Dave, your post and these comments were a pleasure to read. Your paragraph ending, “The source code of the imagination is existentially open” resonates with me esepcially. And Curt cracks me up.
You acknowledge in the aforementioned paragraph, though, that it seems absurd to “assert ownership and control over ideas.” Copyright law (or at least the law as I remember it — it has been over ten years) splits hairs: it makes a distinction between protecting ideas and protecting the expression of ideas (or of anything else). Patent law protects the some instances of the former, and copyright law protects the latter.
The distinction breaks down most strikingly, I think, with poetry. In what other genre is idea (or “content”) and expression so inseparable? I’m not sure if I feel any differently about poetry than I do any other type of literature as far as copyright protection is concerned, though. (I’ve always used the Creative Commons 1.0.)
And you’re right about ego and creation, at least with respect to writing. Though I’ve been wondering lately if children, many of whom create a lot more than I do, use as much ego to create as I do.