The intended purpose of intellectual property laws is to promote discovery and encourage sharing of ideas. A system that rewards great discoveries and also makes the realization of the ideas available to as many people as cheaply as possible is the ideal system. Using the concepts of Abundance that system can be achieved.
The patent and copyright system creates artificial scarcity. Its stated goal is to promote the sharing of ideas but it does not work. Its not just broken, it was wrong from the start. It assumes that good ideas are scarce and the only way to get people to share their ideas is to give them a monopoly, creating a temporary scarcity.
It’s absurd to claim information as property. If someone said they owned the number 3 and no one can use it without their permission, they would be laughed at or even locked up for being insane. The patent and copyright system grants ownership to information. That contradicts the goal of promoting discovery and sharing.
Originally a blog post 2007 Jan 22
Since publication of “Free” and Zeitgeist Addendum a lot of people are finally talking about abundance and how it turns economics on its head. So I thought I would update my original post with a video.
Few people understand how to create abundance so I will be spending more time explaining it with blog posts and videos.
In a comment to Economics Of Abundance Getting Some Well Deserved Attention a reader complained that there isn’t an infinite supply of good books, good music, and movies. This is flatly false, there’s an infinite supply of any intellectual property and it can be mathematically proven. How is that for being emphatic?
Don’t fear, I’m going to back up that statement and do the following:
- Prove there is an infinite supply of information.
- Show some reasons why Copyrights & Patents are logically flawed.
- List one form of intellectual property that is real and very valuable.
Digital media makes my point very clear. When you digitize a song, book or movie you convert it into numbers. And how many numbers are there? Infinite, you can keep counting forever. Computers store everything as a series of electrical impulses. We think of those as 1’s and 0’s. So inside a computer the music, videos, books and everything else is just a big number.
If you converted the phrase “infinite supply” into a stream of ones and zeros the way the computer sees it this is what it looks like:
01101001 01101110 01100110 01101001 01101110 01101001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110011 01110101 01110000 01110000 01101100 01111001
As you look at that I’m sure it looks like a meaningless number. And that is the point. That phrase, “infinite supply” is just a meaningless number to a computer. Now look at this article. Up to this point it is 1,462 letters. When I save it on my computer it’s converted to a stream of 1’s and 0’s, it’s just a number. And like every number you could start at 1 and count up to the number equivalent of this article.
To count to the number that represents “infinite supply” you would pass “infinite supplx” and “infinite supplw”. You would also pass “supply”, “infinite”, “finite”, “in” and “a” and every possible combination of letters up to the 15 letter combination that make “infinite supply”. That is 2,954,312,706,550,833,698,643 combinations if we only include the letters “a” through “z” and blank space.