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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15188/undermining-the-mises-institute/

Undermining the Mises Institute

December 31, 2010 by

Please Donate!
Please Donate!

True confession: I have now taken up with the neoconservatives and other enemies of the Mises Institute.

We’ve got to smash the MI. Here’s my plan to undermine the Mises Institute.

First, we’ve got to get so many students applying to and attending Mises University, and the Austrian Scholars Conference, that the paltry edifice they have created in Auburn, AL, at great expense will be exposed as the vastly underbuilt facility that it really is (at least compared to the need for its services).

How can we do this? By sending the Mises Institute large donations, so that they can better advertise these seminars.

This will force them to add to their real-estate holdings (they are psychopaths, unable to turn away people who want to attend their events).

In this way, we can bankrupt them. How can we further accomplish this important task?

Second, paradoxically, by sending them lots of money, even more than the amounts we have just sent them for publicizing the Mises University and the Austrian Scholars Conference. How will large-scale donations to the MI hurt this institution, pray tell?

It is simple (in addition to becoming a neocon, I confess, I’ve also taken up with Keynesianism). This act, on our part, will constitute a Quantitative Easing (QE). Now, we know, from my new economics guru, Paul Krugman, that the only problem with QE1 and QE2 was that the funds devoted to this purpose were not large enough.

So, the Quantitative Easing for the Mises Institute (QEMI) has to be as gigantic as you can possibly afford.

And make these contributions immediately. One, for tax purposes.

And two, of course, the sooner we undermine the Mises Institute, the better off we shall all be.

We Keynesians are sick and tired of Bob Murphy raining on our parades.

He must be stopped from criticizing his betters, such as mah man, Paul Krugman. And what of that rascal, Tom DiLorenzo?

His constant attacks on neocon hero “Honest Abe” Lincoln simply can no longer be borne.

And this is to say nothing of other Mises Institute burrs under the neocon Keynesian saddle, such as Gary North, Tom Woods, Joe Salerno, Ralph Raico, Lew Rockwell, Doug French, Mark Thornton, David Gordon, Stephan Kinsella, Guido Hülsmann, Ron Paul, and Hans Hoppe. The Mises Institute aids and abets these people!

They are enemies of all that is good and true.

Who else would publish the likes of Murphy, DiLorenzo, North, Woods, Salerno, Raico, Rockwell, French, Thornton, Gordon, Kinsella, Hulsman, Paul, and Hoppe? No one, that’s who. And this is only the tip of the veritable iceberg. Look here and here for more miscreants, weirdos, and enemies of the public good, etc. Not a one of them believes in American exceptionalism, American Greatness. No, the Mises Institute and all of its evil ways, and its support for scholars who reject — sneer at — war-mongering, Lincoln-worshiping Keynesianism, must be stopped.

And the only way to do this is by sending them gobs and gobs of money. Do it soon. Do it NOW!

{ 63 comments }

Valject December 31, 2010 at 10:58 am

I like the cut of your gib.

DS December 31, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Walter – what gives here? Clarification please…I get the donate part of the message but the content may have a backfire effect upon you and the MI and resonate erroneously throughout the WWW search engines and social media outlets and more!!! Likely a pun greatly misplaced and may need to be rescinded quickly to save-face in the public’s already wary eye…what a contradiction and lack of a unified approach on MI’s part as contrasted from the essence of Jeff’s article on Frank Chodorov also posted today: http://mises.org/daily/4927

Poor judgment in my honest opinion.

The Crackshot Crackpot December 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Take a chill pill dude

Samuel Wonacott December 31, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Seconded.

Brad December 31, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Thirded

Pablo Escobar December 31, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Fourthed.

Tyrone Dell January 1, 2011 at 12:25 am

Wait… you didn’t get the memo?

We’re all Keynesians now. SO DONATE!

Michael December 31, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I loled.

Aem_s December 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm

NOOOOOOO! WE’VE LOST BLOCK!!!

Sound the Alarm! Break out the copies of Human Action! Get to your Battlestations!

Jim December 31, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Actually, I do halfway expect Walter Block’s next book to be a 450 page Austrian defense of Keynesianism. It’s sort of the moon landing of counter-intuition.

Tyrone Dell January 1, 2011 at 12:26 am

Defending the Undefendable, bro.

Jay De Montalegre January 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

This is great!

Dave Narby January 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Actually, Mises does an amazingly fine job of undermining itself by allowing the likes of Stephan Kinsella the opportunity to promote his Anti-IP “theories” here.

I have asked him time and time again, but Mr. Kinsella consistently refuses to explain how innovators would be compensated and encouraged in a world without intellectual property protection. At this point, I feel safe in declaring: It’s because he has no explanation.

An excellent refutation of his arguments is here http://strangerousthoughts.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-economic-principles-of-intellectual-property-and-the-fallacies-of-intellectual-communism/

As a result, I won’t be donating anything to Mises (except for my thoughts) any time soon. In fact, as long as Mises continues to allow his brand of dishonesty, I cannot endorse or recommend Mises.org *in general* for fear that those I recommend will stumble across Kinsella’s ideas and judge me to be of unsound mind for recommending a site that promotes such, his ideas are that bizarre.

A side note: I have also written Mr. Hoppe (referenced in this article) and asked him the same question I have asked Kinsella re: Compensation and encouragement of innovators. He to date has not responded. I fear he has the same dilemma as Kinsella. Perhaps he will surprise me, we shall give him some more time.

To my critics: Do not take this as my acceptance of the status quo of IP in the 21st century, as I clearly understand the problems with it and have a better idea than most of the needed reforms. But I do not think it is wise or helpful to toss babies out with bathwater. Also, unless you can provide a method of compensating and encouraging innovation without IP protection, do not try to open up what you try and pass off as “debate” on this subject here. I will simply ask you that question repeatedly until you provide a sensible answer, or you give up.

Peter Surda January 9, 2011 at 5:10 am

Have you stopped beating your wife yet Dave?

Dave Narby January 9, 2011 at 11:49 am

Peter:

Evidently I wasn’t clear, so I’ll repeat myself:

To my critics: Do not take this as my acceptance of the status quo of IP in the 21st century, as I clearly understand the problems with it and have a better idea than most of the needed reforms. But I do not think it is wise or helpful to toss babies out with bathwater. Also, unless you can provide a method of compensating and encouraging innovation without IP protection, do not try to open up what you try and pass off as “debate” on this subject here. I will simply ask you that question repeatedly until you provide a sensible answer, or you give up.

