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How the patent office almost shut down Hollywood

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

(Read caption) The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu, November 2010, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 384pp.

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My C4SIF post The Perils of Centralized Innovation concerned a fascinating excerpt from The Master Switch by Tim Wu (excerpts on scribd and google books). I have since downloaded and begun to read this fascinating book. I noticed that it contains some illuminating discussions of the effect of patent and copyright on the development of the American movie industry. One of the points of Wu’s book is how dominant information-based firms often resort to state help when their dominance is threatened. As Wu observes (quoted here in a post by Cory Doctorow):

The problem is that dominant firms are like congressional incumbents and African dictators: They rarely give up even when they are clearly past their prime. Facing decline, they do everything possible to stay in power. And that’s when the rest of us suffer.


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