Exposing The False Sanctity Of 'Intellectual Property'
from the spin-and-counter-spin dept
“By describing copyright as a private property right, proponents of the description hope to get policy makers and courts to believe that only private, and not public rights are implicated.”1 Later, he adds, “The effort to describe copyright as property is intended to invoke ancient entitlement to powerful rights of exclusion, rights granted automatically as a member of the oldest families.”2
Even those of us who know better refer to copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other monopolies as "IP." Some of us excuse this by saying "IP" stands for "Imaginary Property" (the word imaginary is weaker than intellectual) or "Intellectual Privilege" (privilege is much weaker than property), but neither of those phrases have the power of intellectual property. On the other hand, they keep the initials IP, which is good - they can be used wherever "IP" is. But we need to use bigger guns. What this problem calls for is a word of the same potency as property - one that sticks in the head so that once the association is made, it can never be lost.
That word is pooperty.
The word poop is as profane as the word property is sacred, making it a uniquely well-suited antidote. This is causing no small consternation among some of my colleagues, as they don't want to be associated with the profane. But the concept of "IP," which is rooted in censorship, should be associated with the profane, and that's what happens when you call it intellectual pooperty. Also, it make lawyers laugh; at a recent IP law conference, a signed print of this comic did particularly well at the benefit auction: