For the past several years I have been following the debate on so-called intellectual property on the Gripe Line (now silent), Technological Liberation Front, TechDirt, and Against Monopoly. As I have read the posts a comon theme began to appear. The concept of "Sale" is being depreciated.
Normally when one buys a product, such as a car, the seller transfers his/her property right to the buyer. However, with the growth of personal computers which allows content to be easily copied and transferred, we have seen the emergence of so-called intellectual property. Those who support the concept of intellectual property assert that the creators of content perpetually own the content and that those who "buy" the content are simply "leasing" or "licensing" the content, which leaves the buyer with no property rights concerning how the content may be used.
The current trend of property rights aggrandizement by those promoting s0-called intellectual property rights appears to be coming under increased scrutiny. Ubersoft recently ran a very humerus panel of cartoons: "Grand Unified Interconnected Litigation Theory". This series of cartoons explores how end user license agreements (EULA) essentially strip the consumer of any rights and allows the content creators to essentially abuse the consumer at the content creators whim.
TechDirt recently published "Creation Does Not Equal Ownership". The article details that the simple act of creation does not confer perpetual ownership to the creator. In that article Mike Masnick wrote, more eloquently than I, "Despite their claims of being property rights supporters, they are actually the opposite. They are trying to deny property rights to any recipient."
"Creation Does Not Equal Ownership" is a followup an article by Stephen Kinsella: "Objectivists on the PRO-IP Act". Kinsella writes "Notes Johnson, "the creator of a piece of intellectual property owns the product of his work." His argument? "If a baker bakes a loaf of bread, he therefore owns it." And likewise, for "music, movies, software." But note the mistake here Johson makes: "If a baker bakes a loaf of bread, he therefore owns it." The "therefore" is the giveaway: he says this because he thinks of the creation of the loaf as the act that gives rise to ownership. Then this leads to the analogy with other created things, like music. But creation of the loaf is not the reason why the baker owns it. He owns the loaf because he owned the dough that he baked. He already owned the dough, before any act of "creation"--before he transformed it with his labor. If he owned the dough, then he owns whatever he transforms his property into; the act of creation is an act of transformation that does not generate any new property rights. So creation is not necessary for him to own the resulting baked bread. Likewise, if he used someone else's dough--say, his employer's--then he does not own the loaf, but the owner of the dough does. So creation is not sufficient for ownership."
Mike Masnick goes on to write: "Exactly. Creation alone does not grant property rights if none existed prior to that transformation. I would even take the argument a step further. Even if you own something due to the fact that you created it, once you have given away or sold that product, you no longer have ownership of it -- and claiming you do actually removes property rights from the lawful owner."
Those who advocate so-called intellectual property are attempting to deprive the consumer of being able to acquire property rights to products that they have legally bought. Furthermore, those who advocate so called intellectual property are asserting an imaginary property right that they do not even posses. It is time for the consumer defend their property rights by fighting back.