I know that this is long, but I truly appreciate anyone who offers me criticism. I'm new to delving into the IP argument.
I like the idea of patterns as far as it relates to IP. The argument against IP seems to draw its conclusion by a ruductio ad absurdum: if one can own (copyright) a large conglomeration of words which are in a specific pattern then why are just two words which are in a specific pattern not "ownable" just the same? Can the phrase "intellectual property" itself be copyrighted? Concerning ideas, the place to draw the line between what is and what is not ownable, say the opponents of IP, is completely arbitrary so then there should be no IP at all.
I think that maybe a line could be found. Two words, like the phrase "intellectual property" can, in theory, be "owned". The question to ask, though, regarding the pattern formed by the the words "intellectual property", and all other patterns for that matter, is not "can it be owned?", but rather "who is (are) the owner(s)?". If someone comes forth to claim ownership of this two word phrase, then that person should be able to demonstrate his ownership and the nature of it. How could one take ownership of this phrase?
First it must be recognized that ideas are not free. All ideas require at least one scarce resource--time. You cannot have an idea without the expense of time which that idea (thought) requires. So with every phrase, with every pattern of words, there was a price paid (time) for the recognition of that pattern. As an idea (pattern of thought) spreads amongst people the whole price paid for that idea grows because the total time used for the idea's recognition occupies the time-requiring thought of not just one person, but many. Does the originator of an idea (the homesteader), because he paid the price first, forever and always "own" the idea? The answer is: it is up the originator's actions. The owner can transfer ownership in any number of ways, with no stipulations at all, or with a book's worth of conditions. For the right price he may even decide to renounce his rights to reproduce his own idea. It is important to understand that the right to reproduce an idea is not a characteristic which precludes ownership. Ownership can take on an infinite number of forms.
If you are reading what I am writing right now, then I am selling you my thoughts. You are paying for my thoughts with your time. I spent time writing this before you took to spending your time reading it. We are exchanging our time in a voluntary trade. (By the way, thanks for your business.) I've sold you this pattern of words, these ideas, these thoughts, with no stipulations. They are now yours just as much as they are mine, but no more so (you're welcome). If I wanted to claim some more exclusive ownership over these ideas I could have stated at the beginning of what I have written "I am the originator of this pattern and I do not grant authority to the reader to reuse this pattern, nor any original part of it, without my permission" or, as a shorter alternative, I could just state "copyright" on top. In fact, I could make any number of stipulations which you agree upon by reading what I have written. I could even create an absurd, though largely unenforceable stipulation, such as "this pattern of words is never to be spoken aloud under any circumstance".
If I offer what I have written with no stipulations, as is the case, and if the reader then decides to reproduce my ideas with stipulations included, then he does so fraudulently because he is not the originator and can therefore not make such claims legitimately. He does not get ownership claims beyond what I have given him.
If I have given my ideas away with no copyright, and you, after exchanging your time with mine (again, you are "buying" my idea with your time), decide to reproduce what you have bought from me with a copyright provision included, then there is a conflict.
It is not that you don't own the idea after reading it, you do. I have granted ownership to you with no stipulations, but don't forget that I am still an owner of the idea too. Seeing as though we are both owners, if you were able to put a copyright on this pattern and I continue to offer the same pattern without a copyright stipulation, then the exact same idea, an identical pattern, would be both copyrighted and not-copyrighted at the same time. Such a circumstance is not logical; it is a major contradiction; red cannot also be blue. So which is it? If one owner claims copyright and the other does not, then which claim rules? The claim of the originator of course, because even if you give out my idea under the fraud that it is copyrighted, the idea, as far as it is owned by me, the originator, remains without a copyright. A new person who witnesses the idea as it is represented by the copyrighted fraud, even if this new person, in turn, reproduces the exact same idea in violation of the fraudulent copyright, cannot be held liable for the reproduction because the exact same idea exists elsewhere without copyright.