The Decentralization Of Thought
2014 | Punk
“Patents are a waste of ideas floating in space built off of other ideas like a song. -- Like a song we have sang for so long. -- Pharmaceutical, agricultural, astrological, auto-biographical, imagine a world where ideas are free and thoughts shared are no one's property. -- I didn't write this song. -- We've sang for so long."
- Matt Bergman, of Punk Rock Libertarians, was the singer, guitarist & songwriter for Post Freedom as well as TENWATCH.
- Many of the song topics from "The Decentralization of Thought" were inspired by Thomas Paine's "Common Sense.".
- With Post Freedom Bergman's goal was to make a punk band that was unmistakably & unapologetically libertarian.
THE HOT TAKES
If you'd told me there was a song about the illegitimacy of intellectual property a year ago, I'd have laughed. This calls to mind a wonderful example that I'm fond of citing when it comes to so-called "music piracy." In 2013, Iron Maiden looked at some metrics to see where their music was the most pirated. Rather than pressuring those countries to take legal actions against people who wanted to hear their music, what did they do? They planned their tour locations to play for their biggest fans! One of their concerts in Brazil--where piracy was heaviest--brought in over 2 million dollars! Of course, this makes perfect sense. If someone is downloading your albums, perhaps even your entire discography...they must want to listen to it. If they want to listen to it, what's even cooler than hearing it on your home sound system? Hearing it in person! The RIAA and other such agencies would balk at such things, but the fact is that books, music, ideas can be leveraged for gain even when offered for free. (Not to mention the preposterous idea of keeping people from sharing ideas from books and the like.)
As a “former” photographer, I can tell you that intellectual property is a very hot topic in some circles. I remember another photographer friend of mine wanting to string me up when I proffered the idea that, like the song says, intellectual property is BS. Another area of intellectual property that gets a lot of play of late is “cultural appropriation” which, in my opinion is just a politicizing and collectivising of I.P. and calling it a whole groups property, It’s gotten to the point where little kids wanting to be Moana for Halloween have been accused and shamed for cultural appropriation. The bottom line is though, that you can’t own ideas. Whether you’re an individual or a group of individuals who share a common culture, you don’t own exclusive rights to the “ideas floating out in space.” I think of ideas like legos. A bag of loose legos isn’t much of anything, but when you connect them they can make a wonderful variety of things.
I'm a little surprised that neither of my compatriots actually laid out the reasoning behind why IP is bullshit. It truly all boils down to scarcity and property right. The first thing that we as libertarians would say is that part of the equation for value is scarcity. Thomas Sowell describes economics as the study of scarce resources with alternate uses. By their very nature ideas aren't inherently scarce. The minute they can be reworked and reverse engineered. OK so we can't keep people from knowing the idea but when it becomes a physical thing of course we can restrict things.Except we need to accept that we have a right to dictate what someone is able to do with their own resources. I'm not willing to make that jump. Property rights mean more to me. Clinging to your last vestige, incentive for innovation? Be happy the science actually is on the side of anti-IP. Turns out people are willing to work for fame and acclaim just as much.