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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13286/the-creator-endorsed-mark-as-an-alternative-to-copyright/

The Creator-Endorsed Mark as an Alternative to Copyright

July 15, 2010 by

I’m often asked by people who are interested in the criticisms of intellectual property how authors, for example, would be compensated in a copyright-free society. My answer is sometimes: “I’m not sure. They’d have to figure it out.” I say this not because I have no opinions but because I’m not a consequentialist and do not want to acknowledge that the criticism of IP law is contingent on some kind of view of what would happen in its absence. In this, I’m reminded of John Hasnas’s comments in his brilliant, classic article The Myth of the Rule of Law:

What would a free market in legal services be like?

I am always tempted to give the honest and accurate response to this challenge, which is that to ask the question is to miss the point. … It is possible to describe what a free market in shoes would be like because we have one. But such a description is merely an observation of the current state of a functioning market, not a projection of how human beings would organize themselves to supply a currently non-marketed good. To demand that an advocate of free market law (or Socrates of Monosizea, for that matter) describe in advance how markets would supply legal services (or shoes) is to issue an impossible challenge.

With the advent of state IP legislation, the state has interrupted and preempted whatever other customs, business arrangements, contractual regimes and practices, and so on, that would no doubt have arisen in its absence. So it’s natural for those new to the anti-IP idea to be a bit nervous about replacing the current flawed IP system with … a vacuum. It’s natural for them to wonder, well what would occur in its absence? As I noted, the reason we are not sure is the state has snuffed them out. This is similar to the FCC which preempted and monopolized the field of property rights in airwaves just as they were starting to develop in the common law; now people are used to the idea of the state regulating and parceling out airwave or spectrum rights and might imagine there would be chaos if the FCC were abolished (for more on this see David Kelley & Roger Donway‘s 1985 monograph Laissez Parler: Freedom in the Electronic Media, as discussed in my post Why Airwaves (Electromagnetic Spectra) Are (Arguably) Property).

So, because people are bound to ask the inevitable: we IP opponents try to come up with some predictions and solutions and answers. Thus, in the end we must agree with Hasnas:

Although I am tempted to give this response, I never do. This is because, although true, it never persuades. Instead, it is usually interpreted as an appeal for blind faith in the free market, and the failure to provide a specific explanation as to how such a market would provide legal services is interpreted as proof that it cannot. Therefore, despite the self-defeating nature of the attempt, I usually do try to suggest how a free market in law might work.

How would content creators be rewarded in an IP-free market? Some answers may be found in Boldrin and Levine’s Against Intellectual Monopoly (see Jeff Tucker’s A Book that Changes Everything). Inventors invent to be first to market. Academics publish articles or books to enhance their reputation and increase their employability. (As author Cory Doctorow observes, “For me — for pretty much every writer — the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.”) Singers or musicians might give away recorded albums for free to gin up concert sales. Pharmaceutical companies, freed of enormous tax and regulatory (including the FDA) burdens would have much less need of a patent monopoly to help make up for these costs; and could profit from being first to market and reputation (notice that Tylenol still sells for about twice the price of the generics right next to it on the shelf?). Perfume and fashion thrive without IP. Open source software is plugging along. And so on. What about movies, or novels for profit? Various ideas have cropped up. Perhaps the author releases his first book for free to get a fan base; then withholds the sequel until a certain number of fans pledge to pay for the book. As for movies, perhaps they are released first in DRM format to elegant movie houses, before being released on DVD or digitally. (In Against Intellectual Property, n.67, I related the example of how drive in movie theaters, “faced with the prospect of free riders peering over the walls, installed—at considerable expense—individual speakers for each car, thus rendering the publicly available visual part of the movie of little interest.”) It is basically the task of entrepreneurship to figure out how to make a profit off of a given service, given the realities of costs of exclusion, ease of cheap substitutes, and so on.

At the Property and Freedom Society conference in Turkey last June, someone asked me just these questions after my IP talk. One thing I suggested–brainstorming in the lobby–was that a novelist could perhaps sell his “endorsement” and consulting to a given movie version of his novel. Why would the movie studio pay him? Well if there are two or three movie versions of a novel, the version on which the author consulted and gives his “seal of approval” would likely be more attractive to his fans. So everyone benefits: the fans have an indication of which movie to see; the movie studio makes more money; and the author gets a royalty and consulting fee. Maybe he sold the book for free simply to have a chance to consult on and endorse a movie version. Who knows?

I recently came across a similar and brilliant idea introduced to me by Nina Paley, a creative artist and anti-copyright innovator (see Interview: Nina Paley on Copyright; Nina Paley’s “All Creative Work is Derivative”). Her idea is the Creator-Endorsed Mark. As the CE page on the QuestionCopyright.org site explains,

The Creator-Endorsed Mark is a logo that a distributor can use to indicate that a work is distributed in a way that its creator endorses — typically, by the distributor sharing some of the profits with the creator. … For example, the creator might say that anyone who shares any profits at all with them can use the generic “proceeds support” version of the mark. … Furthermore, a creator might grant permission to anyone who shares a certain percentage of their profits to use a “percentage” version of the mark, as long as it does not exceed the actual percentage shared. For example, a distributor sharing 25% of profits could use this mark.

Because there is no copyright (or it’s disclaimed, say) someone could distribute the work without the author’s permission and without the CE mark, but presumably CE-endorsed works would sell better as fans and customers prefer to buy from distributors who support the artist.

What’s to prevent someone from faking the CE mark itself? The idea seems to be that the CE mark is subject to trademark, misuse of which is trademark infringement. Opponents of IP might wonder if this is just replacing copyright infringement with trademark infringement. However, as I discuss in Against Intellectual Property and my post Trademark versus Copyright and Patent, or: Is All IP Evil?, there is an aspect of trademark law that could be justified under libertarian principles: namely, some types of trademark infringement are really instances of the seller defrauding the consumer. So in a free market, distributors who sold not only bootleg copies of an artistic work but falsely marked it CE would be defrauding their customers, and thus would be restricted to marginal and fly by night operations, not much different than a garden-variety bootlegger. Would customers pay more for a CE-endorsed work? Probably so, if the author was still alive and if the premium were not unreasonable; after all, as noted, people pay about twice as much now for brand-name over-the-counter drugs (Advil instead of ibuprofen, etc.), just for the reputation. (And in fact maybe the opposite would happen in some cases: instead of buying a Michael Moore CE-endorsed version of his movie, one might prefer to buy the cheaper, bootlegged version instead to have a cleaner conscience.)

As for the origin of the Creator-Endorsed Mark idea, Nina Paley tells me that if this idea

has a creator, it would be Karl Fogel of QuestionCopyright.org. He wrote about the “Author-Endorsed Mark” well before I hit the Free Culture scene. When Fogel and I collaborated on the Free release of Sita Sings the Blues, we changed “Author-Endorsed” to “Creator-Endorsed”  (… the thinking was “creator” includes visual artists, musicians, and others as well as authors of texts). I designed the logo, and we put the mark in action on “Sita” DVDs, CDs, and other merchandise.

I have to say that I like the CE approach much more than “copyleft” or similar approaches such as CC-Share Alike–as noted in Copyright is very sticky!, there are many problems with copyleft–not only that it is based on and requires copyright to exist (even Creative Commons doesn’t shy from admitting this reality: “Creative Commons licenses are copyright licenses – plain and simple. Period. CC licenses are legal tools that creators can use to offer certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Without copyright, these tools don’t work.” The CE approach works even better in the absence of copyright. It is a much cleaner, elegant, less statist, and libertarian approach, in my view, than copyleft. (For some other problems with the leftish approaches to IP, open source, and related matters, see my posts Eben Moglen and Leftist Opposition to Intellectual Property, Thick and Thin Libertarians on IP and Open Source, and An Open Letter to Leftist Opponents of Intellectual Property: On IP and the Support of the State.)

