How copyright impacts development of new technology and What To Do About It?

Technology runs our lives these days. Smartphones, tablets and computers – we really can’t seem to function without them. In a very short amount of time, technology has exploded in the market and now, many people cannot imagine a life without it.

With each new upgrade technology compounds existing technologies to create something better than what was previously used before.

“Ain’t nothing new under the sun,” says rapper Phonte of emerging Durham hip-hop group Little Brother. “Everything’s been done before. For the most part, in every art form, every innovation comes out of some form of imitation.”

“Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it,” wrote Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski in a recent copyright ruling. “Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it’s supposed to nurture.”

As a result of recent copyright extensions, the public domainthe sounds, images, texts and other materials that are unprotected by intellectual property rights and free for all to use or build uponis a dwindling resource. And while certain uses of copyrighted work can still fall under the legal doctrine of Fair Use, most artists have no idea how to navigate the labyrinth of laws and judicial interpretations surrounding Fair Use.

But culture as we know it is increasingly bound up in the very laws that are supposed to nurture it. Copyright law has gone from promoting creativity to hindering artistic expression, thanks in part to the efforts of a few giant corporations that are sitting on billions of dollars worth of intellectual property.

Artists steal. It’s a well-known fact. Blues musicians built upon the tradition of other blues musicians playing on the same circuit, and rock musicians built upon their music in turn, sometimes appropriating wholesale their songs and styles. Writers, it’s been said, choose from a limited number of plots and write the same story over and over, just tweaking the details. Nothing is entirely original, yet artists make original work out of the culture they’re immersed in.

Copyright and patenting  locking technology and inventions in the closet. 

An individual or company that holds a patent has the right to prevent others from making, selling, retailing, or importing that technology.

The International Bill of Rights enshrines a right to health, which includes a right to access essential medicines. This right frequently appears to conflict with the intellectual property regime that governs pharmaceutical patents.

Drug companies discard many potentially good ideas because they’re unpatentable. To see evidence of this, just look at the behavior of pharmaceutical firms. When Benjamin Roin, assistant professor of technological innovation discovered that “pharmaceutical companies systematically screen their drug candidates to exclude the ones lacking strong patent protection.”

Kevin Outterson, a Boston University law professor, has called for greater government funding of clinical trials for public-domain drugs.

The present intellectual property regime leads to higher prices for essential medicines. Higher prices for essential medicines reduce the ability of people and governments to access them. Consequently, the international intellectual property regime appears to be in direct conflict with state obligations under the right to health.

Windows 98 (June 1998) Described as an operating system that “Works Better & Plays Better, ‘Windows 98’ offered support for a number of new technologies, including FAT32, AGP, MMX, USB, DVD, and ACPI. Was the last version based on MS-DOS application.Was established in 1978.

The whole point of copyright is not that it’s only working when you’re locking things up. That’s like saying if you own anything, you can never give it away. So property has the right to, what, stay in your closet?

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