Worrying over Internet content wars: Protect IP and the nuclear option

by on May 16, 2011 · 1 comment

I’ve written two articles on the Protect IP Act of 2011, introduced last week by Sen. Leahy (D-Vt.).

For CNET, I look at some of the key differences, better and worse, between Protect IP and its predecessor last year, known as COICA.

On Forbes this morning, I have a long meditation on what Protect IP says about the current state of the Internet content wars.  Copyright, patent, and trademark are under siege from digital technology, and for now at least are clearly losing the arms race.

The new bill isn’t exactly the nuclear option in the fight between the media industries and everyone else, but it does signal increased desperation.

I’m not exactly a non-combatant here.  Increasingly, everyone is being dragged into this fight, including search engines, ISPs, advertisers, financial transaction processors, and, in Protect IP is passed, anyone who uses a hyperlink.

But as someone who earns his living from information exchanges–what the law anachronistically calls “intellectual property”–I’m not exactly an anarchist either (or as one recent commenter on CNET called me, a complete anarchist!).

The development of an information economy will stabilize and mature at some point, and, I believe, the new supply chain will be richer, more profitable, and give a greater share of the value than the current one does to those who actually create new content.  (Most of the cost of information products and services today is eaten up by middlemen, media, and distribution.)

But it’s not an especially smooth or predictable trajectory.  Joseph Schumpeter didn’t call it creative destruction for nothing.

 

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch Judah Richardson

    Regardless, it’s important we ensure that this legislation is DOA. Period.

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