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Intellectual Property is Garbage

Intellectual Property is Made Up

Intellectual Property is not a thing that has always existed. It was invented some decades ago because technology has made it possible to easily and quickly replicate art, stories, inventions and other creative products.

Scenario 1:

An artist creates a visual work of art, such as a painting or drawing. Naturally the artist wants to share their creation because it is fun to be recognized for our achievements. When the artist shows the picture to me there is now a version of the picture stored in my memory.

The artist owns the paper and the ink or paint used to create the work, but the artist does not own my brain or my memory. The visual recreation of their art is physically stored in my brain, which belongs to me.

Scenario 2:

A video or song is played on Youtube. The artists who created those works own the tools used to create the original work, such as musical instruments, or video cameras. After their work is digitized, those instruments are no longer being used to create their work. Their work is being digitally stored as a series of instructions which instructs my computer on how to recreate the original work.

The artist does not own my computer. They don’t own my screen, or my hard disk used to store the data. And they still don’t own my ears, eyes, or memory. After their work is recorded and uploaded, they don’t own ANY of it. The only thing you could legitimate argue they own is the original creation of the work, which is not the same as the re-creation.

Artists need to get paid

It is clear from these examples that “intellectual property” is garbage. It’s important to understand that fact, in order to keep a firm grip on the reality of our lives. That said, people have to get paid for their work. Because of the structure of our entirely made up society, we have to pay for shelter and food and entertainment to keep ourselves sane in the face of existential horror.

We should continue paying artists. If they aren’t stealing from you and you have the means to do so, then pay for their works. But we need to stop corporations from trying to claim ownership of our brains, our computers’ storage devices, and everything else they can get their hands on.

Copyright is Bullshit. Intellectual Property is Bullshit.

The conclusion is simple. When data exists on a computer that you own, you own that data. Data is not a tangible thing, it’s instructions written on a piece of paper, in this case a magnetic or electronic disk, and that paper belongs to you. If I write a poem on your $100 bill, that doesn’t transfer ownership of the $100 bill to me, and the same logic is true for the storage device in your computer or your head.

Copyright is bullshit. Intellectual property is bullshit. Stop treating them as anything more than bullshit. This puts creators in a dangerous place, which obligates us socially, not legally, to ensure they don’t starve and die.

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