知识产权及其错误

去年10月,世界知识产权组织(WIPO)成员国大会决定研究什么样的知识产权制度才有利于促进发展。虽然未曾引起广泛的关注,但从某种意义上,这次行动的意义丝毫也不亚于世界贸易组织决定把正在进行的回合谈判核心问题界定为促进发展。这两项决议都承认,与其说国际经济竞争现有的规则反应了发展中国家的利益,还不如说反应了先进工业国家,尤其是先进国家中大企业的利益更为妥当。

如果没有知识产权的保护,会从一定程度上削弱某些人从事特定类型的创造性研究的积极性。但与知识产权相关的代价也不容忽视。创意是科学研究最重要的源泉,而如果知识产权使利用他人创意速度的放缓,那么科学和技术进步会为此蒙受损失。

事实上,很多最为重要的创意¾比如作为现代计算机基础的数学或原子能或激光背后的理论¾都并未受到知识产权的保护。研究人员花费了大量的时间精力,无偿地传播自己的研究成果。每次有人使用我提出的信息不对称理论,都会令我感到由衷的高兴¾虽然如果他们提及我的名字,会使我感到更加高兴。因特网上“开放代码”运动的发展表明:不仅是最基本的创意,就连具有巨大商业价值的产品都可以不受知识产权的保护而免费获得。

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