Intellectual Property: Dying Among Libertarians?

Stephan Kinsella at Mises.org says he detects a belief in and defense of intellectual property fading among libertarians--and he thinks that's great. He traces the documents and thinkers that lead him to this belief, hits at the supposed utilitarian arguments for IP, and gives some reasons why libertarians ought to abandon intellectual property:

The mistake made by IP libertarians stems in part from the imprecise, overly metaphorical Lockean notion that the reason you own things you homestead is that you "own" the labor you "mixed" with these things — rather than the more straightforward argument that by first appropriating an unowned resource you establish a better claim than latecomers — no fiction of "labor ownership" is needed (see "Intellectual Property and Libertarianism"). This mistake permeates the modern — mostly Randian — thinking about IP. This way of thinking about homesteading, and the American Founders' choice to put copyright and patent in the "protolibertarian" American Constitution...and Rand's and others' adoption of these ideas, has created a road block to clear thinking about IP.

They say that you own things you find (appropriate or homestead) and things you buy from others — and "also" anything you create. They miss the fact that finding and contractual acquisition exhaust the ways of legitimately acquiring ownership of external objects. "Making" or "creating" simply refers to the process of transforming something you already own by rearranging it so that it is more valuable to you, or to a customer, say...Creation isnot an independent source of ownership; it is a way of making your property more valuable. (See "A Theory of Contracts: Binding Promises, Title Transfer, and Inalienability"Against Intellectual Property, "Creation vs. Scarcity" section; "Objectivist Law Prof. Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphors"; "Libertarian Creationism." "Trademark and Fraud")

By assuming the "ownership" of labor, even though the ability to control one's actions and labor is simply a by-product or consequence of ownership of one's body..., and not an independent property right; by assuming that creation is an independent source of property rights, even though it is not; by assuming values are created, ownable things, rather than the changed utility of property the owner himself rearranged — these libertarians have equated nonscarce ideas and patterns with physical, scarce resources. After all, by your effort or labor, you create a plow, a house, or a song, right?

By treating these dissimilar things — nonscarce, infinitely reproducible patterns of information and physical, scarce objects — similarly, the IP advocates try to treat them with the same rules. They take property rules designed precisely to allocate ownership of scarce physical objects in the face of possible conflict and try to apply them to information patterns. In so doing, they end up imposing artificial scarcity on that which was previously nonscarce and infinitely reproducible.....

And what does IP do? In the name of capitalism and the free market, it imposes artificial scarcity on things that are already infinitely reproducible. In the name of the market — the same market that is working to increase the abundance of scarce goods, to decrease scarcity — IP libertarians argue that we should impose restrictions on nonscarce information — to make it scarce so that it fits into the round-hole property-rights framework they have erroneously decided to apply to the square peg of information.

Kinsella seems to be giving a utilitarian spin on what to most pro-IP libertarians is a moral case for ownership of those things you produce; I think most pro-IP libertarians would simply deny his contention that creation is not an independent source of ownership; indeed, it may seem a far purer and less problematic form of establishing just ownership than homesteading the existing physical world.

Such libertarians might say, who the hell cares about imposing artificial scarcity if you are defending justice? Land ownership is seen by many non-libertarians (and even some 19th century libertarians) as itself imposing an artificial scarcity when said ownership is divorced from occupation. Still, Kinsella's piece and its many links are a good guide to how a Rothbardian pro propertarian libertarianism can come to anti-IP conclusions.

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  • Dylboz||

    IP fails because it relies on the labor theory of value.

  • Old Mexican||

    IP fails because it relies on the labor theory of value.

    Give the man a cigar! He NAILED IT!

  • Argosy Jones||

    Except its not true, OM. IP protected software, entertainment, etc. is all traded between willing buyers and sellers and that is how its value is determined.

    So there.

  • James C Bennett||

    You are incorrect, AJ. Copyright and pattent restrictions, artificially reduce supply by forbidding anyone with the means and desire to do so from reproducing the IP and bringing the copies to market, thereby, and by design, increasing the price the IP trades at. IP proponents argue that this is interference in the market is a moral or utilitarian good, but no one is saying that it isn't a distortion of the free market.

  • Argosy Jones||

    I was pointing out that IP does not necessarily rely on the labor theory of value. It does not. Therefore I was indeed correct. IP protected items are indeed traded on a market even if it doesn't meet your definition of "perfectly free".

  • James C Bennett||

    I've read 265 other comments on this thread and not one of them was as clear, succinct, or convinving as this first one.

    Bravo, Dylboz.

  • IP is scarce||

    IP is a scarce commodity because it can't be produced without scarce resources. The scarcity is in the creation, not the distribution.

    If someone created a machine that could create a valuable physical object from air and dirt, then you would have the same problems with physical property. The only scarcity would be building the machines, not the property coming from it. It makes no sense to charge for the property that comes out. It would only make sense to pay for building a machine. In IP, the machine is the human brain.

    I think the only solution that will work for IP in a libertarian society is that the creator is compensated for the creation rather than the distribution of their product. This would be hard to accomplish, but I think it could be possible.

    For example, I would imagine that a software creator for example could advertise a product and set a price. When enough people pool their resources who want the product, the product is sold and is distributed. The author is compensated, and no IP exists afterwards.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: IP is scarce,

    IP is a scarce commodity because it can't be produced without scarce resources. The scarcity is in the creation, not the distribution.

    Fallacy of composition.

  • James C Bennett||

    His example looks plausable though.

  • IP is scarce||

    If IP had no scarcity at all, then there would be unlimited software and unlimited books and unlimited movies. There would be unlimited of everything IP of value, which there obviously is not.

    If a resource truly has no scarcity, its price would be zero. Even if there were no IP laws, IP products would still have a price above zero (even open source products can make money). For me to say that something is scarce because it requires scarce resources to produce it is not a fallacy of composition. It logically follows.

    The scarcity of IP is in the creation not the distribution. Any software developer knows there are limited resources in creating software. And there is scarcity in the number of available products. If you had read my post you would understand that I was talking about products available instead of supply of a given product.

  • IP is scarce||

    If people would think of free market economics in terms of available products instead of in terms of supply of a product, then IP solutions become more clear.

    People should pay for the creation and not the supply of a product. IP doesn't work because it tries to control the supply. What we really need is to find innovative ways to pay for creation instead of paying for the supply.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    This is actually more or less what I usually do regarding media production. I mostly just do work-for-hire and don't worry about royalties.

  • microwave oven||

    IP fails because it's retarded. You could steal everything at your local Best Buy and the penalty would be less than if you downloaded 100 songs.

  • Suki||

    If you are complaining that the government implementation is bad, I agree. If you are complaining that IP should not exist, I disagree.

  • ||

    IP fails because it's retarded.

    Well, that settles it. Everybody go home.

  • ||

    I guess I'd agree with those who would claim that property ownership is nothing more than imposing artificial scarcity. It's merely a utilitarian argument that applies similarly to IP. We determined that absent property rights, people would either spend an inordinate amount of effort protecting their property, or absolutely no effort maintaining it (knowing that it could be taken at any point). Thus, we came to the conclusion that outsourcing the enforcement of property rights was good for everyone.

    The same argument can be made of IP, though, it's clearly more complicated, because there is no physical product to protect. Some IP (and I stress SOME) requires an immense amount of time and effort to develop. Absent IP protection, it's hardly unreasonable to ask if those investments would be made. And even if the investment occurred, we would expect the owners to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort protecting it.

    I don't consider there to be some inherent moral value protecting IP. But people will protect their own IP... in one way or another. The way they do will be very different than say, building a moat around a castle, but the metaphor isn't far off.

  • ||

    "I guess I'd agree with those who would claim that property ownership is nothing more than imposing artificial scarcity."

    Both you and Doherty have misunderstood the meaning of economic scarcity. All physical resources are by definition scarce. Information patterns are not scarce because they are not physical and thus infinite.

    "Some IP (and I stress SOME) requires an immense amount of time and effort to develop."

    The people I hired to paint my house and landscape my lawn did alot of work to create my exterior and my lawn. Yet they don't own my lawn.

    "Absent IP protection, it's hardly unreasonable to ask if those investments would be made."

    Here's that utilitarian "spin" Doherty was talking about.

  • ||

    Well I won't apologize for my 'utilitarian spin'; as I said, I find property rights in general to be important because they are utilitarian.

    The people you hired invested nothing and risked nothing. They agreed to a contract to complete work. IP is useful in its attempt to protect the investment of risk.

    Of course, we can argue whether the protection of IP stops more innovation than it encourages. Maybe it's just my limited imagination, but I don't see how any author can make a living if the minute he publishes a book, anyone can get the book for free. I suppose the libertarian argument would be that we would support it through charity.

  • robc||

    Plays/movies based on his work. Public performance, same way musicians make their money (although not the way record companies make their money).

  • highnumber||

    Why do you think that anyone would pay him for public performance rights if he has no copyright on the material?

  • robc||

    Because no one has ever gone to watch a cover band, right?

    Why do you think anyone in the audience cares whether the performer has the copyright? How many pop stars own the copyrights on their songs? Very few.

  • highnumber||

    I don't see any connect there. The copyright holders currently do get paid for public performances, whether we're talking about plays or pop songs.

  • ||

    Any publisher could make it a contractual condition of buying the book that the buyer cannot copy the book.

  • Brian E||

    Having every creative work come attached to an adhesion contract asking you to recognize a right of property in the work would be distinguishable from intellectual property how? Other than keeping the lawyers even busier than they are now, that is.

  • ||

    Because the contract that I am talking about is not asking you to recognize a right of property. That would mean that I am conceding that intellectual property is legitimate. The author can't say that he owns the information patterns contained represented by the book, but he can say that in order to buy this physical book that he owns, you must agree to not copy it. These are two totally different things. One (IP) is coercive, while the other (contractual agreement) is voluntary.

  • Brian E||

    The author can't say that he owns the information patterns contained represented by the book, but he can say that in order to buy this physical book that he owns, you must agree to not copy it.

    In other words, he or she is asking you to sign a contract to the effect that you will act as if there was a right of intellectual property in the work.

    Now imagine that in order to get a copy of the book, you had to agree to not copy anything in the Uni-Library Network of works, nor access a copy that was made in violation of that contract. Further imagine that essentially all works are in the Uni-Library Network. Oh, and your homeowner's association or rental agreement requires you to abide by those rules. As does the contract for the private road you use every day. And the market where you buy your food.

    Guess what? You've just reinvented IP as a network of contracts. It doesn't accomplish anything. It probably makes things worse.

    These are two totally different things. One (IP) is coercive, while the other (contractual agreement) is voluntary.

    Bull. Outside of libertopia where everyone is a fully informed and rational actor who makes decisions on pure principal rather than pragmatic outcomes, contracts can be coercive.

  • ||

    "Guess what? You've just reinvented IP as a network of contracts. It doesn't accomplish anything. It probably makes things worse."

    That doesn't make sense, a property right is not something you can choose to follow or not.

    Also, that is a totally hypothetical situation, there is no reason to think that is what would happen. It could happen, but that doesn't mean it will.

    Basically, what you are saying is that everyone agrees to sign a contract that recreates IP law. That's fine by me, as long as its everyone. But I don't think it will be.

    "Outside of libertopia where everyone is a fully informed and rational actor who makes decisions on pure principal rather than pragmatic outcomes, contracts can be coercive."

    Contracts are voluntary even though people aren't robots. In order to be coerced you have to be forced to do something, not just stupid enough to do something.

  • Brian E||

    Basically, what you are saying is that everyone agrees to sign a contract that recreates IP law. That's fine by me, as long as its everyone. But I don't think it will be.

    You've failed to account for everyone being big, fat, stupid, shortsighted jerks. Why do you think things are the way they are now?

    Also, it's quite possible that people are just optimizing for a different set of things than you. They're willing to make tradeoffs you're not. Virtually everyone who has used a computer has agreed to a contract that restricts what they can do with it beyond what copyright law already imposes. Based on this, am I supposed to believe that contractual copyright is unlikely to gain widespread acceptance in libertopia?

    Contracts are voluntary even though people aren't robots. In order to be coerced you have to be forced to do something, not just stupid enough to do something.

    Bull. Stabby isn't the only kind of force. People are sensitive to harms beyond violence.

  • Edwin||

    Yes, that's really very stupid.

    You're basically just describing IP. A system of do-not-copy contracts would be the same thing, just a lot harder to enforce. Hell, the law doesn't even necessarily recognize IP as being any different from what you've described - if anybody wants to call it property they can, if you want to consider it a system of contracts you can. It's all just in your head.

    What you're saying is like suggesting that surveying and deeds should all be handled by contracts and private organizations. Sure it's do-able, but it's stupid and a lot less effective and quick.

  • ||

    "You're basically just describing IP."

    Please get this through your thick skull so I don't have to keep repeating myself:

    The problem with IP is that it is coercive.

    Remove coercement from IP and there is no problem.

  • ||

    "You've failed to account for everyone being big, fat, stupid, shortsighted jerks. Why do you think things are the way they are now?"

    I don't have to account for idiotic generalizations. Stupidity doesn't change the rules of morality. Things are the way they are now because we have a system of coercement.

    "Also, it's quite possible that people are just optimizing for a different set of things than you."

    We are just going in circles now. I never optimized for IP laws. Does that mean I don't have to follow them? Or are you a majoritarian as well as a utilitarian?

    "Virtually everyone who has used a computer has agreed to a contract that restricts what they can do with it beyond what copyright law already imposes."

    But we aren't talking about contracts that are voluntary. We're talking about laws.

    "Based on this, am I supposed to believe that contractual copyright is unlikely to gain widespread acceptance in libertopia?"

    You don't have to believe anything. I give no guarantee of anything going one way or the other in libertopia. This is a utilitarian concern that has no moral sway. I don't care whether or not people adopt a copyright system as long as the system is voluntary.

    "Bull. Stabby isn't the only kind of force. People are sensitive to harms beyond violence."

    Everyone is "harmed" in some way every day. That's life. Some actions are within people's rights even though they might "harm" someone else.

    Libertarianism doesn't aim to make everyone's lives perfect and pain-free, it just aims for a voluntary, free society. We can speculate about what would happen in that society, but why would we if that society is the goal itself?

  • Edwin||

    What the hell don't you understand about the fact that having a bajillion do-not-use-this-idea contracts would be impossibly costly and slow to enforce don't you understand?

    Great, you're logically consistent, but it's impossible to implement what you're saying in the real world. You're logically consistent; you're a logically consistent moron.

  • ||

    "What the hell don't you understand about the fact that having a bajillion do-not-use-this-idea contracts would be impossibly costly and slow to enforce don't you understand?"

    Not really. Just put it in the front page of the book. Also, we have been doing the exact same thing for computer programs for years. They're called EULAs.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    A contract system wouldn't use force on third parties who didn't sign the contract.

  • Edwin||

    your supposed "force" is a minor fault compared to the stupidity of a million contracts enforced by millions of lawsuits

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    No amount of force really bothers you that much Edwin. Thats what makes you an evil sack of rat crap.

  • ||

    "your supposed "force" is a minor fault compared to the stupidity of a million contracts enforced by millions of lawsuits."

    There would only be millions of lawsuits if millions of people broke the contract, and if the author decided to sue.

  • DJ Drugs||

    And if the author had money to sue. A network of privately enforced contracts would dramatically shrink the scope of IP protections.

    But there is no real difference calling it property of contract, the difference is how much of the enforcement costs the author can externalize.

  • ||

    There is a real difference. It's the difference between a voluntary contract and the coercive nature of claiming something as property that actually isn't.

  • KWebb||

    There are people who make a living by publishing free content. Web comic authors come to mind easily. They make it through ad revenue, donations, convention appearances and selling merchandise.

  • robc||

    And Erfworld may be getting a movie deal. It better be live action (with lots of CGI).