In any case, Fogel’s and Paley’s intellectual innovation here should be strongly considered by those seeking a moral way to profit off of creative content.

Update: Here are some other new approaches to IP licensing:

  • Nina Paley’s “Copyheart” ♡ idea
  • Anatoly Volynets’s “Authoright” idea (seem to be similar to Creative Commons-Attribution)
  • Two by IP law professor Eric E. Johnson:
    A new way to be friendly with your intellectual property.
    Willing to share it? Konomark it! The konomark is a symbol that invites people to ask to use your copyrighted work for free.
    A new license for the DIY media revolution.
    Copysquare is a new licensing scheme to encourage the sharing of stock footage, sound effects, and other media workparts.

{ 103 comments }

Old Mexican July 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Sounds like a more voluntaryst solution than others. I like it.

Matt Pritchard July 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

This sounds like a great idea.

Bill McGonigle July 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I’ve been enjoying reading your work. Doesn’t this trademark idea infringe on property rights, telling me how I can’t arrange my paper and ink? Do my property rights end if I’m lying?

BioTube July 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Fraud’s effectively theft. It’s one thing to sell a Faulex if the customer knows it’s a fake, it’s another to pass it off as genuine.

Brian Macker July 18, 2010 at 11:03 am

Bill,

You are correct about that if the original use of this argument against copyright by Kinsella was valid for the same reasons. But it wasn’t. Without some form of copyright then how do you prevent someone from copying this label? The answer must be because you are defrauding the customer by claiming that the artist endorsed the product. Copyright violation isn’t rightfully based on fraud, but upon the fact that the person copying the item must have access to it to copy it. If that copying access isn’t granted by the owner then it is a property rights violation for the copier to do so.

Just because someone lets you borrow their car doesn’t mean they let you borrow it to drive it into a tree, or to use in a dirt rally. Likewise, just because someone let you use their video tape that doesn’t mean they gave you the right to copy it.

The problem I have with this labeling idea is that the implication is that in order for this to be effective this stupid label would have to be on everything, including things that the original creators wanted in the public domain. I certainly don’t want this on my car, my shirts, or my underwear.

newson July 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

marcus is also good on the intrusion of the state in the flourishing, unregulated radio industry. as usual, an unsatisfactory solution to a non-existent problem.
http://mises.org/journals/jls/20_2/20_2_2.pdf

Troy Camplin July 16, 2010 at 1:07 am

Now this is a system that makes sense.

I do think we libertarians do have an obligation to come up with at least possible scenarios to explain what we think would likely replace any current system. We don’t have to be absolutely right, you know — just demonstrate that there are in fact alternatives. This is different from the kinds of questions you get from people who ask what will replace fossil fuels when we run out, where your answer is necessarily, “I don’t know — I only know that in the past alternatives have always been invented well before a good ran out.” Which is true. (The other thing that is true is that if I actually knew what would replace it, don’t you think I would have invented it and become a billionaire by now?)

Brian Macker July 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

No it doesn’t “make sense”. Absence of the label is no indication that the artist didn’t approve of the copying of the object. So it doesn’t serve its purpose.

Troy Camplin July 19, 2010 at 1:32 am

If the artist approved of the copying of an object, they can choose to use the label or not. That is up to them. Nobody is forcing you to use the label if you don’t want to use it, but it is there in case you do. To be honest, this doesn’t make any sense as an objection.

Brian Macker July 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Items without the label could very well be endorsed by the creator also, for example by giving away the idea for free. That means it there is no rational way to support the artists. If you boycott non-labeled items you may very well be hurting some artists, or denying yourself goods that the artists put out there for free copying.

The label would be as useless to me as if I was allergic to peanuts and the labeling of foods containing peanuts was voluntary. That’s why it makes no sense.

Stephan Kinsella July 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Brian: if you WANT to support the artist, you would find a CE marked distributor, and one that could verify it was legitimate. You’d favor this one over normal bootleggers and pirates, and over people with a CE mark that seemed suspicious or not easy to verify.

Troy Camplin July 20, 2010 at 12:00 am

If the author wants to give things away for free, then it’s his obligation to get the word out. And if he is giving it away, allowing others to sell it if they wish, then there is no way you can’t support the artist. If I give a poem away, it’s neither hurting nor helping me if you buy the book it’s in or not. If I want to encourage you to buy the book, regardless of the label, I could tell you that anything it is in is legitimate in my eyes.

Or, here’s another idea: if you can’t find a book with that label on it, maybe I did give it away for free. I think a lot of sensible people would figure that out. And if they did have any questions, they could go to my website, where it’s likely that I have a list of approved works, and notes on what I approved to have the label on. You pretend like we don’t have this crazy thing call the internet, where all this kind of information is available.

BTW, you can find all kinds of free poetry I wrote over on my blog. Free to read, free to share — but only if you attach my name to it. Those are my rules, and all decent people will abide by them.

Baten July 16, 2010 at 4:12 am

This is a great ideea.
And it could be extremely easy to implement, on the present distribution systems.
It would be a complete reversal of the interdiction paradigm: “you should not copy because it is forbidden by law – so you must buy the original instead” with the positive one “by buying this copy and not the other one, you really help the author/creator”.
As publishers are closer and closer to the point of realizing that the copyright battle is lost due to new technology, I think we really should see this coming to markets soon enough.
When this start to happens and it is proved to be commercially effective, the victory against IP/patents is almost assured.

Kerem Tibuk July 16, 2010 at 5:20 am

Why should content creators be rewarded?

Peter July 16, 2010 at 6:22 am

What does “should” have to do with it?

Kerem Tibuk July 16, 2010 at 8:31 am

So is this a charity program for IP creators?

mpolzkill July 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

Wow, you’re disingenuous.

Go right on doing the very opposite of seeking a moral way to profit off of creative content (though I doubt you even have or ever could really create any original concept).

J Cortez July 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

This isn’t charity. It’s a voluntary, contractual program that recognizes IP doesn’t exist, and desires to create a situation where a derivative work can be associated with the original; thereby increasing the chance of visibility and profit for both parties involved. Like capitalism itself, it is a co-operational effort, one that would increase prosperity and wealth.

Kerem Tibuk July 16, 2010 at 9:16 am

Isn’t charity also voluntary?

And how is this any way contractual?

Do you know what a contract is?

Artisan July 16, 2010 at 9:36 am

Hold on, I came to the same conclusion as Tibuk (see post below)
Why not charity? Why does charity sound bad to anti IP advocates?
Artist have to live through charity. I believe some great works of art in the past have been built on that model (eg renaissance churches). It doesn’t mean you don’t live well I guess, because charity becomes at some point sponsoring or patronage.
But somehow it does contradict the idea of a “trade”!

Clear words on Mises.org. No more vischi-vaschi. I love it.

Gil July 16, 2010 at 9:57 am

It’s charity. You can support the authors voluntarily or you can rip off their work ad infinitum. It’s all good.

J Cortez July 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

Thinking about it more, I don’t know what to call it. I guess it is charity.

Whatever it is, it makes sense. It works around the notion of imaginary property and is completely voluntary.

mpolzkill July 17, 2010 at 5:26 am

Anyone who chooses to support an artist isn’t being any more charitable to the artist than real artists are charitable to the world.

Some slur, at any rate. Oh yeah, it came from a Randroid.

- – - – - – - – -

Jerry,

In case Kinsella doesn’t see your post, “IP fascist”, for me anyway, is a half-joke in response to Tibuk’s idiotic use of “IP socialist.” I wouldn’t be so offended by the term, though: it didn’t originate with such nasty connotations and it *is* the preferred form of government in this country since about 1933.

