Courts

Why Jean-Luc Godard, Irish ISPs, German Historians and the Pope Won't Join the Kiss Army

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The pope is confident in his masculinity.

Intellectual property monopolies have become so rigid and enduring that even the publishers of Mark Twain's 100-year-old autobiography are claiming the work is still under copyright protection. But there's a ragtag group of misfits out there who are fighting the system like modern-day Robin Hoods, all with their own reasons for defending the public domain. Some samples:

Pope Benedict XVI objects, in that roundabout papal way, to tightly controlled patents on medicine (as opposed to patent medicine). From ArsTechnica:

A recent encyclical by Pope Benedict, one that speaks at length about the Catholic approach to development, is deeply concerned with economic inequality. In Benedict's view, strong IP rights can be part of such inequality. "On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care," he notes.

Elèutheros agrees. It's a Catholic group (whose name means "free") which exists for "the promotion, inside the Catholic Church, of the software, computer protocols and file formats more compatible with Her own Doctrine: those Free (as in Freedom)." The group praised [Vatican UN observer Silvano] Tomasi's speech, saying that the concerns behind it inspired Elèutheros' own manifesto.

Ireland's supreme court, meanwhile, has ruled in favor of internet service providers who refuse to crack down on downloaders. From the Beeb:

Mr Justice Peter Charleton said in his judgement that illegal file-sharing was "destructive of an important native industry".

But he added that there were no laws in Ireland to allow the disconnection of pirates from the net and that any attempts to do so could be in breach of European legislation.

UPC said in a statement that it "does not condone piracy and has always taken a strong stance against illegal activity on its network".

"Our whole premise and defense focused on the mere conduit principal which provides that an internet service provider cannot be held liable for content transmitted across its network," the statement added.

The Irish Recorded Music Association (Irma) is considering its next move.

Fire hazard.

Also sticking up for file sharers is legendary New Wave director and newly minted Oscar refusenik Jean-Luc Godard, who has donated €1,000 to the legal defense of a French citizen accused of downloading almost 14,000 MP3s. BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin quotes Godard:

There is no such thing as intellectual property. I'm against the inheritance [of works], for example. An artist's children could benefit from the copyright of their parents' works, say, until they reach the age of majority… But afterward, it's not clear to me why Ravel's children should get any income from Bolero.

And from the other side of the Rhine comes an attack on the roots of IP protection. In his massive two-volume work History and Nature of Copyright, German historian Eckhard Höffner compares British and German history, and concludes that British copyright law held back the right little tight little island's industrial development. Although Höffner covers a lot of territory – including the counterintuitive claim [pdf] that copyright actually depresses authors' earnings – this Spiegel article describes the basic macroeconomic contrast:

Höffner has researched that early heyday of printed material in Germany and reached a surprising conclusion—unlike neighboring England and France, Germany experienced an unparalleled explosion of knowledge in the 19th century.

In Germany even books have a bondage fetish.

German authors during this period wrote ceaselessly. Around 14,000 new publications appeared in a single year in 1843. Measured against population numbers at the time, this reaches nearly today's level. And although novels were published as well, the majority of the works were academic papers.

The situation in England was very different. "For the period of the Enlightenment and bourgeois emancipation, we see deplorable progress in Great Britain," Höffner states.

Equally Developed Industrial Nation

Indeed, only 1,000 new works appeared annually in England at that time—10 times fewer than in Germany—and this was not without consequences. Höffner believes it was the chronically weak book market that caused England, the colonial power, to fritter away its head start within the span of a century, while the underdeveloped agrarian state of Germany caught up rapidly, becoming an equally developed industrial nation by 1900.

Even more startling is the factor Höffner believes caused this development—in his view, it was none other than copyright law, which was established early in Great Britain, in 1710, that crippled the world of knowledge in the United Kingdom.

Girls are interested in size, Gene, but not tongue size.

So who is still fighting the public domain? None other than Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, who tried to deliver a tongue-lashing to file-sharing Kiss fans, but ended up suffering a series of DOS attackes that were hotter than hell. Fox News reports:

"Make sure your brand is protected," Simmons said during a panel discussion. "Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars." The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is well known for conducting just such a strategy of litigation; Simmons felt the groups response has nonetheless been too weak.

"The music industry was asleep at the wheel," complained the bassist and businessman, "and didn't have the balls to sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded material. And so now we're left with hundreds of thousands of people without jobs. There's no industry."

[…]

Simmons declined to respond to a FoxNews.com request for comments, firing off a stern warning to the online vigilantes on his site instead. "Our legal team and the FBI have been on the case and we have found a few, shall we say 'adventurous' young people, who feel they are above the law."

"We will sue their pants off," the bassist and businessman continued. "First, they will be punished. Second they might find their little butts in jail, right next to someone who's been there for years and is looking for a new girlfriend."

True to its manifesto—"For this, you will be held accountable before the people, and you will be punished by them. We will not stop. We will not forget. We will prevail. We are anonymous"—the group reacted swiftly to the remarks.

Simmons' sites succumbed again to a second wave of hacker attacks, and 4chan's Anonymous group added GeneSimmons.com and SimmonsRecords.com to its "official" hit list.

Simmons' site is back online now—but his statement has been removed.

NEXT: States on ObamaCare's Insurance Exchanges: How the Heck Do You Build These Things?

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  1. But there’s a ragtag group of misfits out there who are fighting the system like modern-day Robin Hoods, all with their own reasons for defending the public domain.

    They should be horsewhipped by Brian Doherty. After all, “libertarians” (according to B.D.) can make a “libertarian” case for what amounts to an undue transfer of property from a person to someone that calls him or herself the “originator.”

  2. And from the other side of the Rhine comes an attack on the roots of IP protection. In his massive two-volume work History and Function of Copyright, German historian Eckhart H?ffner compares British and German history, and concludes that British copyright law held back the right little tight little island’s industrial development.

    That’s the very same case made by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine (in their book Against Intellectual Monopoly) and also Stephan Kinsella.

    IP holds back knowledge and development, not promote it.

    http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm

  3. I am so not in the mood for another tired flame war about IP.

    1. I don’t recommend it. You would not win.

      1. I don’t see how anyone can look at the current US IP system and think that it’s working as intended. It badly needs to be reformed, particularly in the area of software patents.

        1. Yeah. The current system is hosed. I don’t mind originators getting exclusive right for a reasonable period of time but hunting down the descendants of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order to give them royalties seems counterproductive.

          50 years or the death of the originator, whatever is longer. Corporate copyrights 50 years. No fucking extensions.

          Patents – 20 years. For inventions that require government approval (pharmaceuticals, bio-engineered food) 20 years from date of approval. Again, no fucking exceptions.

          Works and inventions from other countries get identical treatment. I know there will be those that infringe on US patents and copyrights, that is what trade negotiations are for.

          I don’t claim this is perfection but it is certainly superior to the clusterfuck we have today.

          1. Lets compromise. How bout 20 seconds, or until the originator audibly farts?

        2. Giving Disney eternal copyrights to all their crap would probably help end the extension madness.

  4. German authors during this period wrote ceaselessly. Around 14,000 new publications appeared in a single year in 1843. Measured against population numbers at the time, this reaches nearly today’s level. And although novels were published as well, the majority of the works were academic papers.

    But . . . but . . . but IP was supposed to promote creativity! You mean it actually stiffles it??

    Say it ain’t so, Shoeless! Say it ain’t so!

    1. Agree.
      Of course, I acknowledge the counter arguement for IP that zombie Mark Twain’s creativity is being unconscionably a*sraped by the fact that he is not paid royalities for the work of live Mark Twain…about 130 years ago.

  5. A recent encyclical by Pope Benedict, one that speaks at length about the Catholic approach to development, is deeply concerned with economic inequality.

    is as far as I got.

    SRSLY? Will they be returning the gold to South America?

    ps- fuck the pope.

    1. ps-I have.

  6. El?utheros agrees. It’s a Catholic group (whose name means “free”) which exists for “the promotion, inside the Catholic Church, of the software, computer protocols and file formats more compatible with Her own Doctrine: those Free (as in Freedom).”

    Eleutheros. I like it already!

    By the way, P Brooks, it was the Spanish who took the gold, and they don’t have it anymore.

    1. Hah! Under the auspices of and with the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church, which certainly managed to get its share of the loot.

      1. Read history, for a change. The RCC did not set Spain or the Holy Roman Empire to go out and get the gold.

        1. What – you think Spain raped the New World without the blessing of the Church? You think the Church didn’t get any of the loot? The fucking damned Church divvied up the whole goddamned newly-discovered world between Spain and Portugal. You’re the one who needs to read some history – you’re out of your monkey-see, monkey-do mind.

          1. Re: Anonymous Dolt – I mean, Dot,

            What – you think Spain raped the New World without the blessing of the Church?

            You really think tyrants need permission?

