I wrote in my article ‘From Love of Power to Power of Love’ that only the idea that seeds of knowledge shall be private property is as absurd as the thought that seeds of plants should be private property, which means that people should pay license fees for every patented seed they put in the soil. One can hardly find common sense in coexistence when it is most important for people to get personal recognition and reward from their creations.
Of course it is proper that people get a fair reward from their products and that is how the organisations protecting intellectual property rights justify their demands. But our intellectual and spiritual heritage results from many factors and no-one creates anything that don’t have many other people’s work before own creative work. Our intellectual and spiritual heritage is a result of constant social interaction.
The reason why I am against privatisation of the intellectual heritage is because the intellectual property law works like patent regulations, which are trading instruments. Someone can buy copyrights or a patent for a creation or invention only to eliminate competitors from the market. The only argument that could defend privatisation of intellectual property (that is to say that the regulations force people to create own original ideas) has no sustainable ground.
In theory it is a good goal that everyone creates own original ideas, but it becomes true only if the creations on the marketplace of ideas have the freedom to develop naturally. A marketplace, where someone can buy somebody else’s invention (patent) only to dismiss it, so that no-one else can use the ideas cannot be called as free market. A free marketplace of ideas can not be created by limiting communication and interaction.
In the following paragraph I describe how I see this all:
In my writings I have quotations of famous persons. Their purpose is to mobilise thoughts. My writings usually do not come into being in a way that I see somewhere a memorable saying first and then write an article about it.
My writings rise from within. Sometimes when I have refined my thoughts and clearly see the core idea, a quotation I have read somewhere before might pop-up into my mind. But it doesn’t mean that my thoughts are that other person’s ideas.
When someone wants to restrict the interaction between people it means that he wants to hide the opposite side of the mirror. On a free, but limited marketplace of ideas everyone has to invent the bicycle from scratch as one is not allowed to use others inventions, unless he is willing to pay license fees. I can at least add quotations to my writings: To me they are like images that people usually add to their articles. They reinforce my own thoughts, because they say concisely that what I want to say. Often they remind us about the opposite side of the mirror. External opinions that I link to my own thoughts help readers to expand their own view.
In the hierarchical society we are living in the disunity of the mirror image can be seen in the structures of the society. Sometimes I wonder what sense does it make that interrelationships are seen in hierarchical levels with different importance or status and generally only the stronger side has the right to command and charge money for the cooperation, although both sides benefit from the interaction. Usually parents learn from their children as much as their children learn from their parents, students teach to their teachers as much as their teachers teach to students. Even while trading with commodities and services the producer learns from his clients, which helps him improve his products and service.
The society undermines people’s creative work in many ways. Because I can speak only for my own part I tell my story:
Previously I wrote that despite of my gloomy future prospects I became a translator for German and Chinese. I studied ten years abroad, two years of it in China to get a university degree. I graduated from the German university 15 years ago, but in spite of my certification I have never been able to practice my profession to the full extent and really earn money by working.
Reason: decision-makers have the opinion that six course credits in translation science are missing from my degree. I have tried to figure out what is this course achievement in higher translation science that seems to be more important than translation itself. Because of it I am not allowed to translate certificates for public authorities. Public authorities only accept translations translated by authorised translators, who have passed an exam, which does not prove one’s special competence to translate certificates. To take the exam no prior translation studies are required. It is funny that translators working in Central Europe, who have the same university degree as I have can translate certificates for Finnish authorities.
It is partly my own fault that nothing has happened in this matter. I don’t want to use my energy writing letters of complaint to different authorities. It is much more meaningful to write this blog, although I am happy, if I can serve people by translating their documents or other content. Usually I cannot do it, because I obviously don’t have evidence that I am qualified in translation science. When all authorised translators have summer holiday I may get an exceptional permission to translate a certificate. Otherwise I don’t have any intellectual property rights.
Copyrights of this website belong to the series of Creative Commons as well. It means that if you are inspired of the content of this site you may use it as you wish.
From Love of Power to Power of Love
Brian Martin: Against Intellectual Property