More Insanity

Ima Fish alerts us to the appeals court ruling which upheld the lower court and seems to endorse the creation of a wholly made up new form of intellectual property right that has no basis in the law. The court clearly says that this is not a copyright case, so copyright law doesn’t apply. So what right exactly is WIAA granting to its broadcasting partner? That’s not clear at all from the ruling. If it’s not copyright, it appears to be something entirely made up by the appeals court, which might be loosely defined as “the right to make up restrictions if it makes money.” I’m not joking. The court repeatedly focuses in on the idea that the WIAA needs to make money, and that somehow makes it okay to grant a single company an exclusive license. [Emphasis added.]

Fundamentally, IP is based on the silly notion that someone should be rewarded for coming up with a good idea.  If you think of something useful and people use your idea, you deserve to get paid for it.  This is nothing more than jealousy.

And it’s stupid.  You DO NOT deserve to get paid simply for coming up with a good idea.  I have dozens of good ideas every day, yet precious few of them are lucrative for me because I generally fail to follow through on them.  Sometimes I lack know-how.  Sometimes I lack capital.  Sometimes I lack initiative.  Sometimes the idea just doesn’t hold my interest for more than a couple minutes.  At any rate, I’ve wasted hundreds of good ideas.

I do not deserve to get paid for any of my good ideas, and the same is true for everyone else who has good ideas.  Good ideas, by themselves, are worthless.  Plans and ideas must be put into practice for them to be valuable, and even then there is no guarantee that others will find one’s plans or ideas useful and thus deserving of purchase.  Conceptualizing the iPod, for example, is pointless if one never actually manufactures, distributes, and advertises it.

The great problem with IP, then, is that it enshrines ideas and while ignoring their implementation.  In so doing, it hamstrings those who are actually productive, forcing them to either pay people whose only contribution to the market is a willingness to launch a lawsuit or to come up with a different way of attaining the same result.  What good is a system that encourages people to register their ideas instead of implementing them?

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