IP and the intangibles of access and use

Hank Barry asked me recently to consider why humans think differently (e.g.

Hank Barry asked me recently to consider why humans think differently (e.g., we're likely to have less patience for restrictions and controls) about intangible property than we do about things like physical goods and real estate. My response was that in a world of scarce and valued commodities, there are only two possible dynamics. Either the bully in the playground takes over the slide and demands everyone's lunch money before they can go down (or keeps them from going down at any price), or everyone gets to use it and take turns. There's no question about which scenario garners more social approval.

Slide
(Photo by Tub Gurnard under Creative Commons)