Bowman v. Monsanto is about patents, but particularly about cutting-edge technologies and products that are by nature easy to copy. Our patent law principles were intended to foster innovation by giving innovators the temporary right to prevent others from copying their inventions. With the rise of biotechnology and other advances, many patented technologies are based on biological or other materials that are by nature replicable, making illicit copying as tempting as it is easy. Do inventors retain the rights to temporary exclusivity for those easy-to-make copies as well? Every invention and new creative work will ultimately enter into the public domain, where it will become available to all, to use without restriction. Indeed, Monsanto’s last patent on the soybeans Bowman used will expire next year. But in the meantime innovators, whether they are in a scientific laboratory or a recording studio, must count on being able to recoup their risky investments without the threat of illegal copies.
Copyright Policy and Economic Doctrines
For many years, the debate over copyright policy in advanced industrial nations was marked by a relative lack of partisan and ideological conflict. There was a general consensus that relatively strong copyright protection spurred the development of content and was both pro-innovation and pro-consumer. But in the last decade, this has changed markedly, as was so clear with the heated debate over PIPA/SOPA last year. However, copyright policy debates are largely grounded in economic doctrines.
Despite what many economists claim, economics is not a science; and in this case intellectual approaches to the issue of information industries and copyright differ substantially. These approaches reflect differences in economic doctrine among economists, policymakers and others. Based on these doctrines, different people stress different goals and values and work under different assumptions about how information industries and copyright work.
This report postulates and describes four competing economic doctrines: conservative neoclassical, liberal neoclassical, neo-Keynesian, and innovation economics. It explains how each doctrine leads to different views of optimal copyright policy and how there is no scientifically optimal copyright policy; any policy position reflects different goals, assumptions and values.
A Fair and Competitive Royalty System for Music Services
ITIF argues the current rate-setting process for music royalties is broken and the Internet Radio Fairness Act is an incomplete solution. Bold reform would treat different technologies in a similar manner and would allow copyright owners to individually set rates for statutory licenses for their music, which would foster a more fair, competitive and innovative market for music, broadcasters, and Internet radio.
America's Looming IP Drain
The United States is right to deepen and strengthen trade ties with countries in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, but it's only worth doing so if a high-standard TPP is in place. If the U.S. fails to secure high IP standards in the new trade arrangements it enters into, the future banquet of consequences will present a bleak feast for its workers and economy.
Winning the Race 2012 Memos
As the 2012 presidential campaign moves in the final stage, ITIF is presenting general principles and specific recommendation ideas across several policy areas we believe the next President and Congress should adopt to restore U.S. global competiveness and prosperity.
As chronicled in Innovation Economic: The Race for Global Advantage, the United States is losing its once formidable edge as an innovator. Many other nations are putting in place better tax, talent, technology and trade policies, and reaping the rewards in terms of faster growth, more jobs, and faster income growth. It’s not too late for the United States to regain its lead but it will need to act boldly and with resolve.
Week by week until the November election, the Winning the Race series will put forward creative yet pragmatic ideas in policies affecting taxes, trade, education, broadband, the digital economy, clean energy, science and technology and other areas. Taken as a whole, the series represents a new Innovation Consensus to replace the outdated Washington Consensus.
Memo One (September 3, 2012): Boosting Innovation, Competitiveness, and Productivity
Memo Two (September 10, 2012): Trade and Globalization
Memo Three (September 17, 2012): Corporate Tax
Memo Four (September 24, 2012): Digital Communication Networks
Memo Five (October 1, 2012): Traded Sector Industries
Memo Six (October 9, 2012): Digital Economy
Memo Seven (October 15, 2012): STEM Skills
Memo Eight (October 22, 2012): Clean Energy
Memo Nine (October 29, 2012): Science and Technology
Memo Ten (November 5, 2012): Overcoming the Barriers
Complete List of Policy Recommendations: Top Policy Recommendations for the Obama Administration to Help the United States Win the Race for Global Advantage