There’s a fascinating article by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz in the latest New Scientist. Yes, of course it’s hidden behind a paywall, what did you expect? Here’s the stub.
I quote from the article:
- Locking up products with patents is an unfair and ineffective way to reward innovation.
- There is a growing sentiment that something is wrong with the system governing intellectual property.
- Recent years have seen a strengthening of IP rights…..The changes have been promoted especially by the pharmaceutical and entertainment industries, and by some in the software industry….
- …[some] patents take what was previously in the public domain and “privatise” it — what IP lawyers called the new “enclosure movement”.
- In any system, someone has to pay for research. In the current system, those unfortunate enough to have the disease are forced to pay the price, whether they are rich or poor. And that means the very poor in the developing world are condemned to death.
I think we need something different. Whether it’s a new form of tax, a voluntary donation or a prize, or even all three, we have to stop this madness. It is unenforceable, wastes resources, gives IT a bad name because of all the unintended consequences of putting in poorly-thought-out DRM. And in some cases it is immoral.