The Third Place: On Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property is an interesting conception of property rights. The Property in question happens to be derived from somebody’s technical knowledge and research designs. Most conventual forms of Intellectual Property are usually “Patents,” “Copyrights,” “Trademarks,” and “Trade Secrets.” Some of them were designed by a Self who registered them as their own, while others are the products of developments from specific Enterprises or else their Industries. For the Work-Standard’s version of Property, Intellectual Property is one of those concepts that exist within a gray area in the Life-Energization Reciprocity (LER) and Life-Energization Reciprocal Electrification (LERE) Processes.

There are two types of Property under the Work-Standard: “Productive Property” and “Personal Property.” Productive Properties denote any Property identified as part of a known Domain within the Work-World that is deemed compatible with the creation of Arbeit and Geld for the Life-Energy Reserve. The Totality controls them through the State, hence the justification for the five types of basic economic organizations in the VCS Economy (that is, SAEs, SOEs, NSEs, POEs, and PDEs). Personal Properties, despite coexisting alongside Productive Properties, are not part of any given Domain in the Work-World, preventing anyone from creating Arbeit and Geld. This is because the Self controls their Personal Properties, rather than the Totality or their State.    

But there are of course instances where something can fall somewhere between Productive Property and Personal Property. The best example is the automobile. An automobile can help somebody create Arbeit and Geld as a delivery vehicle affiliated with a delivery service, whereas an automobile that somebody owns to commute to the workspace does not create Arbeit and Geld. Even though both can be considered part of the Work-World, only the former is bound to a Domain insofar as the delivery service itself is an Enterprise with delivery vehicles. The latter by contrast, because it is not a part of any Domain, cannot serve as a tangible source of genuine wealth.

A comparable trend can also be found regarding Intellectual Property, where it fits squarely between Productive Property and Personal Property. It belongs to the original owner, yet its creation is a source of Arbeit from the actual creation and registration, in addition to being a source of Geld from selling the “Production Licenses” to anyone interested in purchasing the rights. Besides the Actual Arbeit coming from the creation and registration, the original owner does not create any additional Actual Arbeit. Thus, the original owner will be generating Actual Geld from transactional sales of the Production Licenses, hence the interesting position of Intellectual Property between Productive and Personal Properties.

Aside from the creation and registration, the only other source of Actual Arbeit for Intellectual Property occurs after the purchase of a Production License. Whoever purchases it can try to devise a proof of concept and a working prototype which, if successful, will help Enterprises create that secondary source of Actual Arbeit. And that too can be another way of addressing why Intellectual Properties would seem to occupy an interesting role in the Work-World.

Here is another peculiarity regarding Intellectual Property from non-economic as well as non-technological perspectives. The philosophical basis for Intellectual Property has an English model and a Prussian model, and both of them have their respective strengths and weaknesses when trying to justify the purpose of Intellectual Property. We will focus on the English model, then proceed to the Prussian one next.

The English conception of Intellectual Property has its roots in Lockean and Utilitarian philosophy, both of which had gone on to influence how some contemporary Liberal Capitalists interpret it. The Utilitarian view argues that Intellectual Property provides ‘Incentives’ for people to create technical patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets that will compel others to create them and in turn maximize the Utility of civil society by actually creating them. The Incentives, which is the maximization of civil society’s Utility, is what gives the Utilitarian justification Intellectual Property its philosophical basis. Meanwhile, the Lockean conception of Intellectual Property derives much of its basis from its conception of Private Property. By envisaging everything in the nation (or for that matter, the Work-World itself) as unowned, anyone who “mixes their Labour” becomes ipso factor its property owner, and this argument can also be extended to mental creations of the intellect.   

From the standpoint of the Work-Standard, there are some important points to be raised regarding the English conceptions of Intellectual Property:

  • The Utilitarian position rests much of its laurels on the Incentives of Supply and Demand to justify the necessity for Intellectual Property and the implementation of its legal protection. Since the Work-Standard relies on Intents of Command and Obedience, the Intent of creating Arbeit and Geld from Intellectual Property comes with expectations that, by making that Intellectual Property available for the Totality, the Self’s ownership will be respectfully protected by the Totality. It can be argued that the Utilitarian conception of Intellectual Property aligns with Production for Utility.
  • Conversely, the Lockean position is in opposition to the concept of the Work-World and its Domains. Due to how John Locke conceptualized Private Property, the Lockean view insists that there can be no Domains in the Work-World until the Self decides to create one. Only when somebody decides to “mix their Labour” and create Private Property can there be any Domains to speak of in the Work-World. This raises in turn raises doubts about who really owns the rights to the Intellectual Property, especially if somebody within the Totality decides to create derivatives and subvariants as Trade Secrets which deviate from the initial designs of its original owner. Based on these conclusions, it can be inferred that the Lockean conception of Intellectual Property aligns with Production for Profit.    

As for the Prussian model of Intellectual Property, it has its roots in Hegelian philosophy, its interpretation envisaging Intellectual Property as an expression of the Self’s personality and self-actualization. Intellectual Property provides the Intents to which the Self is able to protect their creations and realize their fullest potential, creating delineations between Productive and Personal Properties. In essence, the Hegelian view deems Intellectual Property as being the buffer that separates Productive Properties from Personal Properties among the Domains of the Work-World. This does explain the peculiar positioning of Intellectual Property discussed earlier. Intellectual Property reflects the creations of the Self’s mental intellect, and it can be argued that they also reflect their inherent personality characteristics.

But before we can immediately assume that it falls in with Production for Dasein, there is some flaws in how it was conceptualized in Hegelian philosophy. The flaws only become apparent when trying to reapply the Hegelian interpretation into the framework of the Work-Standard.

We cannot always guarantee that the Self’s personality traits and characteristics will accurately define them. For all we know, they might in actuality be a representation of an Inauthentic Dasein (as opposed to an Authentic Dasein). How do we know that said Intellectual Property are definitive of the creator’s personality as its original owner?

We can extend that argument to Intellectual Property because it cannot always be guaranteed that somebody’s personality traits will reflect themselves in their own creations. If either the Totality or the State decides to make alterations to the original Intellectual Property, would one consider it as misrepresentations of the Self’s true personality?  

Both questions can be extended further to raise the issue of whether every form of Intellectual Property that somebody creates will reflect the creator’s true personality. If we are to assume that said Intellectual Property does in fact reflect the personality of its creator, how does State and the Totality respect the Intents of its creator as the original owner?

Fortunately for the purposes of the Work-Standard, I have provided crucial hints on what the answers to those questions should be. We begin with the realization that when somebody decides to create Intellectual Property, it remains as part of their Personal Properties until it gets registered as such. When something does become Intellectual Property, the potential is there for somebody else to obtain a Production License that will allow them to create Arbeit and Geld with it. That Production License should contain legal protections that not only allow the purchaser to obtain the Legal Rights to the Intellectual Property but will also receive the Legal Duties of respecting the original Intents of its creator. Between the Totality and the Self, only the State is capable of enforcing the legal terms and proceedings of the Production License. Only in this configuration can I be confident in integrating the Hegelian conception of Intellectual Property into the broader framework of the Work-Standard as an intermediate between Productive and Personal Properties. All rules and regulations of Intellectual Property are to be under oversight of Kontor Office III.                     

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