This debate shows up from time to time in intellectual property circles, especially software (computer programs, music, movies, books and other media). But it also extends to those who provide any product or service to others.

The debate goes something like this: "Knowledge* should be available to everyone; by charging for it, you make it unavailable to those who can't afford it."

The counter-argument is, "Knowledge* costs money to create, and by making it free, you remove the incentive for research and innovation."

Note that free doesn't just mean, "Free as in beer." It can also mean "Free as in speech." Copyright and patent laws allow people to profit from their ideas for a certain period of time, without worrying about others stealing those ideas.

Should everything be in the public domain?


*The words, "products" and "services" can be substituted here for the word "knowledge."

asked 12 Nov '10, 18:17

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 08 Aug '12, 11:39

Kathleen%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kathleen Kelly ♦♦

Hi Vesuvius. The ideal situation would be where everything is free, in which case the phrase "Knowledge Costs money" is irrelevant, because it would not cost any money, remember, "everything is free" including the effort to create something. However this maybe the same as "giving somebody fish, instead of teaching them to fish" so that they can be self sufficient.

(13 Nov '10, 16:21) The Traveller

Nice question.

Nothing is free and everything is free.

The old saying "no such thing as a free lunch" seems to be true. You have to pay somehow in someway for everything.

I suppose this is in relation to cost. Now, value and worth are determined by both the seller and more so by the buyer. Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay. And since the buyer is purchasing "at will" then the buyer is actually determining the outcome and/or the price. I also believe that noting can be owned just borrowed and nothing lasts forever. So technically I believe it is all free and our system creates a way for humans to "get" more (money) to lead to a more abundant life.

Everything is free and someday it wont cost us any money.

I just confused myself.

Crazy Love,



answered 12 Nov '10, 18:59

jim%2010's gravatar image

jim 10

Information is free. Especially with digital information it's plain to see. What causes effort and cost is trying to restrict the free flow of information.

But of course, producers of information need money too to survive. Or do they?

The saying "No such thing as a free lunch" seems to be one of the greatest brainwashs in history to me. The last apple tree I checked did not have a coin slot attached to it. In nature, everything grows for free. And it's healthier too than the food we get from the supermarket after being "processed" in the so-called "value chain". So, charging for food is purely man's concept. The same obviously goes for clothes, a place to live and all our other basic needs.

I'm a believer that a society without money can easily exist if we can drop all envy, fear and greed. I believe if everyone follow their own unique, innate talents and passions, without being restricted and distracted by society forcing survival mode upon us, everything will fall into place in a greater sense, and we will find harmony with each other and with nature again.


answered 12 Nov '10, 21:21

herzmeister's gravatar image


edited 12 Nov '10, 21:29

Well, it really depends on one's perception of money.

If one just treats money as a means to get something, then even if one pays $10000000 for a book, he could probably still feel as though he got it for free, right? :)


answered 13 Nov '10, 01:08

kakaboo's gravatar image


That's something I often think about and am bewildered how everything is not for free as it should be. I understand that those who create, spend their energy and expect compensation in return, in the form of different energy. I believe in a perfect world, the compensation would be appreciation, respect. The particular paradigm we live in is skewed. For what is the difference between paper money and say toilet paper except for the value we endow each of them? But I can take this even further to how can you claim ownership over a piece of land, or the sky or the sea? What I am saying is that it would be unfair to limit this to intellectual property. And until we live in a better world, those of us who can, will go on sharing for free, and those of us who can't, will go on charging.

Thank you, namaste


answered 12 Nov '10, 18:41

daniele's gravatar image


The best things in life are free. Once the seeker is ready the teacher will appear. The person who is seeking will attract what is needed to help him/her to grow. Those who want to share and profit from their knowledge has a right to do so but there will allways be others who have the knowledge and will not charge for it.


answered 13 Nov '10, 00:22

Drham's gravatar image


well to make something you need to work for it! so to make everything free is impossible! as for copywrite in dvd software music etc. they should stop making that to bother the customer! usely if it is pirate it is from someone working for them! and when that happens the movie come in store 6 month before it is in cinema! the customer making copy is doing something that he is allow to do! the customer pay the machine and the storage to make the copy! and he does it on is time!so puthing stuff to stop the customer to do what he is allow to do is very bad business! and also what they put in there can harm the customer pc. and that compagny can receive legal suit against them! when they sell million of item that cost 5 buck to do and sell them 45 buck i don't see why they need to harass customer! so what if the customer make a fee copy! will it make them poor? 45 $ x 1 000 000= 45 000 000!if 45 000 000 is not enuff to pay the cost and the work they have a big problem! money is only paper what if every one could print there own money then every one could buy the stuff they need and no more poor anny more! it would make the business wheel turn alot faster they could charge less and still make as more! it would create even more work so no more unemployed!


answered 18 May '11, 02:34

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

edited 18 May '11, 02:43

actually, i not sure that anything under the sun is really new and awaiting for explorers to but their name on it
but then that shows my reference.
look from the outside of the circle into the center,
ofcourse, done on your time


answered 19 May '11, 00:06

fred's gravatar image


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