INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: A MONOPOLY POWER

Too many people think that copyrights and patents are good. What they forget is that copyrights and patents are monopoly powers, and monopolies are never good.

How copyrights, patents, and exclusive contracts are monopolies:

  1. The holder of a copyright or a patent can control who can produce a product.
  2. The holder can keep the product off the market.
  3. The holder can prevent competition by not licensing competitors.
  4. Someone can buy the copyright or patent for the purpose of removing the product from the market.
  5. The holder can control the price of the product by limiting production.
  6. The holder can control all copies, limiting the product to rental use.
  7. If the holder controls all copies, the holder can hoard those copies until their rental value increases.
  8. If the holder controls all copies, the holder can permanently destroy the work, removing it from posterity.
  9. The holder can make so much money from the works that he no longer has to work for a living. He is no longer a productive member of society.
  10. Exclusive contracts are monopoly powers over the parties of the contracts.

Examples of the harm caused by these monopoly powers:

  1. College textbooks cost much more, because the class requires a specific book, which has only one source.
  2. Publishers of college textbooks make a new edition every year, so books can't be sold and reused.
  3. A plumbing product manufacturer bought out a competitor to remove the competing product from the market. They also removed spare parts for repairing existing units, so people who already have the products can't fix them.
  4. Movie companies stop producing home copies of a movie, so they can charge more for them at a later date.
  5. A certain Bugs Bunny cartoon will never be seen again. They locked all copies in a vault to increase the rental value years later. But when they opened the vault, they found that the films had disintegrated. No copies survived.
  6. All copies of a movie were destroyed, because one of the owners of copyrighted material in the film later objected to its use in the film, removed permission for its use, and ordered all copies destroyed.
  7. Once a work goes out of print, it becomes very hard to obtain a copy.
  8. Discontinued software can't be bought legally, but it is also illegal to make a copy, so nobody who needs it can get it.
  9. Software with a useful life of 3 to 6 years gets a copyright for 95 years.
  10. The entertainment products copyright was originally intended to protect are a drain on the economy, because they produce no useful products.
  11. Because patents and copyrights can be sold, they do not protect individuals the way the government intended. Most of them end up in the hands of giant corporations.
  12. Publishers refuse to publish a work without obtaining ownership of the copyright.
  13. Manufacturers refuse to produce a product without obtaining ownership of the patent.
  14. One of the best home computers ever made was forced off the market because a third party figured out and manufactured a simple adaptor that let the computer play video games made one of the big video game companies.
  15. The holder of a copyright or patent can become a celebrity because of the works. Royalty is supposed to be unconstitutional in this country.
  16. Exclusive contracts keep people from making money on their work if the manufacturer keeps it off the market.

The correct way to protect intellectual property without going overboard: