It seems natural

In our world, it seems natural that the author-creator takes ownership and safeguard over any creation they have made and subsequently calls this Intellectual Property. However, this idea is relatively modern in human history.

Perhaps the most useless idea that many corporations adopt, is that once intellectual property is proven, they stupidly decide to keep that idea or invention for themselves. This concept manifests itself in patent creation, and is seen within the ongoing war between fierce corporate ownership of ideas and the opposite end of the spectrum, which is creative commons or open source.

A personal point of view

The following written content reflects the author’s1 personal view of intellectual property and also of related subjects. Beneath Matt Ridley’s TED talk is a list of comments also made by the author.

Of course, there is no reason why you cannot adopt copyright, yet also allow degrees of use of your ideas through the use of creative commons licenses, which are legally enforceable almost everywhere in the world.

Knowledge as merchandise and the theft of public domain ideas

Question: Does this Sumatran Orangutan hominid care if what he knows or does is copied?
Answer: No because his environment has been devastated by Human hominids!

Attribution: Dave59 at the English language Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

The unscrupulous agent hominid

Currently, a number of unscrupulous agent hominids are making exceedingly large amounts of 💰money by stealing ideas from the public domain and yet many of these ideas have been in the public domain for decades. These ideas, mechanisms or other intellectual constructions are simply taken from the public domain, by unscrupulous agents. Subsequently, said public knowledge is transformed into a lie!

Attribution: Free Clip Art / CC BY-SA

That lie is simple and involves transforming the idea into a registered patent. Typically, these ‘patents’ are then sold to large corporations as products. Arguably, such agents are not only guilty of stealing from the public domain, but also contribute to a massive regression in the fluency of idea generation at a time when this should be just the opposite.

Outside Plato’s cave

Attribution: John D Alembert / CC BY-SA

If it weren’t for exchange of ideas and information

If it weren’t for the exchange of ideas and information, we would almost certainly never have left the caves.

So, when you walk out of your door into any urban area, the first thing you may hear is people talking. This is the exchange of information. It may not be intellectual, but it is sharing information and this is fundamental to human nature.

The tendency to freely share information and ideas is essential to provide a culture in which knowledge and ideas grow. As proof of this, it is only necessary to look at the societies that are or were oppressed enough such that free exchange of information is inconvenient, or even prohibited; from this it is seen that the growth of knowledge suffers. In Europe, the Middle Ages provided such an oppressive environment, especially in the Latin states, that progress seemed to stop for almost 500 years.

We don’t invite them in for tea, yet they share knowledge

The nicer hominid relatives of ours differ in genetic information by less than 2% yet we do not accept them as having such rights as we give to persons. We can accept a non-living corporation as a legal-person but not a genetically close living relative of ours. This makes no sense whatsoever.

Great Apes have been extensively studied and one of the things that is very clear is their ability to share their knowledge. Our outmoded ideas of animals are changing as we learn that they also learn.

Advice “Animals can think, they are conscious; they should have rights”

The Apes and indeed the whole animal kingdom are set apart from the very recent version of Human civilization. They have no concept, construct nor need for something that would equate with the idea of Intellectual Property, and before you say “how can an Ape think or be intellectual?” consider how totally stupid humans can be, both within the corporate world and within the political arena.

On February 28, 2007, the parliament of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain, passed the world’s first legislation that would effectively grant legal personhood rights to all great apes.[8] The act sent ripples out of the region and across Spain, producing public support for the rights of great apes. On June 25, 2008 a parliamentary committee set forth resolutions urging Spain to grant the primates the rights to life and liberty. If approved, “it will ban harmful experiments on apes and make keeping them for circuses, television commercials, or filming illegal under Spain’s penal code."[9]

Attribution: Psych USD / CC BY-SA

Exponential creation of more ideas

Attribution: Friedrich Wilhelm Putzger, nach O. Puchstein in Pauly, Real-Encycl. / Public domain

Brainstorming & collaborative thinking

If we accept that brainstorming and other forms of human collaborative thinking are be highly productive in the development of more ideas, then we have never been in a better position to create ideas exponentially. The following video explores this topic from various perspectives. One of the most interesting ideas explored is that trading with other peoples creates the basis for exchanging not only a better lifestyle but more ideas.

