This has caused quite the controversy and in interest of full disclosure, honesty and discussion of the facts for our collective empowerment, we are going to fully reveal the basis of our actions, and what we intend to do as a result.
We are going to keep the text of this post in black in contrast to our normal convention of writing in green.
Here is the Notice Ben posted:
You are breaking the law by posting my subscription newsletter for free. The rule is that you are allowed to post the newsletter for free on the Thursday after the Monday that subscribers get it. We will be unable to continue the work required to create the newsletter without the support of our subscribers. If you continue to post the newsletter as soon as it comes out, we will be forced to take legal action. Your understanding in this matter is appreciated. - SourceFor the Record: We take all commentary seriously, considering all aspects that we can to make choices we feel are most resonant with truth, honor and Natural Law. In our world of prolific piracy and dishonor, it is very difficult to stand in truth while the whole world accepts falseness as a matter of course. However, Natural Justice must seek to honor others even while they unwittingly dishonor us, and in light of our actions, we have not maintained this high ideal.
We have been sharing Ben's reports, in full, on the day of its release for some time. Prior to purchasing our own subscription earlier this year, we reproduced the updates from various other sites, casting our lot into the fold of sites violating Ben's Copyright and Usage Limitations listed at the bottom of his site:
[ Copyrights and Usage Limitations ]
1. All of the text, images, video, metadata and all other intellectual property (the "Contents") of the Service are the property of 'Weekly geo-political news and analysis' and its designated licensors ("Licensors"), and protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws and conventions.
2. The Contents of the Service may be displayed, copied and printed only for personal, noncommercial use by the Subscriber. The Subscriber agrees not to reproduce, retransmit, sell, publish, broadcast, distribute or provide access in any form or by any means the Contents of the Service without our written consent.
Despite this contention we acknowledge that we did not reach out to Ben and an attempt to resolve our concerns. As a result of our desire to remain honorable and admit errors in our judgement, we are formally apologizing to Ben for any dishonorable conduct on our part. We should have opened a line of communication and made a genuine effort to negotiate an honorable agreement. In an effort to settle this aspect of the controversy, we have decided to post the partial update on Monday and post the full update on Thursday per his request. In this way we hope to restore any breach of trust and extend an opening for a more beneficial arrangement between us.
We are actually happy to have this opportunity to discuss our conclusion regarding Intellectual Property, as well as the form of Terms of Service agreements on many websites, including Ben's. To be clear, we hold no animosity towards anyone for asserting these legalities, as this notion of owning an idea is prolific. Our world is filled with programs of scarcity which lead many to justify a morally relativistic position of exclusivity; that it is OK to do something because everyone else is doing it.
This aspect of our control system touches the lives of many in the alternative media, with many unable to continue the work of revealing data without devising some way to earn income at the same time. We are not trying to single out Ben or anyone for using copyright but we do want to raise some questions as to its merits and hopefully provide a basis for developing a more honest system. We have ourselves wondered if copyrighting our work would be beneficial as it would help provide us more financial support. But since starting this blog we always wondered if it was honorable to do so, if it was truly reflective of spiritual and divine law to claim we are the only ones who can distribute information that is 'ours.' And this brings the whole concept of ownership into question as well.
Adhesion Contracts Are Inherently Dishonorable
The terms and conditions listed below of his site are presumed to be accepted by anyone reading the information, this is known as an Adhesion Contract; a 'take it or leave it contract' with no stated possibility of negotiation. But contracts can only be binding and honorable if negotiation is allowed to take place - there must be a process for raising questions as to an agreement's merits. To have the presumed facts, the terms and conditions in this case, agreed upon by both parties as a result of open and honest communication; a meeting of the minds. In other words, if any party to any contract is uncertain as to what something means, or does not agree to any item within it, there must be a venue to fully discuss and negotiate so as to resolve any ambiguity; a controversy.
