Against Intellectual Property
By Arnold Kling
Is intellectual property needed as a shield for the weak against the strong? Those of us who have yet to make our name in the media markets should fear obscurity rather than piracy. Nor is intellectual property protection against merciless corporations. Rather, it is a tool these corporations use against the small.
They argue that the patent system does not serve broad interests. Instead, it serves the interests of those who play the patent game well, which usually means large firms.
There are many cases in which I oppose intellectual property–business process patents, for example. In other cases, I would only oppose intellectual property if I were convinced that a better substitute would emerge. For example, with pharmaceuticals, testing a molecule for safety and effectiveness is really hard. Copying that molecule is really easy. If we want pharmaceutical innovation without intellectual property protection, we would need a different system, such as prizes for drug discovery.