature of human beings and the physical world they inhabit, if individuals are to flourish in society they need rules regarding thine and mine. But “ideal objects” are not bound by the same restrictions. Ideas can be multiplied infinitely and almost costlessly; they can be used nonrivalrously.
In practical terms, when one acquires a copyright or a patent, what one really acquires is the power to ask the government stop other people from doing harmless things with their own property. IP is thus inconsistent with the right to property.
An IP advocate might challenge the proposition that two or more people can use the “same” idea at the same time by noting that the originator’s economic return from exploiting the idea will likely be smaller if unauthorized imitators are free to enter the market. That is true, but this confuses property with economic value. In traditional property-rights theory, one owns objects not economic values. If someone’s otherwise unobjectionable activities lower the market value of my property, my rights have not been violated.
This objection exposes what is at stake in IP: monopoly power granted by the state. In fact, patents originated as royal grants of privilege, while copyright originated in the power to censor. This in itself doesn’t prove these practices clash with liberty, but their pedigrees are indeed tainted.
Property rights arose to grapple with natural scarcity; “intellectual property” rights were invented to create scarcity where it does not naturally exist.
Richman discută și despre problema patentelor, nu doar a copyright-ului. La acest capitol, se reia argumentul ferestrei sparte al lui Bastiat, aplicat la cazul invențiilor. Vedem că datorită patentelor sunt multe invenții, dar nu vedem ce s-a pierdut atunci când s-au câștigat aceste invenții. Poate s-a pierdut și mai multă inventivitate?
În Against Intellectual Monopoly, Boldrin and Levine studiază această ipoteză și observă că se validează în multe exemple istorice. O discuție relevantă în mod particular este cea a domeniului farmaceutic, unde cercetarea presupune costuri foarte mari:
Historically, intellectual monopoly in pharmaceuticals has varied enormously over time and space. The summary story: the modern pharmaceutical industry developed faster in those countries where patents were fewer and weaker… . [I]f patents were a necessary requirement for pharmaceutical innovation, as claimed by their supporters, the large historical and cross-country variations in the patent protection of medical products should have had a dramatic impact on national pharmaceutical industries. In particular, at least between 1850 and 1980, most drugs and medical products should have been invented and produced in the United States and the United Kingdom, and very little if anything produced in continental Europe. Further, countries such as Italy, Switzerland, and, to a lesser extent, Germany, should have been the poor, sick laggards of the pharmaceutical industry until recently. Instead, the opposite was true for longer than a century.
There is clear value in being first to market with a product, especially a drug. Moreover, copying successes is not the low-cost piece of cake it’s assumed to be. For one thing, the imitator has to wait to see which product is worth copying, but all that time the originator will be reaping market-monopoly returns and securing his reputation for innovation and trustworthiness.
We mustn’t overlook the wasteful costs of the current system, in particular the incentive to tweak existing drugs whose patent terms are nearing expiration in order to extend the monopoly. What other drugs might have been invented in that socially wasted time?
Până și Bill Gates recunoaște că industria software-ului ar fi fost practic handicapată de aplicarea timpurie a patentelor.
Copying combined with product differentiation equals rising living standards. Had imitation been forbidden earlier in human history, stagnation would have been mankind’s lot. Attempts in that direction today concentrate economic power and increase the cost of living for the rest of us.
Revenind acum la copyright, aici sunt două filme despre legislația contra „pirateriei”:
Pentru clarificarea oricăror suspiciuni, abolirea legislației pentru „proprietate intelectuală” nu presupune legalizarea furtului mărcilor comerciale (falsificarea) și lasă loc de înțelegeri contractuale private pentru instituirea unor restricții de copiere (cât de populare ar fi astfel de înțelegeri, rămâne de văzut).
Alte linkuri de interes: