Response to the Most Common pro-IP Argument

There are arguments - some good, some bad - against my position on Intellectual Property.

But the one I find the most ridiculous is this one: “Yeah, well- how would you feel if I copied/changed/sold/edited/altered/mangled YOUR stuff?”

Short answer: Great. I’d be thrilled.

Long answer:

  1. The thing I want most for my work is that it be shared/used/enjoyed by people. If you do any of the things above, the result is likely going to be in line with my desire.

  2. The thing I want second most for my work is that it be as good as possible. Giving other people the freedom to alter/edit/mangle it means that I have an endless supply of possible improvement. And since we’re talking about information (not, say, a car or a painting), no one’s editing or mangling can ever destroy the original.

  3. The thing I want third most of all for my work is that people know it was mine, so that if they like it, they can tell me about it, or think I’m cool, or invite me to dinner parties and such. While Free Licensing presents the vague possibility that someone would illicitly attach their own name to my work, the (virtually) indestructible archive that is the internet (along with my new habit of GitHubbing my output) ensures (as much as anything can) that credit will always be traceable back to me.

  4. Fascinating threat. But the fact that you haven’t, and aren’t likely to, and neither has any one else, makes me think that those potential problems aren’t that much to be concerned about.

  5. There are times when, for one reason or another, I prefer that people do not edit or alter my texts without asking first. I do not change the legal requirements of the license, though. I simply attach a note that expresses my wishes. Anyone who would trample on my expressed wish here (just because they legally can do so) is an uncivilized brute, and worth neither my energy (to think about) nor my tax dollars (to prosecute).

  6. I am the descendant of an endless parade of humanity, the product of a culture that stretches back to before the dawn of known history. My education has been guided and directed by countless individuals and cultural institutions, and included literary and artistic material from every inhabited continent. My mind and my soul are the creations of God (or else, if not God, the unimaginable workings of chance and evolution), and the inspiration I feel at any given moment is likewise of Divine (or mysterious) origin. Knowing this, how can I rightly believe that a few lines of poetry or a handful of notes strung together are somehow not just mine, but mine alone?

  7. Even if my thinking on all those matters were different, I would not wish for my own desires and preferences to be enshrined by government mandate, interpreted by government courts, or enforced by government weapons.

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