  • ||

    It's not charity to toss a dollar in a street musician's hat if you like the music. You are rewarding value perceived, and thus value received. You are also encouraging the artist to continue. On the other hand, neither is it theft to keep your dollar in your pocket and pass the performer by, even if you were having a bad week and the highpoint of your day was hearing a favorite song that the artist played well.

    I used to work for a company that produced "shareware," software that you could use freely without any payment being required at all. They raked in a fair amount of coin from shareware donations, because they concentrated on making products that "just worked." They were a little bit naive about what it would cost to support even excellent products, but their success -- for many years until they were bought out by another firm -- was proof that people really do want to trade value for value. There are people who will never pay their "fair share," and those who will always pay more. But there is a surprisingly large crowd of people who will simply toss a dollar into the hat. One of the big problems of intellectual property is that those who want to take advantage of the concept are not satisfied with a dollar in the hat, or whatever the equivalent might be in their line of work.

  • Suki||

    The IP for your fancy little yard is yours because you paid for it.

  • ||

    Suki, you have no idea what the hell we are talking about do you?

    First of all. The yard itself is not IP, nor did I say it was.

    Second, I was responding to the idea that people own information patterns because they put work into them. I countered this with an example of how one can work on something yet not own it.

    I own the yard because I paid for it, but more importantly I own the yard because it is a physical resource rather than an immaterial concept.

  • Suki||

    Suki, you have no idea what the hell we are talking about do you?

    Yes I do. Try working on your stupid example a little more. If possible, stop being a crybaby too.

  • ||

    You obviously don't, otherwise that sentence would have made sense in some way.

  • Suki||

    Crybaby, that was three sentences. Dry your eyes and try again.

  • ||

    No, this:

    The IP for your fancy little yard is yours because you paid for it.

    is one sentence. It's the sentence that I said didn't make sense. Try to keep up.

  • ||

    Also, it's idiotic and juvenile to call me a crybaby, especially when the tone of my comments was never hysterical.

  • MNG||

    "Suki, you have no idea what the hell we are talking about do you?"

    Just meeting Suki Heller?

  • ||

    No, I just thought you were the only one like that.

  • cynical||

    Maybe in some cases, but in the classic case of agriculture, to claim that property ownership is "artificial" scarcity is to claim that two people could work the same land and produce the same output that either could if they were working it alone. And frankly, if that was the case, property rights would not be ethical. In the physical world, scarcity is something that exists in and of itself. It's a problem to solve. Once you get beyond scarcity, you aren't dealing with economics anymore.

  • ||

    "Kinsella's piece and its many links are a good guide to how a Rothbardian pro propertarian libertarianism can come to anti-IP conclusions."

    Well, speaking as a Rothbardian pro propetarian libertarian with pro-IP conclusions but anti-IP sympathies, I think Hayekian pro propetarian utilitarian libertarians who are anti-IP often neglect to account for what Rothbardian sympathies are already inherent within various constituencies.

    In other words, if utilitarian libertarians don't figure out pretty quick that their natural allies are people who want to keep what they got--regardless of the outcome--then the Progressives are gonna keep stealing our lunch money and eating our lunch.

    ...libertarian mumbo jumbo or no mumbo jumbo, capiche?

  • ||

    "Well, speaking as a Rothbardian pro propetarian libertarian with pro-IP conclusions but anti-IP sympathies, I think Hayekian pro propetarian utilitarian libertarians who are anti-IP often neglect to account for what Rothbardian sympathies are already inherent within various constituencies."

    Gibberish.

  • Joe M||

    Don't let the big words scare you.

  • ||

    I understand what each word means. It's when he put them together in a seemingly random order that they became gibberish.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I think it is perfectly cromulent.

    DOH!

  • waffles||

    furbish

  • robc||

    To me its simple, if I think it, I own it. If you thought it first and registered it, too damn bad. If I cant make something I think, then you own me. Even if the only reason I can think it is because you showed me how.

    Fuck off slaver.

    That pretty much covers it.

    I guess Im the opposite of Ken - Im anti-IP with pro-IP sympathies, limited patent/copyright dont really bother me. Of course, of the two, only patent is limited. Copyright lasts as long as Disney has a congress in their pocket.

  • MJ||

    "Even if the only reason I can think it is because you showed me how."

    If you are not giving me any value in return for showing you how, exactly what reason do I have to share my information with you? Exactly why should I not do everything in my power to prevent you ever obtaining my information?

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    That's your failure to market your product in a way that let's you physically control how its used.

    The Coca-Cola company doesn't publish the recipe for Coke, then send lawyers out to stop people from making their own. Instead, they *keep it secret* and make it in house, and sell the finished product. Everyone wins, with no IP issue. See? Everyone wins.

  • MJ||

    The patent system, for instance, allows others to see the design and ponder potential improvements while the creator gets to profit from his initial effort. By requiring IP to be secret to be kept owned, you lose a certain amount of transparency. There are also situations, like drug approvals where there is no way to legally maintain secrecy. Everybody does not win in your paradigm.

    Furthermor, Coca-cola has often used IP rights to protect their brand.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    I'm referring to the recipe, not the trademark. They can't stop others from making colas that taste similar, or identical, or from reverse engineering the formula.

  • Yonemoto||

    I don't see what the big deal is about IPing drugs? I mean, if you have the infrastructure to make the drug, just sell it so fucking cheap that nobody wants to TRY to beat you on the margins. Simple. So what if they know the formula. What's the need for IP?

  • slayer of cheese||

    Well, if you did that it would take 80 million years to pay off the up-front costs, give or take.

  • robc||

    Without an FDA, the costs go way down (and for you utilitarians, net safety goes up!)

  • really?||

    bullshit.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Trade Secrets, like the Coke recipe, are intellectual property. They just aren't public intellectual property. Nevertheless, the Coca-Cola Company has rights in their recipe and most certainly can enjoin your publishing of the recipe, if you misappropriated the recipe. OTOH, if you reverse engineer the recipe, it's all yours. But trade secrets are most definitely IP.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Jeez - the point is that Coke's business model doesn't *rely* on legal means of keeping its recipe secret or unreproduced. It relies on *physical* means. No doubt they'd throw an army of lawyers at anyone that did anything to expose the recipe - no doubt they're bastards. But that is a far cry from *publishing* their recipe, or being careless with it, and then using the government to prohibit people from making use of it.

  • Gray Ghost||

    How does "Throw an army of lawyers at anyone that did anything to expose the recipe," not equal "Using the government to prohibit people from making use of it"? Lawyers have no power, absent the power of the state to compel obedience to judgments and other judicial orders.

    I guess I'm not seeing your point.

    Mine was that Coke has the legal right to stop you, innocent third party, from publishing their recipe, provided certain other things are true. That right comes from trade secret law, a branch of IP. I haven't read Kinsella's article, but I don't know if his argument for getting rid of all IP stretches to getting rid of trade secrets or trademarks. If so, his thesis is planted even more firmly in the air.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Wow. How nice of the patent system to allow me to read a usless lawyer-speak-translation of stuff I thougt up independently. I feel so special.

  • ||

    If you're talking about copyright, then yes, if you think it you own it. What you think is an idea, which can be expressed in many ways that are not copyrighted.

    Patents are more problematic. But considering most IP battles seem to be over music and movies, they don't seem to be on the forefront of anti-IP arguments either.

  • robc||

    I dont see how patents are more problematic at all.

    If I think of a way to build X, just because you built X first shouldnt impede me. If it does, you are claiming ownership of me. And sure, I might only have figured it out by taking your X apart. Tough titties.

  • ||

    I meant that they're it's more problematic to justify patents from an idealistic POV, for the reasons you mention. They require preventing people from acting on their own ideas.

    But I'm more of a utilitarian, so it doesn't matter to me.

  • robc||

    Fuck utilitarianism.

  • Mac's Girl||

    +∞

    It's in English you fucking squirrel!

  • ||

    "Fuck utilitarianism."

    Ditto.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Intellectual Property fails because as it relies on an archaic, almost spiritual conception of incoporeal ideas and "information".

    There is no such thing as information. There is only matter and its various states. There are no bits or bytes or ideas that exist independent of little atoms or electrons or photons in computers or in people's brains. Who owns and controls that matter - that's the proper property issue.

    In other words, I own my flat screen TV, and if I figure out how to bypass the governor the manufacturer installed in it, and manage to play "pirated" content on it, well, that's that, and you can go fuck yourself. You don't own the arangement of atoms on my hard drive. I do.

    Oh, and fuck Disney and Mickey Mouse.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Maybe here's a test of pro-IP libertarians' commitment to the IP cause: do they read EULAs?

    Exactly.

  • ||

    Red herring. As far as I know, EULAs have never been found to have legal significance, have they?

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Clearly, everyone ignores them, and they have virtually no legal power.

    But what about their *moral* significance.

    I can imagine a pro-IP libertarian somewhere, in a basement, religiously reading the Photoshop CS5 EULA, and, not liking what it says, virtuously declining to the terms and trying to get a refund (good luck!).

    But it seems to me that for everyone else, the fact that EULAs go unread and ignored, belies their moralizing on the merit of IP, at least in some small way...

  • ||

    I guess I don't understand the connection between IP and the EULAs. They have just as little significance as warning labels on physical products. Just because you believe in physical property doesn't mean you think it's immoral to eat the tasty crystals inside those shoebox baggies that say "DO NOT EAT".

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    I'm not the one that thinks it would be immoral.

    Pro-IP types would be the ones that should think they were morally bound to obey instructions to not eat the bag, especially if it said "by using this product, user agrees not to eat it".

  • Brian E||

    I don't see why defenders of IP should necessarily also defend ridiculous adhesion contracts.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Don't you see - if you believe in IP as a concept, you must agree to each and every manifestation of IP that currently exists. You cannot believe that there should be modifications to or have differences with any IP law or contract that currently exists, or will ever exist.

  • ||

    EULAs are not supported by any IP law, so it looks like we're safe.

  • ||

    I read the EULAs, but long ago concluded that no real-world customer could, in good faith agree to them and use the product solely as specified by the "agreement." As pointed out above, people "agree" to them mostly under duress. They are similar to employment "agreements" that are not full and binding contracts, but which many employers expect employees to sign, anyway. They almost certainly won't hold up in court, but they have a certain "moral force," by which people who think of themselves as basically honest and honorable can be "guilted" into complying with them.

  • DJ Drugs||

    Or EULAs could only ever be enforced by externalization of the costs of enforcement, so don't worry about it until someone busts you for breaking it.

    If a party attempts to make a contract with knowledge that it's merely a probabilistic right, I'm not sure that it's aggression to violate the contract, essentially it's not a real contract if there's no chance of enforcing it, if the words a felt to be empty by BOTH parties.

    Most EULAs are belt and suspenders Hail Marys. I don't think disobeying what's closer to a wish than a condition is definitely aggression.

  • roystgnr||

    EULAs were found to be enforceable in at least one court case.

    Which is a pretty profound and disgusting shift in intellectual property. With copyright the rationale is basically "People can offer to sell copies of their intellectual property under a contract with some restrictions, and if they stick to the 'default' contract then we won't make them go through the rigamarole of requiring a signature every time." With a EULA on an in-store sale you can delete the "if they stick to the 'default' contract" part of that, and now it's ridiculous - you're required to abide by terms of an "agreement" whether or not you've agreed to it or even read it before they took your money.

  • Brian E||

    +1

  • cynical||

    That's bullshit. Because EULAs are typically imposed after taking ownership of a piece of property and prevent proper usage of that property as sold, they're always agreed to under duress.

  • robc||

    No, here is the test of pro-IPs commitment: If its truly property, why does it have a time limit?

  • Gray Ghost||

    "If its truly property, why does it have a time limit?"

    Are you next going to argue that leases or life estates of real property aren't also valid property interests? Moreover, your point seems to argue in favor of perpetual IP. (Which I agree with, if we're talking about trademarks.)

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    No next he'll argue for perpetual ownership of land once its rightfully aquired. Which he probably wouldn't have a problem with. Do you? If not why is ownership of land permanent, but ownership of the right to use the government to force me to not make stuff in my garage with my own stuff not permanent?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Have you all read my latest novel, "Atlas Shrugged?"

  • ||

    No that was Ayn Rand. Wow it's good people these days aren't so naive like they were back when we had IP laws.

  • ||

    In the real world, a man spends a lot of time and labor to create and develop a new and beneficial product only to have that IP taken by another, (usually in China) and stripped of all possibility of returning on the inventor's investment.

    The end result is that many ambitious and inventive men stop inventing. Tragically, some of them would invent life saving and liberty protecting miracles. As an inventor myself who has had many inventions stolen with and without patents, I can tell you that it has that very effect on inventors and entrepreneurs. Also as someone whose life has been saved repeatedly by proprietary medical technologies, I need more than Libertarian gospel to be convinced that Liberty alone and pure is worth sacrificing all else.

  • ||

    No. In the real world, it's impossible to improve on someone's idea without being put out of business. Ideas and progress stagnate because someone things of something useful and it's never allowed to evolved past the initial moneymaking stage. The only way intellectual property owners make money is on the back of us, the taxpayers.

  • robc||

    In the real world, Mickey Mouse isnt yet in the public domain.

  • ||

    That's not an inherent problem with IP, it's a problem with particular implementation of IP law.

    Getting Mickey Mouse into the public domain is going to be a lot easier than demolishing IP.

  • robc||

    Some might say its the expected consequence of IP law. There might be an Iron Law that applies even.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Fucking Bazinga!

  • Anon||

    It's not my fault if someone else can do what you do better and cheaper. Cry to someone who cares.

    In example, how do you like using your super cheap computer made from super cheap parts made in china to post your drivel about china stealing ideas?

  • entrepreneur||

    How can you compete with someone that can just take your software and sell it for free? You can't compete with people that don't have to create anything, just pirate what you have made.

  • DJ Drugs||

    And I should be forced to pay to enforce your claims?

  • ||

    Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I had a software product that was in reasonable demand. Back then, "copy protection" schemes were big business, because it was well known that people would copy and swap disks full of software without making any payment to the authors at all. I used to get fan mail from users of my software who had no idea it was for sale, and who acquired it from pirate collections that were circulating freely in user communities.

    I wrestled with the IP idea -- and its alleged "guardian," copy protection -- for quite a while. I finally decided that the best protection for the software author was to ensure that his or her works were freely, readily available to all at a very low price, and that people could readily determine whether their copy was legitimate, and their payment was going to the author or his or her authorized representatives.

    People understand the relationship between creators and innovation, especially in literature, music, and general entertainment. If they can pay the creator directly, most people are willing to shell out a few bucks. Ubiquitous distribution over a large network enables this idea to become reality. I wish the internet and things like PayPal had existed when I was writing commercial software. I might be rich today, even if most of my customers "pirated" the software.

  • ||

    If I design an awesome shovel, but you figure out w way to make it better or cheaper, then yeah, have at it.

    You still have to spend money on raw materials, manufacturing, etc.

    With software, for example, M&M are a miniscule part of the cost. The bulk of the cost went into devising the algorithms, visual layout, etc.

    It's foolish to think that the same laws should apply to both.

    I don't have a better solution, but I'm not ready to concede that my work has no value in property terms just because there's a device that can copy it infinitely.

  • ||

    I enjoyed reading your comment, but, as it was nested under mine, and so presumably in response to mine, I don't see any connection in it to what I wrote. Maybe I'm just being slow today. But if you were agreeing with or objecting to what I had to say, please make that clear. Otherwise, I'll assume you were just commenting in general on the topic of the thread but elected to "reply to comment" by mistake, at the point where you were reading my posting.

  • ||

    I think I meant to reply to Anon's comment above, but due to working in a 3 inch screen on my phone, I hit the wrong "reply" link.

    My point was simply that "making it better & cheaper" is a whole different kind of concept when you're talking about software versus hard goods, and it's ridiculous to try to treat them the same way.

  • DJ Drugs||

    Or the end result is accurate price information, given that those prices would then reflect inherent costs of enforcing a given property right?

