QUOTE(Frozny @ Jul 15 2005, 05:04 PM)
Because intellectual property is absurdity. The purpose of property rights is to ensure that people can use the products of their labor without unwanted interference from others.
Now, if the product of your labor is information, other people using it does not interfere in your ability to use it.
Of course it can, and it often does. In common use, property rights are actually considered a "bundle" of rights, if you will, and is simply a definition of "one's own property", and refers to the relationship between an individual and the objects which are their own to dispense with as they see fit. Traditionally, that bundle of rights includes:
1. control and use of the property
2. benefit from the property (examples: mining rights, or rent)
3. the ability to transfer or sell the property.
4. the ability to exclude others from the property.
Intellectual property most often include copyrights, patents, and trademarks and servicemarks.
A copyright is a property right granted to the authors of original works that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression (cassettes or CD's or videotape) and that are independently created and possess some minimal degree of creativity.
The exclusive rights provided by a copyright include protection against unauthorized printing, publishing, copying, selling, distributing, and/or performing of the copyrighted work, regardless of whether that transfer is for profit.
Copyrighted materials include not only traditional written works but also such things as computer software, electronic files and publications, internet/website files and publications, multimedia, CD-ROMs, DVDs, videotapes, audiotapes, and training programs.
Go ahead and tell a brokerage house that they can't sell their analysis of the market, or that they can't sell it only to customers and subscribers. Tell a newspaper columnist that he has to write for free, and can't sell his work to a newspaper, or a subscription only internet site. Or a software publisher that he can't sell his games for profit, but must give them away.
A patent is a property right granted by the government to inventors of new and useful inventions. Patents may be granted on any new and useful process, machine, manufactured article, composition of matter, or any new
and useful improvements thereof. During a patent's limited term, its owner has the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing the patented invention into the United States.
How many products would we not have on the market today, if people decided they couldn't make any money on that "better mousetrap" because it would just be stolen anyway?
Trademarks and Servicemarks
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, which identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or services from one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark except it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.
Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling them under a non-confusing mark.
Still think intellectual property should be free, and un-originality should not be a crime? Want to see how fast your life can be made a living hell? Go ahead, open a hamburger joint and call it, oh, I don't know, McDonald's. Or open a hotel and call it Holiday Inn.
Others using my personal intellectual property certainly does interfere with my ability to use it, if my ability to profit from that property is hampered. That information is as much a "product" as any tangible thing that I may produce.
For example: I discover and develop a new way of selling that blows away every other method out there. A 95% rate of conversion, higher profit margins, the works. And I decide to sell that information to major retailers, but I haven't yet got around to selling it to car salesmen. Are you really telling me that it's ok for you to steal that information, and sell it or give it away, as your own, to car dealerships? That you're not harming me and my property, simply because I haven't tapped that market yet? What if the information wasn't just copyrighted, but since it was a new process for selling, I had also gotten it patented? Would that make a difference?
But if we are just talking things like movies, pictures, books and CD's under copyright law, how does your taking my work and offering it up for free on the internet harm me? According to you, I can still "use" that property, and you are not preventing me from doing that.
But you are. You have unilaterally decided that I should not be able to to sell it to whom I want at the price of my choosing, or to control the distribution how I want. You are reducing my ability to benefit from that property, in the form of rentals, or from being able to benefit by a future sale or transfer of the rights to that property to someone else, because you have diluted those markets by offering up my property for free.
And you've done it, just as surely as if you broke into a store, and gave everything away to everyone that passed by, because you thought it should be "free for the taking".
That said, property in information is unnecessary. Granted, people should not be allowed to extort information by force, but giving the original inventor a monopoly on the information is vastly excessive.
But that's the whole point of intellectual property rights. No one has to take the property by force anymore. It can be copied and redistributed with almost no effort on your part, and in that redistribution, damage my property and my ability to make decisions concerning that property.
What for example, is the difference between my making a new and innovative product, and not being able to protect it under patent law, and my writing a new and innovative software program, and not being able to protect it under copyright law?
Why should I bother to invent new products, or to write new software, or perform a new song, if I can't expect to be able to make money off that endeavor? That's my livelyhood your talking so cavalierly about.
Freedom of information cannot exist when un-originality is a crime.
Nonsense. No one is saying that you can't use my idea, or my software, or my music. Only that I am entitled to be fairly compensated for that software or music, when you do use it. If you don't like the price for what I am offering, or you find the product unsuitable in some manner, you are entitled to find something closer to what you are looking for, at a price that you are more comfortable with, if you can. You are not entitled to steal my work, or to offer your copy of it up to anyone and everyone.