The Reason Roundtable

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Musk? And Yes, Taxation Is Still Theft.

Plus: A short debate on intellectual property


On this Monday's Reason Roundtable, Katherine Mangu-Ward is back with Matt Welch, Peter Suderman, and Nick Gillespie. The editors each describe a tax they would like repealed and unpack Elon Musk's attempt to purchase Twitter.

1:52: Taxes worth repealing

17:43: Commonly held notions about taxation that should be refuted

25:30: Elon Musk's ongoing attempt to purchase Twitter

41:52: Weekly Listener Question: Mickey Mouse is set to enter the public domain in 2024 unless Congress acts to amend copyright law (as they did to avoid this same scenario in the past). I read Joe Lancaster's very informative recent piece on this topic for Reason, and of course, I agree that denying or granting such an extension on the basis of what ideology Disney does or doesn't promote is ridiculous. But I was surprised to see it presented as an obvious libertarian position that the copyright should be allowed to expire. It seems to me that putting Mickey Mouse—a piece of intellectual property actively being used by its creator to generate further original work—into the public domain would contrast with the typical libertarian support of strong property rights. Is intellectual property so different from physical property? And wouldn't it likely reduce net creativity if other creators could make easier money by just copying Mickey than by creating their own original characters? How does the panel feel about the state of copyright law? Does Suderman think other studios should be able to start making cheap filler movies with Marvel characters a few decades from now? Do we need a new form of intellectual property protection in an era when corporate creative enterprises can thrive for so many decades? Please share your thoughts; if I need money 75 years from now, I can sell copies of them.

51:36: Media recommendations for the week

This week's links: 

"Tax Day Is Here, Because Government Bungling Won't Pay for Itself," by J.D. Tuccille

"Americans Will Spend 6.5 Billion Hours on Income Taxes this Year," by Eric Boehm

"Gatekeepers Very Afraid that Elon Musk Will Remove the Gates From Twitter," by Matt Welch

"Musk bid for Twitter underscores the risks of social media ownership," by Joseph Menn, Cat Zakrzewski, and Craig Timberg

"Elon Musk Demonstrates How Little He Understands About Content Moderation," by Mike Masnick

"Abolish Copyrights and Patents? A Soho Forum Debate," by Gene Epstein

"Too Much Copyright," by Zach Weissmueller

Send your questions to Be sure to include your social media handle and the correct pronunciation of your name.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser

Assistant production by Hunt Beaty

Music: "Angeline," by The Brothers Steve

What are we consuming this week?

Peter Suderman

Katherine Mangu-Ward

Matt Welch

  • Catholic Church in Washington D.C.

NEXT: Carl Hart: Legalize All Drugs Now!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. 1:52: Taxes worth repealing

    All of them?

  2. "Tarriff are a tax because they let American companies rip you off"


    So the way I see it is that the real problem is competitiveness. American companies can't compete with Uighur slave goods because they have to worry about minimum wage and health insurance, maternity leave, etc.
    The Koch solution is open borders so companies can import Guatemalans to compete but keep their status murky without so they don't have to worry about paying for the wages and stuff legals and citizens are entitled to.

    It's a bit of a pickle.

    1. Is ML realy OBL?

      Also the creator of mickeymouse has been dead for decades

      1. Walt Disney is kept alive in the basement of Mickey's laboratory on the blood of young children and the dreams of transgenders.

        1. He's transdead.

      2. Why can't intellectual property be heritable? Or sold to a trust? Or a corporation? What libertarians support the government seizing other private property and giving it to everyone for the "common good"?

        And couldn't the creator (or the person/firm the creator sells the rights to) get around this by putting up an "all rights reserved" clause at the beginning of every movie?

        1. "Intellectual Property" isn't property.

          1. Exactly. It is a construct. Theoretically to grant exclusive right to some creative work before the whole world can do the same thing so as to encourage new creation.

