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Copyright Dispute

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By the time of the [Qirel Encounter]?, The Law Association of the East Rim was presenting itself as an interplanetal society with the authority to make dictates concerning the interaction of the Rim's many legal systems, though its acceptance by the governments of the less powerful planets (many of whom had not been involved in its formation) was grudging and gradual. It was the Association's stance on copyright and intellectual property, however, that finally led to its downfall.

Because the East Rim was a place still in the process of settlement, home to dozens of precariously balanced political systems, it was found that innovations (whether in philosophy, medicine, product manufacture or any one of hundreds of other fields) often caused enough instability to more than counterbalance any benefits they brought, as dozens of factions would suddenly be competing for an unexpectedly valuable resource, or brandishing a suprisingly effective new weapon. In an attempt to discourage this effect (and the many problems that stemmed from it), the Law Association declared that not just words but also ideas would be copyrighted automatically, and that within the bounds of the Consortium, royalties would flow not to the copyright holder but instead away from them - that, in effect, innovators would be held financially and ethically responsible for the effects of their innovations.

This dictate succeeded in locally suppressing almost all technological advances for several cycles - innovations within the Rim were kept quiet, and those from outside remained outside. When [Belayse Finch]? joined Pharmacon?, however, he realised that the Rim was a vast untapped market, and that if only the Law Association could be conquered on this matter then there were billions of potential sales just waiting to be made. Surreptitious attempts at assassination and bribery, however, proved to be unsuccessful, and in the end Finch was forced to resort to the Association's own tactics. In a series of court cases that would become known as the Copyright Dispute, he brought a case that the Law to Suppress Innovation was itself an innovation that had cost the East Rim Consortium dearly (as, indeed, it had; though it had increased stability, by this time the Rim was lagging ever further behind the rest of the galaxy in terms of productivity and quality of life). This case rendered the Association bankrupt, leaving the Rim open at last to investment, advertising, innovation, technological development, and eventually - as a direct result of Finch's attempt to find new markets for Pharmacon within the Rim's borders - the Sponsorship Crisis.


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Edited October 4, 2004 5:35 am by Holly (diff)
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