Does Intellectual Property Defy Human Nature?

by Joseph S. Diedrich

A music-composition professor of mine once lamented that without copyright protection, Western civilization would cease to exist. Most of us take intellectual property (IP) for granted, assuming it is ethically and economically necessary. We’ve become so blasé about IP that heavy-handed FBI warnings and billion-dollar lawsuits don’t faze us in the slightest. Yet despite the unquestioned consensus, intellectual property actually defies basic tenets of human nature.

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