Answer the question, please. How do you propose to encourage innovation without IP protection?

nate-m January 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Answer the question, please. How do you propose to encourage innovation without IP protection?

By profits derived from the practical application of innovation.

Dave Narby January 9, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Nate-M,

That is not an argument that shows how removal of IP protection will increase innovation and invention.

Peter Surda January 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

You were clear. You are merely engaging in logical fallacies. Just like the question “Have you stopped beating your wife” does. The first error is that without innovation being a praxeological term, your argument is not an economic argument, but a normative one. The second error is that even at the normative level, you are oblivious to the fact that IP is a redistributive policy, therefore you would need to provide a method for valuing the costs and revenues it causes, which you haven’t. Furthermore, although you admit current IP system does not match the one that should, according to you, be right, you do not explain why is it wrong or what it should be replaced with. Last but not least, you would have to begin with defining what IP actually is, which apparently no IP proponent is willing to do.

Why are patent trolls bad? They do exactly what, according to IP proponents, an IP system should be promoting. The activity of a patent troll increases the revenues of those that “invent” at the cost of those who earn money by manufacturing (“use inventions”). If you complain that people shouldn’t be using inventions without paying the inventor, why do you have a problem with patent trolls?

The whole concept of IP is beset with contradictions and vagueness. Instead of using proper scientific approach, the proponents thereof use metaphors. I have been gathering a list of “definitions” of IP (and accompanying concepts) provided by them: “fruit of labour”, “something new”, “rearranging/instantiating patterns”, “extending sovereignty”, “creation of mind”, “stolen benefits”, or, my favourite, “natural reflection”. That’s not science, that’s a fairy tale.

Dave Narby January 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm

@ Surda

You bring up so called “patent trolls” again (I believe for the fourth or fifth time, with me). Again, for the forth or fifth time, I again point out that abuse of any portion of the legal system is a reason to reform it, not to do away with it entirely. Just like how some people getting away with murder is not a reason to remove the legal restrictions on homicide, IP system abuse is not a reason to remove IP protection.

Consider these consequences of removing IP:

When anybody can steal someone else’s idea, then in the case of patents, what is to stop those with the largest production capacity from stealing from those with less, and thus driving them out of business?

What is to stop advertising agencies from taking an artist’s work and using it to sell products without their permission, perhaps even to the point of promoting something they disagree with?

What is to stop companies from using other companies trademarks, and misrepresenting goods manufactured by them as being by someone else?

I’ll tell you what will stop them: Nothing!

How any rational person would think removing IP protection would increase the level of innovation and invention is beyond me. But perhaps someday, one of the intellectual communists who propose this is possible will provide a model.

But it just hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not holding my breath.

So until Mises.org reconsiders it’s position on promoting and supporting intellectual communism, I cannot support it. But as there is value here, like our government, I will continue to correct it.

Just don’t expect me to open my wallet.

Anthony January 10, 2011 at 12:21 am

Dave,

Two things. First of all, who said that the goal was “increase innovation and invention”? Nobody here that I know of. The argument here for removing IP laws is that they unjust violations of physical property rights, based on poorly defined criteria, reliant on government force, etc.

If removing these laws happens to increase innovation, great… if not, that is ok too. There is no “ideal” level of innovation in a society, there is only the level that would emerge in a free market, taking full account of consumer preferences, or a different level (higher or lower) that results from the use of aggressive government force overriding people’s preferences.

Two: IP laws decrease innovation in two major ways; first by diverting resources from research/production and into legal defense, and second by causing some inventors NOT to work on inventing things in areas with lots of patents (any area of computers/electronics) out of fear that they will inadvertently violate a patent and loose all the valuable effort they put in (plus legal costs).

Maybe you will say that the idea generating effects of IP laws more then compensate for the idea stifling effects, but there is NO WAY TO TELL which effect will be stronger in the real world.

Kinsella has always been clear that his position is based on principal, and would stay the same regardless of the utilitarian aspects. It is the fact that IP is both unprincipled AND much less beneficial then most assume (assuming it is beneficial at all) that has led the Mises Institute, along with many other libertarians, to reject it.

Dave Narby January 10, 2011 at 1:50 am

@ Anthony

FYI, the use of IP to encourage innovation is as old as democracy itself. Clearly, that is the goal.

If you want evidence of strong IP laws fostering innovation, simply look at the amount of innovation coming from countries with strong respect of IP vs. those little respect of IP.

It’s obvious.

Peter Surda January 10, 2011 at 6:18 am

Dave,

you have utterly failed to respond to anything that I said.

You bring up so called “patent trolls” again…

My claim is that your approach to patent trolls is self-contradictory. On one hand you claim that making manufacturers and consumers pay to inventors is promoting innovation, and that’s what IP should be doing. On the other hand, you say that patent trolls are misusing the system, although they also transfer money from manufacturers/consumers to inventors. So, back to my question: why are patent trolls bad? Are they not promoting innovation? Well if they are not, then your whole argument crumbles.

I’ll tell you what will stop them: Nothing!

What you describe is the process of competition. Any competition requires that a newcomer, B, “steals” customers from an encumbent, A, causing him decreased revenues. Relabelling a subset of competition as IP does not change the economic rules that guide the process. According to your logic, there should be a monopoly on all business endeavours, because a company with a better productivity will drive the other ones out of business, this makes business less productive and thereby disincentivises it. Also, any newcommer can save money on market research, because they already see what the encumbent is doing. So even if the newcommer has the same level of productivity, because they can save on market research, they can underbid the encumbent and bankrupt them. If you support IP on the grounds of promoting innovation, you should also be against competition in general. Are you?

How any rational person would think removing IP protection would increase the level of innovation and invention is beyond me.

That is not my claim and I said it already several times. You are using metaphors to arrive to an unscientific position. IP is a redistributive mechanism: all the revenues are offset by costs. Since IP proponents show no intention to define what IP actually is, I fail to see how you can make the argument that it increases innovation (which you have not defined either).

I have asked you many times to fix the errors in your claims. You are not attempting to engage in a scientific level of discourse.

Dave Narby January 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

@ Peter

Thank you for your response, I believe that your last words are quite enough.

Anthony January 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Dave,

You misunderstand me. Nobody here is arguing that we should remove IP laws because that is the best way to improve innovation. You asked us to show you how removing IP can increase innovation but increasing innovation is NOT the reason we oppose IP. We oppose IP because it is illegitimate and because it is an abuse of force. Those reasons alone suffice, there is no further need to say how removing IP will increase innovation (although I and others have done so anyway.