            In the case of patents, it's -- again theoretically -- so that inventors publish what they did, preserving the knowledge for everyone. In the case of other creative works like music or literature, it is to encourage those arts because prior to the concept of intellectual property the author would get nothing if someone else reprinted his work, a composer with a hit would be desperately trying to get as many arrangements in sheet music published as possible because other publishing houses would be putting out their own (often inferior) versions.

            But it isn't property. And it definitely isn't real property. And once the concept of the government protecting the monopoly of the originator gets past the point where it encourages new works it eventually discourages new works, decreasing innovation and creative ventures for fear of legal reprisal from the entrenched monopoly.

          2. You would feel differently if you created things.

            1. Not after he's dead. Then he wouldn't feel anything, and that's his point. His invention can outlive him, but not it's exclusivity.

        2. What libertarians support the government seizing other private property and giving it to everyone for the "common good"?

          What libertarian willfully conflates another private entity making a Steamboat Willy cartoon with the Government, producing no such work, granting protection one way or the other?

    2. Not a pickle at all. Taxes suck. Subsidies suck. Comparative advantage is something you need to read up on.

      You also need to get some principles, such as "governments suck, are incompetent and inefficient" instead of just reflexively being happy that government is helping your side.

      1. Where did you get any of that from what I wrote?

        1. It was ... implied. Or inferred. Or something.

      2. Continued corporate theft also sucks. Which is why retaliatory tariffs are justified when supply shift options do exist.

        Or are you fine with increased security costs on American produced goods? You seem to always ignore the reality of global trade.

        1. Taxing american citizens because a company lost its technology to a country known for stealing technology is not retaliation. It is making americans pay for the stupidity of well connected corporations.

          1. It is making americans pay for the stupidity of well connected corporations.

            ^Assumes stupid, well-connected corporations got well-connected by stupidity.

          2. So you just skipped over the supply shift part of the statement?

            An actor stealing and then reselling said goods at discount is not beneficial to the consumer nor the company originally. It decreases r and d as well as raise costs down streak from certain suppliers.

            I still can't believe some people deny this.

            The mob steeling a truck full of electronics and then selling it on the street for half price does not actually benefit customers in the long run.

          3. I will simplify overt. If you can answer ill concede your theory.

            Which product is exclusively made in China and the US only?

            Game theory is a modern part of economic theory. In decades of competition tot for tat has been the strategy of winners in the vast majority of free trade concepts based on AI economic competitions.

            You do realize that right?

          4. And lastly...

            How is not increased security costs not the same cost to consumers as a tax?

            How is one more preferable to the other?

            Shoplifting raises everyone's costs, right? Should shoplifters not be arrested? This is such a silly argument made from too simplified an argument of all tariffs bad. It ignores reality.

            1. I mean, taxpayers pay for the court system used in shoplifters right? Its a tax right?

              1. Can you explain how Trump's tariffs reduce Chinese corporate theft? Also, how does Game Theory support the use of tariffs?

                1. ???
                  Tariffs are never meant to address or reduce corporate theft.
                  Jesse's shoplifting analogy was about the lack of fairness in positions, rather than shoplifting.

                  Libertarian free trade only works when all parties play by the same rules.

      3. Comparative advantage is something you need to read up on.

        Slavery is something you need to read up on. Pretty sure all of you fuckheads all support good Saint Lincoln and his 650,000 casualty war to preserve the sacred Union free the negro. Pretty sure you fuckheads all supported embargoing the Confederate States of America before burning it to the ground, salting the earth, and murdering and raping shit loads of women and children for the greater good. So it's quite puzzling why you support wage arbitrage using slaves in foreign countries.

    3. Not sure where the Koch companies do any of that. My kid works for one of them as a scientist/engineer, and there is no one in their office paid anywhere close to minimum wage. Most of their workforce appears to be highly skilled, and consequently, highly paid. My kid sure is - they offered the highest starting salary for their PhD.

