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"Intellectual Property: Is it Theft?
Charles Eisenstein 1 May, 2003
...Words that were once public and available for all to use are now the property of corporations and other institutions, unavailable to others for certain uses. "Always" is the property of Wal-Mart Corporation when it comes to using that word as a slogan. "Making life better" is the property of Penn State. Of course you can still use these words for most purposes, but not as a slogan for your organization. Penn State has taken those words. Nike has taken "Just do it." And I'm sure the reader can think of many other common phrases that have been expropriated from the public language.
What of music? Do we just invent new songs out of nothing? Do we really invent new melodies and tell new stories? Or are these things cobbled together out of the myriad works of creators past: free-floating ideas plucked out of the noosphere and arranged to appeal to a given audience, or at their best, to a universal audience? To a medieval minstrel, to claim ownership over a song and demand others not play it would have seemed a brazen conceit; to a tribal storyteller such an attitude may have seemed well nigh blasphemous..."
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