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“Intellectual Property” is a misnomer

Posted on | November 2, 2007 | 4 Comments

I stumbled across an I.T. code of ethics while digging around in the Slashdot fire hose today. I’ve been looking for some kind of standardized code of ethics for this industry so that I could say “I support and adhere to this .. “, in an effort to help bridge the initial trust gap which is common when greeting new clients.

I read through the document and closed the window half way through the reading, as soon as I saw the clause named “1.6 Give proper credit for intellectual property.

I can not, will not and should not use the term “Intellectual Property” in anything other than text that serves to advocate NOT using that term. I have some very, very good reasons for this policy. I’d like to challenge anyone reading this little rant to show me one human being who was solely responsible for shaping their intellect?

Such a being would have to be born on an uninhabited island and abandoned by its parents after birth. Furthermore, this being must also be blind and deaf so that it is not influenced by other living things that might be found on the island.

Should this miracle occur, I’ll happily pronounce the primitive grunts coming from such a being as its sole “intellectual property”.

Intellectual property is the misnomer that fuels software patents. It also enabled kings throughout history to quell disruptive authors by claiming that all works produced were the “intellectual property” of the king. This is a great misnomer, cherished by lawyers around the globe. Even Rome (who invented property) insisted that property must be something that you could hold in your hands or touch. Patents give you claim to something, however, that something remains completely illusionary.

Everyone who likes software patents and/or lawyers who profit from enforcing them, please raise your hand. I didn’t think so :) What remains is our copyright over our creative works, be they books or computer programs.

Please, do not use those words or join organizations that advocate their use, doing so only makes things much worse.


4 Responses to ““Intellectual Property” is a misnomer”

  1. The social pedia : Echoreply
    November 13th, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

    [...] I’m thinking of producing some generic building blocks to help study ‘Sociology 2.0′, but still just kicking the ideas around. Some software exists that is helpful, such as W3C’s http engine , but most Sociologists are not C programmers. I’m also not overly fond of using software released under a license that proposes a creative work to be intellectual property. [...]

  2. WildKid
    November 27th, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

    Really good and really interesting post. I expect (and other readers maybe :)) new useful posts from you! Good luck and successes in blogging!

  3. wheehepsy
    October 19th, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

    Hello my friends! The interesting name of a site – I recently 9 hours sat in the Internet So I have found your site :) The interesting site but does not suffice several sections! However this section is very necessary! Best wishes for you! Forgive I is drunk :))

  4. tinkertim
    November 17th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

    @ wheehepsy:

    What sections are missing?

    Cheers, –Tim

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