As one BBC reporter accurately put it, intellectual property in the last century was about protecting the producer or creator (author, song writer, inventor, etc.). In this century, intellectual property law has to protect the user (the general public, you and me, the readers, listeners, buyers).
Here's the problem with our existing intellectual property laws. Second of a 3 part series this week.
The problem is that in this century information is so critical, so essential to life itself, that society cannot afford to have someone "own" information. Examples:
* Drug companies have the cure for many diseases. But they refuse to release or produce the drugs.
* In China, the government "owns" and has put out of existence the word "democracy." Working with Google, ironically, you cannot google that word on the web.
* Some companies now want to own genes, and patent life itself.
We could go on. If you are reading this, you are reading it courtesy of Tim Berners Lee, who invented the web. And gave it away for free. If he had patented the www, you and I would not be able to view each other's web sites. Coming up Friday: the answer!