IP Makes Us More Like the Animals

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On this thread, someone said that “If we fail to recognize intellectual property, we permanently relegate ourselves to the prehuman branch of the animal kingdom – capable of dealing only with the concrete with no capacity for abstraction.”
I was just thinking about this. Animals are largely incapable of using non-scarce goods like information, knowledge, images, and text to build civilization and make progress — these are tendencies that requiring learning from each other, cumulating information instead of keeping it bound up in one being’s experience and restricting its impact to one generation.
This is why trout today are pretty much like trout in the ancient world, and why one generation of cats is pretty much like every other generation of cats. Animals don’t really discover new methods of doing things, and then put them on display to be copied by others of their species. I can teach my dog how to sit but he is not likely to go out and teach other dogs how to sit. This failure to learn and then pass on learning to others is a persistent trait among animals.

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