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Brian Martin: Against intellectual property

Jul 25, 2000, 06:51 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Martin)

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"Brian Martin presents the case against intellectual property, approaching the issue from a different background to most of us in the free software movement. (You'll note that Martin confuses "freeware", "free software", and "public domain", but that's my fault, since I should have picked this up in my proofreading.)"

"There is a strong case for opposing intellectual property. Among other things, it often retards innovation and exploits Third World peoples. Most of the usual arguments for intellectual property do not hold up under scrutiny. In particular, the metaphor of the marketplace of ideas provides no justification for ownership of ideas. The alternative to intellectual property is that intellectual products not be owned, as in the case of everyday language. Strategies against intellectual property include civil disobedience, promotion of non-owned information, and fostering of a more cooperative society."

"The original rationale for copyrights and patents was to foster artistic and practical creative work by giving a short-term monopoly over certain uses of the work. This monopoly was granted to an individual or corporation by government. The government's power to grant a monopoly is corrupting. The biggest owners of intellectual property have sought to expand it well beyond any sensible rationale."

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