    4. Who says citizens are entitled to that stuff?

      1. State and federal governments unfortunately.

      2. Go ahead and tell them they aren't. Make repealing child labor laws, minimum wage laws, occupational safety laws, and reinstituting slavery a political platform and sell it to the public. Oh wait, you're not willing to do that? You'd rather exploit slavery and child labor in foreign countries where you don't have to see it but still benefit from all of the protections and benefits accorded to you in an opulent western regulatory state? Well ain't that some shit.

  3. I will admit, I am afraid of Big, Bad Musks.

  4. Welch pushing Mike Masnick's stupid, dishonest insinuations was one of the most revolting anti-libertarian things to be posted on Reason.
    Gillespie thinks Musk's trolling.
    KMG thinks Musk's up to "shenanigans" and he's wrong saying that Twitter is part of the public square. KMG thinks "a highly censored private platform is a good part of free speech".

    1. I think we’ve reached the point we don’t need to pretend Reason is a libertarian publication.

      1. That’s what makes it fun.
        It’s always cool to make fun of hypocrites.

    2. Twitter was literally created to be the new public square. It was its main selling point.

      1. Of course, it’s a private company, so if they lie about what they are to convince lots of people to give them their personal information for them to sell, why should libertarians care?

  5. I was glad to click on the link for X and see that it wasn't the excellent punk band from LA, and instead is some movie or something. I can continue blindly hating everything Suderman likes.

  6. "Florida judge overturns federal mask mandate for transportation"
    "“The court concludes that the Mask Mandate exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking under the [Administrative Procedure Act],” Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote in her order..."

    1. Less than a week after I got back from a cross country flight. Really, I'm the one who suffered the most here. I even got a really bad cold, while wearing a mask the whole time (I mean, I drank on the flight but no diseases can get past shots of liquor anyway).

      1. We'll see how devoted droolin' Joe is to masks; will he appeal it?

        1. I hope he views this as allowing him an easy out of the federal travel mask mandates. Let him kvetch about it and pretend he put up a fight. I'd prefer to just not have masks on planes. They actually really do suck.
          I had 9+ hours of mask time, including flights and layover, and it is actually a huge pain in the ass that doesn't seem obviously validated by data. Also, let me take the risk anyway. I fear that latter point is outside of the Overton window for a lot of the country though.

          1. Will not get on an airplane until 'no masks', period.

            1. I don't blame ya. Unfortunately, my aunt had to be a total bitch and die without asking me how inconvenient it was for me. So, I made do. Was my first plane trip in awhile.

          2. He’s not viewing anything other than the back of his aviators, a teleprompter, and his ice cream. Hopefully his handlers view this as an easy out.

            1. I'm sure he gets Jello once a day too.

          3. Flew from Chicago to Berlin and back. That sucked.

            1. Seriously: OH NOOOOOO!!!!!!!
              No business travel any longer; most all is 'optional', and I'll option out for now.

              1. It was miserable, but I hadn't seen my girlfriend (who lives in Berlin) in 18 months, so... I did it anyway.

            2. The cities or the bands?

              1. The cities. Though I had the same thought. 😀

            3. I bet your arms sure are tired.

          4. your mask is for others.

            Your mask protects me, my mask protects you, but your mask doesn't protect you, and my mask doesn't protect me.

      2. You and me both, BUCS... you and I were probably on the same plane.

        1. I pray we were the ones who made each other sick. As our libertarian germs will make our immune systems intolerable for other germs to be around.

  7. Taxes are just the price we pay for sharing the world with idiots.

  8. Poor old Joe. But one would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

    1. And if you go chasing rabbits
      And you know you're going to fall,
      Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
      Has given you the call.
      Call Alice
      When she was just small.

  9. Does Suderman think other studios should be able to start making cheap filler movies with Marvel characters a few decades from now?

    Batman (and Robins) best (most in need of copyright protection of) to worst (most in need of copyright protection from):
    1. George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell
    2. Christian Bale
    3. Robert Pattenson
    4. Val Kilmer
    5. Adam West and Burt Ward
    6. Ben Affleck
    7. Michael Keaton
    8. Robert Lowery
    9. (Honorary) Will Arnett

    Change my mind.

