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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Chinese Computer Scientist Jailed for Copyright Infringement

Chen Shoufu, an innovative Chinese computer scientist, was jailed August 16 in Beijing for violating the copyright of China's leading instant-messenging service, Tencent Holdings Ltd., owner of the popular QQ program. Mr. Chen's program Coral QQ made QQ more user friendly by blocking ads, resolving internet addresses, and identifying the computer from which a message is sent at no charge. (Tencent charges for the ID service.) He had previously paid a 100,000 yuan fine, about $13,600. Here is the article in the Wall Street Journal.

He has become a hero in China, the second largest internet market. One blogger decried Tencent for "bullying Chinese users by monopolizing the market."

This is yet another chilling example in a long list of violations of the liberty of people to use their property in non-invasive and very often innovative ways that ironically could improve the lives of their prosecutors, as well as countless other people.

Historians and analysts of the monopoly formerly known as intellectual property, who are critical of patent and copyright, usually emphasize the drag on innovation caused by these monopolies. Here is another reminder that the assault on liberty and property, rightly understood, is every bit as detrimental to the progress of society.

It's vitally important that critics of intellectual monopoly make this case in their briefs and remonstrations.


Comments

Of course I should have said "Tencent Holdings Ltd., creator [not owner] of the popular QQ program." The firm owns its copies but not yours.

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