"Intellectual Property", as we all know, is a based on the flawed notion that ideas, information, and facts can be owned, much like physical property. I won't get into the IP debate for those who disagree, but I assume because of the place where I am posting this that most of you will agree already. Continuing on:
One of the perceived reasons for IP laws are that artists and creators of IP would not be compensated for their labor if anyone could just copy these ideas and profit without investing in the labor of producing those ideas. Hilariously, IP laws have devolved to the point where not only are IP creators ensured "ownership" over their IP, but they are given ownership for LIFE and given the ability to sell these rights to others. This is basically a form of the government dictating who can and can't profit from an idea.
Now, let's try to imagine how, in a world where IP laws didn't exist, artists, programmers, researchers and the general creative types would still be able to work in their chosen professions and still make a profit.
The best way to make a profit this way would be to get paid a commission. Basically, you agree to create or design something, say, a book, and once you are done writing it you get paid the commission. This is already done a lot in many different industries, such as the book industry. However, it stops when the author gets their check from their publisher and in the non-theoretical world they then transfer the "rights" to the publisher. Now the publisher owns the copyright to this work for however long the laws of the country permit (assuming the laws don't change later to extend that "right" for much longer).
However, what if you took the job of investment from the publisher and gave it to the consumer instead? That is what crowdfunding is. Generally, crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter offer a content creator a project webpage that allows them to advertise a future product and make a case for investment from interested people. They try to show why their product is worth investing in, how much they'll need and what you get for giving certain amounts of money. And when they reach their goal for investment, they may also offer "stretch goals" for amounts higher than their original amount, offering improvements to the future product (such as more levels for a videogame or more illustrations for a book). Most of the time, if the crowdfunding goal is not reached within a certain amount of time, the "backers" aren't charged and the content creator gets no funds, since they wouldn't have been able to accomplish their original goal.
Of course crowdfunding can be used for the production of physical goods, as well as intellectual goods, but many times they are both, such as the creation of a book, where you pay for both the physical book (the pages and binding) and the words on the page. I'd like to focus on the intellectual aspects, obviously.
My basic premise is that the collective idea that IP law is even necessary will begin to shrink as crowdfunding becomes more and more popular. Once you take away the reason for IP law in the first place - that it is required to encourage the production of new ideas or works of art or whatever - then you can definitively show that IP laws are 'not' necessary now (even though they were never necessary). You then have the building blocks for a society that views only physical goods as property, and not the intellectual aspects of those goods.
I don't pretend that I have the answer to ridding ourselves of IP laws; I'm only trying to show how the internet has once again given us a very valuable tool in our fight against tyranny. Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have already produced thousands and thousands of successful products and I predict that their importance in all industries will continue to grow. And as their importance grows, our society now has a path to escape from intellectual tyranny.
Nice writeup. Although pretty much everything you bring up here has already been fleshed out elsewhere...
Forum member John James put up a really great list I found:
Thank you, and thanks for the link!
I realized that the phenomenon of Internet memes is a pretty illustrative example of how creativity can exist without IP. People will engage in creating culturally significant works of Internet witticisms, almost always without any possibility of recognition or reward. Yet entrepreneurs like Epic Rap Battles of History and Maddox at bestpageintheuniverse.com have made a living out of writing some of these jokes (he pioneered the Chuck Norris jokes from years back and had a NYT bestseller). Anybody could do the same thing they have. And people do. Yet the first to an idea are often the most recognized. And if they're not, then they have to try to become the best.
what does crowd funding have to do with no intellectual property?
as far as i know people still sell copywrited items.
i am failing to see anything essentualy anti ip about crowdfunding. authors still sell copywrited books and artists still sell copywrited music,painters sell authenticated painting, photographers sell authenticated photography.
maybe i'm confusing authentic and ip as i see authentification and authorship as part of ip. authentic is more of a concept than a physical propertym so it seems more intellectual than physical.
if i pay X to create Y, then i must be assured that i am receiving Y and that X created Y, rather than receiving Z created by R. i figure this connection is intellectual rather than physical. the name john smith is a concept, representing a physical person, but not material itself. paying physical money to a conceptual identity to create a physical product, it seems the intellectual identity has to identify whether or not the physical person did create the physical object being paid for.
People often argue that without IP, nobody would be able to recoup development costs, since they would only sell a few and then everyone would copy it. With crowdsourcing, development cost is covered before the first one is even sold to anyone. Thus to someone who crowdsourced development, IP's only benefit is a monopoly on distribution, something far less defensible.
Good point Blargg. I was having the same problem seeing a difference.
Thanks Blargg, that was exactly my point. Though I guess I didn't really say that in my opening post.
Without the State, how do you make money being creative without having your ideas copied before you recoup your time-investment? By crowdfunding and getting your payment before releasing the content!