    1. 1. George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell

      Biggest tragedy, Rosie O'Donnell never got a role as Catty Woman.

    2. The fact that Kevin Conroy is not on your list shows your ignorance.

      1. I was, sorta, avoiding voice actors as, AFAIK, Batman's voice isn't copyrighted.

        Slightly tangentially, if copyright protection doesn't protect Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, The Real Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife from Ghostbusters 2016, I don't want it.

    3. Batman, the character, is not protected by copyright. He's protected by Trademark (appearance, name, etc...). A specific expression involving Batman (a comic story, a piece of art) is protected by copyright, but not the idea or general look of the character itself.

  10. Taxation is robbery because of the threat of violence.

    1. I agree. Making that clear about government, and having hard discussions about when said violence might be validated, is important.

      1. It's not hard, government should be limited to the retaliatory use of force.

    2. Even without violence, fraud is rampant even in some of the most 'above aboard' cases.

  11. Taxation Is Still Theft
    I Reason abandoning it's "woke" views and returning to it's libertarian roots? Time will tell.

  12. "And Yes, Taxation Is Still Theft."

    I haven't listened to this, yet, but just that headline alone has me shaking my head. I simply can't take anyone seriously that would say that with earnestness. What would be 'theft' would be the theft of the labor of government employees that serve you if you refused to pay for what they do on your behalf.

    1. “What would be 'theft' would be the theft of the labor of government employees that serve you if you refused to pay for what they do on your behalf.”

      You’re such an adorable little lamb.

    2. Government is just the name for the children we molest at airport gates together, right you bootlicking Nazi cunt?

    3. Taxation is not theft, taxation is legal extortion. Pay the government or go to jail.

      Taxes do NOT go to pay for the labor of government employees (if that's what they did we would be paying a mere fraction in taxes then we do). I would love a regime where the purpose of taxes was to fund the necessary function of government. But that's as much fantasy as is a stable anarchism.

      Taxation is legal banditry.

      1. Extortion is to demand something of value from someone under the threat of violence if they don’t comply. Inherent in that crime is that the extortionist is not offering any kind of exchange. Mobsters might say that they are providing “protection”, but that is obviously only protection from them.

        You might not want some of the services provided by your government, but only true anarchists would want nothing at all. And it is fairly certain that they would change their mind quickly if they actually had to live under anarchy. So argue against the specific spending you don’t like, but refusing to pay taxes would mean refusing to pay for the things you do want and use from government as well as what you don’t want or don’t use. That would make you the thief.

        1. Mobster protection rackets also protect your from other gangs. Hence the turf wars.

          Government is just a legalized Mafia. It may be necessary, but it's not the most moral thing in the world to be going around confiscating property and tossing people in jail for not playing taxes. At least they don't break your kneecaps. Yet.

          This is why I want a much much MUCH smaller government. That rabid pit bull my keep me safe from burglars, but I want him chained up so I'm safe from him.

          1. Rabies has a very high fatality rate in dogs infected with it, so a rabid pit bull should be treated or put down as quickly and humanely as possible if treatment is not an option. It certainly wouldn't be moral to use it to protect yourself and let it suffer and die as you did so.

            Arguing with you has been frustrating because you keep using analogies and hyperbole that is too over the top to argue with rationally. Which is exactly my original complaint about the "taxation is theft" statement. It is far too simplistic and extreme to make for a useful point of debate.

            1. No, the issue is he proved you wrong, and you refused to recognize it.
              I want nothing from the State (not the same thing as a government). I can get anything I need or want from the State.
              If taxation isn't theft, then define theft without including taxation without a specific exemption.

              1. *from the market. Dang.

        2. I would be happy to pay for any government services I desire to use.

          1. I would be happy to pay for any government services I desire to use.

            What about services you didn't know you needed or didn't think you needed until after you needed them? Should you still get to take advantage of those services when you weren't "happy" to pay the taxes that supported them until you needed them? What if you can't afford those services? Should other people have to pay taxes to provide you with those services, or should government services only be for those that can afford to pay for them?

