Saturday, December 30, 2006

Intellectual Property

Why should the state guarantee intellectual property rights? Very simply, if you don't guarantee those rights, the creators won't create. Why does the state want them to create? Because innovation is cumulative. One invention permits the creation of numerous other inventions. For example, the concept of the screw is incorporated into almost every piece of machinery.

However, what would happen to technology if intellectual property rights remained forever? Besides owning the world, the heirs of the inventor of the screw would have the power to curtail creative powers of others. Thus to reap the benefits of intellectual property, the state must also limit the exercise of that right.

It seems to me that any action that does not require a further artistic endeavor should not be covered by copyright law. Thus making a back-up copy or changing formats should not be illegal. What should be illegal, however, is the copying of intellectual property and transferring it to another.

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