The Value of Sharing
Apr 15, 2009, 17:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)
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"One of the weapons in the intellectual monopolists'
armoury is citing the economic damage that sharing puportedly
causes. What's remarkable is that the numbers usually quoted -
around $250 billion - have been touted for decades, creating a kind
of self-referential justification.
"But as this excellent analysis by Ars Technica shows, that
by-now hallowed number simply does not add up: If you pay any
attention to the endless debates over intellectual property policy
in the United States, you'll hear two numbers invoked over and over
again, like the stuttering chorus of some Philip Glass opera:
750,000 and $200 to $250 billion. The first is the number of U.S.
jobs supposedly lost to intellectual property theft; the second is
the annual dollar cost of IP infringement to the U.S. economy.
These statistics are brandished like a talisman each time Congress
is asked to step up enforcement to protect the ever-beleaguered
U.S. content industry. And both, as far as an extended
investigation by Ars Technica has been able to determine, are