Monday, April 30, 2007

Gowers at Outlaw

There's a nice interview with Andrew Gowers at Outlaw.

"I think a very early insight into that issue was that the realisation that intellectual property is not like physical property contrary to what is sometimes claimed. But it is a conditional system based on establishing a balance. The balance between, on the one hand, incentives to inventors to invent and creators to create and on the other hand, being mindful of the need to preserve as much as possible the free flow of information and of economic competition. So you know aspects of intellectual property are monopolies granted for a purpose and it should be kept in proportion. There is always a risk and I saw this coming in – in some of the sort of heated debates particularly those surrounding copyright though also affecting other areas of intellectual property – of sort of polarisation, a kind of rival fundamentalisms talking past each other and generating more heat than light. And I think that you know we sought to steer a middle course based on the idea that you know we do not believe that everything should be free contrary to what some people say just because it can be free nor do we believe that intellectual property is an unalloyed good. There are – you know there must be limits to it. It must be possible for ideas to flow out into the public domain once patent protection has done its work or once copyright protection ceases."

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