1 Timothy 6: 10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
One of the characteristics of moral bankruptcy for people in modern times is implicit belief that everything in this universe can be converted or exchanged for money. We have seen examples from my previous article about passive income for how capital owners can treat intangible things like time, discomfort and liquidity as if they are commodities that can be transferred. They do this to oppress and rob workers fruits of their labor.
Want to borrow my money or house? Then, you are ‘buying’ my time and security and hence compensate me with some amount of money whether it is interest or rent. Never mind that time and security is not something concrete and transferable. Never mind also that security is relative according to each individuals and you can feel insecure even if you stay in million-dollars mansion because future uncertainty.
Today, I looked for insight inside Scriptures about some abstract things that cannot or should not be bought, sold or charged for money. Among these things are justice (Deuteronomy 16: 19 forbid bribery which is essentially trading justice for money), power of Holy Spirit (Acts 8: 20-21), healing service and exorcism (Matthews 10: 8, Jesus’ disciples were told freely give their effort for their ministry), attachment to one’s family and/or homeland (1 Kings 21: 1-3 where Naboth refused to sell to Ahab his inheritance) and so on.
So what does this thing get to do with intellectual property? Simply put, use of idea is also one of the things that cannot be charged by money in the proper sense like commodities. Intellectual property is oxymoron and probably the biggest unnoticed fraud in 21st century. Common sense dictates us that when you talk about property, it is referring to tangible and physical building or goods whose ownership can be transferred. Once property is sold, the seller does not own it anymore and it is owned by buyer. Seller and buyer cannot share the same ownership for this property.
However, it is different with idea or information. You can choose to keep idea yourself. As long as it is not disclosed to anyone, that idea is yours. But the moment you decide to give or sell the idea, it is not yours anymore. it is part of your audiences or customers’ brain and memory already and hence it is also theirs. It become common goods.
Due to its nature, you can only sell the idea one time only to each customer and after that the idea is commonly belonged to you and him. Whether your customers want to distribute it to other people, it is none of your business since it is their property already. You cannot claim sole ownership since it is already become common goods. It is bewildering for me that the same customer still need to pay royalty to the originator although he has bought the idea.
Intellectual property laws, in the form of copyright, patent, and trademarks assume that idea can still be private ownership after it is disclosed. According to these lawmakers’ logic somehow it is illegal for me to distribute information that I have bought. Somehow, that information is not mine even though it has already part of my memory. It is very puzzling, illogical and even immoral to charge tangible amount of money for a distributing intangible thing that already bought and can be given for free without losing its possession.
Furthermore, the things that were said original ideas by those inventors and entrepreneurs do not emerge in their mind out of nothing. Typically, they took inspiration from existing free technology, advises and tips from people around them (educators, engineers, and scientists) or observation of universe, nature, people, and society.
How come then these entrepreneurs can claim that they invent something and need people to pay royalties to them, using force by government, but they get their inspiration freely from those sources without paying royalty to those people? These entrepreneurs receive something for free but they charge price for using their idea as if it is completely theirs. If it is not immoral, then I don’t know what is.
In addition of its immorality, intellectual property also create economic inefficiency. However, I will not discuss this in this article. I will come back in next article with economical argument against intellectual property.