            You think the Church didn’t get any of the loot?

            “Any” does not mean ALL, first. Great Britain and the Netherlands got quite a bit as well – should the Anglican Church return part of the loot? How about the Lutheran Church?

            The fucking damned Church divvied up the whole goddamned newly-discovered world between Spain and Portugal.

            Again, it’s not like tyrants need permission. The Church was just a mediator between the two kingdoms – Portugal and Spain could have just as easily duke it out in the parking lot.

            You’re the one who needs to read some history – you’re out of your monkey-see, monkey-do mind.

            You need to get your head out of your ass and read history through actual books, not through Radio Shack comic books.

            1. You can see my anwers below.

  7. I hate Kiss (they are the proto-juggalos, after all), and now Gene has given me an additional reason to hate them. Anyone who uses prison rape as a threat is a scumbag of the highest order.

    1. Agreed. If they’re not the most overrated band in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, they’re pretty damn close.

      1. It’s not just being overrated–Pavement is a perfect example of that–but it’s their rabid insane juggalo fan base. I just don’t get it.

        1. Wait, I’m confused…. Insane Clown Posse is the new Kiss? How did they get in the mix?

        2. I can understand how some might see Pavement as overrated, but at least they introduced a sound that (to commercial audiences, at least) was pretty original and influenced a lot of bands to come. What did Kiss ever do besides wear makeup? They belong in the Marketing Hall of Fame, not the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.*

          * Okay, technically speaking they belong in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame because it’s a complete joke and antithetical to what rock music is. However, if such a thing as a credible Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame existed they wouldn’t belong in it.

          1. I think the point is that “overrated” isn’t really the right description. It’s not like Kiss is widely exalted as some stellar musical ensemble, even by their own fans. People generally know they suck as a band.

            Their following exists for other reasons (nostalgia, cultural attitude, etc.).

          2. The problem you have is that Pavement completely sucks and makes utterly unlistenable, stupid quirk-rock that inspired nearly two decades of insipid indie crap that has pretty much destroyed popular music’s basic “rock” genre.

            Kiss, on the other hand, has made many songs that are fun, catchy, a little heavy and inspired a bazillion great bands.

            1. Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. It’s been seventeen years since I bought my first Pavement album and they’re still in my regular rotation. Sure, they inspired some crap but any influential band will beget both good and bad. Who exactly did Kiss inspire besides a decade of shitty hair metal bands and Stone Temple Pilots?

              1. Where in the world are you getting a direct link between Kiss and Stone Temple Pilots?

                Kiss was a band lots of boys liked when they were 13 or 14 years old. Some of those boys happened to go on to become musicians. I guess in some hair-splitting sense you could say they were “inspired” by Kiss, but that’s really pushing the definition of the word. It’s like saying Martin Scorsese was inspired by “Rin Tin Tin” because he watched it as a kid.

                1. I remember reading an interview with Scott Weiland where he identified Kiss as a big influence, and Stone Temple Pilots also recorded a cover for a Kiss song for some tribute album (why this knowledge has remained in my brain is beyond me).

                  And I’ll reiterate that I’m not saying people shouldn’t like Kiss; I’m just saying that Kiss’s contribution to pop culture–and their continued relevance all these years later–stems mostly from their image and marketing rather than from their music.

                  1. I think you’re missing the nostalgic/ironic value Kiss has for a bunch of Gen X males who look back fondly on their middle-school years of discovering rock ‘n roll. That’s what the Kiss thing is about for Scott Weiland and people like him. Nobody takes Kiss seriously as a musical band. They take Kiss seriously as a “wow, all that pyro and crazy makeup and loud guitar really made the 13-year-old me fall in love with rock ‘n’ roll” kind of wistful memory.

              2. Off the top of my head?

                The Hellacopters
                Turbonegro
                Garth Brooks
                Anthrax
                Pantera
                Venom
                Immortal
                Orange Goblin
                Bathory
                King Diamond
                Actually I shouldn’t bother listing metal bands. Probably pretty much every metal band that’s come out since the late 70’s either cites Kiss or cites a band that cites Kiss. Their influence on the genre can not be overstated.

                Soundgarden
                Backyard Babies
                The Donnas

                It’s endless.

                1. Okay, I think I’m starting to figure things out. You don’t like indie rock, and metal isn’t exactly my area of expertise, so I’m sure that shapes both of our perceptions. That being said, I still wonder how much of their influence is actually being inspired by Kiss’s music and how much of it was a 13-year-old thinking it would be cool to be a rock star. I mean, from a purely musical standpoint I would think Pantera would view Kiss as a bunch of posers (I mean, “I Was Made For Loving You” could have been recorded by Rod Stewart circa “If You Want My Body”). But I could see an early adolescent Dimebag Darrell smoking up in his mom’s basement thinking, “Fuck yeah, I want to rock like those guys.” I TOTALLY understand that kind of influence, even if it never appealed to me myself.

                  1. I’m not sure who’s responding to who at this point in the thread, but this …

                    I still wonder how much of their influence is actually being inspired by Kiss’s music and how much of it was a 13-year-old thinking it would be cool to be a rock star. I mean, from a purely musical standpoint I would think Pantera would view Kiss as a bunch of posers (I mean, “I Was Made For Loving You” could have been recorded by Rod Stewart circa “If You Want My Body”). But I could see an early adolescent Dimebag Darrell smoking up in his mom’s basement thinking, “Fuck yeah, I want to rock like those guys.” I TOTALLY understand that kind of influence, even if it never appealed to me myself.

                    … is exactly what I’m talking about. That’s precisely what it is. If you understand that, then you understand rock ‘n’ roll.

                    I have nothing against indie rock — there’s plenty of left-field, arty shit I love — but if you’re looking at this stuff only through the indie-rock lens, you’ll never understand actual rock ‘n’ roll. They’re two completely different things.

                  2. Actually Hard Luck Woman was, I think, originally written by Simmons for Rod Stewart. Or so Simmons said once, but you never know what’s real and what’s not with that dude.

                    Other than that TomD said it. Sitting in my basement wanting to rock! I thought that’s what rock music was all about!

                    (And forgive my anti-indie tirade…. I just truly hate it.)

                    1. I will also say that I think Kiss did write some really great songs. But I personally enjoy what might be considered soulless commercial music as much as anything. And I don’t deny that that’s what it is.

    2. I might have been inclined to sympathize with Simmons, IF there was actually anything creative or intellectual about Kiss. As it is, none of his shit is worth downloading anyway. Go back to selling soft drinks asshole.

      1. Talent has nothing to do with it, Wade. Are you really that dumb?

    3. Kiss stole the New York Dolls shtick anyway.

      Totie Fields said it best – you can’t hide the hook.

  8. I’m not surprised about Godard, since he figuratively and literally quoted other people’s art in nearly all of his films.

  9. In Benedict’s view, strong IP rights can be part of such inequality. “On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care,” he notes.

    Very few times Pope Benedict dwells on economic ignorance, but in this case he’s spot on – IP is nothing more than a state-run protectionism scheme, nothing more.

    There’s no such thing as “intellectual” property. Only rivalrous and exclusive goods can be property.

    1. Apparently there is no such thing as property at all when someone else wants it. Mankind is a pack of thieving monkeys.

      1. Re: Anonymous,

        Apparently there is no such thing as property at all when someone else wants it.

        If someone else wants it, that someone else can always make an offer on it – that’s how markets work.

        Now, how does this invalidate the concept of property, again?

        Idiot.

        1. If someone else wants it, that someone else can always make an offer on it – that’s how markets work. Now, how does this invalidate the concept of property, again?

          Idiot.

          Oh, is that how markets work? Really?But why bother when one can simply claim that there is no such thing as a valid concept of property, as you do when you claim that intellectual property is an invalid concept? If you want it, then make an offer for it – pay for it, or do without.

          I wouldn’t be calling someone an idiot when it’s quite obvious that you missed the entire point of my comment.

          1. Re: Anonymous,

            But why bother when one can simply claim that there is no such thing as a valid concept of property?

            Why do you mean “why bother”? Try it – you can meet my two friends, Smith and Wesson.

            […]as you do when you claim that intellectual property is an invalid concept?

            It’s not a claim, anonymous. IP is a contradiction, as ideas cannot be property. Ideas spawn in people’s minds ad infinitum, whereas PROPERTY can be fenced, guarded and transformed.

            IP is actually anathema to property rights as it is the UNDUE transfer of property from a person to someone that “claims” it as an “originator.”

            I called you an “idiot” because YOU’RE NOT USING YOUR HEAD.

            1. Well, what about the example of an author? Could Mark Twain have supported himself as a novelist had the illegal copying of his novels continued unabated, or would he have had to return to writing travelogues for newspapers? I know, German writers in 1843 and all that, but why is a living author collecting royalties an “undue” transfer? That seems like an arbitrary value judgment.

