I totally challenge " and clearly IP laws help innovation". Consider UBUNTU, APACHE. And copyright breaches don't seem to alter the quality of music and movies published (although those last 2 are open to argument I guess).
Since I also said they hurt innovation, giving more example of things they've hurt is sort of supportive of half my point and irrelevant to the other half. But yes, I do agree with the suggestion that sometimes things aren't helped. Software patents specifically seem a real minefield for no apparent purpose.
Artists and Inventors will do what they do 'cos that's what they do. So maybe performance artists will have to go back to performing live to make a living. And just give recordings away free as promotion material.
The idea that "artists do what they do" is rather self serving. If you decide not to pay people for their labor, it's nice to pretend they don't care about the money. But I know artists who've quit spending time at it because they had a family to support and it became clear they weren't going to make it work as a profession. (Doesn't matter if you think that proves they weren't committed--they were producing art, and stopped, because of money.) I'm thinking mostly of people I know, but the brilliant cult SF writer John Sladek seems to have stopped his fiction output and gotten a day job near the end of his life. And some reasonably talented recording artists just don't like performing--the indie band XTC in the '80s, stopped touring because of Andy Partridge's stage fright but released a couple more good albums, and Gene Clark quit the Birds when his fear of flying got too much. Heck, the Beatles best stuff was after they stopped doing live shows. So a "no recording profits" rule would certainly cut some people out--ie, stop their innovation, even if it shifted it to others.
But really, I don't have much knowledge of the artistic 'industries' and don't have a strong opinion about how the world would change if we got fewer blockbusters and more garage bands, I don't like either much.
In technology an innovation that is great will be copied. But because of the difficulties of properly copying complex things, that is easier said than done. Buyers would probably get better results buying from the innovator, who will always have the latest ideas included, so long as he wasn't charging exhorbitantly (Like apples).
I am not advocating immediate, wholesale abandonment of the status quo. I would like to see the time that a patent "lives" shortened. Once upon a time, the first ten years of a patent life were used to tool up for production. Today production cycle is much shorter, and the market much larger, so lots of money can still be made, even if patent life were to be decimated every year till it's down to about 6 months.
Some things are easy to copy and hard to invent; in others the invention is less important than the skill to produce it. This is my whole point; there's a whole range out there in the world. In general, protections are going to be most useful when research and development costs are large or risky Picking industries where this isn't the case--like you did with consumer electronics above--don't prove any general rule, they just illustrate that there are situations where those factors don't apply and the benefits are less clear. People on Slashdot only know the one area--they often work in software, download non-mainstream music and buy smart phones--but if you actually care about the issue ignoring everything else is the intellectual equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears.
The US government actually did an experiment to see if extra IP protection would spur development of new products in pharmaceuticals. That wasn't the point of it, but the Orphan Drug Law promised extra years of protection for diseases with small patient populations. It has been a great success, at least in terms of spurring research and getting companies to develop cures. (Predictably, sales cost while the products remain under a state-protected monopoly are quite high, so not everyone is enthusiastic overall. But that's not the point of this discussion.)