Monday, June 23, 2008

Should Obama, McCain debate patent reform?

Chris O'Brien in the San Jose Mercury News suggests a debate, in Silicon Valley, between the presidential candidates on issues including:

lifelong worker training, e-waste and patent reform

The text also notes:

Stanford University's Lawrence Lessig is a tech adviser for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. Cisco Systems Chief Executive John Chambers is advising Republican Sen. John McCain on tech, while former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is raising money for the Republican candidate..

IPBiz notes that if Cisco (home of the formerly anonymous "patent troll tracker" Rick Frenkel) is "advising" McCain and "Red guerilla leader" Lessig is advising Obama, then who is speaking for America's real inventors? This is really sad.

Other possible debate topics included:

• H-1B visa/immigration reform: Not a huge surprise. Besides patent reform, this seems to be the topic that elicits the most passion.
• Net neutrality: This was a popular one, with several folks worried that telecommunications companies might hinder the growth of an open Internet.
• Green/clean technology: This actually included a broad range of related issues, including tax credits, support for research and environmental policies that would encourage adoption of such products.

See also:

On network neutrality, see also heartland post:

The afternoon session of the forum considered "Whose Pipe Is It--The End of 'End to End'?" Skydeck CEO Jason Devitt pointed out what he saw as a need for net neutrality rules on the Internet because of high financial barriers to entry for small companies such as his own.

Stanford University professor Mark Lemley and AT&T Vice President Jeff Brueggeman discussed concerns about Internet service providers (ISPs) blocking content for subscribers. Lemley said government regulation was necessary because "ISPs might block eBay." Brueggeman stated his company's position in support of existing regulations guiding network management.

Lemley said, "Clearly the panelists were not of one mind on the question of network neutrality," following his participation on the panel. He noted, "If there is a consensus, it is that there is a middle ground between intrusive regulation and doing nothing."

Lemley painted a stark picture of the net neutrality debate, where artists want to reach consumers while producers with legal wherewithal would like to work with providers such as AT&T to fight against piracy.


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