p2pnet view P2P:- Is man but a slave? Is he really supposed to live only to work, and to reap a fraction of what he sows — if anything?
Even a slave in centuries past could expect to profit another man, but today we’re expected to profit immortal corporations, unliving entities incapable of caring for people and their natural environment.
If we’re not to be slaves, what raises man above such abuse? If man isn’t a draft horse, then beyond the power of his body it can only be his mind that allows him to drive rather than be driven, to ride rather than be ridden.
What do we do with our minds? We tell stories, sing songs, make music. We improve our tools to make our lives easier. Our intelligence and creativity not only puts us above the draft horse, it lets us replace the horse with a more powerful engine. This is what we do when we’re not ploughing the fields.
We imagine. We invent. We create. We exchange our ideas and we make things. we’re Homo Sapiens and we value our intellect most highly.
So, if we’ve rightly thrown off the shackles that enslaved us for our manual labour, why have we not yet thrown off the shackles that enslave us for our mental labour? Why have we created corporations to take our intellectual work from us for nothing but the possibility of subsistence and the faint hope of a tiny fraction of any commensurate reward? Why do so many of us fiercely protect our lawful masters’ privilege to exploit the fruits of our minds for indentured intellectual servitude in exchange?
We cherish our liberty of movement, our freedom to engage in whatever exchange of manual labour we choose.
So why the fuck have we surrendered our liberty to share and build upon our own culture and our own technology?
Why have we decided that the Disney corporation should be able to appropriate ancient folk tales and enclose them with legal razor wire? Why do people fight for the ‘right’ of Disney and other immortal corporations to do this? Why are we fighting for corporations (that being immortal shouldn’t even have rights), to have rights when this necessarily suspends the liberty of human beings to continue aeons of cultural exchange? What traitor to humanity invented these immortal beings we call corporations and what sociopath invented the intellectual leg irons of patent and manacles of copyright that they shackle upon us? The rewards for such corruption must have been handsomely irresistible, similar in scale to those rewards that have the banking industry stealing trillions in bailouts from the obliging taxpayers.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
When you can’t even sing in a supermarket without the threat of prosecution from a copyright collection society, we must cease kidding ourselves that we’re emancipated — except in the narrow sense of manual labour. A free society must mean more than movement, it must also mean cultural and technological freedom. Such intellectual liberty is far too valuable to individuals, to mankind’s cultural commonwealth and technological progress, for it to be reserved as a resource for the exploitation of multinational corporations.
Where did it all go wrong?
The US dominates the planet when it comes to laws governing intellectual work.
Copyright and patent are no longer peculiar to each country’s jurisdiction. With the advent of ACTA there is a single legislature and it no longer protects a nation’s citizens (or even the nation’s state), but the world’s corporations.
The US is simply the head of the enforcement hierarchy. We must therefore refer to the US and the foundations of US law when it comes to rectifying legislative corruption. Even Canada is learning
See Arthur Silber for a second opinion:
The law isn’t some Platonic Form plucked from the skies by the Pure in Heart. Laws are written by men, men who have particular interests, particular constituencies, particular donors, and particular friends. “Laws are the particular means by which the state implements and executes its vast powers. When an increasingly authoritarian state passes a certain critical point in its development, the law is no longer the protector of individual rights and individual liberty. The law becomes the weapon of the state itself” to protect, not you, but the state from threats to its own powers. We passed that critical point some decades ago. The law is the means by which the state corrals its subjects, keeps them under control, and forbids them from acting in ways that the overlords might perceive as threatening. In brief, today, in these glorious United States, the law isn’t your friend.
The passing of this critical point was familiar to the Founding fathers of the US. In 1787 they had good ideas as to the duties of a state and what the law should have been (protection of all citizens’ rights). Inevitably, there were also many industrialists who wanted certain laws enacted to protect their own commercial interests. In light of a recognition that the latter would be an ever present influence, the Constitution was specifically intended to limit government’s power and ability to pass laws contrary to its remit (providing equal protection of the people’s rights).
Unfortunately, what the Framers didn’t foresee was that their language could be corrupted such that the 18th century concept of right became yet another privilege granted by a paternalistic and generous government (authoritarian state).
If privileges and rights are conflated such that people become confused as to whether rights are good or bad, whether they should be reserved or waived, whether they are inalienable or transferable, whether they are imbued in man by nature or granted to immortal corporations by social contract (democratic tolerance), then ‘protection of rights’ becomes ‘respect for the law’. If the law grants you your rights, what few it deems you may deserve (until such time as you no longer deserve them), then protecting your rights is a matter of exhorting all to respect and uphold the law (however corrupt it may actually be).
