Ray Bradbury and the Freedom to Imagine

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Do you ever stop to consider the the concept of intellectual property?

I just started working at Starbucks last week. Before my first day, I was given several little books of guidelines and policies to go over. One thing that struck me was their intellectual property policy that I found.

If, at any point during my employment, I come up with either an entirely new beverage or a twist on an old one while working, it belongs to the Starbucks corporation. Now, I’m not mad about this, and I’m not trying to challenge the good people at Starbucks, but it’s an interesting concept.

They literally own the rights to my idea. In my head. They own it.

I went to the library last week and got a biography of Ray Bradbury. I wrote an essay about his book Fahrenheit 451 last year and won $250, so I figured I should familiarize myself with him a bit. One of his celebrated traits is his extravagant imagination and willingness to bounce outside of the traditionally celebrated literary practices. Several of his books depict themes and civilizations that challenge the freedom to think independently, and establish imagination as a basic human right.

There have been times when people have tried to challenge this fundamental right. It’s just like the popular phrase surrounding the birth control movement – “My Body, My Rights!” (Amnesty International). This time, however, I find myself chanting:

“My Mind, My Rights!”

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