Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

IP History

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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The Economist Online

The link in the previous post disappeared, so click here. [There was a problem with the link. I'm not entirely sure what link Bill wanted, but this seems to do the job. David] I was wrong: here is a link to the Gale Collection which has an announcement about putting the entire past economist online.

The Economist on Patents and Online

The Economist was a leading voice in the anti patent movement of the 19th century. Here is what it wrote in 1851, quoted in the Oct. 20th 2005 edition.

A market for ideas Oct 20th 2005 From The Economist print edition

The granting [of] patents ‘inflames cupidity', excites fraud, stimulates men to run after schemes that may enable them to levy a tax on the public, begets disputes and quarrels betwixt inventors, provokes endless lawsuits...The principle of the law from which such consequences flow cannot be just.

The Economist may have put it rather strongly in 1851, but its disapproval of patents represented conventional wisdom at the time. A century earlier, Adam Smith had described them as necessary evils, to be handed out sparingly, and many other economists have since echoed his reservations. Patents amount to temporary monopolies on useful new inventions. …

Now you can read through those great anti patent editorials without even going to an archive or library. The entire run of The Economist is now online and searchable here .

Thanks to Mark Brady for the pointer.

"This Text May Not Be Re-Published, Printed or Copied without the Author's Permission. Copyright © Karl-Erik Tallmo"

Here's a link to a copy of "The Misunderstood Idea of Copyright" by Karl-Erik Tallmo.

Here is the homepage for his forthcoming book, The History of Copyright: A Critical Overview with Source Texts in Five Languages.

IM (they call it IP) History Resources Online

Part of the Pierce Law IP Mall

Old Texts and Articles

If anyone knows of others, please let us know.

Project: History of Intellectual Property in the U.S.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, is sponsoring an online discussion group focusing on the history of what it calls intellectual property in the U.S.

Anyone at least age 13 can participate.

When I registered this was part of the page: ---

Here is Lewis Hyde's invitation to the reading group:

My own interest in this history began with the surprising lack of debate some years ago when copyright term extension was pending. There seemed to be almost no public sense of why it might matter to preserve a lively public domain. One was led to wonder if there weren't historical roots to the public domain's lack of presence in our political and economic discourse. If that is the case, might not an understanding of this history be a useful tool for those of us trying to shape current policy?

For a reading group I propose an initial meeting in February where we talk about the scope of our interests, and make a list of what we might read. I suggest one short first reading (Carla Hesse's "The Rise of Intellectual Property, 700 B.C.--A.D. 2000" (Daedalus, Spring 2002)). As for other readings, we will decide these together but at the moment my own list would include works such as Mark Rose's "Authors and Owners," Siva Vaidhyanathan's "Copyrights and Copywrongs," and Edward Walterscheid's recent book on "The Nature of the Intellectual Property Clause." Navigation Project Home Syllabus Readings / Resources Rotisserie Discussions Message Boards

You can click on a link here to register:

GrepLaw.org, History of Intellectual Property .

Here is where I found it:

The Invent Blog .

I wonder if a certain forthcoming book might be discussed at this site?

Patent Records Distorting History

Via the Legal Theory Blog, Suffolk University law professor Stephen M. McJohn has released an interesting paper entitled Patents: Hiding From History.

A summary:

This essay considers how patent law doctrine clouds the historical record of technological development. The essay first surveys a recent book that relied heavily on patent records to reexamine acutely the role of intellectual property in economic development, "The Democratization of Invention," by B. Zorina Khan. The essay's second part discusses how patent law today likely distorts patents as primary historical sources. The law encourages an inventor not to accurately disclose her invention and its place in technological development, but rather to submit vague and overbroad invention descriptions and claims. In describing the invention, some case results perversely favor what one commentator has called "intentional obscurity." Other aspects of law governing disclosure encourage inventors not to define their terms; or identify the category of invention in the preamble; or limit the claims to the actual invention. Likewise, inventors can be at a disadvantage if they explain the advantages of the claimed invention or submit software code used to implement the invention. Even keeping up on technology in the field may hurt the patent applicant. Reform of such rules could help the patent system today, and, as a byproduct, tomorrow's history.

Download the entire essay here.

Patry Copyright Blog

William Patry, a noted copyright lawyer, professor at the Benjamin Cardozo Law School, and senior counsel to Google, publishes an interesting blog covering current issues in copyright law, as well as material of historical interest. He frequently refers to the work of other scholars, such as two Israeli experts in copyright law, Oren Bracha and Dotan Oliar. A Nov. 14 post had some illuminating comments on 18th century English copyright history and recent UK scholarship, which might send you scurrying to the library.

The Pre-History of the RIM-NTP Patent Dispute

Geoff Goodfellow appears to be the inventor of wireless e-mail, which he did not patent, according to this story. He has a properly jaundiced view of patents, as does Mitch Kapor, who notes that NTP's patents should never have been issued.

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Most Recent Comments

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy rerwerwerwer

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Thank you for this great

Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime Eu acho que os direitos autorais da invenção ou projeto devem ser

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Your Compulsory Assignment for Tonight rerrerrr

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An analysis of patent trolls by a trademark lawyer

Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime It is one of the finest websites I have stumbled upon. It is not only well developed, but has good

Killing people with patents I'm not really commenting the post, but rather asking if this blog is going to make a comeback

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the