“The Islamist Attack on Intellectual Property, by Thomas Lifson,” RealClearPolitics, 28 February 2006, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-2_28_06_TL.html.
Shortly after I commented that leveraging (“exploition”) is a normal part of politics, I was enraged at a particularly dishonest form of leveraging in the world of patents. Such is life.
Tom Lifton notes that some Islamist, somewhere (he doesn’t bother to cite, opposes the idea of “intellectual property”
It becomes clearer with every day that the Islamist faction within the Muslim world has an idealized vision of society entirely at odds with foundations of American society, and with the values of modern civilization. Free speech (including cartoon speech), religious pluralism, or female equality are only starters, important though each of these principles may be to us.
Recently, I was reading an Islamist website and discovered the following logo in an advertising-like box:
“Oppose Intellectual Property”
Of course, “intellectual property” isn’t mentioned in the U.S. Constitution…
What is mentioned is the “exclusive Rights to their respective Writings and Discovers” for “authors and inventors” “ To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,.” Unlike actual property that is diminished by sharing, “intellectual property” is an artificial, temporary, government-granted monopoly on an abstraction. There is no “value” (that is, moral) issue associated with it. Rather, like the ability “to establish Post Offices and post Roads” that immediately precedes it, the exclusive Rights is a utilitarian device of the Congress to help economic growth.
To me, this article seems like a stealth attack against free software and open source software. I won’t go into the difference between “free” and “open-source” software, except to note that the free software crowd is more ideological while supporters of “open source” are more pragmatic. I used both for my thesis and my blog.
Both are part of the same decentralized tradition, that helped America win the cold war against the Soviets, Britain win the culture war against the French, and blogs win the 2004 election against the mainstream media.
Fighting against this people-power, against both the free software and open source movements, against the British newspapers and American blogs, are the monopolists. From the monopolists’ last gasps in the media to continuing political power, they seek to concentrate power for themselves.
Such behavior is natural. As are attempts to bolster their power by conflating people-power with al Qaeda. But it’s still sickening.