Harm - When One Will Seeks To Override The Will Of Another
Harm is the central issue, who incurred harm on who using what actions. This concept provides understanding of why Adhesion contracts are inherently dishonorable. Harm occurs when one person's will abrogates another, or prevents another's will from acting - the manipulation of choice using various methods; presumption, misrepresentation, coercion, deception, etc. Using our own actions as an example, by sharing Ben's work against his wishes, we incurred harm by not making an effort to negotiate with him. Had we reached out to him to make an appeal as to our conclusion that Intellectual Property is a misrepresentation, that would have provided a venue for his will to act in relation to our concern.
Conversely, because Intellectual Copyright presumes acceptance of the fact one person retains exclusive rights of distribution, and this fact cannot be disputed via negotiation, any such agreement is dishonorable and incurs harm on the accepting party; an agreement made under duress. In our view, the only honorable choice with adhesion contracts is to either accept the terms as is, and make every attempt to negotiate honorably (rebutting presumptions) or disengage in any activity which presumes acceptance. If a party to a contract refuses to address concerns, despite an honorable attempt to do so, now the dishonor rests firmly on their shoulders, and we have made every effort to be honest, transparent and respect the will of another. This does not give us license to go against another's wishes however, and this is the reason we have decided to honor Ben's request, while also raising the issues we have become aware of.
Obligation Of Agreement Causes Harm
Because in truth, no one can be rightfully forced to agree to anything, any presumption of obligation attempts to coarse free will and as such is harmful; an agreement made under duress. It may seem like a semantic debate, by the method of how agreements are formed determines if it is a presumptive Adhesion Contract. For example, instead of asserting intellectual ownership, one can say that it would be appreciated, that if reproduction of material takes place, it is done within a certain set of criteria; whatever those may be, and provide a method of contact so negotiation of any item can take place. Now the 'take it or leave it' obligation (a deception) becomes accurately stated as a request.
Adhesion contracts are the bread and butter of our enslaved age, where presumptions of acceptance allow all sorts of injustices to run rampant under the guise of tacit or implied consent. Birth Certificates, Federal Reserve Notes, Income Taxes, Medical Treatments, the whole of the judicial system, and so on, all use Adhesion contracts which presume that we must agree (obligations), which is an untruth, coercion and fraud as it attempts to dupe us into thinking our free will does not matter.
So even though a struggling artist wants to be acknowledged for their work, if they employ deception and coercion in the form of copyright Adhesion Contracts, they are unwittingly harming anyone who participates.
Is Intellectual Property Supported by Natural Law?
Our contention is that information is a gift of the divine and limiting its distribution based on the legal definitions within Intellectual Property and Copyright 'law', is a misrepresentation of the truth and unlawful. The question becomes then, what is ownership and is a person who comes into possession of knowledge able to use it freely?
We have considered these questions deeply as our goal is to act in harmony of and recognition with the truth. And there are several premises we used to come to our conclusion that Intellectual Property rights are unsupported by Natural Law.
- All things, beings and ideas are ultimately sourced from the Creator, establishing a trust with us as beneficiaries and trustee's, bound to honor the truth.
- Information is a fundamental aspect of what IS and ultimately we are only custodians of anything we come into possession of; our bodies and minds
- Free will provides a basis for contracting with other beings, governed by Truth, Honesty and Full Disclosure. Failure to honor the truth, is a breach of Trust with the creator, and an immoral action causing harm to anyone affected, demonstrating incompetence to act as an honorable custodian.
