Priorities for CSR

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Intellectual monopoly is not a cause of innovation, but it is rather an unwelcome consequence of it. In a young dynamic industry full of ideas and creativity, intellectual monopoly does not play a useful role. It is when ideas run out and new competitors come in with fresher ideas, that those bereft of them turn to government intervention – and intellectual “property” – to protect their lucrative old ways of doing business. If we examine the efforts of Microsoft to prevent “piracy” of their software, we find that they made little effort either legal or technical to protect their “intellectual property” in their early creative days.

How is a musician to make a living if the moment she performs her music, everyone else can copy and give it away for free? Why would the large corporations pay the small inventor when they can simply take his idea? It is hard to imagine life without the internet, and today we are all jet setters. S. Constitution a testimony to the powerful benefit of intellectual property? Would not the world without patent and copyright be a sad cold world, empty of new music and of marvelous new inventions? So the first question we will pose is what the world might be like without intellectual monopoly.

Some might wonder how difficult and innovative this invention is, so it may seem a straw man. Whatever the merits of “one click,” there are certainly many software inventions that we all agree are important and innovative. There are all the graphical user interfaces, the widgets such as buttons and icons, the compilers, assemblers, linked lists, object oriented programs, databases, search algorithms, font displays, word processing, computer languages – all the vast array of algorithms and methods that go into even the simplest modern program.

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