            In a democratic form of government, people decide, through their votes and elected representatives, what services to provide and what taxes to require people to pay in order to support those services. No individual will ever agree with all of it, but what is the alternative? The only alternative I can see is to not have government at all. I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to live that way, which is probably why no such society exists anywhere at scale in the modern world.

            1. Let me stop you right there, do you actually think the government knows better than anyone what services they want? Do you think a monopolistic institution that doesn't have to respond to price signals (and doesn't even receive any) has any idea what any individual wants more than the individual does?
              Do you know anything at all about actual economics?

    4. So charge direct user fees for almost all government services. Need a new Driver's License, pony up $100 ($25 for the license, $75 to pay the staff that got it to you). Need to educate your kid? Pay the school board per year, per student, something called a tuition.

  13. What Is Poison Pill Twitter | Twitter’s Roadblock To Elon Musk’s Takeover!

  14. "Taxation is theft."

    The siren song of the woefully stupid.

      1. This line plays well to people that have specific government spending that they don’t like and don’t use in mind. But do they really believe that their money is being “stolen” to pay for services that they do want and do use? Instead, they would be the thieves if they demanded services and yet refused to pay for them.

        A fantasyland anarcho-capitalist utopia might allow for a system by which the kinds of services that they demand from government would be provided by purely voluntary contributions and payments, but I just called that a fantasyland for a good reason.

        In any real world civilization, taxes are the only means to support government. If you don’t want taxes, and view them as theft, then find a nice anarchist society somewhere to live under.

        1. This is a much better response than "everyone that thinks this is dumb." Well other than the "love it or leave it" ending.

          "do they really believe that their money is being “stolen” to pay for services that they do want and do use?" This can be the case because the government takes your money, you have no choice, and then spends it inefficiently. So you are not necessarily getting a good return on your payment. Your money has been taken and wasted.

          An anarcho-capitalist society would not depend on voluntary contributions. It would depend on paying for services as used. But, not every libertarian is an anarcho-capitalist. Some just think the scale of taxation and waste in today's system is theft.

          1. Some just think the scale of taxation and waste in today's system is theft.

            I don't see people using that phrase putting that qualifier on it. The use of that phrase always seems to be aimed at all taxation, not just when it passes some subjective boundary of being too much or fueling too much waste.

            An anarcho-capitalist society would not depend on voluntary contributions. It would depend on paying for services as used.

            That's what I meant by voluntary contributions. People paying for services directly, or in some form of insurance, is voluntarily. Being forced to pay taxes whether you agree as an individual to do so is not. Taxes an individual must pay don't depend on their individual agreement. In democratic systems of government, taxes are levied according to a government with the consent of the majority of the people taxed, but those that disagreed and voted the other way still have to pay the taxes.

            That is where this idea comes from, in essence. They don't like some of the taxes that the majority agreed to require and/or some of the spending fueled by those taxes. So, to justify their hatred at having to pay taxes for things they don't want, they call all taxation "theft". If they really did stick to arguing about what specific taxes or spending they didn't like, then calling it "theft" no longer makes sense, as they wouldn't be disputing the justice of the taxes or spending that they did agree with, but that other people required to pay those taxes would not agree with.

            Basically, to not be a hypocrite about it, the "taxes are theft" crowd would have to believe that no taxes or spending are justified without every individual agreeing to them. That is what makes it not a libertarian idea, but an anarchist one.

            And by the way, I don't see libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism as being compatible, even if they share some similarities. Libertarianism, as I understand it from people identifying as libertarian, is to believe that the powers of government need to be restricted to that which supports basic freedoms only. Government should stay out of the way in every other area. Anarchism of any sort is antithetical to even that limited amount of government. To an anarchist, a limited government is still government that shouldn't exist. Even though not all socialists are communists, those are still related ideologies, such that all communists are socialist. The same cannot be said of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, I think.