    An ice cube in summer should cost more than one in winter.

  • ||

    Without IP you have a society of scavengers. Nothing difficult will be done unless commissioned by the King (Chief Scavenger).

  • ||

    Ridiculous.

  • Yonemoto||

    with IP you have a bunch of lazyass inventors who instead of working hard to improve their product or sell their shit for less, sit on their fat asses and reap money.

    Yes, it's hard to keep moving on the treadmill of advancement. Well fine, blame the keynesians - they want to use inflation to light a fire under our collective asses.

  • DDavis||

    #### with IP you have a bunch of lazyass inventors who instead of working hard to improve their product or sell their shit for less

    No, what you have are corporations who own pieces of the minds of their employees, and can sue them if they use those pieces without their consent.

  • ||

    You guys are all treating this like "corporations are evil" and "inventors are information-hoarders". There are an awful lot more players in the game besides those two silly stereotypes.

    A large software project, for example, might take hundreds of engineers many months or even years to develop. When it comes out, it will be shipped on a CD that's worth 15 cents. ALL the value comes from the ingenuity, not the raw materials.

    The corporation needs some reasonable expectation that they can recoup the initial investment. Now, if your competitor looks at your product and says "I can do this cheaper/better/faster", then go for it. They still have to put in the effort to design & build it. I have no problem with that. But if they simply copy your product and slap a new logo on it, that's wrong.

  • ||

    "But if they simply copy your product and slap a new logo on it, that's wrong."

    This happens all the time. Ever heard of knockoffs?

  • ||

    At least in the world of physical products, the imitator has to make some investment in materials, manufacturing, etc.

    In the electronic world, copying somebody else's stuff is instantaneous and free.

    That's a fundamental difference.

    And it's a difference that didn't exist (in any practical sense) until 25 years ago.

  • ||

    The person who copies something still has to copy it in some physical form, so there is no real fundamental difference.

  • ||

    1. A little girl wears ribbons braided into her hair to school for several days. Others soon emulate the trend. The first little girl demands royalties for her intellectual property. When none are paid, she gets the teacher to coerce the others into paying. If IP is legit, isn't the first little girl justified? (paraphrasing of Jeff Tucker)

    2. While IP is contentious, most of us agree that physical property rights are sacrosanct. IP allows one to party to tell another what he may/may not do with his physical property. For example, IP allows you to tell me what patterns of grooves may exist on my own hard drive. What gives you authority over what I do with my property? Does it make sense to call upon a contentious claim (IP) to run roughshod over an established and agreed upon right (my sacrosanct ownership of my own physical property)?

    3. While its often treated as established fact, there's no empirical evidence that IP encourages innovation or that the absence of IP stifles it.

    I've always enjoyed Kinsella's work on IP and I'm glad to see this posted even if Mr. Doherty rejects Kinsella's conclusions.

  • ||

    "For example, IP allows you to tell me what patterns of grooves may exist on my own hard drive."

    Of course, if you have actual grooves all over your hard drive, of whatever pattern, the drive won't work very well. HD LP

  • ||

    Reason ate the angle brackets.

    HD does not equal LP

  • Jason||

    You need to use HTML entities:
    &lt; → <
    &gt; → >

    So:
    &lt;&gt; → <>

    Or you could have been fancy and used ≠.

    :)

  • ||

    Thanks for the tips. You'd think I would have picked up on all of this in the time I have been posting here, but, alas, no (despite the fact that I have maintained webpages at the html level before). I guess I am spoiled by other message boards, where you have a point-and-click interface to invoke special text effects and symbols.

    Speaking of symbols, I can certainly generate characters such as the right-arrow or not-equal sign, but have trained myself to avoid doing so, because they often appear garbled when viewed on other computer systems. Is there a special, meta-encoding way to signify symbols so that they display properly on all systems, or does the Reason message board handle any necessary translation or normalization under the hood?

    Is there anywhere on this board where the issues of typography and embedded HTML on this system are examined? I'd be happy to go there for additional info, rather than use any more thread space here.

  • ||

    By the way, I read through the linked material on HTML Entities. If this site behaves properly with respect to them all, then I'm good to go. Otherwise, if there are exceptions, I hope there is somewhere on this (Reason) site that explains them. Thanks again.

  • MJ||

    "Making" or "creating" simply refers to the process of transforming something you already own by rearranging it so that it is more valuable to you, or to a customer, say..."

    Of course, whether you own something is only a theoreical construct until you convert it into useful form, convert those grasslands into grain and beef, harvest the lumber, mine the iron, pump the petroleum. Ownership by homesteading did require making improvements to the land which require putting mental effort into what the land can produce. Raw materials are not really useful without the end results.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What if I just take an existing intellectual property and put a clock on it or something? Does that count as real, ownable property?

  • ||

    So, if I choose to make my living with my mind, spend ten years inventing a useful product, and then others utilize my ten years of work to make money for themselves; I can just go fuck myself?

  • ||

    As long as the device you use to fuck yourself is not patented. Chances are it is, cause that's a gold mine of an idea.

  • MJ||

    To the 21st Century libertarian, Muscle trumps Mind.

  • Mac's Girl||

    Oh Don't Let It Bother You Little Boy

  • ||

    We'd be the last to try and stop you from fucking yourself. Its not our place.

    There are always costs of exclusion. A theater must employ ticket takers just as a software company must add registration codes and such to restrict unwanted access.

    Also, does anyone think Kenneth Cole won't be paid for his clothing designs simply because others can emulate them later? Of course not. Companies want to be the first to market and will pay a premium for new ideas.

    Thus, while you may still choose to fuck yourself, you certainly have other options.

  • DJ Drugs||

    Yes, internalization of exclusion costs is crucial to price accuracy.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    If you labor for ten years on an idea that doesn't include a good way to bring it to market, sans lawyers and IP mumbo jumboo, its a shitty idea, and you've fucked yourself.

    There's a reason some factories have fences and walls, and don't allow visitors. They've got a great widget-making idea at work in there, and they don't want you to see what it is. They don't sell the idea (or get the gubmint to shake us down if they did). Instead, they sell widgets.

  • Brian E||

    And how the hell does that work without IP? There's precious little rocket science in most of the widgets on the market. There's a design and then there's software, and absent IP the minute (more or less) a product is released an exact clone of that product will show up on the market.

    If there's no legal protection for that software manufacturers might start building in even more odious DRM bullshit into their software than there is now.

    I don't see how it's hard to understand that people create new products because there's a reasonable hope of reward in it. Without some kind of exclusivity it's just a race to the bottom.

    Oh, and if you accept the validity of contracts (what good libertarian doesn't) then a lot of the stuff that's covered by IP now will just convert into adhesion contracts. How's that help anything?

  • Yonemoto||

    If there's no legal protection for that software manufacturers might start building in even more odious DRM bullshit into their software than there is now.

    No, because then consumers WOULD NOT BUY IT. The correct answer is: "if there's no legal protection for that software manufacturers might start lowering prices to the point where cost of copying is marginal to the cost of buying."

  • Argosy Jones||

    ...cost of copying is marginal to the cost of buying.

    and when the cost of copying is zero the quantity supplied at that price will approach zero.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    There's precious little rocket science in most of the widgets on the market. There's a design and then there's software,

    You have no idea how much talent and tacit knowledge goes into running a successful factory... There are many manufacturers in many industries that have a competitive edge solely on the basis of quality control and cost control.

    You can stretch the point by saying "yes, and THAT's their intellectual property", but that is missing the point entirely. They are not selling their intellectual property - they keep that for themselves. Instead, they sell the end products...

  • cynical||

    In a society without IP, you would know up front that others could steal your idea. At that point, it would be your choice whether to deal with that or not.

  • Josh Fulton||

    The real solution to the IP problem:

    http://joshfulton.blogspot.com.....lsory.html

  • ||

    1. Fear the word compulsory.
    2. Your proposal still grants one party control over another's physical property. Not cool.

  • Josh Fulton||

    Compulsory is just the term that's traditionally been used. The meaning is fine.

    "Physical property?" Not sure what you're talking about, but this plan doesn't give anyone any more control than traditional property rights do, unless we want to say that's somehow too much "control" for one person.

  • MNG||

    I think IP should scare libertarians as it shows that "property" is not some part of some cosmic natural law but is rather a social construction par excellence. The concept has no value apart from its utility (which I actually think is quite high believe it or not).

  • ||

    But, since IP is not actually property, everything you just said is wrong.

  • Yonemoto||

    I think many natural law libertarians acknowledge that there are many, quite important rights that aren't 'natural rights'. For example, the right to a trial by jury. Totally utilitarian.

    Rights are simply things that government is not allowed to impinge upon, the concept is entirely framed as a critical subspace the 'negative space' of government power.

    NATURAL rights are those rights which exist for robinson crusoe alone on the island. Right to speech, right to religion, right to assemble rocks to make a council, right to bear arms, etc.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    Brian, thanks for the plug.

    This piece was not meant to set out the case for IP but to discuss how and why the tide has been turning against IP among libertarians. For more information see my Against Intellectual Property, "Intellectual Property and Libertarianism," and "The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide," available at
    http://www.stephankinsella.com/publications/#IP

    I don't think my argument is utilitarian; in fact the argument against IP need do nothing more than show that IP is incompatible with basic libertarian principles.

    The utilitarian case for IP is flawed on many counts: there is no good evidence that it does what its proponents say, namely create net wealth due to incentivizing more innovation and creativity (and the burden of proof is on them); there are methodological problems with such arguments anyway (utility cannot be measured or interpersonally added or subtracted); and it's immoral to take money from a rich guy and give it to a poor guy just because the latter values it "more" (and it's wrong for a desperate guy to rape a hooker, even if you argue he gets "more" out of it than she suffers).

    The creation case for IP is also flawed. Standard libertarian-Lockean principles already specify who owns a given scarce resource: its homesteader, or someone who can trace their title back to it.

    Creation in the IP context typically means coming up with some creative, useful way to use property that we already own. The pattern of words that constitute a "novel" may be displayed on some physical medium to be read by someone (say, printed on a book). The same with the pattern for a song or movie. A recipe or technique (process) can guide the preparation of a food dish or something else. The idea behind a better mousetrap can be used to shape one's property to make it function better--to have more value to the user.

    As I note in Rand on IP, Owning “Values”, and “Rearrangement Rights”, even arch-IP advocate Ayn Rand recognized, "

    The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power–and it is the only meaning of the concept “creative.” “Creation” does not (and metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of nothing. “Creation” means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before."

    If you rework your own property into a more valuable design then you already own the resulting item; no new property rights are created. You owned your property before you rearranged it and you own the rearranged property too.

    To grant someone property rights in the pattern of the object has to mean granting them partial property rights over the property over everyone else in the world--the right to veto certain uses of that property. But of course that property is already owned by third parties, in accordance with libertarian-Lockean property-assignemnt principles; so granting veto rights to the "pattern creators" is nothing but a transfer of property rights from existing owners to pattern creators favored by the state.

    Often, libertarians who are unsure about the IP issue--many of whom fancy themselves principled and not utilitarian (they would oppose antitrust law, say, and minimum wage law, on the grounds that business owners have a right to do x, y z, not on the grounds that it's "efficient" to "permit" them to collude on prices or offer low salaries)--ask "but how will authors get paid?" or similar questions. As if a question is a rebuttal. As if, if the answer is not pleasing, then this means state granting of artificial monopoly pattern privileges is somehow justified--it's not. This doesn't follow. As if those who see that IP contradicts property rights have some kind of duty to prognosticate and paint a picture of the future world that would emerge once these IP shackles are removed--even though one reason we do not know, is that state IP law has preempted this whole area and squelched private arrangements that would naturally arise without.

  • ||

    "The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses"

    Tell an author or songwriter that.

  • ||

    An author turns information patterns into ink on paper or pixels. A songwriter does the same. All information patterns have can only be represented as a mixture of physical resources.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    [reposted to correct formatting error]

    Brian, thanks for the plug.

    This piece was not meant to set out the case for IP but to discuss how and why the tide has been turning against IP among libertarians. For more information see my Against Intellectual Property, "Intellectual Property and Libertarianism," and "The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide," available at
    http://www.stephankinsella.com/publications/#IP

    I don't think my argument is utilitarian; in fact the argument against IP need do nothing more than show that IP is incompatible with basic libertarian principles.

    The utilitarian case for IP is flawed on many counts: there is no good evidence that it does what its proponents say, namely create net wealth due to incentivizing more innovation and creativity (and the burden of proof is on them); there are methodological problems with such arguments anyway (utility cannot be measured or interpersonally added or subtracted); and it's immoral to take money from a rich guy and give it to a poor guy just because the latter values it "more" (and it's wrong for a desperate guy to rape a hooker, even if you argue he gets "more" out of it than she suffers).

    The creation case for IP is also flawed. Standard libertarian-Lockean principles already specify who owns a given scarce resource: its homesteader, or someone who can trace their title back to it.

    Creation in the IP context typically means coming up with some creative, useful way to use property that we already own. The pattern of words that constitute a "novel" may be displayed on some physical medium to be read by someone (say, printed on a book). The same with the pattern for a song or movie. A recipe or technique (process) can guide the preparation of a food dish or something else. The idea behind a better mousetrap can be used to shape one's property to make it function better--to have more value to the user.

    As I note in Rand on IP, Owning “Values”, and “Rearrangement Rights”, even arch-IP advocate Ayn Rand recognized,

    The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power–and it is the only meaning of the concept “creative.” “Creation” does not (and metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of nothing. “Creation” means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before.

    If you rework your own property into a more valuable design then you already own the resulting item; no new property rights are created. You owned your property before you rearranged it and you own the rearranged property too.

    To grant someone property rights in the pattern of the object has to mean granting them partial property rights over the property over everyone else in the world--the right to veto certain uses of that property. But of course that property is already owned by third parties, in accordance with libertarian-Lockean property-assignemnt principles; so granting veto rights to the "pattern creators" is nothing but a transfer of property rights from existing owners to pattern creators favored by the state.

    Often, libertarians who are unsure about the IP issue--many of whom fancy themselves principled and not utilitarian (they would oppose antitrust law, say, and minimum wage law, on the grounds that business owners have a right to do x, y z, not on the grounds that it's "efficient" to "permit" them to collude on prices or offer low salaries)--ask "but how will authors get paid?" or similar questions. As if a question is a rebuttal. As if, if the answer is not pleasing, then this means state granting of artificial monopoly pattern privileges is somehow justified--it's not. This doesn't follow. As if those who see that IP contradicts property rights have some kind of duty to prognosticate and paint a picture of the future world that would emerge once these IP shackles are removed--even though one reason we do not know, is that state IP law has preempted this whole area and squelched private arrangements that would naturally arise without.

  • ||

    As if a question is a rebuttal. As if, if the answer is not pleasing, then this means state granting of artificial monopoly pattern privileges is somehow justified--it's not. This doesn't follow.

    A textbook example of dogmatic ivory tower reasoning.

    Out here in the real world, we would like authors to get paid, because people generally do not do good work for free. If you contend that your philosophy is not going to allow authors to get paid, all that proves is that your philosophy is incompatible with the real world that we would like to live in.

    You sound like a libertarian Pope -- issuing proclamations that the faithful must believe, without worrying about the effect those proclamations will have on the numbers of the faithful and the effect the faith has on the real world.

  • robc||

    A textbook example of dogmatic ivory tower reasoning.

    You say that like its a bad thing.

    without worrying about the effect those proclamations will have on the numbers of the faithful and the effect the faith has on the real world.

    The ends NEVER justify the means.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    "Out here in the real world, we would like authors to get paid"

    I don't think the goal of libertarianism is "to make sure authors get paid."

  • ||

    If that is so, then libertarianism is not compatible with a society where authors have incentives to produce works without patronage.

    I don't think that's so -- libertarianism properly understood is compatible with IP. But, your conception of libertarianism is not.