Copyright, Trade Mark and Patents all fall under the umbrella of Intellectual Property, and are primarily enforced so as to provide one person a financial advantage. But in many cases it is also used to hide the truth. For example Medical doctors cannot share the truth about cancer, else the general population would no longer need the goods and services offered by Pharmaceutical companies. Some of the most infamous and destructive organizations on Earth: Monsanto, the Federal Reserve, countless drug companies, all use Intellectual Property enforcement to give themselves a monopoly. Monsanto's destruction of independent farmers since the late 1980's is one example of how tyrannical these systems can be. On the other end of the spectrum are the struggling musicians or bloggers, who copyrights their work to attain a modest income, continuing their passion. The expansion and usage of Intellectual Property enforcement has changed our way of life, but it has only become popular in the past 1000 years or so:
History of Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property law dates at least as far back as medieval Europe. In those times, “guilds,” or associations of artisans in a particular industry, were granted authority by the governments to control the regulation and conduct of the various industries. These guilds exercised control over what items could be imported, marketed and produced and the manner in which new inventions, devices and procedures could be introduced to the stream of commerce. Because the authorities for these guilds were granted by the governments, and because they concentrated the power to regulate an industry in a select few, and were not earned by innovation, skill or creativity, these guilds did far more to stifle creativity and invention than to encourage it.While one can easily justify wanting to receive an exchange of value for their hard work, employing Intellectual Property schemes to do so is immoral and unethical, as it is always the granting of illusory authority over the information; enforced by the iron rod of government or church. And since this authority is not real, it requires ever increasing deceptive techniques to maintain - there is no natural force which gives an inventor, writer or originator of a creative work any real power to stop another from using it. Any limitation must be procured by using agreements founded on trust and the truth.
Intellectual property law at that time was driven not by an interest in creation and innovation, but rather by political and religious motivations. For example, the 1556 establishment of the Stationers’ Company’s monopoly in England was largely intended to help limit the Protestant Reformation movement's power. By putting the entire printing industry in the control of this company, the government and church could prevent the dissemination of ideas. See Copyright for the Nineties, Gorman and Ginsburg, 1, the Michie Company (1993). See also Intellectual Property: The Law of Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks, Schechter and Thomas, 13, West Group (2003) (stating the monopoly was granted in 1557). - Source
Natural Law Ownership and Right of Use
This raises the question of what ownership is within a Natural law context, and can be understood by the Right of Use concept. Our bodies determine the boundary condition limiting what can be thought of as something in our possession. The second concept which defines Right of Use is competency, are we as custodians of the thing we are using, honoring the truth and maintaining it for posterity; who will inherent it after we have passed from this world. Simply put, how we manage anything in our possession affects other beings while we are using it, and after we are not. Because of this ripple effect of our actions, there is a moral issue raised, the measure of how ethically the things in our possession are managed.
The production of food by using the land falls under the creative influence of the caretaker of that land; a farmer. They co-create any fruit as a result of working with all the other elements of nature, and as such they are not the sole originator. In truth, the fruit is a product of the farmers work and the plants, the wind, the rain, the Earth, the Sun, the surrounding solar systems, the Galaxy, the Universe and the Creator. The whole universe plays its part to bring about anything, and as such, it is a misrepresentation of the truth to claim any one person is the absolute originator.
So what determines Fair or Honorable Use? On one hand, the farmers body requires sustenance and the fruit of their labors will provide it. On the other hand, any surplus production that cannot be rightfully used by the farmer, is able to be used or consumed by others. Since the farmer is in possession of the land, and how they use it affects other beings, they do not have absolute power over it; there are very real implications to how the farm is managed.
If they choose to destroy any surplus of food on the land, even though other people could use it, then they have failed to disseminate the abundance of the universe, dishonoring the trust established between themselves and the true owner; the Creator. Similarly if they choose to destroy the land with polluting chemicals, they also harm others by rendering it unusable after they are gone.
Within Roman Civil Law, the basis of our modern day legal system, owning a thing grants one unrestricted freedom to do with it as they please; illusory absolute power. And the vast majority of people today hold this definition of ownership as valid. But since there are very real effects to how anything in our possession is used, and in truth anything in our possession is a product of the Universe at large, the Natural Law perspective holds that how we manage the things in our possession determines if we are competent and if we have harmed another. In this way a farmer cannot rightfully destroy any fruit of their labor, because the fruit is not absolutely theirs. They have the right to use what their bodies are able to consume, and all other access to surplus must be done in honor of other life.