              1. Re: pmains,

                Well, what about the example of an author? Could Mark Twain have supported himself as a novelist had the illegal copying of his novels continued unabated,

                You mean “illegal copiers” would break Samuel Clemens’ fingers or something?

                And why wouldn’t he be able to support himself as a novelist? I don’t understand your contention?

                I know, German writers in 1843 and all that, but why is a living author collecting royalties an “undue” transfer?

                Because collecting royalties on something he does NOT own is THEFT!

                That seems like an arbitrary value judgment.

                Saying: “This is mine because I *thought* of it first” IS arbitrary.

                1. But why would Sam Clemens go to the trouble of writing novels? Wouldn’t it just be easier to go into printing and copy other people’s novels? He wrote 1800 page manuscripts. That’s a lot of effort producing something original that will have essentially no value once you’re done.

                2. Are you being purposefully obtuse here? If Mark Twain wrote his novels, and others were able to copy those novels, then Mark Twain would be no better off financially than had he chosen to instead copy someone else’s novel and sell it. So, what is the economic benefit to him to write a novel? If there’s no economic benefit, then it’s difficult to see how he could have financially supported himself by writing novels.

            2. I called you an “idiot” because YOU’RE NOT USING YOUR HEAD.

              You are the one not using his head, evidently because you’d prefer to use the heads of others for free. If you want what originates in my head, you can pay for it – or you can meet my friends – Dewy,Screwem, and Howe.,attorneys at law. And they have friends who have friends related to your friends, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.

              1. Re: Anonymous,

                If you want what originates in my head, you can pay for it – or you can meet my friends – Dewy,Screwem, and Howe.,attorneys at law.

                Fuck. See? I told you, you’re not using your head. Your lawyers can only sue under IP law – you’re applying circular thinking.

                And they have friends who have friends related to your friends, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.

                Which means, what? That you will resort to thievery? Because IP is State-granted thievery, anonymous – granting rights on property that does not really belong to YOU, just because you claim to have had an idea previously.

                1. I think the pertinent question here is whether or not your dad could beat up his dad.

                2. Jesus goddamn fucking christ on a cracker – there can’t be any kind of property without the intellectual component! What are you – a mindless materialist? Do you think atoms and molecules assume a particular form, not found in nature, just out of their own volition or something, with no direction? It takes an idea – that is to say – mental effort– to come up with that form or direction, in addition to the physical effort of arranging materials. It takes a portion of someone’s time – one’s life – to expend that mental effort.

                  Your lawyers can only sue under IP law – you’re applying circular thinking.

                  As real estate lawyers can only sue under real estate law. My reasoning is not any more circular than that is.

                  Which means, what? That you will resort to thievery? Because IP is State-granted thievery, anonymous – granting rights on property that does not really belong to YOU, just because you claim to have had an idea previously.

                  Which means that I will defend what’s mine and resist others’ attempts at thievery. Those who use my ideas whole cloth, without my permission, are the true thieves. If I originated the ideas, or purchased, or was given, the rights to them – then they really do belong to me. It isn’t my claim of prior originality that makes those rights valid – it is my demonstrable claim, in a court of law, which makes them so. They certainly don’t belong to someone who wouldn’t even have them except for the fact that I or someone else created them. Or will you now tell me that all property is theft?

            3. Re: Anonymous,

              A period or a decimal point is not any more anonymous than the term “Old Mexican,” Old Mexican. How does anyone know who the hell you really are. For that matter, who the hell cares?

              1. Re: Anonymous,

                A period or a decimal point is not any more anonymous than the term “Old Mexican,” Old Mexican.

                You can find out my name just by clicking on my handle, ANONYMOUS.

                And placing a period instead of a handle only tells me you are either too lazy to come up with a proper handle or you want to remain anonymous. Placing “Re: You Lazy Fuck,” on the header of my posts would seem rude…

                1. Placing “Re: You Lazy Fuck,” on the header of my posts would seem rude…,/i>

                  Not any lazier (or rude) than someone who wants to steal others’s mental works.

                2. And placing a period instead of a handle only tells me you are either too lazy to come up with a proper handle or you want to remain anonymous.

                  Who are you to say it’s not a proper handle? Anyone else using it is just spoofing me. 🙂

                  1. Besides, it’s better than being a cypher.

                3. you are too lazy to come up with a proper handle

                  Somebody call the handle cops!

            4. I’m pretty sure that Interpol’s new album, for example, is not an “idea”. It’s a thing, even if, in mp3 format, it isn’t tangible. Same for, say, Chuck Klosterman’s latest book. What gives anyone the right to just download a copy of the book or the album and enjoy said copy without paying for it?

              1. Just to forestall a particular chain of argument, my above post does not mean that I think everything about the current state of IP/copyright law is totally awesome. I think a lot of things need to be changed. I just don’t buy the “there’s no such thing as intellectual propery” argument.

                1. Thank you, Slut. And unless Dot and OM end their girly slapfight above, I don’t think your objection or mine is going to be answered.

              2. What gives anyone the right to just download a copy of the book or the album and enjoy said copy without paying for it?

                you mean like at a book store where you can read it without paying for it?

                1. Yeah, you can, which is a (small) loss the bookseller takes. However, you can’t take the book home and you can’t go in the bookstore’s office and make copies of the book to keep for yourself or give to other peopele.

                  1. I seem to recall reading the magazines at the airport not being allowed. If the shopkeeper allows it, fine. Otherwise, I really don’t think there’s a case to be made.

                  2. “‘Yeah, you can, which is a (small) loss the bookseller takes.”

                    But since it’s the idea you’re “stealing”, it’s the author you’re cheating. The bookseller has fuck-all to do with it, they just have physical rights to specific copies, same as book buyers.

                    1. But since it’s the idea you’re “stealing”, it’s the author you’re cheating.

                      In this particular example the author is not being cheated. He received his royalties when the bookseller bought the inventory. Same as if someone read the book in a public library – the author gets paid when the library buys the book.

              3. Downloading an mp3 is not taking the mp3 or moving the mp3, it is copying the information held in the mp3. OM and I do not think that one can own an idea, which is immaterial. One can only own the physical thing that contains the information. Copying that physical thing is not the same thing as stealing it.

                1. Fucking joke tags.

  10. “Only rivalrous and exclusive goods can be property.”

    You forgot women.

  11. Another reactionary-liberal-progressive kook with snakes in the brain recommending extralegal anal rape as punishment.

  12. I will fully admit that laws like the MCPA are shit, and that IP laws generally tend to go overboard.

    I would like to ask the total IP deniers this, however: if a drug can become instantly generic, why should any company invest hundreds of millions, or possibly billions of dollars to create new drugs?

    1. This is a valid point, but realize that one factor that causes such expense is government regulation. The FDA approval process is insanely expensive. If it were less expensive, being first to market would have some rewards.

      Though I am philosophically against IP, I can concede that a point can be made for brief periods of IP (such as the seven year period for drugs). But it’s gone way too far with stuff like copyright.

      1. I totally agree about copyright. The original copyright period was 14 years, and they could apply for an additional 14 year period. I could support that law. I also think that the punishment should fit the crime – oh, you down loaded 1,000 songs? They cost $1 each, and you have to pay a small fine and court costs. Time in jail and a $300,000 fine is insane.

        Life of the author + 95 years is also ludicrous, but Ganesh forbid that Mickey Mouse fall into public domain.

        1. Why should Mickey Mouse be in the public domain as long as the company that created the character is in business? His likeness is a tangible thing to be sold.

          I don’t understand why 14 years or 28 are acceptable times to protect ones creation but longer isn’t. It’s either yours or it is not. People don’t stop owning their couch just because it’s old.

          1. So you believe Homer’s descendants should be getting a check in the mail anytime someone retells the Iliad?

            1. Are you saying the publishers should just be able to use anyone’s stories and make a profit while the author or their heirs get nothing? John Grisham shouldn’t be able to contract with a publisher exclusively? If I can copy The Firm and resell it, that’s OK because it was written over 14 years ago?

              1. I’ll answer your question and I hope you’ll answer mine.

                Yes, if you want to go through the trouble of ordering a reprint of a 14 year old novel then you should be able to make money off of the ink-on-dead-trees you are selling. In all honesty, I doubt that most novels sell well 5 years after their initial run, let alone 14 years.

                So what do you think about Homer’s descendants getting their checks?

                1. I already answered your question. See my 1:07 a little below this.

                2. I would think I could make a fortune off selling Differently Named Coke for a few pennies less, so it’s OK to go ahead and do that since they created that formula a long time ago?

                  Or is this different than reprinting The Firm because Coke still sells their product well today and no one is reading 20 year old Grisham books?

            2. “So you believe Homer’s descendants should be getting a check in the mail anytime someone retells the Iliad?

