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Gates holds forth on Red Menace of IP law reform

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It must be wonderfully simple inside Bill Gates' head. In the world outside the debate over patents and copyright may be raging, but at Bill Brain Central there's no need for reform, the system works fine and is becoming more popular, and the opposition consists of "communists" threatening the American Way.

Bill added this little gem to the Microsoft High Command's collection of well-reasoned debating points (GPL is a cancer, it eats businesses, no, it eats whole economies, etc, etc) in an otherwise largely dull interview with CNET's Michael Kanellos. Asked what's driving the growing campaign for patent law reform, and whether he feels intellectual property laws need reforming, Gates responds:

"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."

It's usually folly to try to parse Billspeak too deeply, but if we can figure that one out he seems to be categorising the old "Evil Empire" as having been a major threat to the US IP system, and tagging current opponents as the last deluded holdouts against the new world order. Or something. We can't say for sure what sort of communist it is Bill thinks he's dealing with when he presses his source code into the hands of Jiang Zemin, but he possibly hopes it's a similar sort of communist to John Reid, the UK Secretary of State for Health who recently handed the franchise to Microsoft for a decade. We could observe that Jiang Zemin might be a state capitalist, and Reid merely one of those old guard stalinist thugs who've run the Scottish Labour Party for decades, but we won't, and if you fancy an argument about the definition of communism, nip over to Slashdot instead.

Back at the interview, there's one other piece of Bill-style incisive thought that we shouldn't let pass. He has quite a lot to say on blogs, revealing that he has "human search engines" who we presume act as his RSS feeds (sounds like a deeply fulfilling job), handing him what must amount to a boiled blog. Bill says he's "toyed with doing one myself", then explains the various ways he might go about it, if he did. "I'm thinking maybe I could do one a month or one every six weeks--something like that. I'd kind of like to, but I've got to be sure I can keep going for at least a year to make it worth doing."

We at The Register are not exactly noted for our enthusiasm for the blogwave, but even we have an inkling that something you sit down and write once a month and then leave sounds like the opposite of a blog. ®

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