Information Flow is the exchange of information bits from one entity to another. That's a broad definition going down to the genes and maybe far beyond.
But for here I want to talk only about these bits we commonly name "intellectual property". I set this in quotes because I do think that it's wrong to think one human can own thoughts and ideas. I like to show some possible reasons for that and why information flow is a good thing. And besides: I think that property is theft, but that's a topic for another text, someday.
Informations are the sources, streets and storages of our knowledge. Each new thought, each new technology, each new tradition is based on former knowledge of other humans. We're truly standing on the shoulders of an giant. The giant formed of human knowledge.
When informations flow they nurture the development of new thoughts which transform into knowledge and later into new informations. Our scientific theories, mindsets and everything that's based on these both evolves in this process, our whole self evolves in this process.
The interesting part is that the growth of equivalent new information is independent from the human brains processing it, given alike informations to base on.
Of cause, some develop new ideas a lot faster than others, but ideas just blossom when it's the right time for them. You could recognize these phenemona easily in various events in the history of science.
When we speaking of information flow we don't mean only the flow. In fact, at most times the pure flow of information is for us as natural as breathing. The flow stucks and eventually get stopped, when mechanisms try to control the usage of information.
The main reason for the existence of these regulations is not to protect fame or publicity of the author. They try to control how the information is used. So, if you want to build or perform something which is already protected from some sort of regulation you first got to make an arrangement with the one who claimed it first. This gets especially weird when it comes to things which are natural evolved, like e.g. genes, or unspecific definitions, like e.g. rounded corners of tablet pcs.
When we take in account that each of this concepts and ideas which are protected by structures like patents or trademarks based on other concepts and ideas, which could be widely used without any regulation, it doesn't make any sense. Nowadays, the natural evolution of human thoughts through copy, combination and change of other thoughts is declared illegal and those who can't stop what's natural for us got seeked by the authorities.
In other words: at a point of human development, not even two hundred years ago, our societies established a mechanism which is trying to slow down our development of thoughts and ideas. Sure, these regulations where only against companies the time they where established. But in nowadays web, where everybody could easily become a broadcaster and producer, they work against people too.
I think it's our duty to (re-)establish the free flow of information. I'm not willing to endager the evolution of our culture for some companies trying to maximise there incomes.