March 6, 2010

Innovation and Creativity

Posted in Digital Freedom, Intellectual Property at 11:59 by frifan

Most, if not all, innovative and creative works builds upon other works. They make use of prior knowledge and adapt or extend it to suite a new purpose. That is the way it has always been. It is an evolution of ideas. Take Mozart or Shakespeare or Michaelangelo as examples of people were highly creative and innovative, but borrowed a lot from their peers. Nina Palin even claims that all artwork is derivative.

"Nothing is original. For a work to have meaning, it must use language – it must “make sense.” It needs to work with memes already living in the host mind: language, images, melodies, patterns. It can’t be wholly original. It can hardly be original at all." — Nina Palin

Lately some companies and lobby organizations has taken it upon themselves to stop this from happening and thereby trying to eliminate the normal process of creativity and innovation. If they succeed, it may hinder the progress and evolution in the society. To innovate without building upon the vast knowledge that has been accumulated over the years is hard, but also not as interesting, because that makes it less suitable to incorporate into our lives.

It is not in the public interest to delay progress or to hold the evolution back. Yet we allow ourselves to be bullied by media lobby and high tech companies, who try to impose stricter rights on intellectual "property" both through copyright legislation and through patents. This was never the intention of either system and goes contrary to the discussions held at their inception. They were supposed to promote innovation and creativity, not stifle nor kill it. There is plenty of evidence that enforcing stricter copyright and patent protection will cost more than it is worth.

Some satiric and funny analogies:

References:

Do Patents Work? Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig

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