The Right of Use principle acknowledges that we must manage it competently in order to retain possession. Restricting access or its use by others, is based on the illusion of absolute discretionary power; unsupportable in Natural Law. All things fall within the scope of this definition, because any product of our labors is the culmination of many different factors and things, all tracing back to the Universe at large and the source of all things; the Creator.
Material items that we come into procession of are governed by honorable contracts, did we disclose the truth about where they came from, and did we give anyone who had prior possession an opportunity to voice any claim to it? Clearly the farmer cannot rightfully claim to use beyond what they are able to consume physically, but they can claim to manage its distribution fairly, and as a result retain custodianship of it.
The Ubuntu Movement seems to be centered around this recognition as well, as is the Ucadia Model by Frank O'Collins. This was and is also recognized in many tribal traditions of Native Americans and cultures the world over. The present day legal concept of ownership is also founded on the Right of Use principle, and nearly all legal documents describing ownership assert that the usage of it must follow regulations and statutes. Even the Papal Bulls and cestui que vie trusts, which declare humanity incompetent and under the possession of the elite priesthood of the Church, recognizes how things in our possession are used determines whether we use it honorably.
In conclusion of this section, the question of absolute ownership is answered by recognizing the truth, spoken of by many teachers. We are one with all things, beings and energies, and that we are the product of the divine, a union of co-creation separated by degree's of influence. Ownership, in recognition of this, is nothing more than the right to use a thing, determined by who had it first, and if it is managed for the benefit of all honorably. To be clear, no one can rightfully prevent others from sharing or using information so long as it is used honorably by the other party.
Natural Rights of Intellectual Ownership
Since ownership, even in its most powerful form, is only a right to use a thing and posses it, intellectual ownership is similarly a right of use. If an idea is in our possession, then we have the right to use it. This includes charging money for books, songs, inventions etc. In this way, the struggling artist or blogger has a Natural Right to use the information and distribute it in any form which honors the truth. Where things get tricky is when another person, who also has possession of the idea, is coerced to not use it.
From a Natural Law perspective, whether you received the information from divine intervention, or read it on a website, you still possess it and have a right to use it. Therefore, anyone who produces original work does have a right to use it, and so does anyone who also comes into possession of it. If another person shares information, and fails to disclose where it came from, this is called plagiarism. Now the second party fails to honor the truth by misrepresenting where the data came from. Similarly, the inventor or creator of a thing is a receiver, and while their labor produces a unique expression of it, this does not grant them absolute powers over it.
In this way, Natural Law does provide one a right to the truth, but not a right to prevent others from sharing the truth. When misrepresentation occurs, there is dishonor and any party affected has been harmed. In our case, we did not seek to negotiate with Ben, and presumed to share his news letter freely, assuming he did not mind because others were also doing this. In Ben's case, he is misrepresenting the truth by claiming absolute powers of distribution.
Original Ideas vs Unique Expression
If we are aspects of the creator, who is the source of all things, beings and reality itself - a product of the divine, then it stands to reason information can be rightfully acquired and used by anyone. In other words a pronouncement of Intellectual Ownership does not grant someone magical powers preventing others from becoming aware of the information. We can't un-remember information once it has been assimilated; nor can the originator wipe our memories if they so choose. The issue is then how the information will be used, who will be affected and if that effect was harmful within a contractual framework; did we engage in transparent communication.
The key difference between an original idea and a reproduction, is if a disclosure of sourcing was made; did the reproducer state that the data being shared came from another source? It is easy to make that call when the source is another person or group, but since humanity has been indoctrinated into a belief that they are separate from all other things, that there is no union with the divine, even the most honest can misinterpret the facts to assume they are the sole originators.
Almost no one recognizes that all things come about as a product of co-creative forces, and even the most enlightened people tend to hold that their ideas and opinions are decidedly original. But this error of discernment is largely a result of unquestioned beliefs about what ownership is, and how it can be rightfully maintained. In our effort to fight tyranny, fraud and the fallacious Cabal, we must question these long held beliefs, even if it means undoing the fabric of society itself.