              Homer’s great…(bunch more greats) grandson. Why yes, yes I do.
              Oh, and my mother invented the alphabet. All your letters belong to me. And any words, paragraphs, pages, and books derived therefrom.

            3. If Homer wanted any profit to be passed to his heirs, yes. If he believed as you do that it belongs to everyone, that’s his choice and I would defend that as well. If the Walt Disney Company decides tomorrow to let anyone use Mickey, fine with me. I’ll be the first to start selling crazy Mickey porn, but as long as they own it, it’s not mine to use.

              1. This is ridiculous. You support full, indefinite protection of IDEAS? Under your logic, the inventor of the cheeseburger could have patented it and retained absolute and indefinite rights to produce it (or NOT produce it while preventing others from doing so) because they own the concept of cheese-on-ground-beef.

                1. Yes, I do, if the creator wants to maintain an interest in them. You seem to be arguing that despite Lucas contracting with 20th Century Fox to distribute Star Wars on DVD, once Blu-ray became the medium of choice Warner Bros. and Universal could have packaged it and sold it and kept every penny? I mean, come on, Star Wars is 33 years old so clearly no one cares about it any more. Right?

                  1. I’m going to stay logically consistent and say yes. The fidelity would be questionable since the companies attempting to bootleg the product don’t have access to the physical masters. If they were to STEAL the masters and produce their own version, that would be wrong because it’s theft.

                    Additionally, most people would want to support the original authors of an entertainment product, and Universal and Warner Bros. cannot make that claim without engaging in fraud.

                    1. They don’t have to steal the masters. There are plenty of copies of film from the various theaters in which it’s been shown not to mention the billions of copies on DVD. High quality recreation would be pretty easy especially for companies with the resources of WB and Universal. Doesn’t change the fact they have taken someone else’s work and sold it without contracted compensation. Just because they could obtain a copy to mass reproduce doesn’t mean they own that movie any more than you or I. We own the DVD for personal use. I’m pretty sure it even says that on the package and the Warning we all try to fast-forward through.

                2. Just because not everyone sees the need to patent or copyright their food creation doesn’t mean they can’t. The Coca-Cola Company owns the formula for Coke Classic because they have an interest in being the sole seller. Anyone can sell a modified version of the drink and Coke won’t care because those versions aren’t the same, they have different ingredients and quantities so they are not the same IDEA. That’s competition, but it is not the same idea. People maintain an interest in their food creation all the time. Have you heard of Oreos? How about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? If the creator of the cheeseburger had decided to maintain an interest perhaps they would be as successful as Reese’s or perhaps they would be Betamax. Whether or not some ideas succeed or fail has no bearing on whether or not an idea belongs to it’s creator.

                  1. Okay, let’s try this:

                    1) Go to the super market

                    2) Look at the box of Nabisco Nilla Wafers

                    3) Look right next to the box of Nilla Wafers and there is usually a generic knock-off

                    4) Realize that Nabisco maintains a legal interest in their product because they are still selling and marketing it.

                    5) Realize that you are wrong because food recipes (the idea of a product) aren’t patented because you can’t STEAL ideas. COPYING is not the same as STEALING. If Generic Food Corporation Inc. is hijacking Nilla Wafer trucks and then repackaging the contents that is STEALING. If they are reverse-engineering the product and then marketing their own version that is COPYING.

                    1. Coke made the decision to keep their formula a secret because if they patented it the whole world could recreate it. They would have spent all their time and money fighting to get money back from others who sold the same drink and they probably would have won, but it was smarter for them to keep it a secret and rake in the profits. Smart business decision, doesn’t mean they couldn’t have patented it if they wanted to.

                      What argument do you have regarding my Star Wars example? Is it the same since WB and Universal could copy the movie and repackage it? That’s OK?

                  2. Also you can buy knock-off Oreo’s and Reeses Peanut Butter cups from almost any Trader Joes. I assume you must be trolling at this point because otherwise you are indicating you are oblivious to reality.

                    1. I’ve seen and tasted lots of generics because I like to pay less for things. Sometimes they are better, often they are worse, but they are almost never identical. The makers of knock-offs don’t want to face lawsuits. I’ve had the knock-offs of both Oreo’s and PB Cups and they are not the same as the name brand. If you think they are, your taste buds are fucked up. If they were the same Nabisco would fight them but they don’t need to because everyone knows they aren’t the same when you taste them. If they were equal (and lower priced) or better tasting they’d replace them in the market.

                      I’ve never trolled here before and I have no need to start now. I’m just arguing a point.

                    2. Point taken. I think you are very very wrong about the recipe thing. Reverse engineering is perfectly legal, and there is nothing illegal or immoral about selling a product that is identical to one already on the market. The thing with brand names is that they do hold weight in the consumer mind, especially if company has a history of quality products. That’s why the generic foods have to price themselves lower, because they don’t have the reputation of quality that the brand names have. Rationally, it would make sense that consumers would flock to whatever the cheaper of the identical products is, but that isn’t the case just because people like the comfort of buying from a reputable company.

                      People buy much more expensive brand names all the time even when cheaper, identical alternatives exist in the market. Consumer electronics are a good example of this, because of the price difference between the generic and high-end manufacturers and the fact that most of these items are manufactured in the same facilities by the same people. They do know that the company they are buying from has treated them well in the past or stands behind their product with a guarantee the generic one is unable to offer. That’s the power of branding vs. a generic component.

                    3. Branding has more than one benefit. Some things like Oreo’s, Reese’s PB cups, and Coke ARE better than their generic counterparts. People buy those brands for that reason. If people care less about quality or don’t want to spend the money they are paying for a lesser but similar product. Nothing wrong with that.

                      But because of that quality in some things, it creates brand suckers in other things. You can get Benadryl or you can get CVS or Walgreen’s or Rite Aid version of the EXACT same drug. The brand serves two purposes here. It keeps a products recognition high in the marketplace so people will buy the brand and the generic and suckers will buy brand because they get that high quality from Coke and Oreo’s. Tey don’t read labels. The generic drug store brand is the SAME. Benadryl, Tylenol, etc sell the rights to reproduce the product to the drug stores to repackage or they just sell them the same drugs in drug store packaging. It prevents reverse engineering to a large degree, keeps the brand power, and acts as a dual revenue stream since they can contract with those drug stores for a fee. People are more likely to buy the drug store benadryl than a Nick and Bingo’s Happy Fake Benadryl. Even generics have a “branding” component that earns trust when they attach a drug store or grocery store name to it. I don’t know if we won’t be sued for selling our product. We don’t have a contract with Benadryl.

          2. It’s either yours or it is not.

            Some of the so-called libertarians here don’t think it is yours, particularly if they happen to want it.

            1. Well, you can’t believe in intellectual property and physical property very strongly at the same time, as the former grants someone the ability to coercively restrict the latter for others, in a narrow but non-negligible sense. So, to the extent that libertarians are hardasses about normal property rights, it stands to reason that they would be moderate or anti- intellectual property.

              1. I actually think it is pretty negligible. Can you give me an example of something you really want to do that you cannot? And not a tiny thing that might be technically “illegal” but that no one would prosecute, i.e. Photocopying a funny cartoon to show an office mate.

                1. Say, I have a few inputs that could be combined with labor to form a useful product. Even if I determine how to do this on my own, I can be prevented from doing so because someone else came to the conclusion and presented to the proper authorities before I did. Worse, even if I develop substantial improvements to that process, the person who invented the original can prevent me from using or disseminating the improvement, while sitting on their laurels and thus denying that advance to society completely.

                1. Drink!

                  Re: Cynical’s statement that “it stands to reason…”

    2. Re: BakedPenguin,

      I would like to ask the total IP deniers this, however: if a drug can become instantly generic, why should any company invest hundreds of millions, or possibly billions of dollars to create new drugs?

      BP, these companies spend that much ONLY because of the FDA.

      But let’s say there’s no FDA [may the gods of common sense hear me]:

      WHAT OF IT? The fact is, you still have a few years of total market share before the competition can set up shop. Besides this, there’s brand recognition, reverse-engineering costs (as barrier of entry), consumer reluctance to switch, and more aggressive marketing.

      Really, if Big Pharma relies exclusively on IP to keep their business instead of what everybody else uses, then FUCK THEM!

      1. To make an analogy, it’s like saying “Why would anyone buy Nabisco products when they can get the generic store brand for much cheaper?” Brand and reputation for quality do influence people’s buying decisions.

        1. Re: Bingo,

          To make an analogy, it’s like saying “Why would anyone buy Nabisco products when they can get the generic store brand for much cheaper?” Brand and reputation for quality do influence people’s buying decisions.

          Exactly. Which is why producers spend money on brands and brand recognition systems (what we call advertisement)

          This is why the argument that pharmaceuticals would not spend money on R&D is pure bullshit, considering the fact that people will trust brands more than generics. I mean, has anybody ever tasted “$1 Store” cola?

