Intellectual Property – A Short Story

If you've never had your brain subpoenaed, I can't say I recommend the procedure. First of all, it's nothing like those private clinics where you go for neural upgrades. It's more like a scene out of some 2000's sci-fi flick, with flat-panel screens and some big tube contraption that looks like it belongs in a museum. Not to mention that nauseous feeling when an out-of-tune scanner starts bumping around your neural implants.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It all started with a dispute over retention of intellectual property. Namely, Suzuki IP Corporation's intellectual property retained in my brain.

You see, I'm one of those modern-day anachronisms called a "translator." I'll bet you didn't know we even existed any more. Of course, we no longer sit in front of flat screens and clatter on keyboards like back at the turn of the century. There's no way that manual translation would scale up to the 1,000+ pages we need to translate every day just to stay competitive. Nowadays, we're more like bot herders, directing our little army of AIs to assemble translations for us. But then, I suppose that's what most jobs today are like, other than retro or novelty jobs like chef and Walmart greeter.

Anyway, it was by doing a translation job that I got Suzuki IP Corporation's intellectual property in my brain. Like most IP conglomerates these days, SIC claims that any neural structures formed as a result of processing their IP are derivative works, and therefore belong to them. So after you finish your job, they demand that you send them a diff of your brain scans before and after the job, and then use their approved wiper to erase that structure.

I'd experienced SIC's buggy wiper before, and there's no way I was going through that again. While you might think of it as a benefit to get the memory of your ex-spouse wiped as a side effect, I'll tell you from experience that it's pretty embarrassing to drunkenly attempt to hit on your ex at a party, only to have your ebutler remind you of the restraining order. But that's another story.

The scan-and-wipe is all a scam, of course. You can forgo SIC's overly aggressive wiper if you do the work on their equipment, in a full scanner harness recording every synaptic firing. This all then gets fed into SIC's own botnet, so that they can train it up to make your services even less needed.

I may be stupid, but not that stupid. I mean, I'd already specialized my neural structure so much for this field that I barely remembered how to butter toast. It just didn't seem right that for the price of a job, this corporation was going to copy that painstakingly built expertise into silicon, and put me out of work.

But I had a plan. Toward the end of the job, I split my awareness and participated in a focus group for a new breakfast product by Pfizer-Anheuser-Busch. Sure, they also require a scan-and-wipe, but their wipes are much gentler, and I didn't think that divulging my breakfast preferences was going to put me out of work.

Then when I went in for the PAB wipe, I simply had them wipe the whole awareness memory, including the SIC stuff. With no memory of the job left, SIC didn't even have a flimsy excuse for demanding their own scan-and-wipe.

Of course SIC was pissed, but the lawyerbots of PAB and SIC kind of canceled each other out. The only half-assed retaliatory move left for SIC was a brain subpoena, ostensibly to make sure I hadn't secreted away some of their IP, but mostly just to show me who was boss.

My arrest and processing were completely by the book: no-knock raid at 4:00am, bludgeoning with carbon-composite clubs, then hood over the head and a frog-march down to the station. This must have been quite traumatic before insta-heal shots and awareness tune-out. I don't know how they put up with it back in the 2000's.

Aside from the discomfort and the faint odors of piss and vomit ("Artificial. Just for atmospheric effect," my guard informed me), the police scanner was done pretty quickly, and I was out and ordering a new front door and dining-room table in a couple of hours.

Epilogue

For a day or two, I was happy at having beaten the system, but then the requisition list from the scan came in. It turns out that SIC had taken the scan of my whole plot as "evidence." Of course what they're going to do is create a signature from that scan, in order to thwart any future attempts at subversion.

I've also been blacklisted from most of the IP conglomerates. But the writing was already on the wall anyway — I figure that I could have worked for another three years, five tops, before I was made completely redundant by the AI bots. I've now started to rewire my neural substrate for a more balanced life. I saw a cool-looking Buddha Nature package the other day — maybe I'll go for that one. It ought to help me get over those fantastic shits at SIC.

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