March 14, 2013 by Liberty
I love intellectual property more than the majority of the population. In fact, I receive part of my living from it. I am a creator of content. I make money off that content. The fact that someone is legally limited to not copy that content provides me with a monopoly on that which I create. I benefit immensely from intellectual property laws but…
the intellectual property problems are something that I can’t ignore.
Most people are completely comfortable with the concept of intellectual property. In fact, I don’t have a natural repulsion to it like I have for many other subjects about restrictions of freedoms. It’s a restriction on freedom that few people discuss but looking into the details, intellectual property is a very dangerous thing.
Property Rights Versus Intellectual Rights
There is no way that property rights and intellectual rights can live in harmony. As long as an idea is turned into property form, it will either need to abide by intellectual rights or property rights.
When a person writes a book they’re putting their ideas into the form of property. To imply that someone does not have the right to copy that book, is to imply that they don’t have the complete property rights for that book. That means that the author will always be claiming ownership in the ability to prevent copying of the physical form of the book.
With computers it gets even more interesting. There can be virtually no physical form of the data but there can still be intellectual property. Data isn’t even transferred. It’s all copied. There is no loss to the person that created the original data but there is gain to the person receiving it.
Saying that the person that created the data has the right to control how the person that received it, uses it, is to say that they have the right to claim ownership of what someone is allowed or not allowed to do with the physical property (computer memory) the content created doesn’t own and never owned. It sacrifices property rights for intellectual rights.
A balance might be okay but really…
Intellectual Property Cannot Exist In Any Static Form
Intellectual property has no physical form. It has no true or manifestation beyond our minds. There is no way to define what can and cannot be intellectual property. You can tell how impossible intellectual property is when you try to define what it can or cannot be.
To attempt to define what can be considered intellectual property, there is no logical way to not go into absurd generalizations. When you discuss the ownership of ideas then you need to consider a number of ridiculous avenues.
What if two people have the same idea? Does that mean one owns it more than the other if one person publishes it first? What if one person steals the idea and publishes it first? What if they steal only half the idea? Can you own a word?…
Theory: When you need to start going into hundreds of direct questions to clarify something, you’re probably missing the point.
Intellectual property is an absurd, pointy, and unpredictable creature that can be seen from a billion different perspectives. The majority of intellectual property problems can’t be solved with basic common sense.
The Dangers Of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is one of the most direct ways to own a monopoly in this country. You cannot get away with owning every grocery store in the country because competition would come in and chip away consistently. Even a company like Wal-Mart can’t maintain a full monopoly despite providing some of the lowest available prices. Competition allows people to get what they want. Intellectual property is eliminating that competition.
While most people think about intellectual property as a movie or book, it actually holds some more dangerous consequences in other industries.
A drug company is able to legally prevent people from interrupting their profits. That means that the drugs people use to stay healthy are being held at unnaturally high rates. Lowering the costs of certain medications could save thousands of dollars for the average consumer but drug companies are given a limited time exclusive right monopoly on their idea to milk the general public for everything they’re worth.
The “competition hurts innovation” claim is absolutely absurd. Competition just requires that companies not try as much. The monopoly allows companies to delay the production of their ideas in order to help stock holder profits right when they need them. Companies developed things before intellectual property. There is no logical reason for them to stop afterward.
This Will Always Eat At Me
Sitting on profits made from intellectual property makes me doubt a lot of things within myself. The intellectual property problems are so obvious to me…
I feel my only recourse is the belief that there is no ethical thing to do in coercive situations. I do not have the option to not follow other peoples supposed rights, therefore, I use my supposed rights. Perhaps I don’t (I don’t enforce it.)
That is the exact part of me that knows I’m not special.
We’re all humans and all have or own sets of stupid biases. I am definitely included in that category. (Perhaps even more than most)