Brian Macker July 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

Copyright could be a voluntary contractual program too. It would just be based on physical property rights instead of fraud. Kinsella opposes that.

Abhilash Nambiar July 21, 2010 at 3:41 am

No he does not. But he thinks it will be ineffectual. I agree.

Nina Paley July 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm

There’s no “should.” Most people want their money to support artists they like. The CE mark gives them an opportunity to do so. So does a “donation” button. It’s all voluntary, not compulsory.

Much of the “market” wants to support artists through purchases of physical media. If you don’t want your money supporting a particular artist, but you want copies of their “content” – well, the content is free! Knock yourself out. Anyone can freely download and copy Sita Sings the Blues without directing any of their money towards me. Those who want to, can, thanks to the CE Mark.

Brian Macker July 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

Property rights are compulsory. What’s wrong with compulsory? People who don’t volunteer to respect property rights are thrown in jail.

Nina Paley July 18, 2010 at 7:20 pm

You answered your own question.

Brian Macker July 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Then you didn’t understand the question. Without compulsion we would not be able to enforce normal every day property rights. Any system of enforcement of natural rights is compulsory. Even anarcho-capitalists schemes.

Abhilash Nambiar July 21, 2010 at 3:43 am

This blog entry is not about enforcement of property rights but rather about one option when it comes to putting private property to satisfactory use.

mpolzkill July 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Like those who rejected the Fugitive Slave Act.

Brian Macker July 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Like those who try to practice slavery too. We use compulsion to prevent that. So what’s your point? If anarcho-capitalist courts decided that slavery was valid then the result would be the same. Everything cannot be voluntary.

mpolzkill July 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Nice diversion attempt. “We”, never did any such thing. Slavery could never be an institution without the State’s help, a lot like “IP”. The State just stopped supporting the chattel slavery institution when it suited them. End of chattel slavery.

My point is this: I was pretending I was you and believed that might makes right.

All relations not including assault, theft (of actual property, not of your ideas, not of your job, not of your imagined right to make a living in any way you can think of), and fraud can all be carried out on a completely voluntary basis. One is only “compelled” to not commit these crimes. And you use “compel” in a strained and dishonest fashion. I remember you before using “coerce” in this way. You are one sad little amateur propaganda artist. Give it up, or find some more little league.

To risk hearing the overused: “No True Scotsman!”: An “anarcho-capitalist court” that decided such a thing would not be a court made up of anarcho-capitalists.

Ryan July 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

Great article, Mr. Kinsella.

Actually, I think it closely mirrors what Frank Zappa did (even though he and his family was/are pretty close-guarded about the Zappa copyrights). There is a remarkable difference in quality between Zappa-Family-sanctioned releases and “unauthorized” bootlegs, etc. Fans know it and are willing to pay a premium for it.

So I think there is good real-world evidence for this idea, too.

Artisan July 16, 2010 at 9:03 am

I found the idea interesting as well. But most surprising I found was the label on it: “creator business model endorsed by S Kinsella,!”Why, yes it’s rare in all those posts about IP that Mr. Kinsella takes the time to think about the main productive unit which generates the whole mess: the creators.

And now this: creators should not be protected by copyright, yet in some form by trademark! Was that worth the whole IP war Mises.org is waging since years? (Just a question, no clear answer here, I admit…)This model assumes trademark grants the right to “own” an authentic way of distribution in a way, and assumes that nobody else would bother to reproduce this seal of authenticity!

The new provision is thus just a label… what would matter to prosecutors in the name of the customers all other things staying unchanged. Isn’t it a bit like the idea that you could trace fake bills by looking if the counterfeiter did omit to put on them: “forgery will be punished by imprisonment” ?

The irony is of course that what “entitles” to state-copyright in the first place is some sort of “authentic pattern” also… to be replaced by a label.

Nobody would be tolerated to copy that label on the ground that it deceives the customer (which would be the only one entitled to sue) this model assumes, but if they did, who would come and get them? In China?

Nothing changes much because now also : people who want to support an artist, go to the concert, buy a painting or buy a CD that they know damn well can be downloaded for free somewhere.

It is ironic also because the supportive customer doesn’t know what the preferred way of distribution of the artist should be: it’s like giving the artist credibility for his way of distributing his own work, eventually paying more … for a highly NON-MATERIAL (not scarce) service.

It’s more like charity.

Artisan July 16, 2010 at 9:49 am

And yet what bothers me a bit in the logic here is the fact that a “not-authorized copy” of a book where chapters are missing for instance, is also deceptive to the customer – considering the original name of the title and his author is mentioned on it, isn’t it? Courts should force “pirates” to put on the copies the words “after the author: blabla”. A much better solution than the CE seal, you would think.

Havvy July 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

That is a type of fraud too. Selling a ‘full’ product that isn’t full is fraud.

Artisan July 18, 2010 at 8:49 am

Yeah, but then again, how does the notion of “idea completion” fit to the world of hard materiality ?

Stephan Kinsella July 16, 2010 at 11:05 am

“Artisan”–

I don’t care how you categorize it–charity, whatever. It’s voluntary, so that’s all that matters to the libertarian.

“it’s rare in all those posts about IP that Mr. Kinsella takes the time to think about the main productive unit which generates the whole mess: the creators.”

This is nonsense. Just a subtle, disingenuous way of equivocating and question-begging.

“And now this: creators should not be protected by copyright, yet in some form by trademark!”

If you read the post carefully you’ll see that this use of trademark is not a problem. The idea is very simple: some consumers of created works would prefer to get it from the originator to pay them for it. The way to do this is to clearly distinguish between creator-authorized and not-creator-authorized distributors of the work. If someone lies to me then they are defrauding me. I don’t care whether you call this trademark or not.
“This model assumes trademark grants the right to “own” an authentic way of distribution in a way, and assumes that nobody else would bother to reproduce this seal of authenticity!”

It assumes that doing so is fraudulent and thus would violate the rihgts of consumers, and thus such shady operators would alwyas be marginal b/c they’d be hounded or sued or driven underground. I don’t think you understood my post.
“The new provision is thus just a label… what would matter to prosecutors in the name of the customers all other things staying unchanged. Isn’t it a bit like the idea that you could trace fake bills by looking if the counterfeiter did omit to put on them: “forgery will be punished by imprisonment” ?”

Forgery is not the problem–it’s defrauding people to get their money. That’s a type of theft. Not “IP”.

“Nobody would be tolerated to copy that label on the ground that it deceives the customer (which would be the only one entitled to sue) this model assumes, but if they did, who would come and get them? In China?”

You miss the point. We are envisioning a situation where anyone can bootleg the work if they want to. In China or elsewhere. In addition to the unauthorized copies you can also find authorized distributors. For example you could get the latest Grisham novel from Pirate Bay for free, or from Grisham.com for $1. If you know it’s from Grisham and the $1 goes to him, you might buy it from there if you want to support the author. If some bootlegger starts pretending they are Grisham then there is no way to do it on a large scale, since they would be sued but their customers for fraud. So they would have to be legitimate and demonstrate that they are really authorized by Grisham. If they can’t demonstrate this, then people who want to buy from Grisham would regard them as just another pirate bay type bootlegger, and we are no worse off than before.

Artisan July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

Did I write, according to this model the place of art in the economy is to be found within charity ?
I meant within religion, on second thought.

Kinsella forces us to ask ourselves if there’s a difference between art and religion?
According to CG Jung, he might have point, here too.