  • *rolls eyes*||

    "Libertarianism properly understood"

    Do you really not understand how absurd that statement is? You sound like a fundamental Christian.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    "Out here in the real world, we would like authors to get paid"

    I don't think the goal of libertarianism is "to make sure authors get paid."

    "issuing proclamations that the faithful must believe, without worrying about the effect those proclamations will have on the numbers of the faithful and the effect the faith has on the real world."

    You may not realize this but there are actually some principled libertarians out there--as opposed to wonkish, utilitarian, unprincipled, sellout, compromising, "minimal state" types.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    "Out here in the real world, we would like authors to get paid"

    I don't think the goal of libertarianism is "to make sure authors get paid."

    "issuing proclamations that the faithful must believe, without worrying about the effect those proclamations will have on the numbers of the faithful and the effect the faith has on the real world."

    You may not realize this but there are actually some principled libertarians out there--as opposed to wonkish, utilitarian, unprincipled, sellout, compromising, "minimal state" types.

  • ||

    there is no good evidence that it does what its proponents say, namely create net wealth due to incentivizing more innovation and creativity (and the burden of proof is on them)

    No, sir. You are the one proposing to turn the current state of the law upside down; the burden of proof is on YOU.

    As if those who see that IP contradicts property rights have some kind of duty to prognosticate and paint a picture of the future world that would emerge once these IP shackles are removed--even though one reason we do not know, is that state IP law has preempted this whole area and squelched private arrangements that would naturally arise without.

    Ah, the other extremist libertarian favorite: postulating the development of currently-unknown workarounds that prevent the implementation of your philosophy from having the disastrous effects that are easily foreseen. Unless you are a religious man, you have to admit that there is no force in the universe that prevents moral, beautiful, and consistent philosophies (assuming for the moment yours is such) from having terrible results in practice. It's a flashback to my arguments with our resident anarcho-free-enterprisers, who naively claim that an unknown, unforeseen happenstance will occur after the state vanishes that prevents private security forces from becoming coercive in their own right.

  • robc||

    You are the one proposing to turn the current state of the law upside down; the burden of proof is on YOU.

    Wrong. The state of (natural) law is against IP. Those supporting the exception have the burden of proof.

  • Brian E||

    Who appointed you high and mighty arbiter of natural law? What makes contracts natural (or are you throwing those out too)? What about real property that you aren't actually holding or defending? Or are you abandoning those too?

  • DJ Drugs||

    What makes it ok to force others to protect my property?

  • robc||

    the other extremist libertarian favorite

    Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

    If you arent an extremist, you are doing it wrong.

    Unless you are a religious man, you have to admit that there is no force in the universe that prevents moral, beautiful, and consistent philosophies (assuming for the moment yours is such) from having terrible results in practice.

    I am a religious man, and I still admit that. I dont care about results. I feel like Im arguing with MNG again.

  • ||

    Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

    The point of defense is to avoid losing that which you defend...so if your extreme defense actually causes more liberty to be lost than a moderate one would, it's definitely a vice.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    "You are the one proposing to turn the current state of the law upside down; the burden of proof is on YOU."

    You do realize the current law is state law, right? There is no reason to presume state law is libertarian or just. Why would you give it a presumption of validity?

  • ||

    From the top of one of your articles:

    Journal of Libertarian Studies
    Volume 15, no. 2 (Spring 2001): 1–53 ©2001 Ludwig von Mises Institute www.mises.org

    AGAINST INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
    *
    N. Stephan Kinsella

    So it is the status quo that we live in, and even your beloved Mises Institute has accommodated as seen above.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    A copyright notice is irrelevant; there is a copyright in original works whether you slap a notice on it or not.

    Since I have published this article the Mises Institute had opened all its publications up and publishes Creative Commons -- see the footer at the bottom of their site. See see Doug French, "The Intellectual Revolution Is in Process"and others linked in my Death Throes article

    Unfortunately it is almost impossible to get rid of copyright-- see http://blog.mises.org/9240/cop.....ry-sticky/

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    So, for exampel, my most recent Mises Institute Book, a Hoppe Festschrift, is online for free, and has the CC noteice in it: http://www.stephankinsella.com.....published/

    as do all new books at Mises Institute. And the more recent ones are put online for free in epub format too -- http://mises.org/literature.as.....e&Id=9

  • ||

    The Creative Commons license would be unenforceable if it weren't for copyright law backing it up. Same with the GFDL "copyleft" protection...they enforce the requirement to distribute the source by filing a copyright suit against anyone who fails to do so.

    Dumping IP laws is going to make every work public domain, unless some sort of special contractual agreement is worked out with each person who is given access to the work, which is going to be a mess.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    What you said is correct except for your last clause. Yes, CC goes away, as does copyleft. Good, I dislike them. As for "mess"--is it the job of libertarianism to "stop messes"?

  • Spazmo||

    Tulpa, why don't you quit trying to argue with someone who knows what he's talking about?

  • ||

    I thought I was arguing with Stephen Kinsella. I might have screwed up the "reply" buttons, so I apologize if I've been mistakenly arguing with someone who knows what he's talking about.

  • SomeGuy||

    I'm glad to see Tulpa making his usual vapid arguments. Further informs me that my anti-IP incliniation is probably correct.

  • ||

    Wow, that's quite an argument. I will try to learn from you, O master of ratiocination.

  • SomeGuy||

    Kinsella was here and perfectly willing to have a rational discussion. You respond, as usual, like a stupid fucking asshole. So you have already shown that you aren't going to learn anything from anybody.

  • ||

    Anarcho-Capitalism per Tulpa:

    Step 1: Collect Underpants
    Step 2: __________________
    Step 3: Liberty & Prosperity

    Boy, you've really put Rothbard in his place with that "unforseen happenstance" zinger.

  • ||

    I have yet to see an anarcho-free-enterpriser respond to that very question without invoking a deus ex machina or weasel words.

    So, do you have an answer for how security forces won't turn into governments under an anarcho-free-enterprise system?

  • Brian E||

    They don't. Anarcho-natural-rights-libertopia is actually a dystopia where one person owns almost all the property in the world and has had nearly everyone in the world sign ridiculous contracts in order to be able to use it, but it's morally justified because there's a commune of hippies on an island somewhere that live unburdened by utilitarian laws. Actually, I'm pretty sure Huxley already wrote that one. Fortunately I'm unburdened by IP so I claim the idea as my own.

  • ||

    See, Brian E doesn't think people are actually free until they do exactly what he would do if he was free. In fact, if they don't cooperate, he'll force them to act like they're free.

    Brian, you will never understand libertarianism if you can't understand that freedom includes the rights to behave stupidly, make mistakes, and harm yourself.

  • ||

    "So, do you have an answer for how security forces won't turn into governments under an anarcho-free-enterprise system?"

    I say they won't.

    This is now a utilitarian quandary. One person has said the future will be this way, yet another person says the future will be some other way. What a conundrum.

  • ||

    I've backed up my claim with compelling arguments as to why security forces will develop into governments. From what I can tell, you guys have just responded with wishful thinking or in this case, bald assertion. So it's not as even as you seem to think.

    And in any case, overturning the status quo to the extent you guys want to requires overwhelming evidence in your favor, not simply a shrug and a "why not?".

  • ||

    "I've backed up my claim with compelling arguments as to why security forces will develop into governments."

    And by compelling argument you mean explaining how security forces will turn into governments. Yes, I too can go into great detail in my hypothetical specualtions about how security forces will stay exactly the same.

    Wow, I really love this utilitarian stuff. It's like you just have to make claims about the future.

    "And in any case, overturning the status quo to the extent you guys want to requires overwhelming evidence in your favor, not simply a shrug and a "why not?"."

    No, all it requires is the determination of whether or not the status quo is coercive.

  • MJ||

    "As if those who see that IP contradicts property rights have some kind of duty to prognosticate and paint a picture of the future world that would emerge once these IP shackles are removed..."

    Except we have seen what happens in a world with weak IP protections. You get locked down and compartmentalized technoogical innovations which eventually become unaware of what is happening outside their insular group. In Kinsella's world, if I do not have a personal use for the new pattern I imposed on my property, then I have little incentive to think up patterns others might benefit from or simply enjoy.

    Kinsella seems to think that IP law sprung up without any consideration of trying to improve upon what went on before. Yes, you do have to explain how returning professional artists to a time of hobbyists and patronage, and engineering to proprietry secret inventions and processes is an improvement for the arts and technological sciences.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    "Except we have seen what happens in a world with weak IP protections."

    Yes, innovation would go up, as it did in Netherlands and Switzerland when their patent law expired for a time last century (see http://mises.org/daily/4018#note28 ).

    " You get locked down and compartmentalized technoogical innovations which eventually become unaware of what is happening outside their insular group."

    Let's say this is true. Is this an argument for a state law backed by force? Is it the state's job to decree laws designed to make sure the right type of innovation etc. is going on in society? Really? I thought law was to protect our rights from bad guys.

    "In Kinsella's world, if I do not have a personal use for the new pattern I imposed on my property, then I have little incentive to think up patterns others might benefit from or simply enjoy."

    This is ridiculous, of course--there are plenty of "incentives"--to build better products, to be first to market, to build a reputation. Or many other reasons. But so what if there is not: is it the state's job to provide "incentives" to "innovate"? Really? If it's not enough, does that mean we should have tax funded prize funds to make sure we have even more innovation? (see the links in my article about proposals to do just this)

    "Kinsella seems to think that IP law sprung up without any consideration of trying to improve upon what went on before."

    The Founders added this as a purely non-natural right, designed for utilitarian reasons: to try to tweak and twiddle with the market to "maximize" wealth--the assumption is that the incentives will stimulate extra innovation and creation, the value of which will dwarf the costs of the system. Thomas Jefferson was uneasy about this. But he went along with it. The problem is they were just guessing. At the time no one even tried to quantify the costs and benefits. And IP proponents don't do this even now: they can never tell you how they know the patent system (say) is worth more than it costs. Virtually all the studies attempted are inconclusive or conclude that it's a net cost to society, and even that innovation is decreased by IP law.

  • ||

    The world is not a debate club, Mr Kinsella. You can't throw a "so what?" at every practical concern that doesn't fit into your philosophical dogma.

  • Real Worlder||

    Logically consistent arguments are elitist.

  • ||

    "You can't throw a "so what?" at every practical concern that doesn't fit into your philosophical dogma."

    Why not exactly? Why should libertarians care about what happens inside a free society?

  • ||

    And that is why you fail.

  • ||

    Why don't you answer the question Tulpa? What problems merit coercion in a free society?

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    One more thing: Doherty writes:

    Such libertarians might say, who the hell cares about imposing artificial scarcity if you are defending justice? Land ownership is seen by many non-libertarians (and even some 19th century libertarians) as itself imposing an artificial scarcity when said ownership is divorced from occupation.

    Land itself is a naturally scarce resource. Property rights don't impose artificial scarcity. It's scarce because one person's use excludes another's. An idea, information, or pattern, by contrast, can be used by anyone who possesses it, without preventing others from doing this as well. (For a more in depth discussion of the role of scarcity in property rights, see chs. 1 and 2 of A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

    And even if there is something to the idea that an owner of unoccupied land should at some point lose ownership (as some left-libertarians and mutualists claim), this is not very relevant for modern industrialized societies where the land is usually still in use--if only by agents of the owner (typically, tenants of a landlord, or employees of a business owner). (See my A Critique of Mutualist Occupancy.)

  • ||

    That's not the correct definition of scarcity. By that definition, air and sunlight are scarce resources, since two people can't be using the same air molecules and the same photons at the same time.

    Scarcity presumes that there is not enough of the object for everyone to get what they want.

  • ||

    "By that definition, air and sunlight are scarce resources, since two people can't be using the same air molecules and the same photons at the same time."

    Yup. That is the definition.

  • Austen Hoogen||

    The purpose of copyright law was designed and intended to expand upon the body of works in the public domain. As an artist, a filmmaker specifically, I totally support reverting to the original constitutional limits on intellectual property ownership. 28 years of an artificial monopoly is enough! If I create something and can't make enough with it in that time limit then that reflects the overall value of the work. I think society will value more and respect copyrights when they are likely to be able to utilize the works which are created in their lifetime.

    I really regret that my grandfather was prevented from using images and ideas from his childhood, even under basic fair use provisions, all because Disney can afford to maintain its monopoly, even apparently beyond current legal limits. At the point society is controlled to such an extent, to be prevented from creating something new based on their own memories from life we are in effect institutionalizing "thought crime."

    And screw the children of creative people. Successful creators earn money and other assets that they pass on to their children. If the children of creators want to capitalize on creations then let them create their own stuff! How can you harm the "intellectual property" of a dead person?

    The limited term monopoly granted to creators exists only as a social contact between the public and the creator. Originally the public was rewarded for respecting this limited term monopoly by earning access through public domain at a reasonable future date. Society is denied such rewards from everything created past 1928 because must older, and ALL things created past 1978, are monopolized longer than any one member of society can live in order to realize such rewards. No wonder the social contract is breaking down: society no longer values giving something in exchange for nothing.

    Revert back to original constitutional time limits for copyright. It's the right thing to do.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    "As an artist, a filmmaker specifically, I totally support reverting to the original constitutional limits on intellectual property ownership. 28 years of an artificial monopoly is enough! "

    The Constitution has no time limits in it.

    If 28 yeras is enough, how about 5?

  • ||

    Both proposals are fine by me. IP wasn't meant to be for perpetuity. Just give the creator of the concept a "reasonable " period of time to cash in on their work. Likewise, if someone wishes to expand or improve on an idea, great, as long as they are not flat-out stealing an original concept as if THEY did the homework.

    But there seems to be a wave of total repudiation of the concept of IP among some libertarians. I call BS. Too many people claim that bootlegging digital music (for example) is not stealing, because they don't WANT it to be stealing.

  • DJ Drugs||

    It may be stealing, it may not be. Who should be burdened with protecting digital music from theft?

  • ||

    Mr Kinsella's formulation of the means of acquiring property is just as imprecise as that which he attacks as being imprecise. That most imprecise of words, "better", occupies a central place in his formulation, which will require a more complex set of criteria to implement his formulation in practice. Furthermore, his formulation gives no guidance as to why no one can claim ownership of large bodies of water or parts of the atmosphere. As usual, extremist libertarians who claim their philosophy is so gorram simple have merely taken the complexities inherent in dealing with the real world and buried them out of sight in some vague (however ear-tickling) words, or in some cases ignored them entirely in the hope that they will cease to exist once their philosophy is put into practice.

    I'm not terribly happy with the Lockean definition either, but as an attempt to justify property rights from scratch I don't think you're going to do any better. I view property rights of all sorts as a useful fiction, so IP doesn't really stand out.

  • ||

    1. Extremist = Logically Consistent

    2. One could "fence off" part of a body of water and farm fish just as one could fence off some grassland and farm buffalo.

    3. I'll get back to you on the atmosphere bit.

    4. +1 for Serenity/Firefly reference

  • ||

    1. I would agree that an insistence on absolute logical consistency is going to lead to extremism. Ultimately, total logical consistency is a dead end because your logic has to be founded on some basic non-logical assumptions in order to say anything.

    I prefer a fractured logical consistency, with cracks separating islands of logical consistency, with islands as large as possible.

    2. That wouldn't be allowed under the current state of the law, and I really don't think you'd like the results of that if it were.

    4. Thanks a ruttin' bunch!

  • ||

    2. Right. But, it is an example of applying homesteading to bodies of water.

  • Mangler||

    Ultimately, total logical consistency is a dead end because your logic has to be founded on some basic non-logical assumptions in order to say anything.

    Which is usually fine, because it forces someone who's already conceded that your argument is valid to instead attack whatever axioms you're using. If they're fundamental enough, this becomes a difficult task.

  • Edwin||

    not really, no axiom is completely correct, and often the "logic" libertarians use is lacking. And they frequently ignore important aspects of reality that play into any one issue. And moreover they ignore the difficulties in implementing and administering policies in the real world.

