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Patents and copyright? "Great artists steal"

Came across this clip of Apple CEO, Tim Cook complaining that the ongoing tech patent wars are a "pain in the ass".

Granted, this is a topic that's recently been covered by Mark Cuban, or going farther back, by Bastiat in his "Three Stages of Invention".

However, one could look beyond Tim Cook's complaints to examine the very idea of the supposed necessity of patents and copyrights. The book, Against Intellectual Monopoly does just that, arguing: "Patents and copyrights do not promote economic progress but impede it."

Note this passage, from the same book, which calls attention to the fact that patents can block the market's progress by preventing product imitation, development, and refinement:   

"Imitation is a great thing. It is among the most powerful technologies humans have ever developed … imitation is a technology that allows us to increase productive capacity. Innovators increase productive capacity directly...". 

Without Matisse, would we know Picasso? Steve Jobs quoting Picasso: "good artists copy, great artists steal."

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