The ancient Mediterranean world understood this idea. According to the Greek medical writer Galen, under the decree of Ptolemy II, any books found on ships that came into port at Alexandria, were taken to the library, where they were copied by official scribes.

Isolationism & its regressive effects upon knowledge

As I write, British politicians have propagandized and schemed to isolate the British Isles from Europe2. Meanwhile, Yankside, The Orange Sun God rattles on about building walls to prevent movement of peoples into the USA. The Orange Sun God has also made massive increases to the cost of post, courier and indeed any transportation of goods that American taxpayers have already bought from outside the USA. This has a knock-on effect of increasing the cost to small businesses within the USA and so is a retrograde -f stupid policy for America and for the rest of the world. This is ironic when the Americas were more recently ethnically and culturally forged by immigration, than any other place in the world.

In this video, Matt Ridley shows how when Tasmania was cut off from the mainland, this not only stopped the development of ideas, but also started a massive regression. We don’t need to look at Tasmania to find more evidence of these phenomena. In fact, as mentioned above, Europe experienced this, probably many times, but one of the most astonishing deviations from the advancement of ideas occurred when the Roman Empire fell. It is said that in Britain people even forgot how to make basic pottery! I don’t know if this is true, but we do know that there was a massive pullback over a long period.

My comments

  1. While I agree with Matt’s general thesis that ideas make more ideas by using us as nodes in a network, I do not agree that this is the only reason to increase relative wealth. In his speech, he makes many suggestions that ideas such as commerce are linked in such a way that they cause an increase in relative wealth. In some ways, this may be true, however, I believe that the main reason for any increase in relative wealth, when we compare living standards in different modern times, is due to major changes in social and political structure and NOT just trade.

  2. I note that Matt pretends not to understand how a computer mouse works. It is good that this is not a punishable act, however, he does tell his audience, who politely says nothing when asked if they could make a computer mouse. His point is that the many and diverse technologies and specialities are so diverse that they make it impossible to understand how to make a mouse. This, of course, is not true, as while it is likely impossible to reproduce the mouse displayed on his projector, it would be fairly trivial to make a mouse that works with similar ideas. I accept that the necessary semiconductors would be easier to buy than to manufacture, but even the DIY manufacturing of these is possible. The body of the mouse could be made of wood or other available material, and if a laser diode is not available then some other mechanism could be devised.

  3. Matt also talks about the pencil as an example of cooperative but disparate work, insofar as no one can or knows how to make a pencil. While for the moment we could accept that few people understand the process of Making a pencil, yet we could improvise such a thing using one of the many materials available. IN other words most of us possess the ability to improvise a solution when needed.

  4. Having read and lived in Oxford for many years, I know that most of the highly educated people in that small town are highly specialised. Unlike most of the learned people of Oxford and others Similar places, I have done many kinds of work in my life because, from 14 years onward, I believed that it was necessary to know everything possible about everything. This philosophy, in my case, was not only academic. It was practical; I needed to know how to make a house, build boats, design electronics, and complex technological elements like robots. This is only a small part of the list of things I have done. I completely reject the mantra of “Jack of all trades, master of none” as I became fairly accomplished at boat-building and equally good as a specialist risk management consultant.

Footnotes


  1. In this case ‘The author’ means Dr Moffman Tabs ↩︎

  2. This is ridiculous as the British Isles ARE in Europe. Indeed, the ethnicity and culture of the British Isles is a history of immigration from not only Europe but everywhere else in the world and is certainly not restricted to the EX colonies. ↩︎