Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Oh good, another corporate information entitlement

Author:Chris Hanson
Posted:8/10/1999; 11:03:18 AM
Topic:Deep Linking
Msg #:9310 (In response to 9300)
Prev/Next:9309 / 9311

Many of you publish information of one sort or another and are doubtless thinking that you somehow have a stake in this argument. "Shouldn't I be able to control the use of my information?", you may ask.

Like so many other things in our society, the rich and powerful will get control, those of you that are not (was that a violation?) will NEVER get any control over your information. Even if the laws are completely on your side, you cannot afford to get justice against Pathfinder, Infoworld, etc. You probably cannot even afford to sue me and I'm broke. They, on the other hand, can afford an in-house legal staff.

Don't lose sight of the fundamental political reality. Laws, especially laws of this sort, protect the wealthy and powerful. Not you.

Not only that, but many people seem to act as though intellectual property privilege as natural rights. They aren't; they don't exist in the state of nature. In the state of nature, if I decide to sing a song, I can sing that song unless you use force to stop me. Similarly, I cannot prevent you from singing that same song without using violence. I can ask you to stop (fighting speech with more speech), but I can't make you stop without harming your person or property.

The purpose of coyright, patent, trademark, etc. is to promote progress in the useful arts. The idea is that there are things which wouldn't be produced without some incentive for control (and therefore profit) on the part of the producer, and the privilege of control is granted in order to promote these things' production.

In today's world, however, it seems that control has become the center of intellectual property privileges rather than simply a means by which progress is promoted.

I think in tomorrow's world, the entire body of intellectual property theory will need to be critically reexamined. (Thought experiment: How does the world change if someone invents a nanotech assembler and copier, and we can make physical copies of objects just as easily as software can be copied today?)

(I am not a lawyer, just really opinionated.)

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