          1. The other thing ridiculous argument is that it’s not the government’s duty to ensure your company’s profitability. If current R&D methods are so expensive that your products can’t compete with knock-offs then maybe you need to find new, less expensive methods.

            To take the argument to it’s logical conclusion, the government should grant a monopoly to ANY company that does expensive R&D to bring a product to market in order to “protect innovation.” It’s a ridiculous statement to make and say that you still believe in a free-market system.

            It certainly doesn’t help that drug companies are unable to subsidize their R&D for new, life-saving products by producing recreational & lifestyle drugs. If Pfizer could sell Ecstasy tabs at $10 a pop (I feel most recreational drugs would fall into the bottle-of-wine or 6-pack-of-beer price range if legalized) it would probably generate a lot of profit that they could use to fund additional research.

            1. One other point, is how many of the new fangled drugs are WORTH more than the older drugs?
              The statin drugs represent a true advance – and I note that plenty of companies came up with new ones in a crowded field, despite development costs.

              On the other hand, I used Avandia (we won’t get into whether it is safe or not) and it is NOT as effective (at least for me) of Metformin, which costs less than aspirin.

              I truly believe that drug use and costs is the best demonstration of the perversity of regulation and gubermint control. Using the newest and most expensive without considering VALUE.

          2. Well, yeah. It tastes crap because Coke’s formula is a trade secret — IP.

            1. Nope, sorry. Coke’s formula isn’t patented. Food recipes aren’t protected by IP laws.

              1. Re: Bingo,

                That’s right. It’s a closely guarded secret, but not copyrighted. Coke workers are bound by contract not to divulge the formula.

                The fact that it is not easy to replicate should be enough to tell anybody that such thing as a quick 3-month reverse-engineering (like BakedPenguin alleges) is pure bullshit.

                1. No, the bullshit is in thinking that no company could ever duplicate Coke. The reason there aren’t any dead-on impersonations of Coke is the same thing you’re screaming your head off about: if someone came out with one, they would get sued.

                  1. Re: BakedPenguin,

                    The reason there aren’t any dead-on impersonations of Coke is the same thing you’re screaming your head off about: if someone came out with one, they would get sued.

                    On what grounds? You have NO idea of what you’re talking about.

                    1. No, I made a mistake in one area of patent law. If you think a company with millions of dollars behind it couldn’t create a soda that tasted almost exactly like Coke, you’re kidding yourself. I was simply wrong about why companies aren’t doing that.

                  2. Sorry BP, you’re wrong here. Food recipes aren’t covered by IP law. If you can reverse engineer the recipe for coke and create something that tastes 100% the same you are free to sell your knockoff.

                    The evidence for this is in almost every grocery aisle in the country as well as online with all the recipes that get posted, modified, and reposted without any reference to licensing or the original author.

                    1. No you can’t. Look up the legal definition of “trade secret”. That’s why I used those words.

                    2. I don’t have access to a legal dictionary, but Wikipedia specifically notes that reverse engineering is considered one of the lawful ways of acquiring a trade secret.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…..de_secrets

                    3. Bingo’s right. You can reverse engineer a trade secret. By forgoing the patent process – and side-stepping the disclosure and time restrictions – you assume the risk of getting your idea/contraption/recipe reverse engineered and brought to market. If the trade secret doctrine didn’t allow for reverse engineering, you’d have an exclusive market share ad infinitum, simply by keeping a secret. This is something we specifically don’t want to allow as a matter of policy.

                      IP in America has long been justified as a utilitarian trade-off by which the public good is maximized by providing an incentive to create (the limited exclusivity in the production and distribution of an idea, and the money coming therefrom) in exchange for the eventual disclosure and use of the idea in the public domain. Therefore, because one gets around the public disclosure and “limited time” restrictions of a patent by claiming an idea is a trade secret, the doctrine makes sure that there are risks – like reverse engineering – that you take with a trade secret that you don’t with a patent.

    3. Dunno, but I think this line of argument limits the number of potential universes where drugs are created to only the ones that closely resemble the current one.

      Clearly even if there was not a dime to be made selling prescription medication at least some research would continue in the area for altruistic or fame seeking reasons alone. The guy who invents the pill that cures cancer might not be able to make a dime off selling the pill, but he’ll make millions selling books and going on TV shows.

      Then there’s the rich guy with an incurable disease who doesn’t give a damn if he cures everybody else for free as long as he gets cured too. He’s liable to sink a lot of money into it.

      Also, if the majority of drug research shifted into a private university setting, the University might not be able to make much money selling the new wonder drug, but the prestige of creating it would likely greatly enhance their ability to charge higher tuition and attract better students.

      None of this is to say this outcome would be better than the current setup. But I think it’s foolish to think that drug research would cease altogether.

      The profit motive is indeed one of the most powerful motivators out there, and is responsible for a great many of the world’s best advances. But it’s never been the only one. People have always done things for other reasons as well.

      1. OM, they can reverse engineer drugs much faster than that. At best, they’d have a few months of a monopoly market.

        You and Bingo brought up brand recognition, but I’d say drugs are a product where that’s a weak point of differentiation. That especially true if the cost difference is going to be large. And marketing is going to be one of the first things that pharma cuts when they see their potential profits drop.

        To address Voros’ point, someone may invent a disease-ending drug to become famous, but that doesn’t address how it will be manufactured or brought to those who need it. I think charity could only handle so much.

        Also, I didn’t think that new drug creation would stop entirely. But research towards drugs that are currently high risk / high payoff, niche drugs with small markets would be very scarce. (With the exception of “glamor” drugs that could bring their inventors fame, or a Nobel prize, or what have you).

        1. Re: BakedPenguin,

          OM, they can reverse engineer drugs much faster than that. At best, they’d have a few months of a monopoly market.

          My heart bleeds profusely.

          IT IS NOT THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT TO ASSURE SOMEONE’S PROFITS BY COERCIVE MEASURES, BP!

          You and Bingo brought up brand recognition, but I’d say drugs are a product where that’s a weak point of differentiation.

          Bullshit. Pure and unadulterated bullshit. If it were so, Tylenol and Advil would have given up on advertisement very long ago. Even BAYER still advertises as people recognize it, more than 100 years later.

          And marketing is going to be one of the first things that pharma cuts when they see their potential profits drop.

          What they will MOST LIKELY do depends on how they make the profits. If they rely on the FDA and IP to create the barriers of entry for them, then these are not real companies nor are they profitable.

          To address Voros’ point, someone may invent a disease-ending drug to become famous, but that doesn’t address how it will be manufactured or brought to those who need it.

          No, but a manufacturer can address it.

          But research towards drugs that are currently high risk / high payoff, niche drugs with small markets would be very scarce.

          Again, bullshit. That’s circular thinking. If shoe manufacturers said that they cannot compete without the help of government, then you would argue that without government, we would not have Nikes.

          1. I agree.
            I think people spent way too much on brands, but if they want to, so be it IF IT IS THEIR MONEY.
            There is a tremendous amount of money that goes to medical research (you can make a good arguement that it is mostly a waste…we have lost the war on cancer, I say we surrender, and spend the funds on booze, hookers, and blow).
            Again, I give the example of statins. Plenty of money spent on developing them despite quite a few providers.
            If someone came up with a pill to cure cancer, just as with statins, there would be plenty of research for better, faster, cheaper cancer cures.

          2. “Tylenol and Advil would have given up on advertisement very long ago.”

            I pointed out that it plays less of a role especially as drugs go up in price. Yes, people may splurge that extra .30 for 100 Bayer aspirin. Let’s see if they’re willing to pay an extra $60 for Merck heart medicine versus the same drug from Barr laboratories.

            1. Re: BakedPenguin,

              Let’s see if they’re willing to pay an extra $60 for Merck heart medicine versus the same drug from Barr laboratories.

              This is what happens when people don’t learn economics.

              Why, BP, why would Merck keep trying selling at $60.00 above the market?

              Again, you’re relying on cicular thinking – you simply assume companies charge high prices in order to recoup the R&D. But that’s not the reason – it’s because they have the market already strangled by government.

              Le me give you an example: General Motors spends several millions on R&D each year for new vehicles (design, features, and tooling engineering). You think that they would then be able to charge MORE for a new model car than what the market will bear? The reason they DON’T is because there are already several car manufacturers offering alternative products, so they have to price THEIR cars in a similar pric level in order to compete. So how do they recoup the development costs?

              THROUGH PRODUCTION, BP, the same as everybody fucking else. Through production.

              You simply assume that the high cost of drugs is a natural state of affairs, but it is NOT. The fact is, pharmaceuticals can charge that high a cost because of the protections granted by the government (the artificial high barriers of entry, the FDA’s onerous testing standards, etc), and not because of economics. The German pharmaceuticals of the 19th Century already PROVED that they could recoup their R&D costs very quickly without need for either IP or selling at a high cost. They recouped their costs through PRODUCTION.