          2. Also, Well other than the "love it or leave it" ending.:

            I don't think my statement can be reasonably interpreted that way. The point is that there aren't any anarchist societies to go live under. Certainly not any "nice" ones. It was like I was saying to go find yourself a unicorn to have as a pet, if you like them so much. And I definitely wasn't insisting that people "love" being taxed if they weren't willing to leave a society that required taxes. I definitely want people to continue to voice their opposition to specific tax policies that they don't like and to vote accordingly. My annoyance with this kind of thing (Taxation is theft) is that it is just venting anger in a totally unconstructive manner. It is worse than useless at advancing the goals of the one expressing it.

            1. OK. I think I have misunderstood some of your statements. I appreciate the detailed explanations.
              We seem to mostly agree. I just see "taxation as theft" not as an idiotic and useless statement, but a shocking, although hyperbolic, statement (to normal non-political obsessed people) that gets them to think and hopefully educate themselves on the subject.

        2. "Anarcho-capitalist" is a brood parasite fiction coined in 1972 as a poison pill with which to infiltrate the LP and destroy it from within. The only thing anarcho or anarchy or anarchist has modified or described in the 200 years prior to 1972 was communism. Look at newspaper archives and staring you in the face are communists knifing, bombing and shooting people from ambush. There are no exceptions. By logical induction, anarcho-anything is violent communism just as all men are mortal (but some merit hanging).

        3. "But do they really believe that their money is being “stolen” to pay for services that they do want and do use?"

          Yes. Also, everything the State does (that's supposedly "good") can be done without initiating force by the market.

    1. Easy take from a welfare case piece of shit like you who proudly ran out on his mortgage, welches on his bets, and is a welfare leeching pedophile, shreek.

  15. > Is intellectual property so different from physical property?


    I get into arguments all the time with Randians over this. But Ayn was not god and her pronouncements are not universal ultimate truths. So sue me.

    In one real sense, all property is a social fiction. You may claim some land but if the community around you does not recognize it, you're screwed. Same with intellectual property. But the big difference is that IP as we understand it today can only exist via government grant. One can make the case for trademarks (the weakest IP) in that using someone else's trademark is tantamount to fraud. And if you use Mickey Mouse and pretend it was an original Disney work, that's fraud as well. And of course patents are as silly as they are useful. If you see your neighbor find a new and more efficient way of harvesting his crops, why the hell can't you do the same thing? If you want your invention to remain secret, then don't show it to everyone!

    But basic copyright is in a strange land. Directly copying someone else's work and passing it off as your own is called plagarism. But can you make copies and sell them cheaper than the author's publisher? Under what moral foundation of property can you state emphatically "no"? The defense usually rests on simply calling it "property" and then using to invoke property rights. What what soil has been tilled? What ground has been fenced? What has been taken away from another? Nothing. If I make a copy the author still has his untarnished original.

    But copyright is also a social convenience. So I'm not wringing my hands over it. But at the same time, copyright terms of "life of author plus infinite years" is just plain silly. Let's limit to life of the author plus, let's say, ten years. After that it becomes public domain.

    1. Whats wrong with treating IP like property? No one is forced to use any one elses IP. Go make your own mouse. The only reason we want to get rid of IP is because people want to make money off someone elses idea without paying for it.

      1. Why shouldn't I be able to use someone else's idea? My neighbor is using an iron plow, wholly crap that's a good idea, maybe I stop using a stupid wooden plow and use an iron one too! All of human progress is based on good ideas. Patenting them all up and and preventing anyone from using them without royalties to the inventors heir nigh unto seven generations is a recipe for unprogress.

        I'm not saying get rid of IP, I'm saying let's put some sensible limitations on it. Walt Disney has been dead almost sixty years. Why is Mickey Mouse still under copyright? It's stupid.

        Also I'm in software, and it's nearly impossible tow rite a single line of code without infringing on someone's patent. Time to stop granting patents to the first to file the obvious.