Many inventors work tirelessly to bring their ideas into form, and from their point of view, there was no external involvement; they have the experience of unique innovation. They may even think that they received the information totally on their own, and it was not available beforehand. They may go to a patent office and make a claim that they invented the thing first, only to discover that someone else came before them. And that preceding inventor would have the same subjective experience of original innovation. But what determines who 'owns the idea' - within Intellectual Property Statutes, is not who went through the most original process, but instead, who got there first; a claim of right, not a determination of inherent right.
This proves that even legal codes themselves acknowledge that no one can truly own an idea, but they can be granted imaginary powers over it if they win the race. Therefore, we have yet another piece of evidence demonstrating that Intellectual Ownership is a false and deceptive idea, which becomes true because of a contractual agreement. In other words, you can't own an idea, but if you can convince enough people that you do, they will enforce your belief.
Simultaneous Invention and The Morphogenetic Field
There are many cases of simultaneous invention, which clearly show that these ideas may take time to develop within a persons mind, but their source is extra-personal. This in addition to countless personal experiences of 'receiving' ideas and information by a seemingly original process, only to discover it was already out there, provides objective evidence to support the premise that our thoughts are not 'original' in the way we have been led to think.“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”― Nikola Tesla
Patent law acknowledges this reality, and can not materially demonstrate that one person has a more original idea than another. The only thing that is held up as proof of origination is who got to the patent office first. In other words, there is no objective event which undeniably proves one person is the original inventor over another, and instead it's a race to make a claim. It is this claim which is upheld as Intellectual Property.
And since a paradigm of artificial scarcity has dominated human affairs for countless thousands of years, we simply do not know how to act any other way. It seems inherent that we own our ideas and can limit their usage for personal gain. And until the truth is sought after and recognized, there will be a majority of people willing to enforce this false concept.
The Morphogenetic Field, as it is termed by Rupert Scheldrake, seems to be the one of the transmitting utilities for ideas, concepts and inventions. The premise of intellectual property is centrally focused on the notion that only one person can develop an original idea, and that person is the true owner. But given the evidence at hand, there is nothing to support this theory of ownership, and there is a plethora of evidence demonstrating the opposite - that human beings receive information and use it to create various things. While we cannot rightfully prevent others from using an idea in our possession, they also cannot claim to be original owners nor can they prevent us from using the information.
To be clear, how the information is used does have an original signature. Even if 100 people all developed the exact same musical piece, each person would express that piece in their own unique way. And each person would have the subjective experience of original innovation. Therefore the objective reality of expression cannot be ignored, and when reproducing work that we received as a result of someone's unique expression, we must disclose this source in order to honor the truth.
When answering this question as to whether there is an inalienable or Natural right to Intellectual Property, the answer is decidedly no. One does not posses any inherent ability to enforce their claim of ownership.
Since information was ultimately sourced from the creator, and we are collectively a reflection of the creator, all beings have an inherent right to information. But since it is expressed via a channel, or an embodiment of the creator, the realities of honor and trust are at work. In this way we have become custodians of the information, and once in our possession, how we use it determines who is affected and what the moral implications are.
It is this moral aspect of sharing the information that gave us pause in our process of dissemination or it. In our world of deception, piracy and injustice, how do we engage others honorably, even when they unwittingly seek to dishonor u?. We cannot correct the injustice of Intellectual Property by engaging in further injustice and dishonor.
In this way, we utter what Mark Passio calls the 3 most powerful words in the English language: "We were wrong!" But now that our dishonor has been addressed, we can move forward to discuss the grander issues of what consenting to Intellectual Ownership means for ourselves and our children.
We feel that sharing information, knowledge and empowerment is a primary tool for awakening. We will continue to do our best to share as much data as possible and allow others to use it freely. And we encourage others who have knowledge, to also share it freely.
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