So now we’ve some saying that it’s the law that comes first, not the individual’s rights, and others saying that it’s the individual and their rights that should come first, that the law is supposed to protect.
As long as the law protects the individual’s rights then there is no conflict. The problem comes when certain laws are enacted that derogate from the individual’s rights. What then do you support? Which has primacy? Would you support the law that grants you a monopoly? Would you support the law that sanctions torture of those suspected to be terrorists? Witches? Paedophiles? When does the law change from protecting all as equals to protecting you, dear voter, against crime and poverty, against those reprobates that would inflict their selfish delinquency upon you and other upstanding members of society? When is another’s liberty worth sacrificing for your enrichment? When does another’s right become inferior to your prosperity?
To understand the objective of the Constitution in limiting government’s power, to prevent it slipping (as appears inevitable) into corruption and the protection of itself and its now immortal lobbyists over and above its human constituent, we’ve to go back to the 18th century. However, we not only have to read 18th century texts, but we’ve to unlearn the corruption of the English language that has occurred in the last two centuries (especially concerning ‘right’). we’ve to read with 18th century eyes.
I recommend the eyes of Thomas Paine.
“However much you would doubt his involvement in the drafting of the US Constitution Thomas Paine at least defined its terms of reference.”
The Philosophy of Paine by Thomas A. Edison June 7, 1925
Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, ‘the United States of America.’ But it’s hardly strange. Paine’s teachings have been debarred from schools
everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind.
We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen. Washington himself appreciated Paine at his true worth. Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. He was a friend and confidant of Jefferson, and the two must often have debated the academic and practical phases of liberty.
I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we’ve not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles.
Although the present generation knows little of Paine’s writings, and although he has almost no influence upon contemporary thought, Americans of the future will justly appraise his work. I am certain of it.
Truth is governed by natural laws and can’t be denied. Paine spoke truth with a peculiarly clear and forceful ring. Therefore time must balance the scales. The Declaration and the Constitution expressed in form Paine’s theory of political rights. He worked in Philadelphia at the time that the first document was written, and occupied a position of intimate contact with the nation’s leaders when they framed the Constitution.
Certainly we may believe Washington had a considerable voice in the Constitution. We know Jefferson had much to do with the document. Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. Their views were intimately understood and closely correlated. There’s no doubt whatever that the two great documents of American liberty reflect the philosophy of Paine. contd.
So, to understand the difference between rights and privileges what does Thomas Paine say?:
it’s a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect – that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few. If charters were constructed so as to express in direct terms, “that every inhabitant, who isn’t a member of a corporation, shall not exercise the right of voting,” such charters would, in the face, be charters not of rights, but of exclusion. The effect is the same under the form they now stand; and the only persons on whom they operate are the persons whom they exclude. Those whose rights are guaranteed, by not being taken away, exercise no other rights than as members of the community they are entitled to without a charter; and, therefore, all charters have no other than an indirect negative operation. They do not give rights to A, but they make a difference in favour of A by taking away the right of B, and consequently are instruments of injustice.
What the does this mean?
- The Constitution can’t grant any privileges, nor may it empower Congress to.
Well, save in time of war, and if those privileges are used to appropriate the property of the enemy, e.g. Letters of Marque.
As we know, the Constitution empowers Congress:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
The Constitution does empower Congress to grant certain privilege, as military instruments, such as letters of Marque, but it does not empower Congress to grant such privileges to the people, such as monopolies.
The author’s exclusive right to their writings is a right, not a privilege, and a right that exists prior to government, and so is a right that Congress should be empowered to secure. Therefore James Madison assumed the power to grant the privilege of copyright on the invalid basis it was necessary to secure the author’s exclusive right.
Such an assumption of power was unconstitutional.
Securing a right does not require annulling another right, as Thomas Paine makes clear.
- Abolish copyright.
- Secure the author’s exclusive right to their writings, for a time limited to that of their natural lifespan.
Securing a right does not require the grant of a monopoly.
Crosbie Fitch – Digital Productions
[Fitch says he's researching and developing revenue mechanisms and business models for producers of digital art and in the process, 'has discovered that copyright isn't only an ineffective anachronism, but is unethical and unconstitutional'.]
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
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