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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14363/intellectual-property-as-socialistic-human-rights/

Intellectual Property as Socialistic “Human Rights”

October 25, 2010 by

I’ve noted before that the term “human rights” and, in particular, its usage in international law, has acquired a leftist, anti-property tinge–incompatible with the Rothbardian-libertarian conception of human rights as property rights. (See my Book Review of Patrick Burke, No Harm: Ethical Principles for a Free Market (1994), Reason Papers No. 20 (Fall 1995), at n. 13 and accompanying text; Murray N. Rothbard, “Human Rights” As Property Rights, in The Ethics of Liberty.)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [sic] is a veritable socialistic manifesto, providing for “rights” to social security (Art. 22); to protection against unemployment, equal pay for equal work, and to unionize (Art. 23); to vacation time (Art. 24); to food, housing, and medical care (Art. 25); and to an education (Art. 26). The International Covenants on Human Rights include the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides for similar welfare rights. They also make it clear that property rights and other rights are subject to the state’s pleasure: Art. 17 (“Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others … No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property”); Art. 29(2) (“In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”).

So it should be no surprise that according to article 27(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.” Internationalist socialists think IP is a right. Damned by faint praise!

{ 224 comments }

Fallon October 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm

The Canadian Human Rights Museum has John Peters Humphrey, the UDHR’s principal author, stating his ‘progressive’ visions: “The individual seeks not only protection against interference by governments, he looks to the collectivity for positive services.” Apparently he and other progressives wrote the first draft in Eleanor Roosevelt’s apartment (John T. Flynn owns her, btw). It is no wonder that Article 26 mandates compulsory education. This guy is the John Dewey of human rights. In parallel, it does not seem possible to have IP without making rights mean a prior control over other people. i.e. positive rights. Libertarians that hold IP as valid might think it odd that they are in league with Progressivism on this issue.

Anonymous October 26, 2010 at 12:49 am

I’m surprised there is no reference to the most telling portion of the UN’s fraudulent “Human Rights” declaration. Article 29 of that document reads:

* (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
* (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
* (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The “just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society” is a ready-made excuse that can be made to justify just about any violation of any of the “rights” in that document. Obviously, if free speech interferes with “public order” or advocates “immoral” conduct, it can be banned.

The final part of that Article is the most telling. According to the UN, you have “human rights” except when you attempt to exercise them “contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” That means that anybody who opposes the agenda of the UN (whatever that is at any particular moment) has no rights.

Sasha Radeta October 26, 2010 at 2:02 am

International socialists are wrong: IP laws only stipulate exclusive uses that belong to the author who is the owner of physical goods we call works of authorship. In other words: if I own my invention (the physical good I produced with my own means), I should solely determine what are the allowed uses and who can become users. The “use” I refer to are marketable “service,” which are scarce in economic sense and these “uses” do not have to involve physical alteration of object, i.e. filming or broadcasting an art show would be considered as “use” of artist’s services and artist should be compensated for such use. One may argue that restricting such broadcast would interfere with broadcaster’s use of his own property, but that is always the case when your property is used for trespass (use without owner’s permit).

You may think that such broad definition of “use” is too wide, but society really depends on such definition: Visual and audio artists make enforceable contracts based on their performance of such services (people don’t pay money just to be in a room with them). Also, imagine a world in which someone could be “free” to film and broadcast your child’s movement and make money by selling this online to other perverts… Without copyrights there would be no economic incentive for mass production of works of authorship, since their unrestricted replications would drive economic profits down to zero. Without such market, we would regress back to times before printing press enabled markets to provide “limited use” of invention that used to be available only to a small, privileged segments of society.

To cut the long story short, true IP proponents are not socialists: they advocate wider scope of one’s own property rights in economic advantages that are derived from the property’s employment or as Mises explained: “Ownership means full control of the services that can be derived from a good” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIV, 4). “Carried through consistently, the right of property would entitle the proprietor to claim all the advantages which the good’s employment may generate” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIII, 6).

On the other hand, IP opponents oppose exclusivity of any use by the good’s rightful owners, even when it comes to unauthorized uses (trespass) that requires physical employment of other people’s property (ripping a CD or scanning a book requires physical handling). It is no surprise that communists oppose all forms of IP:
http://www.marxist.com/computer-industry-capitalism-free-software240907.htm

Seattle October 26, 2010 at 4:55 am

International socialists are wrong: IP laws only stipulate exclusive uses that belong to the author who is the owner of physical goods we call works of authorship. In other words: if I own my invention (the physical good I produced with my own means), I should solely determine what are the allowed uses and who can become users. The “use” I refer to are marketable “service,” which are scarce in economic sense and these “uses” do not have to involve physical alteration of object, i.e. filming or broadcasting an art show would be considered as “use” of artist’s services and artist should be compensated for such use. One may argue that restricting such broadcast would interfere with broadcaster’s use of his own property, but that is always the case when your property is used for trespass (use without owner’s permit).

For the last time, trespass and IP violation are not the same thing.

You may think that such broad definition of “use” is too wide, but society really depends on such definition: Visual and audio artists make enforceable contracts based on their performance of such services (people don’t pay money just to be in a room with them).

Contracts are conditional title transfers. You can’t make enforceable contracts like “I’ll mow your lawn if you never drink alcohol again.”

Also, imagine a world in which someone could be “free” to film and broadcast your child’s movement and make money by selling this online to other perverts…

Very mature. Imagine a world where you can be financially ruined for having the same idea somebody else already had.

Without copyrights there would be no economic incentive for mass production of works of authorship, since their unrestricted replications would drive economic profits down to zero. Without such market, we would regress back to times before printing press enabled markets to provide “limited use” of invention that used to be available only to a small, privileged segments of society.

Unless we give monopoly rights to the railroad industry, nobody will bother to build trains!

To cut the long story short, true IP proponents are not socialists: they advocate wider scope of one’s own property rights in economic advantages that are derived from the property’s employment or as Mises explained: “Ownership means full control of the services that can be derived from a good” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIV, 4). “Carried through consistently, the right of property would entitle the proprietor to claim all the advantages which the good’s employment may generate” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIII, 6).

FIrst of all, selective quoting for the win! This is not how property works: You don’t own the externalities. If I walk around in a short skirt, are those who enjoy looking at me obligated to pay me for it?

On the other hand, IP opponents oppose exclusivity of any use by the good’s rightful owners, even when it comes to unauthorized uses (trespass) that requires physical employment of other people’s property (ripping a CD or scanning a book requires physical handling). It is no surprise that communists oppose all forms of IP:
http://www.marxist.com/computer-industry-capitalism-free-software240907.htm

First of all, open source software is in no way incompatible with the free market, even if we assume IP to be valid. If the software owners want people to be able to copy, modify, and distribute it however they want, then, well, why the hell not?

Secondly, the anarcho-communist argument against IP and the kinsellian argument are completely different.

Sasha Radeta October 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Seattle,

just couple of points you addressed:

- Contracts are (conditional) TITLE transfers and you are absolutely correct. To quote Murray Rothbard: “THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY implies the right to make contracts about that property: to give it away or to exchange titles of ownership for the property of another person… the right to contract is strictly derivable from the right of private property.”

In other words: performance artists need owe performances for people who purchased tickets to SEE them — simply because this performance (visual, audio) is a market SERVICE for which the ticket holder is entitled. My whole point: the market services do not require physical contact between seller and customer – and owner of PHYSICAL MEANS (not ideas!) is entitled to control exclusive USES (services) of these means by the very essence of property rights.

This basically means that in a system of private property you cannot ever justify a bizarre scenario in which someone can film or broadcast your child’s life and sell this online to other perverts. Twisted IP opponents will claim that this stalker is simply using his own property (camera and other equipment) and as long as he doesn’t do any physical alteration to your child’s body, he is well within his “rights.” I hope that I clearly demonstrated why such notion is sick and absurd from theoretical and practical standpoint.

- Now second issue I want to address. You said:
You don’t own the externalities. If I walk around in a short skirt, are those who enjoy looking at me obligated to pay me for it?
My answer: I should own externalities, in order to also be liable for negative externalities caused by my property. This is also the only principle that can justify the enforceable contracts involving intangible services (audio, video) As far as your skirt example goes, the answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Not because I assume it is not worth penny – but simply because by looking at you I did not go against your trespass warning (like copyright notice) to derive any market service from your property (body) that would normally cost that money (broadcasting your life without your authorization would be a trespass, just like creating a bootleg footage from theatre, or ripping a CD, or reproducing a book without owner’s permission).

- Communist argument against IP is very similar to Kinsella’s position: they all claim that free access to means of production (in this case works of authorship) will lead to greater prosperity because it would enable masses (proletariat) to obtain a greater acess to other people’s ideas and wealth. This is the basic justification for communism as an idea.

PS
I’m not in favor monopolies when it comes to entire segments of economy (like railroads). I am only in favor of the original meaning of the word: that a property owner should be “the only seller” (mono-polist) of that good and all services derived from it.

Stephan Kinsella October 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Sasha,

Contracts are (conditional) TITLE transfers and you are absolutely correct. To quote Murray Rothbard: “THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY implies the right to make contracts about that property: to give it away or to exchange titles of ownership for the property of another person… the right to contract is strictly derivable from the right of private property.”

In other words: performance artists need owe performances for people who purchased tickets to SEE them — simply because this performance (visual, audio) is a market SERVICE for which the ticket holder is entitled.

Are you sure you’ve read Rothbard? He explicitly argued for the Evers title-transfer theory of contract, under which contracts are not enforceable promises, and the titles transferred are not to bodies but only to alienable property. Rothbard explicitly denies that contracts can bind you to perform a service, because one’s body is inalienable. So how, pray tell, following rothbard, do you say someone is “entitled” to a performance of an artist? This is not Rothbardian.

My whole point: the market services do not require physical contact between seller and customer – and owner of PHYSICAL MEANS (not ideas!) is entitled to control exclusive USES (services) of these means by the very essence of property rights.

This is vague metaphor-talk. When you agree to pay someone for a service, it’s not a bilateral exchange; it’s a unilateral, but onerous, one. The buyer agrees to transfer title to money IF the other person performs an action. If the action is performed, the title trasnfers. If not, not. There is no title to the service. The actor himself always owns his body and has the right to decide what actions to perform. If he wants to perform X so as to trigger a title transfer to some money, fine. If not, not.

Sasha Radeta October 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Dr. Kinsella,

I never claimed that a contract can be used to bind seller to perform the service that he sold via contract. HOWEVER, the title transfer for services is transferred and contracts can never come to existance if seller does not hold the right to make all decisions about the services that can be derived from that property. Otherwise, a performance artist could charge for tickets and never be liable for not performing it… or vice versa.

As I demonstrated with my stalking example, as well as example with labor contracts, the property rights must go beyond the control of physical contact with property to make any sense whatsoever.

Stephan Kinsella October 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

This is confused. A contract can be unilateral. I can agree to pay you $100 if it rains tomorrow, even if you have no control over the rain.

Peter Surda October 28, 2010 at 6:22 am

Sasha,

the title transfer for services is transferred and contracts can never come to existance if seller does not hold the right to make all decisions about the services that can be derived from that property.

If that was true, it would be impossible to earn money if the underlying information was public domain. Clearly though we have math teachers and performances of Shakespeare. Empirical facts contradict your assumptions.

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 7:40 am

Dr Kinsella,

Market contracts that we talk about are never unilateral. Unilateral contract is one in which only one party makes an express promise, or undertakes a performance without first securing a reciprocal agreement from the other party.

Workers can enter labor contracts with employers, simply because they hold sole entitlement over the services of their body (physical property)… The same goes for people that rent their property or those who allow only limited kinds of use of their goods (copyright)

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 7:45 am

Peter,

your examples make no sense. If you could have technology to replicate math teachers and you flood the market with these unauthorized copies, their economic profit would go down to zero. (it’s the law of supply and demand).

Stephan Kinsella October 28, 2010 at 8:09 am

Sasha, re contracts being unilateral: see my civil law dictionary for some legal terminology here: http://www.kinsellalaw.com/publications/#dictionary (see the entry Conventional Obligations). The legal terminology is a bit misleading for libertarian purposes b/c the law views contracts as binding obligations. Thus if I agree to give you property (say, money) in exchange for your performing a service, then you have an obligation to perform the service and this is what is exchanged for my money title. But the libertarin view is title transfer which says there is no obligation to perform; the performance of the service or action is simply a trigger that transfers title to the property. I think that if contract law were based on libertarian title trasnfer principles some of these classifications would chagne. Perhaps the contract would be viewed as a unilateral aleatory one. I don’t know; we can haggle over the proper libertarian-legal classifications. But the point is one of substance, and is anchored in Evers-Rothbard title-transfer contract theory.

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 6:57 am

If you could have technology to replicate math teachers and you flood the market with these unauthorized copies, their economic profit would go down to zero. (it’s the law of supply and demand).

The equivalent would not be replicating math teachers, but replicating their knowledge. Just like replication of CDs does not materialise a new CD out of nothing, just changes the shape of pits and bumps on the reflective surface of an existing CD.

Imagine a world where you can take a pill and the next day you know calculus. Surely, the demand for teachers would drop, but it would be supplanted by a new industry, that which can provide services more efficiently. According to the imaginations of IP fraudsters, this would be horrible. Math teachers spent years studying and now someone can provide the same services for five bucks in one day? Surely, they have a right to prevent others from providing the same service more efficiently, on account of them being the first? You shouldn’t be able to copy information without permission from the encumbents! Which teacher would do the research if they couldn’t earn money teaching?

Humbug, I say. Other words are simply inadequate to describe the IP fraudsters’ elaborations.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Peter,

You are incapable of following your own example:
Equivalent of replicating books (producing physically identical copies) — is replicating math teachers (producing physically identical copies). Both actions would decrease economic profits down to zero.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:28 am

Sasha,

the amount of lies and fraud you are prepared to spew in your defence of theft and violence is mindboggling.

Equivalent of replicating books (producing physically identical copies) — is replicating math teachers (producing physically identical copies). Both actions would decrease economic profits down to zero.

When you refer to replication of books, you mean altering existing paper and in a way that the contents of the result are equally usable for the purpose of reading than that of original. The new book does not materialise out of nothingness, it is merely an alteration of existing matter. Just like “replicating teachers” does not mean a new person materialises out of nothingness, but that existing matter is reassembled in a way that the service the new goods provides is equally usable for the purpose of teaching.

But of course, since you lack a coherent theory and definitions of any underlying terms you use, you can deny everything and make up another nonsense.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:52 am

Peter,

What lies? Once again, you’re incapable of following your own analogy:

Physically replicating math teachers (using your own physical tools) is perfectly analogous with physical replication of books (using your own physical tools). Anyway, both actions would be illegal if the original owner objects to such use – and both actions would reduce their economic profits to zero (the law of supply).

Peter Surda October 28, 2010 at 6:20 am

Sasha,

I should own externalities, in order to also be liable for negative externalities caused by my property.

So, if a murderer reads your books, you should be charged with murder too?

I hope that I clearly demonstrated why such notion is sick and absurd from theoretical and practical standpoint.

On the contrary, you prove that your argument is pointless. What if instead of making a video recording, the pervert in your story would create a cartoon? Or what if he wrote a novel? Is that also a violation of property rights? And what if they curse them. Surely, only a sick person would make cursing permissible merely because it does not physically alter the victim?

IP proponents want to take us into a world of magic and mysticism where words have physical effects and should be countered with force.

I’m not in favor monopolies when it comes to entire segments of economy (like railroads).

But you contradict yourself. “Railroad” is an abstraction that refers to some physical goods. Just like any other innovation is an abstraction that refers to physical goods. Railroad is just more abstract than, for example, combustion engine, because we have much more variety nowadays and it has developed into a whole industry. But when railroad was discovered, it was just as unique as any other patent you might have nowadays. Why should the discoverer of railroad not be granted the same privilege?

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

Peter,

It is sad to see that you are defending the right of a sick pedophile to stalk and broadcast some child’s life. I just wanted to show how far IP-opponents will go in insisting on their twisted assumptions.

