Posted in philosophy | 8 Comments »
Intellectual property claims, to me, come down to a claim of an exclusive right to pattern mass-energy in specific ways, which implies a right to shoot people who fail to respect such claim via refraining from so patterning mass-energy without a grant of license from the purported claim holder.
I hold that institutions of property relations to mass-energy are essential for regulating peaceful interactions among sophonts comprised, themselves, of mass-energy. Just as I have the right to say “This is my aorta, and I will shoot you if you try vigorously enough to deprive me of my use of it,” I hold that I also have the right to say “This is my atom, my molecule, my widget, my asteroid, and, should my claim achieve social legitimacy by virtue of my homesteading and non-abandonment, shoot you if you try vigorously enough to deprive me of my use of it.”
I also hold, in direct opposition to intellectual “property”, that patterns are information, and that information cannot be a subject of legitimate property. Information is intangible and infinitely replicable. By extracting the information pattern from a physical subject of legitimate property — a DVD, a book, a widget — and then using that information for my own purposes, I deprive nobody of their property. Steal my DVD, my book, my widget, and I have grounds to resist that action by any means, up to and including the application of lethal force. Take a stab at expropriating my aorta and I’ll fight you to the death, and expect my neighbors to come to my aid.
In a truly free society, in a freed market, I hold that an inventor has a moral right to credit for that output of their mind which has enough social value to be replicated. If Kevin invents a fantastic new potato-slicer and Bob copies the device and runs around marketing it as his own creation, Bob is a jerk and ought to be treated as such. However, if Kevin now comes along and tries to shoot Bob for doing this, Kevin is a criminal, and I and other free people will come to Bob’s aid in repelling Kevin’s attack.
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