Last weekend, all the newspapers were full of it: Youtube lost against the Gema. To be sure, the success was not a total success, but at least partial. So this is another one of those decisions people get excited about. And the occident is happy.

Because this is all about protecting property!

In order not to cause the dams to break, you have to defend the right to intellectual property! Resist the beginnings! That is what you can hear from all the media. In the same and other media, however, you will also find more cautious and prudent articles. Some of them actually deal with the problem of “intellectual property”.

I still have my doubts about the general and randomly used right to ”make everything your private property“. Mind you, I am myself part of the system. Considering where I come from and what I am, it feels to me like I own a lot of private property. And, of course, I, too, want to keep what is mine.

Regardless, I am skeptical about us being able to continue in the way we understand and live ownership in the long run. As I see it, there are two reasons. The first one looks rather harmless to me. I learned:

“Property constitutes an obligation”.

It seems that, today, only very few owners of anything still take this wisdom to heart. As I see it, I live in a “free world of free citizens”. Among people who and institutions that practice this in a rather extreme way.

I will refrain from giving you examples of where „capital and ownership“ became strongly anti-social, even detrimental to social life. There are far too many examples to be found in all areas of our economy and our social life. Perhaps one of the symptoms is the victory of late capitalism?

But there is one idea that seems even more problematic to me than “property constitutes an obligation”.

In our social environment, personal property will always invite waste.

Wherever I look, I see waste all over the place. More often than not, the reason is that objects and property are privately owned.

For example, I read in the March 2012 “brand eins” edition that the average utility time of a drilling machine you buy for life is 13 minutes (world in numbers). And who among you all has no drilling machine? But it is certainly wasteful to build a drilling machine that will only be used for a total of 13 minutes, isn’t it?

Some time ago, a South-African couple stayed in my home as au-pairs. They could not understand that, in our country, every owner of a house has his or her own lawn mower. And that they do the mowing themselves. In South Africa, you have your lawn mowed, and the person who does it will bring his or her own lawn mower,

Another very significant example for waste is our individual mobility, for instance when we are talking cars and parking space. When I ride my bike from Ottobrunn to Unterhaching in the morning, I see that most of the nice and big cars that roll next to me on the street have only one passenger.

During the day, the cars occupy the parking spaces of enterprises, but at night and on weekends, these same parking spaces stand deserted. For the parking spaces at the apartment buildings next door, it is exactly the other way around. They are unoccupied on weekdays in the daytime.

Now here is what I believe: the only way to save our planet is by drastically reducing our wastefulness.

Does nobody wonder if, perhaps, the excessive way in which we live our “personal ownership“ might be one or even the most determining reason why we are so brutally wasteful?

So if – just in order to survive – we will have to develop a new understanding of how to treat “hard ownership“ in our further evolutional development, doesn’t it then almost seem to make sense to start with fewer rights of ownership when it comes to “intellectual rights“? Because maybe it hurts a little less if you start there?

Here is another aside:

I see a general tendency towards intellectual property being better protected when institutions are concerned than when individual persons are concerned. We have come to that stage where an individual person hardly has a chance to protect his or her intellectual property. Except if they belong to a special professional group and know the necessary rules and tricks. …


In my opinion, a huge social reform will come. It will ignore the way we today define and – above all – live ownership. For me, it would be nice to see a change that comes softly, based on rational arguments and insight, rather than one that comes from the top and is accompanied by laws and penalties.

What we need is “eco-social change based on everyone’s free will“, where ratio and values prevail, instead of, in the worst case, a world-wide “eco-dictatorship“.

(Translated by EG)

1 Kommentar zu ““Gema or Youtube?” or “When Ownership Means Wasting Resources!””

  1. Thomas Vallon (Monday April 23rd, 2012)

    Bei Rousseau (Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes von 1755) liest sich das so:
    “Der erste, der ein Stück Land eingezäunt hatte und es sich einfallen ließ zu sagen: dies ist mein und der Leute fand, die einfältig genug waren, ihm zu glauben, war der wahre Gründer der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft. Wie viele Verbrechen, Kriege, Morde, wie viel Not und Elend und wie viele Schrecken hätte derjenige dem Menschengeschlecht erspart, der die Pfähle herausgerissen oder den Graben zugeschüttet und seinen Mitmenschen zugerufen hätte: ,Hütet euch, auf diesen Betrüger zu hören; ihr seid verloren, wenn ihr vergeßt, daß die Früchte allen gehören und die Erde niemandem.‘”

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