As far as “railroads” go – I was referring to railroad companies nowadays, so I’m not contradicting myself. When it comes to the invention of railroad tracks, you are unfamiliar with the fact that this was not a product of a single inventor – but a common knowledge that goes back to Neolithic times. On the other hand, the inventor of a truly revolutionary machine can prove the origin of his good and to sell only certain services that can be derived from it.

Edgaras October 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

it’s not about pedophile’s rights, but about what is true and consistent with reality.

Peter Surda October 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

Sasha,

It is sad to see that you are defending the right of a sick pedophile to stalk and broadcast some child’s life.

Apparently you missed my point. Your whole argument is based on stirring up emotions by providing a provocative example, and then making very broad generalisation and somehow arriving at the desired conclusion.

Let us take a look the example from empirical point of view, free of metaphors. The recording did not magically form on the pervert’s camera’s storage medium. The camera had to have a free line of sight to the child, and also had to be located at some specific premises. The camera gathered some of the photons that reflected off the child, and encoded them into a sequence of zeros and ones. Other people are able to repeat that sequence and on some output device create an image that resembles the child.

What part of that is it exactly that constitutes trespass? The one when the camera gathers the photons? The one when the information is encoded or the one where it is decoded? Or at a later stage, when the other perverts feel arousal?

Any of those leads to strange conclusions. You cannot look anywhere without permission, you need to walk and drive around with your eyes closed. You cannot counter your blindness with the help of tools (e.g. GPS) either, because they are all based on encoding visual information. Maybe a blind person’s stick can be an exception. You cannot laugh at other people without their permission. You cannot even know they exist without their permission.

I was referring to railroad companies nowadays, so I’m not contradicting myself.

So, the boundaries of property is influenced by the time that people live in? If an industry expands too much, it loses the ability to protect the underlying concepts it is based on through IP?

On the other hand, the inventor of a truly revolutionary machine can prove the origin of his good and to sell only certain services that can be derived from it.

But it is only revolutionary for a brief amount of time. It can also be that the commercial benefit is impossible to derive until other inventions are made. How do you make the distinction about what should be protected and what not, and on what abstraction level?

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm

OMG Peter!

You are completely lost in your photon-neutron world that protects pedophilia. The purpose of the pedophile example was not to stir emotions, but to show that property rights must go beyond the right of physical handling – or they will make no sense.

PS Aggression, not just trespass, can be committed without physical contact between aggressor’s property and victim’s body (think about excess noise, etc.)

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 6:23 am

Sasha,

again you repeat the same methodology:

Something I don’t like => outrage => ignoring logical frameworks => broad generalisation => drawing the conclusion it should be punished.

Describing it as pseudoscience would be overly generous, I’m afraid. I think we are left with colourful metaphors: it’s humbug.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Peter,

You’re still siding with the pedophile maniac from my example, which makes you look silly. You still don’t have honesty and decency to admit that your limited view of property cannot protect our substantive ownership rights (like not being stalked, tortured by noise, etc).

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:23 am

Sasha,

you are still trying to stir up emotions to cover up the promotion of thievery, violence and absence of an economic theory.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:43 am

Peter,

Stir-up emotions? Are you serious? I only wanted to show what kind of sick and twisted world would emerge if we didn’t respect property rights that go beyond “physical employment” — and you proved that for me.

Slim934 October 26, 2010 at 7:38 am

“To cut the long story short, true IP proponents are not socialists: they advocate wider scope of one’s own property rights in economic advantages that are derived from the property’s employment or as Mises explained: “Ownership means full control of the services that can be derived from a good” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIV, 4). “Carried through consistently, the right of property would entitle the proprietor to claim all the advantages which the good’s employment may generate” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIII, 6).”

Ideas are not goods. Neither are specific chromatic patterns (art) or specifically generated air vibrations (music).

In order for a thing to be a good, it must be SCARCE. Patterns are infinitely reproducible provided one owns some scarce means in which to do the reproducing. You are reading Mises WILDLY out of context to use him as a justification for IP.

Sasha Radeta October 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Slim,

works of authorship are SCARCE physical goods, just like services that can be derived from them (including the service of displaying arts, show broadcasts, concerts, etc.). These services can be derived by unauthorized user and then get massively reproduced, but that is essentially a theft.

I never claimed that ideas are goods and I am not reading Mises out of context at all — please read his parts about externalities (Seattle understood exactly what I was aiming at — however, look at her unsuccessful attempt to address the issue of unauthorized broadcast of a child’s life).

Peter Surda October 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

Sasha,

These services can be derived by unauthorized user and then get massively reproduced, but that is essentially a theft.

Yet, externalities extend to infinity. If causality is taken as an absolute measure, no action whatsoever would be permitted without the approval of everything else, making the concept of property pointless. Therefore, whether you like it or not, you need to add some cutoff point.

A further problem is that as you are tracking benefits from a starting point (zero rights), once you cross the threshold of 100% coverage of goods, any further expansion of rights is only possible at cost of other rights. That creates overlaps and diminishes the utility of rights, because actions require permissions of more people. But let’s abandon utilitarianism and go back to the theory. Even if you accept the overlaps to be permissible, it still does not follow that one of them takes precedence. However, IP requires that the right to the immaterial benefits takes precedence, and others have to be deprived of the material benefits of their property. You could very well say that it is the IP proponents that are materialistic, and that they themselves want IP to have a different meaning than physical property. If it wasn’t the true, they should demand immaterial benefits as a compensation for trespass.

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 8:04 am

Peter,

economic externalities do not extend to infinity and I only dealt with those externalities that create material benefit or harm.

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 6:21 am

Sasha,

economic externalities do not extend to infinity

They do.

and I only dealt with those externalities that create material benefit or harm

How do you distinguish between those that create material benefit or harm on one hand and those that don’t on the other? Another fabrication, an attempt to divert attention and convolute.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Peter,

go back to ECO 101 class: externalities that are measurable in the amount of US dollars are not “infinite,”since there is no such thing as “infinite price.”

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:22 am

Sasha,

externalities have nothing to do with dollars. One widely recognised economic definition of externality is that by Baumol and Oates:

An externality is present whenever some individual’s (say A’s) utility or production relationships include real (that is nonmonetary) variables, whose values are chosen by others (persons, corporations, governments) without particular attention on the effects on A’s welfare) (Baumol and Oates, 1975, p.17)

(emphasis added)

You are making up random stuff to promote your thievery and violence, and to compensate for the lack of logical coherence in your arguments.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:40 am

Peter,

You could have quoted Carl Marx, it makes no difference. Externality can create specific monetary benefit or harm and I only concerned myself with those.

Daniel October 26, 2010 at 6:11 am

I don’t believe in intellectual “property” and even if I did, I would be opposed to its enforcement since it would necessarily violate other people’s rights.

Sasha Radeta October 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Daniel,

- It’s like you claim restricting a premeditated murder violates gun owner’s property right, or using my broadcast example: that the right of a pedophile stalker to follow and broadcast your child’s movement is violated if you try to end such awful trespass…

The right of property is not absolute — they never take precedence when they are used to violate property rights of other people — and these rights include scarce services and their exclusivity of use.

Peter Surda October 28, 2010 at 5:51 am

Sasha,

The right of property is not absolute — they never take precedence when they are used to violate property rights of other people…

Yet, in other cases you advocate precisely the same: one property right takes precedence and is used to violate other’s property rights. You need to start facing the self-contradictions in your theory if you want to be taken seriously.

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

There is no contradictions in my theory… Private property rights hold, as long as they are not used to trespass against other person’s property. That’s what IP is all about.

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 4:43 am

The arguments you bring forth are nothing but contradictions. I thouroughly documented several. It is actually quite difficult to find parts which do not contradict.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Peter,

Your “consistency” made you an advocate for pedophiles and maniacs. On the other hand, you couldn’t point out a single contradiction in my statements. But keep trying…

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:13 am

Sasha,

I carefully explained the exact points where you are wrong. Instead of countering them, you are trying deception and attempt to stir up emontions. That tactic might work elsewhere, but here noone is impressed by it.

Since it looks like you are immune to logic, I’ll adapt. You are an advocate of theft and violence.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:34 am

However,

It was your logic that defended pedophile maniac’s right to stalk a child and broadcast it online. It is obvious that your attempt to limit the scope of property rights is absurd.

Stephan Kinsella October 28, 2010 at 6:31 am

“The right of property is not absolute — they never take precedence when they are used to violate property rights of other people”

This is based on a confusion. First off, it is true that property rights are not “absolute”–that is, without exception. Legal scholars distinguish between whether a right is “absolute” or not and whether it is universal. Relativists think rights vary from society to society, while legal positvists have a similar view. Natural law advocates and libertarians tend to think rights are universal–that is, the same rights apply to humans by their nature as humans. But the term “absolute” is a vague one. The right to control your body does not mean you have the right to use your body to murder someone, but it is confused to say this is a limitation on rights. Rather, it is a limitation on action–it is a limitation on committing murder, whatever means you employ, whether you employ resources you own or some other means (see my post The Non-Aggression Principle as a Limit on Action, Not on Property Rights).

In other words, it is others’ property rights (in their bodies, etc.) that limits your actions. The only reason your action is limited is because others do have property rights. To use the fact of others’ having property rights as the basis for the claim that this somehow means property rights are “not absolute” is bizarre and disingenous.

To put it this way is a sneaky attempt to avoid having to give an argument for intellectual monopoly rights. The argument should proceed this way: A has a property rights in informatoin/ideas/patterns for {XYZ} reasons; therefore, B may not act in such a way (he may not use his own property, or indeed any means) as to invade this property right. Then you would have to give XYZ reasons. Instead you want to shortcut this process by saying: “Look, we know rights are not absolute, since you can’t use your gun to murder someone; therefore, why are you complaining when we limit property rights by granting intellectual monopoly rights?” I mean this is about the worst argument you can imagine. You could use this argument to justify anything: “You admit property rights are not absolute; so why are you complaining that I’m about to murder you?” Etc.

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Dr. Kinsella,

Your posting is full of confusion. I take private ownership right as Mises defined it: the right to control your property and its services — but this control is not absolute in a sense that you can’t use your property to trespass (use other person’s property without his permission, like ripping his CD). No controversy there…

Beefcake the Mighty October 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm

On the contrary, Kinsella carefully delineates the main issues here. Allow me to restate if I may: I own a baseball bat, you own a car. The fact that you own the car means that I can’t justifiably swing my bat onto it, however this has NO bearing on the fact that I *am* the owner of the bat. It is crucial to distinguish ownership from action.

So, how do people come to own things? People like Kinsella have argued (convincingly, IMO) that they come to own things through first-use, to use a short-hand expression. Now, the IP supporters are claiming something else: that ownership in things can arise through the fact of first conceiving an idea for using those things. They like to appeal to analogies with the car and bat example, by saying, e.g., you may own a pencil and paper but that doesn’t give you the right to transcribe Harry Potter with them. But this analogy clearly fails because unlike the car/bat example, there is no pair of owned things such that separate spheres of legitimate actions can be identified. The only way their position makes sense is to claim that the author of Harry Potter thereby acquires ownership in the pencil paper (by virtue of being the originator of the concept of Harry Potter).

I’ve asked Silas repeatedly to defend this theory of ownership (as distinct from the homesteading theory of ownership most libertarians subscribe to). He has thus far declined to even acknowledge the issue; perhaps you’d like to give it a go?

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Beefcake,

Property rights go beyond physical handling of the homesteaded property. Your baseball bat and car example do not address the whole issue:
- is a person who harms you with noise, stalks, wiretaps, or broadcasts your movements within his property rights only because he physically does not touch you, while handling his means of trespass? Of course not! Your property rights end when they are used to harm other person’s property rights (right to control services derived from his property).

You asked Silas repeatedly to defend this theory of ownership, but I don’t feel any ned to go beyon what Ludwig von Mises already explained:
“Ownership means full control of the services that can be derived from a good” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIV, 4). “Carried through consistently, the right of property would entitle the proprietor to claim all the advantages which the good’s employment may generate” (Ludwig Von Mises, Human Action, XXIII, 6).

You happy now?

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Sasha, thanks for the response. But, when you ask:

“is a person who harms you with noise, stalks, wiretaps, or broadcasts your movements ”

you’re already begging the question that these actions can be characterized as “harm.” So, I still agree with Kinsella that you have to first put forth some kind of theory of property rights, such that you can distinguish harmful actions from non-harmful actions.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Beefcake,

Mises defined it already. No need to repeat it.

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Sasha, I’m not sure how this passage from Mises supports your theory (let alone restates it), as he explicitly distinguishes the catallactic notion of ownership (which you appeal to here) from the legal notion of ownership.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 4:00 am

Beefcake,

Mises explicitly defines the scope of property rights way beyond “right of physical handling.” Read more carefully and please find me a single passage in which he employs a different kind of definition (“legal” one if you will).

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:04 am

Sasha,

like I said. You don’t like what others are doing, so you redefine property rights in a way that makes such activities illegal. That’s circular argumentation.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:31 am

Peter,

Exclusivity of property rights were created to prevent one person from doing whatever they please with goods that other person homesteaded. There is nothing circular about it.

Beefcake the Mighty October 30, 2010 at 7:56 am

Sasha, appealing to von Mises’ authority here isn’t addressing the question. You can say all you want that, e.g., someone “owns” Harry Potter but what in fact you mean is that this person owns all the *physical copies* of Harry Potter (or rather of the Harry Potter novel). My question still stands to IP proponents: how does one come to own these copies (which means of course owning the factors of production used to instantiate them) by basis of first conception rather than first use? Please address this point.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

Beefcake,

The author comes to own physical copies of his book by creating a contract with publisher (who owns factors of production use to make authorized copies), making all printed (physical) copies his own property. I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that “one come to own these copies by basis of first conception rather than first use?” That is simply not true.

If this author never gives you the right to use this copies for commercial purposes, such action on your part would amount to trespass.

Beefcake the Mighty October 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Sasha, your reply here is very interesting because contrary to your previous objections, you *are* talking about physical handling. There is no need to resort to a concept like IP to resolve the situation you have here, it’s a standard contract. What I’m talking about is the situation where another author indepenently conceives of the idea for Harry Potter; do you believe the first conceiver has some sort of veto power over the second author? If so, why? How about third parties who never entered into an agreement with the author, but who come to learn about the idea and write up the same story themselves? Does the first author have the right to use force against them? If so, why?

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 3:45 am

Beefcake,

I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Somebody independently conceiving Harry Potter? Do you mean producing the same, word-for-word, story about the child wizard with the same name, just coincidentally imagined in an exactly the same plot? I doubt any court would believe in that magic, but it is up to the courts to decide.

Important point, however, is that decision will be based on proving that the alleged violator actually misused physical copy of J.K. Rowling’s book and not proving that the author has some “veto power” when it comes to ideas. I you read US Copyright Act, you will see that it explicitly states that it does not provide any protection of ideas or concepts — it only deals with exclusive uses of physical property that belong to the author by the very virtue of ownership.

IP case that I presented is consistent with this reality. Every sale of copyrighted material is a contract about strictly limited use of that property that belongs to copyright holder… To say that there is no need to resort to IP is correct in sense that IP only enumerates list of exclusive rights that belong to any owner — it is not granting theser rights. That’s what creates a lot of confusion.

Peter Surda October 31, 2010 at 4:09 am

Harry Potter is essentially Ender’s Game. Why shouldn’t Card have a cut on Rowlings’ earnings then?

Beefcake the Mighty October 31, 2010 at 9:31 am

Sasha, your replies continue to amaze. You are clearly talking about issues concerning *physical* property, not IP, yet you stubbornly cling to a pro-IP position. Several others have pointed this out; why don’t you just be honest here and acknowledge what you’re really talking about?

Stephan Kinsella October 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm

“Your posting is full of confusion. I take private ownership right as Mises defined it: the right to control your property and its services — but this control is not absolute in a sense that you can’t use your property to trespass (use other person’s property without his permission, like ripping his CD). No controversy there…”

ANYway, you need to show that IP is property as a preliminary matter. You hain’t.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Stephan,

so called IP is nothing but a set of exclusive uses retained by the owner. You need to show that some of these uses should be “communal” or “public.” Good luck!

