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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17228/hayek-contra-copyright-laws/

Hayek Contra Copyright Laws

June 8, 2011 by

In his brilliant article on “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” Friedrich Hayek suggests a strong causal connection between copyright laws and socialism. In discussing the development of the intellectual class, whom he characterizes as “secondhanders in ideas” and inherently inclined to promote socialism, Hayek writes:

One of the most important points that would have to be examined in such a discussion would be how far the growth of this [intellectual] class has been artificially stimulated by the law of copyright.

However, in a footnote he goes on to express doubt that an open debate on this issue could take place in a society in which the intellectual class itself controls the media:

It would be interesting to discover how far a seriously critical view of the benefits to society of the law of copyright, or the expression of doubts about the public interest in the existence of a class which makes its living from the writing of books, would have a chance of being publicly stated in a society in which the channels of expression are so largely controlled by people who have a vested interest on the existing situation.

So yet another benefit of the abolition of copyright laws may very well be a liquidation of the professional intellectual class that defends and propagandizes for the American Welfare-Warfare State.

{ 272 comments }

Jeffrey Tucker June 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Fantastic find! and great point too. Hayek was extremely prescient here.

Stephan Kinsella June 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm
Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm

BS. If it were not for copyright protection anyone could reproduce and sell my photographs. Doing away with copyright protection takes my work and gives it to the masses, depriving me of the fruits of my labor. That sounds like socialism to me.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

That sounds like socialism to me.

like how some people’s view of the world is so distorted that using the government to protect certain very specific jobs to the detriment of everybody else is capitalistic, but believing in freedom and espousing effectiveness of free markets is socialist.

Most photographers I know are paid to take photographs. As in they are commissioned to take photographs for advertising purposes, portraits, or to document important social events. None of that requires any sort of copyrights.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

A commercial photographer licenses the use of his intellectual property via contract for specific uses and for specific lengths of time. If it were not copyrighted it could be used by the client and anyone to whom the client makes it available.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

And if that ended up meaning that photographers stopped getting paid, people would stop taking photographs, the supply of photography would dry up, and those demanding photos would be forced to pay people to be photographers.

Either that, or there would be enough of a supply of free photography that exists without profiting the photographers, in which case you are demanding to be paid for something that should not be paid for. It would akin to demanding people pay you for sunlight.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

No. I only want to be paid for the images I create. I do not want to be paid for other photographers images and I am in search of the means to keep others from profiting from my work if I can determine how to keep those profits for myself.

G8R HED June 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Sign your originals.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm

“I do not want to be paid for other photographers images”

I never said that. The point is, if there are enough photos to go around that are taken for free and the photographers are not paid, then how could you reasonably expect to be paid to take photos, or paid for people using your photos? If no one else is, then why should you? If you put something on the internet or somewhere where it may be copied without trespassing on your physical property, how are you justified to forcefully stop them from doing so?

Furthermore, what could it possibly mean to say a photo itself is owned by someone? Does that mean no one else is allowed to take their camera to the same spot and take the same photo? This seems as absurd to me as thinking when I stumble on a chord progression on a guitar I claim ownership over that chord sequence itself. So, what, I can forbid anyone from laying their fingers down in that pattern on their guitars?

If people are, in general, getting paid to take photos, then there is nothing to complain about.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

“to keep others from profiting from my work”

Do you pay royalties to the heir of the person who first thought to use language to convey ideas? Cause if not, you’re profiting from his work.

We all profit from each others’ work. That there is something wrong with that seems pretty crazy to me. Not profiting is very different from having what you already own taken away. You would not be here sharing your ideas if it were not for the actions of countless people, both now and in the past, and you don’t give a dime to any of them. The profits you make from whatever you do can be made only by the actions of far more people than just you.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

It’s not necessary.

Most people working under situations with contracts sign away their copyrights anyways. This goes for programmers, writers, artists, and most other commercial work that generates copyrightable material.

Photographers that I’ve known to work for advertising campaigns took photographs that were specific enough that it would be silly to think that there was a market for it beyond the immediate use. Either that or the photographs they took contained trademarked material and couldn’t sell rights to their photos even if they wanted to.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Only if creator does not value his work sufficiently to make use of the services of a competent attorney.

J Cortez June 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Or if the creator understands that copying is not a bad thing and that using resources trying to keep others from copying is waste of not only the creator’s time but also the copier’s.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm

If you say so. I never went into any details on the contracts of the photographers I’ve known. As far as the rest of the professions I mentioned I know more about the specific legal practices and such and know your dead wrong.

