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[Fsfe-france] Propriete Intellectuelle & societe

From: Laurent Guerby
Subject: [Fsfe-france] Propriete Intellectuelle & societe
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 20:02:40 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.0.0) Gecko/20020607

Ca arrive pas souvent :) mais voici un message que je trouve exceptionnellement clair
sur slashdot sur le sujet, toujours dans la veine liberale.


Re:It's all about the money  (Score:5, Insightful)
by Frater 219 (1455) Neutral on Sunday February 02, @18:45 (#5210641)
( Last Journal: Thursday November 14, @22:20 )

> It's pro-capitalist though, which is why it is allowed to exist.

And thus we have an excellent illustration of the difference between the interests of certain capitalists and the usual meaning of capitalism, the free market. The copyright regime allows certain moneyed interests to pursue what is economically called "rent-seeking" behavior: the pursuit of legislation and legal precedent for private benefit, without regard for its effect on other people's property rights or personal liberties.

Increasingly, it should be obvious that the "intellectual property" approach -- the discussion of copyright as a kind of property rather than as a special privilege granted to advance a particular public good -- exists solely to make this rent-seeking seem legitimate. If copyright is "property", then temporal limits upon it seem absurd; after all, we do not have limits upon the amount of time any other property ownership remains valid.

However, copyright is not property. It is a privilege granted by government, which permits a certain party (the copyright holder) to forbid others from using their own actual and physical property (e.g. hard disks, CD blanks) for particular purposes, namely copying the covered works. This privilege may well be legitimate insofar as it serves the public benefit, by encouraging the production of original works. Yet perhaps it is not so legitimate, in a period of history when evidently many artists and creators will create high-quality works whilst disclaiming any such protection. I'm not sure.

However, either way, this "intellectual property" talk has to stop. It's just a sneaky way of slipping unfounded assumptions (namely, that copyright is like property) into the public discourse. Let's call property "property", and copyright "copyright" -- and rent-seeking "corruption".

(Je precise que je ne suis pas politiquement d'un ultra liberalisme debride, mais comme
c'est a la mode et que les institutions mondiales sont
sensees agir au nom du liberalisme, je trouve toujours interessant
de rappeller le point de vue.)

Laurent Guerby <address@hidden>

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