Intellectual Property

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Imagine if there was no need to enforce the privatisation of ideas. I don't believe there is. It is unavoidable that people benefit from the ideas of others, and I don't think that it is incompatible with objectivism to embrace this.

Here's an anti-intellectual property article that makes a pretty bullet-proof case:


If people want to go out of their way to protect a secret, that's great, but to consider blacking out an area of potential human achievement as a reward for their discovery... Why?

I think of it as a simple analogy. If a game of basket-ball is a fair competition, would it be fair if the first person to dunk was granted ownership over that move? If you do it in the open, as a means of competing, it should be available to anyone with the skills to utilize it...

The article covered everything, so I don't need to say much. But I do have an idea for artistic creations that are freely reproduced and commonly illegally distributed:

Let's say a band makes a new album. It is a threat that people will copy it and upload it to thousands of people over the Internet, theoretically cutting deeply into the earnings of the band. I don't think this problem is hard to solve.

So, instead of selling their CDs, as hard copies or digital downloads, for a rate that would eventually earn them an unpredictable gain, they rather set a price that they wish to be paid before their album is released to anyone. This would not be that hard to implement.

There should be a website that you register with a credit card, then bands upload low quality samples of songs off their unreleased album. The requested gross earning for the album is posted, and it is known the album will not be released until the band has been paid X amount of dollars.

To make the system easy to understand let's just say the band wants 100 bucks (which would actually be upwards of millions depending on the demand of the band or artist's work). There is a bidding system that allows users to make a bid of what the album is worth to them, then there is also a limit which the user agrees to pay if it is necessary to be included in the purchase. So, once the average (mean) bid is high enough that the users within that group contribute enough to meet the bands requested price, the album is digitally purchased and distributed to the buyers. After which point, the album is available to buy for the same price as that which the original buyers paid.

I'll give an example because I don't know if that made sense. If it's $100, and two people commited to bid $20 with a limit of $40, two people bid $35 with a limit of $50 and one bid $1 with a limit of $25. The average bid would be between the highest bids that add to the sales price or go over, and then is divided between all those. So the mark was met when the four high bidders got to $110, but $100 is only necessary for the purchase. This means everyone gets the album for $25, even the people who bid more. The user with the limit of $25 would have been excluded from the deal if his limit was any lower.

How that system would work in real life is that milliions of people would likely pay very low prices for albums and theft would be much less necessary, while artists got exactly what they asked for their work. Not only that, but with a fair system like that, it would discourage people from sharing for free, if they knew it was so affordable to obtain legitamitely. If this was utilized by everyone in the world, people would likely pay pennies for any form of digital or intangible product with the profits going pretty much directly to the creator.

To understand the "bid" concept, consider that the lower you bid, the less likely you are to accelerate the release of the "product", but you can still be counted in for the initial purchase by setting your limit high enough.

So... Any comments or arguments pertaining to intellectual property? Any comments on my ideal transactional system for intangible products?

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Well then. Sorry about that... I will be interested to see what's gone on in there, and I don't feel too bad about this thread as I do want to hear if there are any criticisms of my idea.

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