Digital Phoenix: Why the Information Economy Collapsed and by Bruce Abramson

By Bruce Abramson

Whereas we have been watching for the web to make us wealthy -- again after we suggestion all we needed to do used to be to shop for lottery tickets known as dotcom stocks -- we neglected the genuine tale of the knowledge financial system. That tale, says Bruce Abramson in electronic Phoenix, happened on the intersection of know-how, legislations, and economics. It spread out via Microsoft's manipulation of software program markets, via open resource initiatives like Linux, and during the file-sharing adventures that Napster enabled. Linux and Napster specifically exploited newly enabled enterprise types to make info sharing reasonable and simple; either structures met powerful competition from entrenched pursuits rationale on holding their very own earnings. those eventualities set the degree for the way forward for the knowledge financial system, a destiny within which each one new expertise will threaten strong incumbents -- who will, in flip, struggle to retard this "dangerous new direction" of progress.Disentangling the technological, felony, and financial threads of the tale, Abramson argues that the foremost to the whole info financial system -- figuring out the prior and getting ready for the longer term -- lies in our method of highbrow estate and concept markets. The severe problem of the knowledge age, he says, is to inspire the construction and dissemination of rules. After discussing suitable concerns in highbrow estate and antitrust legislation, the economics of pageant, and synthetic intelligence and software program engineering, Abramson tells the data economy's formative histories: the Microsoft antitrust trial, the open-source flow, and (in a bankruptcy referred to as "The machine Ate My Industry") the appearance of electronic song. ultimately, he seems towards the long run, studying many ways that highbrow estate reform may perhaps strength monetary progress and displaying how the data financial system will reshape the methods we expect approximately enterprise, employment, society, and public coverage -- how the data financial system, in truth, could make us all wealthy, as shoppers and manufacturers, if now not as investors.

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Extra resources for Digital Phoenix: Why the Information Economy Collapsed and How It Will Rise Again

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Lessig sees these interest groups using IP laws, in particular the strong forms of protection available for digital products, to control speech and thought, and to turn the once-vibrant Internet into the sole province of the rich, connected, and protected. He also proposes some ways to address the problem including, but hardly limited to, Eldred’s lawsuit. Lessig seems to have arrived at this pessimism in a roundabout way. His first book, published only a few years earlier, was considerably more upbeat.

The point of IP law is to create a deal between the public and its innovators, to convince the public to accept restrictions on ideas already in circulation and to motivate innovators to put new ideas into circulation. IP scholars who focus on the increasing restrictions argue that the price is increasing. It is, but increasing prices aren’t necessarily 38 Chapter 2 bad. The key is quality adjusted prices: Are we getting a better deal for our IP dollar despite the higher prices? Vaidhyanathan’s concerns about civic culture notwithstanding, it would be hard to argue that we don’t have vibrant technology industries.

The others would have little incentive to develop competing second and third generation improvements. 5 Progress of Science and Useful Arts 33 But that’s jumping ahead. Before we conclude that Congress is failing to carry out its IP mission, that information sector companies are violating their deal with the public, and that reforming the IP system is a pressing need, we should get back to basics. Personally—and this may just be a bias from my legal training—I like to look at the Constitution whenever it has something relevant to say.

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