Most of photographers I know made money mostly from portraiture and social events (weddings, for example). The idea that any of them would bar their customers from being able to copy any of the photographs they took for them is a bit bizarre.

The only ‘big deal’ photographer I knew would spend months at a time flying around doing photo shoots for this or that advertising campaign. Then the rest of the time was spent stamping out thousands and thousands of slides and just poring through them looking for proper photograph with clients. He worked under commission and it’s very difficult to imagine that he would bother trying to resell anything of his.

I suppose if you are making your living selling stock photography to random potential buyers your profession would simply have to change somewhat under contract law. You’d have your portfolio of photos, of which you would post a sample of them online.

If prospective clients were interested in your work then you would have them agree to a contract prior to allowing access to your portfolio. The contract would be something like this:

“I am giving you access to my portfolio of photographs that you can purchase from me. You are not to copy them or provide them to anybody else under any purpose. If you want to use a specific photo then it will cost you XXX amount of dollars. If you break this contract and use my portfolio without my permission then you will pay treble the cost of each photograph. If you want exclusive use of a photo then you would pay YYY amount of dollars and I’ll remove it from my portfolio”

Something like that is perfectly possible without copyrights. Under a working Ancap society then it would actually be far easier to get real restitution for people violating your contracts. The idea is that you back contracts up with insurance that would pay out regardless of a client. Client being insured would be a requirement to enter into most, if not all, business agreements.

Just try suing somebody for violating the copyrights and see how much money you make back from that. It’s one thing to talk about protections, but it’s quite another to try to put it into practice.

Really the lack of copyright wouldn’t affect the vast majority of people that create material that is copyright-able. They would have to change standard practices a bit, but for the most part it is less important then most people assume it is. People that would be really out on lack of copyright would be people like book authors and programmers who write shrink-wrapped consumer style software (which is going to be less then 10% of programmers out there).

For example: Music. For the vast majority of my life and the life of everybody here we listened to music royalty free over the radio. We never paid a dime for it yet we heard music from the radio all our lives. And neither did the radio stations. Radio stations don’t pay royalties for the music they play. In fact often the publishers pay the radio stations to play certain songs, which is technically illegal for some flagrantly idiotic reason. And only the ‘mega’ artists (people that have been around long enough to have gone through several contracts) really make significant money from album sales. If you spend 10 dollars on a CD the royalties received by the actual artists is just pennies.. and many times not even that. They make the vast majority of their money from live appearances.

The people that would really get hammered is the publishing industry. Most of those guys would be out of a job, or at least see their profession change massively.

Copyright was never really about protecting individuals or artists, it’s mostly a tool for big publishers.

Dale Matthews June 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Help me with this one:

I take a picture. I put a low resolution copy of my picture on my website. Under that picture on my website I have a caption which says I will sell you a 30 x 40 canvas of that picture for a bunch of money.

A person, whom I shall call Mr. Theef, sees my website and says to himself, “WoW! That is the best picture I have ever seen. I bet a lot of people would pay a bunch of money for that picture!”

So Mr. Theef gets a screen capture of my picture, has several canvas prints made at Costco and takes them to the local art fair and sells them for a bunch of money.

If society were structured as you would like are Mr. Theef’s actions acceptable and have I as the original artist been harmed?

Duke of Anarchy June 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Yes, his actions are acceptable.

You have not been “harmed” unless you lose sales as a result. If you do lose sales, then in a sense you have been “harmed”, but that’s just tough. You don’t own your expected future profits.

augusto June 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

“A commercial photographer licenses the use of his intellectual property via contract for specific uses and for specific lengths of time. If it were not copyrighted it could be used by the client and anyone to whom the client makes it available.”

If there’s a contract, there’s a contract. No need for copyright legislation. If your client disrespects the contract, then sue him.

Bob June 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

How can you sue him if there is no legislation, it wouldn’t be illegal?

coturnix19 June 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

That is the nature of nature itself. Nature favors capitalism in material possessions but socialism in information. It is a fact as disprovable as the second law of thermodynamics. You just gonna have to live with it. Because both material and intellectual property exists in the same domain, like for example your computer is physical property and at the same time it is intellectual, not you nor anyone else can enforce both phys. and int. property – they simply contradict one another. Therefore, you have to choose. And no, intellectual property does not contradict to @material@ socialism. In soviet union, access to copying machines was quite restricted (possibly cause they had very few of them).

