The Big Lie: Patent and Copyright Law

The Big Lie is usually associated with a despot. Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden come readily to mind. After all, wouldn’t it take some sort of lie to move the millions of citizens of various nations to war against each other and between themselves?

The Big Lie I am thinking of does not show itself readily. There is no Potsdam or 9/11, nor does it reveal itself in most religious literature. If it is discussed at all, it is by inference. While the opposite of the Big Lie may be regarded as the Big Truth, the lack of the Big Lie leads to destruction. The Big Lie must be both embraced and unfettered simultaneously. It is a conscious unconsciousness.

We are all exposed to the Big Lie, and usually at a tender age. When we take our first ungainly step, we are gleefully encouraged to take another. We are told we are doing great, when in reality we can barely support our weight. Compared to the day before, when pulling ourselves up to a standing position was a new achievement, it is an advance. We see our own advancement as an accomplishment, and we are told it is an accomplishment, when in reality it is just an ungainly first step. We use this white lie as a form of encouragement, since the lack of the white lie means a lack of encouragement. We all need encouragement to grow and prosper.

This white lie plays itself out in odd ways. We revere our mothers, but it is our birthdays we celebrate, not the anniversary of our mother’s labor. We focus our attention on the future, and severe the connection with the past.

In the affairs of society, we all see ourselves as achievers in our own right. We are taught to be self-reliant, an individual, a superman. This is both true and a Big Lie. The fact is, we are nothing without collaboration. Our mother and father collaborated to create a new child. All the learning of the child is based on the child’s collaboration with parents, teachers and friends. Nothing man has ever achieved was accomplished without collaboration. Music, science, poetry, even this idea itself, is the result of collaboration with others, both current and long since dead.

Our religious beliefs, whether of Buddha, Moses, Allah or Christ, are based on our collaboration with others, as is any agnostic belief. We are unique as an individual unto ourselves, but within and between each other we are all collaborators. The best we can manage as an individual is a small ungainly step forward.

In this context, our image of private property is a Big Lie, since it assumes a new creation without collaboration. American patent and copyright laws are the Big Lie that currently dominates our world culture, and is the underlying source of a great many modern world conflicts, be they Nazi, Communist, or Muslim, all events which took place after the formation of the Patent Office in 1790.

A normal desire to be paid for ones efforts has been re-interpreted as a right to control the flow of collaboration. We have erected a legal structure that consumes both our foreign and domestic priorities. We criminalize twelve year olds for file swapping, and do not pause to reflect on the rise of teenage suicide terrorists.

We are all collaborators. All the events in today’s news are connected. We have created a system that is far worse for society than the inopportune chance that someone may not get paid for work he did not do. The Patent Office should serve as a great intellectual clearing house of our collective genius, instead it serves as the poison of the modern age. It issues a manufacturing monopoly, and ignores the destructive effects of monopoly. Our culture and our health are held hostage to a system of special preference. Medicine and music are the two things most overpriced in our society, and are the two things most necessary after food and shelter.

The spirit of invention, creation, and collaboration has carried us forward for thousands of years. The idea that this would come to a grinding halt without the protections of patent and copyright monopoly is a Big Lie.

Steve Consilvio

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