McKenzie Wark on 25 Jul 2000 17:45:54 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Terror in Tune Town

very interesting, ted. Seems to me we're back in the great
English conundrum of liberty and property. How John Locke
must be chortling in his grave. 

I'm sceptical about accepting a weakening of property rights
in the name of liberty, when it is *distribution* of property
(among claimants, among types of property that have to be
negotiated) that is the grounds for securing liberty in the
first place. 

Two extremes are to be avoided: complete lack of protection
of intellectual property rights, as was the case until English
and Scottish common law recognised intellectual property
in the 18th century; but also unlimited property right -- the
early versions set very limited time periods. 

Yes, objections to liberal use of the intellectual property of
others may be used to shut down free speech. I can see the
danger there. But it seems to me there is also a danger at
the other end. Vigorous defense of liberal use of others'
property in the name of free speech undermines the distribution
of property on which free speech rests in the first place. 

If one's (limited) intellectual property rights can't be protected,
the pipe guys win. One has no source of income from what one
creates and can claim as one's property. One has no independence
of means with which to participate in civil society. 


"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
 -- McKenzie Wark 

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