The fight against SOPA is meaningless unless we end Intellectual Property

Punk Johnny Cash Featured 9 Comments

There is an assumption that what is must always be. Since the entertainment industry drives such huge revenue it should continue this. On Wednesday January 18, 2012 Gonzo Times went black with countless other sites including Wikipedia and Reddit. This was all over SOPA & PIPA. This was a historic event, but it in no way fixed the problem or brought enough attention to the problem. What is the problem? The problem is Intellectual Property.

Intellectual Property is a myth. It is invented with the backing of the threat of force of the state. It is the idea that knowledge or information can be owned by one certain company or person. The myth is perpetuated that people who copy are pirates or thieves. Even those who file share and copy movies and music have come to call themselves pirates. The problem is that it is not piracy or theft. It is theft if I take something of yours. If I copy something of someones or my own it is simply not theft, it is copying.

Intellectual Property is mentioned as one of Tuckers Four Monopolies: The Patent Monopoly – The enforcement by government of intellectual monopolization. This monopoly is a prevention of competitive enterprise in ideas and invention. For example, if the inventer of the wheel was the sole person that could legally produce the wheel with out charge that person would hold an unjust monopoly over all other people. Also, that would limit the improvement of the original invention since in order to improve an invention you need to use the “original” idea.

As record companies become less and less relevant in this new age of information they need to invent laws to make their position relevant because they have little to no place in our world. Once upon a time the artists had to sign with a record company to get music played on a radio or reviewed so that consumers could find them. In the twenty first century this service is less and less relevant. Artists have direct access to those who love their music through the internet. Copyright laws were written to keep others from making money from the work of another. They are used today to force payment from people who make no money from the work of another they just simply are enjoying the work. The money was never there from album sales for artists that was always taken by the record companies. The money came from merchandise and tours. The industry deceives us into thinking that if you listen to songs without paying them money you are somehow harming the artists. The only one who ever ‘stole’ from musicians was the record company execs and lawyers. The reality is that they are struggling to hold on to their laborers that they exploit. This creates an environment where these people are pushing to pass laws to create a place for their jobs so that they can continue to exploit artists and fans for large amounts of money. This is redistribution of wealth from the common artist and person to the wealthy and powerful corporations and lawyers.

Intellectual Property is immoral. It is not necessary. What is necessary is new business models to sell artistic works. Through print, performance and more. What is not needed is laws that go after people for watching, viewing or hearing the wrong work.

Intellectual Property is Theft! It is the creation of ‘property’ through the state. It is the use of law and force to control the actions of others under. It is simply a power given to one person over others that is justified as ‘property’.

What is needed? Do we need to kill SOPA? It won’t hurt. Chances are a slimmed down version of SOPA will pass. Eventuall all provisions of the bill will be made law. What we need to begin to do is question and challenge the very idea of ‘Intellectual Property’.

If you are looking for some good resources about intellectual property I suggest you check out some of the collected essays on the Molinari Institute site hereAnti-Copyright Resources

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Punk Johnny CashThe fight against SOPA is meaningless unless we end Intellectual Property

Comments 9

  1. Grady Booth

    The fight against SOPA is meaningless unless we restore the anomymity within which the Internet was born, before user generated content was ever traced by law enforcement, or copyright holders, back when people believed that IP addresses could not be traced because they were not logged, and back before they were logged.  Only this anonymity can be the ammunition with which to fight Intellectual Property, to sustain a culture that is outside of the currently mainstream proprietary culture machine, to grow that copyright free culture until it itself becomes mainstream, and Intellectual Property is financially starved to death.


    The whole “no one owns an idea” premise is just offensive. It discounts the entire idea of creativity. If IP is so meaningless, why does the author bother to have a blog and share his thoughts if they don’t belong to him? So I suppose if someone plagiarized this entry and disseminated it as their own work, he’d have no problem with that? Also, by the same logic, counterfeiting money should be totally valid, too.
    The author does raise a few valid points and a ton of invalid ones. Without IP, an artist could lose recognition for their work and it would also make it easier for others to claim authorship. I’d be interested to hear some of the same statements from someone who has actually created something desirable/of value that other people want.

  3. Anonymous

    idea is just an idea: a concept in one’s mind, and no one can patent an
    idea even if it completely novel and original. An idea is an
    intangible and cannot effectively be bought or sold. However, the implementation of that idea becomes
    tangible. Such a tangible thing can be a means or a method or a
    process. Tangible things cost money to develop. Tangible things are
    bought and sold. Tangible things owned by someone are not free for
    someone else to take. A means or a method or a process is like a book.
    If I write a book, someone else cannot just come copy it and sell it
    because they do not own selling rights. No one would have no
    motivation to develop tangible property if the tangible property could
    be simply copied and sold without the developer’s permission. The
    developer would have no motivation to expend personal money and time
    necessary to develop the tangible property in the first place.
    So the idea cannot be owned, but the implementation of the idea can
    indeed be someone’s personal property. However, in the interest of
    commerce, patent offices around the world do not allow that personal
    property to remain personal forever, and limit the ownership for a
    specified period of time. That limit on the term of ownership
    is how books and songs and means and processes and methods comes out of a
    private domain of control into the public domain. Someone who
    is against intellectual property is saying they are against personal
    property, and that position is a tenant of communism. Personal and intellectual property is a cornerstone of capitalism.

      1. Anonymous

        These are interesting articles PunkJohnny. 

        Here is a question that arises after reading them.  In one post you say you do just fine selling your illustrations without maintaining IP of them.  But you send me to a post (http://www.gonzotimes.com/2011/08/5967/) suggesting your customers are stealing from you by their asserting ownership over the product of your labor. 

        Which is it?  Are you selling your work willingly, or is it being stolen from you? 

      2. Anonymous

        The author of the article writes, “By giving the capitalist the initial ownership of the means of production we set up a system of rulers.”  I would contend that the capitalist is not “given” a means of production.  No one gave Henry Ford his assembly lines.  He developed them himself.   Hiring labor is to buying someone’s time in exchange for a consideration.  Employment is a voluntary agreement between employer and employee.I guess I don’t understand your issue with intellectual property.  Any worker can develop his/her own means of production, or develop his/her own novel art and pursue it for personal economic gain.  What is holding them back from conceiving their own means, method or process of production?  The state is not holding you back from inventing your own original products.  What is your issue with other people doing so?

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