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The Contender
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Intellectual property impedes societal progress!

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/7/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 413 times Debate No: 101790
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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Nobody can truly own an idea. It is a made up standard which can't be enforced if nobody adheres to this silly doctrine. What if there was a patent on the wheel, or fire making or agricultural? I encourage everyone to ignore pattents, and I especially encourage college students to secretly record their professors lectures and post them on youtube at the end of the semester!!!!

Intellectual property: a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply for a patent, copyright, trademark, etc.

Impede: delay or prevent (someone or something) by obstructing them; hinder.

Society: the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community

Advance: move forward, typically in a purposeful way.

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No new arguments in final round, except for rebuttal.
Be nice:)
Con may decide whether to make their argument in the first round, or just accept in the first round.


Honestly I have never thought about this before and do not have an opinion, but let's just have a go at it.

A good idea that advances a society usually does not come along without much, possibly years of hard work. Since
practically nobody enjoys hard work, especially many years of it, there needs to be a motivator. If after all this hard work
the individual has put into advancing society he cannot take any credit for it, and any lazy person can just take it and use it
for personal gain, why would he work hard for it. Advancing society as a whole is a good motivator, but very few are
selfless enough to have it be their sole motivator.

Take Thomas Edison for example, he mastered the light bulb and had other accomplishments that advanced society, but he was a jerk. He tried to make a version of the electric chair, but it turned out to be a worse death than the way it was already. He proceeded anyways, experimenting in public demonstrations over and over again as the animals he used were slowly burnt to a crisp. (1)

However, I do support patents and ideas going into public domain after the person who created them has died. This could result in inventor being a dangerous job though because competition in the same field might try to kill each other for their work. Or maybe I'm just crazy.


P.S. I can make the citations more thorough if you need me to, just tell me when you respond
Debate Round No. 1


I would never attempt to argue that the value of the hard work, time, and money put into creating is worthless. Coupled with the fact that there's never a garuantee that your creation will work, or be of any commercial value. However, there's something to be said about the dangers of pride, and how it could ultimately be a set up for heartbreak. Like the farmers that struggle to get their crop into the ground on time, they deserve the fruits of their labor, right? But the rains don't come, and all they have to show for it is a field of dust. It's disheartening, but unfortunately nothing is gruanteed. My objective in this argument, is an attempt to shed light on the elitist attitude of entitlement that goes with the concept of intellectual property.
The first inception of intellectual property for financial gain was created in the 1600s for the purpose of funding the British monarchy, not so much for protecting the rights of intellectual property, but for taxation purposes. Instead of imposing an unpopular tax that could create civil unrest, the British monarchy began granting special production rights to individuals, and companies, then a tax would be imposed on the company, but that company would have the right to produce goods that no other company could. Because of special production priveleges, these companies would have more revenue and would have little or no competition. The purpose of these special priveleges, was more of a tax revenue scheme, rather than protection of intellectual property.

Today, the Chinese government is finding it impossible to stop companies from reverse assembling and figuring out the specific technique of manufacturing American made goods. These companies are stealing pattents, and the US has no way of stopping it because the Chinese government refuses to abide by international patent laws. If the Chinese refuse to play nice by international pattent standards, what can we really do about it? It's becoming a situation where western countries can't enforce international law. If these laws can't be enforced, then it could soon become a great disadvantage to western countries who are still forced to abide by international law. The only true answer to this conundrum is to abandon pattent laws, and let western businesses compete without being shackled by international law.


So it appears that you do not want to undermine peoples hard work, but you do not want them to become entitled from the things they produce. I understand your point, but I do not think people become immediately entitled elitists after they create something of value. I think people should be able to protect the results of their work and make a living or become wealthy of something they have made in their lifetime. The best way to do this would be to give them a life long patent for their work if they want it. Now, after they have received the patent, it is up to them if they want to sell it or make their product public domain. However, after they die or in x amount of years, the patent should become void. Maybe they could base this time span on the average life of a person, then subtract how old the person is when they receive the patent.

The British system of "intellectual property" was very dumb because in the article you posted it talks about how they tried to use it "issuing patents for common commodities such as starch and salt. " Thus, I am not going to defend it because I believe your concern is valid. However, I will say that to prevent this from happening, no patents should be issued for things that are not man made, and if the person who has invented the item is already dead, then so is the patent. Also, in order to keep the government from profiting too much from these patents (I do think they should get some money since they are promising to protect the fruits of peoples labor), it should be a one time fee that someone on the federal minimum wage could afford.

