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Printerlectual Poppetry · Tuesday March 09, 2010 by Crosbie Fitch

There is both matter and energy in the universe and we work them into useful objects, i.e. art and technology. In everything there is both a material and informational component. The material aspect of objects that we produce we call material works, and the informational aspect we call intellectual works. We apprehend matter with our bodies and information with our senses. We also control the movement of, and access to, material and intellectual works through physical means (as opposed to supernatural means such as ’spooky action at a distance’). It is from the individual’s natural ability to physically possess themselves and other objects that we derive the right to privacy and consequently the notion of property (objects possessed within our private domain).

In the 18th century the privileges of copyright and patent were granted to authors and inventors (registrants of novel designs). These are monopolies applying to intellectual works and augment people’s natural intellectual property rights with unnatural ones – also known as ‘legally granted rights’ or ‘legal rights’ or these days, simply ‘rights’.

Thus those who would retain their 18th century monopolies like to call them ‘rights’ rather than privileges, precisely to conflate them with natural rights.

You have a natural right to prevent a burglar stealing your bread as much as your diary or a copy of it, but only a privilege to prevent people printing copies of the carol you wrote for them that they sung at xmas.

Thus, the monopolists prefer ‘intellectual property right’ to ‘intellectual work privilege’, and simply contract the former to ‘intellectual property’ – so you don’t question whether the missing ‘right’ is a natural right or an unnatural, legally granted right (estd. by Queen Anne in 1710).

Unfortunately, instead of simply being against state granted monopolies, some people also use the corrupt term ‘intellectual property’ in place of ’state granted monopolies’ and so declare themselves to be against ‘intellectual property’. This then means they are also against the natural right people have to their intellectual property, i.e. against its removal or copying by burglars.



 

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