Thursday, October 27, 2005

Los Derechos Reservados Son Nada

I can't imagine why anyone would want anything I produce, but if so, they are welcome to do with it as they wish. That is small gift compared to the greater privilege of enjoying productions of others via the internet.

In Mexico we have an officially acknowleged capitalist economy, as do most nations. However, we also hold a different view of copyright and patent protections than those seemingly so important to distant neighbors residing just across the northern border. That is one probably retained here from still celebrated indigenous cultures, something the US can never hope to realize, having murdered most of those who could teach it.

The concept does not exist in law but in the hearts of the people, who tend to pay little attention to law anyhow. Their traditional view is that productions, especially artistic ones, belong to the world rather than the creator. Intrinsic value is counted in what is given to others instead of monetary profit reaped by those who would deem themselves owners.

Evidence is seen in the celebrated national practice of painting murals on the sides of buildings rather than canvas hung to be sold in galleries. Anyone may make use of unfenced land until someone bearing barbed wire and a title comes along. Village homes are often wall to wall because empty space between two would soon have a roof shielding others. Livestock roam unfenced land including city streets.

There is a national reserve In the state of Jalisco which contains a wild growth of perennial corn which needs no planting as it just keeps growing. There was public controversy when US seed companies wanted to grab it. They were refused, and that presented a philosophical quandary. On the one hand, denying acquisition contradicted cultural beliefs. On the other, it was understood what they'd do with it, patent it and sell it back.

A sticky point of the so called free trade accords was that Mexico would honor the US copyright/patent concept. The then Mexican president was a Harvard business school graduate, and his government made a few shows of raiding street markets for pirated music. The peoples' hearts however pumped native rather than Harvard blood, and their beliefs carry greater weight here than government agreements. The practice continues.

One of the most important words in the language is "fayuca". It refers to money and goods traded in the underground economy. Inclusion of creations in fayuca is not really theft to someone who believes the producer never really owned it.

In any society, titles, patents, and copyrights are negative concepts. They do not really grant privileges. What they do is guarantee potential utilization of government prisons and guns to prevent use by others. If that were not so, how could one tell the difference between the rich and the poor? That question is more important to some than others.

This article is is copylefted.

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