The Earth Party

Position on:

Copyright and Intellectual Property

"Intellectual property" is an evil, sociopathic idea that is ruining our world. 

It is one of the primary obstacles to evolution.

 

You know that frustration you keep feeling whenever you use computers and software - that feeling that it's been 15 years since you first encountered a problem in software, and it still hasn't been fixed?  That's because of copyright.

You see, we've already solved all of those problems. 

But different companies "own" different pieces of the solution.


And none of them can provide the entire solution without violating the  "copyrights" of the others.


Let's break this down more simply:


Lets say you invent a widget.

It's the early days of this particular field of widgetry, so the craft is a long way from perfection.  The first model has 20 different flaws.

Over time, solutions are invented, to fix each of those flaws.  There are many companies working on it, and each company comes up with the fix for 1 or 2 of the flaws.

Naturally you'd think this would be a good thing...

But copyright allows each company to patent each of their fixes.  No other company is allowed to use that particular fix.

So each company, while allowed to fix a handful of flaws, is not allowed to fix the rest.

So all brands will continue to have flaws, and all the customer can do is choose which type of flaws they're least bothered by.

It winds up as a tradeoff.   Which flaws do you want?  This set of flaws, or that set of flaws?

And it's ridiculous, because we HAVE ALL THE FIXES.  We, the human race, have the knowledge to fix all 20 flaws in the widget, and produce a near-perfect widget with no issues or flaws.

But we're not ALLOWED to.

And so we force ourselves, year after year, model after model, to put up with devices of atrociously idiotic design, which make us scream and pound our desks in frustration at how we still face the same bugs, 15 years after we first noticed them.

Can you see that this system is insane?


 


We COULD build the perfect one - we know how - but we're not  allowed to!  Because it's "illegal" due to copyright!

 

All technology could be the very best and most wholesome version of itself, right now, today - but copyright rules are restricting us.


Copyright is preventing our evolution, literally holding us back from evolving into a mature civilization.

 

"But copyright drives innovation!  Without copyright there won't be innovation!"

It depends on what kind of innovation you want. 

Innovation is as old as humanity.  People have been innovating for 200,000 years, long before there were any "copyright laws."

"But... copyright makes it faster.  It increases innovation."

Indeed, it increases ONE KIND of innovation - but there's more than one kind.  

 

In fact, there are two different kinds of innovation:

1.  Pro-social innovation

2.  Anti-social innovation

The first kind is something that serves society, and makes it better. 

The second kind is something that serves the innovator, by getting him more money, by tricking people into thinking the innovation is good, when in reality, it corrupts and deteriorates society in the long run

 

The first kind identifies a problem first, and then seeks a way to solve it.

The second way invents first, and then seeks a problem to retroactively justify the invention. 

Pro-social:  1.  Identify a problem.  -->  2.  Innovate a way to solve it.

Anti-social:  1.  Innovate first.  -->  2.  Seek a problem to retroactively justify the invention after it's invented.   

An example of the first type would be Penicillin.  There's a problem: disease.  Disease causes suffering and death, and penicillin solves the problem.

Simple.

But an example of the second type would be the automobile.  The car was invented in the early 1900's, and marketed to wealthy people as a toy.  There was no problem it attempted to solve.  What was the problem?  "Rich people don't have enough toys to play with?"

 

It was only after the auto industry exploded and began destroying the world, that anyone felt compelled to rationalize its existence, by retroactively coming up with problems for it to be a solution for. 

"But it does solve a problem!  My grocery store is 5 miles away from my house!  Without a car, I'd have to walk all the way!"

Your grocery store was PLACED 5 miles away from your house BECAUSE such distance rationalizes the use of the automobile.  Before there were cars, your marketplace would have been in your Village, and you could walk there in 5 minutes. 

Automobile manufacturers deliberately redesigned the urban layout of America to deliberately put things far away, for the sole purpose of creating demand (and outright necessity) for their products. 

They ripped apart the social fabric to retroactively justify the existence of their product. 

That's anti-social innovation. 

Copyright only incentivizes anti-social innovation.  It does NOT incentivize pro-social innovation, because pro-social innovation does not require any financial incentive. 

The only purpose of copyright is to make sure the innovator gets rich. 

And if getting rich is your only motivation for innovating - if you wouldn't have innovated without the promise of wealth - then your invention is an anti-social one.

Think about it.  If there was a problem you really wanted to solve - if people in your community were suffering, and you wanted to help them - you'd be willing to invent a solution regardless of whether you get paid or not.  If your motivation is truly altruistic (and your invention is pro-social), then the promise of getting rich won't be necessary to drive your innovation.

Without copyright, pro-social innovation will still occur.  The only type of innovation that will be stifled is the anti-social kind, and that's a good thing, because the anti-social kind rips apart society (not to mention the biosphere upon which every society depends). 

"OK, I understand.  I think you make a good point.  But... what about art?  What about music?  Surely you must be in favor of artists getting paid for their work?  Surely art must be a different category - one in which copyright is a good thing?"

