A world free from DRM, copyrights and patents

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Opinion - What would it be like to wake up tomorrow and have the ability to take everything that exists and recreate it as needed absolutely free from royalty or limitation? If people and companies could copy anything in existence, rolling it into whatever product they can design, and then attempt to sell it to others ... what would that world look like?





No DRM: All forms of audio, video and multimedia content can now be utilized in any way for any purpose, profitable or otherwise. Every song, every track, every movie, every picture, everything that has DRM today ... now completely free without limitation. What would that look like?



No Copyrights: Everything that has been created by man exists now as a raw set of tools or resources capable of being utilized or molded into anything new that can be thought of, for profitable purposes or otherwise and without limitation. See a cool picture? Use it. See a great poster? It's yours! What would that look like?



No Patents: Every idea that anyone has ever developed - no matter how clever, unique or helpful, all of it is given untethered unto humanity for all to utilize in whatever way we deem necessary, for profitable reasons or otherwise and without limitation. What would that mean?



Is mankind capable of living in such a world? What if right now it happened? What is it this very moment that's keeping you from carrying out your dream in life? What’s preventing you from leading the life you’d want to lead? Is it because you can't sell the thing you really like? Or is it because someone else might steal your idea?



Suppose you're into model airplanes and would like to build and sell those craft for a living, but don't know as much as you should about design? Why not take someone else's design, copy it and sell it? They have just as much opportunity to sell it as you do. It now becomes a matter of building skills and production. Could you do it?



What if it was a software endeavor? Suppose all of Microsoft's operating systems were suddenly free and some rogue programmer at Redmond released all of the source code for every version (including service packs) unto the world for free. It was now in some public software channel like Linux. Could the developer community grab hold of Windows and turn it into something truly usable and amazing? Or do we need the Microsofts of the world controlling their code, only rolling out to us that which they want to give - at the speed they want to give it? Is it possible to operate without such limitations - successfully?



Is a world without DRM, Copyrights or Patents even conceivable? Would it be of benefit knowing that everything we see, everything we're exposed to, everything we obtain, everything we learn, everything we teach, that all of it can be used by anyone at any point for any purpose, completely free of charge and without limitation? Would it be a worthwhile world to recognize that at such a point it would only be the fruits of our labor sold for whatever the market will bear which sustains us? It would not be some grand idea first exploited and then capitalized upon for years as fortunes are made. Only by working and doing would we gain. Is it possible? And is it desirable?



I'm wondering what such a world would be like, and I realize this article is not near long enough to consider all possibilities. But I would like to know what our readers think about it.



Would a DRM-free, Copyright-free and Patent-free world be desirable to you? And what would it mean?




The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.