Intellectual Hypocrisy

I don’t believe that intellectual property is a thing. This is why the content of this blog is public domain. Putting content in the public domain is only way that I’m aware of under United States law to legally toss aside the automatic copyright granted on created works. I try to practice what I preach. Not everybody does though. The Internet has given rise to companies that exist by ignoring intellectual property. These companies make products such as t-shirts using other people’s intellectual property. However, some of the artists involved in these venues are rather unhappy that other people would dare copy their works:

The problem of designs being stolen was echoed by other artists. “This is something that plagues the community with great force, and it’s something myself and a numerous amount of other artists have been affected by too many times,” designer Spicy Monocle said in an e-mail interview with Ars. “I know many other artists and myself included try to spread the word, but it’s an upward battle.” Vincent Trinidad, a full-time T-shirt designer—mentioned this issue bleeds over to consumers, too. He said stolen designs tend to be at a lower resolution, creating an end product that isn’t that good.

The issue, however, has developed into more of a gray zone for artists than you’d expect. That’s because when it comes to some of the works being duplicated, many designs depend on using the IPs of other companies.

“Some of it is fair use, but some of it really isn’t,” Kozak says. “So, it’s hard for artists. We’ve thought about making like a big campaign against the sites that are stealing artwork and stuff like that, but then it also brings attention to people who are maybe not, you know, doing something that’s completely sound in the copyright laws.”

Intellectual hypocrisy is a term I like to apply to people who both ignore other people’s intellectual property protections and demand intellectual property protection for their works.

The t-shirt companies mentioned in the article all exist by ignoring intellectual property protections. Most of the time they’re ignoring the intellectual property protections granted to science fiction and video game producers since geeky t-shirts sell well. I have no problem with this. But now some of them are whining about people ignoring their intellectual property protections.

If you’re going to make a business out of ignoring intellectual property protections then you should make your statements consistent with your beliefs instead of wanting rules for thee but not for me.