Re: Information Age Dilemma

Geoff Smith (
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 16:22:44 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 22 Sep 1997, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> > The free market punishes stupidity and inefficiency. This is good. But
> > it also fails to reward producing information for free, or exploration,
> > which is bad if people need that reward to live. Copyright fills in the
> > gap, but less than ideally, because it makes information not free for a
> > while.
> That's the "public good" argument; I don't buy it for things like
> defense, and I see no reason to buy it for information. The claim
> that the free market does not reward production of free information
> absent copyright is manifestly false: anyone with a little imagination
> can figure out dozens of ways to make money with information that
> don't rely on copyright--I've posted many here already, as anyone can
> look up in the archives. Beginning an argument with with such an
> instance of philospher's diease (mistaking a failure of imagination
> for an insight into necessity) weakens whatever follows.

Lee, your critique of patents and copyrights is particularly salient in
light of what the Canadian government has just done: extended the patent
period of new drugs to 20 years! ( I can't even fathom why they made this
decision, isn't health care expensive enough already? )

This also illustrates a point that has been made many times on this list:
government is the primary producer of monopolies.