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Lecture 9 - Lecture 9 Patents and copyrights I want to go...

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Lecture 9 Patents and copyrights I want to go back to Friday’s lecture on innovation to discuss one other government  function, the importance of protecting property rights, and particularly in the case of innovation,  of patent and copyright protection.  To take one example: without patent and copyright protection  the whole field of software development would come to a screeching halt.  Designing a  complicated computer program—EXCEL or PHOTOSHOP or ARCVIEW—entails thousands of  hours of highly trained engineering time, and can easily cost millions or tens of millions of  dollars.  On the other hand, the cost of physically replicating a program—of making an additional  copy of EXCEL or PHOTOSHOP—is a few minutes of time and the cost of one CD.  If there  were no laws against illegal copying, anyone with one copy of EXCEL could make and sell as  many copies as they wanted and sell them for a couple of bucks each.  If this was so, there would  be no way to pay for the thousands of hours of time it takes to create the program, and the effect  of that would be that no programs would be created.  This is why strong copyright and patent  laws are necessary to have a healthy tech sector.   The US, the countries of Europe and Japan all have strong copyright and patent laws.  Many other countries have none, or none that work effectively.  In China, pirate editions of  movies are available in DVD before legitimate copies of those movies can be bought in the US.  In Southeast Asia, you can buy EXCEL and PHOTOSHOP for five dollars.  So it looks as if  pirates in these countries are ripping off US producers and of course that’s true.  The more  profound meaning is that these countries will have a hard time developing their own software  industries, because there’s no way software designers can be compensated for their time under  conditions of blatant piracy.  With a system that includes both laws and a functioning court  system and enforceable property rights, technical developers and the people who invest in  innovations are reasonably sure of getting a reward; without them, they are not. Multinational enterprises I want to start with a quick overview of what multinational enterprises are, what their  raison d’etre is, what the different structures of multinationals are and why there are these  different structures, both in terms of type of business and in terms of different national heritages.   What are MNCs and why have them?
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