Example of the genius’s attitude toward intellectual property

You may recall that the key distinguishing feature between geniuses and superbureaucrats is their uncompromising attitude of spreading the idea at the expense of making a reasonable living off of it.

The easiest way to discern a superbureaucrat from a genius is to ask them their opinions on intellectual property. Geniuses are notoriously antimaterialistic, and would have no qualms about illegally downloading a pdf if they think it has information they need to feed their obsession. Their concern, generally, is not whether they’ll be compensated for their ideas but whether the ideas will be understood, adopted, and used. Money, status, and women tend to be afterthoughts at best, as often as not leading to the genius’s demise.


Here’s an example I ran across down one of Patrick’s rabbitholes:

Much of this work, it should be noted, was done in the 1980s and early 1990s, well before the ‘download age.’ There was no Internet and no Google. Computerized databases were limited and costly. They demanded considerable programming expertise that we had to acquire. Print sources were highly heterogeneous and had to be standardized. It was an enormously difficult and thankless process, carried out with no research assistance and no research budgets.

When we eventually managed to get some of this research published in journal articles, we insisted on including a special data appendix. This appendix consisted of some of our raw time series – including sales, net profits, owners’ equity and defence contracts – data that we collated for the leading oil and armament corporations.

This insistence may seem puzzling. In an era of intellectual property rights, giving your data away is considered unusual, not to say silly. We think otherwise. We believe that knowledge is social, not private. We think it should not be protected and should not be made exclusive. And we consider empirical research crucial – and, unfortunately, at risk of extinction. Providing the raw data, along with explanations of how they were conceived and collated, was our modest contribution toward reversing that trend. For the Retort authors all of these layers are trivial stuff. They simply engross the final text en masse, including the words we quote from other creative researchers. Unfortunately, they try to decorate the pasted material, and in the process introduce some embarrassing mistakes.

-Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler

The Scientist and the Church


About Aeoli Pera

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2 Responses to Example of the genius’s attitude toward intellectual property

  1. Milk says:

    Intellectual property is bogus, of course. IP laws should not exist. They do more harm than good by far. They clog up the free dissemination of information and digitally reproducible cultural artifacts, for one. They enrich a monopolistic few while culturally impoverishing the many by shrinking the public domain. They give the legal means for large corporations to sue small ones out of existence. They give the means for first world pharma companies to legally prohibit third world countries from manufacturing much needed medications. (That’s what you get when you legalize the patenting of molecules.)

    Fortunately there is piracy. Piracy is the natural state of things, really. It’s natural law (I would argue). Copying should not be illegal. I live in the third world and everyone here pirates. Piracy is democratic, egalitarian, cheap. That is why governments and corporations fight against it through legislation and public campaigns. “Piracy” is a scareword, of course. “File-sharing” should be term. But that sounds too humanitarian, too Gospel-like. They have to make it sound dirty.

    I’m not a genius, but I have always been instinctively pro-piracy. This instinct has of late solidified into a conviction. I could write several pages about this subject but I don’t want to rant. I have already rambled about this subject on internet forums. Channers are very receptive to my anti-IP stance and will sometimes call me “based”; but redditors, predictably, reacted to my posts with hostility. I have learned a lot about normie psychology by debating redditors.

    I will give one illustration. Suppose you are a cinephile. You like all kinds of movies. You like the highbrow movies and the lowbrow ones. You like Eric Rohmer and Christopher Nolan. Well then, what is better (more rational, more elegant, more anti-fragile): 1) Juggling between half a dozen pozzed streaming services like Amazon and Prime, hoping to find at least one or two movies by your favorite directors (good luck finding Bergman or Kubrick movies on Netflix) while your cash is syphoned into the bank accounts of (((media multinationals))), or 2) owning several external hard-drives packed to the brim with movies you have laboriously torrented, in folders alphabetically arranged by director name, everything from Hitchcock to Polanski to Miyazaki?

    (Forget about physical media. It’s a waste of money and space. An emblem of American consumerism. Turning easily-reproducible files into pricey physical commodities and fostering narcissism by making consumers feel cool (and righteous) for buying that plastic crap. “This game is a Must Buy in my book and sits proudly on my shelf.”)

    Or take video games. Xenoblade Chronicles looks way better on Dolphin than it does on the Wii. It’s way better to emulate FF9 on a PSX emulator than play the crappy Steam version. And so on indefinitely. Emulator designers tinker at the specs until they achieve perfection; the work of amateur ROM translators often surpasses the official translations. There tends to be something second rate about legal media; the real good stuff is usually buried in weird emulator websites or deep in some nerd’s P2P-accessible hard-drive.

    (There would be no Mother 3 if emulating Earthbound had not become a thing in the late 90s. This is one example out of many. The industry *needs* piracy. Piracy waters the cultural soil.)

    *Owning* files is an anti-fragile strategy. Hoarding is a Thal thing; streaming files from a monopolistic official source is for the Normie herd. The general shift away from files and directories and towards “Apps” is a shift away from agency and towards dependency. Thals love files and directories; Normies love Apps. Direct access to files and directories will soon become illegal.

    But okay, I’m done rambling. The basic stance is that file-sharing is good and intellectual property is bad. You guys can tease out the implications here. I strongly recommend the books “Against Intellectual Property” by Stephan Kinsella and “Against Intellectual Monopoly” by Boldrin and Levine.

  2. Milk says:

    PS: By “normies” I mean Christian normies (bless their hearts).

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