Future of IP and the Commons: Friends or Foes
Open Sesame: Unlocking IP To Unleash The Commons. A Joint Conference Under the Consilience Banner by: The Law & Technology Society (NLS) and Spicy IP, Supported by: MHRD Chair in IP, NLS. 28th & 29th May, 2016.
Posted: 24 May 2018
Date Written: May 29, 2016
There are challenges to provide Internet’s availability to all people, its self-replication made faster due to its openness, and the struggle of America to control the internet. The open source movement had exposed a zone of conflict, as the open architecture of the internet was conducive for promotion of innovation, while the excessive copyright protection often favoured by IP activists inhibited consumer freedoms. There is a necessity for examining the legitimacy of the moral underpinnings of IP rights. Whether IP rights were natural and grounded in the deontological tradition, Locke’s ideas should be preferred over utilitarianism to argue for more rights for an open-source model. There should be a system of limited IP to justify the reward for innovation. Strong but sensible entitlements would be needed to moderate free riders. At the same time there are certain problems caused by certain innovation commons. The cookie, for example, was convenient for websites but eroded private rights. Firewall levels, such as those in Blackberry, provided security and protection but also jeopardized crime detection.
The role of the judiciary and of policy makers are very significant. The two groups should see IPR as important tool to militated against the notion of commons and accord more rights to the poor. The balancing act is especially crucial at the policy level, which at the given moment is twisted towards the commercial approach. The web did not pay attention to IP, and the success in various sectors depended on increasing returns as a result of this. In addition to tightening controls, a liberal interpretation of patent laws threatened innovation as cyber patents might freeze innovation. However, we should oppose the polar opposite of perfect private control, and provide well-researched balancing act.
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