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I appeared yesterday on Ernest Hancock’s Declare Your Independence radio show for about two hours (hours 2 and 3 of his show) discussing intellectual property. It was a pretty wide-ranging, radical discussion, but I think I made progress with Ernie. The MP3 files are on the show’s page for that day; local files: hour 1; hour 2; hour 3.
Your caller who mentioned “respecting the creator of something” made me wonder whether some of these debates can be made more enlightening by defining some terms better.
I mean: there is undeniably a unique connection between the person who reconfigures her property and the resulting configuration. Too many intellectual propertarians are in the habit of referring to this connection as “ownership”. “My” sonnet, “my” discovery, “my” idea. A better metaphor is parenthood, which by lucky coincidence uses the possessive pronoun for a non-possession.
“My” son and I have a unique connection, but this does not mean that I control him in all respects. It is possible for you to do something unlawful using my son — such as to burglarize my house. But the violation in this case is obviously burglary, not the unauthorized use of my son.