As for international law, that means nothing to me. I think if a person want to go international, they should negotiate patents/deals with each country they do business in to protect their work. As you pointed out international law is ridiculous and would only work in an Utopian society. That does not mean that people should be prevented from taking credit for their labor, just that the current system we do this in needs to be revised. So, in the situation you presented, people could reverse engineer the product in China, but that would be ok if he/she had not applied for a patent in China or if China did not have patent laws. However, if someone tried to sell the reverse engineered product in the U.S., I would be illegal since the person already has a patent in the U.S. Each country would have their own system, and they would not be bound together by "international law".

To summarize, just because the patent system has problems doesn't mean it should be abolished, just amended. If it was abolished the consequences would be far more severe then they are now. The entire business world would be under jungle law. It would be might over intellect, and nobody could protect the little man. It would basically be the worst form of a laissez-faire economy.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent seems to have no regard for globalism, which is fine, but if my opponent is arguing from the standpoint of a closed, protectionist society,(my apologies if my assumptions are incorrect) then that would also be a utopian point of view. Protectionism, coupled with minimum wage requirements are the perfect ingredients for a caste society, a stagnant economic class system, which discourages economic growth for individuals. Is that what we really want? My objective in this argument is to shed light on elitism, and protectionism is a fierce proponent of elitism. Allowing businesses to compete as they feel fit, keeps prices lower, which in turn gives the consumer more freedom of choice. When the consumer is given more spending power, they in turn could choose to save some extra money to possibly open their own business, adding another player in the game of effective capitalism. If one company alone ownes the rights to a product, then they can dictate the price themselves without any worry of competition, which is bad news for the consumer. International business discourages minimum wage requirements. If a business pays employees less, then production costs are lower, which gives their product a more competetive edge. More competition leads to even lower prices. Perhaps we should abandon the downward spiral of regulations (patent laws, minimum wage) fueled by elitism, and embrace economic freedom.

Another angle of this argument I was hoping to talk about is in regards to education. The cost of higher education effects our cost of living, whether you have gone to college or not. If it costs more for doctors, lawyers, teachers, farmers, (and the myriad of other professions I've left out) to attend college, then it effects everybody's wallet. If we as a society want to make it easier to climb the economic ladder, then we must resist the idea that knowledge is collegiate possession. Think about it, the biggest reason college costs are so high, is because of the demands of the professors. One way the US is helping to curb the high cost of health care is by allowing doctors from other countries who don't have to pay as much for college, to practice in the US, but that is very limited. We must make public college more accessible, then private colleges will either follow suit, or go out of business because they cannot compete. We as a society can make knowledge more available in other ways. The Internet was created for just that reason, but if we do not spread our wealth of knowledge far and wide, then we deserve to live in a caste society wasteland. Intellectual property is a harmful concept if it's enforced, however it's a laughable concept if we choose to abandon it, and be an open society.


Your assumption is somewhat correct. Understanding globalism as making economic and foreign policy decisions in order to work with other countries, I believe that globalism is necessary for any country involved internationally. However, I do not believe that things decided at a global level should take more precedence that something that was already decided at a more local level. Home rule should take precedence over globalism the majority of the time.

Obviously, a fully protectionist society would not succeed. However, some aspect of protectionism would encourage people to create local businesses that expand the market. They could not do this if they were competing with international giants. If somebody created an invention and tried to sell it without a patent, a large company could recreate it and just run them out of business. People would receive no credit for their work. Also, I understand minimum wage is not ideal, but what else would prevent businesses from barely paying people? Surely we cannot allow something like the American Gilded Age to happen again.

If all colleges went public, they demands of the professors would not change, just who foots the bill would. Instead of individuals choosing to pay the bill, taxes would increase to pay professors. I do agree that ideas should be spread more freely, and anything a professor says or writes for or in the classroom should be spread freely. However they should still be able to receive credit for it, but that does not mean they cannot restrict how it spreads. People deserve credit for things they work hard for, even if they don't make money off it.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Smooosh 9 months ago
Sorry, I forgot to thank my opponent for taking part in my debate. Good luck, mate!!!!
Posted by asox44 9 months ago
Yea do what you need to do in order to get a good argument out there mate.
Posted by Smooosh 9 months ago
No worries, the citation was spot on. You'll have to alot me a day or so to whip up a proper response however, but thanks for accepting my debate. Cheers!!!!
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