Silas Barta July 17, 2010 at 10:26 am

Yes, that’s the funny thing I’ve noticed. Every time one of the anti-IP crowd comes up with a brilliant idea that “proves” how profit-based innovation can happen without IP, they seem to miss that the same argument “proves” that profit-based production of *physical* goods can happen without property rights.

“We can have IP charity!” “So the socialists were right, we can just forget property rights and have charity for everything people want?” “Um, IP is slavery! Go away, statist!”

Stephan Kinsella July 17, 2010 at 11:04 am

Silas,what are you jabbering about. What.

Silas Barta July 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm

What I just said, is what I’m “jabbering” about.

Let’s say I introduced a special mark you could put on property. A mark that indicated that it wasn’t stolen from its owner (as defined by libertarian property rights).

Would you point to those marks and say, “hey, obviously we don’t need property rights, because people can just hope their stuff doesn’t get stolen because people will hopefully only buy products with Silas’s special mark”?

Didn’t think so, but you’re doing that here.

Artisan July 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Silas, I m sure that’s not how the IP-opponents build their arguments : “if it’s working for some artists than it’s right”.

I have the feeling it could be more something like: “It’s right, and somehow a tiny part of the “copyright” principle even fits the model”.

Still, the surprising fact is that Kinsella leaves a last LEGAL (ie: not voluntary) wall standing to defend secondary rights of individual creation. That fact: allowing the individual creator to put an “authentic stamp” on copies of his work… does shed a strange light on the whole “non-scarce” argumentation, in so far that the CE label is a simple claim for an immaterial quality: authenticity. It’s not like it would say: for every cd sold the author will get one dollar, is it? How could anyone get sued if he was improperly using that label? What kind of damage is done?

Peter Surda July 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

And, the funny thing I noticed is that if I point out to IP proponents that a consistent consequence of their theory leads to absurdities, it blows their mind.

Gil July 20, 2010 at 1:06 am

Such as? Imagine a privately-owned world where everyone who doesn’t own land or have the income to rent land off someone is a potential trespasser.

jerry July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

“So in a free market, distributors who sold not only bootleg copies of an artistic work but falsely marked it CE would be defrauding their customers”

I don’t understand. I have a nice label maker at home and I like to make labels and stick them on stuff before selling it. I made one I like last night that looks, by chance, exactly like the CE one above – but you’re telling me I cannot put it on my own property and offer it for sale? Is this true? How does this work?

Peter July 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm

No, he didn’t say that at all. What he said is that if you put your CE label on a copy of, say, Sita Sings the Blues, you’re leading people to believe that Nina Paley will be getting at least some of the money: if that’s not the case, you’re lying to your customers in order to get their money — which is fraud. If you’re committing fraud, the people you are defrauding — those who buy your CE-marked “bootleg” copy of Sita — have a case against you under libertarian law. But it’s not “putting the CE label on the DVD” that is the crime here.

Josh July 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

Jerry- because you would be commiting fraud. The transgression is not that you arranged ink in the CE mark but that you fraudulently passed off a non-CE item as CE.

jerry July 16, 2010 at 11:04 am

I say that I did no such thing. I was selling a good with a nice label on it. It is pure coincidence that it looks like some other good (also with a similar label).

What is the mechanism by which we determine whether I’m lying or not?

Josh July 16, 2010 at 11:41 am

Curt answered the question to the entire problem in the below post.

All it would require is a contractual obligation ( a signature) when purchasing a good stating that the good sold is a CE (or whatever voluntary trademark replacement we agree on) good, if you were to pass off your item that just “happens” to look like it has a CE mark then you would be engaging in fraud.

jerry July 17, 2010 at 4:56 am

Ok that makes sense. I’m not actually disagreeing, i just wanted to be clear.

jerry July 17, 2010 at 5:03 am

And my comment was made at 11.04. Right below it was Curt’s comment, and at 11.06 Stephan Kinsella made a reply 1 inch below my question referring to “IP fascists” not liking this system. Maybe this was a back-door reply to my question? This seems a bit unseemly. I’m not an IP fascist – whatever that is. I’m generally persuaded by the arguments but there is one thing which nags me and I hope to clear this up here. I’m asking questions. I repeat – I’m not rambling on with big long reasons why I think IP is great or insulting people, I’m asking questions so that I’m sure I understand. What is objectionable about this behaviour is not clear to me.

Peter Surda July 17, 2010 at 5:11 am

I encourage you to participate. A lot of arguments are presented by people full of themselves, repeating mantras and unable to face a challenge. I’m not here for that. I’m here to learn.

Josh July 19, 2010 at 7:34 am

I wasn’t insinuating that the question had already been answered and that you should have already read it, I apologize if that’s how it came out. I meant that Curt’s comment was an answer to your question so I didn’t want to repeat it. Sorry about that.

The harm would be breach of contract, if I presented a good to you under contract as X and in fact it was Y the harm is irrelavent other than the fact that I breached to contract and commited fraud. Even if Y was a “better” good its still mirepresentation.

ABR July 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm

If fraud, what would the damages be? I’m thinking nil.

Curt Howland July 16, 2010 at 11:02 am

The “Creative Endorsed” mark isn’t even a trademark, it’s a contract.

The publisher is creating a contractual obligation between themselves and the buyer, that in trade for the premium the seller will pass on x to the creator.

I love the idea. It’s clear, easy to understand, obvious, and as _Sita_ shows it can be used right now.

Stephan Kinsella July 16, 2010 at 11:06 am

Yes; this is probably why IP fascists don’t like it.

Artisan July 17, 2010 at 11:03 am

I does “work” somehow I think – but what are the consequences of that CE model?
as you say:
“If someone lies to me (by putting a fake CE seal) then they are defrauding me”

Of what are you defrauded exactly I wonder?
Wouldn’t it be being defrauded of just “an idea”? How does it fit in with the idea of a scarce world?

Let me try to answer for you: it seems you are defrauded of your freedom. The freedom of choosing your preferred distribution channel… (or any other “authenticity” ).

So here we have it I think : the logic “works” also backwards. Freedom of choice being initially a concept with no other link to scarcity than the individual itself, it is questionable how you could pretend someone would deprive you of something material just by faking the distribution channel…

I’m not saying the model doesn’t work. I’m saying it seems to have no legal justification in a court that only recognizes customer fraud on scarce objects.

Silas Barta July 17, 2010 at 10:27 am

People can give things away for free right now. That method can be “used right now” too. Does that prove how we don’t need property rights?

Curt Howland July 17, 2010 at 10:38 am

“People can give things away for free right now.”

Indeed, and I participate in such a gift economy by running Linux, typing this through FireFox in fact.

“Does that prove how we don’t need property rights?”

It is the right of any individual to dispose of their property as they see fit. A gift economy is just as much an attribute of property rights as every other voluntary situation.

Your objection seems to me to be a non-sequiter. If I don’t charge someone for my services, does that violate my property right to charge someone else for the same service?

Silas Barta July 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm

You’re right, Curt_Howland — it *is* a non-sequitur! That’s the whole freaking point!

Just like it was a non-sequitur when you said, “the fact that people give away free code is proof that IP is unnecessary / unjustified / stupid / whatever”.

Would you like to reply to that point now?

Kerem Tibuk July 17, 2010 at 2:59 am

Kinsella type IP Socialism is no way similar to speculation on how market would work in a free market anarchy, but more like the Marxist utopia.

Speculation on how a free market anarchy would produce goods, in the absence of a state, is just that. It is all about removing the state. There are so many fundamental services that is produced by states, and argued that it can not be provided by private individuals, so even the scope is narrow.

On the other hand, Kinsella type IP Socialism and also very similarly Marxism is about abolishing private property rights and then not even care what happens afterwards. Neither Marx painted a socialist future, not Kinsella. All Kinsella is trying to do here in this post is, trying to be kind to those poor bastards that is producing according to their ability, so the Kinsellian parasites can consume according to their needs.

