CNET’s News.com was able to interview Bill Gates at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’s a pretty interesting read, if for no other reason than it gives a window into the software industry’s most well known individual.
However, in a not so subtle way, Gates likens IPR opponents to communists. I think this is very much a misnomer. Here it is in his own words:
Q: In recent years, there’s been a lot of people clamoring to reform and restrict intellectual-property rights. It started out with just a few people, but now there are a bunch of advocates saying, “We’ve got to look at patents, we’ve got to look at copyrights.” What’s driving this, and do you think intellectual-property laws need to be reformed?
A: No, I’d say that of the world’s economies, there’s more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don’t think that those incentives should exist.
Make of that what you will, but I think his usage of the word communist here is pretty misleading, and is just trying to play upon the general public’s ignorance of what communism actually is and their misconception that communism is inherently evil.
There’s also the obligatory quote marginalising Firefox, but we’ve heard all that stuff before, so I’m not going to reproduce it.