    The first critiques of libertarianism one finds when one does some googling goe over this pretty well.

  • ||

    Why does every movement have to become a freaking religion devoid of reason? What's the secret handshake?

  • robc||

    devoid of reason

    Drink?

  • Yes, I took V50||

    Self-ownership -> intellectual and labor output from the self -> the ability to trade and profit from that intellectual and labor output -> the ability to acquire tangible and real property.

    If rights are based on a moral foundation of self-ownership then it would follow that ones' own words, actions, and intellectual output should be something one retains ownership rights to. The right to acquire and hold tangible and real property is certainly also rooted in self-ownership yet these things are not part of the self in that they did not originate there. They are acquired through money made from selling or trading the output of your labor and intellect. By holding the right to tangible property sancrosanct while dismissing the right to control over and profit from your intellectual output seems to me to be a negation of the ability to acquire that tangible property to begin with.

    If there is no right to intellectual property there would seem to be no right to profit from ones' own labor either; labor and intellectual output are really two examples of the same thing.

    Kinsella seems to be basing his reasoning on scarcity rather than a moral basis of self-ownership. A utilitarian argument to be sure, but here's another utilitarian argument: suppose there is no right to intellectual property. What then? Are your medical records and library records fair game to post for everyone in the world to see? Can I print my own edition of Atlas Shrugged?

    Dismissing IP a currently trendy notion among some libertarians, probably because of the Richard Stallman influence, not to mention Facebook and Google trying to get away with pushing as many boundaries as they can. That doesn't make it morally right, nor a viable route to a libertarian future. If IP goes, all other property rights are going to fall with it. And if you don't retain a right to profit from your intellectual output you don't retain a right to profit from your labor either.

    The term for the latter is slavery.

  • robc||

    IP prevents me from profiting from MY intellectual labor just because you thought the idea first. The original thinker can profit from the idea without IP. The secondary thinker can profit from the idea without IP. The supporters of IP are the slavers.

  • MJ||

    What intellectual labor is yours? By definition, you are taking someone else's and putting it under your name.

  • robc||

    No, ANY thought that goes thru my brain is my intellectual labor.

  • MJ||

    I agree it is indeed laborious to squeeze something through such an impressively small area, but that's not really what us meant by "intellectual labor".

  • ||

    *rimshot*

    The point is: would that thought have EVER crossed your mind in vitro?

  • robc||

    Why should that matter? I thought it. It is my thought. I own my thoughts. No one lives in vitro.

    Fuck off slaver.

  • Edwin||

    only a moral absolutist could compare IP with slavery.

    What an asshole/

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    V50--Galambos alert:

    He "took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths dropping a nickel in a fund box every time he used the word “liberty” as a royalty to the descendants of Thomas Paine, the alleged “inventor” of the word “liberty”; and changing his original name from Joseph Andrew Galambos (Jr., presumably) to Andrew Joseph Galambos, to avoid infringing his identically-named father’s rights to the name."

  • ||

    "What then? Are your medical records and library records fair game to post for everyone in the world to see?"

    That would depend on what kind of agreements you had with your hospital and library, wouldn't it?

    "Can I print my own edition of Atlas Shrugged?"

    Sure, but in a world without IP, people wouldn't be naive enough to just believe that you wrote it.

    These are utilitarian arguments anyway, and are therefore meaningless to moral absolutists. Utilitarianism isn't morality, so don't say that call it a moral basis for IP.

    "And if you don't retain a right to profit from your intellectual output you don't retain a right to profit from your labor either."

    There is simply no right to profit from your intellectual output. This is a textbook positive right. Do you have a right to profit from making a complete piece of crap, even if it took you alot of effort to conceptualize and create?

    You don't retain a right to profit, you retain profit directly, or retain a promise of product from some contractual agreement.

  • Brian E||

    That would depend on what kind of agreements you had with your hospital and library, wouldn't it?

    Suppose I got my hands on them anyway? Surely I'm not bound by those contracts then.

  • ||

    How exactly did you get your hands on them? What happens next is dependent on how you got them.

    Again, these are all utilitarian concerns. We can go on and on with what ifs, but it won't tell you or me anything about the morality of IP.

  • Brian E||

    I have my hands on them because somebody else violated a contract and gave them to me.

    Saying that this is a utilitarian concern does not render it an amoral concern. I get the feeling that the anti-utilitarians here believe that the only kind of harm you can inflict on a person is the stabby kind. If that's the case, good luck getting anyone else to respect your arguments.

  • ||

    "I have my hands on them because somebody else violated a contract and gave them to me."

    Why would the hospital violate the contract? The one thing a hospital tries to avoid more than death is a lawsuit. See, we can go back and forth all day.

    "I get the feeling that the anti-utilitarians here believe that the only kind of harm you can inflict on a person is the stabby kind."

    You're going to have to be a bit more specific. What kind of harm are you complaining about?

    Utilitarianism will always be amoral from the viewpoint of a moral absolutist. Get used to it. We aren't here to gain respect from utilitarians, so that warning falls on death ears.

  • ||

    "death ears."

    Freudian typo...

  • Brian E||

    Why would the hospital violate the contract? The one thing a hospital tries to avoid more than death is a lawsuit. See, we can go back and forth all day.

    I've knocked up the secretary. She doesn't want to lose her job, but she doesn't want the kid to grow up without knowing his biological father. Who cares, right?

    You're going to have to be a bit more specific. What kind of harm are you complaining about?

    Do you really have to ask? I'm talking about slander. Fraud. Blackmail. The threat of being deprived access to loved ones. The threat of eviction. Of losing one's job. It goes on and on.

    Utilitarianism will always be amoral from the viewpoint of a moral absolutist. Get used to it.

    Your morals are absurd. Your absolutes are absurd. There's no decency to be found in either.

    *plonk*

  • ||

    "I've knocked up the secretary. She doesn't want to lose her job, but she doesn't want the kid to grow up without knowing his biological father. Who cares, right?"

    Yes, who does care about idiotic hypotheticals?

    "I'm talking about slander."

    Freedom of speech.

    "Fraud. Blackmail."

    Could be coercive, depending on the details.

    "The threat of being deprived access to loved ones. The threat of eviction. Of losing one's job."

    All positive "rights." You aren't entitled to any of those things, especially since they infringe on the negative rights of others. A property owner has the right to not allow you on his property. An employer has the right to not employ you.

    "Your morals are absurd. Your absolutes are absurd. There's no decency to be found in either."

    At least I have morals.

  • ||

    That would depend on what kind of agreements you had with your hospital and library, wouldn't it?

    You better make sure not to stray too far away from the hospital you made that agreement with. If you need an emergency appendectomy for instance, I don't think you're going to be in the shape to negotiate over the fine print in the contract in the ambulance on the way. You'd be really screwed if there was only one hospital within 50 miles and they didn't offer your preferred privacy policy...

  • ||

    The same is true for any other concern:

    You can't negotiate a price for the appendectomy, for example. What if they charge you $1 million, and you have to pay because they gave you the operation already???????????

    Dumb argument...

  • leavemealone||

    By assuming the "ownership" of labor, even though the ability to control one's actions and labor is simply a by-product or consequence of ownership of one's body..., and not an independent property right; by assuming that creation is an independent source of property rights, even though it is not; by assuming values are created, ownable things, rather than the changed utility of property the owner himself rearranged — these libertarians have equated nonscarce ideas and patterns with physical, scarce resources.

    Thanks for that Moby Dick sentence, ellipses excluded.

  • ||

    Somehow I think they will get over it.

    Lou
    www.real-privacy.at.tc

  • leavemealone||

    Jack, do you like camping with other men?

  • ||

    Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

  • ||

    You ever seen a grown man naked?

  • ||

    Joey, have you ever been in a... in a Turkish prison?

  • Argosy Jones||

    HERE! HERE

  • robc||

    A Van Gogh painting is worth millions more than a damn good duplicate, despite lack of copyright protection.

    Suck it IP supporters.

  • Mac's Girl||

    And Van Gogh and "his heirs" don't get jack shit every time it resells for a record price

    Swallow Bitches!

  • robc||

    They dont own it now. They got the money for the first sale.

  • Mac's Girl||

    exactly
    none sold in Van Gogh's lifetime either IIRC

    Disney gets a cut every time some kid eats Birthday cake off a Mickey Mouse paper plate. As they should IF THEY MADE THE PAPER PLATES

  • ||

    Because a Van Gogh painting has a physical form. For a book, however, the physical form is just a delivery mechanism for the words.

  • robc||

    See my response to you above. It worked for Willie S. (and yes, the crown supported him some with some equivalent to IP, so choose someone else, he wasnt the only author making a living at the time).

  • DJ Drugs||

    Noone forced authors to write books.

  • MJ||

    For reasons that such an original painting is almost impossible to reproduce with absolute faithfulness. The original is unique.

    Of course, that means a Van Gogh needs to wait until he is at the height of his name cachet to sell originals for max price. There's someone churning out cheap poster knockoffs and making a mint that Van Gogh does not have a right to a cent of without IP.

  • robc||

    Van Gogh should make cheap post knockoffs of his work first. Have them ready to go by the time you release the original.

    Maybe keep the originals and make money off selling tickets to see them instead of selling the actual works - would be tough for anyone to make accurate knockoffs, especially if you ban cameras at your shows.

  • ||

    It would be equally tough for anyone to tell whether they're knockoffs or not, if they don't have access to the originals.

  • robc||

    There are artists that can make counterfeits that can fool all but the very best experts. And even then, the fact that the counterfeiters usually dont know what the painting looks like under the frame makes it tough on them. If I cant tell the difference, will I enjoy the knockoff any less?

  • Brian E||

    And how much more is an iPhone 4 worth than an exact and functionally identical duplicate of an iPhone 4, even down to the Apple logo on the back?

  • robc||

    absolutely none. Which means both Apple and the knockoff company can make a profit selling them.

    Interestingly, at least to me, the one bit of IP I support is trademarks. Putting the Apple logo on the back is fraud if you arent Apple, hence my support of trademarks.

    Ditto the painting counterfeiter for that matter. Dont sign Van Gogh's name. Thats fraud.

  • ||

    Dude, the knockoff can sell them cheaper because they don't have to recover the R&D costs. Or do you think that Apple charges more than Chinese knockoffs just because they're an eeeeeeeeevil corporation?

  • Brian E||

    Why is it fraud? You're the one ascribing something to the Apple logo. It's just an object. Doesn't mean what you think.

  • ||

    Am I a lion? I don't think of myself as a lion ... but you might as well. I do have a mighty roar.

  • robc||

    Actually, if Apple has a contract with AT&T saying that AT&T will only provide service to customers with certified Apple made iphones, then the knockoffs are worth approximately $0.

  • Brian E||

    So right now I can get service from AT&T for any UMTS / GSM phone I walk in the door with, but you're proposing to get rid of this flexibility so that Apple can maintain their exclusive right to the iPhone 4? How does that help anything?

    Not to mention that all someone needs to do is get their paws on Apple's signing key to get around the restrictions. Just pay an Apple employee to turn it over; what's wrong with that?

    And who said AT&T could have exclusive use of those frequencies anyway? Why are electromagnetic fields passing through MY body somebody else's property?

  • robc||

    How does that help anything?

    Who the fuck cares?

  • Brian E||

    My point is that in the non-utilitarian libertopia, things get worse because everything in the universe is larded up with adhesion contracts that are probably going to be more restrictive than existing copyright law, but I have to click "OK" on every single one so it's perfectly hunky dory. Following a good idea to bad ends is dumb. At some point you have to account for other people being jerks and choose the lesser of two evils.

  • ||

    It won't matter to these guys, Brian. If the residents of their libertarian utopia are out in the streets clad in soiled, tattered garments fighting over cans of beets, while a private security force is quickly morphing into a totalitarian government free from the societal and customary checks and balances that constrained the old government...it won't matter.

    Who cares? So what? They won the debate. They were logically consistent.

  • DJ Drugs||

    In Libertopia, who will pay to enforce those contracts of adherence?

    Oh, that's right, without coercing others to pay the enforcement costs, perhaps no one?

  • robc||

    Why are electromagnetic fields passing through MY body somebody else's property?

    They arent. Feel free to modify or delete them as you see fit.

  • Brian E||

    I'm afraid you just hit the point of absurdity in this conversation. Do me a favor and assume I'm already broadcasting QRM that blocks your Internet connection.

  • robc||

    Which part of "Fuck Utilitarianism" dont you understand?

  • Brian E||

    Fuck anti-utilitarianism. I came into this world a sovereign self-governing entity and the minute I did so I was presented with a contract that said I had to put up with everybody else's bullshit in order to deal with them or to use their property, which included the entire world. I haven't ceded any of my natural rights, but it doesn't matter because I don't own anything and can be evicted forcibly for trespassing at any time. Utilitarianism is the only thing that mitigates any of this bullshit in practice.

  • Sidd Finch||

    You should've copyrighted that.

  • robc||

    you're proposing to get rid of this flexibility

    Im not proposing anything. Apple might, however.

  • robc||

    And who said AT&T could have exclusive use of those frequencies anyway?

    The FCC. It sure as hell wasnt me.

  • Mac's Girl||

    every robc comment FTW!

  • Dan Lavatan||

    These arguments don't change anything that matters. In a "pure" libertarian world artists would own the media on which they work is embodied and only rent it on condition that the renter be liable for any copies that happen to be created without the artist's authorization.

    Current law is mereley a simplification of what would happen in a free society, albiet an arbitrary and imperfect simplification.

  • robc||

    artists would own the media on which they work is embodied and only rent it on condition that the renter be liable for any copies that happen to be created without the artist's authorization.

    Which would be awesome as I could get my old casettes replaced with CDs or MP3s or whatever the next technology is. There might be a tiny fee for the upgrade ($1 for the physical cost of burning a CD or paying for download bandwidth) but other than that, I wouldnt have to buy the same albums over and over again.

    Plus, I could get a new copy of Dune cheap, my current one is falling apart.

  • Argosy Jones||

    read comment before posting reply.

  • ||

    This mistake permeates the modern — mostly Randian — thinking about IP.

    I blame libertarian mistakes on Randians

  • Mac's Girl||

    Randians up against the wall with the collectivists.Last one hung with the entrails of the other. Works for me.

  • ||

    We can't kill em.

    Who will we have to blame when our libertarian utopia crumbles around us?

  • Mac's Girl||

    Socialist lackeys? Running dogs of statism? Collectivist roaders?

  • BS Kalafut||

    Talk about a misleading headline! I was expecting poll results or at least a report on serious scholarship, but all this is a report on the Mises Institute Circle-Jerk Crown Prince's position on his pet issue.

  • Argosy Jones||

    Mises Circle Jerk

    That is so appropriate.

  • leavemealone||

    There is simply no right to profit from your intellectual output

    YAA-Ooch!

  • leavemealone||

    Oops, that was intended for dingbat Yes, I took V50.

  • ||

    Is it possible that there are problems that as libertarians it really is not worth solving?

    I guess when the government starts spending trillions of dollars on copy right protection and fills all the jails up with copy right infringers i will get around to giving a shit.

    Anyway Hulu and itoons is better then Pirates bay for multiple reasons. First it works more often. Second i do not have to worry about viruses and hackers. Third the quality is consistent and generally above that of pirates bay, and fourth the creators are rewarded for creating.

  • ||

    I agree with you completely. Now when can I get hulu for my net-enabled blu-ray player?

  • Sidd Finch||

    http://mises.org/store/

  • Sidd Finch||

  • affenkopf||

  • CE||

    Lysander Spooner argued that governments dropped the ball by not defending intellectual property strongly enough. He argued that ownership rights in inventions should be perpetual, and heritable. Imagine the royalties we owe the descendants of the dude who invented the wheel....

    How he squared that with being an anarchist who viewed the state as a gang of killers and thieves, I'm not sure.

