What is an idea itself? When did intellectual property rights come into play?
How does the Internet complicate this?

Who determines who owns what? History has determined it all comes down with who has the resources, finances, networking and the technology. I thought of that immediately when Kinsella mentioned the bundle of rights, when property rights and mineral rights (once together) were separated to benefit who? The rich oil companies.

Let's think about cookbooks of other peoples culture/cuisine. Cuisine itself is a merge of ideas. An elongated history of the movement of foods and spices around the world. Who wrote the first cookbooks though? Those who had access to the technology. This made for those privileged enough to travel, write and publish to be able to profit off another persons culture and "intellectual property". It's impossible to find the first occupier (Kinsella reading)ย ย of the recipe or even of a genre of music.
Same thing applies to the Internet. As Kinsella mentioned about property borders, there are none on the Internet. The exchange of ideas are occurring faster and faster and it gets hard to track IP. It gets complicated on this virtual world we connect to.

In the online environment it is relatively easy to maintain an anonymous identity, using "offshore" Internet service or servers, for example, infringers can dodge legal action initiated by courts or administrative bodies in the countries in which they have a virtual presence and in which they generate profits. (WIPO)

I think the Internet is still in a phase where they have yet to determine legalities for IP. Last week I posted a question on Twitter if any of you thought playing video games on Youtube or other platforms were a violation of fair use because I had read an article about how a video was removed by Google. You can read more of it here where Stanford lawyer Rajan says it is uncharted territory and hence, no legal outcome was made.

It even gets more complicated as we get down to domain. I thought of that when reading Kinsella's example of rights to a sword made by one owns steel from one owns property that one dug up and made him or herself. Same thing applies to our websites. Most of us are using WordPress, a platform making it easier for us to post our ideas. But who owns them? According to an article by Smart Blogger, whatever you post through "your site" on WordPress.com is their own property. They have the right to "terminate your access to all or any part of the website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately."

If you are for IP, I respect your opinion. I understand and saw what high impact IPR is to the US economy. At the same time, Im not saying I agree with being able to buy an obviously fake Chanel shower curtain super cheap on Ebay. There does need to be trademark protections, but intellectual or ideas as property is non existent. Ideas, as Kinsella states, are resources not property. If you argued for IP then how were you even able to form your argument without the free information you were able to find on the web? If it weren't for the free ย flow of ideas, things like Facebook might not even exist. According to the media, Zuckerberg "stole" the idea from Winkleloss, but after reading more Winkleloss's idea was to create a platform for Harvard students only. This is an example of the ongoing process of exchanging ideas to build the society and world as we know it.

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4 thoughts on “IP: Foe”

  1. It’s definitely important to note that a service taking something down says generally little or nothing about the law. YouTube takes down videos all the time, some legitimately, some illegitimately (and people can request review or appeal and have the videos returned). The link you share about game streaming is interesting because it gets at the reality that, so far anyway, the accusations and takedowns are not really about the game streaming. Straight game streaming is a gray area *theoretically*, but given fair use and the ongoing existence of sites like Twitch, I doubt very much it will ever be found (judicially) to be a problem. But the same definitely can’t be said about the speech acts and commentary that go along with it, which could be subject to legal action but are more likely to be handled by a service’s policies about hate speech, etc.

    The other interesting thing about the article you shared is how it illustrates that copyright and fair use work in both direction. Just as fair use can protect users, it remains a doctrine we can’t prevent. The real problem in the case of the article, it seems to me, isn’t about fair use and IP, but about feeling the person taking advantage of those rights was being morally abhorrent. That is a reasonable distinction for a platform or service to make, but not as a matter of copyright because who is to say that our/your favored speech wouldn’t be the next to be found objectionable?

    In the end, though, it seems to me that the whole issue of privilege kind of trumps everything else, making an already problematic system thoroughly broken.

    Recipes are an interesting area of discussion, of course. But where do you stand on the idea of cultural appropriation and recipes and such? A bit of a rabbit trail, but since food is your thing…

    1. That is immediately what I thought. The issue of privilege because who can afford the time to go through the correct procedures and who can afford a lawyer in the first place to defend any copyright issues.
      What my undergrad in food studies taught me was to see the pros and cons in everything. So in regards to cultural appropriation who am I to be against it completely, yet be for a local farmer that is making money selling a globalized crop (coffee, etc). Neocolonialism has created countries such as the US to control food in many places (such as Puerto Rico or Hawaii). The problem is these places have created food identities around new food products from colonialist food companies (Spam, Goya products). When I tell my mom the history about Goya and how they aren’t really a Puerto Rican company, they still refuse to believe it. Why? Bc these companies have marketed themselves so deep into the culture, having factories in these places, etc. that people really identify with these products. Food is so complex and while history has forever built upon the cuisine of the poor, it is what has helped places create an identity and tourism to bring money in (ex. Creole cuisine in Louisiana, the slave diet becoming the “Southern” diet). In the end, it is the rich that determines what foods/diet fads are “in” and whats not because of their economic access to choose. Food is so complex. I think about patents and wonder how a company can patent seeds, yet seeds have evolved for all of history. Who is anybody to control a seed? Who sells seeds? Those who are privileged. Who sells cookbooks? Those who have the economic and networking access. I mean look at Leanne Brown, also Food Studies grad from NYU. She made a FREE cookbook on recipes she made when taking on an EBT diet challenge. Only free if you download the PDF from her site. If you want a physical copy, you need to buy it. Her book can be found here (https://www.leannebrown.com). While we did this in class too “the EBT challenge” it can be quite conflicting to do it as a choice being someone who really was on EBT/WIC once. But if it wasn’t done and these students learn, how does change even occur? Food is so complex.
      I can talk forever about this and hope I didn’t go too far off in a tangent.

  2. You give a very compelling argument. Ideas should be for everyone, I mean isn’t everything plagiarism. The very nature of human knowledge is the building onto ideas and making them better. It just seems like there is so much grey area between what is sharing and stealing.

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