Intellectual property is a complicated issue. But I think even those who defend it on principle would acknowledge that the duration of legal rights to ownership of patents, copyrights, and so on keeps getting extended at the behest of corporations and other institutions that are accumulating them, and that this poses a concern.
If they are to exist at all, I think IP rights should expire upon the death of the person who created the intellectual property, or at the outside, upon the death of his/her immediate heir(s). Corporations should not be able to maintain their ownership of intellectual property indefinitely.
But I'm not convinced they should exist at all. I would like to see *some* kind of market mechanism to ensure that those who create original, intangible, and non-obvious work that has value to others receive some kind of return on that created value. I'm frankly not sure what that mechanism should be. However the concept of intellectual property as such a mechanism creates significant problems, and I question whether the harm it causes may outweigh the good, especially going forward.
Consider the myriad intellectual concepts in human history that have become ingrained in society, from the idea of the assembly line, to the idea of the chorus in a song, or the idea of putting glass in the walls of houses to use as windows, and billions or trillions of other ideas. Now ask yourself, would society really be better off if we were able to properly trace the origin and therefore the ownership of all these ideas, so that the heirs of their creators were legally empowered to demand payment whenever those ideas were used? I think not!
Much of the past is lost to history of course, but the further the Information Age progresses, the more it will potentially become possible in the future to trace the origin and ownership of ideas. Once you acknowledge the validity of IP as a concept, and especially once you extend it beyond the life of the inventor or person who came up with it, it seems impossible to draw a fair line in the sand to prevent it from being extended to infinity.
We might have to amend the famous Isaac Newton quote: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants -- and if I have been made poorer than they were, it is by satisfying the open palms of their inheritors."
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))