Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Privilege, Not A Right

Here's something to consider. Intellectual "property" is an invention of the state, it is not some natural, recognized right, like the rights that exist in real property or personal property. Take the U.S. Constitution, for example. It contains wording to the effect (as in the Bill of Rights) that certain rights of the people "shall not be infringed", a clear reference to the fact that those rights already exist, and the government shall not violate them.

For so-called "intellectual property" protected by copyrights and patents, however, the language is quite different, stating that the congress shall have the power to grant such rights for "limited times" (something the congress has violated by extending copyright protection virtually indefinitely), and that there is an arbitrary nature to such "rights". In fact, they are not rights at all, but rather privileges given by the state, and existing only (as opposed to existing naturally and recognized universally) with the state's blessing and enforcement.

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