Lawrence D’Oliveiro
Sanitrights—A Modest Proposal

There’s a lot of hoo-hah over copyright piracy these days. “Content creators deserve to be paid for their hard work”, we are told.

Do people who work hard deserve to be paid? Well, then—who are the hardest-working people in the world? How about those who clean our toilets and our sewers? Shouldn’t they be paid more than anybody else?

And furthermore, shouldn’t these hygiene creators get royalties for their work, just like content creators do? After all, think about this: when you use a clean toilet, and dispose of your surplus excrement down a properly-functioning sewer, you are not just benefiting from the use of the facilities at that moment. No, you are also benefiting from the fact that you haven’t caught a nasty disease, like typhoid or cholera, from using unhygienic toilet facilities. Such diseases can really bugger up your life, not just kill you. So the fact that you are able to leave that toilet after using it in as good health as when you entered, and are able to go on living a productive life, means that you owe those who gave you that clean toilet. They have hygienic property rights over your life now (just like intellectual property rights, but closer to the opposite end of your body, if you know what I mean). In short, just like copyrights, they have sanitrights.

And remember, hygienic property is like intellectual property—you don’t own your good health, you only license it from the sanitright-holders. The initial licence is for your personal, non-commercial use only. If you want to use your good health for anything more, you need to pay extra for the necessary licence. Any kind of work that involves being able to stay conscious, get out of bed and move around would incur royalties on any income you get. Suppose you want to become a doctor, who earns a living from imparting good health to others—such a flagrantly commercial use of your own good health would have to incur the second-highest licence fee of all.

And the highest? That would be if you were to become a toilet cleaner or sewage worker yourself.

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