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:07 am

Sasha,

… retained by the owner …

This is deceptive interpretation. IP is a redistributive measure. Those rights are not “retained”, they are “taken” from others.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:27 am

Peter,

Exclusive rights of use listed in IP legislation belong to whom exactly? To the owner of this property (the author) or to “society,” “public” — or some other socialist imaginary entity?

Martin OB October 26, 2010 at 6:18 am

From article 21 onwards, Human Rights are mostly socialist garbage.
For instance, in article 26, about education:

Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. [...]

Seattle October 26, 2010 at 6:43 am

The wonderful thing about positive rights is, as standards of living increase, things that were formally “wants” become “needs.” Expect the declaration to be considered anarchistic by the next century.

Edgaras October 26, 2010 at 10:47 am

“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.”

wtfamireading.png

This is really madness. Can’t believe I supported this kind of crimes.

Andras October 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

Is stealing energy a crime or a virtue?

Bruce Koerber October 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Socialistic “Human Rights” Are Criminal.

Lost is the ethical axiom: Property rights are human rights and human rights are property rights. But even if the self-appointed worldwide interventionists found this axiom they would want to falsely interpret it to justify their attack on property rights.

They would claim that “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” and proceed to starve mankind of its bountiful source of wealth. Partial knowledge in the hands of the ego-driven interpreters and interventionists is a danger to the advancement of civilization.

To these ignorant and corrupt self-appointed worldwide interventionists any recognition of the constantly enriching flow of wealth-generating knowledge discovered during the market process by the inherent entrepreneurial spirit of individuals would undermine their attempt to control the destiny of mankind. Their narrow and perverse vision is nothing but impoverishing and cannot ‘stand the heat’ of any comparison with the magnificent potential of human civilization that would occur without their meddling.

If they understood the above axiom they would see that every act of intervention (worldwide social engineering) of theirs is a violation of human rights. Yes they are oppressors. Their ego-driven interventions are criminal.

Sasha Radeta October 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Bruce,

IP communists are far worse… Under the guise of individual liberty (to trespass) they actually advocate unrestricted communal access to vital means of production (in this case original works of authorship)… First and giant step toward Khmer-Rouge type of society.

Bruce Koerber October 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Is Intellectual Property A Secret Or A Gift?

It is one of two things: it is either a secret or it is not.

1). If it is a secret there is a very likely chance that someone else somewhere in the world will discover the same thing (or has already) and so the secret is fleeting, at best.

2). If it is not a secret then it is for the betterment of others (not just a secret holder) and it enters into the market process as information about it flows. There is no right for anyone to then intervene in the economy because such an action is nothing but a corruption by a finite mind imposed upon something infinitely beyond comprehension (the intricacies of the economy) and therefore an act of injustice.

To those who object to the justice of the market processes they should try in vain to keep ‘their idea’ (which is a trick played on them by their ego since it came from the invisible realm and surely no one can claim that the invisible realm is theirs!) a secret and then sit back and watch as someone else gets the credit for their truly generous gift to mankind.

Stephan Kinsella October 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Bruce, I think I agree with your general thrust if I can unpack your metaphors.

“Is Intellectual Property A Secret Or A Gift?

It is one of two things: it is either a secret or it is not.”

Well, we should define IP before trying this approach, no?

“To those who object to the justice of the market processes they should try in vain to keep ‘their idea’ (which is a trick played on them by their ego since it came from the invisible realm and surely no one can claim that the invisible realm is theirs!) a secret and then sit back and watch as someone else gets the credit for their truly generous gift to mankind.”

What is the “invisible realm”? Is this where ideas “come from” in your view? Do “ideas” have to “come from” somewhere, or have “a source”? Is this what you mean?

Bruce Koerber October 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

Dear Stephan,

As part of the exercising of the entrepreneurial spirit humans become alert to ideas which prior to their alertness was not visible to them. If that particular human being had a latent entrepreneurial spirit the idea would simply be invisible.

If one individual has a latent entrepreneurial spirit that does not necessarily mean that others are latent which means that the discovery of any idea (or that particular idea or a very similar idea) is likely to be made by someone else. Does the discoverer want it be be kept a secret or to be made available to render service to others? Both choices are subject to a fleeting nature. Those who appreciate this fleeting nature will be generous with the gift of their discovery. Those who do not understand this fleeting nature will either watch as someone else brings the idea to fruition or will try to artificially manipulate the fleeting nature and at the same time create a consequence that is relatively unjust.

Stephan Kinsella October 27, 2010 at 11:51 am

This passive Kirzneriean alertness notion is flawed IMHO (see my post Klein’s Judgment on Kirzner’s Alertness). So is the complementary notion you evidently have of some pre-existing invisible “idea space” from which sufficiently “alert” “creators” simply pluck the already-formed Platonic ideas.

Bruce Koerber October 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

1. Apparently I miscommunicated because I do not see anything passive about an active entrepreneurial spirit (as opposed to a latent entrepreneurial spirit).
2. Apparently I miscommunicated here also because ideas are not already-formed but rather individuals that have acquired certain knowledge and who are seeking its meaningfulness find inspiration that is like a spark of discovery. To those who seek it will be given and what is given comes from a source that ultimately cannot be claimed as one’s own.

Stephan Kinsella October 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Oh, good. I didn’t konw what you mean by the invisible realm. This is the danger of imprecise metaphor, IMO — as I discuss in my post Locke, Smith, Marx and the Labor Theory of Value: See my Appendix: On the dangers of metaphors in scientific discourse to my post Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphors). As for what you sell: You need to understand the title-transfer theory of contract of Evers-Rothbard–see my A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability http://mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_2.pdf.

Bruce Koerber October 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Dear Stephan,

“As for what you sell: You need to understand the title-transfer theory of contract of Evers-Rothbard”

I do not know what this is referring to.

Stephan Kinsella October 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Bruce, the link I provided splains it.

Bruce Koerber October 30, 2010 at 10:58 am

We all have busy lives. I will read A LIBERTARIAN THEORY OF CONTRACT: TITLE TRANSFER, BINDING PROMISES, AND INALIENABILITY if I see how it applies to me not just because you want people (me) to read your work.

If you are too busy to take a moment to explain why you think this applies to me then please recognize that I am too busy to read it.

Stephan Kinsella October 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Bruce:

I had cricitized the use of imprecise metaphor; regarding your emphasis on “what is sold,” I observed “As for what you sell: You need to understand the title-transfer theory of contract of Evers-Rothbard–see my A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability http://mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_2.pdf.”

This is still my view.

You then said “I do not know what this is referring to.” Since I had just posted the link, your comment confused me a bit. So, I said, “the link I provided splains it.”

You then said “We all have busy lives. I will read A LIBERTARIAN THEORY OF CONTRACT: TITLE TRANSFER, BINDING PROMISES, AND INALIENABILITY if I see how it applies to me not just because you want people (me) to read your work.

If you are too busy to take a moment to explain why you think this applies to me then please recognize that I am too busy to read it.”

As I told you in email, you misunderstand me. I do not want you to or care if you read it. Its Just that you said you were unfamiliar with it even though I gave a link. Yet I do think you need to be knowledgeable of the Rothbardian view of title transfer theory of contract to have an informed opinion on this–or one worth writing about.

Peter Surda October 28, 2010 at 5:49 am

Sasha,

… they actually advocate unrestricted communal access to vital means of production…

This proves that you are not making any effort whatsoever to comprehend counterarguments. IP opponents on this site argue for a 100% private property, merely the boundaries are drawn differently than the IP proponents would like them to be. 100% coverage directly contradicts your reference to communism.

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Peter,

IP-opponents advocate reducing the scope of private property rights and to create a vast public, communal domain.

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 6:11 am

This is an outright lie, the anti-IP position is clearly explained and contains no such thing. I see that if the vagueness and deception doesn’t work anymore and you face the danger of being ignored, you need to step it up a notch.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 4:06 am

Peter,

Just take it easy. In your mind you limited property rights to “right of physical contact with goods owned” – and all economic externalities and services not based on physical employment are left out from individual rights… Hence, you openly advocate vast public or communal domain in the areas that are currently covered by private property rights (also covered by Mises’s definition). Why getting upset – stand behind your left ideology.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:39 am

Sasha,

In your mind you limited property rights to “right of physical contact with goods owned”…

Actually, you completely miss my point. This is not the assumption, this is the conclusion. The conclusion of the realisations that other approaches lead to self-contradictions, of which your nonsense is a prime example.

And yes, you are a liar and a fraudster. Your feeble attempts to hide behind confusion and emotionally provoking analogies is not effective here.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 6:05 am

LOL!

What an unsucessful attempt to insult me… I’m lucky you didn’t call me an advocate of pedophile stalkers… Oh, sorry – that’s you! Mea culpa.

Kevin B October 26, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Sasha Radeta: “they actually advocate unrestricted communal access to vital means of production (in this case original works of authorship)”

Isn’t it our intended goal in establishing property rights to minimize conflict over resources? In the case of something with a scarce presence, such as a field of corn, your concern over communal access is valid: Only so many people can use the field at any given moment. If we all believe we have full rights to the same corn field, then there will be a tendency of conflict over its use.

In contrast with the corn field, an idea, such as how to make a battery, can be utilized by as many people who wish to use it at any given moment. If we all believe we have full rights to our understanding of how to make a battery, there is no tendency of conflict over the use of that understanding.

Conflicts do not arise over intellectual property. Conflicts arise over physical property. For example, I am the first one who makes a BLT (bacon lettuce tomato sandwich). You see my BLT and create the idea of the BLT in your mind. At that point in time, the idea of the BLT exists in two minds. While only one of us can fully access the physical BLT, we can each fully access the idea of the BLT.

Let’s say you access your idea of the BLT and make a physical BLT. I cry foul, and say you stole my idea. There is conflict, but I am mistaken to think it is over the idea, since I still retain my idea. The conflict is over the bacon, lettuce, tomato, and bread that you used to make your sandwich. I am claiming that by coming up with the idea of the BLT, that you cannot use your ingredients in that way. We are arguing over how you use your physical property.

My main point is that the implementation of intellectual property rights not only fails to serve the purpose of minimizing conflict over scarce resources, but it actually tends to increase them, by encouraging the violation of physical property rights.

Sasha Radeta October 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Kevin B,

Your BLT example is bad, because IP does not deal with common knowledge discoveries, but only with exclusivity of uses when it comes to goods that can trace their origin to a single author, based on their uniqueness. Please find a concrete IP issue…

Unfortunately, you does not address the fundamental issue with property rights and IP, which is the right to sell only limited services (uses) of your property (say invention), while retaining other kinds of use for your own pleasure. Also, your example does not deal with proper scope of property rights when it comes to ownership over physical goods. IP laws explicitly reject the concept of “idea ownership,” however; they enumerate exclusive uses that go beyond the physical handling of property. Go back to my examples dealing with child stalking: is the sexual maniac completely within his property rights when he uses his own tools to broadcast your child’s life to make money off of it? Can you lawfully deny the validity of contract with a performance artist, by refusing to pay for his services based on the notion that this person did not physically transfer anything onto your property?

My point is: IP universally extends private property rights beyond physical control of objects – which is the only way in which market services can be part of enforceable (title-transfer) contracts. This idea is perfectly libertarian, since it attempts to privatize externalities, unlike the anti-IP ideology that seeks to restrict the scope private property rights in favor of communal use of many services derived from a good.

Kevin B October 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Sasha Radeta: “the right to sell only limited services (uses) of your property (say invention”In your mind, what ‘use’ (or interaction) isn’t included? Observing it?

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Not sure I follow… Read the list of exclusive uses enumerated in IP laws. There are plenty of fair and personal, non-commercial uses left. Respecting copyright ain’t that terrible.

Stephan Kinsella October 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

ain’t that terrible! damned by faint praise. Or is that praised by faint damn.

further, the fair use exceptions are ad hoc and utilitarian; and most IP zealots want to great expand IP’s scope. FAIL.

Trolls' troll October 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Basically. The subject will be changed stat to something completely unrelated like who’s going to enforce IP, the scope of IP (vide supra), whether someone has IP over the color red (because someone clearly invented red?) in 3…2…1… (Epic fail.)

Kevin B October 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Since it isn’t a huge issue, let’s just say that you arrange a contract in which the purchaser of an item agrees not to make a duplicate of it at any point in time thereafter. Would you agree that such a contract only holds for those two parties, and therefore the rest of the world is free to make duplicates of the item as best they can?

I doubt that the majority of the anti-IP crowd would disagree with you. They seem to be more concerned with the government bungling of property rights definition & enforcement.

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Kevin,

In your example, “the rest of the world” never got any permission from the author to use his property for replication… So I don’t see what “right” would they have to do what they please with other person’s property.

Anthony October 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Sasha,

Please respond to my comment below… I believe it adequately answers your “permission” requirement.

Kevin B October 30, 2010 at 1:20 am

Sasha,

Due to the indirect nature of the connection between the two objects, original and replication, the credibility of the word ‘use’ in this context is strained to its limit. The original item is no more used than it is observed, therefore, unless you believe that it is wise to judge observation as a violation of property rights, then the rest of the world cannot be obligated to abstain from such use, while at the same time they are not entitled to it.

That is why the contract is required between those two people for the receiver of the object to abstain from replication. He has the right to make use of his observations, until he agrees not to. To rightfully prevent the whole world from replicating your invention, you must either keep it hidden, or have a contract with everyone before they come into contact with it.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 4:24 am

Kevin,

The inception of unauthorized copy is based on illegal use of the original. You suggest that a trespasser can homestead a piece of property directly from violation of other person’s property right, which is unacceptable.

Anyway, if you were a dictator of a society, its authors would choose to have a written contract with purchasers that states that both sides agre that all replicas of the good will be the property of the original owner and that such copies cannot be used commercially. Therefore:
- Purchsaser relinquishes any right to distribute these replicas.
- A third party’s commercial use of these replicas would amount to trespass (unless author explicitly agrees to allow it).

Even in your attempt to find the loophole, IP still holds, as long as people are not allowed to trespass against the rightful owner. I pointed out that such contracts are unnecessary, becuase the owner of copyright holds the rights of commercial use (including republishing) that he never transferred onto anyone else.

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 7:01 am

Sasha,

IP universally extends private property rights beyond physical control of objects…

This can only happen at the cost of the same due to 100% coverage of physical property rights. So the whole argument is at best incomplete and at worst outright lie. Who are you trying to trick, Sasha? Yourself obviously, as noone here seems to be taking you seriously. You’re advocating a mandatory participation on a pyramid scheme, a giant convoluted net of wealth redistribution.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Peter,

You got delusional. It is not my fault that your IP-communist ideology made you defend pedophile maniacs and stalkers of all kinds. Reset your confused mind and try to forget about your fiasco and try to understand Mises’s texts about property rights

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Sasha,

it is not my fault that you value emotions higher than logic. The logical fallacies you expound are thoroughly documented. How about instead of evasion you actually address them?

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 4:32 am

Peter, I never questioned your logic. I only stated that your logic brought you to insane notions that go directly against substantive property rights and against human decency. If you were an objective and rational person, you would clearly see that something must be wrong with the premises that you used to reach the conclusion that pedophile stalkers should be protected.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:42 am

Sasha,

you are attempting a swindle, introducing confusion rather than countering arguments. You have not provided any argument whatsoever. All is just smoke and mirrors, an attempt to cover up the fact that you consider emotions immune to logical fallacies.

Anthony October 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

Sasha’s entire case fails as soon as a single copy becomes public without trespass.

If you are walking down the street while playing music (legally purchased) and you walk by a person who is making a sound recording on their front lawn, it is possible that that person would end up with a recording of the song you were listening to without having trespassed.

I asked Sasha about this case earlier and he said in no uncertain terms that the person playing the music was NOT trespassing (he called me ridiculous for suggesting it). In the case above the author of the song has ABSOLUTELY NO CLAIM on the recording that was made, and the person who made the recording is completely free to make and distribute as many copies as he wants. This is all it would take for the author’s “property rights” to be completely extinguished, as anyone who got the song from the third party would have done so without trespassing against the author.

