The Destruction of Copyright and Investment Returns

“More important, their selfish desire to “stick it” to the greedy corporate interests who control the production and distribution of intellectual property undermines not just the possibility of an independent literary culture but threatens the future of civilization itself.”

The statement above is an extract from the book description of image a book entitled, “Digital Barbarism“. I came across the book on my research travels on the Web.

It is referring to the fact that many people today do not question infringing copyright laws as they download music and movies and other intellectual property from the Internet. Nor do they question using software specially written to carry out these illegal acts.

“Their” refers to the younger generations. My own view is it includes many baby boomers and not ALL of the younger generation.

I can relate to what the author Mark Helprin is saying from my own experience. My first experience was within my computer consultancy. Many of my clients saw nothing wrong in using “bootlegged software”.

In fact one potential client, a lawyer (strange as it seems) insisted if he purchased one copy of WordPerfect, he owned it and could make as many copies as he wanted. When I asked him if he could copy his BMW would he then give it away to his friends he ordered me out of his office :0(

Bootleg software, for those that don’t know is to-be-paid-for licensed software which is downloaded illegally from Internet sites or is provided FREE by “friends” on a CD. I know of many “friends” who are very generous with bootlegged software – since it costs them nothing.

The usual response when I point out they are violating the copyright is something like,

“What do you care, this company is making millions of dollars anyway”.

That may be true but that does not make stealing it right.

The younger generations have grown up with the Internet and have seen many of its product offered for FREE. This includes music by some groups who chose to distribute their music this way. So many of them see nothing wrong in making illegal copies of music, videos, eBooks and programs. In fact they will become quite indignant if you tell them it is illegal.

Digital Barbarism explores the demise of private property as it pertains to copyright and how many members of the new generations in particular believe it is okay to freely copy and distribute other people’s intellectual property without permission. (I know some Baby Boomer who think nothing of loading up on illegal CD’s when on holiday in many Far Eastern countries too.

It seems the book came about after Mr Helprin wrote an article for the New York Times about the extension of the term of copyright. He received 750,00 angry comments about the article. As he said he was shocked,

by the breathtaking sense of entitlement demonstrated by the commenters, and appalled by the breadth, speed, and illogic of their responses.”

What has this got to do with protecting your nest egg?

If we allow private property rights to be destroyed. If a person is not entitled to the rewards for their own labour. If others believe they are entitled to take what they want without paying for it. Where do you think profit will come from that will make your Nest Egg grow at the rate you need it to, so you can live in retirement?

Just extrapolate out to what is happening now across much of the world. Governments are taking your money without your permission and taking over private businesses. They are also giving your money to others who have not earned that money. (I’m not talking about those deserving of our help). Think about that please.

I’ll close with the last statement on the back of the book,

“Very clearly, the choice is between the preeminence of the individual or of the collective, of improvisation or of routine, of the soul or of the machine. It is a choice that perhaps you have already made without knowing it. Or perhaps it has been made for you. But it is always possible to opt in or out, because your affirmations are your own, the court of judgement your mind and heart. These are free, and you are the sovereign always. Choose.”

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