        2. And you may be right.

          My argument is the same I use against stimulus packages and public works projects and things of the like. Even if these things did all the wonderful things its proponents argue they do, I would still be against it. Because fundamentally they don’t have the right to do it. Stealing 20 bucks from a junkie and putting it in the Salvation Army jar may put that 20 bucks to a lot better use, but that doesn’t matter. The principle that the 20 bucks is for the junkie to do whatever he wants with it is far more important.

          I feel the same way about IP: you can’t own ideas. You can sue your employee that leaked the secret formula to the general public for breach of contract. But the general public made no such contractual arrangements with you. So I fail to see how a business believes it has the right to follow an idea around collecting a fee at very stop it makes. Where exactly did they get that agreement in writing?

          Even if that makes you less likely to develop secret formulae in the future, so be it. The principle is more important: if I know something and made no agreement with anyone to keep it secret, I should be able to share this knowledge as I see fit.

          1. Fine, I’m not going to convince either of you. But neither of you can convince me that there would be no serious consequences from eliminating patents and copyrights. And as with Bastiat, I think most of them would be things you couldn’t see – drugs not created, inventions not brought to market, songs, books, and films not written. The losses would be invisible.

            Also Voros, a somewhat pedantic point: it’s not the idea that’s patented or copyrighted, it’s the specific expression of the idea. This is one reason why I disagree with OM’s “automobile” argument above – there are many different ways to create a carriage with an internal combustion engine. It’s also why Thomas Edison couldn’t gain a monopoly on film and film projector production. (Although that court case was admittedly a clusterfuck as well).

            1. “Also Voros, a somewhat pedantic point: it’s not the idea that’s patented or copyrighted, it’s the specific expression of the idea.”

              But yeah that is kind of pedantic because:

              a) That’s kind of like saying hiring a prostitute is legal, you just can’t have sex with her. What the hell is the point?

              b) It still speaks to the issue of, when exactly did I agree to those terms with you? I know someone wrote Stagger Lee, not entirely sure who. Know it’s based on a true story. I know I didn’t write it. But I also know that the writer didn’t personally agree with me that I had to pay him 200 dollars every time my band played it at the Fireside Bowl. So what’s with the letter I just got from his great grandson’s lawyer?

              1. Actually, it’s not pedantic. “Ideas” are not intellectual property. Particular expressions of ideas are. That’s not some minor point. It’s the very crux of the thing.

                1. Exactly. The words in the Iliad in any order are just words the same as the paint in the Mona Lisa is just paint. But put them together in a particular way, they become someone’s creative work of substance that isn’t forfeited just because someone makes a copy. And just because I’m not good enough of a wordsmith to say it properly doesn’t make it untrue.

          2. I agree and would add that this whole concept of “ideas” is nebulous.
            If I invent a “hammer” do I get a rent for any object used to pound another object? When is a hammer “idea” worth money?

            With regard to developing drugs, what makes drug development expensive? Synthesizing drugs is cheap. generating millions of pages of documentation is quite expensive.
            Ideas are free and plentiful. If you want more drugs tested, reduce the burdens of drug testing regulation.

            But,but, but…how would we know that they are safe???????????????????
            Well, it used to be that most great medical discovers were first tested on…..(wait for it….the longer you wait the better the orgasm of discovery is…..
            ….
            ….
            the doctor who thought the idea up!!!

            1. Re: Fresnodan,

              If I invent a “hammer” do I get a rent for any object used to pound another object? When is a hammer “idea” worth money?

              You’re getting the picture.

            2. And then the Doctor would roam the country on foot. Going from town to town helping people in need with his new found powers along with his maid, Mrs. Livingston.

    4. If people can starve to death under a bridge, why shouldn’t they just be allowed to walk in to your pantry and start taking shit?

      1. Allowed by whom?

    5. BP, how is that an argument that explains how information can be property?

  13. H?ffner believes it was the chronically weak book market that caused England, the colonial power, to fritter away its head start within the span of a century, while the underdeveloped agrarian state of Germany caught up rapidly, becoming an equally developed industrial nation by 1900.

    Or it could be because catching up is easier.

  14. We should respect patents, but shorten the length of patent protections to something more reasonable, like 75 years. The most effective way to take down big media is to make new content and distribute it for free. That’s what I do.

    1. Re: jtuf,

      We should respect patents, but shorten the length of patent protections to something more reasonable, like 75 years.

      Why are patents to be respected? You’re arguing as if patents are a valid form or “property.”

    2. You’re confusing patents and copyright. Media content is not patentable, but it is copyrighted.

    3. Shorten patents to 75 years???

  15. For the Church, it seems the charitable thing to do is not encourage innovators making drugs to give up profits (and the incentives for creation with it), but to subusidize the expensive drugs or encourage patent-holders to voluntarily forgo profits in some cases (e.g., malarial drugs for Africa) in the name of charity.

    1. Re: Abdul,

      For the Church, it seems the charitable thing to do is not encourage innovators making drugs to give up profits

      The Church is not asking pharmaceuticals to give up profits, you’re making that one up. What the Pope is asking is to change IP laws as they are more protectionist schemes than true property laws.

      1. Let’s find someone besides the pope to reform the IP laws. Please?

  16. 4chan’s Anonymous group added GeneSimmons.com and SimmonsRecords.com to its “official” hit list.

    Who among us would condone a hacker attack on reason.com by IP supporters?

    1. Who’s condoning?

  17. if a drug can become instantly generic

    There is still a major advantage to being first. And, from the consumer standpoint, I favor competitive pressures which enforce efficiency and low cost.

    What would the automotive market be like today if Daimler had been awarded a patent on self-propelled carriages?

    1. Re: P Brooks,

      What would the automotive market be like today if Daimler had been awarded a patent on self-propelled carriages?

      Hey, no need to speculate – just research the Selden Patents.

      http://www.thefreemanonline.or…..monopoly/#

      You might say “Well, that’s absurd! Of course nobody can patent ‘the automobil'” – But that is EXACTLY what IP does.

  18. You know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to provoke Anonymous. That seems smrt.

    1. not your personal army

    2. I’m going to provoke Anonymous. That seems smrt.

      There is no “smart.” Smart implies thinking, but as some here would have us believe, ideas just spontaneously “spawn” inside the brain – like pimples erupting on someone’s backside or turds gently oozing out of someone’s ass. 🙂

      1. Please can we have a coherent argument out of you “.”? How can one own an idea? One can own a material object that represents an idea, but copying that object is not stealing anything material. Maybe you are a proponent of Plato’s Forms…

  19. I was glad to furnish all my songs to you guys at no charge.

  20. Thanks Son. I was glad to furnish all of mine at no charge to you guys.

    1. Ah, right. Cheers!

  21. We really, really appreciate it, you guys.

  22. Only rivalrous and exclusive goods can be property.

    Nope. Not gonna rise to the bait.

    Other than to say that real estate is at least partially non-rivalrous and non-exclusive.

    Many uses of real property are non-rivalrous/non-exclusive (more than one person can stand on my property, and there is even room for more than one house). Sure, at some point you exhaust the capacity of the property to support the activity, but real estate is not in principle, always and everywhere rivalrous and exclusive.

    Really. Not rising to the bait. Not gonna do it.

    1. Re: R C Dean,

      Other than to say that real estate is at least partially non-rivalrous and non-exclusive.

      “Partially”, as in “Me and My Buddy Here Can Stand In The Exact Same Spot At The Same Time”?

      Many uses of real property are non-rivalrous/non-exclusive (more than one person can stand on my property, and there is even room for more than one house).

      You’re talking about two different things, RC. Even if several people can stand in your property at the same time, can all claim to possess it at the same time?

      Please, don’t even start – you’re showing your lack of preparedness.

      1. Rivalry generally refers to consumption, not ownership. Now who’s unprepared?

        1. Re: Ayn_Rand,

          Rivalry generally refers to consumption, not ownership. Now who’s unprepared?

          What’s the difference, AR? If I consume it, is because I OWN it.

  23. The irony in Simmons’s position is that the current de facto-weak IP regime favors huckstered art, which is totally his thing.

    Creators who are salesmen and merchandisers too, or who produce works that function more as social than aesthetic signals (e.g., “the majority of the works were academic papers,” or Lady Gaga, or the Whitey kitsch of BoingBoingland), are still getting paid, and the purist pour l’art shut-ins Simmons thinks are dipshits anyway aren’t.

    Counterintuitively (maybe), IP is more valuable to them than it is to him, because it’s all they have. He’ll find a way to get paid for this, if he hasn’t already. It’s what he does. Serious Artists With Integrity? have nothing left to parlay into cash.
    Which is fine. If you think Germany turned out fine.

    (I have a truly marvellous demonstration of this proposition
    which this margin is too narrow to contain.)