Sasha, unless you address the problem of legally produced, unauthorized copies your theory is completely useless. Sorry.

Sasha,

Sasha Radeta October 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Anthony,

since the right to replicate the book was retained by the author, all replicas would belong to him, regardless of origin of inputs used by the trespasser. Hence the use of these copies would amount to trespass against the author’s property.

As far as your music example goes, you misunderstood the very essence of IP: recording the music that was “delivered” to you is not a theft, it is not act of initiated trespass, and it is not what IP would sanction.

Edgaras October 28, 2010 at 3:54 pm

oh… so if I buy a book and make few copies of it with my printer, I can expect author coming to my house and taking away now MY own property (paper is mine, after all)??? Are you really suggesting this? I also believe that even contract wouldn’t give you such right, I could only pay damages (if I had signed that contract previously).

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Edgaras,

When it comes to the ownership over unauthorized copy — we libertarians don’t beleive that you can establish property right through trespass (unauthorized use)… Tools of trespass (like scanner and paper) may be yours, but the original book that you used for replication without owner’s permission is not. The right to replicate such book is expensive one, since mass production of this work depends on it.

As long as you don’t use illegal copies to make money (causing economic injury to the author) nobody will come to your house, stop being silly. Or you can pay the market price for full-ownership or publishing and replicate it all you want.

Edgaras October 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm

So if I buy a car I can’t rebuild it? Madness. If I buy a book and it becomes MY property I still can not do whatever I like with it? So maybe you should talk then about renting books..

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 4:49 am

Edgaras,

Now you pretend to have a lack of cognitive abilities, which is totally uncool. If the seller (the author or inventor) transfers full ownership rights onto you, the current law agrees that you can replicate it for commercial use all you want.

If you didn’t pay for the expensive commercial rights over a particular car model, you cannot lawfully enter the market with illegal replicas of that vehicle. Your personal use that you purchased allows you tov rebuild the car, resell your non-commercial usage rights, etc… However, the original owner retains some exclusive uses of his property.

If you purchase a personal use of a book, you can burn it or wipe yourself with it, but unless you obtain publishing rights (which you always can), you will not be able to use it for commercial replication.

Jay Lakner October 30, 2010 at 10:28 am

Sasha,

For at least the 100th time now you have repeated the same mistakes.
Designating what someone may or may not do with your property depends on the contract you have with them. It’s a contract case, plain and simple.

You can’t transfer “limited usage” property rights to people. That makes no sense. You don’t own “usage”. You own tangible materials. Either you transfer these tangible materials to the other party or you do not.

You can’t split tangible materials up into different “uses” and sell those uses. That’s an extremely warped, self-contradictory and completely nonsensical system of property rights.
Besides, something already exists which allows you to achieve what you are describing. It’s called a contract.

How about you go away and learn the basics of property rights and contracts before spewing any more of your nonsensical rubbish on this site?

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

Jay, if you subtract that angy ad hominem B.S., you didn’t really deny anything I said about IP. However, saying that owners don’t have a right to allow (transfer) only certain usage rights onto other people is an utter nonsense. How else would people make money out of rent or similar services. Here’s the response to your other ramblings:
http://blog.mises.org/14363/intellectual-property-as-socialistic-human-rights/comment-page-1/#comment-735308

Jay Lakner October 30, 2010 at 11:07 am

Sasha Radeta wrote:

However, saying that owners don’t have a right to allow (transfer) only certain usage rights onto other people is an utter nonsense. How else would people make money out of rent or similar services.

It’s called a CONTRACT.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 4:01 am

Jay,

Al those contracts come to existence due to the fact that the owner has an exclusive right to sell this use of his property. Even when it comes to uses that don’t require physical alteration, nobody else can make enforceable contract about the employment of his property. Ownership means control of services that can be derived from a good – as Mises said. “Community” or “society” is not entitled to free use of these services as IP communists are trying to suggest.

Jay Lakner October 31, 2010 at 4:45 am

Sasha Radeta wrote:

Even when it comes to uses that don’t require physical alteration

We’ve been over this before.
Viewing a painting is only a “use” of the painting in a metaphorical sense. If people have line of sight to the painting, then they are not violating the painter’s property rights by looking at it. How do we know the painter’s property rights are not being violated? Simple – because the painting is not being physically altered by the viewer.

You even agreed with me that people are not violating my property rights by looking at my car.

A measurable physical alteration is required for a property rights violation to have occurred. Otherwise “property” is a completely meaningless concept.

Stop trying to bring vagueness and confusion to a very simple subject. You know you’re wrong. You even know why you’re wrong. So why the hell do you continue to argue?

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 5:26 am

Jay, just couple of points about your arrogant ignorance:

- Anyone sane will testify that “reading” a book or “watching” a movie is proper USES of books and CDs. There is nothing metaphorical about this. Your attempt to limit “use” to physical alteration is insane and I demonstrated it with an exaggerated example with a pedophile stalker.

- “Watching a car” is a personal, non-commercial use that has nothing to do with using other person’s property for replication and commercial purposes. You examples were pointless a month ago, as they are now.

- Artists like painters have exclusive rights to show their works and to limit the service that you can derive from this property. If I find a misplaced painting on the street, I don’t have a legal right to start making money by displaying it for public… An idiot may argue that I didn’t alter the physical integrity of this work while I was searching for the rightful owner, but it is clear that I assumed the use that never belonged to me in the first place.

Jay Lakner October 31, 2010 at 5:52 am

Sasha Radeta,

1. “Reading” is a use of a book – the act of handling and moving the book and turning the pages. “Seeing” whatever photons of light happen to bounce into your eyes is a use OF YOUR EYES, not a use of where the photons happen to come from.

2. Commercial/noncommercial = Irrelevant! The issue is whether a property rights violation has occurred or not.

3. You can’t own “uses”. You can only own objects. By definition, it’s your ownership of an object that gives you the right to use it. It is therefore utterly nonsensical to talk about “uses” that “belong” to people.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 6:44 am

Jay,

1. Property rights theory does not care if you just discovered physics on Discovery channel. The fact that photon bounces off the book (author’s property) to produce image in your eye may be viewed as book’s physical employment (you used the book to direct photons in your desired direction). I can always turn your pseudo-scientific arguments against you just to have some fun… But that is a sheer nonsense. Property rights predate these scientific discoveries.

The essential fact is that your “reading” is the proper “use” for which this good is produced and that property owner (author) has the right to restrict all other unwanted uses of his property

2. Whether the use is commercial or non-commercial may be irrelevant to you, but not to the author who decides who can derive commercial kinds of uses.

3. Of course that one can’t “own uses.” Your ownership of physical object entitles you to decide what uses are allowed and who can derive them from your property. That’s the very definition of ownership.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 7:25 am

Sasha wrote:

The essential fact is that your “reading” is the proper “use” for which this good is produced and that property owner (author) has the right to restrict all other unwanted uses of his property

Let’s follow your “logic” and see where it goes…
If I get an artist to paint a masterpiece on my car, the proper “use” for the paintwork on my car is for viewing. According to you, I have the right to restrict others from looking at my car. Anyone who looks at my car without paying me for the right to do so is committing trespass.
Do you really want to be making this argument Sasha?

Sasha wrote:

I assumed the use that never belonged to me in the first place.

And then later wrote:

Of course that one can’t “own uses.”

Do you have some sort explanation for the contradiction in your language?

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 4:44 am

Sasha,

right to replicate the book

Which, of course, none of the IP proponents define. Their argument can be summed up as: you are doing something I don’t like, therefore you are violating my rights.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

EXCELENT POINT PETER:

When you’re doing something with my property I don’t like – libertarians call it TRESPASS.

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Indeed. So, when you send goons to confiscate my CDs or my paper, you are trespassing.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm

No Peter, I will only protect my rights in comercial use of my property… No trespass there.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:02 am

Which brings us back to your methodology: you don’t like what others are doing, so you declare it illegal and thus make a scientific approach to the theory of rights redundant.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:20 am

No Peter,

If I don’t like what others are doing with my property, I will use the property rights theory and practice to make them stop. There is nothing “scientific” about trespasser’s desire to take what is lawfully mine.

Jay Lakner October 30, 2010 at 2:01 am

AHAHAHAHA!

OMG this guy Sasha is so damn dishonest!

For those people who don’t know what I’m talking about, here are a collection of his statements:

a purchaser of limited use of a book creates a replica that lawfully belongs to the original owner

If we talk about illegal replicas that cannot be “repainted,” they do get destroyed – and if material used for trespass was stolen from an innocent third party, this party will be compensated for this material.

I never claimed that trespassee has any right whatsoever over the material used in the trespass.

I did not change my position

since the right to replicate the book was retained by the author, all replicas would belong to him, regardless of origin of inputs used by the trespasser.

Sasha changed his position. Then he denied that he changed his position. Now he has changed his position once again – back to his original position. It’s hilarious.

It’s so funny to watch an extremely arrogant individual, who is simultaneously extremely confused on a subject, attempt to debate that subject.

(Anyone who thinks I’m being unduely harsh on the fellow should go and see the nonsense I’ve had to put up with in earlier arguments with him)

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:02 am

Jay,

calm down… First of all, you must know that unlike some IP-communist, pedophile-advocates cult, I could allow myself to change my positions if I someone convinces me in better ideas. It is not my fault that you were incapable to debate in such intelligent manner.

However, nothing you quoted from my statements denies or brings to doubt my pro-IP positions. You really seem desperate and overemotional.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:46 am

Well, unlike thieves and violence promoting IP fraudsters, we actually do have a coherent theory. Your claim that you are willing to change your opinion by arguments is not supported by evidence whatsoever, since you are from the beginning contradicting yourself. You only change the opinion when the immediate pressure of your lies being exposed becomes uncomfortable to you.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:27 am

Your “coherent theory” that promotes pedophilia and stalking is quite amusing… and so are your angry attempts to insult an intellectually superior fellow man.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm

… intellectually superior fellow man …

Since this is how you see yourself, I don’t think I have anything more to add. The evidence is in the open for everyone to judge for themselves.

Jay Lakner October 30, 2010 at 6:25 am

Sasha Radeta,

I find it astonishing that people such as yourself actually exist.
It has been repeatedly demonstrated that your pro-IP position is confused nonsense.
Correct explanations of property rights and contract theory have been explained to you. Yet you ignore everything presented to you and continue to repeat the exact same nonsensical things.

Get the following into your thick skull:

1. When an object is the “property” of an individual, that individual is the only person with the right to alter the momentum (that includes its integrity) of that object.

2. A contract can be a conditional title-transfer to (alienable) property.

Therefore, granting somebody possession of your physical property under conditions that they may perform limited actions with it is a contract.

If X is my property, and I want to allow another person to use it in some manner, then I form a contract with that person stipulating in what manner X may be used.
I don’t transfer title to “limited uses” to that person. That’s utter nonsense. You can’t transfer “uses”. “Uses” are not property. You don’t transfer “actions”. “Actions” are not property. Only physical things are property. You can only transfer title to physical things.

Of course explaining any of this to you is a complete waste of my time. You either won’t understand it or you will pretend not to understand it.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

Jay, no need to get so emotional. You confirmed almost everything I said earlier:

The basic ownership right is to allow certain uses of your property (selling these as a service on the market), while restricting other unwanted uses. Copyright does exactly that – and every purchase of copyrighted material is nothing but an implied-in-fact contract and even the biggest idiot (sorry guys) knows that for say $12.99 you can only get a personal use of a CD and not much more expensive publishing rights.

When it comes to your definition of property, it is a sheer nonsense. If property rights were limited to “alteration of momentum of an object” you could never protect your property from forms of invasion that don’t require physical alteration (see my now famous pedophile example). Not to mention art forms that are completely based on services of “displaying” objects, which is a valid market service for which people pay money.

Jay Lakner October 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

Sasha Radeta,

We’ve been over this. Again and again. And despite many patient lengthy efforts in past discussions to explain the flaws in your position, you simply repeat the same nonsense you were spewing on day one.

Maybe I can yell some sense into you?

YOU ARE DESCRIBING A CONTRACTUAL EXCHANGE, NOT A PROPERTY EXCHANGE.

Did it work? I doubt it.
I know you’re incredibly dishonest. What I can’t quite work out is how stupid you really are.

When is it going to enter your thick skull that “usage rights” refers to those uses you are CONTRACTUALLY permitted to perform and are NOT a form of property themselves?

The fact is, your understanding of this subject is so utterly confused that you will probably never get it. And when I think about how simple it all is, I can’t help but feel sorry for you.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 11:04 am

Jay’s nonsense states:

YOU ARE DESCRIBING A CONTRACTUAL EXCHANGE, NOT A PROPERTY EXCHANGE.

And to quote Murray Rothbard:
“THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY implies the right to make contracts about that property: to give it away or to exchange titles of ownership for the property of another person… the right to contract is strictly derivable from the right of private property.”

In other words, people can contractually obtain some usage right over my property and they can only use it in such strictly limited fashion. All other parties that never obtained any of my rights or permission to use it can only legally back-off.

Why getting upset about these basic facts about ownership rights? It’s not like I raped you (maybe only metaphorically).

Jay Lakner October 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

Everything you’ve just written completely backs up my point.

Stephan Kinsella October 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Sasha:

YOU ARE DESCRIBING A CONTRACTUAL EXCHANGE, NOT A PROPERTY EXCHANGE.

And to quote Murray Rothbard:
“THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY implies the right to make contracts about that property: to give it away or to exchange titles of ownership for the property of another person… the right to contract is strictly derivable from the right of private property.”

In other words, people can contractually obtain some usage right over my property and they can only use it in such strictly limited fashion. All other parties that never obtained any of my rights or permission to use it can only legally back-off.

YEs, Rothbard viewed contracts as ways of granting permission to use your property, or alienation completely of the right to control it. This relies on a view of what property is. And information is not property, hello.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 4:18 am

Jay,

take a look what Dr. Kinsella just wrote. Contracts are ways to grant permission to use one’s property. And the right to grant such permission – or to restrict unwanted use – rests solely with the owner. Copyright is all about exclusive uses that owners can exclusively enjoy– or allow to others to use through market exchanges.

Dr. Kinsella, you are correct that information is not property. People confuse the evidence of unwanted use (like presence of same patterns in replica) with some false notion of “idea ownership.”

Jay Lakner October 31, 2010 at 5:23 am

Sasha Radeta,

I’m sure by now you understand the correct viewpoint. It is only your complete arrogance that is preventing you from acknowledging your errors.

It’s really extremely simple. I’ll even walk you through it step by step in case you misunderstand any aspects of it.

- Existence is composed of tangible materials in many varying arrangements.
- Since it is impossible for multiple humans to simultaneously alter the momentum of an object with different intentions, a system of “rights” needs to be devised.
- These rights are called “property rights”.
- The “owner” of any given piece of property is the only person with the right to alter the momentum of that property.
- When humans interact with other humans, they may form agreements with one another.
- These agreements are called “contracts”.
- Contracts may or may not involve a transfer of property.

The following are some types of contracts:
1. No property transfer:
“I’ll stand on one leg for one hour if it rains tomorrow”
2. One-way transfer:
“I’ll give you $10 if it rains tomorrow”
3. Two-way transfer:
“I’ll give you $10 if you give me a t-shirt”

Now you can contract to allow others to “use” your property. Keeping with the above types, here are some examples:
1. You can drive my car for a day if I can use your laptop for a day.
2.I’ll give you $40 if I can drive your car for the day.
3.I’ll give you $10 and let you ride my motorcycle if you give me a new t-shirt and let me sleep on your couch tonight.

And obviously very complex contracts can be written.

It should be clear that your “limited use” stuff does not come under property rights. It is a form of contract.
A situation where the author retains ownership of the physical book but only allows limited uses is a type 2 contract. ie “I’ll give you $20 and you allow me to use your book in the following ways…(etc)”
None of the property rights in the book are being “transfered” to the buyer. The physical book has but one owner.

