Unreal estate?

I think we can all agree that private property is a pretty good idea. We don’t want anyone who feels like it sleeping on our back porch, raiding the fridge or ‘borrowing’ our car.

Lately, though, folks who make intellectual property, the “unreal” stuff that you can’t touch as much as you can watch or listen to, have moved to make it much more like the physical goods we all own.

Much of the discussion has been incremental: Should you be allowed to watch a DVD movie on your linux machine? Should Amazon be allowed to sell used books right next to the new ones? Should it be against the law to publish five lines of original computer code on your web site?

This neat article from last year takes the thinking a whole lot farther.

If copyright exists for consumers, what sort of copyright do we want? I think the next year is going to lay the groundwork for the future. Speak now, as they say, or forever hold your peace.

On the same topic, I also really enjoyed The Pickup Artist, which describes what happens fifty years from now when unreal estate gets a little too out of control. Neal Stephenson could have written it, which is saying quite a lot. Terry Brisson takes the idea and runs with it.