Random notes, not complete, nor even edited yet:

I'm with Thomas Jefferson on this one: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html Ideas can't be property. Therefore copying an expression of an idea is not stealing. It IS a violation of the social contract which was set up to encourage artists to share their creativity with the world.

We have seen the results of strong copyright, at this point hollywood hasn't had a new idea in years, and popular music is schlock. It is clear the current arangement has swung way too far to the corporate interest side, and it is time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

I personally would lose nothing if all laws regarding idea ownership vanished today. I would be interested in seeing what that world would be like. I don't believe all artists would immediatly stop creating (just the ones who where only in it for the money, whose output I am not interested in anyway). Companies like Disney would be forced to provide something new or go away (IMNSHO other than Fantasia the only worthwile contribution Disney has made to society is their theme parks). If there really was a dearth of creative works then the general public would have to work out a way to encourage them (but it would be much more clear that the buying audience was chosing to reward the artists). One of the effects I would expect from this is that there wouldn't be any large corporations creating creative works any longer. I for one wouldn't miss them.

Piracy is a prejudgicial term, people who don't respect copyright laws don't usually kill people like pirates did.

"Intellilectual property" is also prejudgicial, the very phrase assumes that thoughts can be owned.


mrchaotica (681592) on Slashdot said it better than I can

Bear with me for a moment, and consider this: Real property and "Intellectual Property" are two completely different things.

  • Real property is scarce; "IP" is not. In other words, real property is inherently owned by one person. "IP" is inherently owned by everyone collectively. For example, if I'm holding a rock, nobody else can physically hold it at the same time. It's my property. On the other hand, if I'm holding an idea any number of other people -- or indeed, everyone can also be holding it at the same time. It's not property.
  • If person A takes real property from person B, person A gains and person B loses. If person A takes "IP" form person B, person A gains, person B stays the same, and all of society benefits from subsequent synthesis of ideas based on the communication.
  • A founding principle of the United States is the "Right to Property." "Intellectual Property" expires at the end of the copyright or patent term; if it were property it would be perpetual.

Now that I've explained what "Intellectual Property" isn't, I'll explain what it is: it's a lease.

If someone comes up with an idea (i.e., creates a work of intellect) it is by default owned by society as a whole, or in other words, is Public Domain. This is the natural state of things in the absence of any law, and it's a good thing. In fact the Founding Fathers realized that it's a good thing, and wanted to encourage the creation of ideas for the purpose of enriching the Public Domain. That's what the "To Promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts" means; it's not just for show.

So, they wanted to come up with a mechanism to encourage creation of ideas. What they decided to do was to basically give the creator an opportunity to lease a "copyright" or "patent" from the government. The government would agree to enforce certain privilages for the creator over the term of the lease, and would take as payment the creation of idea itself. Note that that's not the idea, which is already inherently public property, but the act of creation of the idea.

Make sense?


ka9dgx on slashdot said it better than I:

The propaganda term "Intellectual Property" is a creative fiction designed to confuse two separate types of limited control granted by government.
  1. Patents - A limited monopoly over the commercial implementation and distribution of a novel concept IN A PRODUCT. Patents represent a trade-off to encourage open distribution of the concept after the limited term of the patent. Note that a patent doesn't prevent someone from using a concept for their own use.
  2. Copyright - A time limited monopoly over the commercial distribution of an authored work. The term is limited and this is traded by the government to encourage the creation of a large public domain. Note that this is intended to prevent PUBLISHERS from making money off of other publishers works.
Note that in both cases the primary motivation is creation of goods for the public. The fiction is that it isn't property at all... it's a time limited grant of monopoly, and it's meant to expire. Property is a durable item, not a lease.

and macdaddy357 said it even better: Copyright is a temporary loan from the public domain, not property.


Courney Love on piracy

Janis Ian on record companies

Cory Doctorow on Digital Rights Management

Topic revision: r1 - 29 May 2006 - 14:28:18 - KevinSeghetti

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