Putting a large new tax on breathing and giving all the money to inventors would probably increase “innovation”… If you were arguing against such a tax should you be required to explain how removing the tax would increase innovation???

Dave Narby January 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

@ Anthony

“You misunderstand me. Nobody here is arguing that we should remove IP laws because that is the best way to improve innovation.”

“sweatervest” clearly is. In his opinion, R&D resources are instead wasted on patent compliance.

“You asked us to show you how removing IP can increase innovation but increasing innovation is NOT the reason we oppose IP.”

Perhaps, but that is the reason I support IP, and until someone can clearly show how removing the entire IP system is better than reforming the current system, I will continue to support it, and bring up Mises.org’s anti-IP support every time it asks for money.

Concerning the rest of your statement, although I do not agree, IMO that is a fine place to leave this “discussion”.

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 1:31 am

“sweatervest” clearly is. In his opinion, R&D resources are instead wasted on patent compliance.”

Excuse me, that is not at all what I argued. You just made a huge logical non-sequitur from my argument of “IP laws reduce innovation” to “IP laws should be repealed to increase innovation”. You jumped from an “is” to an “ought”. I hope I don’t need to further explain this.

This is a huge misrepresentation of my arguments. Even if IP laws did increase the amount of innovation, I would still not support them because one is not in a position to say society is “better off” with more innovation and, as a result, less of some other good, because innovation competes with other production. This is why utilitarian arguments are pointless and misleading. It’s not a matter of it being too difficult to measure “social welfare”, it is *impossible*. Value is praxeologically defined and tied to particular actors. There is no “social good”. There is no objective way to decide that one allocation of scarce resources is “better” than some other allocation. This not Austrian economics but pseudo-scientific hogwash. There is no objective value, no social good, and no way to decide which organization of society is “better” than another.

My rejection of IP is *principled*, not based on hasty approaches to profit-loss analysis of situations that usually have insufficient initial data to allow such analysis at all. IP is at odds with physical property rights, and Hoppe has fully convinced me that denying the validity of physical property rights always involves a performative contradiction. It has nothing to do with “better” or “worse”. Attempting to justify IP is, like trying to justify any other deviation from physical property rights, simply illogical. It is self-refuting. I hope I need not explain why I avoid illogical theories.

“Perhaps, but that is the reason I support IP, and until someone can clearly show how removing the entire IP system is better than reforming the current system, I will continue to support it, and bring up Mises.org’s anti-IP support every time it asks for money.”

Then you are not an economist. Economist don’t speak of objective value and “social welfare”. What are you doing on an economics blog attacking economics?

“Concerning the rest of your statement, although I do not agree, IMO that is a fine place to leave this “discussion”.”

Are you kidding me? Throw out your claims, listen to the counter-argument, and that is a fine place to leave the discussion!? What are you, a god incapable of intellectual error. You have no burden of proof for anything you ever say!? This has got to be a joke!

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 1:42 am

Dave could not possibly have hindered himself more than to repeatedly insist that the argument end.

This is one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life: the person that wants to end the discussion, to terminate discourse, and refuse to shed the light of reason on a topic, is the one that is supporting something mistaken and illogical. This test has worked wonders. The person who presents the unprincipled, indefensible case is, of course, the one who eventually refuses to continue defending it.

It is never a good place to end the discussion, Dave. By requesting silence from those with whom you disagree, you have exposed yourself as a despotic thinker which only makes your use of objective value theory and social welfare more understandable. I am ashamed you are associated with something called a “Libertarian party”. Libertarianism is certainly not about telling other people what’s good for them (“listen we’re going to restrict how you can use your computer with an internet connection, but you’ll thank us later cause there will be more variety of music for you to buy” or “listen, we’re going to restrict what goods you are allowed to produce, but you’ll thank us later cause there will be more innovation”). In fact, it is a rejection of this very program.

Utilitarianism, social welfare, and a repeatedly self-announced rejection of the use of argumentation have no place here. I don’t know why someone like you would want to donate to mises.org in the first place.

Peter Surda January 11, 2011 at 5:46 am

Dave,

“sweatervest” clearly is. In his opinion, R&D resources are instead wasted on patent compliance.

I also happen to think that due to the inherently convoluted nature of IP, it increases the profit of lawyers rather than that of inventors. But that’s not an economic argument! That’s a normative issue. There is no reason why economic laws should behave differently for different groups of economic actors, or why laws should be enacted to favour any of those groups. Economics is a science. At least the Austrian economics. It analyses what is, and not what should be.

My claim is that IP proponents contradict themselves. It is completely irrelevant how they justify it.

sweatervest January 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

“They believe and promote the idea that all information should be owned in common by all men, and that no man should exclusively profit from any information.”

How many times are people going to link this trash? If this is the reference point for pro-IP arguments, then I don’t know why I even bother anymore.

Mr. Stranger very clearly does not know what he is talking about. If he would like to read my other posts, he’ll see how my rejection of IP has nothing to do with insisting on who “deserves” to profit, nor do I ever even touch the empty, misleading and confused concept of “common ownership”, which is no more than direct contradiction in terms. Nor does Kinsella who I know has never argued based on who deserves compensation for what (an entitlement argument, or negation there-of) or especially on any vacuous claims to collective ownership.

I honestly think it is amusing because it only paints me the picture that some IP supporters are so stuck in their own framework they are literally unable to wrap their heads around the very simple point we are making: ideas aren’t property!! It’s just that simple. We are not attempting to redefine ideas as public property, or communal property, we are recognizing that because ideas are *not* scarce in the economic sense. The term “scarcity” in economics is so misunderstood I would be content to stop using it and use “rivalry” in its place… economic scarcity has nothing to do with the physical supply of a good, but the nature of its use. When there are incompatible and conflicting ways of using a good for different actors, it becomes rivalrous (scarce) and therefore ownable. Stranger throws out a bunch of irrelevant observations about the fact that storage media for ideas, including human brains, have a finite physical supply, and uses that to jump miraculously to the “scarcity of ideas”. He flat out ignores the distinguishing characteristic of a free good: my use does not impair your use. One person learning and using an idea does not inhibit at all other people’s ability to learn and use that idea, and if anything helps that along. Ideas are *not scarce* because conflicts over their use do not arise. All IP laws are, contrary to what they claim, conflicts over scarce physical goods, which are the storage devices to which Stranger refers, and makes the erroneous claim that an idea is tied to its storage device just like a road is tied to the land on which it is built. This is quite silly, as the whole point is that copying a road onto another piece of property without damaging the original road is impossible, while doing just that with a piece of information on storage media is possible and, nowadays, almost costless.