        1. A patentable idea has to be a lot more specific than using iron instead of wood for a plow. And generally speaking, you wouldn’t run afoul of someone’s patent until you tried to sell a plow using their design to a third party. Simply copying some patented design for your own use might not even violate patent law at all. (Fair use in copyright)

          As I see a lot around here, you seem to be taking things worthy of debate on how to reform IP law and focusing on hyperbolic scenarios and arguments instead.

          Question for the person “in software”, but isn’t software subject to copyright law, not patent law? Not that I know where all of the differences between them lie anyway, just that we must at least call them different things for some reason

          1. > A patentable idea has to be a lot more specific than using iron instead of wood for a plow.

            Not in the modern era. Nowadays you get a patent for being first to file something that hasn't been filed before. I work in software and iv'e seen the most obvious shit getting patents. Shit like "algorithm has been used in domains A, B, and C, but never done in domain D therefore you get a patent for it."

            I was literally at company A maintaining software that had been doing X for ten years, when Philips came along and patented it. I wanted my company to objecdt on the basis of prior art, but they didn't because it was cheaper just to trade patents so we could keep using what we had already been using for the past ten years.

            The patent office only cares about first to file, if you object then the onus is on the objector to sue. Prior art, obvious to those in the field, direct copy form someone else, one click purchasing from Amazon, the USPTO doesn't give a shit. They only care who was first to file.

            I'm not saying lets go with anarchy, I'm saying fix the bloody system. And stop pretending it's property when it's clearly a government grant of privilege.

        2. Why should you be able to use someone elses idea. Youre neighbor invented a better plow, you want to use it, pay for it. You just want to benefit off someone elses work.

      2. If I steal your car, you don't have the car anymore.
        If I "steal" your IP, you still have your IP.
        I can't steal something from you if you still have it. The logic behind calling using IP "theft" fails at the first hurdle.

    2. The holder of copyright to Atlas Shrugged was an individual, or as FDR said in the "banking holiday" proclamation, a "natural person." That proclamation provided prison terms for natural persons convicted of illegally possessing gold, but made "artificial persons" (corporations) liable to no such thing. Republicans infiltrate the LP demanding collecivized "rights" that corporations can use government to enforce. Repeal of the personal income tax is likelier to interest voters. Individuals are the ones casting votes.

  16. Pete, Re: Free Speech:

    Nice that you wife can dismiss the impact of doxxing victim because she is an orthodox jew. How's that free speech work again? WP can doxx a private citizen, but would Twitter let us doxx you and your wife? Hah! Seems like someone sure enjoys more freedom of speech than others. But, then, that's what Orwell noted.

  17. I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but who wrote the copyright summary. If it's any indication of the actual discussion, it's downright illiterate.

    Mickey Mouse is not protected by copyright. Specific expressions involving Mickey Mouse (eg, Steamboat Willy) are protected by copyright, but the concept of Mickey is not. Mickey is protected by trademark. As long as Disney continues to actively use Mickey, that trademark is protected indefinitely. There is no danger of Mickey Mouse becoming public.

    Steamboat Willy might become public. I'm not an IP lawyer, so I'm not totally sure how that interacts with the trademark, but my best guess is: 1. you could not create original Mickey Mouse cartoons, 2. you could reproduce Steamboat Willy (so long as Disney continues to be credited).

    1. You cant' do Goofy or Minnie either. Is everything Disney did back in the 20s a trademark?

      1. Probably. At least the characters they're still using.

      2. For a similar example, Marvel (and thus now Disney) has trademarks on all their heroes appearances and most of their names. But you can't own 'Thor' - anyone else can put out a story or even a comic about Thor, the god of thunder. But they can trademark his appearance - so your version of Thor cannot look like Marvel's 'Thor'.

        Copyright, however, only applies to specific expression.

  18. Thanks so much for the warning label on these Roundtables. One bad apple spoils the lot, but forewarned is forearmed.

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