  • ||

    Especially with patents, that would cause an intolerable level of stagnation. Unlike copyrights, patents prevent an idea from being implemented freely.

  • robc||

    As I said above, perpetual IP is the only consistent IP with natural law. And its bullshit. The fact that very, very few pro-IP people call for perpetual IP (at least Disney is consistent) proves my point.

    IP isnt property. IP laws are an exception to natural law and I see no reason to support that particular exception. In theory, its unsupportable. In reality, as I said with my first of many posts, I really dont care that much, especially if copyright was shortened to a reasonable period of time.

    Its supposed to ENCOURAGE artists to do more, not allow them and their descendents to live in luxury based on one good work.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Its supposed to ENCOURAGE artists to do more, not allow them and their descendents to live in luxury based on one good work.

    Yeah, because Rush only ever released one album and then sat around and lived off the revenues from it. Disney and his employees just slacked off and never made anything else after the first successful Mickey Mouse cartoon. And damn that Robert Heinlein, writing only one novel! And, you know, after Apple (or Steve Jobs, or whoever) invented that first Macintosh computer, he/they just sat on their asses and never invented anything else. I mean, just think, if Apple had kept inventing we could have iPods, iPads, MacBooks, who knows what else! But no, they just sat around and kept getting revenue from that one solitary invention. All because of those nasty, nasty IP laws.

  • Argosy Jones||

    +1

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Why people do this is a mystery.

  • ||

    In so doing, they end up imposing artificial scarcity on that which was previously nonscarce and infinitely reproducible.....

    Something is extremely scarce and non-reproducible if it can be stolen the moment you create it. No one is going to spend well over $100M making the next Avatar type movie if, the day it is released, people who didn't lift a finger or invest a dime in its creation rip it off and sell copies of the movie at a price approaching zero.

    Doing away with IP altogether would shrink the pie by making such goods impossible to create and turn a profit.

  • Sidd Finch||

    He equates innovation with information. It's fucking stupid. There's very obviously a scarcity in innovation. If there weren't LouBot would be trading us on the interplanetary slave exchange.

  • robc||

    No one could rip it off if they didnt sell DVDs. Make the money from public performance.

    Or, as mentioned many times above, contracts.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Yeah, I want to stand in line at the movie theatre and entertainment stores LONGER, waiting for everyone to sign and initial at the bottom of each page of their 100-page contracts. No thanks.

  • DJ Drugs||

    Stupid accurate prices, by-product of internalization of exclusion costs.

    I didn't know that short lines were to be collectively subsidized. Silly me.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    how much would it srhink the pie by? How do you know the value of the amount by which IP allegedly increases the pie, is greater than the cost of the IP system? What if the value is $10B but the cost is $40B?

  • ||

    A wise man once said, "As if a question is a rebuttal."

    Oh, wait, that was you a few hours ago.

  • DJ Drugs||

    "Doing away with IP altogether would shrink the pie by making such goods impossible to create and turn a profit."

    Thank goodness we can still get jobs at the buggy-whip factory.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "In the name of the market — the same market that is working to increase the abundance of scarce goods, to decrease scarcity — IP libertarians argue that we should impose restrictions on nonscarce information — to make it scarce so that it fits into the round-hole property-rights framework they have erroneously decided to apply to the square peg of information."

    Thomas Ellers himself couldn't say so little in a 60 word sentence.

    I'm no English major, but dashes should come in pairs, right?

    That metaphor was like the last paragraph of an argumentative essay that ironically advances no arguments.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "Virtually all the studies attempted are inconclusive or conclude that it's a net cost to society, and even that innovation is decreased by IP law."

    Despite a half-blue essay, he's yet to empirically support this claim. Too much shitty hippy food at Mama Goldberg's methinks.

  • ||

    Does anyone really think that many novels or books would be produced if anyone could buy the first copy and post it on the internet for free?

    Who would be dumb enough to write a book thinking they'd get paid under a code of laws that allows blatant ripoffs of your work by people who didn't contribute to its creation?

    Would Mercedes stay in business if someone could create a knockoff sporting the Mercedes tristar?

    Would Apple keep coming up with nifty inventions if, a month after something came out, a much cheaper knockoff sporting the Apple logo and name was put on the market by someone who didn't have to invest any money in paying engineers to do the R&D?

    And so on.

  • robc||

    Does anyone really think that many novels or books would be produced if anyone could buy the first copy and post it on the internet for free?

    Yes. Its what artists do. They make art.

    Who would be dumb enough to write a book thinking they'd get paid under a code of laws that allows blatant ripoffs of your work by people who didn't contribute to its creation?

    Many, many people for most of creation.

    Would Mercedes stay in business if someone could create a knockoff sporting the Mercedes tristar?

    See my trademark comment. Selling it "AS A MERCEDES" would be fraud. Ripping it off otherwise would be okay. Ditto for Apple.

    Apple would just have an exclusivity with AT&T, as I said. Their contract would prevent AT&T from selling service to iphone ripoffs.

  • ||

    Yes. Its what artists do. They make art.

    Very few potential artists could actually make art full time, or even part time for that matter, before IP existed. Most of them were stuck shoveling shit sunrise to sunset 6 days a week like the rest of the commoners were -- there were only so many patrons to go around.

    The percentage of the population producing art is far higher in the age of IP than it was before.

    Many, many people for most of creation.

    Again, very few people were writing books before IP came about. Look at the life of Charles Dickens for an example of what happens to authors in a world with little to no IP protection.

  • DJ Drugs||

    "Very few potential artists could actually make art full time, or even part time for that matter, before IP existed. Most of them were stuck shoveling shit sunrise to sunset 6 days a week like the rest of the commoners were -- there were only so many patrons to go around."

    Stupid accurate prices and their by-product: efficient allocation of resources/labour.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    Mercedes does face competition--BMW, Audi. People don't buy the Mercedes b/c of the 3 point star.

  • ||

    Coca cola already keeps their recipe secret, and engineers already keep heavy secrets long before they can even make a patent. I see no need for IP, let alone the fact that more state power is always bad.

  • ||

    And because of that, the rest of the world is not able to use the information kept secret.

    That's what a world without IP would produce: a lot of secret designers making secret designs.

  • Bill||

    I am slowly coming around to an anti-IP position. I think that it has been somewhat hard for me to do this because one of my hobbies is music and have spent time writing music and getting paid to perform it. I had a very strong desire to protect what I had created. I don't know if that was because of my programming as a child by an IP friendly society or if the desire was something inherent in me, but to many people there is a strong emotional attachment to IP, even if the rational arguments disfavor it.

  • robc||

    getting paid to perform it

    IP doesnt do anything to help with this.

    Well sure, you get 9 cents or something if some other band performs your work in public, but the money in the music business FOR THE PERFORMERS is almost entirely from public performances. IP is for the recording companies.

  • ||

    You can't perform a song that hasn't been written and composed. And it's no coincidence that the songs people want performers to play are ones they already know via other channels.

    So there's need for songwriters and composers as well as performers. And probably for marketers and distributors as well, to make a song popular enough that performers know what they should play.

    And you and Mr Kinsella, like true communists, think those people should work for free.

  • ||

    "And you and Mr Kinsella, like true communists, think those people should work for free."

    Bullshit. We think they should work for whatever they can get without coercing people. And if they can't get as much as they want, then tough titties: don't do it.

  • SomeGuy||

    Go read all of Tulpa's "ideas". That will cure you real fast like.

  • ||

    Considering you're free of ideas other than ad hominems against me, I don't think you're in a position to talk.

  • Becky Chandler||

    The “scientific” beauty of libertarianism is that it's precepts are generally proven accurate in the real world—in other words they have utilitarian value. The nonsensical ugliness of libertarianism occurs when the theoreticians go at it and it is impossible to determine whether the particular values each of them espouses has any actual utilitarian value.

    Looking for a General Theory of Intellectual Property Libertarianism is beyond the abilities of my little blond head—but I have noticed in a digital world a libertarian approach to many types of IP is the only thing that is realistic, reasonable and utilitarian.

    We've seen the failure of RIAA fucktards. Their attempts to stop pirating have been a miserable failure. But ironically, it is highly questionable that pirating has cost them anywhere near what they claim, if anything.

    Since I like to be a cheapskate as much as the next girl, I have downloaded pirated music and movies —but in the vast majority of cases I would not have downloaded them if it would have cost me anything. But on many I have discovered something I liked —and then made some kind of purchase related to the pirated material.

    Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are post-copyright era Superstars. Each has successfully adopted the new paradigm that is not dependent on the power of the state. They release all their stuff on the Internet—and both of them are doing spectacularly.

    Steve Jobs is still stuck back in the bully days of technology which was perfected by Bill Gates. But consumers are saying no. His efforts to maintain a proprietary grip have, in many cases, become so patently absurd ,that even the government regulators are saying no— just last week jailbreaking was given the green light.

    With these types of Intellectual Property all the evidence is that attempting to use the power of the government to protect( i.e. create) the property warps the market—and in the end (as a hardcore libertarian would predict) doesn't work anyway —but lo and behold, if they can adapt, the “owners” of this IP can make out quite well without government creation and protection.

  • -||

    Has your "little blond head" ever created anything of worth?
    I didn't think so.

  • ||

    Right, and many merchants of physical products also profit by handing out instances of their products for free. Think Gilette sending free razors on your 18th birthday (in the hopes you'll buy razor blades), or grocers giving out free samples of food, or a million other examples.

    The fact that it's sometimes profitable to give away physical products for free does not mean laws protecting physical property should be repealed. Rather, we recognize that it should be the owner's choice whether he or she gives away product for free -- in instances where this is profitable we expect the owner will do it voluntarily.

    The same goes for IP protections. In some cases, artists are better off letting potential customers sample their music for free, while in other cases they're not better off. So it makes sense to leave that decision up to them, which means keeping IP protections in force. To do otherwise would be like insisting that every razor manufacturer give away free razors because Gilette does it.

  • ||

    Patents: Profits should go to the first business to bring a physical product to market. In practice, patent law stifles innovation and entrepreneurship. If I think up a marginal improvement to X, why does the USPTO bureaucracy get to decide if it constitutes a significant and patentable improvement? If it is a better product, the market will tell us.

    If I come up with an idea independently-but you patented it first-why do you own it? How can you own an idea? See Jefferson: http://www.movingtofreedom.org.....-of-ideas/

    Copyright: I can go to a library and read as many books as I want. Does Mark Helprin consider that "intellectual barbarism"? What if I want to reprint a book in large print or translated into Chinese, but the copyright holder won't give permission? Free markets... thwarted!

    Trademarks: Let's be clear, misrepresenting yourself to consumers is fraud. Illegal. But only the consumer is harmed. Lawsuits like Apple Records v. Apple Computer clog up our judicial system unnecessarily.

    Really... who confused the Beatles record label with Macintoshes?

  • ||

    I'm not sure where I stand on this.

    I kind of think IP has to be either self-enforcing or not exist at all for information technology.

    That is, you could give the software/music/video away for free, then sell tech support, live show tickets, etc. Sell something you CAN control. Sell the guarentee of good picture or sound quality, or the lack of trojan horses, or the avilability of free online assistance. Or convenience.

    Patents are a little easier to deal with - there's a physical object involved that can't necessarily be infinitely replicated in a split second.

    Partly the reason for IP there is to encourage engineers to publicize their research.

    So there mgiht be a social benefit to it, but I bet you could get it to self-enforce via organizations like IEEE. (i.e. anyone caught copying technology without paying the original developer royalties gets banished from IEEE, much like having a license revolked.)

  • ||

    So there mgiht be a social benefit to it, but I bet you could get it to self-enforce via organizations like IEEE. (i.e. anyone caught copying technology without paying the original developer royalties gets banished from IEEE, much like having a license revolked.)

    That's not going to be sufficient discouragement when there are millions of dollars of profits to be made from copying a sufficiently juicy design.

  • Edwin||

    Hey libertarians, time to grow up; utilitarianism matters. If your principles create a principled piece-of-shit society, then it's no real principle at all.

    Communists were totally "principled", and they still are. But look at how their principles turned out. And they still don't care about the actual consequences and want to do it over and over again.

  • ||

    Fuck me. Edwin is making more sense than anyone in this thread. Excuse me while I go stick a curling iron up my urethra.

  • ||

    Yeah Edwin sometimes makes sense to retarded twats like you.

  • ||

    So you're saying that Communism was fucked up because it had principles?

    Dumbass, Communism failed because it had the WRONG principles. It required people to voluntarily sacrifice their own good for the good of the community.

  • ||

    rather than the more straightforward argument that by first appropriating an unowned resource you establish a better claim than latecomers

    So why is it that someone who discovers a mineral deposit is "appropriating an unowned resource", but someone who discovers a new drug, or a new way to make mousetraps, isn't?

  • Old Mexican||

    This is too long a thread, but here it goes:

    YOU CANNOT HOMESTEAD OR POSSESS IDEAS. YOU CANNOT CONTROL SOMEONE ELSE'S PROPERTY JUST BY SAYING "That was MY idea!". THAT'S THIEVERY.

    Re: RC Dean,

    So why is it that someone who discovers a mineral deposit is "appropriating an unowned resource", but someone who discovers a new drug, or a new way to make mousetraps, isn't?

    A mine is a rivalrous and exclusive good, RC Dean. Ideas are NOT - they can SPAWN in people's minds ad infinitum. Only authoritarians would ever think one can place fences on ideas.

  • ||

    So why can't I claim ownership of Lake Michigan and sue everyone who drinks water from it, fishes in it, sails a boat on it, etc? That's a pretty rivalrous good.

  • DJ Drugs||

    Go ahead and enforce your claim.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brian Doherty,

    Kinsella seems to be giving a utilitarian spin on what to most pro-IP libertarians is a moral case for ownership of those things you produce

    Brian, this is EXACTLY what Kinsella has been arguing all along: That Pro-IP "libertarians" EQUIVOCATE when saying that one is simply protecting what one "produced".

    One can only produce TANGIBLE goods, EXCHANGEABLE goods, something that can be HELD or USED. One does not produce a song, just like one does NOT produce a DREAM. You CAN produce sheets of music with the song written in it, and those sheets of music are YOUR property, but you cannot then construe as YOUR PROPERTY other people's sheets of music with the same song written on it - those sheets are THEIR property, YOUR sheets are YOURS.

    The utilitarian SPIN given by pro-IP so-called "libertarians" is that without IP people would not create. The absurdity of such notion is obvious, at least for us who hold private property (that is, TANGIBLE goods) as paramount.

  • Edwin||

    Why does the dichotomy between Tangible and Intangible things matter in the first place, when the intangible things - ideas - matter so much and can have such an effect in the real world?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Why does the dichotomy between Tangible and Intangible things matter in the first place[?]

    Are you seriously asking that question, Edwin?

    "Why does the dychotomy between reality and non-reality matter in the first place?"

    Economics are concerned with only tangible goods because they are RIVALROUS and EXCLUSIVE. This makes them SCARCE. Atmospheric Air is NON-rivalrous, ergo it is not subject to scarcity. Ideas are NON-Rivalrous (because they can spawn in people's minds ad infinitum) so they are NOT goods, not scarce, not economic goods, ergo they CANNOT be PROPERTY.

  • Random Dude||

    "Ideas are NON-Rivalrous (because they can spawn in people's minds ad infinitum) so they are NOT goods, not scarce, not economic goods, ergo they CANNOT be PROPERTY."

    Um, good ideas are, in fact, scarce. And it is labor mixed with intelligence that produces certain forms of ideas.

    This is why Stephen Kinsella is an idiot and you can't separate IP from the labor theory of value.

    It takes Herculean amounts of effort and billions of dollars to develop a new pharmaceutical compound, but it takes about 4 hours with a mass spectrometer to reverse engineer it. Without IP, there is absolutely no incentive structure to produce pharmaceuticals in a for-profit context.

