Thursday, August 09, 2001

Internet Copyright Jessica Litman describes how copyright laws are actually created: publishers claim they already have all control rights and particular interest groups who are hurt claim exemptions for themselves. Congress then signs a long bill that "affirms" copyright statute (when in reality extending it) while granting 100 special interest groups 100 complicated exeptions. Consumers are not present at the table, and consequently have no say in the negotiations. It's all just lawyers talking to lawyers (Lessig gives a good interview on why legislation of this sort kills innovation). Kind of makes you wish for more Chicago School style Law & Economics that might get lawyers to look beyond their narrow fields of specialization.

I also recently read Next by Michael Lewis, where he discusses how Insiders (for whom the system works) are terrified of Outsiders (who try to change the system so it will work for them) but that the disruption generate by Outsiders is good for capitalism because it creates new wealth. This is why VC funds are still growing, it pays to be edgy. Unpredictable (real) change also scares a lot of people, including Bill Joy, the Unabomber, and Caleb Carr.

Me? I'm for more wealth. And children should always frighten their parents.


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