Stranger also makes the “post hoc proctor hoc” fallacy by pointing out that successful businesses arose out of a setting of intellectual property. For someone so concerned with painting us anti-IP folks as communists, I suggest he consider how booming the Soviet’s oil industry was during Stalin’s choking of that economy. I think it is silly this needs to be pointed out, but the observation of history does not establish any truths, and history cannot tell us how successful those businesses would have been without IP law.

His description of open-source software is entirely erroneous, and involves a misleading convolution of free software with open-source software. OpenOffice is gaining significant ground from Microsoft Office, and this has nothing to do with consumers getting involved in the production, as the vast majority of OpenOffice users have no idea how to program. A much bigger reason is that OpenOffice is free, and Microsoft Office is several hundred dollars. Same story with operating systems. I use Linux, and am even an experienced programmer, but I have no clue at all how to program an operating system and am nowhere close to getting involved in developing Linux. I use it because it is free and it works well, and that is why most other people use it: they don’t have to dish out a few hundred bucks every few years to stay on top of the computing world. I love that he ends with this: “It could not justify the enormous capital investment in consumer software if it did not own the rights to this software.” How in the world did Linux come about then!? Ubuntu is funded largely by a entrepreneurs and all versions of it are entirely free. Apparently the free software industry can and does justify the enormous capital investment, as is evidenced by the existence of a free software industry. He needed to do this though, because free software is one of the most glaring examples of the failure of IP. The only reason why Linux is not dominating the consumer OS market like it is the server OS market is because IP drove Microsoft and Intel to attempt to monopolize the computer market together through licensing agreements, an attempt that is now really starting to lose momentum and in the long run will cost them dearly. Without IP much less focus would have been put on “protecting” proprietary systems, every popular OS would be free by now, and probably inter-compatible. Paying for operating systems and trying to make sure a certain file is compatible on a certain machine would be a thing of the past.

Stephan Kinsella January 11, 2011 at 2:26 am

Narby: “I have also written Mr. Hoppe (referenced in this article) and asked him the same question I have asked Kinsella re: Compensation and encouragement of innovators. He to date has not responded. I fear he has the same dilemma as Kinsella. Perhaps he will surprise me, we shall give him some more time.”

As you know, of course Hoppe is against IP as well and agrees with me.
See Hoppe on Intellectual Property.
I notice you were silent last time I pointed this out.

If you respect Hoppe’s thinking I suggest you rethink your support of protectionist, anticompetitive state grants of monopoly privilege.

Dave Narby January 13, 2011 at 2:54 am

I’ll respect Hoppe’s thinking if he can come up with a sensible response.

So far, he has neglected to do so.

FYI, he left himself some wiggle room, he said you and he are “nearly” in agreement on IP. Hmm…

Sione January 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Dave

In my career I have developed several patentable innovations and well prior to that was a junior member of a team of engineers that developed a few as well. None of my inventions have been patented and yet I earn money from each of them. The economic rewards come from actually getting the product to market. Does the term “first mover advantage” mean anything to you? Look it up.

As it happens it is not even necessary to be first to market. In one case there were two multi-nationals who were active with their version of a fully developed product similar to mine. I wasted a lot of time getting my device to production (was pursuing other interests at the time and was not focussed). It made no difference to the outcome. I got my product to market and made money anyway.

Interestingly, the multi-nationals’ products were patented. While I have not infringed, the point to note is that they have wasted resource in attempting to establish a nebulous “ownership” over ideas that are not going to assist them in winning over the client. Partially as the result of this they are each facing the position of having a product line which is over-priced. At some point I reckon there will be other low cost manufacturers entering the market (possibly Chinese). I am expecting this happens in about 12 to 18 months. Then I can introduce my next idea (which is actually unpatentable) and exploit certain natural advantages that my contractors possess. In this way the cost of product to the consumer will fall drastically, pushing the big multi-nationals out of this market and leaving it to the swift, the fit and the good!

The point for you to realise is that economic rewards for inventors and innovators come by getting innovations and inventions to market. It is as simple as that.

Your “question” about how innovators and inventors are to be economically rewarded in a non-IP system is trivial. I note that it has been asked and answered on the VMI blog on several previous occasions. You need to do less grand-standing and more reading.

Sione

Dave Narby January 9, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I believe those multinationals patents on your pre-existing designs are not defensible, as your team originated the work.

Do you think IP should be removed? If so, since you have no dog in the hunt, so to speak, why? It appears to have no bearing on your business model.

You also fail to acknowledge that while your business may not require IP protection, other’s original endeavors may well benefit by it, especially small and single proprietor inventors who do not have a manufacturing and distribution system in place.

Curious as to why you wouldn’t plug your business here, since it’s a good example. You must have a website, yes? Why not post a link?

Dave Narby January 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

Sione?

Do you have a link to your business’ website?

Peter Surda January 10, 2011 at 6:29 am

Dave,

I believe those multinationals patents on your pre-existing designs are not defensible, as your team originated the work.

So, the multinational should NOT be rewarded for the labour they spent on the development of the products? Why? Because other people also spent labour on the development of the product? Why should that be relevant?

You also fail to acknowledge that while your business may not require IP protection, other’s original endeavors may well benefit by it…

All redistributive measures result in some people gaining and some people losing. What makes IP so special then, and how do you distinguish “worthy” and “unworthy” IP?

… especially small and single proprietor inventors who do not have a manufacturing and distribution system in place.

Why should this be relevant in any way? Why should not the manufacture of pencils, for example, also be guided by this principle? Why should a small manufacturer of pencils be put at a disadvantage by the small scale of his operation? If the bigger manufacturer is at a better position to serve customers, why should he be prevented from doing that?

It seems that your obsession with IP is not guided by the promotion of invention, but rather by your hatred for big multinationals. Regardless, you have failed to establish a coherent theory that explains your position.

Dave Narby January 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

Why did you feel compelled to answer for someone else? You really should consider letting others answer for themselves. If you go back and read your response, perhaps you’ll see why…

Peter Surda January 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Why do you feel compelled to metaargue? Why are you not answering questions?

Dave Narby January 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Again, that’s a perfect place to leave this, thanks.

sweatervest January 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Because he doesn’t have any.