    Are you going to seriously tell me that cures for diseases aren't scarce because they're just "ideas"?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Random Dude,

    Um, good ideas are, in fact, scarce. And it is labor mixed with intelligence that produces certain forms of ideas.

    Pray tell, RD, how would you define a good idea?

    By the way, one mixes labor with things that are tangible, no matter if it is a good idea to do it or not.

  • Random Dude||

    A "good" idea is one which adds value that the market is willing to pay for when it is adopted in a physical form of capital such as a service or a product.

    So the real irony here of your and Kinsella's statement is that you marginalize the intellectual activities of the market, when those in fact are the largest value adders.

    A million guys can bake bricks, but very few can invent lightbulbs.

    But you still haven't addressed my above statement about pharmaceuticals. Are pharmaceutical compounds "just" ideas?

    The vast majority of effort (over 95%) goes into knowledge creation in the form of R&D. Manufacturing the actual configuration of organic material that constitutes the drug is minimal. Knowledge creation--or IP--is the actual capital investment.

    Because it takes less than 500 bucks to reverse engineer the drug, any competitor has an insane advantage to do absolutely no research or capital investment. Ergo, no one makes any drugs unless they're a charity. I'm not saying the current IP situation is great, but getting rid of IP is some form of insanity that only lawyers like Kinsella or academics at the Mises institute can get behind.

  • Random Dude||

    Let's make this even more personal to Mr. Kinsella since he's a lawyer.

    Let's say I call him up and ask for legal advice. He charges a certain rate per hour presumably. I receive the legal advice and then hang up the phone.

    When the bill comes, I refuse to pay.

    Mr. Kinsella: "RD, you didn't pay the bill, you useless motherfucker!"

    RD: "No no no Mr. Kinsella, neither the time you spent on the phone, nor your legal 'ideas' constitute a tangible product. I owe you nothing. Next time you should charge a rate per electron coming over the wire--ELECTRONS!!! now that I'd fucking pay for."

    I bet he'd start adopting a certain type of labor theory of value pretty.... damn... quick.

  • DJ Drugs||

    "RD: "No no no Mr. Kinsella, neither the time you spent on the phone, nor your legal 'ideas' constitute a tangible product"

    That's why we have contracts.

  • Edwin||

    I say you absoultely can produce an idea/invention/book/song. They are produced just like anything else is produced. Why, the process is even similar; people take old ideas and mix them together and do a lot of hard work working on the idea - just like people take physical objects that were already there and mix them about and work hard to produce another physical object.

    The tnagible/intangible dichotomy seems to me meaningless. And no one ever said that the allocation of property rights is all about scarcity.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    One does not produce a song

    Where did the songs I listened to on the way to work this morning come from, then? I mean, I played them on my car stereo. I listened to them. I know I didn't make them up. So where did they come from?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Slut Bunwalla,

    Where did the songs I listened to on the way to work this morning come from, then? I mean, I played them on my car stereo. I listened to them. I know I didn't make them up.

    I don't have the expertise to explain to you the intricacies of the audio reproduction of digitally-recorded media, but I would say that the song you heard was produced by the magical machine installed in your car, by way of physically moving air.

    Or what do you want to hear? That one produces a song like one produces a car? That I am not going to say because it is not true.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Really? That's your response? That's all you've got? You're not even going to attempt to address the actual substance of my response, instead just saying "HUR DUR UR MUSIC CUMZ FRM UR STAIREEO HURRR"?

    I expect that kind of response from MNG or Tony, but not you, sir.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Slut Bunwalla,

    Really? That's your response? That's all you've got? You're not even going to attempt to address the actual substance of my response

    The problem, SB, is that you expect a different thing, as in "Yeah, the songs came from artist A". But you don't mention that - you just say "Where did the songs I listened to on the way to work this morning come from, then?". I did not hear the same songs, so what am I supposed to tell you? How would I know you did not record those songs yourself?

    So don't give me loaded questions and then have this "Gotcha!" moment, because I am not game.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Once again, if songs are not produced, then where the fuck do they come from and why are they not property? You're sidestepping the point.

  • ||

    Once again, if Reason wants to tell everyone they have the right to upload and download my music without my permission and without paying me for the right to do so, I'd say I have the right to make a superior Reason.com with edgier pictures, no threaded comments, no trolls or anonymity bots, etc. without paying the authors a dime. In fact, they should have no problem with me accruing ad revenue from the traffic their articles generate, as they have no right to determine use of their products. The site would also have a free download portal where we can get our own copies of Stephan Kinsella and Brian Doherty books without paying them for their hard work. I suppose they wouldn't sue me, right?

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    My latest book is http://www.stephankinsella.com.....published/ -- it's creative commons attribution only--you may do WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH IT. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

  • ||

    it's creative commons attribution only--you may do WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH IT.

    You just contradicted yourself. What if I want to make copies of it without attributing it to you? The CC license forbids me doing that.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    That is because this is the least restrictive CC license I can use that is enforceable. "Public domain" and "CC0" are of questionable validity--due to the copyright laws you support! Copyright is sticky: your government doesn't let me give it away. I'd happily release it completely from copyright shackles if your damn state would let me. If you want a license to it send me a form, I'll sign it. It's just impracticable to do that generally. This is the very problem.

  • ||

    A mine is a rivalrous and exclusive good

    Most forms of intangible property are not rivalrous and exclusive, so I think arguing that only rivalrous and exclusive items can be property proves way too much.

    Rivalrous means that consumption (or use) of the good by one individual reduces availability of the good for consumption or use by others.

    If the argument is that "ideas" can be used/consumed by many without reducing their availability for use by anyone, the same is true of, say, stock in a company, or, for that matter, money (all of which exist in primarily digital form). If I can create digital stock or money that is indistiguishable from the "real" stuff (whatever that means), then those counterfeits do not impinge on the availability of the stock or money to anyone else. Are we to conclude that money and stock are non-rivalrous, and thus not really anyone's property?

    Exclusive means you can effectively exclude others. To say something isn't property because it can't be locked up seems awfully contingent to me. Quantum encryption, for example, would mean that data can, once again, be locked up. Would that mean that IP would be, suddenly, a priori "property" again?

  • DJ Drugs||

    "Would that mean that IP would be, suddenly, a priori "property" again?"

    No, but it would be a lot easier to enforce without externalization of the costs of exclusion, thus not violating the NAP.

  • ||

    One other thing to think about:

    Don't confuse property (which can be material items) with property rights (which are, by definition, intangible).

    Whether a given hunk of matter is property, or is your property, is entirely a matter of intangible rights. So saying that there is no such thing as intangible property sort of misses the point that property rights are inherently intangible.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: RC Dean,

    Most forms of intangible property are not rivalrous and exclusive, so I think arguing that only rivalrous and exclusive items can be property proves way too much.

    Oooh, man . . . you're begging the question. INTANGIBLE things cannot be GOODS, in the first place, so you cannot say "most intangible property..." as if the idea was valid.

    Rivalrous means that consumption (or use) of the good by one individual reduces availability of the good for consumption or use by others.

    Not only consumption. You don't consume a HOUSE, but you still possess it exclusively.

    If the argument is that "ideas" can be used/consumed by many without reducing their availability for use by anyone, the same is true of, say, stock in a company, or, for that matter, money

    You have no idea of what you're talking about, RC. EVEN if money was electronically, PEOPLE still see it as SCARCE, otherwise there would be NO INFLATION (or worse yet, it would not be money, that being a very specific economic concept.)

    What would you think about a company that issued INFINITE stock? Stocks ARE scarce, subject to supply and demand. IDEAS ARE NOT.

    Exclusive means you can effectively exclude others. To say something isn't property because it can't be locked up seems awfully contingent to me.

    Really??? Welcome to reality, then. The door is wide open.

    Quantum encryption, for example, would mean that data can, once again, be locked up. Would that mean that IP would be, suddenly, a priori "property" again?

    No, because you are confusing a process with the good itself. What would happen if you encrypt your great idea, and then by myself come up with it? Would you still say "That's MINE!" even though I did not "buy" your encrypted info?

    You still are thinking one-dimensional - you think that IP is meant to protect ideas, but that is not the real implication of IP: people's PRIVATE PROPERTY can be subjected to an undue and forced change of title ownership JUST BY VIRTUE of someone claiming being the so-called "first originator". That, RC, is called THIEVERY. IP is thus THIEVERY in disguise.

  • Edwin||

    Here is where you absolutists fail. Is it really thievery? Is people's property really being stolen in any real sense because of IP? Or even severely controlled? Please. Only one of you nerdo douche aspberger absolutists could see it like that, and you have to MAKE yourselves see it like that to satisfy your "logic". Grow up and stop getting your nerdo-asperger panties in a twist.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Here is where you absolutists fail. Is it really thievery? Is people's property really being stolen in any real sense because of IP?

    YES. Ownership not only means holding on to something, it means being able to modify or transform it.

    Let me give you an example of how IP means thievery: Imagine you make a kitched cabinet that has a certain design you came up with. You used YOUR wood, YOUR glue, YOUR fittings and YOUR finish. Now, I make a kitchen cabinet that has the exact same design, only using MY wood, MY glue, MY finish, MY fittings. Then you say: "You can't do that cabinet! It's MY design!"

    Let's say you can then, using IP, sue me. So, basically, YOU took ownership of MY glue, MY wood, MY finish, MY fittings JUST BECAUSE you claimed being the "originator."

    You might argue: Hell, but you can still make a cabinet with another design. I reply with: WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU to tell me what I can do with MY glue, MY wood, MY finish and MY fittings? YOU just took ownership of MY things and limited ME to usage to only other designs. So, who owns the means, you or I? Under IP, YOU do. YOU preemptively STOLE my PROPERTY now that I cannot use it freely, as I see fit.

  • Edwin||

    You need to calm down and stop being such a loser. OK? You're feebing out right now. It's just like when a retard rocks back and forth and twiddles his fingers and goes "REEEEEEEE!!!!! I DON'T LIKE DOSE TINGS!"
    Try to calm down and stop being such a nerd loser.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Instead of making cute jokes, why not use your brain, Edwin? Did you or did you not understand the implications of IP when it comes to usage of property? Do you have a counterargument, yes or no?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    If you want people to take you seriously, make an argument that actually addresses the subject of discussion here. Your kitchen cabinet situation leaves out a lot of particulars.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Slut Buntwalla,

    Your kitchen cabinet situation leaves out a lot of particulars.

    Which are . . .?

  • ||

    Well, to begin with, I wouldn't say that your duplicate cabinet harms me in any way. There's no commerce going on. I think IP has no bearing on anything non-commercial. If I play a Stones tune on my guitar in my basement, Keith and Mick are not harmed.

    That's where the cabinet metaphor fails. Nobody is claiming you shouldntbe able to make your own copy of something I made for myself.

    Alsi, I think even the pro-IP folks here don't consider the cabinet design to be a protected form of IP. What's really interesting, philosophically, is intangible stuff like software and processes and art.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Bingo.

  • val||

    Im curious as to why people think that ideas and concepts dont have a scarcity value?

    Prior to me comming up with the next best in software or the next great song, the scarcity on that 'pattern of information' was so scarce it didnt exist. As I spent my time, money and resources to create and controil every aspect of my creation why the heck would I suddenly loose the right to control its scarcity.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: val,

    Im curious as to why people think that ideas and concepts dont have a scarcity value?

    Because ideas can spawn in people's minds ad infinitum. You cannot hold an idea like you hold cattle, unless you keep it to yourself.

    That's why.

    Prior to me comming up with the next best in software or the next great song, the scarcity on that 'pattern of information' was so scarce it didn't exist.

    The concept of Scarcity has NOTHING to do with existence, it has to do with DEMAND, i.e. it has to exist FIRST.

    As I spent my time, money and resources to create and controil every aspect of my creation why the heck would I suddenly loose the right to control its scarcity.

    The *idea* is not scarce, Val. Only the means by which you produced it are scarce, including materials, machinery
    and/or labor ("labor" because there's a limited number of people with age and limbs adequate enough to do work.)

    Once people SEE a product, the IDEA of it SPAWNS in their minds and such IDEA can spawn in all people many times over. THAT'S not scarcity.

  • Edwin||

    Okay, but then that invalidates real estate (I don't see lines already drawn on land, do you?) and other made up things like money and debt and stock etc.

    All these things are MADE scarce by the way we work with them/define them. They don't HAVE to be scarce. Hell, they're concepts, they can be ANYTHING. You can easily do the same with IP in terms of scarcity.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Okay, but then that invalidates real estate (I don't see lines already drawn on land, do you?)

    No, it does NOT. Even without lines, the land does not instantaneously beocme NEW land in the minds of millions - there's only ONE piece of land. Besides this, you forget that people spend a lot of effort SURVEYING their land - you think they do this for the fun of it?

    and other made up things like money and debt and stock etc.

    You don't know what money is, do you?

    All these things are MADE scarce by the way we work with them/define them.

    NO, they are made scarce by DEMAND and SUPPLY. I can conceptualize something that exists in Mars, like a pretty rock, for instance. That does not mean it is scarce - it is simply NOT a good!

    a) You cannot appropriate other people's control of their physical property just because *you* think you thought of something first, and b) you cannot construe that which is NOT scarce as "property."

  • val||

    Once people SEE a product, the IDEA of it SPAWNS in their minds and such IDEA can spawn in all people many times over. THAT'S not scarcity.

    It can? You mean CAN in a straightly theoretical sense? Or are we planning to apply a bit of practicality to this, and realize that a great idea is pretty god damn hard to come by, and 99.9% of people will go through life not having an original thought. And of the the remaining 0.01%, 99% will never put in the effort that requires the transition from idea to product.

    And feel free to spawn that idea in your head. That has nothing to do with me. What I do have a problem with is if you decide to reverse egineer my code to copy my algorithms, or using my words and/or music to present as your own.

    The concept of Scarcity has NOTHING to do with existence, it has to do with DEMAND, i.e. it has to exist FIRST

    It only HAS TO EXISTS FIRST according to you, some people in R&D departments doing original research and development might disagree with you. And thats why I said BEST and GREATEST, implying that there was demand due to an unmet need.

  • Edwin||

    One thing that's sort of coming up consistently is the utilitarianism/logical-consistency paradigm. This brings up the more general thing that I'd like to put out there; libertarians want to be, or think they can be, exempt from the most basic aspects of the human condition. They think their "logically consistent" ideas are written in the sky somewhere, and it's not that people disagree, they're just wrong and are stupid/evil and should have to listen, and the state has no legitimacy when it does something they disagree with. They completely ignore the entire purpose/necessity of civic society and the rule of law.

    This is why a lot of people say it's a philosophy for 13 year old boys. See: the Encyclopedia dramatica article.

    And this childish attitude has consequences. First and foremost, they end up sucking at convincing anyone of anything. Others: youtube the free state project and free keene and watch the jagaloon behavior. Also see, those "sovereign citizens" who murdered those cops, or the Abbeville, SC shootout.

  • ||

    They think their "logically consistent" ideas are written in the sky somewhere, and it's not that people disagree, they're just wrong and are stupid/evil and should have to listen

    Every ideology has a-holes who subscribe to it. Liberals believe in communism, and newsflash, communism failed. Conservatives want to waterboard every non-Christian just to be sure. And so on.

  • Edwin||

    The problem is that "logical consistency" is a unique hallmark of libertarianism. A far higher percentage of libertarians subscribe to it than with other ideologies. You don't actually see that many communist liberals, etc.

    And the shitty attitude goes hand-in hand with it. Libertarianism is almost synonymous with personality disorder, depending on how purist you want to put the limits on who can be considered "libertarianism". It's not just logical consistency, it's being an anti-social nerd asshole. Maybe they didn't get laid in high school, maybe they got beat up too much. I'd actually propose that those things happens because they have shitty personalities in the first place. Anyway, you get the idea.

