General Question

Jiminez's avatar

What would happen if all intellectual property (copyright, patent, trademark) laws were to be abolished?

Asked by Jiminez (1253points) May 14th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

Studio recordings and video would vanish overnight. There are large up-front costs involved with record production, and without copyright protection, it’s difficult to impossible to recoup those costs. Musicians who have based their careers on a lot of live performances would probably do about as well as they had been previously; musicians who have based their careers on mega-hit records and record industry promotion would see their careers plummet into obscurity. Movies would probably die altogether, as would the computer software industry.

Books and bookstores would probably last until POD technology made it cheaper to print-on-demand rather than buying. This is still a few years off yet.

Jiminez's avatar

Those are pretty superficial changes, relatively speaking. I think it would be much more drastic. What about all the products out there? Cars. Electronics. Furniture. Food. Everything. There would be no way of knowing what was really made my what brand anymore. I could run a commercial for Nike and give my address as a store location and sell tennis shoes I made at home. That’s a strange example, but seriously. How monumental a change would that be? I’m just trying to fathom it.

cwilbur's avatar

I don’t think that millions of people not only losing their jobs but also having their careers become completely unfeasible is a “pretty superficial change.”

Jiminez's avatar

Relatively speaking.

Lupin's avatar

Imagine a market in China, or take a walk on Itaewon Korea. “Hey! Rolex watch with the stickers $10. You like CDs? We have everything…. Microsoft Office”
Only the counterfeiters would benefit.

btko's avatar

Maybe a proliferation of innovation? I’m not sure.

Lupin's avatar

I think it hurts innovation. At first there would be widespread distribution of exisitng technology but no incentive to imporve upon it. Why would a person/company spend money and time inventing something when it can be taken away by anyone for free?
Sure everyone would have the last version of Microsoft Office, for example, and assuming the copies were good, it would work fine for a year or two. But when the next level of pc comes out and this one is outdated, who would invest the time and energy to come up with Office 2012? There would be no point.
When we buy the Cheap Chinese knock-offs we are saving money by not paying for the innovation. That is good for our pocket today but not in the long run.

mattbrowne's avatar

Depends. There will be negative effects such as bankruptcies and also positive effects like medical progress related to human genes.

cwilbur's avatar

@btko: Probably not, because research usually involves a lot of failures, and if you can’t use the successes to pay for the failures—because as soon as you have a success, everyone copies it, without having to pay for research—then you can’t fund the research that leads to innovation.

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