Originally Posted by ascii
I disagree that the concept "property" only makes sense in a world of scarcity.
Fair enough, but that's just a red herring... I wasn't arguing that "property only makes sense in a world of scarcity." The fault is mine for assuming it was self-evident that this is a discussion about property as it pertains to social norms. Obviously things, scarce or not, have specific attributes...
In regards to your etymology, it seems you're partially right and the rest you just imagined.
The root of property seems to revolve around association. For example a blue ball is associated with being blue, and being a ball, and it has those two properties. My cell phone is associated with me, and it is my property. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with ideas about creation, which as far as I can tell is purely something you invented.
But people have norms about property because of the fact of scarcity. In order to coexist in an environment of scarce resources, we reduce the potential for conflict over scarce resources by making exclusive claims over them. People don't make exclusive claim over patterns of information, because patterns of information, once public, are non-scarce and therefore not subject to conflict (in other words, exclusive claims aren't needed because several parties can make use of the same information and the same patterns without reducing the capacity of others to do the same). To this point, exclusive claims over patterns of information are something very new in history, imposed upon societies by artificial means (specifically, the State, aka "government"), as strictly contrasted to how the tendency toward exclusive claims over scarce resources is instinctive in humans.
And any discussion that involves government and IP is also a discussion about justice—particularly: when is violence justified.
Living organisms instinctively—by nature (as oppose to by artificial dictate from a government)—rely on violence or threats of violence to maintain social norms regarding scarce resources. With humans particularly, the most prolific property norm is based on the homestead principle—an unowned scarce resource becomes the property of whomever uses it first. Naturally therefore, almost universally human justice system are propertarian; property rules regarding exclusive claims over scarce resources are the foundation of law, and aggressive violence is just when property is violated.
Thus theft, trespass, and assault are unjust because they violate the property of the owner (assault is violation of a person's body, which is his property, see self ownership principle).
It should be clear now that IP is a system where the government grants permission to use a pattern of information to one party, and threatens violence against people who (even peacefully) use the pattern without permission. This to me seems manifestly silly, and essentially evil.
Originally Posted by ascii
Now do you think people should be compensated for their creativity?
I think people deserve what they earn. The notion that "creation" is somehow at the root of it leads to absurd possibilities, for example: I can steal your gold bar and carve a figurine out of it; I have therefore created a figurine, but that doesn't mean it's mine, and I don't deserve any profit if I sell it, because it's your gold.
I think such inconsistent systems are inherent when they're imposed by an institution as outrageous as the State. The barbarism of a system that relies on threats of violence against people for peacefully using a pattern of information needs to be exposed. Something is horribly wrong with a society where people think a business model is that it relies threats of violence against peaceful people is morally sound.
I think the idea that IP enforcement is somehow morally superior to the alternative is demonstrative of the utter intellectual bankruptcy bred by reliance on an institution as violent and incoherent as the State.
Edited by ngrlvr - 4/24/13 at 2:23pm