    Like the quote goes:
    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  • ||

    There's nothing wrong with logical consistency per se. Having a body of law that's logically consistent has definite utilitarian advantages -- for one thing it makes the old saw "ignorance of the law is no excuse" more reasonable (though shrinking the body of law to a point where the average person could actually know all of it would be even better). Also, it allows individuals and organizations to make plans with a high degree of confidence that the legal framework of society won't drastically change before their plans have a chance to work out. Finally, it produces a greater buy-in by the populace. If people understand why the law is what it is, they are more likely to follow it than if they see it as just written to benefit the elite and the friends of whoever is in control of the government right now.

    So, while I'm opposed to a lot of the logical-consistency-obsessives on this thread, that doesn't mean that a high degree of logical consistency is a bad thing.

  • Edwin||

    Seriously, look up freekeene/ free state on you tube. These assholes basically just go around harassing people who work for the town, on a fairly REGULAR basis. And they make sure to be as loud and obnoxious as possible for every protest - their positive-reinforcment-starved brains are dying to receive any kind of attention.

    And half of them wear "V" masks. They might as well be wearing WOW/LOTR/roleplay gear. It's the same thing, just political.

  • mike||

    I think the argument that there should be no such thing as IP is ridiculous.

    With no IP, anyone would be free to copy a book which took years of research, writing and editing to produce, put their name on the cover, and sell it.

    There was *work* involved in creating that IP - be it a book, song, software, etc. That the work did not involve digging, nailing or smelting is immaterial. The IP did not just appear out of thin air of its own accord.

    The issue which should be looked at is what protections of IP are reasonable and appropriate, in particular with patents, not that there should be none at all.

  • ||

    "The issue which should be looked at is what protections of IP are reasonable and appropriate, in particular with patents, not that there should be none at all."

    Copyright, patent, and trademark are government-granted monopolies -- nakedly artificial arrangements with the purpose to encourage creation. If they didn't encourage creation, or if something encouraged it better, with fewer bad side-effects, then we should prefer alternative approaches. Maybe, someday, we will.

    As long as we have these monopolies, though, I think they need to be as benignly implemented as possible. For instance, the idea that someone could incur a major fine and jail time for the unlawful single copying or performance of some piece of IP that retails in stores for $10-20 -- as RIAA, MPAA, and network bully boys routinely threaten in onscreen warnings and "notices of infringement" -- is ludicrous, and ought to be challenged in court as "cruel and unusual punishment."

    The point of copyright, et. al., is to see that creators get paid, and secondarily that their work not be used to the detriment of their reputations as creators. So the focus of associated law should be to repair any economic damage to the creator that someone may have done by unauthorized copies or performances of the work, or to keep people from "defacing" the work (for example, by associating it with a political campaign or commercial product, to which the creator is opposed). The idea of "punitive damages" shouldn't even be entertained unless the defendant is running a serious, counterfeiting operation.

    In EULAs (which I do read, by the way), one typically sees a disclaimer of liability, to the effect that the maximum remedy the purchaser can expect from the creator is a refund of the purchase price. Fair enough, but by the same token, I think the only thing a creator should expect from enforcement of copyright law against the casual violator (that is to say, someone who isn't making a business out of generating unauthorized copies or giving unauthorized performances) is to recoup the relevant "purchase price" associated with each reasonable instance of infringement. Threatening to beggar ordinary people because, for instance, they downloaded a song here or an episode of a TV show there -- is an approach that is way out of proportion to the "crime," and one which we should not tolerate.

  • way too late||

    ^That is one of the few intelligent, Reason™able comments on this thread

  • -||

    IP is libertarianism's blind spot. The failure to properly define intellectual property as property exposes serious shortcomings in libertarianism's philosophical base.

    "Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind...What the patent and copyright laws acknowledge is the paramount role of mental effort in the production of material values: these laws protect the mind’s contribution in its purest form: the origination of an idea... What the patent or copyright protects is not the physical object as such, but the idea that embodies it. By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that the value is created by the originator of the idea.”
    -Ayn Rand

  • Ergot||

    I'm very strongly libertarian, but whenever I read other libertarians saying they think something like a song or a novel isn't produced in the same way a car is, I find myself wanting to distance myself from them.

    Anyone who has ever been involved in a creative endeavor knows that this notion is complete and utter bullshit.

  • Way too late||

    My thoughts exactly. This is probably why they're following this flawed logic out to a bad conclusion. Because they themselves lack the creativity to come up with another line of thinking. This is hive mentality bullshit, and radicalism for radicalism's sake

  • ||

    Oooh, man . . . you're begging the question. INTANGIBLE things cannot be GOODS, in the first place, so you cannot say "most intangible property..." as if the idea was valid.

    I think you're assuming your conclusion, OM, by stating that there can be no intangible property. Our world is, in fact, full of intangible property. Property rights of all kinds are intangible. Ownership is intangible. If ownership is intangible, why would it be limited to tangible items?

    Besides this, you forget that people spend a lot of effort SURVEYING their land - you think they do this for the fun of it?

    Oh, so we're back to the labor theory of value? But I thought that was invalid.

    Not only consumption. You don't consume a HOUSE, but you still possess it exclusively.

    I know. That's why I said use or consume.

    What would you think about a company that issued INFINITE stock? Stocks ARE scarce, subject to supply and demand. IDEAS ARE NOT.

    Two things here. First, ideas may be infinite, but IP doesn't protect ideas. It protects specific expressions of ideas, which are not infinite.

    Second, my point about stocks and money is, first, they are frequently intangible, which would seem to mean that they cannot be "property" if only tangible things can be property. Second, that in a world of digital stock and money, they do not seem to be rivalrous. I can print my own stock and money without depriving you of yours.

    If the notion of a company with infinite stock strikes you as absurd, well, it should. But it should also make you question your premises, because it is a logical result of your premises.

    the real implication of IP: people's PRIVATE PROPERTY can be subjected to an undue and forced change of title ownership JUST BY VIRTUE of someone claiming being the so-called "first originator".

    But you were just telling me that ideas can't be property at all. If they can't be property, then how can they be wrongfully taken from you?

  • Gray Ghost||

    It's been a while since Property I, RC, so I'm a bit confused by your point:

    Second, that in a world of digital stock and money, they do not seem to be rivalrous. I can print my own stock and money without depriving you of yours.


    Does "rivalrous" cover deprivation of value of the property---dilution? Or is it solely concerned with whether one can use the property simultaneously with another?

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    This is a common thread of IP arguments: the believe that you have a property right in the VALUE of things you own. You do not. Only in their physical integrity.

  • ||

    So then, it's OK to print $300 trillion in counterfeit bills, even though it devalues the real ones, because we really only own the paper they're printed on?

  • ||

    Furthermore, I don't own the money I deposited in the bank, either - just the paper on which they printed my statement?

    If I go paperless and they email me my statement, what do I own?

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    It's okay to print whatever you want. It's spending it that is potentially a problem--if you defraud the person selling you something by giving him fake bills.

  • ||

    When people are convinced that they have a property right in the VALUE of their labor or assets, this is a trap, one which the government has exploited in basing much taxation on the imputed "fair market value" of things.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: R C Dean,

    I think you're assuming your conclusion, OM, by stating that there can be no intangible property. Our world is, in fact, full of intangible property.

    For instance, RC?

    Property rights of all kinds are intangible.

    You're equivocating, RC? Who's talking about concepts? Private property RIGHTS is a concept. We're talking about property and IP, not property rights.

    Ownership is intangible. If ownership is intangible, why would it be limited to tangible items?

    Oh, jeez. A fallacy of composition. Ownership is a concept, RC but not an economic good. Only economic goods can be property, and that means only tangible things, those that you can possess, that are rivalrous and. You cannot possess an idea it this one can SPAWN in another person's mind.


    Oh, so we're back to the labor theory of value? But I thought that was invalid.

    Don't play games, RC. The reply was to indicate that people DO place boundaries in their land in order to determine whose is which. You should have read the thread.

    I know. That's why I said use or consume.

    I know that - I read it. What I was refering to was to consume/use/wear/put on/eat. You can buy a house JUST TO POSSESS it, even if you don't actually live in it. It is still only ONE house, ONE chunk of land. Ideas can spawn ad infinitum, you cannot possess them as you would possess a house, or a box of nails.


    Two things here. First, ideas may be infinite, but IP doesn't protect ideas.

    Of course it does, RC. That's the issue - it PRETENDS to protect ideas by taking over other people's property.

    It protects specific expressions of ideas, which are not infinite.

    What does it matter if it is the so-called "expression" that's being "protected"? A book or a recording are still paper and plastic belonging to several people, physically. Are you also going to tell me that inventions [which fall under the purview of IP] are "expressions" as well?


    Second, my point about stocks and money is, first, they are frequently intangible

    They are not. The accounting is intangible, but go to a bank - would YOU accept being told "Sorry sir, but I cannot give you your hard earned cash, because it is intangible"?

    If the notion of a company with infinite stock strikes you as absurd, well, it should. But it should also make you question your premises, because it is a logical result of your premises.

    Please, please, please RC, tell me HOW the above is derived from my premises. Pretty please?

    But you were just telling me that ideas can't be property at all. If they can't be property, then how can they be wrongfully taken from you? [sic]

    You misread what I said - I didn't say ideas. I said property. A person can LIMIT what another can do with HIS or HER resources all in the name of some "originality."

  • Argosy Jones||

    ITT: Photoshop is not a "good" because it's intangible and "doesn't really exist". Therefore I can steal it without guilt.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Argosy Jones,

    Photoshop is not a "good" because it's intangible and "doesn't really exist". Therefore I can steal it without guilt.

    If you take a box from Staples, you ARE stealing it. Instead if you copy the information on the DVD and place it on YOUR DVD, using YOUR resources, it cannot be construed as STEALING it - not unless you agreed with the supplier not to copy it.

    Also, you seem not to get it - IP goes BEYOND that. What if Adobe sued another company that came up with a strikingly similar product? Under IP, Adobe could perfectly sue the other company not to use THEIR RESOURCES, THEIR CODE, THEIR MACHINES, THEIR CONTAINERS and THEIR DISTRIBUTION CENTERS to market the product. That's how INSIDIOUS IP is.

  • Argosy Jones||

    "If you take a box from Staples, you ARE stealing it...
    Your whole analysis relies on your faulty assumption that non-tangible goods are not "real".

    What if Adobe sued another company that came up with a strikingly similar product? Under IP, Adobe could perfectly sue the other company not to use THEIR RESOURCES, THEIR CODE, THEIR MACHINES, THEIR CONTAINERS and THEIR DISTRIBUTION CENTERS to market the product. That's how INSIDIOUS IP is.


    You've picked a bad example here. Not convenient to your argument. There are several strikingly similar products out there both commercial and open source that compete with photoshop. Adobe can file a lawsuit, but evidently it hasn't been able to quash competition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....cs_editors

    Try again.
  • Edwin||

    OM,

    Your intangible/tangible, or economic goods/non-economic goods dichotomy, or whatever the hell it is you're saying, is tenuous.

    We get what you're saying, we just don't buy it. Real estate, or stock, are no more real or no more naturally "economic goods" than anything else - they're only made so by the concepts we put on them.

    Furthermore, not everyone subscribes to your argument for the source of property. For me, property has always been about who made it, not whether it is by its nature scarce or excludable.

    Sorry, brah, you just fail

  • ||

    I can't understand your arguments! I disagree! Therefore you are wrong! Haha, I win!

  • Hacha Cha||

    Fair use needs to be expanded and the government should return to something similar to the "Founders Copyright", like the one Creative Commons uses.

  • From 10,000 feet||

    It seems to me that the problem with IP is that no one has any solutions. You have the ivory tower libertarians who argue that IP shouldn't exist because of rights of others being violated. Their problem is that they don't have any solutions for implementing their philosophy (like communism).

    Then you have the utilitarians who argue that IP needs to exist because there are no other solutions out there that will suffice. But to implement the status quo is to defend the state and this huge patent and copyright mess.

    This is why I don't like philosophical debates much. What good is one principle vs another if there is no way to implement the "better" way. Libertarians need to spend less time arguing on philosophy, and spend more time coming up with solutions and being entrepreneurs.

    To those of you in the anti-IP crowd, you may be right, but what does it matter if you have no solutions to implementing your ideas. If you came up with solutions instead of philosophical arguments, you would win many more people.

  • ||

    "It seems to me that the problem with IP is that no one has any solutions. You have the ivory tower libertarians who argue that IP shouldn't exist because of rights of others being violated. Their problem is that they don't have any solutions for implementing their philosophy (like communism)."

    There is nothing to be implemented, only things NOT to be implemented.

  • Cytotoxic||

    he more straightforward argument that by first appropriating an unowned resource you establish a better claim than latecomers

    Straightforward =/= correct. Theft is still theft, even if the stolen item is not materially real.

  • Random Dude||

    Exactly.

    Let's say there's this one guy who has just finished years of labor on a specialized device of great complexity (this is a common endeavor and by no means a rarity).

    He has consumed years of excess savings in the production of it, at great cost to his own personal leisure time, relationships, and general risk of employment. Finally he has finished the schematics and has a working prototype.

    Some massive corporate entity which does nothing but production sends a man in to break into the man's house and take photographs of the schematics, and the next day they have the manufacturing process started.

    By the weirdo Misesian view of IP, the only thing the corporation can be charged with is breaking and entering, and the Misesians would blithely claim that no one was actually harmed more severely than this minor misdemeanor.

    The "property violation" they consider is the fact that for 10 minutes a man had stepped foot in a man's house, not that he has effectively destroyed years of the man's effort.

  • ||

    Benefitting from a crime? Yes, libertarians definitely support that...

  • Random Dude||

    It depends what you consider the "crime" here.

    If it's the use of the man's schematics to produce goods that the corporation did not spend investment time in researching, then yes, lots of libertarians do in fact find nothing wrong with that, because intellectual "property" is just imaginary and free.

    What they do get offended at is that you were stepping within an arbitrary metaphysical barrier of enclosed latitude/longitude coordinates without the "owner's" consent, even though the "property" of this owner was recognized publicly.

  • Random Dude||

    By "even though...." I mean, "even though it's ridiculously hypocritical that the physical property is in fact recognized in a public context and not only in private contract."

  • ||

    "It depends what you consider the "crime" here."

    The crime is trespassing.

    There is no reason that copying an idea should be a crime. People do lots of work and end up with nothing all the time. Just because someone got screwed doesn't mean they're the victim of a crime.

  • hlm||

    Ah, does this explain why the Mises Institute feels it fine to pirate books they don't own the rights to? Oddly their own books invoke copyright protection inside them.

  • ||

    For a year or two they have put Creative Commons-BY on everything they can. Yet another false, ignorant comment.

    And putting a copyright notice does not "invoke" anything--the copyright is automatic and exists whether you put the notice or not.

  • Way too late||

    Then why put it there at all, dumbfuck?

  • Way too late||

    Status quo = bad.

    But this anti-IP retardation makes the case that some theoretical person coming up with these ideas "independently" is being harmed somehow, which somehow makes IP tyrannical. Show me a case and prove to me that someone has been harmed this way. Prove that they are not merely copying an idea that they saw/heard/read somewhere else.

    Claim ideas can spring up ad infinitum. That's cute. Everyone else recognizes they DON'T. Theory and reality have diverged here.

    This is intellectual redistribution no less than wealth redistribution. You're saying the 1% of the population who is actually creative shouldn't be allowed to protect their ability profit or even recoup off their labor and creativity because the uncreative 99% could theoretically come up with that too, and only can't because the 1% have laws to protect them.

    Reminds me of "We, the 99%, have no money, and the 1% has money, and we'd have earned the money if laws didn't protect their money and keep it in their hands, give us their money"

  • Evil Socialist||

    I am a Socialist, and I approve of killing IP laws. This will allow me to get things I have not earned or creative for free. Thank you, Extremist psuedo-Libertarians, for allowing me to live off the labor and creative resources of others.

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