He has already presented the core of his argument: IP laws allow innovators to get more money than they would without IP law.

This argument is almost always at the heart of a good pro-IP argument, and it fails for the exact same reasons it fails in other parts of the economy, just as Peter has explained. The exact same line of reasoning would lead one to conclude that restricting competition, and thus raising the incentives to produce, leads to more production of that good. The argument fails because it always depends on an objective theory of value.

The argument always implicitly draws a line between a profit large enough to convince someone to get involved in production, and a profit not large enough to convince someone. Everyone draws this line for themselves, but the error in using that here is that one is drawing the line for everybody and making economic claims based on that. The profit one expects to derive from innovating and patenting is sufficient to convince people to innovate, but the profit one expects to derive from innovating without patents is not sufficient to convince people to innovate.

There is no valid way to support this argument. Everybody has different ideas about what production endeavors are worth the investment and which are not. Saying that the expected profit needs to be high enough for a good to produced at all is ignoring that the “high enough” is specific to particular actors and can never be categorized universally. There is no reason why the monopoly price is the minimum price necessary to attract producers. The only thing one could meaningfully say is that the monopoly price would attract more producers than a lower price.

But that is a direct contradiction, for the monopoly price is the price attained by restricting production! That patents encourage more people to get involved in innovation is paradoxical because patents are literally legal obstacles to innovation. Not only must you always be wary of wasting your time and other resources designing something that someone else ends up designing slightly earlier and gets to patent, you are unable to further innovate on things that have already been patented. If you have a good idea to improve the architecture of an Intel processor, you would have to pay for licensing from Intel to use their design as a basis for your improved design (and that license agreement would certainly involve Intel getting to sell the new processor). All IP does this (patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.) It only opens up an opportunity for innovators to get sued for their innovations. This is not an incentive to innovate but a disincentive. The only people who encouraged by this are already well-established businesses that, above all, retain a high-priced team of lawyers.

You wondered what would stop businesses from using other established trademarks to confuse customers. Well, common sense would be a big part of it. Copying a trademark and using it to sell your product is a stupid thing to do because it will confuse customers and drive them away from the trademark altogether, putting a sour name on my company in particular (it could do the same to the other company, but this is not unjust because one cannot make ownership claims to the value of property, only the property itself). It’s the same reason why I, as a musician, have no interest in copying songs already made. It certainly has nothing to do with IP laws (which only give me a reason to not compose music, lest I stumble on someone else’s copyrighted melody) and a lot more to do with me wanting to maintain my reputation as an original and innovative composer.

There will be more innovation and invention without IP because there will be no legal obstacles that prevent people from innovating. The whole argument that the biggest company would take over production, bankrupt the original producer and thus discourage innovation is a non-sequitur. All the first part implies is that innovators would overwhelmingly work at research groups for the largest companies around (and large companies would be very interesting in hiring potential innovators). That would in fact be fantastic for innovation, for instead of brilliant ideas being conceived by people who do not have the means to implement their ideas, they would be largely and more rapidly worked out in advanced R&D departments with access to large amounts of capital to conduct experiments and tests. It will concentrate innovation and innovators around the economic resources necessary to implement their ideas. Creative people will be more able to create with more tools available, and will be paid handsomely by the large companies that want to stay on the cutting edge.

The pro-IP argument jumps rather from the innovator to producers of that innovation. That the innovator gets bankrupt by the above process assumes that he embarks on production himself, which would typically be the case only if he were already a businessman owning a productive firm. If someone simply comes up with an innovation by himself that does not put him in a position to produce the resulting good and profit from it. He would have to start a business from scratch, even if the good were protected by IP. It is only because of this the he has a disadvantage. If he already owns a big firm, he is capable of competing with other big businesses anyways, and would only be bankrupted if he ran his business poorly. Innovators wanting to work as such would work at R&D departments and expect to not only be paid well to innovate for a large company but expect to be paid more if the company profits largely from selling the resulting good.

IP laws divert resources away from R&D departments into huge teams of lawyers and private investigators who waste time and other things hunting down illegal innovation instead of innovating. Now, you can longer say that the incentives to innovate have not been addressed by the anti-IP side (and this is not the first time I’ve ran most of these arguments here).

Dave Narby January 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Ah, yet another potential sock puppet weighs in, “sweatervest”.

Do you have a question for me?

sweatervest January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Haha sock puppet.

I don’t have a question for you, I answered your question. The question was, “How does IP not increase the amount of innovation?”

I suppose the only questions I could think to ask are do you consider the matter settled? Are you accepting my argument that there would be more innovation without IP law? Are you admitting that innovators, authors of creative works, etc. would stand to make more money without them? Are you, then, admitting that not even the utilitarian case for IP holds water?

Peter Surda January 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I have a question. Have you stopped beating your wife?

Dave Narby January 11, 2011 at 12:15 am

So “sweatervest”, why bother with the pseudonym?

I assume you have a good reason? Lay it on us.

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 12:50 am

“So “sweatervest”, why bother with the pseudonym?

I assume you have a good reason? Lay it on us.”

I don’t know who you think I am imitating but your childish tactics of ignoring argumentation are obnoxious and a waste of time for bloggers here. In the course of this thread you have threatened mises.org by saying you refuse to donate money until they censor what you can’t swallow. You go on to say you will only make intellectual donations, and my only question is when?

You have offered no argumentation in this entire thread what-so-ever. You have stated repeatedly that there would be less innovation without IP than with, which is a claim, not an argument. You have offered nothing even close to a deductive analysis (or an analysis at all) of this conclusion. You have instead propped it up multiple times without justification and systematically avoided the pages and pages of refutation that have been provided on this very thread by making vacuous, space-wasting and self-serving posts.

Examples are your repeated posts of “That’s a good place to end the discussion.” Sure, for you, who is apparently not interested in discussion but scaring mises.org into giving Kinsella the boot so they can enjoy donations from you. More examples are both your posts that accuse me of pretending to be someone else. I mean, what a blatant way to dodge everything I said effortlessly. Even if I was pretending to be someone else (who?) what bearing does that have on the discussion that *you* started? Another example is you throwing out the empty claim that by systematically disproving your claim that IP law increases innovation I have somehow proved your point that IP law increases innovation.

I now suspect you have no capacity to argue because you have refrained completely from doing so up to this point. Nothing you have posted here comes anywhere close to an analysis of IP law or its consequences. You have wasted our time by making some sort of silly ultimatum, presenting empty claims with no justification what-so-ever, and childishly dodging the repeated refutations of the claims you have laid forth. I find it obnoxious and pointless.

