Whether it is a political race, a business battle, or a heavyweight boxing match, every great fight should feature a match of skilled, powerful, opponents, but also an interesting back story.
The Google vs. China contest features both in abundance.
In this corner, we have China, a nation of 1.3 billion people, with 384 million Internet users and a 10% economic growth rate (“only” 8.7% during 2009, when most other economies shrank), which has already become the “world’s factory,” and is looking to move up the economic value added chain through a combination of hard work and cyberespionage. It is the champion of closed source, closed systems, and top-down economic growth.
In this corner, we have Google, the world’s most innovative, most profitable, new economy company, which has brought libraries worth of free knowledge and information to the doorstep of the poorest villager in the poorest country in the world, as long as he has an Internet connection. It is the champion of open source, open systems, and bottom-up economic growth through the power of networking.
The elements of the back story in this battle—intellectual property, economic growth, scientific progress, and individual freedom—are the issues that get us excited here at The Licensing Law Blog. And the winner of this contest just may determine the course of the early 21st Century. (more…)