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Disables new thinking

YouTube, Wikipedia, vaccines, mp3 and p2p, genetically engineered plants and Google News; digitalization and international cooperation open up new opportunities for the distribution of culture and knowledge.


[knowledge battle] The battle questions are in line. Intermediaries, such as the music, publishing and software industries, are skeptical and are turning slowly. Would the illegal download of music have been just as extensive if the legal alternatives had come earlier?

The reason for the intermediaries' skepticism is that the development makes it possible to take care of both the creators and inventors on the one hand, and the users on the other – without the intermediaries having to be left with such a large piece of cake as today. Therefore, these industries respond with an ideological campaign for stricter legal and technological control – on the premises of intermediaries. One result is the development-hostile Trips Agreement, which, through patents on genetic material, deprives communities of the right to grow plants they have cultivated for generations.

In recent weeks, there have been several related debates here in Ny Tid. In his reply (December 15), State Secretary Morten Wetland at the Prime Minister's Office did not even bother to comment on a proposal for an alternative financing model for vaccines, presented by John Y. Jones on December 8. Instead, Jens Stoltenberg smiles and legitimizes Bill Gates' vaccine program Gavi, in which patent king Gates has rejected the right to compulsory licensing. That Gates has chosen to give money precisely to vaccines is hardly coincidental – it softens the criticism of a patent regime he makes fat on. The question is not whether we should have patents or not, but how the rules are formulated.

Rather than gifts from rich uncles with temporary motives, poor countries should have the opportunity to build their own knowledge industry. When the West became industrialized, we snatched technology apart over a low shoe. Norway had industrial spies on public payrolls. The Asian tigers flourished, among other things, because they received technology from the United States, which would curb communism. Now that the West has built up, we are pulling up the ladder behind us, so that poor countries are held down by a fierce patent regime.

The proposal for a tax exemption for artists, promoted by Elektronisk forpost Norge (EFN), has given rise to a debate in which Hans M. Graasvold of the Norwegian non-fiction writers 'and translators' association (NFF) believes that the proposal "most of all was a varnish of EFN's real purpose". NFF believes that in practice abolishing copyright (Ny Tid, 8 December). It is not true. EFN, on the other hand, believes that it is possible to both increase the user's freedom and safeguard the creators' income. New technology offers new opportunities – digitization and web search lead to increased demand for narrow titles. In the future, every coffee shop will have a small ATM-like printer / binding machine in the corner. Technological development is accelerating and creating a booming need for ideological innovation. ■

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