Dec 172012

I was disappointed to see a post by a Duke University professor that tried to conflate economic growth with lowered enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Speaking as someone who deals in selling digital content, and who does business in China (as well as a Duke alum), I feel this is a seriously misguided idea.

I can’t believe anyone would actually recommend that the US adopt IP policies like those in Russia or China. If  you have any experience in dealing with content sales in those countries, you know it’s a joke. The fact that anyone can and does steal digital content in China has destroyed countless content providers in that country. It’s the very opposite of what he describes – far from encouraging creativity, it destroys it.

Any economist will tell you that the reason why the BRIC countries have high growth and low IP protection is because their economies are starting at a very low level of GDP and tend to deal in low value added goods such as agriculture or basic manufacturing. They have no content industry to protect. Those high-tech Apple factories in China would not exist without strong IP protection, which was won only after decades of hard-fought lobbying by US corporations.

Pundits extolling the virtues of limiting copyright invariably ignore the plight of content providers like myself and focus only on patent trolls or Steamboat Willie. It would be nice to see the discussion of copyright move away from simplistic analysis like this and take a hard look at what actual content creators have to deal with.


 Posted by at 3:42 pm