But let’s visit a household wherein the parents are strict advocates and respecters of intellectual property. In this house, children are punished for copying their siblings. Any new Lego ideas, whether actually built or not, are immediately filed with the parent, and every time Lego building takes place, the children must first check the files to make sure they aren’t about to build something that someone else had already thought of and filed. No imitation is allowed in this household.
This is, of course, an absurd environment, and the main source of learning for children, imitation, is being crushed while some of the most beastly childlike tendencies — spite and anger at others’ success and an overwhelmingly selfish desire for all the attention — are nurtured. This is also the environment faced by all inventors, entrepreneurs, creators and businesses in any legal structure that enforces IP laws.
It seems easy to spot the ridiculous and childish nature of anti-copying arguments in these examples, but there is no significant difference in the real world of IP law. Ideas, unlike physical goods, are not scarce. The neighbor can build his garden without so much as a single fern being removed from the other.
Not only is IP unnecessary, it is a holdover from our nursery days before we learned that it’s not OK to be possessive little tyrants who demand no one copy their babbling noises, Lego towers and Crayon scribbles. IP laws are childish and bring out the kind of nasty and immature backbiting that parents work so hard to correct in their kids. Let’s grow up and quit trying to hold back the beauty and dynamism of a world where ideas are free.