The biggest problem with forward progress on the Internet is the constant bickering of companies over who owns what. So says co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and frequent Marketplace Tech Report guest Jonathan Zittrain. Using the Oracle vs. Google case that began this week as a backdrop, Zittrain thinks we’re getting into the minutiae of intellectual property that could really take a toll on innovation. In the case, Oracle claims that Google didn’t license the coding language Java, which was used to build the Android operating system. It’s kind of like saying the people responsible for coming up with the words, “tin” and “roof” and “rusted” should be given royalty checks every time Love Shack gets played.
In a commentary penned for the Guardian, Zittrain writes: “The ability to make new work from old work – especially if that new work is different enough that it doesn't dent the market for the old work – is something that benefits all creators, since so few can claim not to have a giant or 10 supporting them underneath.”