Copyright is still not a good thing.  Not even for art.

If an artist creates a physical work, with their hands, then they can sell it and get paid for it, without copyright.  Because each unit involves the artist's labor.  Copyright is irrelevant when it comes to physical works. 

Copyright is only relevant for artwork that can be easily replicated, either digitally or via a printing press. 

"So you don't want musicians and authors to get paid for their music and books?"

We have a better question:  If they don't get paid, will they still make their music and still write their books?

"Maybe some will, but many probably won't."

And would that be a bad thing?

Everyone knows that our artistic landscape is absolutely cluttered with junk, which annoys us all, and makes the good stuff harder to find.

 

Some songs and albums are timeless masterpieces that withstand the test of the ages, and are still beautiful, decades (or even centuries!) after they were first composed. 

But for every true work of art, there are 100 pieces of consumerist, record-industry clutter, which serve no function except to fill up an album to sell it.  We collectively refer to this type as "crap", and we all - even you - be honest - wish it weren't there.  It detracts from the real music. 

Guess which type is incentivized by copyright? 

A true artist will produce their work because it's an expression of their soul.  It's literally fighting to get out of them.  They need to sing it - they need to play it - they'll go crazy if they don't! 

When something comes from the soul, you don't need any promise of financial incentive to let it out.  

 

If you do need an incentive, then it's not coming from your soul. 

And if it's not coming from the soul, why should anyone even listen to it? 

Why should we, as a society, pay you to clutter our artistic landscape with it?

When there is no more copyright, true artwork will continue to be created, and consumerist garbage will stop clogging up the airwaves. 

It's a win-win for everybody. 

"But musicians still need to eat and pay the bills..."

So sing!   Play!  Dance!  Perform!  Do it live!  Give your community a reason to gather, socialize, hang out, and have fun!  You know - in real life!

 

If a musician performs live, they can get paid that way.  A live performance can't be replicated - it's a unique experience, one which people are always willing to compensate you for. 

And if you're a composer who writes songs but doesn't perform (for instance, digital/electronic music), you can still get paid through crowdfunding.  If people love your work and appreciate your work, they'll be willing to give something back to you.  They won't need some suited, neck-tied, cigar-smoking record industry executive to force them.  In fact, if that parasite disappears from the picture, and all payment is voluntary, people will be more willing to pay, because the issue will no longer be "can I get away with free downloads", but "should I?"

"What about authors?"

The greatest works of literature - the classics - were written before copyright existed.

 

What do Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, ......... all have in common? 

None of them expected to be paid for their work.  But they wrote it anyway.  Because it needed to be written.

 

They were answering to a higher calling.  And it shows in their works. 

If something needs to be written... if it truly comes from the Creative Realm, that unexplained world that the true spirit of the artist inhabits - then it will be written, even though the gates of hell should bar the way.  Money is of no consequence. 

"OK, I get what you're saying.  I totally see the distinction between true art vs. consumerist stuff.  But... I'm still concerned about the artists - even the consumerist ones.  Yea, I might be annoyed by their mediocre clutter, but I don't hate them, and I don't want them to starve.  If a lot of artists go "out of business", won't this create a lot of suffering and economic problems? Aren't you concerned about their livelihoods?  You don't want them to be poor and starving do you?"

 

Of course not.  

 

But now our discussion is leaving the realm of art, and entering the realm of economics.  It's a different discussion.  

 

And economic challenges have economic solutions.

 

Think about what you just said.  We were discussion art, and then the issue of money inserted itself and derailed our discussion.  If you can't talk about art without also talking about money, don't you see how this is a perversion - how our current capitalist economic system twists and perverts everything? 

We need a new system. 

Further reading:

 

Jobs and Economic Planning

Why Capitalism Doesn't Work

Why Socialism Isn't the Answer Either

Recommended:  A Master Plan for a Mature Civilization

We need everybody to work together on tis.  All races, men adn women.  men and woen have different ways of thinking, and both are necessary.  We need to team up and work together to ge tthe wholistic thinking that's necessary for solvig these problems in a truly wholistic way.   And the fraces have to work together too.  Each race and culture has unique was of looking at thw orld and unique insights that may help in designing tech.  Every culture has done ingenius things ,to cope with its environment to adapt and to thrive.  Eveyr culture.  so we need everybody's wisdom.  the more eiwsomd we can get, hte beter.r   s o stop it with all identity politics,      the peole who are corret on race and gender are the people who want the entire issue to not matter anymore.  who want to creta ew orld in which these issues no longer divide us and no longer matter, and want to do this now an daren't sighing in resignation and saying oh we need 50 or 100 more yars to equalize it.  We can have aq post division world right now, and we actuall need to have it right now in order to figture out how to rewild this planet without our civilization collapsing.  and to develop a truly symbiotic economy in a mature civ that lives in harmonisous coexistene iwth naure.  We all have to agree on this goal, then we can save our civ heal our planet and prevent tech nology from runnin gour lives ever again.

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