Author Archives: William Fisher

Signing Off

Larry has been extremely generous in providing me this week-long opportunity to use his blog to explore some controversial questions involving contemporary intellectual-property law. I�m grateful to him � and to all of you who have offered reactions to my suggestions and questions. Terry Fisher… Continue reading

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Price Discrimination � with respect to entertainment and drugs

In this, my final, post, I�d like to take up the troublesome topic of price discrimination � both with respect to the distribution of audio and video recordings and with respect to sales of pharmaceutical products. My own view, which I�ll try to explain briefly, is that (a) we are likely to see much more price discrimination by the providers of these goods in the near future; (b) price discrimination in the context of entertainment is, on balance, bad; and (c) price discrimination in the context of drugs is, on balance, good. Judgments (b) and (c) are tentative and surely debatable; I�m hoping to elicit reactions. Continue reading

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"The Choice" as explained by The New Yorker

The New Yorker’s November 1 editorial on the upcoming election is by far the most thorough and compelling explanation of why we should vote for John Kerry. Continue reading

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The Patent System and Access to Medicine in Developing Countries: Possible Cures

The previous post provided a few facts suggesting the character and seriousness of the current situation involving access to life-saving medicines in developing countries. This post will sketch, just as briefly, some possible solutions to the crisis. Most of these ideas are not my own; they�ve been outlined elsewhere, often in quite detailed form, by other academics, activists, and politicians. Along with (Talha Syed, I�m currently working on an article in which we try to evaluate all of the major pending proposals and suggest a few additional ones of our own. We�d be grateful for reactions to the menu of options set forth below as we hone our essay. Continue reading

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The Patent System and Access to Medicine in Developing Countries: The Problem

The fact that Americans pay more for prescription drugs than do Canadians or most Europeans has been prominent in the news lately. Both Kerry and Bush now promise to do something to reduce the gap. Virtually absent from the public discussion of the issue has been an even more troubling aspect of the way in which prescription drugs are currently distributed: the inability of the residents of developing countries to obtain life-saving drugs at prices they can afford. This post provides a few details concerning the seriousness of that problem. The next post will outline � and solicit reactions to � a few ways in which the problem might be solved or at least mitigated. Continue reading

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A Final Comment on ACS and an Initial Discussion of Other Options

From the last set of interesting reactions to my proposal for an Alternative Compensation System, I�ve culled a few especially sharp-edged objections. After trying to address them, I turn to the difficult question of what sort of regime is likely to emerge in the entertainment industry if we don�t move toward an ACS. Continue reading

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More on Alternative Compensation Systems

A sufficient number of interesting responses have been made to my original post on Alternative Compensation Systems that I thought I�d start a new thread. I can�t hope to address all of the themes that have been raised, but here are a few… Continue reading

Posted in Copyright | 18 Comments

Alternative Compensation Systems

Several of the interesting and challenging responses to my original post focused on the merits and demerits of my contention that an alternative compensation system (ACS) would be superior to the copyright system as a way of compensating the creators of recorded entertainment that is distributed online. I had originally intended to save discussion of that topic for later in the week. But it�s understandable that people want to take it up now, so here goes�. I�ll begin with a very brief summary (taken from the Introduction to the book) of my variant of this idea, then address a few of the more serious objections to such a system.
[continued] Continue reading

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Entertainment Industry Crisis

Larry has kindly offered me the opportunity to host his blog for a week. My plan is to use the opportunity primarily to catalyze a discussion of the current crisis in the entertainment industry and what potential solutions to it are both attractive and practicable. I recently published a book on the subject: Promises to Keep � Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment. The Introduction, which lays out the argument of the book as a whole, and Chapter 6, which has proven to be its most controversial piece, are available online. The book itself can be purchased through any online bookstore.
I thought I�d begin by briefly summarizing the argument of the first chapter, and then ask whether, particularly in light of some recent articles and developments, the argument holds up. Continue reading

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