  24. I don’t like to say this, but:

    Gene Simmons is such a god damned joo.

    And Kiss is an asshole band that has been around too long and never should have been popular in the first place. What is it with asshole bands and clown makeup?

    1. Whoah… whoa… You dropped a hard “J” on us.

    2. OK, since you misspelled Jew I will let this one slide.

  25. Everyone, name the last Kiss song you heard on the radio or television. I bet every answer will be the same.

    1. …can’t even name a song or album by them.

    2. “Detroit Rock City.”

      Though it might have been “Beth.” Not sure.

      Why did you bet every answer would be the same? Whether Kiss sucks or not (and yes, they suck), it’s not like they don’t have several songs that are still pop-culture staples.

      1. Honestly, offhand I can only name two Kiss songs (“Detroit Rock City” and “Rock and Roll All Nite”) and it just occurred to me that I don’t even know what “Detroit Rock City” even sounds like–I just know the name. On the flipside, “I Was Made for Loving You” is a song I recognize right away but forgot was a Kiss song until I googled their greatest hits. Overall that’s a pretty weak contribution to pop culture. Hell, even the Spin Doctors contributed three songs to pop culture…

        1. Okay, I admit I went a little far with my Spin Doctors comment; I just thought it would be funny to bring up the Spin Doctors (and it IS true that I can identify as many Spin Doctors songs as Kiss songs).

          1. littlemisslittlemisslittlemisscan’tbewrong

      2. I’m pretty sure there’s only one kiss song I ever remember hearing (unfortunately millions of times) and I didn’t even know the name. But its “Rock and Roll All Nite”, if thats even the real name of the song. Its popularity is entirely due to being easy for morons to remember the lyrics, like too many songs that overshadow even the brilliance of good musicians.

        1. Lyrics? Huh?

          Its popularity is entirely due to its hook. It’s catchy.

          Christ, I can’t believe I’m sitting here defending Kiss. (Though it’s not so much a defense of Kiss as a dismissal of the “morons don’t like the brilliant music I appreciate” inanity. Come on, man, stop being such a cliche.)

  26. Kiss is just the 70’s version of the mindless bullshit that high school kids listened to on the jukebox in the 50’s.

  27. That Germany 1843 study is so fucking stupid it fills me with rage every time I see it cited.

    Germany in 1843 was disunited and split into many states that were competing against each other fiercely, and also were divided on religious lines. The revolutions of 1848 were just around the corner. Many of the smaller states were being shepherded into line under the aegis of the rising Prussian state. Germany was also the epicenter of a couple of different continental philosophical movements at that time, more as a result of accidents of birth [a relative handful of men being born German instead of French] than anything else.

    There was more writing in Germany because there was more to write about, and because every two-bit revolutionary, second-rate idealist theorizer, Catholic or Lutheran apologist, state functionary, Prussian mole, etc., just had to have his own pamphlet.

    Britain had mature institutions and Germany did not. Germany was in a state of profound political and philosophical flux and Britain was not. That’s pretty much all you need to know. So Germany would have 1000 zeitungs and Britain would have the Times. It’s not a mystery and it really has much less to do with copyright law than it has to do with political and sociological facts on the ground.

    1. Re: Fluffy,

      So, let me get this straight . . . The fact that Germany was a divided conglomerate of states, explains why people wrote so much, whereas Great Britain had old, centralist institutions, so they wrote less. So IP is not to blame for the British being such bores. Is that what you’re arguing? Really?

      1. Why is that such an incredulous explanation? When you have a fractured, tumultuous nation, people write about all kinds of shit more.

        1. It’s an incredulous explanation because it doesn’t fit Old Mexican’s narrative.

          Dude’s usually pretty rational but he goes nuts on this issue.

        2. Re: Ayn_Randian,

          When you have a fractured, tumultuous nation, people write about all kinds of shit more.

          First, Germany wasn’t a “fractured” nation, but a collection of kingdoms. Second, READ the article again: the author is not talking about people writting journals on interesting tidbits of history as it develops in front of their eyes; he is talking about a flurry of works on philosophy, physics, engineering, medicine, chemistry, and (yes) literature, from mostly agrarian regions.

          His point is not that people are enticed to work because the world is chaotic around them, the point is that IP was NOT A FACTOR in this explosion of creativity. History contradicts the IP proponents’ main argument.

          Third, your explanation makes NO SENSE – again, what makes you think that the lack of production in G.B. is explained by a lack of interesting things to write about? You mean Her Royal Majesty’s Empire LACKED interesting things to write about? That’s nuts.

          Read Against Intellectual Monopoly – the publication is free to distribute and read:

          http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm

  28. Gene, your shitty band fucking blows and you couldn’t rock your way out of a paper bag that didn’t happen to be greasy before got in it. You should start marketing your look-what-I-pulled-from-the-shower-drain-with-a-coathanger hairstyle as a brand of toupees.

  29. I think, pretty much to a man, anti-IPers are sympathetic to anarchy and people with a little more nuance on the subject of IP are less so with respect to anarchy.

    It seems to track.

    1. I think it comes down to the debate over whether ideas are property. I’m still routinely shocked that many libertarians support what is essentially a government-granted, anti-competitive monopoly.

      1. There isn’t anything stopping producers of books, movies, music etc. from obligating you via shrinkwrap contract to not distribute the content.

        1. Exactly, so why do we need to pretend that people can own ideas?

    2. I am absolutely pro-IP and I am absolutely sympathetic to anarchism.

      1. How the shit does that work? I mean, you think of land as property, fine. You can pick up a gun and drive squatters and thieves off in anarchy, and as long as the people around you are cool with that, it works.

        But how the fuck are you going to keep some guy on the other side of the continent from making a copy of something you wrote and made public? Especially given modern digital technology? IP only works with a strong central power to enforce it. The ultimate goal for IP-hardliners is unified global enforcement.

        1. How the shit does that work?

          I am sympathetic to the morality underlying intellectual property, and sympathetic to the morality underlying anarchism. I couldn’t care less how it “works.” It’s irrelevant.

        2. But how the fuck are you going to keep some guy on the other side of the continent from making a copy of something you wrote and made public?

          Oh, I don’t know – by not writing or making it public? Screw the thieving damned savages.

          1. How is that a pro-IP scenario?

            1. It is not so much a scenario as it is a stance – as in: I’m not going to create it in the first place if others are going to just steal it from me. I can find other things to do with my time.

                1. I’ve no doubt that many do.

              1. If people would be stealing things from you, that would be a problem wouldn’t it?

      2. Funny, I’m sort of the opposite.

        1. Is it strange that there are three of us regular Hit & Run posters who are also regular BigSoccer posters? I see you and timon19 over there all the time.

    3. I think you are right to. Anti-IPers don’t like having are real actual property stolen. So we don’t really like the whole concept of government either.

      Pro-IPers don’t mind a little bit of theft if thats what it takes to pay the bills and they already used to it.

      1. What in hell makes you say that? Limited-government libertarians don’t necessarily support taxes.

        1. But if we don’t steal from people, how will we make money off of ideas????

  30. People can’t just now be discovering that KISS were ultimately a branding and marketing ploy by its members, notably Gene Simmons.

    KISS is a brand, not a band, and Gene Simmons is acting almost exactly how I’d expect him to act. If the KISS brand goes public domain, Gene Simmons stands to lose a lot of money.

  31. Just to further develop a thought that just occurred to me: like limited liability, companies could obligate consumers to act as if the material they are purchasing are copyrighted/patented,.

    1. That would help prevent legitimizing commercial infringement, but for file-sharing, they would need a reliable means of identifying the source of unauthorized copies, or else the contract is unenforceable.

  32. Gene Simmons might be stupidest asshole on the planet.

    Suing customers is not a good idea. Especially customers with no money (college kids).

  33. Re: Anonymous dot,

    Jesus goddamn fucking christ on a cracker – there can’t be any kind of property without the intellectual component!

    That doesn’t make any sense.

    Do you think atoms and molecules assume a particular form, not found in nature, just out of their own volition or something, with no direction? It takes an idea – that is to say – mental effort- to come up with that form or direction, in addition to the physical effort of arranging materials.

    You don’t say? How come you don’t go and patent your own shit? Didn’t you think going to the restroom?

    It takes a portion of someone’s time – one’s life – to expend that mental effort.

    Yes, it’s called action. However, you don’t own the action, only the materials you possess. You know, the rivarous ones???

    As real estate lawyers can only sue under real estate law. My reasoning is not any more circular than that is.

    It is also circular. Real estate is not property by government’s fiat, it is because it’s rivalrous and exclusive. Ideas are NOT rivalrous NOR are they exclusive – they spawn in people’s minds ad infinitum.

    Which means that I will defend what’s mine and resist others’ attempts at thievery.

