I, The Absolute

Books and IPR

Posted by itheabsolute on December 4, 2005

Intellectual Property Rights is a hotly debated issue, particularly so in the emerging economies. Corporations have billions of dollars of R&D budgets. After having spent such huge amounts in discovery and innovation, if they cannot recover costs and make decent returns what incentive will they have to continue with research activities. If they have no incentive to continue with research, then how will we find cure for many diseases and other problems in the world. I am a strong votary for IP protection to the companies involved in discovery and innovation, particularly to those companies that spend huge capital. IP is important in these cases because corporations exist only to improve shareholder wealth. And in the process if they do good to humanity, there is no harm in paying a premium.

I am not a person who wants to believe in something just for the sake of it. I have heard arguments concerning topics such as IPR, elementary education, that these are non-negotiable. Hardly so.

Debates on making patented drugs for epidemics such as AIDS, Bird Flu, etc available at much cheaper rates are highly relevant.

About books i am quite clear. Provide IP rights. If they are violated do not crib. Why do authors write books? To make money. Sure. But is it the only motive. Or is money the only reason why authors are remembered. No. Authors are more remembered for the ideas they generate. Any idea is not worth its place, if it is not dispersed. Ideas are not born out of vacuum. Invariably, every idea has an origination in some other idea. I know more about science than Newton knew. Does not mean I am greater than Newton. I started from where Newton ended. Since ideas are always an extension of some other idea/s, granting intellectual property rights on ideas is, after all, not a great idea. There are many great books that many people ought to read but cannot afford to buy. What is the harm in violating IP in such cases? The author has made his money. If the idea has spread wide because of pirated books, the author, sure has become poorer, but has become more popular because his books are now widely read and his ideas well appreciated.

I am not a great fan of pirated books. They are quite lousily made. But if some one is a bibliophile and cannot afford to buy,say, The World is Flat for INR 750, what is the harm in buying one for INR 100 on the footpaths of Hyderabad or Mumbai. Friedman has earned enough riches. His popularity ain’t come down, surely. And what he wrote were not his original ideas either.

2 Responses to “Books and IPR”

  1. bbird

    a publishers contribution to a book is much small in size than a corporation’s contribution to a drug discovery. i am fine with a publisher making money, which it will make if the book is good. but since the cost isn’t much, despite IPR violation, it will still make money.

    anyways, multiple/opposing opinions should co-exist in the world.

    thanks for your compliments. these keep me going.


  2. bbird said

    Dear Blogger
    I do not agree with your view over IPR on Books.
    You say that book writers do not have just money on their mind. Agreed but what about book publishers do
    (You say IPR is alright for drugs. Why scientists that actually do the research work may have other things on their mind but what about the big drug companies that sponsor that research, popularise the drug.) It is always a demand – supply – profit situation.

    The decision of whether or not to let books be sold at Rs 100 on a hyderbad street should be left to the creator(Writer,Publisher) of the book and not to what is convenient. If the street hawker expands the market and give back part of the profit than why not.

    Anyways, I do like what you write here. Keep up the good work !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: