Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Salvador Dalí
Ideas are made to be copied. I have enough ideas to sell them on. I prefer that they are stolen so that i don't have to actually use them myself.
I wish Dalí has said, "works" or "art" instead of "ideas", but this still rocks.

via danah


Salvador Dalí had an interesting sideline selling signed pieces of paper suitable for printing lithos. If someone is of a mind to steal from you why not make a profit helping them.

As always, Joi, I have to respectfully disagree with you on this. To be honest, I don't even think that you agree with yourself. If Neoteny had invested millions in developing valuable intellectual property you would not want this to be stolen. The logical result of a disrespect for intellectual property is a society where the genius and the giant is a slave to the mediocre and the looter. Is that what you really want?

All ideas are built on the past. I believe in protecting certain types of intellectual property that requires significant investment to develop such as drugs, but the notion that creative content just "emerges" and that culture can exist without allowing derivative works and sharing is ridiculous. I would suggest reading Free Culture by Lessig for an eloquent argument about this. You can buy the book or download Free Culture for free in PDF from Amazon.

blah blah etcetrea. forgive me for making this point but if no one had copied anything no one would know anything. but naturally one has to decide on which side of the capitalistic divide he/she wants to reside. clearly, those of you who support the RIAA standards are enemies of the rest of us (count me).

Joi, thanks for the suggestion, I will read the book. Ideas are built on the past. Yes, a bird flew before the plane - a horse carried men before the automobile. But what brought society forward were teams of individuals - inventors and entrepreneurs with the vision to "Dream of things that never were and ask - why not" and then to make these dreams reality for all of us. By respecting intellectual property - society is saying "thank you" to these great people. Woz, most of the capitalists that you do not like - are corporate types who loot their companies at the expense of shareholders and workers. The kind of capitalist that we should all support if we do not want to return to the stone ages - is the enterpreneur and the inventor who make all of our lives better.

You have to distinguish ideas from actual works. Copying ideas should be allowed without limit, or with very few limits. The current patent system is a mess and I am ashamed that Europe is trying to emulate Australia and the US.

Actual works of art etc should have more restrictions on them... but again, copying especially by private individuals should not be outlawed and punished with high jail sentences. That's just sick. And I do not see why a work should be protected 75 years or more after the creators' death!

Coypright and patent law used to strike a pretty decent balance between the rights of the IP owners and everybody else, but that balance was seriously skewed in the past few years.

A case could be made that since the predominant "ip owners" bought themselves the laws they did, they should lose all their rights.... Too many people these days forget that the idea of a democracy is RULE BY THE PEOPLE. Clearly if a vast majority of people think it should be legal to, say, swap songs online then the laws MUST reflect this.

Otherwise we just jumped back 400 years in political history. God bless the king Disney.

Democracy is not about rule of the people - that is communism. The idea of democracy, combined with the rule of law is to guarrantee the rights of the individual to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The rights to own property is held by the individual against the state and against those other individuals who would want to steal those rights instead of negotiating to own that property as a result of mutually agreed trade and exchange. If you want my house, my car or my patented ideas - then you are going to have to provide me with something that I want in return - or you are going to have to ask my permission to borrow that property or receive it as charity. If I do not approve of you, or the use that you want to put that property, then I have the right to refuse you. Why? Because, I own that property. Why do I own it? Because, I earnt the right to own it through either creating it, purchasing it from someone else in a free and mutual exchange, or I received it as a gift from someone who felt that I had provided something value (such as love or support)which that person wanted to repay with a gift. This is what a civilised society is all about. Even if the vast majority of people want to change this structure - this does not make it right. That would only equate to the rule of the mob and a society where the many can claim a right to an individual's property that they have not earnt -just because they have grouped together. That is the evil of all collectivist systems including fascism and communism and when democracy is used to serve that kind of value then terrible things happen.

Adam Lindemann wrote:

"Democracy is not about rule of the people - that is communism. The idea of democracy, combined with the rule of law is to guarrantee the rights of the individual to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
and this amazing assertion: "Even if the vast majority of people want to change this structure - this does not make it right."

Sounds much like:

"Democracy, n.: A government of the masses. Authority derived
through mass meeting or any other form of direct expression.
Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic...
negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of
the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation
or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint
or regard to consequences. Result is demagogism, license,
agitation, discontent, anarchy."

-- U. S. Army Training Manual No. 2000-25 (1928-1932),
since withdrawn.

I really hope that my comments did not lead anyone to seriously entertain the idea that I support the autocratic ideas in this US Army Training Manual. No, I believe in the kind of liberal democracy that respects the rule of law. The property rights of the individual in society must be upheld against the desire of the "mob" or the desire of an autocratic government or military to seize that property. Please read "The Birth of Plenty" by William J Bernstein and you will understand the basis of my assertion that respect for these values are at the heart of building a more prosperous world. In his book Bernstein describes how the system is built on providing intellectual property rights that give creators the incentive to create and provide bounty to society - as well as a respect for scientific rationalism, capital markets and transport and communications networks.

For those who have not got time to read the book is a good quote. "The rule of law is the essential bulwark of a robust system of property rights. Property rights, in turn are essential to prosperity. In turn prosperity is the essential fertile soil in which democracy flourishes."

A nice quote from the Venetian Sentate when it passed the first patent law in 1474.

"We have amongst us men of great genius, apt to invent and discover ingenious devices; and in veiw of the grandeur and virtue of our City, more such men come to us every day from diverse parts. Now, if provision were made for the works and devices discovered by such persons so that others, who may see them could not build them and take hte inventor's honor away, more men would then apply their genius, would discover, and would build devices of great utility and benefit to our commonwealth."