Some time ago, I read an interesting article written by Notch, father developer of the game Minecraft. He was talking about copyright, and especially the different types of copyright infringements.
Here is a quick summary on his post:
I am fine with the concept of “owning stuff”, so I’m against theft. Society breaks down if people can’t “own stuff”.
I am mostly fine with the concept of “selling stuff you made”, so I’m also against copyright infringement. I don’t think it’s quite as bad as theft, and I’m not sure it’s good for society that some professions can get paid over and over long after they did the work (say, in the case of a game developer), whereas others need to perform the job over and over to get paid (say, in the case of a hairdresser or a lawyer). But yeah, “selling stuff you made” is good.
But there is no way in hell you can convince me that it’s beneficial for society to not share ideas. Ideas are free. They improve on old things, make them better, and this results in all of society being better. Sharing ideas is how we improve.
Here is a summary:
We do not wish people to steal the source code of a game, and use it to make profits, but it is absurd to force people not to use ideas from a game in order to help them improve their games: the patent infringements are a brake to creativity.
In the past, we talked a lot about intellectual emulsion, ideas fermenting among the people dealing with a same problem. For example, with the release of Minecraft, many developers came with as many new ideas, with a starting point like Minecraft’s main concept: a cubic world, easy to model.
To know your weaknesses is to be able to improve yourself. And what a better way to do so, if not by showing your concepts to others, and see what they can achieve, based on your ideas; and finally why not improve what you have done by looking at all of this.
And sharing a creative content is not sharing the way to make it; and this is also a way for people to try to recreate such content, and maybe improve it or create something completely different. Some inventions in the past were based on the fact that their inventors was trying to recreate another concept, but as they did not know how to do that, they created something else.