Matthew Swaringen July 17, 2010 at 3:37 am

Half of your statements are incredibly unclear at best.

“There are so many fundamental services that is produced by states, and argued that it can not be provided by private individuals, so even the scope is narrow.”
What does this mean? Are you saying that states are irreplaceable for these fundamental services? And what are these “fundamental services” anyway? You state but don’t support the argument with actual examples.

“Kinsella type IP Socialism and also very similarly Marxism is about abolishing private property rights and then not even care what happens afterwards.”
You haven’t even proved the property rights actually exist. They are hardly inalienable, in fact, Mr. Consequentialist, you might have noticed that the consequences of sharing what one creates is to make them available for copying.

“All Kinsella is trying to do here in this post is, trying to be kind to those poor bastards that is producing according to their ability, so the Kinsellian parasites can consume according to their needs.”
Something that has been “consumed” is used up, unavailable for use by another. The word is commonly used here, but not applicable in the standard sense of any scarce item. Parasite implies this even more clearly, that there is a loss, but … what is that loss? Your statement is nonsense. Trite sarcasm is only impressive if it’s at least marginally accurate. Yours is way off the mark.

Peter Surda July 17, 2010 at 4:47 am

You haven’t even proved the property rights actually exist.

He hasn’t even defined them, making his tirade even more ridiculous.

Kerem Tibuk July 17, 2010 at 6:35 am

Matthew,

Let me try to be clearer.

Not speculating on how services would be delivered, in a stateless society, based on property rights, is not the same thing as advocating the abolishment of private property and do not care what happens next.

What Kinsella has been doing is akin to Marxism. Which is quite expected really since Kinsella’a theory of property is a Marxist one.

Marx thought property was a necessary evil, and was here because of scarcity. He thought capitalism would produce goods so abundant that property rights would dissolve and communism would follow.

Lockean/Rothbardian property theory is very very different. Property rights are extensions of individuals who cause them to exist and it can not dissolve in any condition.

Since Kinsella is Marxist, it is very much expected that his prophecies would also be Marxist.

I am a Rothbardian anarchist by the way and I despise every one that attacks private property rights, whether they be out right socialists, or IP socialists masquerading as libertarians such as Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella July 17, 2010 at 10:23 am

“I am a Rothbardian anarchist by the way and I despise every one that attacks private property rights, whether they be out right socialists, or IP socialists masquerading as libertarians such as Kinsella”

So…. I guess you don’t like Tucker’s views here: http://blog.mises.org/13302/without-rejecting-ip-progress-is-impossible/ –? hmm? :)

What about the other senior faculty of the Mises Institute, who have essentially the same views of IP as me–Hoppe, Block, Salerno, DiLorenzo, et al.? And Roderick Long… you name it. Are they all IP socialists and non-Rothbardians?

Kerem Tibuk July 18, 2010 at 1:58 am

I am sad to see Tucker getting obsessed over IP socialism more and more and yes he is an IP socialist. Since neither he nor you are economists or historians, this obsession being your thing is even more glaringly disturbing in an institute that is supposedly libertarian. If you two had any other contributions, and Jeff has more compared to you, this IP socialism would be overlooked more easily.

I don’t think much of Hoppe. I don’t think he has any meaningful contributions to either economics, philosophy or law. Ironically though, his speculations regarding a stateless society is interesting and I must say I enjoyed “Democracy, the God…..”

And I think Hoppe is the one who sneaked in this Marxist property theory which you built your IP socialism on.

The others have made contributions in economics and in the case of Dilorenzo, history and none of them are as obsessed as you are regarding this IP socialism.

The sad part is, no one in the Institute, it seems tries to follow or expand upon Rothbard’s theory of property, and his ethics (or more correctly his law) based on this theory. They seem not to care much about the issue and take Hoppe’s twisted theory as the same as Rothbard’s. If they thought on the subject they would of course see what would eventually follow this Hoppean (Marxist) theory of property.

Peter July 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

If you stop writing off your opponents as “Marxists” you might be able to engage the argument. If anyone here is a Marxist, it’s you — your theory of property seems to be entirely consistent with the Marxian “you own what you create” nonsense.

Peter Surda July 17, 2010 at 4:46 am

How about you stop pretending to have an upper ground and finally confront the arguments? You know, like a proper debate.

Kerem Tibuk July 17, 2010 at 6:36 am

Peter, I have responded to you more than enough. I do not owe you anything else.

Peter Surda July 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Well, according to my recollection, you avoid a debate with me at all costs. I only recall one particular argument where you chose to participate on to sufficient depth. You remember, the one where you claimed rape is undetectable. When it turned out you were wrong, instead of admitting you were wrong, you went silent. So, I’ll continue to call you an IP coward. Not that it actually has any meaning, just like your “theory” (or the absence thereof, since you actually haven’t presented it) lacks one.

Kerem Tibuk July 17, 2010 at 3:05 am

Kinsella,

“but because I’m not a consequentialist ”

Ahahahaha, I missed this little gem.

You are not a consequentialist are you? Every day you manage to survive you prove otherwise. I would love to see you act withot any regard to consequences. That would be a bloody and short show.

Even if you are religious nutcase, believing in a imaginary invisible friend living in the sky named, Marduk, Ra, Vishnu, Yahudai Elohim, Allah, Jesus, Manitu, etc etc, and you do not care that much about this world, you still are a consequentialist whether you are aware of it or not.

Or maybe you mean utilitarian, which is worrying about the immediate and visible consequences and do not care about the long term and unseen consequences and which could be called simple minded consequentialist.

Matthew Swaringen July 17, 2010 at 3:41 am

Kerem, not that Wikipedia is always great but… your use of the term consequentialist to make fun of Kinsella is not how anyone else would use the term other than yourself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism

I know you are talking about consequentialist as in “one who has to face consequences” but this is a silly, petty strawman when one considers it’s not how the term is used by anyone. Your game is lame man. Very lame.

Brian Macker July 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I agree that Kerem is not using consequentialism in a conventional manner but there is a grain of truth in that everyone has a world view upon which they base their morality. If you believe in some kind of objective Christian morality you are in fact basing that morality on the consequences of your model of reality. If for example you came to the conclusion that god in reality says pork is immoral for anyone to eat then the morality issue rests on that as a consequence of that reality.

Peter July 17, 2010 at 6:49 am

BTW, “Allah” isn’t a name; it’s just the Arabic word for “God”. (Do most people think it’s a name? Is that why writings in English about Islam keep talking about “Allah” instead of translating it like they do every other word? Arab Christians pray to “Allah”, too, but you never see English writings about Arabic Christianity that don’t translate it…)

Kerem Tibuk July 17, 2010 at 8:57 am

Peter,

I know what Allah is. I was raised a muslim in a muslim country.

It is one of many, many, names of the god. But you are right it is still the god of Abraham since Islam is a Jewish cult (or sect if you will) just like Christianity.

Kerem Tibuk July 17, 2010 at 6:27 am

Matthew,

I know what consequentialism is.

I am not sure you understand what rejecting consequentialism actually means.

Do you think you can throw out statements but never follow them up in real life?

Are you like the ones that say you can never be sure of reality but steps aside when he sees a bus coming at his direction?

Do you think, ethics is just intellectual masturbation, where people sit around and talk about what is right or wrong, but it has no relation to real life?

Don’t you think all the actions you take, all the choices you make in life, from feeding yourself to running when you face a danger, are ethical choices.

Whoever says he is not a consequentiality is either a liar or he is really really ignorant.