That should fill any gaps in your understanding. Of course everyone knows you’re going to deny it all and try to find some way to bring vagueness and confusion to this very simple subject. So take it away Sasha….

Stephan Kinsella October 31, 2010 at 6:11 am

Jay, that’s an impressive summary. It’s always a bit surprising to me that so many libertarians cannot see this–really rather simple–issue that clearly.

I’m not sure if it’s so strictly reducible to “momentum” changes but I see what you mean. If I eat popcorn in my car I am using it but am I altering its momentum? I think I’d prefer a more normative-praxeological conception of use such as invasion, alter the physical integrity of, interfere with the owner’s control of the resource in terms of Rothbard’s conception of relevant technological unit–something like that. But the basic idea I think is the same.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 6:18 am

Jay,

Presently, many goods are produced solely for the purpose of “limited use” by others and these uses go beyond physical alteration of objects. You, on the other hand, believe in strictly limited scope of ownership rights in order to make externalities a “public domain” or communal ownership. This is a clear ideological difference between us and I’m not trying to convert you.

Also, you are trying to defend “the right” to stalk and film children based on the notion that you don’t violate their physical integrity while exercising your physical control of your tools. I also understand that these are psychological differences between us and I have no desire to play psychiatrist in order to convert you to my side.

I just want to address couple of points that represent misinterpretation of my positions:

- I never claimed that “actions” can be owned, so that was completely unnecessary remark on your part.

- You are confirming everything I wrote about contracts: they don’t have to involve property transfer. As Dr. Kinsella explained, contracts can be ways to allow others to USE your property – and sales of copyrighted materials are nothing but the sale of limited access to another person’s property.

- The property owner has the sole right to determine wanted and unwanted uses of his property. You tried to limit the definition of “use” in order to severely limit the scope of private property rights, but this led IP-opponents to absurd defense of the pedophile from my example about child-stalking. Obviously, such limitation of property rights would destroy substantive ownership and create a socialist nightmare.

- The private property rights are assigned based on physical homesteading of an object, but the uses of these goods can go beyond physical alteration. Only a complete lunatic would argue that “reading” does not constitute the use of a book and that “watching” is not a proper use of an art-display. Since property owners have a right to control the use of their goods, they can contractually limit the use of their works of authorship to strictly personal, non-commercial use (IP restrictions).

Stephan Kinsella October 31, 2010 at 6:21 am

Sasha,

I have to agree with Jay and Peter–it’s clear that you actually do now understand this but cannot admit your error so you are stubbornly just repeating your original position evne though you realize it makes no sense.

take a look what Dr. Kinsella just wrote. Contracts are ways to grant permission to use one’s property. And the right to grant such permission – or to restrict unwanted use – rests solely with the owner. Copyright is all about exclusive uses that owners can exclusively enjoy– or allow to others to use through market exchanges.

Dr. Kinsella, you are correct that information is not property. People confuse the evidence of unwanted use (like presence of same patterns in replica) with some false notion of “idea ownership.”

I am glad you admit information is not property. that means it is now owned, and contracts are not about use of informatoin. They are only about use of real things. If I make a movie tomorrow called Stephan Kinsella’s Further Adventures of Luke and Leiah, how does that “use” any physical property of George Lucas?

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 7:07 am

Dr. Kinsella,

Just clearly theoretical question that will once and for all demonstrate whether I’m stubborn in my misunderstanding of anti-IP position on scopes and limits of property rights:

- Do you support the alleged “right” to stalk and film children for online broadcasts based on the notion that you don’t violate their physical integrity while exercising your physical control of your tools?

This question is important because it demonstrates the key issue of the scope of property rights: do the go beyond the right to physically alter the object, or to “change momentum” as some excentrics tried to imply.

As far as your George Lucas example goes, the author could only sue you on a single basis: that he only sold the limited, non-commercial use of his works to the public and that you clearly used these services for purposes he strictly prohibited.

Stephan Kinsella October 31, 2010 at 8:22 am

Sasha, I haven’t followed your pedo/stalking stuff closely–you apparently want to argue that unless you are for IP you have to be in favor of pedophilia, which is quite obviously not even worth reading.

As for my view on stalking: see Stalking as a Form of Aggression http://blog.mises.org/9791/stalking-as-a-form-of-aggression/

Sticking to the topic:

“As far as your George Lucas example goes, the author could only sue you on a single basis: that he only sold the limited, non-commercial use of his works to the public and that you clearly used these services for purposes he strictly prohibited.”

But you admitted information is not property. So the “work” he sold was just some phyiscal copy. When I make a movie how is that trespassing against that physical item? Suppose all copies of the DVDs of Star Wards have been destroyed. Now I make my movie. What property of Lucas am I actually using without his permission? You have finally admitted ideas and information can’t be property, so please tell me what property of Lucas–other than inforamtional patterns–I am “using” without his permission.

This should be interesting.

Peter Surda October 31, 2010 at 8:29 am

Stephan,

Sasha said that people cannot record children and sell the videos to perverts because that is an IP violation. I asked him which part of the process is a violation of rights and instead of answering, he said that I promote pedophilia.

Stephan Kinsella October 31, 2010 at 9:11 am

Peter: yes, this “if you are not for IP you are for pedophilia” argument has got to join the ranks of other stupid arguments for IP — see this article: http://www.stephankinsella.com/2010/10/18/how-intellectual-property-hampers-capitalism-transcript/ :

I’ll give you some of the best arguments I’ve heard for intellectual property from advocates of intellectual property.  There is a philosopher named David Koepsell who is a good libertarian philosopher and professor.  He is an anti-intellectual property theorist.  He had pointed out, in an online debate, that in the 19th and early 20th centuries, two of the most innovative countries on earth, which were the Netherlands and Switzerland, had no patent systems at all due to legislative anomalies.  They actually didn’t have a patent system for a while, but they had tons of innovation despite this.  He was giving this argument.  There is this patent attorney named Gene Quinn who is a regular patent chill.  He wrote this:

Thank goodness, the Swiss did have a patent office. That is where Albert Einstein worked. During his time as a patent examiner, he came up with the Theory of Relativity.

We need to have patents so we’ll have patent offices so we’ll employ potential future physicists!

I came across this argument by a free market economist writing on a website in the last year, a senior fellow with a free market think tank.  He said:

It’s true that other means exist for creative people to profit from their effort (he was arguing in favor of IP).  In the case of copyright, authors can charge fees for reading their works to paying audiences.  Charles Dickens did this, but his heavy schedule of public performances in the United States, where his performances were not protected by copyright, arguably contributed to his untimely death.

We have to look out for Dickens.  We don’t want to kill people by not having copyright laws to protect their interest.

This author also observed, “To paraphrase the late economist, John Robinson, patents and copyrights slow down the diffusion of new ideas for a reason, to insure there will be more new ideas to diffuse.”

Now this is an advocate of IP. He thinks this is an argument for IP.  He is actually admitting that copyright slows down new ideas and their diffusion.  It reminds me of modern economists who talk about, in all these scientifistic metaphors, about the economy.  We need to cool down an overheating economy.  Basketball games have “momentum”; all these scientific terms.

Peter Surda October 31, 2010 at 9:29 am

Stephan,

I’m familiar with these, I watched the recording of your speech at Supporters’ Summit. BTW I registered for your class so hopefully I’ll learn something new.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 9:54 am

Dr. Kinsella,

You didn’t have decency to address my question, at least with a simple “yes” or “no” – so now you spam this thread.

My intention was not to prove that IP-opponents are sick perverts. I used the example of pedophilic child stalking to prove that your view of property rights is so limited and absurd that it provides no protection against such actions.

This all relates to what IP all about: the owner of any property (including one’s body) has the right to decide which uses of his property are allowed — and these uses do not have to involve physical alteration (watching a movie, or reading a book are all types of services contractually controlled by owners).

As far as your Lukas example goes, if all copies of his work were destroyed, there would be no copyrighted work to protect. Even a person on heroin would understand this point, please forgive my bluntness. However, Mr. Lukas’s works were not destroyed, and the fact remains that this property owner never gave his permission to anyone to use his property as a tool for filming other movies or any kind of commercial use. You only obtained the right of personal, non-commercial use, nothing else.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 9:59 am

As far as Dickens goes, if relinquishing copyright protection was such a great business idea – why don’t all authors decide to relinquish it or never to sue anyone for infringement? Arguments that go: we know what’s best the authors is so Stalinistic. Plus, your theory is directly denied by the laws of demand and supply: should you remove economic incentives for production of copyrighted works – you will see less of them.

Jay Lakner October 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

I’m just going to ignore Sasha for the time being (Feels like I’m banging my head against a brick wall).

Stephan, thanks for the kind words, but I would like to address something you said:

I’m not sure if it’s so strictly reducible to “momentum” changes

I think it is reducible to momentum.
Changes in the integrity of an object are simply different alterations to the momentum of the component parts of that object.

If I eat popcorn in my car I am using it but am I altering its momentum?

I’m not sure whether you’re refering to the popcorn or the car here, but it doesn’t really matter because you are changing the momentum of both. The pressure of your body on the seat of your car alters the momentum of the materials of the seat. It’s true you are not altering the momentum of the whole car, only a small part of it, but if you own the whole car then you own all the component parts of that car. And some of these components have had their momentum changed due to your presence.

Also, “invasion” and “interference with the owner’s control” can only occur if momentum changes have occurred.

When it comes to collisions, the fault is with the person who purposefully altered their momentum in a manner which created a collision course.

I think ultimately it does all reduce to momentum.

I don’t expect most people to follow what I mean here and therefore that’s why I usually say “integrity or momentum”.
But I think it’s important to have one single definition of property which covers everything. And I think “momentum changes” achieves this.

Sorry if my writing seems untidy and muddled here. I haven’t really sat down and thought about exactly how to explain this stuff in a logical and systematic way. But hopefully you understand where I’m coming from.

Peter Surda October 31, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Jay,

that makes sense, but there is also a problem (Salami Kid’s arguments brought me to this). Momentum changes all the time without any human action, merely due to physical laws, and sometimes you can use this phenomena to influence momentum of other people’s property without actually interacting with it. I’ve constructed a prototype situation to demonstrate this.

Let’s say you have a planet, and two people (A and B) who homestead it at 50% each. If A sucks the air out of his half (e.g. by compressing it into closed containers), the remaining air on the planet will redistribute in order to equalise pressure. Did this violate B’s rights?

From practical point of view, the two would probably come to some sort of agreement in advance to make sure the state of their property is not influenced by each other’s action. Failing that, they can also take preventive measures to compensate for such situations. But it still does not answer the question of boundaries of property rights.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Oh boy (no pun intended :-)

The NAMBLA boys are debating physics again… look at that nonsense about momentum (p=mv), they debate whether eating popcorn in a car constitutes use, because it changes the seat pressure and momentum of the seat just below your butt (WTF!?!?!?!). Person that hits your car is at fault because he “altered momentum” :-))))))))) And then Peter finally pointed out that if one person sucks air out of his part of planet, he will change his neighbor’s property “momentum” :-))))))))))

It’s like they truly believe that people who established the notion of property rights needed the degree in physics combined with insane minds that come up with the most absurd examples…. Peter even said that stalking and filming a child should be perfectly legal, because photons (elementary particles) are only bounced off a child, hence the pervert’s eyes are invaded!!!

I mean these people are crazy!

Peter Surda October 31, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I see how science must be confusing for people who believe in myths. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can do much about it.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 12:30 am

Peter,

The problem with such an example is that the two parties are sharing the atmosphere and neither party can really say they own it.
What I mean is, they haven’t separated and identified each gas molecules as their own. Such a task is practically impossible to achieve and so obviously, as you said, they would come to some agreement beforehand.

I think your example is more a practical problem associated with property rights rather than a specific problem with defining them in terms of momentum. That is, regardless of how you define property, your example demonstrates that ascertaining property boundaries can still be virtually impossible in some situations.

Momentum changes all the time without any human action, merely due to physical laws, and sometimes you can use this phenomena to influence momentum of other people’s property without actually interacting with it.

Doesn’t Kinsella’s “Causation and Aggression” deal with this?

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 12:34 am

I can see why Sasha has a problem with specific definitions.
If everything was specifically defined, he would have no way of bringing vagueness and confusion into debates.

Peter Surda November 1, 2010 at 4:22 am

Jay,

even if it was possible to identify each molecule, still you would need to analyse the fact that creating underpressure in A’s half causes the molecules in B’s half to move to A’s half. There is no physical trespass, or even radiation entering the boundaries of B’s property.

I think Causation and Aggression is a good start and probably a step in the right direction, but it still leaves open questions.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 7:15 am

Peter,

The molecules (somebodys property) are being moved by an intentional process. Thus it would be regarded as a property rights violation.

It’s equivalent to digging a giant hole in your property which, due to gravity, causes the neighbouring property to landslide into it. The purpose of the process may simply be to move your dirt (your property), but the effects of this process are quite forseeable and results in somebody else’s property being majorly affected.

Similarly, I’m not allowed to set off explosions on my property if it has the forseeable affect of shaking the ground on neighboring properties and causing damages (eg vases falling off tables and smashing).

I think you get the idea.

The permissibility of an action is determined by whether or not the causal effects of that action will alter the momentum of someone else’s property. If those effects are not forseeable, then the resultant damage could be considered an accident. If they are forseeable, then the result is a property rights violation.

Peter Surda November 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

Jay,

the issue I am trying to point out is that in some examples, e.g. those mentioned in Causation and Aggression, or your with explosives, there is a breach of property boundaries involved. In the examples with air and digging a hole, there isn’t. Unfortunately, the elimination of the condition of boundary breach opens up a wholly new range of actions that can be considered property rights violations. The problem is that the state of property of person A reacts to the change of the state of property of person B. But that would affect all measurement tools, including those that measure changes that have nothing to do with property rights.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

Peter,

I don’t follow what you’re trying to say.
I see no difference between the explosives example and the hole digging example.
In both cases, a person is performing an action which results in another person’s property being displaced.
Can you please elaborate on what you mean by “boundary breach”?

Stephan Kinsella November 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

Jay, Peter: finally an interesting, intelligent, useful discussion that is not hijacked (yet) by the Intellectual Properteers.

No time to get into this in detail, but Jay, I just said I’m not sure yet you are right about momentum. I *think* these may just be alternate ways of describing the same basic idea, but am not sure. I do agree that the basic framework I tried to set out in Causation w/ Tinsley needs more work and fleshing out; and I believe Rothbard’s idea of the relevant technological unit would play a key role. This is yet another reason why only praxeological Austrians can really be solid libertarian theorists.

Anyway, all I have time for today.

Peter Surda November 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

Jay,

the shockwave from the explosion perpetrated by A includes the phenomenon of particles of air and earth to cross the boundary of B into the property (even if only temporarily). This is similar to the archetype of A shooting a bullet that penetrates the body of B. In the examples with sucking air and digging a hole however, nothing crosses the boundary into the property. The air and earth would move without a boundary breach. That is what is worrying me.

The Kid Salami November 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

When someone objects to the time preference theory of interest with “i’d prefer an ice cream in 6 months (in summer) than now (in winter)”, the reponse is that it isn’t the same economic good, which it isn’t. The physical integrity and momentum (or whatever) of the ice cream are utterly irrelevant in this case – it is its relationship with everything else that has changed, the ice cream is physically identical.

Please explain to me Jay how your view (that this is all just about physical integrity and momentum) explains this?

Jay: “Changes in the integrity of an object are simply different alterations to the momentum of the component parts of that object.
Jay: “invasion” and “interference with the owner’s control” can only occur if momentum changes have occurred.

PS. I warn you, I suspect the answer I get here is the last piece of the puzzle for me on this topic, so please choose your words carefully.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Kid Salami,

You are conflating property theory with contract theory.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Peter,

Imagine if I started damaging all your things by sucking them towards me with a high-powered vacuum cleaner. I’m sure you’d agree that I’m violating your property rights even though nothing of mine is “crossing boundaries”.

