Two weeks ago I made a blogpost selling the usefulness and need for intellectual property and copyright. However after further digging into the issue I think my stance has started to waiver. I went and read into the license agreements of a few games and discovered that some corporations can exploit the use of copyright laws to make what I think are absurd claims of ownership. For example this GameStation EULA (End User License Agreement) states that by agreeing to this EULA your soul will now become the property of GameStation. I think this agreement has exploited the supposed use of copyright laws. For what reason should an unknown, private corporation have ownership over something so personal; the soul.
According to the Australian Copyright Act 1986, the purpose of copyright laws are to “give to the author of a creative work his just reward for the benefit he has bestowed on the community and also to encourage the making of further creative works”. It does not include the ownership of a person’s soul.
I have come to realise that even without copyright laws people will still have the incentive to create and develop new ideas. Back in ancient times when there were no copyright laws, there were a lot of new ideas being discovered and developed. The work of Plato, Socrates and Copernicus about the universe was not patented. However, they were debated and developed to form concrete facts about this world. Take Galileo Galilei for example. He built on and confirmed Copernicus’s view of the heliocentric model of the universe, saying that the Sun instead of the Earth was the centre of the universe. If Copernicus had patented the idea preventing anyone from re-using his idea, the belief that the Earth was the centre of the universe may have prevailed for much longer.
The freedom of use of information is important in providing the building blocks for the continual innovation and creation of new ideas. I think we need to be balanced in our use of copyright laws and not make ridiculous ownership claims over our works; however we should also have a degree of return for the things that we produce.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/7513216676/sizes/m/in/photolist-crVcyy-bmnrCJ-7Efws7-9b45XN-8nDt9B-8yZZoH-9dyrHe-7TBNEZ-83U7ML-cL6n6U-7E2x5u-bktewz-7FAnYa-85iDHP-cgUzYf-9JWy4r-99Rf8R-9rjVkk-dwrfmk/