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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12151/the-right-of-copy-a-courtly-privilege/

The Right of Copy: A Courtly Privilege

March 11, 2010 by

Here is a facsimile of a 1703 right of copy. Fascinating. Thanks Anders Mikkelsen.


terrell March 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

…my browser having some trouble with that link.

Perhaps it would be more generally helpful to include a concise one line summary of the main point of the linked content… rather than requiring all readers to switch over to an obscure link. Also, “fascinating” seems a rather subjective term of little descriptive value.

North March 11, 2010 at 10:37 am

The fascinating part is that this is a VERY early example of copyright (or prototype of copyright). Relatively speaking, copyright is a recent invention.

North March 11, 2010 at 10:42 am

I want to ask as well, does anyone know of a “stash” of dates and references like this?

On the subject of copyright, the only historical references I am personally aware of are contained in the two books on the subject in the Mises store. Are there more links and references readily available?

If not, that’s okay. I should probably buy those two books anyway (to support Mises.org) and then follow the reference trail.

Alexander S. Peak March 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm

cop·y·right [kä-pē-rīt]

a mercantilist prohibition on competition in the realm of literature and art, created in the early eighteenth century, enforced through statist intervention into the market, and in no way produced through common law or derived from theories of natural law

Kerem Tibuk March 12, 2010 at 6:10 am

Hmmm, let’s see.

If I find a document from the 18. century that says land ownership is granted by the Queen, does that make private property in land a courtly privilege thus illegitimate?

Would then some witty IP socialist claim private land ownership is a mercantlist prohibition on competition in the realm of land?

Do you think it is this easy to undermine property rights?

I can easily say that full blown socialist are both more consistent and use much more sophisticated arguments than you IP socialists.

Peter Surda March 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

The point of this blog post is to show the historical development and perception of copyright. Where does Jeffrey Tucker claim the scanned image invalidates it?

On a completely unrelated note, are you ready yet to defend your position?

Alexander S. Peak March 13, 2010 at 2:04 am

Dear Mr. Tibuk,

Hopefully I won’t regret this post when I am sober, so I shall try to make this reply all the more polite than I would naturally, which is itself pretty polite because I think it bad policy to post with an angry tone, but here goes:

Right to legitimately-acquired land was never acquired by royal fiat, and any land that was acquired by legislative fiat was illegitimate. Surely you agree, no?

Ergo, isn’t your argument a strawman argument? The arbitrary whim of rulers is irrelevant; what is relevant is whether the thing acquired was (A) acquired through work (okay, copyright meets this criteria) and (B) scarce to begin with (sorry, copyright does not meet this one). The arbitrary whim that the natural scarcity may be ignored is therefore just as illegitimate as the ruler’s arbitrary whim that a property may become owned without any labour-mixing. To defend copyrights seem to be as bad as defending the arbitrary proprietary grants that Rothbard so reasonably opposes in his great Conceived in Liberty. Does this make sense? Hopefully this doesn’t come across as hostile.

If this makes me an “IP socialist,” then so be it. What does “socialism” even mean? According to Brad Spangler, we free-marketeers are socialists. Good argument? Bad argument? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. “Socialist” is a word, and as fun as it is to point out that conservatives are socialists and not defenders of truly free markets, ultimately I recognise that words are created by people. Yes, I am a socialist (in the sense that Spangler uses the word). No, I’m not a socialist (in the sense that Mises used the word). The term “IP socialist” doesn’t scare me, and it doesn’t scare anybody else (or at least it shouldn’t). Words are just a means by which we communicate, and most political terms are fairly meaningless and maliable, meaningless at least in any objective sense, so why should I cower in fear of them? As long as I’m ot initiating force or fraud against any person or her justly-acquired property, that’s the most important thing to me. How I treat a person beyond that is also meaningful. but non-aggression is essential. A positive right to prevent another person from using her pen, her ink, and her paper in any nonviolent manner she sees fit is not a right I have. Using force to prevent her from using her property as she sees fit is not my right. Thus, I will never initiate force against someone for copying my stuff. I do not have that right, just as I do not have the right to murder someonie just because I don’t like her pants. The nonaggression axiom is everything to me. The word “socialism” is nothing. Again, I hope this doesn’t come across as hostile. Please excuse me, for I am having difficulty right now in reading my tone.

My sincere best regards and love to you,
Alex Peak

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2010 at 2:21 am

Completely irrelevant posting… Copyright is historically recent only due to the fact that mass replication of printed works was impossible before more modern printing presses were invented.

Technical capabilities for mass printing allowed authors to produce their original works in massive volumes in order to sell their LIMITED USE. Unwanted use of original works of authorship can be proved by using unauthorized copies as evidence. That’s copyright in a nutshell: the author’s right to allow others to use your property only in a non-commercial manner (since such full ownership right costs a lot more), while retaining all other rights for himself.

You can always avoid copyright restrictions by paying the full market price for replication/publishing rights.

newson March 13, 2010 at 3:28 am

in other words, only since technology made it possible to amass significant monopoly profits enforced by law, did artists/inventors militate for protection.

was copying ok before the printing press, therefore? i mean, are ten copies ok, but ten thousand evil? please provide a convincing argument about where good turns evil, randians pride themselves on their moral, not pragmatic stance.

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