There are many ways to make measurable changes to things. How direct or indirect the chosen method is shouldn’t matter. All that should matter is that an action of yours results in the alteration of the momentum of somebody else’s things.
(And then the combination of “likelihood of violation” and “intent of action” determines whether it’s “purposeful violation”, “negligence” or “accident”)

Basically I’m saying that “crossing boundaries” does not cover all types of property violations. I would regard “crossing boundaries” to be a subset of the more general “altering momentum”.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm

To Kid Salami, I wrote:

You are conflating property theory with contract theory.

On second thoughts, you’re not even doing that.
I actually have no idea what your post is asking me.

Peter Surda November 1, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Jay,

the example with vaccum cleaner occurred to me as well. However, I think I have not explained the problem that I am perceiving clearly enough.

We have the following conditions now to conclude A violated B’s property:
1) deliberate action by A
2) causally related to a change of momentum of B’s property
3) a physical violation of boundaries of B’s property

The problem is that if you eliminate 3, it increases the definition to include all kinds of phenomena which have nothing to do with property rights violations. Let’s say B has a camera that monitors what A is doing on his premises. It is connected to a computer that analyses the picture. If it recognises A is performing a certain arbitrary action, it prints a line on a paper. This sequence of actions fullfills conditions 1 and 2, yet it does not mean that a property violation occurred.

Jay Lakner November 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Peter,

Assuming I understand your example correctly, it was B’s original action of setting up the system that has resulted in A’s actions altering the momentum of B’s property.
I would say that your example is actually one of B’s actions altering the momentum of B’s property. The fact that this has occurred via a complex route involving the actions of another human does not change this.

It’s equivalent to hiring someone to shoot bears on your property and then parading through the woods dressed as a bear.

I’m still not entirely sure what you specifically mean by “physical violation of property boundaries”.
Do you mean that A’s property must directly interact with B’s property? Surely not. Hiring a hitman who then murders someone is a property rights violation – committed by both the hitman and the hirer. Yet the hirer’s property never interacted with the victim.
Do you mean that A’s property must in some way be directly altered by an external object in close proximity (eg a bullet)? This doesn’t hold either. Setting up a super-magnet next to someone’s house could easily violate their property rights (moving anything metal around), and this doesn’t require “invasion” by a close external object.

It just seems to me that “invasion of boundaries” is only specific to changes in momentum caused by short-range force effects. Instead, we can just say “change in momentum” and we cover both the short-range and the long-range.
I’ll try to explain what I mean through some examples:
Collisions are generally governed by the electromagnetic force when the electrons in each object come in close proximity. For example, a bullet doesn’t actually “touch” anything. The electrons in the bullet move very close to the electrons in the target and repulsive forces “push” at each other. This causes the change in momentum of the particles that make up the target. You would consider this as an example of invasion of boundaries, whereas I see it as utilising the short-range effects of the electromagnetic force.
The super-magnet example above also uses the the force of electromagnetism. The magetic field causes a force of attraction to all the metal in the neighbouring property. You probably would not consider this as an example of invading boundaries. Of course, I see it as utilising the long-range effects of the electromagnetic force.

In both examples we use the fundamental forces to cause a change in the momentum of someone else’s property. In my mind, the only difference between the two is the physical proximity of the offending object. The concept of “invading boundaries” doesn’t even enter the picture, because in reality this really only means “close proximity”. The only important thing is whether a change in momentum has occurred, proximity really seems quite irrelevant (the fact that radio waves invade borders but no property rights violation occurs kind of demonstrates this).

I’m sorry if what I’ve said sounds a bit confusing. It’s kind of hard to explain this stuff.

Jay Lakner November 2, 2010 at 3:04 am

I just re-read what I wrote above and I think a tiny bit of further explanation is needed.

Imagine if the electromagnetic force did not exist. What would bullets do? They would pass right through the target without changing anything. Shooting people wouldn’t be considered a violation of their rights because their property would be unaffected by the action.
“Collisions” are really only short-range electromagnetic interactions between particles. The actual effect of “touching” is an effect that occurs over a distance. A very small distance yes, but a distance nonetheless. Using a magnet to move around somebody else’s property is also an effect that occur over a distance. The only difference here is that it’s a much larger distance.
My point is that when we put aside the simplified manner in which we all view reality (yes I do it too) and look much closer at the specific process that’s occurring, we begin to realise that “invading borders” actually doesn’t make any sense.
My worry is that people will dismiss my arguments here are psuedo-scientific nonsense when in reality I think it’s extremely important towards achieving the goal of a consistent theory of property rights.
Stephan said that “only praxeological Austrians can really be solid libertarian theorists”. I personally believe that in addition to this, they also need to have some grounding in fundamental physics.

Stephan Kinsella November 2, 2010 at 5:40 am

Jay,

I agree with your bullet example but do not think you need to really know physics to get this. This also follows from a more praxeological understanding of invasion. I disagree that ““invading borders” actually doesn’t make any sense.” We do understand things conceptually and in functional terms. We can use verbal descriptiosn and reasoning. Admittedly I have not followed all your comments here very closely, but I am not persuaded that you have to know physics or that we have to view this in terms of momentum. YOu may be right that this can work, but I tend to be more of a pluralist in the sense that I think there are a variety of acceptable ways to grok and explain reality.

I don’t think your arguments are “psuedo-scientific nonsense,” but am not sure how important it is to fit things into your way of explaining it, if the general concept of “invasion” or as Hoppe says “alter the physical integrity of” are accurate enough to do the trick.

The Kid Salami November 2, 2010 at 7:43 am

Jay – any attempt to define property with boundaries (and remove the environment) will fail is my point and has been my point for some time. I have a better example (that doesn’t involve ice creams and raindances) to show this from reading this
http://mises.org/journals/jls/12_1/12_1_3.pdf

Kinsella says: “Suppose A assaults B, such as by pointing a gun at him or threatening to beat him. Clearly B is entitled to do to A what A has done to B—A is estopped from objecting to the propriety of being threatened, i.e. assaulted. But what does this mean? To assault is to manifest an intent to cause harm, and to apprise B of this, so that he believes A (otherwise it is something like a joke or acting, and B is not actually in apprehension of being coerced). A was able to put B in a state of fear by threatening B. But because of the nature of assault, the only way B can really make A fear a retaliatory act by B is if B really means it and is able to convince A of this fact. Thus B must actually be (capable of being) willing to carry out the threatened coercion of A, not just mouth the words, otherwise A will know B is merely engaged in idle threats, merely bluffing. Indeed, B can legitimately go forward with the threatened action if only to make A believe it, so that he is actually assaulted. Although A need not actually use force to assault B, there is simply no way for B to assault A in return without actually having the right to use force against A. Because the whole situation is caused by A’s action, he is estopped from objecting to the necessity of B using force against him.”

We agree on this right?

It is the configuration of the molecules in the environment (ie. the actions of the gunman) that decide whether this was a “joke” or “serious”. Sure, the molecules in the head of B are highly correlated with this – but these are not the decider. If B is scared despite it being a joke, a judge determines whether or not A acted in a manner consistent with his claim that holding the gun to B’s head was a joke or not using an objective analysis. If B thinks it is a joke (when it’s not), his brain configuration is the same as if it actually were a joke. This is not relevant though, the configuration of A’s brain is what is important – if A is actually intending to shoot B when B thinks it is a joke, A has violated right?

Yet, you claim that the momentum changes in the object in question (here, B) can be used to detect whether there was a violation on B or not. Is this what you are saying?

The Kid Salami November 2, 2010 at 7:52 am

I should add by the way that I don’t endorse all this stuff about photons and imagining what bullets would do if the electromagnetic force didn’t exist (!!) – it is often outright insanity, I’m just applying your theory to the real world.

Jay Lakner November 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Stephan,

I believe that a lot of the confusion over property rights stems from definitions of property that are too vague. Indeed we see how these vague definitions leads to all manner of inappropriate conclusions, such as intellectual property.

What I did was ask myself the question, “what do all property rights violations have in common?”. ie What is the common element?

Invasion simply does not cut it. There are many instances of violation that do not involve invasion (like some of the examples in the above posts). Furthermore, the are many instances where “invasion” does not result in a violation (eg, radio wave broadcasting, playing music, etc). You have to ask the question, what is it specifically about an invasion that causes it to be classified as a violation?

Altering integrity also fails to deliver. Simply moving somebody else’s property around is a violation and this doesn’t involve a change in integrity.

I’m pretty sure I’ve answered the question. The one thing that all property rights violations have in common is that a change in momentum has occurred. ie, a purposeful action has resulted in somebody else’s property (or component parts of it) to have moved from it’s natural trajectory.
It’s true that every action results in tiny momentum changes to every other chunk of matter in the entire universe. But thankfully Rothbard had already started developing a solution to this. Identifying the “relevant technological unit” allows us to analyse whether small momentum changes are violations or not.

From the standpoint of praxeology, more specific definitions and language is surely a positive. I really can’t see how vagueness helps. Just think about all the problems and misconceptions that have arisen as a result of the broadness of the word “use”.

With regards to my comments regarding physics, I believe it to be important to refine our definitions in conjunction with our understanding of the universe. As technological progress continues, we may struggle to apply the older, more vague, definitions of property to the situations that arise. But since we now know how interactions occur, we can form a far more specific definition of property which can deal with property conflicts arising from current and future technology.

Jay Lakner November 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Kid Salami,

You are discussing the other side of the coin, “intent”.
I agree it is a very tricky subject and not one that I intend to explore in that much depth. My area is physics, not psychology.

If someone threatens to commit an act that may be a property rights violation, then there are two separate questions to consider.
1. Is the threatened action actually a property rights violation?
2. Is that really their intent?

If the answer to both questions is “yes”, then a violation of rights has occurred.

You are asking how my definition helps to answer question 2. But my definition doesn’t play a role in answering question 2. My definition only answers question 1. I’m only trying to answer question 1.

Peter Surda November 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Jay,

What I did was ask myself the question, “what do all property rights violations have in common?”. ie What is the common element?

This is exactly my point. Maybe I’m missing something, but eliminating the boundary violation broadens the definition to include all kinds of situations which evidently are not property violations. There are all kinds of situations where you cause a change of the momentum of other people’s property without violating the boundary thereof. As I said, that includes all measurement instruments. That would lead to the conclusion that as long as you can detect a phenomenon, that phenomenon can in certain cases cause property rights violation. That’s clearly not the case.

My point isn’t that the condition boundary violation is correct, but that what remains after eliminating it is incorrect. Maybe that means we need to abandon this type of approach altogether.

Jay Lakner November 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Peter wrote:

That would lead to the conclusion that as long as you can detect a phenomenon, that phenomenon can in certain cases cause property rights violation. That’s clearly not the case.

I’d have to disagree with you here. I think it clearly is the case.

X performs an action. It causes small changes in Y’s property.
Assuming this is a new action for X (ie Y didn’t just move to the area where X had already being performing that action previously), then the question becomes whether or not the changes in Y’s property are great enough to interfere with his intended use of the property.

The disagreement here seems to be over whether a property rights violation can occur without boundary invasion. I say yes, you say no.
May I ask what is wrong with the earlier examples I gave?

To remind you, they were: high-powered vaccuum cleaner, super-powerful magnet, digging a deep hole on the side of your property.

I’m even going to add a few more: loud noise and setting off explosives on your property. These two are actually equivalent – waves in air and ground.
You labelled the explosive example as “boundary invading” but, based on your comments above, it seems as though maybe it shouldn’t be. Waves are not projectiles.

Peter Surda November 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Jay,

I think I’m unsuccessful in my attempts to explain the problem. You seem to agree with my interpretation that your conditions lead to the conclusion that as long as you can detect a phenomenon, that phenomenon can under certain circumstances cause a property rights violation. Ok, that’s some progress.

The issue is that any action is detectable somehow, if you have tools designed to react to it. I can take a scope and detect that a guy sitting on his property kilometers away is having a barbeque. Does that mean his bbq violates my property rights? I can also detect that the price of gold is changing because http://www.goldprice.org is a dynamic website. Does that mean that buying gold violates my property rights, because it is flips some transistors in my computer’s memory?

Clearly the definitions you provide are inadequate.

Jay Lakner November 3, 2010 at 12:04 am

Peter,

Adding the condition “boundary invasion” does not solve the problem you are describing. All it seems to do is rule out some actions which definitely are violations. (Also, I still stand by my earlier remark that if you closely examine the specific process of collisions and interactions, then “boundary invasion” really doesn’t make any sense).

We have discussed the problem you are describing before – that tiny changes are not violations and that there must be a cut-off point somewhere. But how do we decide what is acceptable and unacceptable? My original thought was that it is arbitrary, but upon further thought (prompted by Stephan’s advice) I came to the conclusion that it probably isn’t.
I’m inclined to agree with Stephan that Rothbard’s “relevant technological unit” will play a key a role. Very tiny changes may or may not be property rights violations depending on whether the change interferes with the owner’s intended use of the property.

Basically, I think “invasion of boundaries” and “change in integrity” are both uneccessary and can be replaced by the more accurate “change in momentum”. You are correct that this alone cannot define property. However when we combine “change in momentum” with Rothbard’s “relevant technological unit” I think we are very close to a more precise definition of property.

(On a side note, I’m still toying with the possiblity of changing the word “momentum” to something in terms of “velocity”, “trajectory”, “acceleration” or “reference frames”. Definitely more thought is needed on the topic)

Jay Lakner November 3, 2010 at 2:07 am

I wrote:

All it seems to do is rule out some actions which definitely are violations

What I meant to say was:
“All it seems to do is allow people to perform actions which definitely are property violations”

Hopefully you get my meaning.

Jay Lakner November 3, 2010 at 2:33 am

After re-reading our exchanges so far, I can see that maybe my position has not been that clearly laid out. I’ll answer your two specific questions above and hopefully that will better clarify where I’m coming from.

Peter wrote:

Does that mean his bbq violates my property rights?

If the act of having a bbq affects your property in a manner which interferes with the specific momentum changes you intend to perform to the property, then yes.
For example, if you’re holding a flower-smelling convention next door, then the odors from the BBQ will interfere with it. If we assume you planned your event first, then the holding of a BBQ next door is a property rights violation.
Another example is if you’re running heat-sensitive scientific experiments nearby and the heat from the BBQ will interfere with them. Of course this second example probably assumes that you were running these experiments well before your neighbor moved in. (I admit it’s a tricky situation)

Does that mean that buying gold violates my property rights, because it is flips some transistors in my computer’s memory?

If the purpose of your property is to “measure”, then the act of buying gold occurs in accordance with the intended use of your property rather than interfere with it.

Peter Surda November 3, 2010 at 2:35 am

Jay,

I think I almost got my point through. My argument is not that we must include the boundary violation as a condition, rather than the absence of it causes problems. It could also mean that the whole approach is invalid and we need to start from scratch.

I’m not convinced about the “relevant technological unit” because you can always magnify the effect to cross the “relevant technological unit” of another physical object. That is how measurement tools usually work anyway. You might need to restrict the “relevant technological unit” to the first object the causality hits that is owned. But that is also kind of vague.

Jay Lakner November 3, 2010 at 3:00 am

Peter,

I think I see what you’re saying. Causality extends to infinity.
Person X performs an action.
A causal chain-reaction occurs.
At some future point in time, person Y’s property is interfered with.

This is actually a problem even with the inclusion of “boundary invasion” because nothing happens instantaneously. There is always a time-lag between cause and effect.

I’m actually glad the discussion has gone in this direction. I’ve been thinking about something very closely related to this and you’ve helped me clarify a few things.

I’m kind of in a rush to go somewhere at the moment so I don’t have time to give a proper response right now. I’ll try to find some time to explain my reasoning later. (might not be for a day or two … work is kind of on top of me at the moment)

The Kid Salami November 3, 2010 at 9:33 am

Jay – you say

“I believe that a lot of the confusion over property rights stems from definitions of property that are too vague.”

