Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here's the money quote in just about all modern discussions of intellectual property:

"For better or for worse, real property should not be confused with intellectual property, which is not subject to the same rules of scarcity."

I'm not sure where this idea of "scarcity" regarding intelletual property, or the lack thereof, orginated. I'll have to do some research, because it's such a ridiculous notion. The only reason that intellectual property isn't scarce nowadays, as opposed to when it was pressed on vinyl, tapes, and CD's, and when books were properly bound, and video provided on tapes and DVDs (let alone simple film at theatres), is precisely because technology has made its copying in virtually infinite numbers entirely trivial.

It's the fact that intellectual property can now be so easily copied that makes it seem like some sort of "non-scarce" resource. Of course, the artists themselves are plenty scarce, which seems to escape those who make this inane argument. The latter use the seemingly infinite nature of digital intellectual property, which is really just intellectual property like any other, only in a digital form, the crux of their argument--thus evading the fact that property requires not just possession, but also control.

They like to argue that the creator doesn't actually lose any thing when his intellectual property is taken, but that's not the point. He loses control over it, which is entirely the point. It would be no different if someone were to let me keep my house, but determined who could live in it with me. Even if they added on space so that I wasn't inconvenienced, the point would remain the same.

Anyways, no time to delve into this at the moment, but delving will be done at some point.

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