Er ophavsretten en fejl? Imod intellektuel monopolisme

Fra, om en ny bog, der ærligt talt lyder spændende:

At a taped video interview in my office, before the crew would start the camera, a man had to remove my Picasso prints from the wall. The prints are probably under copyright, they said.

But the guy who drew them died 30 years ago. Besides, they are mine.

Doesn’t matter. They have to go.

What about the poor fellow who painted the wall behind the prints? Why doesn’t he have a copyright? If I scrape off the paint, there is the drywall and its creator. Behind the drywall are the boards, which are surely proprietary too. To avoid the “intellectual-property” thicket, maybe we have to sit in an open field; but there is the problem of the guy who last mowed the grass. Then there is the inventor of the grass to consider.

Is there something wrong with this picture?

The worldly-wise say no. This is just the way things are. It is for us not to question but to obey. So it is with all despotisms in human history. They become so woven into the fabric of daily life that absurdities are no longer questioned. Only a handful of daring people are capable of thinking along completely different lines. But when they do, the earth beneath our feet moves.

Such is the case with Against Intellectual Monopoly (Cambridge University Press, 2008) by Michele Boldrin and David Levine, two daring professors of economics at Washington University in St. Louis. They have written a book that is likely to rock your world, as it has mine. (It is also posted on their site with the permission of the publisher.)

With piracy and struggles over intellectual property in the news daily, it is time to wonder about this issue, its relationship to freedom, property rights, and efficiency. You have to think seriously about where you stand.

This is not one of those no-brainer issues for libertarians, like minimum wage or price controls. The problem is complicated, and solving it requires careful thought. But it is essential that every person do the thinking, and there is no better tool for breaking the intellectual gridlock than this book.

Link: A book that changes everything