I disagree – I think the confusion is because there is not and can’t be a suitable definition of “property”. To quote something I heard recently, we can’t define “English” (the language) – but we don’t have to define it, we just use it. Imagine how a thread in Spanish debating exactly what “English” is would go – about reminds me of some of these threads about property and IP. It is the same with property – we need a basic definition of course, but at the margins we have to wing it. You want a single sentence to cover everything – it doesn’t (and need not) exist.

“The one thing that all property rights violations have in common is that a change in momentum has occurred. ie, a purposeful action has resulted in somebody else’s property (or component parts of it) to have moved from it’s natural trajectory.”

“You are discussing the other side of the coin, “intent”. I agree it is a very tricky subject and not one that I intend to explore in that much depth. My area is physics, not psychology.”

So you are saying that a threat (ie. holding a gun to someone’s head with intent to use) cannot in itself be a called a property rights violation, only the physical violation later is the violation. The threat, because it doesn’t alter the momentum of B, we must call an act of “aggression” instead, something to which you are entitled to respond with a pr violation, is that fair?

OK, not exactly the way I see things but makes sense. The problem is that this is supremely useless as a theory – as Peter points out, there are many instances of this occurring without it being a property violation. This _might_ be a necessary condition, but it is not sufficient. So if we just DEFINE a pr violation as:

“altering momentum of stuff you don’t own. Except for when this is ok.”

and everything else as not a pr violation, we get nowhere, it is a tautology.

The Kid Salami November 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

Peter asks:

“The issue is that any action is detectable somehow, if you have tools designed to react to it. I can take a scope and detect that a guy sitting on his property kilometers away is having a barbeque. Does that mean his bbq violates my property rights? I can also detect that the price of gold is changing because http://www.goldprice.org is a dynamic website. Does that mean that buying gold violates my property rights, because it is flips some transistors in my computer’s memory?”

I hate to intrude on this love-in, or spoil Jay’s joy that the conversation has moved towards something he finds challenging with someone of his intellectual equal, but this is EXACTLY what I was saying on the thread a couple of weeks ago when you both spent posts and posts telling me what moron I was and how confused about everything I am.

I said:

“How do we answer the question “does the owner have the right to prevent others from using his property in a specific way”? You basically define “owning” object A as “having the right to stop people from doing stuff to it that alters its integrity”, right? I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, this is a guess as to what you mean.

And we agree that you have the right to stop me sitting on or chopping up the chair or whatever if you “own” the chair.

But what if I say: “you can’t play your trumpet in your house because I’ve been growing turnips in my garden for years – way before you came along – and this year they didn’t grow because of your trumpet playing”

The question is: “do have the right to prevent [you from using your] property [the trumpet] in a specific way”?

This question cannot be answered in the simple way you suggest – it is not just about simple boundaries but is more complicated. Probably this is total nonsense. But maybe the sound waves actually do something to the nutrients in the soil. The point is, deciding who can do what with the trumpet and the garden here is a research project, not something that is just obvious form the “boundaries”.

Jay Lakner November 5, 2010 at 2:59 am

Peter,

My recent line of thinking has been about “space”. Fencing off an area declares your intent to occupy that area with your property at some future point in time. Anyone who places their property in that area is therefore putting it on a direct collision course with your property. So reserving “space” for your use is not the “homesteading of space” as some people mistakenly believe, but instead is a method of indicating to others what your future actions will be. ie, people know that propelling their property into that space may very well result in a property rights violation.
Before you point out that this line of reasoning leads to the conclusion that shooting people on your land is actually those people violating your property rights in your bullets, one has to consider the intent of the shooter. If the shooter was going to shoot bullets in that direction anyway (in the absence of the trespasser) then this is the case. However, if the shooter only shoots because the trespasser is there, then the shooter is the one committing the violation. (Actually both people are committing property rights violations in this case)

I engaged in the above reasoning because I think it shows that “intended future actions” and “making that intent known” must also be key components of a precise definition of property rights.

The act of homesteading itself is interrelated with “intended future actions”. You homestead an object because you intend to perform a future action which in some way alters the momentum of that object.
So one aspect of homesteading an object involves the act of making it known to others that in some future point in time you intend to alter the momentum of (or alter the momentum of components of) that object in a particular way.

But “making your intentions known” is still not enough. You actually need to do something with the object in question. I can’t declare to the world that I intend to greatly change the landscape of the moon and therefore I “own” the moon. I have to actually travel there and change it.

I can’t quite put my finger on how it all works yet, but I think this reasoning is on the right track.

I do think “altering momentum” or “altering velocity” or “causing an acceleration” is spot on. I am just having difficulty with the additional conditions. And I think “making future intended actions known to others” is one of those conditions.

I don’t think “boundary invasion” enters the picture anywhere. I think it’s incorrect to consider this an aspect of property theory. I think it only comes up because most property violations can be (incorrectly) generalised to fit into this category.

So this is how I see things:
Person A declares his intention to alter the momentum of object X at some point in the future.
And let’s say that the other conditions for homesteading X (whatever they may be) have been satisfied.
We can now say that A owns X.
Person B performs an action.
This action leads to a (natural) chain of events that in some way alters the momentum of X after a certain amount of time goes by. (there is always a time lag)
If this momentum alteration of X interferes with A’s future intended momentum alterations of X, then a property rights violation has occurred.

Whether the momentum of X is altered in 2 seconds or 2 decades is irrelevant. Adding the condition “border invasion” does not help the situation at all. All it does is allow B to perform actions which interfere with X.

I can see how “A’s future intended momentum alterations of X” might be a bit difficult to ascertain in many circumstances, but isn’t that precisely what is going on?

I’m not convinced about the “relevant technological unit” because you can always magnify the effect to cross the “relevant technological unit” of another physical object.

On closer consideration of this statement, I realise that I don’t really see how. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your meaning here. Can you please explain and elaborate on this further?

Jay Lakner November 5, 2010 at 3:27 am

Kid Salami,

I hope most of your questions/comments were answered in my above post to Peter. I hope you approve of the direction my thinking has been going in. And before you say anything, yes, I have changed my mind on the “trespassing on land” issue. Now I’m not sure anymore.

I disagree that “property” cannot be defined. Surely you have some doubts in your mind over the accuracy of your statement that “there is not and can’t be a suitable definition of “property””. My general belief is that if it exists, it can be defined. (For dramatic effect, you might want to pretend I said that just like Anold Swarzenegger in Predator when he says “If it bleeds, we can kill it”)

With regards to:

deciding who can do what with the trumpet and the garden here is a research project, not something that is just obvious form the “boundaries”.

Whoever said identifying property violations was easy? Neither Peter nor myself have ever said that every situation should be “obvious”.
One of the reasons for trying to identify the specific definition of “property” is to make situations like this easier to analyse.
We will never have complete information about the world we live in and so obviously there will always exist scenarios which are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to analyse.

The Kid Salami November 5, 2010 at 5:20 am

“I disagree that “property” cannot be defined. Surely you have some doubts in your mind over the accuracy of your statement that “there is not and can’t be a suitable definition of “property””. My general belief is that if it exists, it can be defined.”

Doubts – no, none whatsoever – and I submit as conclusive proof about 25 threads on this site alone with thousands of comments without resolving some very basic issues.

“if it exists, it can be defined”? No, you have it backwards – in fact, until we have a definition, the abstract notion of “property” cannot be said exist. Yes, the items which you want to designate as being “owned” by people exist fo course, but a general definition of property does not exist, regardless of how undeniably useful it is in everyday life to pretend otherwise.

You know physics right? Think about how people use the word “heat” and “temperature” in everyday life – it works just fine. Only a small subset of society need to worry about the fact that “heat” does NOT exist in the sense people think, that something called “heat energy” is not flowing from the radiatior to the air but that in fact the molecules of the air are just being excited by the vibration of the molecules which are at a higher temperature, and that “temperature” is really just kinetic energy. That is, there is NO SUCH THING as heat energy, despite many people finding situations every day where it is useful to pretend otherwise.

It serves no purpose to corrupt everyday language with the vocabulary and definitions of thermodynamics, “heat energy” works just fine at the everyday level of abstraction. But taking these concepts into a discussion about how the Otto cycle works or what reversibility is fatal.

The EXACT same problem is going on here in these IP discussions. The currently undefined concepts of “Property”, “property violation” and “own” are being used in the analysis of situations to which they are spectaculrly badly suited, and you get the same effect as people using “heat” in the two different ways I described. We need to try to find new words which are more fundamental to define these three concepts and a new theory based on these.

I can only repeat what about 2 months ago:

“Maybe. Another possibility is to abandon the use of “homestead” and “property” and “property rights violation” as the starting points and come up with new terms to describe how we interact which are more abstract and better suit the world of “patterns of ink” on bits of paper as well as tangible stuff. You seem utterly unable to confront the fact that this is another possible avenue of thought and take “homestead” and “property” and “property rights violation” as sacrosanct even though we don’t have general defintions for them and rely on the amrket to provide this. This makes no sense to me at all.”

Jay Lakner November 5, 2010 at 6:49 am

Kid Salami wrote:

Another possibility is to abandon the use of “homestead” and “property” and “property rights violation” as the starting points and come up with new terms to describe how we interact which are more abstract and better suit the world of “patterns of ink” on bits of paper as well as tangible stuff. You seem utterly unable to confront the fact that this is another possible avenue of thought and take “homestead” and “property” and “property rights violation” as sacrosanct even though we don’t have general defintions for them and rely on the amrket to provide this.

This is a spectacularly bad piece of writing if what you really meant to say was:

We need to try to find new words which are more fundamental to define these three concepts and a new theory based on these.

Surely you can see that these mean two different things.

My response to your most recent comment is: What do you think I’ve been trying to do all this time?

But surely you can see that I’m always trying to break everything down into fundamental components with the aim of specifically defining “property”.
Am I not actively doing exactly what you are proposing?

In response to your comments regarding “heat”, I agree with the general analogy to “property” but I disagree with the way you’re framing it.
You start your reasoning with the assumption that the popular definition of “heat” is the definition of heat. And based on that definition, it doesn’t exist.
Instead I start my reasoning with the assumption that the phenomenon called “heat” exists, but that the popular definition is incorrect.
Hence why I can say that it is actually you that has things backwards.

Kid Salami, are you aware that you have a very peculiar way of simultaneously both agreeing and disagreeing with me? If yes, is it deliberate? It just seems like you pretty much agree with me on just about everything, but you badly want to argue so you frame things and word things in an opposite way to how I would.

Let me put it this way. Do you agree with me if I phrase things in the following way?:
The phenomenon called “property” exists. Therefore there must be a definition for this phenomenon.

The Kid Salami November 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

“This is a spectacularly bad piece of writing if..”

Well lets leave the insults aside and stick to the point – and there was context to the original place this was written.

“We need to try to find new words which are more fundamental to define these three concepts and a new theory based on these.”

“My response to your most recent comment is: What do you think I’ve been trying to do all this time?”

Now you’re saying you have been doing this all along? You’re kidding right? I present below your original response to my spectacularly bad piece of writing:

Jay: ““You seem utterly unable to confront the fact that this is another possible avenue of thought and take “homestead” and “property” and “property rights violation” as sacrosanct even though we don’t have general defintions for them and rely on the amrket to provide this.”

I gave you my definition of “property” somewhere below. I’ll even repeat it for you again: An entity is the property of an individual if that individual has the right to exclude other individuals from altering the integrity or momentum of it. Now I have already said (twice) that it IS in fact possible to redefine “property” in a manner which makes “ownership” of the intangible non-absurd. However I tried to point out that this would make “ownership” of the tangible absurd. How many times do I have to say the same thing? Maybe it will help if I try and break it down for you.”

Hmm, not really sure you were with me then. Well, “Maybe it will help if I try and break it down for you” also – in my trumpet example, if I can stop my neighbour from using the trumpet the way he wants to because it is vibrating the molecules in my soil, then according to your definition I must be the owner of the trumpet. The trumpet has two owners? I own everything that makes any sound and causes vibration in my soil? Well, your absolute matter of fact concrete competely obvious I must be a moron for not agreeing with you definitions aren’t really making a great deal of sense to me.

“But surely you can see that I’m always trying to break everything down into fundamental components with the aim of specifically defining “property”. Am I not actively doing exactly what you are proposing?”

Yes but my point (maybe if you’d read my spectacularly bad piece of writing you’d know this) is that trying to define property is like trying to define “heat energy” when talking about the the Otto Cycle – ie. it doesn’t exist.

“Let me put it this way. Do you agree with me if I phrase things in the following way?:
The phenomenon called “property” exists. Therefore there must be a definition for this phenomenon.”

No.

Do you agree with me that the language called “English” exists and that ” Therefore there must be a definition for this phenomenon”?

The Kid Salami November 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

I think I see the problem. You think because you’re trying to find a definition of “property” you’re agreeing with me.

But no – I’m saying we should abandon the general use of the words “property” and “own” and “homestead” altogether. The problem is not to find definitions of these (I don’t think they exist beyond a good approximation) but to create new concepts altogether.

Peter Surda November 5, 2010 at 7:49 am

Jay: I will think about what you wrote, merely because I don’t reply does not mean I don’t read it.

Kid: I see what Jay means that you simultaneously agree and disagree. I think I comprehend your argument now better. You are claiming that our approach is pointless and we should try a different one instead. But I already replied to you a couple of months ago. Yes, it is possible to try a completely new approach. You are free to attempt it and I was kind of secretly hoping that one of the IP proponents will abandon the repetitive fallacies and do exactly this.

However, you forget that the first step of my approach is falsificationistic one. There are certain fundamental things which I was able to refute earlier on. Any theory would need to avoid those pitfalls too. I think the crucial is the realisation that the physical world already covers 100% of everything in a non-overlapping manner, a feature which I would label auto-exclusion. What I mean by this is that for example, two atoms simultaneously located at two different locations are not the same atom. Then there are some minor realisations, like the non-physical world does not exist outside of human minds, the inability to modify the non-physical and so on. This all leads me to the conclusion that using approaches significantly different from the “physicalist” one is less likely to produce useful results.

The Kid Salami November 5, 2010 at 8:01 am

Jay said:

“In response to your comments regarding “heat”, I agree with the general analogy to “property” but I disagree with the way you’re framing it. You start your reasoning with the assumption that the popular definition of “heat” is the definition of heat. And based on that definition, it doesn’t exist. Instead I start my reasoning with the assumption that the phenomenon called “heat” exists, but that the popular definition is incorrect. Hence why I can say that it is actually you that has things backwards.”

And Jay you have missed the crucial fundamental step in my reference to thermodynamics. I specifically used the phrase “heat energy” and said “there is NO SUCH THING as heat energy”. Heat DOES exist in thermodynamics – it is a transfer of energy that is not work. that is a perfectly good definition of heat. But “heat energy” does not exist.

I’m saying people in everyday life are free to use the phrase “heat energy” and to imagine a radiator contains lots of “heat energy” and it transfers this “heat energy” to the room. That is a good model that works in everyday life – and the earliest engines were based on the concept of something called “heat” flowing around. But “heat” in this sense meant “heat energy” – but the term “heat” technically is not a thing, that flows, but it is the description of a transfer of energy, one that is not work.

The difference here is crucial – the everyday, and pre-statistical mechanics, usage was that “heat” was a _thing_. It is not that in thermodynamics though, it is a _process_.

So you saying the everyday definition is wrong only _seems_ to make sense, it is based on a coincidence, that thermodynamics has reused the word heat to mean a process and not a thing.

Let’s say in thermodynamics, non-work and work were the two modes of transfer of energy and the word “heat” never appeared, ever. This wouldn’t change the fact that people used the word pre-statistical mechanics as a thing that is flowing and that people do so now would it? So your objection that heat exists (in the common usage) and the definition is wrong is nonsensical. It doesn’t exist – that is the whole point. Pretending it does is more useful in everyday life than adopting the language of thermodynamics – a totally different level of abstraction.

The Kid Salami November 5, 2010 at 8:36 am

And just to be double clear, here is some analysis of the popular usage of “heat”.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dissipate

1. To drive away; disperse.
2. To attenuate to or almost to the point of disappearing: The wind finally dissipated the smoke. See Synonyms at scatter.
3. a. To spend or expend intemperately or wastefully; squander.
b. To use up, especially recklessly; exhaust: dissipated their energy. See Synonyms at waste.
4. To cause to lose (energy, such as heat) irreversibly

Now type “dissipate heat” into google and see how often it is used – it is used in everyday parlance all the time.

