Intellectual Property : Form vs Matter

Form vs Matter


The form of matter, is usually far more influential on value, than physical matter itself.

  • Pile of wood typically might have limited use as decoration, but once it is carved into a figure, or used to build a shelter, or converted into a tool, the transformation of its form might become significantly more valuable, beneficial and desirable.
  • A book by itself, without any printing or art, might serve little purpose except kindling for a fire, a paper weight, or a place to keep notes. If that were instead given carefully designed artwork and words, such as one might expect in a fantastic graphic novel, that book might become significantly more (or less) valuable.
  • Purified aluminum used to be far more costly than gold, despite it's vast abundance on earth in an impure form. Clean water is far more valuable than dirty water. Music is more valuable than disorganized sounds. Video Games are more valuable than millions of random 1's and 0's.

Certain raw materials may be more or less useful or abundant, however wealth occurs when those materials are put to use in such a way that humans is valuable to humans. It is a mistake to cite the physical nature of property as fundamental to value of property. The vast availability of wealth and technological advancement today versus 100 years ago is not due to an increase in total matter. The value of intellectual wealth may sometimes be more or less valuable in a physical manifestation or digital manifestation, however the value of intellectual wealth is independent of the way it is manifested.

Medium vs Content

The invention of a new medium for the transfer of ideas is valuable, such as the invention of paper, the printing press, radio, television, and the internet. A single instance of a widespread medium, such as a piece of paper, or a 10-second radio broadcast, is of little value without content. Therefore, it can be said that the value of the medium is not in a single instance, but rather in the technology of radio.

Further a radio broadcast of static, or paper with scribbles, is generally of little value to anyone. The value is then added to the piece of paper, radio, or internet through the creative works of one mind, thereby adding value to the paper.

A single medium itself is typically of little value alone, except for which it "contains" a creative work of art. The value of a duplication is not in the copy itself, but rather in the creative work.

The ease of duplication of "IP" allows one to invest significant quantities of resources into an the creation of "IP" that will be of great value to its users (versus the opportunity cost of not having it), and then duplicated to a wide audience, only asking for minimal resources in return from each 'customer,' and overall gaining resources of more value to creator than the resources invested into the creation of the "IP"

1s and 0s

Saying "data is just 1s and 0s" completely ignores ethics, value, human action, and human relationships. Afterall humans are nothing but collections of electrons, neutrons, and protons right?

The instant you bring ethics, value, human interaction, or individuals into the equation… data becomes far more than mere "1s and 0s" indistinguishable from random collection of 1s and 0s, but rather that the collection of 1s and 0s are unique and valuable to humans.


  • 1mb is 8,388,608 bits or 4.26x10^252522 combinations. If divided by the world population of 7-billion, that is 6.09x10^2525212 combinations for every human alive today. Guessing 256-bit encryption already takes an insane amount of processing power, in order to arrive at a duplicate block of 1mb of data would be relatively impossible.

(work in progress)

Wealth, Value, and IP

Wealth is that which is valuable to humans. The form wealth takes is mostly immaterial to the fact that the 'something' is valuable to humans.

Property is a truce of mutually beneficial human relationships. Various forms of property claims may result in more or less conflict, stability, and economic growth. Inconsistent or weak property rights often result in lower incentives to maintain property, produce wealth, or invest in capital.


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