Social versus egoism
Horses bite and kick each other in order to get food. Five minutes later they stand nibbling and caressing each other's necks. Wolves tear their prey apart and wound congeners coming too close. However the hunting for that prey is a common and social act. Apparently egoism and social behavior do not exclude each other. Apparently animals have a feeling of property when it comes to material matter such as food and territory. The animal type human used to share its food loyally with tribe members. In times of shortage you could only survive by violently defending properties such as your hut and food. Property is a primary condition for humans and animals to survive. Today property is still the answer for the problem of scarcity; cars, houses, etc. are not unrestricted available (as a joke it is said that only air is not scarce).
That is mine according to Darwin
If we launch Darwin's proposition "survival of the fittest by natural selection" on this we can conclude that individuals with a strong social behaviour in combination with a developed feeling of property have a bigger chance to survive and - as a result - have a bigger chance to pass their genes with those properties to a next generation. In other words:
Evolution has programmed a strong developed feeling of property in our genes in a Darwinistic way.
Now feeling and common sense don't go along often which is also the case for our feelings of property.
Suppose you have applied springs to your small garden gate with "the touch of a genius" that closes the door automagically. After a month you notice that your neighbor copied your idea - call it an invention - and another month later all garden gates in the city are provided with springs. At that moment you may become angry and start saying: "they have stolen my idea!". That emotion is understandable but is the accusation justified? "My idea" means "mine", "it is my property". Property? Nobody may touch it? Complete right to do with it whatever you want to? No, fortunately not, now the complete city benefits your great idea, the community is in progression by copying "your" idea.
The emotion of property is an instinct to survive but we are not aware of it (as is usual with instincts). That keeps us from asking ourself a critical question: can an idea be a property? Legally property is defined as a right to do with a good whatever you want to do with it. So the answer is no, an idea is not a good!
The base of our current prosperity is freely accessible and applicable knowledge in order to serve as many people and organizations as possible. Freedom of information promotes true competition and as a result it stimulates research and development and is the key to the further development of humanity.
This is also the reason why the legislator never wanted to see creations of the mind - such as inventions (an idea) - as a real property like a house or a car (goods).
And how about "intellectual property"?
It may be clear that "intellectual property" is a false and misleading term: mental creations are no material goods with the associated right to do with it whatever you want.
However the legislator introduced copyright and patent right for mental creations and those rights do share some characteristics of property but again it is not true property right as with goods. For this reason a good lawyer interprets "intellectual property" in a complete different way then the inventor of the self closing garden gate who did not read the previous: the poor soul lets his instinct dictate him that the idea is real property.
quote writer: "I intentionally talk about a 'good lawyer' because in Brussels I have held conversations with political assistants with a legal background without the slightest awareness of the difference between property rights and exclusion rights and being very open minded towards the bull shit fomated by certain lobbyists"
So it is better to speak about copyright, patents, trademarks, etc. instead of "intellectual property". They must be interpreted as exclusion rights. It is good to see a trend inside the UN where people omit the term "intellectual property" and it would be nice if that spark would enlight governments to do the some thing. But there is still another important reason: within our society interest groups such as BSA, Microsoft, Philips and RIAA try to give mental creations the same meaning as physical and goods. Only this way they can complain that "goods" such as software, music and films are really stolen when they are downloaded. They spend millions and do everything they can to brain wash politicians and civil servants and they are successfully. In the US the shit hits the fan and Europe should watch out not slide down in the same direction.
A Norwegian newspaper wrote the following: the sentence for distributing child pornography is 7 years whereas violation on copyright is 10 years is under the proposed new Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 2006. The maximum fine for dumping chemical waste is $27.500 per day versus $500.000 by case if it concerns breach of copyright. The Inquirer wrote that if you copy Graig David's CD you get 10 years, but if you beat him in his face and do some further rebuilding so he stays in coma for seven days you end up with only 6 years in prison.
The term "intellectual property" is a misleading term and may be considered as a PR action of groups inside our society with an interest of stimulating a false feeling of property when it comes to non physical things like music, software, etc... It is better to speak of patent rights, copyright, etc. or using the generic term exclusion rights.
Copyright and patents are respectively as pepper and salt. On free software it is simply rancid, a surplus of pepper and salt tastes not nice on most dishes and smart people eat low-salt.
A short addition can be found at Intellectual Property