Saturday, December 3, 2022

Abolish copyrights. Make the world a better place overnight

Abolishing copyrights will create billions of dollars of wealth overnight. Without copyrights standing in the way, every one of the (soon to be) eight billion people on earth will be able to access all the media we have. Abolishing patents will ultimately reduce the cost of material wealth to the cost of energy and materials. As with copyrights denying media access to all but a few who will pay, patents will arbitrarily deny the creation of material wealth that would otherwise be available.

The entire patent and copyright systems are net destructive and need to be scrapped. 

I am in a situation where I communicated privately to a company a technique from my research. Without my knowledge, they patented it. I can prove that I communicated that precise technique to them prior to their patenting of it. I am now in a position where I would be sued if I publish the thing I invented -- a fundamental part of a body of research started thirty years ago. I can definitely prove that they patented my idea, and that it was me they got it from. I have no recourse as I could not afford to press a case to invalidate their patent. 

I did not pursue a patent for the thing myself because I am an open-source author and I want the world to benefit from my work. Copyrights and patents are evil. 

BTW -- most of the creations upon which the world is built were created without an aim to financial gain by the actual creator. Real creators are generally not dirt-bags trying to ransom otherwise freely accessible wealth. Some well-known (and lucky) creators have made a handsome living. Some have made money well beyond anything equal to their contribution. 

The rationale for why the public should allow patents and copyrights is to encourage the creation of new things such that they are of net benefit to us, the people. 

The people who promoted those concepts were not inventors and authors. They were, and are, parasites that interfere with the creation of new things. Patents have stymied me a couple of times in my career where I had to build on something patented or give it up. I gave it up. 

The current trajectory of patents is to go to where copyrights are now. They will prevent the majority of the world's people from enjoying the benefits of things already long since bought and paid for. 

It takes energy, material and knowhow to make things. Robber Barons sewed up most of the control of the first two things long ago. The cost of energy and material are relatively low and somewhat inflexible. Once things are nearly all automated, knowhow is the only thing in the way. The creation of knowhow is being automated as I write this.

It is evil to deny people access to things that are otherwise freely had. As automation matures, only the people claiming control through patents and copyrights will enjoy the benefits we all have taken part in creating or have inherited from those who came before. 

Most inventors and artists are starving precisely because of the system whose only legitimate purpose was to help them. They generally don't get paid for the work they do. Unless we make it otherwise, the future holds extremities of poverty for all but the tiny few whose claimed ownership is enforced by the apparatus of the state. 

This grotesque situation is not new. It was ever thus. What is new is the extent to which fundamental rights to access the commons are being stripped away. What is new is the sweeping power to surveil of those in charge and their puppet states. We are approaching a time where essentially unlimited abundance is withheld from most of us. Poverty and want are mean-spirited policy decisions made on behalf of those illegitimately in power.

"The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit- and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains. And the smell of rot fills the country. Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them and let the putrescence drip down into the earth.

There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage." -- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.


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