    Good luck defending “This thing you have is mine because I thought of it first!” You are more than liable to get your ass shot off if you think you can pull that one.

    Those who use my ideas whole cloth, without my permission, are the true thieves.

    Bullshit. I thought of fucking your wife – are you a thief because you then go and fuck her? It was my idea, mine.

    USE YOUR HEAD, for a change!

    1. Bullshit. I thought of fucking your wife – are you a thief because you then go and fuck her? It was my idea, mine.

      You can fuck her all you want inside your head, dude, if you have that much imagination (which I doubt.) Be a good trick though, since I’m not married.

      1. And if you were, he couldn’t actually fuck your wife without you shooting him in the cock, but he could write about it all he wants.

      2. Re: Anonymous Dot,

        You can fuck her all you want inside your head, dude, if you have that much imagination (which I doubt.) Be a good trick though, since I’m not married.

        The moment you marry, since I alredy fucked her in my mind, I will be able to claim my property, using the same arguments as YOU.

        1. The moment you marry, since I alredy fucked her in my mind, I will be able to claim my property, using the same arguments as YOU.

          Nope, not even close. You can’t have already fucked her inside your mind, because you can’t conceive or imagine her until or unless I were to marry. And just the label “his wife” doesn’t count as conceiving or imagining – in this case it doesn’t refer to anything extant.

          Besides, if you have prior claim, then she would not actually be my wife – the concept “my wife” implies exclusivity. You’re engaging in something Rand called the “Stolen Concept” (or was it Nathaniel Branden?)
          In any event, good trick – if you can manage it. Want to also try for stimulating the economy by printing funny money or writing hot checks?

          1. Re: Anonymous Dolt – I mean, Dot,

            [B]ecause you can’t conceive or imagine her until or unless I were to marry.

            How can you be sure of that?

            Besides, if you have prior claim, then she would not actually be my wife – the concept “my wife” implies exclusivity.

            Just like my claim to someone’s book (the dead tree and ink) cannot be made by me just because I happened to imagine the written words “first.”

            Thank you for making my point for me, Dot.

            1. [B]ecause you can’t conceive or imagine her until or unless I were to marry.
              How can you be sure of that?

              Very well then, demonstrate to us that you can. Tell us her name. Describe her to us. Draw us a picture. Tell us any damned thing about her. C’mon, prove to us that you can conceive of her, let alone conceive of fucking her. And if you can not, then why should anyone accept your claim?

              Besides, if you have prior claim, then she would not actually be my wife – the concept “my wife” implies exclusivity.
              Just like my claim to someone’s book (the dead tree and ink) cannot be made by me just because I happened to imagine the written words “first.”

              Thank you for making my point for me, Dot.

              Hell, you’ve just made my point. You “imagined the words first?” Yeah? Got any proof? Got them written down and/or published? Got anything besides your say-so? No? Then why should anyone accept your claim?

              Ideas don’t exist detatched from concrete reality, any more than concrete reality exists devoid of attributes or characteristics – ideas – if you will. You can’t count without numbers and you can’t think without words – at least not on a level much higher than a dog – and you can’t do that without them being embodied in some sort of physical manifestation, be it electro-chemical changes in your brain, dead trees and ink, or electronic impulses stored on a disk or in a circuit.

              You want an example going the other way? Try fencing that “real” property without knowing where to put the fence. What if someone moves the fence posts – how would you know where they are supposed to go without mathmatics and geometry? Give your dead tree and ink to a monkey and see if he can write you a novel, or anything else intelligible. (A monkey, not an ape.)

    2. You don’t say? How come you don’t go and patent your own shit? Didn’t you think going to the restroom?

      I shit naturally, dude, it assumes a natural shape. I don’t have to think about it – do you?

      1. Re: Anonymous Dot,

        I shit naturally, dude, it assumes a natural shape. I don’t have to think about it – do you?

        I don’t suffer from incontinentia, anonymous dot. I DO think while shitting, that’s why it always comes as a work of art.

        1. Incontinence. Sorry, I was thinking of Life of Brian.

          1. Are you sure you weren’t thinking of Saint Ausgustine? It’s said he did his best work while sitting his constipated ass on the can.

  34. BakedPenguin, I agree with your analysis of the consequences resulting from ending intellectual property but the line of reasoning as a whole I don’t like because it reeks of precautionary principle to me. How do we know new technology won’t evolve to fill the gaps?

    Just brainstorming here and these ideas are admittedly rough but…

    1. The libertarian default “how does this shit happen without government” answer: charity.

    2. Controlled distribution. A consumer reports style 3rd party signs an NDA with the drug company and buys malpractice insurance. They then review the drug’s effectiveness and approve\deny it. The consumer takes the drug at an approved facility. No prescriptions. One pill at a time. Think you wouldn’t go for it? This is your health and not productivity software. You’d grit your teeth and go to the controlled distribution location once a month if you actually saw your penis getting bigger. I mean if they cured your cancer. Cancer. Sorry.

    3. DRM for medicine. Yeah it would constantly get hacked but at least it’s harder to manufacture a pill than it is to download software.

    4. Decentralizing the process. One company does the testing, another does the documentation and legal paperwork, another the manufacturing. A large, disperse group of individuals comes up with the new formulas. A website bridges the gap. How do the formula creators make money? The same way every other niche on the web makes money. Selling services (coaching, training) or products (chemicals) to the others in the niche.

    5. Letting people own their own bodies. What % of the RD cost goes to scientists vs lawyers and accountants?

  35. I’m torn on the subject oif IP.

    With copyright, it allows the creator a monopoly on his ideas. And after a success, if the creator can’t create anything else that sells, he’ll simply stop trying to create anything anymore and try to rest on the dwindling value of his old work.

    In the case of pharmaceuticals, that is probably a bad thing. In the case of Gene Simmons it’s a good thing. The last thing the world needs is any more of Gene Simmons’ creativity.

    In other words, if it takes IP rights to get Gene Simmons to stop, I am in favor of IP. If it takes the absence of IP rights to get Gene Simmons to stop, then I am in favor of that.

    IP is an ego trip, nothing more. It’s generally why lawyers are in favor of it.

    1. Re: Invisible Finger,

      It’s generally why lawyers are in favor of it.

      Ding, ding, ding!

      IP lawsuits always end up being long and protracted affairs, precisely so lawyers can send their kids to college – has NOTHING to do with creativity, inventiveness or progress, but with RENT-SEEKING.

  36. +1 to all the pro-real-property comments made here by Old Mexican.

    If you are pro-“IP” you are anti-real-property.

  37. Old Mexican|10.29.10 @ 7:08PM|#
    Re: Anonymous Dolt – I mean, Dot,

    What – you think Spain raped the New World without the blessing of the Church?
    You really think tyrants need permission?

    You think the Church didn’t get any of the loot?
    “Any” does not mean ALL, first. Great Britain and the Netherlands got quite a bit as well – should the Anglican Church return part of the loot? How about the Lutheran Church?

    The fucking damned Church divvied up the whole goddamned newly-discovered world between Spain and Portugal.
    Again, it’s not like tyrants need permission. The Church was just a mediator between the two kingdoms – Portugal and Spain could have just as easily duke it out in the parking lot.

    You’re the one who needs to read some history – you’re out of your monkey-see, monkey-do mind.
    You need to get your head out of your ass and read history through actual books, not through Radio Shack comic books.

    No, I don’t think tyrants need permission – I think they didn’t care to be excommunicated for not giving the Church its cut. I mean how would it look to the peasants if their king wasn’t god-fearing? Hell, those damned priests might start a revolt or something.

    I didn’t say “ALL” – I said its share. As for Britain and the Netherlands, about the only gold they got was what they could capture from the treasure ships heading back to Spain and Portugal, whose conquistadores stole it in the first place.

    The Church was more than just a “mediator” – it was a partner. How, or rather why, do you suppose all those old missions were built? Besides the gold, besides the cheap or even slave labor, part of the Church’s cut was the “souls” of the natives; unlike you apparently, Holy Mother Church did believe in non-physical property.

    I wasn’t aware that Radio Shack sells comic books, but in any event I gave those up when I was a kid. As for real books – I’ve read plenty, enough and so long ago that I’ve probably forgotten some of them. You aren’t dealing with some salad days, college kid here, dude, so save your gratuitous insults. They truly demean the level of your discourse. That, or you can talk to yourself.

  38. One additional thing, before I forget: I didn’t intimate that the RC Church or any other church should return any gold – you’re reading things that aren’t there. But since you bring it up – yeah, it might be nice if the Church used its own wealth to help the poor unfortunates in third world countries, many of whom stay poor and unfortunate because they accept the teachings of the Church. However, like most lefties and liberals the Church would rather someone else foot the bill for its good works.

  39. It’s striking that a libertarian site in discussing opposition to IP law does not even mention the growing libertarian case against IP.

    1. +1

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