from the unauthorized-reproduction-of-food dept
After reportedly feeding a crowd of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was recently served with formal legal notice from industry trade associations, demanding that he cease and desist from what they charge is an illegal food-sharing operation under the terms of the Miracle Millennium Anti-Replication Act (MMAA).There are some more such examples, including concerns about turning water into wine and healing people without a physician's license. Good stuff. Of course, as was pointed out in the comments to that post, others have come up with similar ideas, including this Nerfnow comic, in which a bread seller complains that "bread piracy will kill the bread industry."
Miracle-working rabbis like Mr. Christ, and their alleged property rights infringements, have been the center of controversy in recent years. They’re the subject of a public education campaign by the Foodstuffs Producers Association of Galilee and Judea. Loaves and fishes producers argue that unauthorized replication of food, since it deprives them of revenues to which they are entitled, amounts to stealing. Sympathetic rabbis in synagogues throughout Palestine are reading FPAGJ public service announcements, aimed at countering public perceptions that “everybody does it” and “it’s just a little thing,” to their flocks: “Don’t bakers and fishermen deserve to be paid?” Many Torah schools have adopted FPAGJ “anti-foodlifting” curricula.
The thing is, there is a flipside to all of this. Just as people talk about the ability to create new things out of nothing or through some sort of magic replication as being "a miracle," it does seem worth noting that the digital era, and the fact that we've turned a ton of goods from scarce goods into abundant goods, is something of a miracle for society. It's really still quite stunning to think that so many people don't recognize how abundance is a good thing for the economy. The only people it hurts are those who continue to rely on business models that believe the abundant good is still scarce. Everyone else is better off.