Brian Macker July 18, 2010 at 3:15 pm

“Don’t you think all the actions you take, all the choices you make in life, from feeding yourself to running when you face a danger, are ethical choices.”

No. Not in the normal sense of the word. I agree they might all be interpretable as potential ethical choices though, but it would require knowing my intent. The same choice for different reasons could be based on ethics or not. I might decide to jump out of the way of the bus because I’m scared (a non-ethical-based choice) or because I value my life (a semi-ethical-based one), or I do not wish to commit suicide (an ethical-based choice).

PirateRothbard July 17, 2010 at 10:23 am

I’m curious why SK doesn’t mention trade secrets. That’s how I picture software programmers being compensated. I also think engineering processes usually take at least a little while to reverse engineer.

Stephan Kinsella July 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

I discuss trade secrets in my IP monograph. They would not work for a novelist, obviously.

Charred Knight July 17, 2010 at 10:07 pm

This is nothing more than naive thinking. You trust in the good will of mankind? The internet has shown us that when man is stripped of all that binds him his natural state is to be a jerk. If people don’t care about the will of other people, puting a sticker on the cover sure as hell isn’t going to do it.

The reason piracy exist is because people don’t care if the creator gets any money, it’s not a fight against some mystical entity known as “The Man”, these people aren’t rebels, their people with an internet connection where you can find everything for free by searching for it on google.

The reason we have stagnation is because the things that are made are the things that are sold, and by aiming your content to the stupid than your are much more likely to make money than if you had made something aimed at a smarter person who is just more likely to get it from an illegal download. That’s why a movie which had the Sonoran Desert right in the middle of Washinton D.C made 400 million dollars in America alone.

Matthew Swaringen July 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm

First, I’ll deal with your assertion that we “trust the good will of mankind.” (insofar as you mean some self-sacrificing nature). Enlightened self interest, or pursuing ones own ends through their own chosen means is exactly what is expected.

I would not argue that man is a jerk in his natural state at all. He does that which serves his purposes by choosing the best way to achieve his own ends, and insofar as this harms no other person this is not problematic.

In this particular case, we need not at all rely on the man’s desire to care about authors, but his desire to get what he wants. A man who wants to get something can only get it by paying for it (even on the internet, he has to pay for the service). If he pays someone else who doesn’t support the author, then he knows that he may not see new writing from that author. So he is left with a very real choice. Does he buy from the one the creator endorsed because he received money from them? Or does he go with the other guy? It is his choice, and if he only cares about this book and not seeing anything new from this author, perhaps he makes the latter choice.

If man continues to make the latter choice, his options for books become more limited. He has every reason to change his mind on what he supports.

But, in reality, man is more complicated than this. Many have independent valuations that say that such things as “supporting the author” are a good in themselves. And so they will buy things knowing it does so.

If you reject this notion, explain yourself. Why do you care about this issue enough to come here and debate about it? You obviously believe strongly that you should be taking care of other people. You think you should care about them. Why are you so xenophobic that you imagine that all men outside your door, who you don’t know are so different from you?

It is not that I contest that there are many people who don’t care at all about supporting authors, but rather than assuming the reason for that is some incredible evil I look at what ends are being chosen and what means are at the individuals disposal.

For example, imagine you have someone who makes a wage of 5$ an hour. He may still want to buy books, but knows he can’t get them at full price lest he give up food to eat. He values that food more than supporting the author. So to get anything he has to choose the cheaper option. He may very well value the authors support, but he values it less (by making the choice) than he values the food.

Obviously this will happen in more “self-serving” cases where a man wants a HD TV instead of paying to support authors, but regardless of reason, it is his choice and if the result of his choices is less media to use on the equipment he purchased, he’ll act accordingly out of self-interest and independent valuations of the goods to be provided.

Second, you rely on the nature of the current system as being one that “binds” man. This is the most fallacious part of your argument. Does it really “bind” man? And was the internet really what revealed the problems? Copying has happened as long as copying could happen. From the printing press to the modern age copying has occurred. Man has not changed merely because of the internet.

Look at the amount of bootleg CDs and DVDs available. Look at the myriad of p2p websites. Do the laws really accomplish what you imagine? Apparently not. In fact, if anything these laws make the problems worse. Since people can’t buy cheap media freely they have to go to bootleg outfits that benefit criminal gangs. People are sued hundreds of thousands for sharing a handful of songs. We lose untold amounts of adaptations that could come about due to the fear of prosecution for copyright infringement.

Charred Knight July 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Here’s your problem you expect man to act in his best self interest, something that history has taught us is not going to happen. If people acted in their best self interest instead of a destructive path than we wouldn’t have a problem. You may call me xenophobic but I call you naive, a man who thinks that man is a rational being.

You claim that instead of man choosing evil he instead chooses food. This may hold meaning if the rise in piracy coincided with the recession but it didn’t. Man chose to download from some guy in jersey instead of paying the creator. Man will usually choose what is best for him at the exact moment and not think ahead. If we didn’t we wouldn’t need laws.

You complaining about a guy buying an HD TV instead of a book also brings up another problem with your arguement. You argue on one thing: books, while ignoring the fact that it’s far more common for people to pirate movies, tv shows, music and video games. You argue for changing the system using an example that is cheap to make while ignoring that some things such as blockbuster movies, and video games are going to be very expensive to make. If you cut the cost of a video game from 60 dollars to 10 dollars than your going to have to have sales 6 times what they are now. Can you guarantee those sales? No, so why risk bankrupting the video game industry again?

I also question your use of the term xenophobic, did you mean misanthrope?

Matthew Swaringen July 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm

“Here’s your problem you expect man to act in his best self interest, something that history has taught us is not going to happen. If people acted in their best self interest instead of a destructive path than we wouldn’t have a problem. You may call me xenophobic but I call you naive, a man who thinks that man is a rational being.”
Man is a rational being, but I’ll agree that this does not mean he always acts rationally. If you disagree that man is a rational being I’d again like you to explain yourself. I am not trying to accuse you of something, but get to the core of your reasoning, but do you imagine that you are better than other people? And if not, what makes you able to see the path that isn’t destructive that makes other people inherently incapable of doing so?

If your argument is that even you don’t see the path, are you saying the government makes you make good decisions where on your own you would make bad ones? Can you point to bad decisions you would make for yourself without them? Maybe it sounds arrogant but I don’t think I can. I like being able to do what I want to do. I really do believe when I make a choice, that it was the right choice. Do I doubt it later sometimes? Sure, but.. at the time it was the best choice I could have made and no one has the right to take that choice from me if it doesn’t hurt someone else.

“You claim that instead of man choosing evil he instead chooses food. This may hold meaning if the rise in piracy coincided with the recession but it didn’t. Man chose to download from some guy in jersey instead of paying the creator. Man will usually choose what is best for him at the exact moment and not think ahead. If we didn’t we wouldn’t need laws.”

The food was an example, I gave a less defensible one too so you wouldn’t accuse me of using a strawman here, because that wasn’t my purpose for using this example. I was explaining that in both cases the man made a rational choice based on his desires.

Not everyone knows we are talking about anime here, and it’s important to some of your point about “the recession” but there are a lot of complexities to that market which can explain a reduction in sales. Much of that reduction has occurred in merchandising, and not DVD sales. and the merchandising isn’t copyable in the way DVDs are, that should provide a clue that there is more to the problem.

It’s been months so I don’t know if I can find it but there was a good graph/info on ANN awhile back that showed the amount of decrease in Funimation’s revenue and how much of that revenue was made up of DVDs compared to merchandise. There was a substantial decrease in both areas and Funimation makes a lot more off merchandise than actual DVD sales.