Let’s be clear – there is NO SUCH THING as “heat energy”, so saying “To cause to lose (energy, such as heat)” makes sense in everyday parlance, but not in thermodynamics parlance, where you cannot lose “heat” as heat is a transfer of energy, a process, not energy itself.

There is nothing wrong with using the phrase “dissipate heat” like this, it is useful and I would use it myself.

There IS a problem though with learning thermodynamics and then, when the Otto cycle is explained, asking “where is the heat” or something. It isn’t that it is too hard to answer – it is that is makes no sense, because the “heat” as this person means simply does not exist.

My hypothesis is that, it the most fundamental level, it makes no sense to ask what “property” is. Really, it exists only at the everyday life level of abstraction and it disappears sufficiently lower down.

Jay – you think because we use it in everyday life, it must have a definition in more fundamental terms that remains consistent with its everyday usage. I think you are just wrong.

Jay Lakner November 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Wow Kid, you really badly want to have an argument with me don’t you?
My plan is to answer most of your rambling objections with as little effort as possible. Let’s see how this goes….

if I can stop my neighbour from using the trumpet the way he wants to because it is vibrating the molecules in my soil, then according to your definition I must be the owner of the trumpet.

Either you have completely misunderstood my arguments or you are hitting me with a major strawman here. Either way, I’d prefer to let you work out why I don’t need to respond to this.

Do you agree with me that the language called “English” exists and that ” Therefore there must be a definition for this phenomenon”?

Yes.

I’m saying we should abandon the general use of the words “property” and “own” and “homestead” altogether. The problem is not to find definitions of these (I don’t think they exist beyond a good approximation) but to create new concepts altogether.

That’s funny, I could have sworn you said: “We need to try to find new words which are more fundamental to define these three concepts and a new theory based on these.”
Oops!

I specifically used the phrase “heat energy” and said “there is NO SUCH THING as heat energy”.

Damn. I have to give a proper response to this one. I was trying to avoid effort.

I thought you were being clever with the “heat” analogy. It turns out you were specifically refering to the words “heat energy”. I’m sorry to tell you that, although you are right that “heat energy” does not exist, you are wrong to draw a comparison with “property”. I’ll try to explain.

“Heat energy” is two words implying that “heat” is a form of energy. That is an assumption right there that should never have been made. “Heat energy” does not exist purely because that combination of concepts is nonsensical in the context of what is really going on.

However…
“Property” is one word.
“Homestead” is one word.
“Owns” is one word.

I guess I don’t have to explain that it’s impossible to form a nonsensical combination of words when there is only one word.

If it makes you feel better, I have already identified a few property concepts that make no sense in the same way that “heat energy” makes no sense.
“Property border” does not actually exist. This is equivalent to the “heat energy” analogy that you have drawn because incompatible words are being strung together.

So your objection that heat exists (in the common usage) and the definition is wrong is nonsensical.

Yawn … another strawman.
When did I ever say “heat exists in the common usage?”
I said “heat exists”. Take this to mean, “the phenomenon of heat exists”. It’s irrelevant what the common usage is. Once you identify that something exists, only then do you go and try to define it. And you make no assumptions and you certainly don’t try to make the definition fit “the common usage”.

There is nothing wrong with using the phrase “dissipate heat” like this, it is useful and I would use it myself.

“Dissipate heat” – Another combination of incompatible concepts.

Jay – you think because we use it in everyday life, it must have a definition in more fundamental terms that remains consistent with its everyday usage.

I love how you snuck in, “that remains consistent with its everyday usage”.
I guess it’s fitting that you ended your funny little rant with an enormous strawman.

The Kid Salami November 5, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Wow Jay, you misunderstand my motivation here.

“Either you have completely misunderstood my arguments or you are hitting me with a major strawman here. Either way, I’d prefer to let you work out why I don’t need to respond to this.”

No, I enclose evidence below.

Jay says: “I gave you my definition of “property” somewhere below. I’ll even repeat it for you again: An entity is the property of an individual if that individual has the right to exclude other individuals from altering the integrity or momentum of it.

Me: “if I can stop my neighbour from using the trumpet the way he wants to because it is vibrating the molecules in my soil, then according to your definition I must be the owner of the trumpet.”

My statement is as I see it true. If it is out of context, please say how. But saying you don’t need to respond is to say that you don’t need to elaborate how your patronizing “repeat” of your definition of property is, well….. it turns out that you don’t, actually now push comes to shove, want to defend it. I don’t mind, but say so if this is the case.

“Do you agree with me that the language called “English” exists and that ” Therefore there must be a definition for this phenomenon”?”

I don’t actually think this of course. What is this definition of English? Note that I’m going to apply it to extremely awkward scenarios to see how it works, so you might just want to concede that we don’t bother “defining” English, we just use it.

“Oops!”

This is not some big slip Jay old chum. First define property etc. using more fundamental words, then see what better concepts fall out of these definitions – we can’t invent better concepts whilst still using the old ones, so this is a stepping stone. You thinking this is some big slip shows that you don’t (and in fact can’t) understand my point.

I can’t be bothered explaining my thermo point again.

“Jay – you think because we use it in everyday life, it must have a definition in more fundamental terms that remains consistent with its everyday usage.”

Strawman? You want to find a definition of property that still fits “everyday usage” yet is defined down to the fundamentals eg. using momentum. Now, by everyday I mean on this site, not normal person usage, so I guess that was confusing. But if this is a strawman, there must be “everyday” usages of the word “property” that you agree are not covered by your theory. What are they? Or do you accept my statement if I say everyday actually means usage by libertarians?

Jay Lakner November 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Kid Salami,

Sigh.

1. You have the right to prevent him from altering the integrity or momentum of your soil. It does not imply that you own whatever it is he uses to interfere with your soil.

2. If I ever did bother trying to define English, it would be an extremely complex definition laid out in terms of the fundamental symbols, sounds, and grammar of the language.

3. Apparently placing things in bold doesn’t have any affect on you. You seem to miss the fact that “abandon these terms completely” and “define these terms” are contradictory statements.

4. What else is there to explain about your thermo point? I clearly identified why the concept “heat energy” doesn’t make sense and explained why the same problems don’t apply to the concept of “property”. Maybe here is where you say:
“My God you’re right. I didn’t think about that. I’ll spend more time considering the topic and maybe come back at you with a different example if I can find one.”

5. Just about all groups that use the word “property” are generally refering to the concept of how society attempts to solve the problem of the allocation of scarce resources. I am not trying to “craft” a definition that “fits” everyday usage, I am investigating the overall concept.
It may turn out that the “everyday usage” is completely inaccurate. Maybe when people believe they “own” tangible objects, they are really “owning” space-time coordinates or patterns or actions or some form of energy or … who knows. The point is to answer questions like, “What does this concept really mean?” and “What is specifically going on?”

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:33 am

Well of course he’s dishonest. The whole IP thing is just a fraud. The only thing they can do is to attempt to stir up emotions.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:03 am

I stirred some pedophilic emotions, all right.

El Tonno October 31, 2010 at 12:49 pm

?

I suppose only you can truthfully affirm that.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Yep, I can see y’all getting upset, defending the right to stalk children. I mean, look what Peter wrote:

“What part of that is it exactly that constitutes trespass? The one when the camera gathers the photons? The one when the information is encoded or the one where it is decoded? Or at a later stage, when the other perverts feel arousal?

Any of those leads to strange conclusions. You cannot look anywhere without permission, you need to walk and drive around with your eyes closed.”

NOW, THAT IS SICK!

Russ the Apostate October 31, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I for one think that Sasha, in painting Peter into the corner of defending child porn, has pretty successfully executed a reductio ad absurdem disproof of Peter’s property rights framework. Rothbard’s framework, which gives 6 year olds the same rights as adults, is similarly absurd. This is where the whole rationalist project of trying to derive rights from first principles falls down on its face. A Principia Mathematica may be possible for mathematics, but a Principia Politica is not (or at least I have never seen one that was successful). Real life is too messy for that. That’s why we rely on courts of law to adjudicate the border cases in real life, instead of trying to plug all the variables into some magical formula that is always right.

Peter Surda October 31, 2010 at 4:53 pm

On the contrary Russ. It Sasha’s point that is disproved by the reductio ad absurdum and further demonstrated by his cowardly avoidance of confrontation. He was not talking about child porn. He was talking about recording a child being a violation of IP. For which he gave no explanation. He made a connection to pedophilia as a diversion. Why should it be relevant from the point of view of rights whether a video recording is watched by a healthy human or a pedophile? Sasha is trying to stir up an emotional reaction by the classical “think about the children”, although the actual problem has nothing to do with children at all. He is trying to mask the fact that he has no argument other than he doesn’t like copying.

David K. October 31, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Russ the Apostate: “Rothbard’s framework, which gives 6 year olds the same rights as adults, is similarly absurd.”

But according to Rothbard, children don’t have the same rights as adults.

Edgaras October 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm

So this “doing” involves simply watching at your property?

Peter Surda October 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Who knows what that means. IP proponents don’t tell. They need the confusion and vagueness.

Trolls' troll October 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Whether it’s Anthony and his retarded lifeboat situation which Sasha explained away in 5 seconds and Edgaras and his gloriously ridiculous question here, it’s almost hard to believe the same topics are being rashed over and over and over. Where’s Stephan to change the subject quickly and hope nobody notices?

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I guess after those 5 seconds Sasha can start working on a defense of property rights that assigns ownership of factors to the person who first conceives a use for them? Because after 24 hours of having asked this question of him, I still see no response.

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I really haven’t noticed you. That must have been some qouestion :-). Sorry, honestly.

Beefcake the Mighty October 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm

No problem, sorry to be confrontational, I would be genuinely interested in your response:

http://blog.mises.org/14363/intellectual-property-as-socialistic-human-rights/#comment-734900

Sasha Radeta October 29, 2010 at 9:46 pm
Anthony October 29, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Trolls’ troll, you are an ass.

As for you Sasha, I am afraid I still don’t understand…

You are saying that it is not an initiation of trespass to record the song, but if I make a copy of my recording then it IS a trespass? Despite the fact that I made no agreement with the author and I am merely replicating my own recording, which I made perfectly legally?

That makes no sense… I never touched, modified or in any way made contact with the author’s “property”, but I am somehow trespassing by copying my own recording and giving it to people. Is that your claim?

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 5:17 am

Anthony,

Recording music for your own pleasure is still within “personal use rights” that the author allows or sells. Commercial use of his performance or the original property (like CD originally played) was not something he agreed upon by default, as you suggest.

It is not necessary to “touch” or “physically alter” something in order to commit trespass (unauthorized use), since many of product uses can be visual or audio. Go to the pedophile example for better understanding.

PS
Artists, like all other people, have property rights that go beyond “physical employment rights.” Thanks to this virtue of ownership, we can buy visual or audio uses of their property, instead of depending on their sheer desire to create and display works without economic incentives.

Paul Lockett November 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Recording music for your own pleasure is still within “personal use rights” that the author allows or sells.

This is nonsensical. If you believe that the author is entitled to full control of his composition, then what you’re saying here amounts to saying that anybody should be able to violate that control without the author’s express permission. You’re completely contradicting your own argument.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 5:31 am

As for you Sasha, I am afraid I still don’t understand…

Because there is nothing to understand. He doesn’t like what others are doing so he declares it illegal. There is no theory behind it that explains how the property boundaries are determined.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:30 am

Peter, stop trying to be my advocate. I can explain my own position without the help of less fortunate people.

Peter Surda October 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

No, you cannot explain your position, since you do not have one. You only have your emotional outrage.

Anthony November 2, 2010 at 8:31 am

Thank you, Sasha…

You said below “the rest of the world (those in contract and outside of the contract) must restrain from such use”, which cleared things up for me. I had hoped that you thought you had a genuinely libertarian position but I see now that you obviously do not.

In your view a contract between two people can govern the behavior of everyone else in the world… this is so obviously unlibertarian and contrary to property rights that I would think you should have realized that by now and dropped your “I’m a libertarian” pretense.

Edgaras October 30, 2010 at 7:35 am

Trolls’ troll: My question was meant to be for Sasha Radeta, but this blog a little bit buggy, so it didn’t post my comment as reply to him.

This Sasha’s post :

“When you’re doing something with my property I don’t like – libertarians call it TRESPASS.”

Then I asked, does this mean simply watching at property? Because I can make “illegal copies” by simply watching at your book/article/poem etc.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

You can make illegal copies by just looking at them only if you have superhuman powers. IP laws and property rights would not apply to such God-like creature.

Edgaras November 1, 2010 at 5:10 am

Actually, I just made a copy of your comment simply by looking at it. It is now imprinted in my memory. In my brains which are similar to a hard drive. So nope, you don’t need superhuman powers for that kind of thing.

Edgaras October 30, 2010 at 7:38 am

P.S. I meant this Sasha’s post :

“When you’re doing something with my property I don’t like – libertarians call it TRESPASS.”

Then I asked, does this mean simply watching at property? Because I can make “illegal copies” by simply watching at your book/article/poem etc.

Sasha Radeta October 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

Reading a book is its proper “use” isn’t it? People pay money for such personal use – however, if this use is turned into a commercial endeavor, it may be the case that the owner never agreed on such use (a trespass occurred).

Kevin B October 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Sasha,

You are confusing causation with usage. Reading a book is use. Producing a replica because a book has been read is cause and effect.

Correctly applied, limitations of usage rights do not limit the buyer’s right in his other property, whereas when usage is confused with causation, property rights are placed at odds with each other.

When I say, “You cannot read my book,” your other property is unaffected – free to be used as before. But if I say, “You cannot use my book to make another,” then my mistaken handling of the word ‘use’ conflicts with your rights to your other property.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 4:29 am

Kevin B,

reading a book is it proper use, just like “driving a car.” I can rent you my car under condition that you will not turn this driving into commercial endeavor such as delivering pizza. The same analogy goes for not allowing the book-reading to turn into a commercial enterprise of producing unauthorized replicas.

Kevin B October 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Sasha,

Using your own example, when you rent a car, do you not enter into a contract beforehand that stipulates any limitations? Prior agreement in contract is required.

To prevent copying, prior agreement in contract is required.

Sasha Radeta October 31, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Kevin, when you enter a contract that stipulates allowed use (personal, non-commercial) and you obtain no other rights in both of our examples. Since other kinds of uses were never expressly granted to anyone by the original owner (the author), the rest of the world (those in contract and outside of the contract) must restrain from such use.

Russ the Apostate October 31, 2010 at 4:05 pm

“Since other kinds of uses were never expressly granted to anyone by the original owner (the author), the rest of the world (those in contract and outside of the contract) must restrain from such use.”

But the rest of the world was not a party to the contract, so how could the contract be binding on the rest of the world??? This is not how contracts work.

Edgaras October 30, 2010 at 10:26 pm

So if it’s not a commercial endeavor, then it’s ok? I could partly agree with you then. Well, at last have a sympathy for your views because there is one issue: copying your book and making myself like an author of such book would be a simple fraud and punishable crime in free market.

Stephan Kinsella October 31, 2010 at 6:07 am

Edgaras, you are talking about plagiarism not copying. This is not what copyright prevents. It prevents copying where you keep the original name of the author and don’t defraud anyone.

Edgaras November 1, 2010 at 5:08 am

Yes, my mistake.

cret November 6, 2010 at 2:00 am

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

i dont know what the exact motivation for this clause was. but if you secure something you are attempting to keep someone else from using it, or perhaps in the case of securing writings and discoveries, securing or controlling the experience of the writing or the discovery.

by motivation, i mean, did the constitution writers believe that authorship and eureka! were somehow a type of esoteric god-granted gift and ownable in a sense slightly different than solid goods…lumber, copper, hats, etc.????

if they did why did the fell that way and not say that authorship could be nothing more than properly acknowledged but not an ownable thing.

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