July 19, 2010

My view of intellectual property

The purpose of legal intellectual property protections, simply put, is to help make it a good decision to create something. The specific phrasing in the United States Constitution is

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

but that’s just a longer way of saying the same thing.

Why does “securing … exclusive Right[s]” to the creators of things that are patented, copyrighted, or trademarked help make it a good decision for them to create stuff? Because it averts competition from copiers, thus making the creator a monopolist in what s/he has created, allowing her to at least somewhat value-price her creation.

I.e., the core point of intellectual property rights is to prevent copying-based competition. By way of contrast, any other kind of intellectual property “right” should be viewed with great suspicion.

Examples of my views include:


6 Responses to “My view of intellectual property”

  1. Links and observations | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on August 10th, 2010 4:37 am

    […] even forbidding plug-compatible reverse engineering. I agree with Doug up to the point that it should be forbidden to copy proprietary software, but I don’t see why he (or a court) would view such behavior as copying. Categories: […]

  2. Tim Johnson on October 16th, 2010 2:00 pm

    Another good article. The difference is do you create for reputation of profit?

  3. Curt Monash on October 19th, 2010 11:56 pm


    I build my reputation largely for the sake of making a profit on the services I do charge money for. 🙂

    An increasingly important secondary use, at least potentially, is that it helps me Do Good.

    Egoboo is #3 on my list of reasons.



  4. Omar on March 30th, 2011 3:57 pm

    Do you believe in copyright protections as they are currently enacted in this country or just in the concept that original authorship should have some level of protection? Long ago, it would often take many years to realize a benefit from creating something. With our plethora of means of communication and monetizing works, providing a duration of protection of 10 years would be unlikely to dissuade a material amount of authorship. So why has the duration of protection increased from less than 30 years in 1800 to between 70 and 120 years in 2011?

    I believe that current copyright protections are unconstitutional based upon the clause you noted above. The extreme levels of protection afforded original works discourages derivative and new works from being created. Why create new works when you can sell the old ones forever?

  5. Curt Monash on June 13th, 2011 2:13 am

    I imagine any duration of copyright protection would be Constitutional. Less clear to me is why Congress should extend duration on rights ALREADY granted, but they have wiggle room there in that new works are created based on old characters, and so on.

    Whether long durations are WISE public policy is a separate matter.

  6. More on public policy | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on February 1st, 2014 6:35 am

    […] I wrote 3 1/2 years ago: The purpose of legal intellectual property protections, simply put, is to help make it a good […]

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