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 12:58 am

Oh I almost forgot you also accused Sione of lying about owning a business. What spectacular contributions to the understanding of property rights theory.

Sione January 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Dave

I am not resident in the USA. That is the reason for a delay between when you and other American contributors to the VMI blog are active and when I respond. If Peter Surda wants to comment he should. Why wait for me to be up and about? There is no need to.

“I believe those multinationals patents on your pre-existing designs are not defensible, as your team originated the work.”

What you might be thinking of is a convention known as “first to invent”. This applies in the USA only. In essence the situation is that even were inventor A to file a patent application prior to inventor B, if inventor B can show he invented the subject of the patent application prior to A, then he (B) wins priority. B is awarded the patent. Elsewhere (the rest of the World) the convention is “first to file”. If A files first, then A wins the patent. What that means for me is that were one of my competitors to have filed a patent application disclosing one of my innovations prior to me so doing (assuming I filed), then he wins. I’d be prohibited from exploiting the idea commerically.

The cost of the patent system and the drag it places on the limited resources of a sole practitioner (like me) make it an impracticality to get involved in patenting activities under most circumstances. The little guy advantage is best exploited by being fast and adaptable and innovative (in business, not just in designing stuff up) and, where possible, first. I get my money out of an idea by getting the thing to market. The sooner I do it the safer I am. One of the best defenses I possess against large competitors, with more resources than I, is to get my device into the public domain before they patent. When that occurs the device is rendered unpatentable and so I am free and clear! I can’t be shut out of my own device due to the exercise of a commercial monopoly granted by patent priviledge.

“Do you think IP should be removed? If so, since you have no dog in the hunt, so to speak, why? It appears to have no bearing on your business model.”

Yes I think it should be removed.

I don’t own a dog and I don’t go hunting any more. Chasing wild boar around the bush with some pig-dogs and a knife doesn’t hold the attraction it used to- must be I’m getting too old.

In my particular situation patents are a problem. For a start, I need to keep watch on them. They can be interesting to search but the time I spend checking to make sure I am allowed to use an idea I dreamed up (known as undertaking a “clearance search”) is a disadvantage to me, a deadweight cost, as are the patent related software I have had to purchase and the subscriptions to various patent services I have had to splash out on etc. Sometimes I need to get advice from a patent attorney before getting on with an exciting idea (and the opportunity it addresses) I’ve become interested in. I have to do this whenever a patent I’ve found is close enough in nature to my proposed development that it could be argued (by a competant legal practitioner) that I’m infringing. As I don’t want to be the target for litigation I have to be wary of patents, even ones that are not really relevant to what I am up to (merely close enough to be used against me).

“You also fail to acknowledge that while your business may not require IP protection, other’s original endeavors may well benefit by it, especially small and single proprietor inventors who do not have a manufacturing and distribution system in place.”

While some people might benefit from IP monopoly, that is no justification for the practice. There is the drawback that many people are disadvantaged by the patent system, in particular the little guy. The independent inventor can easily be overwhelmed by a large organisation exploiting the patent system to exhaust his resources.

Putting a manufacturing and distribution chain in place is a matter of making contacts throughout an industry you are interested in. That means finding out who has the capabilities you need to recruit for your project (that is, for your personal benefit- never ever forget that the whole deal is for your gain, else you shouldn’t be doing it). It means finding out who can be trusted and who can’t be. It involves discovering what opportunities exist within a sector and what markets are available to be exploited. It absolutley requires the recognition that one should not expect that the mere generation of an “invention” and a subsequent filing a of patent application is going to result in an automatic income. What is required is making sure you know exactly what is going on right through the relevant operations and organisations active in your area of interest and acting on what you know.

“Curious as to why you wouldn’t plug your business here, since it’s a good example. You must have a website, yes? Why not post a link?”

I won’t plug my work here. It is better to directly approach the commerical outfits you need to deal with. I don’t have a website or a presence on facebook or anything like that for that reason. Anyway, I expect that promoting a business on the VMI site (advertising) would not be a very good idea in any case. It isn’t the right venue for that. I think it would be seen as rude to do it.

Final point. What I want to get across is that in the absence of IP monopolies the innovator/inventor is well able to be commerically rewarded. There is no problem with this.

Sione

Sione

Dave Narby January 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

Sione,

Frankly, I do not now believe a word you say about having a business, or having produced anything that could be patented. I care because it goes to credibility (at this point, all you are is an unusual first name most famously attributed to a professional wrestler).

And also, you make my point that the patent system needs reform (as do most Western regulatory systems) because they have been co-opted by large entities to the detriment of small ones:

“While some people might benefit from IP monopoly, that is no justification for the practice. There is the drawback that many people are disadvantaged by the patent system, in particular the little guy. The independent inventor can easily be overwhelmed by a large organization exploiting the patent system to exhaust his resources”

Thanks!

However, you conveniently ignore that sans-IP protection, the smaller organizations will quickly be overwhelmed by larger ones using traditional monopoly practices.

So you’re going to get your monopoly, whether you want it or not, unless you regulate it (FYI monopoly regulation is one of the hallmarks of a free society).

The question is, do we want the monopolies in something that previously did not exist, and benefits society (and temporarily the provider of that benefit, the inventor/innovator)?

Or do we want monopolies in things that already exist, effectively taking away from society?

I’m sure you’ll argue this point (and do so if you wish), but I’m not really a question of you, I’m simply providing that for anyone else who happens across this – I have no illusions of being able to sway you one way or the other.

Ciao!

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 12:27 am

“The question is, do we want the monopolies in something that previously did not exist, and benefits society (and temporarily the provider of that benefit, the inventor/innovator)?”

This is not the question because monopolies, at their core, involve unethical (non-cooperative) behavior through the violation of physical property rights (either by compelling consumers to consume or compelling producers to not produce). It is meaningless to say that unethical behavior “benefits society”. Society is the result of ethical (cooperative) behavior. IP law has not settled disputes and led to a more peaceful society but has rather pitted record and movie distributors against college students with internet connections and raised all sorts of impossible-to-answer questions over whether people on the other side of the world have to obey laws passed in the United States..

That is an unavoidable problem that cannot be removed by reforming IP laws. IP laws always have to be formulated in a specific society, and yet are supposed to apply to individuals who, at most, have had contact with an individual that lives in this society. He never has to go anywhere near the jurisdiction of that society and yet is subject to detainment and restitution by its property owners. This will not solve conflicts but create them.

