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Information as property

Property laws evolved to protect ownership because if someone took something from you then you did not have it. If someone took your food you went hungry; if someone took your house you lived outside. Our concepts of property and ownership are founded on this idea.

Information does not follow that rule. If someone takes information from you then you still have it. I believe the concept of intellectual property is fundamentally flawed. Obviously fame and power come to the person who acquires the most material property and causes it to flow toward themselves. I believe that fame and power come to the person who releases the most intellectual property and causes it to flow away from themselves. In other words the more material goods people give to you the more power you have but the more information people get from you the more power you have.

For example look at Bill Gates and Microsoft. Although he appears to be very possessive of software programs in fact most users have not paid for them at all. He was recently challenged with legal action to prevent him from giving away software on the grounds that this would make him even more powerful. For another example look at the Grateful Dead. The quality of their music did not create their global legendary fan phenomena but instead it was their practice of allowing and encouraging pirate recording and distribution of their music, a practice completely opposite to other rock bands. Look at the Christian practice of giving away bibles and other literature.

In an information age, a source of information is powerful.

The technology of new devices is guarded most fiercely as intellectual property. The patent system is based on the assumption that inventing must have special protection in order to be encouraged, that people will invent more if they have a legal recourse against others who use their inventions without permission. But today's patent system does not favor the small inventor. It takes several years and several thousand dollars to get a patent. Even with a good patent the inventor must spend money to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against someone using his invention without permission. Many such suits are lost. Patents are commonly held and used by corporations as bargaining chips and most disputes are between corporations.

I am putting my theory into action with the publication of my inventions on my web site. I believe it is in my best interest that the largest possible number of people see these inventions know I am the source of them. It would be advantageous for anyone who wants to further develop them to contact me and reach an agreement. I am interested in any agreement that does not require me to spend money or work for free.

Harry