Why the tech industry can’t “go on the offensive” against IP laws

It’s SOPA blackout day today.

At Hacker News, most SOPA related stories have a comment something like “It is time to stop being defensive. The tech sector has lots of money, it should get together to lobby and go on the offensive against the RIAA and MPAA instead”

What no one seems to realize is that the large players in “the tech sector” generally do not have interests which align well with one another.

The biggest us tech companies by market cap are:

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Google
  • Oracle
  • Intel
  • Verizon
  • Cisco
  • Qualcomm
  • Amazon

Why would Microsoft, IBM and Oracle lobby for a decrease in copyright length (as has been suggested)[1]. Why would Apple, Intel, Cisco and Qualcomm lobby for patent reform when a great deal of their value is in the form of patents?

If I was trying to organize a “tech lobby group” I’d lobby on two things:

  1. Hands off the Internet. I don’t think this needs explaining, but will be a hard, hard fight. All tech companies should benefit from this.
  2. Compulsory licensing of streaming video. Currently music streaming is compulsory licensed (which allows Pandora etc to exist), and this arrangement should be extended to video. This would enable a huge number of video-related startups to legally build innovative solutions around copyrighted materials, while still giving revenue to the owners of the content owners. Every tech company would benefit either directly or indirectly from this. Also, the MPAA would hate it (even if they should be lobbying for it themselves).

[1]  http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3476826




One thought on “Why the tech industry can’t “go on the offensive” against IP laws

  1. It’s not the “tech” industry that has to go on the offensive, just the “web” industry and every single person who uses the Internet and cares about ensuring the freedom of the Internet in the future.

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