Silicon Valley hates IP, unless it’s its own. Then it cares very much indeed. For example, although Google Ventures is the biggest investor in Uber, it sued Uber over the theft of its self-driving car IP. The fascinating and curious thing is that Silicon Valley has persuaded one or two people that weakening people’s rights is in their own interest, not just Google’s. Silicon Valley will feed this constituency today as it usually does: with its astroturf groups griping that the IP regime is somehow “oppressive” and unfair to the individual. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is quite clear:
“Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”
We must campaign harder, goes the message, to weaken those rights.
Who in history has campaigned to make themselves worse off and giant, monopolistic corporations richer? Let’s explain how odd this is – how future historians will regard this act of social self-harm as perhaps the distinguishing characteristic of our age.
Out in the real world, copyright is one of the most popular and successful ideas that humanity has ever had. As a virtual property, only “money” has been more successful than IPRs. This child of the Enlightenment made the individual sovereign, and allowed talented people to participate in a market place, so the most talented did not need not to tug their forelocks at wealthy sponsors like the Medicis.