not-so-intellectual property

The very mention of the term “Intellectual Property” sends a red flag to my conscience. Not only is the term loaded with thoughts of lawsuits and entitlement, but it implies a skewed perception of value. There seems to be an implied belief that the result of one’s intellect is where the value lies. Nothing we create is intellectual in itself. Rather it is a manifestation of our intellect as an artist, architect, engineer, performer, fill-in-the-blank. If we place all the value on the creation, we undermine and undervalue the creator.

To make matters worse we waste time and money bickering over who owns rights to the piece of property. Debates and court cases over Intellectual Property only kill the creative fuel that spawns the Intellectual Property in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe an artist should be appropriately compensated and credited for his work. I also believe that people should be able to take an idea or “property” and capitalize on it; I’ll even go one step further and say that this often breeds creativity. However, if we think the solution is to silence the competition then we have surrendered our intellect to the highest bidder.

The true intellectual property is us! It’s a gift from God that sets us apart from the rest of His creation. It seems fitting that when we neglect that gift we get caught up in the details of creation.

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