1. Content
  2. Index
  3. Search
  4. RSS/Subscribe

IP: Rivalrous and Excludable · Tuesday October 13, 2009 by Crosbie Fitch

I think it prevents a proper understanding of IP to think of intellectual works as non-excludable/non-rivalrous. That only follows from the IP maximalist’s notion that intellectual works are universal, supernaturally pervasive goods, that the monopolies of copyright and patent protect as the property of their rightful owners.

The thing is, intellectual works are not universals. They are not supernaturally able to collapse into a single object by dint of similarity, and hence able to belong to a single owner. Intellectual works are always discrete physical instances. Their similarity (even indistinguishable) confuses us into mistaking them as the same object.

So, don’t be blinded by the similarity. Realise that all intellectual works are independent objects, copies or not. Each instance is the property of its possessor.

From that more natural (non-supernatural) understanding you can then recognise intellectual works as rivalrous and excludable.

Even though we may mistakenly believe we have the same Tom Jones CD, we do not. You have yours, and I have mine. You can’t use my CD whilst I’m using it, I can exclude you from my CD, and vice versa. The indistinguishable similarity of these CDs does not cause them to collapse into a single object, nor does it permit a distant owner of all likenesses to supernaturally govern the use of their property.

It is the unnatural monopoly that gives rise to the idea of supernatural ownership, not supernatural ownership that gives rise to the need for a monopoly to protect it.



 

About

Contact

Recent Articles

Recent Comments

Topics

Rights

Natural Right

Legal Rights

Life

Equality

Fraternity

Violence

Privacy

Being Privy

Confidentiality

Personal Data

Publication

Truth

Attribution

Authenticity

Moral Rights

Plagiarism

Representation

Veracity

Liberty

Censorship

Disclosure

Freedom of Speech

Freedom vs Liberty

Official Secrets Act

Piracy

Property

Apprehensibility

Facility

Identifiability

Copyright

Copyfarleft

Ineffectiveness

Modulation

Neutralisation

Patent

Software

US Constitution

'exclusive right'

Sanction

Contract

Inalienability

Licensing

NDA

Abolition

GPL

Business

Models

Incorporation

Immortality

No Rights

Regulation

Culture

Miscellany

Links

Principles

Amnesty International

Copyleft (Wikipedia)

Electronic Frontier

Free Culture F'n

Free Culture UK

Free S/w Foundation

Pontification

Against Monopoly

One Small Voice

Open...

P2Pnet

Question Copyright

Paragons

GratisVibes

Jamendo

SourceForge

Wikipedia

Protagonists

Downhill Battle

Publishers vs Public

Proof

Rethinking Copyright

Papers

Against Monopoly

Ecstasy of Influence

Libertarian Case

Post-Copyright

Practitioners

Janet Hawtin

Nina Paley

Rob Myers

Scott Carpenter