“You complaining about a guy buying an HD TV instead of a book also brings up another problem with your arguement. You argue on one thing: books, while ignoring the fact that it’s far more common for people to pirate movies, tv shows, music and video games. You argue for changing the system using an example that is cheap to make while ignoring that some things such as blockbuster movies, and video games are going to be very expensive to make. If you cut the cost of a video game from 60 dollars to 10 dollars than your going to have to have sales 6 times what they are now. Can you guarantee those sales? No, so why risk bankrupting the video game industry again?”

Sorry, I was imprecise in using the term “author” there. It’s difficult because there is more than one type of person employed in making a movie or TV. I didn’t mean a book.

And as far as the cost factor goes I can’t tell you whether or not 300 million dollar movies are still possible or whether games that cost millions to produce would be viable in a free market system. I suspect that they are possible, and the reason I suspect this is true is because people buy these things now, even though they don’t have to. Unlike yourself I believe most people aren’t buying these things because a law tells them that they must but they actually do like owning DVDs, do like going to movie theaters, etc.

And so I imagine that should bootlegs be legalized that they wouldn’t all instantly storm for cheaper things simply because they could.

I’ll grant the possibility that I’m wrong here, and people might freely choose to purchase other things and let big budget movies and video games die out. But if they do, isn’t that their choice? Why use threat of force (government mandated monopoly enforced by potential fines/jail/etc.) to force people to do something just because we would like to see more big budget movies or video games.

Matthew Swaringen July 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm

“I also question your use of the term xenophobic, did you mean misanthrope?”

Sorry, forgot to reply to this. I think you got my point on the use of the term, misanthrope is a term I couldn’t recall at the time of my writing, and I’m glad that you didn’t take the term I used here in the wrong way. I was aware xenophobic was synonymous with “racist” which is definitely not what I meant and I trusted you would reach the right conclusion in the context I used it.

My trust was not misplaced. I do want to make it clear in the context of this discussion, I’m not relying on “trust.” I think people will act in a way that benefits them, and I think people get the most of acting that way, so even if I don’t like it I don’t think I have a right to use force to stop them. I think mutually agreeable transactions (free market) is the best way for humans to advance.

I do disagree on the nature of humans a bit with you, but I think if you review yourself you’ll find that we really aren’t.. as shortsighted, irrational, etc. as you might have come to believe. I think much of what you think is based on the way people act based on government’s intervention in society. In your PM to me you mentioned how badly BP acted and how worthless MMS was towards regulating them and while you thought that was a great example of how the market fails I really look at that as a government failure.

If there were private property rights on the ocean with fishermen having self-interest in the preservation of it’s state then in my view (especially after accidents) they would have imposed tighter restrictions on BP. There would have been no liability cap in the first place.

Drilling in deep water would likely have been met with suspicion. The government actually offset the costs of drilling in deep water by lowering the royalties (you can find the argument on this here: http://mises.org/daily/4488 ) due to lobbying by the oil industry, of course, but it was still stupid. The government is a much poorer steward than people are, because if the government fails it says it’s because it didn’t have enough resources. If business fails it goes broke (unless the government bails it out, and that’s something no one here supports).

Charred Knight July 20, 2010 at 12:48 am

So your solution to oil is to sell the land to the oil companies? Brilliant, you honestly think fisherman can afford the land ? B.P would buy that land and then force the fisherman to sign a lease giving B.P massive protection.

Also the idea that fisherman would protect the ocean is laughable. Just look at the Pacific Bluefin Tuna, or the Northwest population of the Atlantic Cod, the fishing industry does not perform sustainable fishing. Their is always a price that can be paid for endangered species, and people will pay it. People do not care what happens the next ten years let alone the next 50 years.

You have no backing but you claim that you have backing, check the wikipedia article on Atlantic Cod, and the Bluefin Tuna for my backing.

Gil July 20, 2010 at 1:22 am

Laughable indeed. The ocean isn’t capable of being homesteaded, i.e., people gaining ownership because they did something proactive to earn that right as opposed to people who merely claim a right to an area and use brute force to exclude others. Not to mention the ocean and its contents are fluid, i.e. what happens when my whale eats your plankton or my sharks eats your tuna or your tuna eats someone’s else prawns? Are there going to be many-a lawsuits because marine life are doing what comes naturally?

On the other hand, of course hunting is a lot cheaper than farming, you merely take the animals in their prime rather than bother to raise and feed them from birth.

Peter July 20, 2010 at 1:43 am

Also the idea that fisherman would protect the ocean is laughable. Just look at the Pacific Bluefin Tuna, or the Northwest population of the Atlantic Cod, the fishing industry does not perform sustainable fishing.
Precisely because there’s no private property there. Look to the endangered cow and sheep, instead….

Charred Knight July 20, 2010 at 3:24 am

It’s a little bit harder to breed Bluefin Tuna than a cow. They just started raising them in Japan, and it’s no where close enough for the Japanese appetite.

Peter July 20, 2010 at 5:34 am

Not being a farmer of either cows or fish, I don’t know if it’s harder, but I would suspect that, if so, it’s only that nobody has bothered to learn how to do it well. When people first started domesticating cows they probably found it “hard”, too. But the reason nobody has bothered to learn how to do it is the same old lack of property rights.

Matthew Swaringen July 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Charred, no my solution isn’t to “sell the land.” While Gil thinks the idea is ridiculous what I think should be done is at least in the realm of something like homesteading rights. Definitely, there needs to be some kind of ownership arrangement worked out by those who use the land, and the basis for who owns it should be based on original claims, not merely $.

MMS has no legitimate claim to the land and therefore no right to sell it to the oil companies. Legitimate claim is the fisherman, and yes, the oil companies too on the parts of it that they have been using.

By legitimate I am referring to Lockean property theory, perhaps not fully developed in context of ocean ownership, but certainly more valid than the government monopolizing the ocean.

Now, once you’ve established rights to the oceans, yes it’s true some fishermen might let themselves get bought out by oil companies, but not all of them would do this, and the oil companies wouldn’t be able to pay enough to do that for everyone.In any case, once you have ownership you have self-interested stewards. Sure, some fishermen might be involved with the oil business, but if the oil screwed up their livelihood they are now out of business, and a better steward comes into play. With MMS, there is no better steward coming.

We are going to complain, write new regulations, etc. but once the political cycle is over and interest from the public wanes you’ll see MMS go back to the same old thing because it has no self interest.

This is all basically about economic calculation. The government can’t do it. A good place to read on this is here: http://mises.org/econcalc/ch2.asp

And as far as the current fishing companies, they suffer from exactly the same lack of property, so no reason to take care of what they are using. The ocean’s are truly a case of “tragedy of the commons.” The solution is to eliminate the commons and institute property rights. Anything else is destined to fail.

Charred Knight July 21, 2010 at 3:16 am

Their are various problems with your plan

1. Sea life is constantly on the move, that means that the property would be worthless unless by some sheer dumb luck their are fishes in the property line. I mean your basically treating sea life like they where cows.

2. If you sold to the fisherman than you would lose billions of dollars in revenue from the oil

3. Even if you did try to sell to the oil companies, you would be forced to sell it below the actual value, as the oil companies don’t have billions of dollars lying around. B.P has been forced into a selling a lot of assets to cover the cost of the disaster

mpolzkill July 20, 2010 at 11:30 am

Maybe someone already covered this, but: what kind of business is bootlegging? Trying to pass off a copy as the real deal is fraud, a crime, and I think all of my fellow non-believers in “IP” agree on that. So that eliminates that in our argument. That’s leaves selling known bootleg copies. I would never, have never given a dime to anyone that I knew was selling a bootlegged anything. I think that’s a pretty common attitude and could be even more so in the future.

