THE United States Senate has approved copyright protection for microchip designs for 10-year periods, and the House will likely fast follow suit. Microchips, we're told, have their own distinct identities, like snowflakes. Compared with writing and music, however, whose protection runs to 100 years to recognize the longer period of their impact and the career and estate investment of their creator, chips have a shorter market life expectancy.
Protection is needed for US chip designers because copies, pirated and produced more cheaply abroad, can now be reintroduced into the US market at cut rates.
Move over, musicians and writers. Make room for microchip designers in the recognized realm of creative, intellectual products.