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Friday, September 12, 2008

Study Says Intellectual Property System Should Die

This article over at TorrentFreak summarizes a recent study by "The Innovation Partnership", which, in turn, appears to operate under the auspices of the Center for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill University in Canada. The article concludes:

A recently released study has claims that the current ‘Intellectual Property’ situation in the world is not working well. Driven by a fear of losing out, and bolstered by an attitude that profit is the aim of IP, progress is hampered. Not only by the entertainment industry, also in biotechnology where medicines are sometimes restricted or withheld, causing deaths.

Calling this report a "study" attempts to convey a level of scientific inquiry that is unwarranted. As stated in the beginning of the report:

An international and interdisciplinary research team has convened for the last seven
years in an attempt to better understand the mechanisms of intellectual property in biotechnology innovation, and to suggest improvements to the role of intellectual property in that system. This report represents the research team’s core finding and recommendations.

This betrays a complete lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the term "research". What this report based itself on was the conclusions of a group of self-appointed experts from the International Export Group who sat around reading about and thinking about intellectual property fro six years, and then making up some recommendations. You or I could do the same thing, but it is not research and it is certainly not the basis for data-driven decision making.

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