Let’s Admit Intellectual Property is Nonsense

Depending on your worldview Intellectual Property (IP) is either necessary or holds us back in terms of cultural (and economic ) development. IP applies to more than what you may think, it covers cartoons to medicine. What’s more, international trade has meant that the American approach to IP is spreading. This only favours the owners of existing IP while making it harder for new cultural works to exist. Thankfully this has been noticed by many thinkers and the conversation is changing.

The US Patent Act of 1870  and Copyright Act of 1976 treat patents and copyrights as kinds of property, therefore suggesting that intellectual property rights should be akin to tangible property rights: that is, ‘perpetual and exclusive’. But legal protections offered to intellectual property assets are utilitarian grants – they are neither perpetual nor exclusive. (Tangible property is said to be perpetual because it is yours till you dispose of it.) Their terms are limited and amenable to nonexclusive use. Patent law offers exceptions for experimental use, and prior-use rights for business methods; copyright law for fair use; trademark law for nominative use; trade secrets for reverse engineering and independent discovery.

Legal protections appropriate for tangible objects – as the drafters of the US Constitution were well aware – are a disaster in the realm of culture, which relies on a richly populated, open-for-borrowing-and-reuse public domain. It is here, where our culture is born and grows and is reproduced, that the term ‘intellectual property’ holds sway and does considerable mischief.

Read more.

Good Ideas from 2010

Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of some of the best ideas from 2010. It’s an inspiring list that should make everyone feel a little more hopeful for the future of humanity.

And yet, all the bad news came with a surprising upside. Driven by the need to do more with less, the year’s boldest innovators turned up better, simpler ways to use our shrinking resources to improve global quality of life: ideas like creating demand for development so that poor people can better help themselves and handing money directly to those who need it, as well as new approaches to measuring and mapping that offer better, faster information about what aid needs to go where. This moment of global insecurity has also called into doubt some old shibboleths — not least that national borders as we know them are good and that resource wealth is bad.

In what sometimes looked like the worst of times, it was actually the best of times for ideas — and these ideas will shape how the world recovers in the years to come.

Read the selection of good ideas here.

Steal Ideas

The 21st century has yet to come to terms with a good way to ensure that ideas spread, shared, and plentiful. In the developed world good ideas can get pushed aside because of copyright, DRM, and intellectual property laws. Let’s change this. One group of people (who I think are a marketing company) are just giving away all their ideas for free.

In the future

It’s one thing to come up with a good idea, but remember, it’s even better if you try out your idea in the real world.


This is the fun-o-meter and it looks like a blast! For only $0.50 you get a suggestion of something fun to do. Perfect.

Just think about it. Fifty cents gets you:

-1 fun idea. If you’re been reading the site, you know the type of stuff, Zoomdoggle is loaded with them. #318 reads: Write “B” and “R” on opposite ends the back side of a One Dollar Bill. Stick your boner anywhere you like. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

-A map, in case fun idea requires travel.

-You also get 1 toy. You know the type. Standard vending machine stuff.

-And 1 quarter back… I kind of got ripped off on the toys, and only wanted to charge 25 cents anyway, but the machine is configured for 50 cents, so I put a quarter in each egg. Free money. That’s fun!

-Plus a lucky penny you can leave heads up for someone else to find. How cool is that?

Scroll To Top