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Comment to William Patry - 1 · Wednesday August 19, 2009 by Crosbie Fitch

William Patry no longer publishes my comments on his blog, so I guess this is his inscrutably tacit way of encouraging me to post them on my blog instead.

Commenting upon The Why of Property-Talk in the Copyright Wars

Crosbie Fitch said…

Property derives from the natural right to privacy. It is the physical enclosure, proximity, and reach of the individual’s body to possess and protect a region and objects within it (private domain) that creates natural property. Anything beyond the reach of the individual, in the commons or public domain, that requires the assistance of the community or state to secure is more a matter of allocation (of privilege, custody, responsibility, title, etc.).

Natural intellectual property is thus the physical enclosure of intellectual work (in an individual’s private domain). Published works are naturally public property.

Copyright and patent are transferable state granted monopolies – they do not exhibit any characteristic of natural property, only of unnatural privilege. Moreover, being monopolies they necessarily exceed any notion of a need to allocate care and custody of the commons or public property, they actually derogate from the liberty of the individual to reproduce or improve their own intellectual property – even in the privacy of their own home. The monopolies of copyright and patent prohibit making copies or preparing derivative works in private as well as in public. That is a suspension of an artist’s liberty to create as well as to exchange their labour in a free market.

Copyright and patent are nothing to do with property. They are commercial privileges, and being unwieldy for use by individuals, clearly intended and evolved for exploitation by corporations – at the parlous cost of individual liberty and privacy.



 

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