Anyway, brothers, please stop with all this Commie crap. No one here wants to devise a system to make all profit equally from your creations. If that were the case and you were say a musician, we’d take for redistribution all of the gate at your concerts. That’s your supposed protectors that take a healthy share of it for that Bolshy reason (when you can’t hide from them).

Matthew Swaringen July 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Hey mpolzkill, I understand the reason for your statement here but I think maybe you misunderstood the reference. And I was definitely not promoting “sharing the wealth” on this. In fact, I absolutely would buy from “official” creator-endorsed sources myself. I do this now.

I’m not talking about fraudulent copies, which I agree with you is absolutely still a crime, and I agree with you that much of bootlegging is that. The customer has no idea what he’s getting is not the same as the real thing. And I agree with you entirely that anyone doing that is 100% wrong for doing so.

The whole point of the creator endorsed mark is to promote those who are doing something on behalf of the author/artist/what-not. This said, certainly you are going to find that there are those who make copies available (just as now) for free, for a significantly lesser fee, etc.

Now if this person who is making copies available isn’t violating a contract with the author/artist/etc. then they aren’t doing anything wrong. They may simply be sharing something with a friend or even perceive themselves as helping advertise for the author/artist/etc.

Now I’d argue if they are making copies available specifically to undercut the person or to hurt them, that’s definitely not ok, but this isn’t what I’m referring to at all.

(A good example of what I’m referring to in physical objects is fake Rolex’s. If the buyer knows he’s getting a fake one, I don’t see anything at all wrong with him buying a cheaper “Rolex” if that’s what he’s into and he doesn’t have the money for the real thing. It’s not what I’d do, it sounds like it’s not what you’d do, but some people will do that and I don’t see anything wrong with it).

mpolzkill July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Oh, I wasn’t responding to you, Matthew, I was just trying to sort out some thoughts after being called a member of the Khmer Rouge because I don’t believe in “IP”.

Matthew Swaringen July 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Oh, I also intended to state that I agree with you on this here:

“I would never, have never given a dime to anyone that I knew was selling a bootlegged anything. I think that’s a pretty common attitude and could be even more so in the future.”

Most of what we are talking about is free rather than horribly made copies produced for a fee.

Tungsten Wedding Bands July 22, 2010 at 2:47 am

I’m not talking about fraudulent copies, which I agree with you is absolutely still a crime, and I agree with you that much of bootlegging is that. The customer has no idea what he’s getting is not the same as the real thing. And I agree with you entirely that anyone doing that is 100% wrong for doing so.www.tocoy.net

Dean West September 10, 2010 at 10:51 pm

The “creator’s mark” is not a good idea. It avoids the issue, the issue of theft. It should be – especially in a free market society – theft to print another man’s work without permission. Even if you copy it without the “author’s mark”. The idea seems to be that if when you steal you admit it, you may distribute the stolen goods as you like. Take someone’s bike, no problem – just when you sell it, don’t claim it’s yours, admit that it’s anothers, and you’ll be just fine.

But then we get back around to the tired argument that “copying isn’t theft” as the author still has his original. I’ve felt it to be a poor jest to pretend to believe that there is no value in a specific idea – for if that were true, then why do people copy some ideas and not others? The 10 year old writing his own fanfic story in crayon is in little danger of being “copied”. But a best selling author is. What is that, if not the free market acting to show us all that some ideas/books have value apart from the materiels they are wrote on?

And how is it that the same person who wrote this article on the “mark” has wrote of how if we forbid copying, it’s controlling another’s ink? Seems to me then that under his proposed system, one could have a “mark” that looked very much like an “author’s mark”/”creator’s mark”, but was not. That would not be fraud then, would it? Caveat emptor, and all that?

What sophistries do I see employed to keep a man from owning his own creation! No one has the right to an idea of another. You rather have the right to do the same work he did to come up with it – or make a deal with him on his own terms.

Paul Vahur September 11, 2010 at 11:08 am

What sophistries do I see employed to keep a man from owning his own creation! No one has the right to an idea of another. You rather have the right to do the same work he did to come up with it – or make a deal with him on his own terms.

Sorry Dean, but you can’t say that. This is not your idea. Other people have come up with this idea before and you have not asked their permission.

Dean West September 11, 2010 at 11:16 am

Paul,

I get it. If I believe that a creator has say over his creation, then I must of necessity believe in all the statist silliness about infinite copyrights, right? Of course. Then you can come in and make a funny point about how since I didn’t pay a fee to the descendants of the people who first thought of the word “What” or “a” or “sophistries”, my actual argument thus falls to the ground.

But, unfortunately for you, my actual argument does not lose any merit, just for you assigning an extra argument to me and demolishing that. You could as easily have assumed any number of things about me and demolished those unexpressed and unheld ideas of mine.

Dean

Matthew Swaringen September 11, 2010 at 11:52 am

The 10 year old writing his own fanfic story in crayon is in little danger of being “copied”.”
Perhaps the 10 year old writing influences his 9 year old sibling. Perhaps his sibling goes on to become the “best selling author” but the 10 year old chooses another career. How do you know that nothing that was done by the 10 year old was taken into account by those who saw it and perhaps had ideas come of it? You can’t say that it wasn’t used.

If you are referring only to “copying” of the entirety of the story do you think it’s ok if a story is copied verbatim 99% but not 1%? At what point is copying “too much” for you. You have said what your argument is not, but you haven’t said what your argument is. Your argument even says “No one has the right to an idea of another.” An idea is far far less than a book, so you seem to be arguing that even the concept of the book “zombie apocalypse” is own-able and therefore anyone who writes a similar story should pay the one who wrote the original.

The problem is, you then go on to say… “my actual argument does not lose any merit, just for you assigning an extra argument to me” meaning that your argument presumably has nothing at all to do with ideas, but just whole books.. or.. something. Your argument is muddled by your inability to state it as you mean it. Or perhaps you are being intentionally deceptive by changing it to “defeat” any argument to the contrary.

But a best selling author is. What is that, if not the free market acting to show us all that some ideas/books have value apart from the materiels they are wrote on?

“Value” is not the criteria for what is and is not property. The air has value, you have to breathe it to live. Is it then, also, own-able? In our present state on the surface it isn’t. It is not own-able because it is not scarce. Whether or not something has value has absolutely nothing to do with it being own-able.

If you are going to make this argument that things that are valuable should be own-able you should stop rejecting the ownership of specific words as you did in your response to Paul. You couldn’t make your argument without words, thus those words have value, and so you should go back and pay the descendants of everyone who came up with the English language. If this isn’t your argument at all, why do you bring up the “value” of ideas?

If I believe that a creator has say over his creation, then I must of necessity believe in all the statist silliness about infinite copyrights, right? Of course.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this. Considering you go on to partially state your argument isn’t what he thinks it is, I think you don’t agree with infinite copyright terms.

1) States generally don’t have infinite copyright terms
2) If you don’t believe in infinite copyright terms then your argument based on value and your argument based on copying loses the merit of being a principled argument, and you really should be making a utilitarian argument instead.

Utilitarian arguments are fine, but it’s completely up to you to prove that we need this to forsake all of our freedoms to copy for the sake of our own benefit. You also need to clearly define what we can and can’t copy before that so we know what we are giving up and getting for that.

Peter Surda September 12, 2010 at 5:40 am

Dean,

I read all seven of your posts. Apart from the logical fallacies contained in them, they are merely a rehash of long-refuted assumptions. Use of metaphors, labour theory of value, inability to depart from unprofitable business models, admitting current system has problems but offering no explanation about how to fix them, trying to beat logic with emotions and so on. I don’t know whether you have not read the anti-IP arguments or merely didn’t comprehend them, but that’s something you have to solve, not me.

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