As a breach of ethical behavior, IP laws are definitively anti-social and work against the progression of society. You can only make a utilitarian case for IP laws if you take it on yourself to define what the value of innovation is. Even if there were more innovation with IP than without (which would not always be the case) this still does not establish a utilitarian case because innovation competes with production of other goods and you are not in a position to say that society is “better off” with more innovation and correspondingly less of some other good.

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 12:06 am

“However, you conveniently ignore that sans-IP protection, the smaller organizations will quickly be overwhelmed by larger ones using traditional monopoly practices.”

I already addressed this. This does not hurt innovators it just tells them who to work for: the “larger ones”.

Furthermore, I don’t know what you are talking about when you say “traditional monopoly practices”. The only kind of monopoly is government and its corporate extensions. If this is your basis for arguing that innovators are hurt without IP, then it is not an anti-IP case but an anti-government case. With the monopoly gone the problem evaporates.

Dave Narby January 11, 2011 at 12:18 am

“I already addressed this. This does not hurt innovators it just tells them who to work for: the “larger ones”.”

Ahh… It finally comes out.

Just work for the *larger* corporation, eh?

You just proved one of my points, thanks!

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 12:29 am

Which would be…

Seriously, I don’t know what you are referencing here: bigger companies can pay innovators more and give them access to more technology and capital, increasing their capacity to innovate. Higher wages for innovators and more tools to innovate both lead to an increase in innovation. In other words, your whole thesis is disproven. If that proves “one of your points” then you are being self-contradictory.

sweatervest January 11, 2011 at 1:05 am

I find the intellectual dishonesty here almost despicable. Stand in silence, listen to your thesis get torn apart, and then quip, “Aha! You just proved my point! Thank you and goodnight!”

Well, then, you did a fantastic job of convincing yourself of something you already believed. You are a master debater, sir!

Dave Narby January 13, 2011 at 2:58 am

My point being that one of the consequences of removing patent protection is the smaller companies would have their IP appropriated by those who have a marketing and production advantage, and would soon be out of business.

Thanks!

sweatervest January 13, 2011 at 3:04 am

That doesn’t lead to less innovation!! Just because innovation is coming out of the R%D departments of a small number of large firms (or even one) doesn’t mean there will be less innovation.

You are engaged in a non-sequitur because your whole point in saying what you said is to establish that innovation would be less without IP. Then you all of a sudden switch the argument to say that there would be fewer and larger firms producing goods based on those innovations. They have nothing to do with each other.

My point is that innovation will increase without IP, which I have argumentatively justified and you have failed to address.

Dave Narby January 13, 2011 at 3:19 am

But it then necessarily forces inventors to work for the large corporations.

Now all your innovation is coming from large corporations, and they decide what gets produced, and what doesn’t.

You seriously don’t see the problem here?

sweatervest January 13, 2011 at 3:29 am

“But it then necessarily forces inventors to work for the large corporations.”

Fantastic. I already gave two reason for why this would increase innovation: innovators can be paid higher wages and have access to advanced technology to more expediently work out their creations.

“Now all your innovation is coming from large corporations, and they decide what gets produced, and what doesn’t.”

At least in the absence of monopoly (government) a business absolutely does not get to decide unanimously what it is going to produce if it wants to survive the fiscal year. In fact, the larger a business gets and the more people they try to please, the more they burdened they will be to figure out exactly what the most people are willing to pay the most for, and take whatever measures they think will lead their creative consultants to answer the needs of the consumers, not the needs of the business.

Wal-Mart doesn’t decide for itself what it sells. Yes, it is of course their decision what to sell but they are constrained by the need to continue profiting. With this criterion, they cannot just pick and choose at will what to sell. They have to listen very closely to the consumers (how they actually do that and how well is a different problem) in order to stay in business.

A multitude of small businesses does not necessarily satisfy the needs of consumers better. In fact, in a free market if a market evolves to contain only a few or even just one large firm, that mus be because, for whatever reason, a few or one firm is satisfying the needs of consumers better than more small firms did. If any of these large producers attempted to become the “monopolist” and start ignoring the demands of consumers, they merely beg other businessmen to enter that market and drive them out of business.

“You seriously don’t see the problem here?”

No Austrian economist would. An Austrian understands that it is totally erroneous to think that a private, productive firm is “in control” of what people get to buy. It is the concept of consumer sovereignty.

Sione January 13, 2011 at 3:29 am

Narby

What you randomly happen to believe is irrelevant to reality or to fact. It is disappointing to witness you debasing yourself by employing a non-essential (you don’t like my name) to evade dealing with the fundamentals of the topic under investigation here. The intellectual deficiency is yours.

I own two businesses outright and have interests in others (reread my comments regarding building a network of capabilities for projects- Note: it takes decades to build it up properly).

Patentable devices must display inventive step and novelty. I’ve developed (but not patented) devices which are patentable (they satisfy all the requirements). Examples include:
High-speed proportional valving means
Ultra-high-speed proportional valving means
Rapid action door (+3 m/s)
Means of detecting leaks in pressurised gas cylinders on a filling line in an explosive environment
Semi-active, low bandwith vehicle suspension
Self-cambering vehicle suspension
Railcar
Means of eliminating roll-moment for a turning vehicle (two methods)
Surface decoupled high-speed marine vessel
Single-turn steering mechanism with reduced on-centre gain
Cylinder block (several types)
Means of providing non-deadband brake-pedal feel
Ground effect device
Electric drive and motor
CVT transmission, electric type
Pneumatic sealing device
Jig (numerous)
A tyre

There are others (over three decades technical experience so far). Some of these items are still being produced. One is about to enter production (or will as soon as agreements are executed). One needs much more work to get it to work right.

This is silly: “However, you conveniently ignore that sans-IP protection, the smaller organizations will quickly be overwhelmed by larger ones using traditional monopoly practices.”

Had you bothered to undertake even a basic reading of libertarian literature you’d have learnt that a commerical monopoly can ONLY exist where a government awards it and protects it. Patents are a creaure of government. Think on it before you next contradict yourself.

Anyway, the reality is that the patent system is primarily intended to promote and protect the interests of large, well connected (to government) organisations. For an example of what can and does occur a ripping good read is “Patient Zero”. The patent is the device employed to eliminate the little guy. Check it out.

More silliness: “So you’re going to get your monopoly, whether you want it or not, unless you regulate it (FYI monopoly regulation is one of the hallmarks of a free society).”

I don’t want a monopoly. Neither should you.

As far as monopoly regulation of the type you idealise is concerned, none is required. Again, you are contradicting yourself. Regulation, a hallmark of freedom! That is really silly. You do need to do some basic reading and research to straighten yourself out!

I note from comments on other threads that you consider communism a good ideological system for Man. Given that you are some sort of collectivist you are likely beyond the reach of sanity, let alone honesty.

I’m sure you’ll try to argue these points (and do so if you wish), but I’m not interested in what you think, I’m simply providing factual information for anyone else who happens across this – I have no illusions of being able to sway you one way or the other.

Sione

Dave Narby January 13, 2011 at 11:15 am

I have a friend who I frequently discuss electric car designs with. So I have strong interest in some of those devices, specifically the electric drive and motor/CVT transmission.

Since they are for sale, why do you not provide a link? Nobody here would mind.

If they are not actual products, but only designs, why not post the CAD designs (or whatever you have) somewhere?

“Had you bothered to undertake even a basic reading of libertarian literature you’d have learnt that a commerical monopoly can ONLY exist where a government awards it and protects it.”

First off, all monopolies in free societies are regulated.

Second off, IP expires. Commercial monopolies, by design, do not. Also, commercial monopolies absolutely can exist without government (they require force, which historically has been applied).

“Anyway, the reality is that the patent system is primarily intended to promote and protect the interests of large, well connected (to government) organisations. ”

This is true of the larger regulatory system (at least in the US), and why I lobby for reform of that system, *including the IP system*. But I do not advocate completely eliminating either.

And like you, I’m not thinking I’m going to sway you here, I’m just providing factual information for anyone else who happens across it.

Sione January 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Narby

You owe a sincere apology. Where do you get off being as rude as you have been and then pretending an interest in my work?

The CVT is part of a materials handling system. Other applications, such as in a vehicle where the interesting possibility of assymetric torque across an axle pair, are possible. The device is not a prime mover and it is not suited to an electric car. Presently there are two machines operating with four devices each. They have been running for two years, although I had the idea long before. There are other applications and they remain possible in the future should the opportunity arise. Of course, were I to disclose the detail to you, then I am giving you free advice and assistance. I won’t be going to the effort of setting up a website, placing solid models on it and giving out the link for some contemptible degenerate I happened into on the web. Not in my best interest to do that.

Now that is a lesson for your rude inexperienced mind to attempt to grasp. No-one owes you anything for free. The CVT (and other the devices, schemes, work methods, plans, business arrangements, contacts and associates, financial arrangements, templates, administrative methods, agreements etc.) form part of a group of solutions I employ as appropriate. I certainly am not about to give ANY of this as free assistance to the likes of you. Were I to select you as a collaborator or as client that would be a different matter (and you would be charged for the priviledge), but as you have already demonstrated that you are uncivil and lack integrity there is no way I’d work with you or for you. See, this is an example of how one builds up one’s network of clients, assocaites and collaborators- discard the worthless and untrustworthy, keep the valuable and those of integrity and capability (it takes some years).

Further point you may care to consider. Much of the work an independent practitioner engages in is subject to agreement, deed or contract. There are usually confidentiality and non-compete clauses included within these documents. There are solid commercial reasons for that. Think on it.

“First off, all monopolies in free societies are regulated.”

False. Again, you need to do some basic readings to rid yourself of this error.

“…and why I lobby for reform of that system, *including the IP system*. But I do not advocate completely eliminating either.”

Which is why the challenge to you is, as stated on the related thread, to develop your system of IP and present it with every step of the necessary validation (along with all supporting evidence). If you are unable to do that, then you have nothing of value to contribute to the debate regarding IP as property.

Sione

Dave Narby January 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Was I rude? Then I apologize. This is a rough crowd (and I have difficulty getting straight answers without a lot of teeth-pulling, if I get them all), so perhaps It’s rubbing off on me.

You say you don’t believe in IP, but you also don’t want anybody you don’t like to potentially profit off your intellectual labor. Curious.

Regarding monopolies: Name one monopoly in a free society that is unregulated.

With regards for reforming the current IP system, there are many commonsense places to start (removal of draconian penalties for music sharing, etc.).

Do you really want to entertain a serious discussion about how to reform the IP system? If so, you would be the first here (no joke!).

Jason Gordon January 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I’m willing to entertain a serious explanation of your proposed IP system reforms.

The floor is yours (no joke!).

Peter Surda January 14, 2011 at 2:53 am

Dave,

You say you don’t believe in IP,

Well, I can’t speak for Sione, but if I my position was described like this I would protest. Whether I believe in IP or not is irrelevant. Indeed, where did I ever claim that I don’t believe in IP? Nowhere. My sole claim from the beginning is that the IP proponents are making self-contradictory claims. That’s all. You don’t want to fix the contradictions and instead live in the world of fantasy? Fine, but then don’t pretend you’re arguing.

Sione January 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Dave

I don’t believe there has been a valid argument for “IP as property” presented.

I don’t have a problem with other people profiting off my labour. That’s why I trade it for money.

As with any independent practitioner I am in competition with others. Competitve advantages include speed (first to market, adaptibility, ability to build up expert project team and integrate necessary functions, flexibility etc), specific knowledge and skills (or where to find them fast), confidentiality (with clients, colleagues, know how, financial data, marketing information), experience, close relationship with clients and so on. It makes no sense to give away competitve advantage. Hence I wouldn’t be informing a competitor who my clients are, or where a new project opportunity exists or how I see a market is developing. That is the nature of the business.

Threats for an independent, such as me, include the possiblity that someone else identifies the same opportunity as me, works out how to address it and gets to the client before I do. Should they be able to put the project to bed first, then I am out. I lose that business. That is the nature of the game. As a consequence I’m not about to do ANYTHING that allows or even helps a competitor to sneak by. That includes not showing design solutions and methods unless necessary- let alone the sources and references and methods that generated them. I certainly won’t be sharing the details of my network of suppliers, colleagues, service providers etc. I won’t share financial data and marketing info for similar reason. Much of it is public domain and none of it is owned. Makes no difference, it isn’t about to be broadcast by me.

Don’t help the competition for free. They are well able to take care of themselves.

Name one free society.

What I’d be interested in is a detailed exposition and validation of the notion of “IP is property”.

Sione

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