Stephan Kinsella June 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Socialism is about the centralized ownership of the means of production. It has nothing to do with who “owns” the “fruits” of your “labor”. This is all metaphor run wild.

vcif June 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

@Dale

I wonder how “they” would get your photographs in order to profit from them.

If you sold the photos to “them”, then why could you not have a private contract regarding use and distribution including penalty clauses for violation of the contract. This has nothing to do with copyright, per se.

If you are putting them up on the internet on your web page, for example, then there are two issues to consider.
1)if you want to keep them private then don’t do that
2)simply because you choose to ignore 1 and don’t have a way to “protect” your photos from copying and redistribution, doesn’t mean that the force of the state should be used against others.

Basically, you have no way to prevent others from copying your work which you refuse to keep private, so you want to use the socialized police apparatus of the state to punish others for the percieved violation of copying.

Andrei Mincov June 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm

He could password protect the files and only make the password available to those who explicitly accept terms of use.

This is precisely what copyright laws do: they dispense with the requirement to have users explicitly agree to certain terms.

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

If you are actually practicing IP law, I’m surprised you think this, since it is completely incorrect. IP law does not simulate contract. It binds third parties. That is the essence of IP. It binds third parties whom the originator did not and never could have made a contract with.

Andrei Mincov June 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

it DOES simulate contract, because the reason third parties come into contact with an author’s works is that the author created the work and made it available to someone else.

IP laws dispense with the requirements of privity of contract and create a bunch of implied terms that allow authors to safely make their works available to the public without having to worry that someone would have a legal right to use their works without the author’s consent.

The fact that IP laws are worded the way they are and that most courts refuse to recognize the underlying contract, does not change anything in how I perceive this.

IP

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

So what? the same is true of facts too. If you make facts known publicly (say, you discover E=mc^2) then people only know of this because of something you did. So what? How does this give you a righe to tell people how they can use their own property guided by information you told them?

In a free society there is no way that a book publisher or movie theater can get people sign away serious rights for life, and agree to pay millions of dollars of damages, for the privilege of reading or seeing a $10 novel or movie.

Moreover, in the field of patents, you are completely wrong (again: I thought you were an “IP lawyer”?) In most cases the person accused of infringing INDEPENDENTLY INVENTS the invention and does NOT learn about it from the patentee (anyway, what the hell is wrong wiht learning and emulating and competing?!)

Peter Surda June 10, 2011 at 6:09 am

Andrei,

… because the reason third parties come into contact with an author’s works is that the author created the work and made it available to someone else.

But you said that causality isn’t a reason for the claim of a violation. Your insistence on contradicting whatever you said previously would be humorous, but apparently you are completely serious.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

@Andrei Mincov June 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Would you agree that the same property rights in IP could be created by contract OR by IP laws?

If so, then the difference is one of transaction costs. Achieving anyting like curernt distribution under IP laws would require huge costs for entering into contracts with each purchaser, as well as the costs of detection and enforcement against those who breach.

The solution to this transaction cost problem is defining IP as a property right, thus despensing with the high, individual transaction costs associated with a contracting system.

Is this similar to what you are saying?

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

No you cannot make up IP from contract. NOt at all.

And we libertarians don’t talk about “transaction” costs or this ridiculoust Coasian statist nonsense.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Play King of the Mountain much?

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm

See my comment below to MS. You just restated my summary of the anti-IP position.

You simply ignore the economics of production for external economies.

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Wildberry,

You simply ignore the economics of production for external economies.

You simply ignore the logic that arguments require. To paraphrase Mr. Spock, economics must not give way to logic.

David June 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I’m almost convinced that Wildberry is trolling this place hard. Nobody could be that inconsistent and confused without effort.

Dale Matthews June 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

That is why you do not see my best work on the web. :)

However, if we as a society can agree that stealing my images from my website without paying for them violates my property rights then I can make my for sale property, my photographic images, available for the enrichment of more viewers and support myself.

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I doubt this is true, but even if it is–this is the choice you face: disclose it, for whatever gain you get, but then you reveal it publicly and open yourself up to competition, or keep it secret, but unable to profit off of it. as Benjamin TUcker said–you want your invention to yourself? Fine, keep it to yourself. but if you sell a new mousetrap don’t go whining if people start competing with and emulating you. that’s called the free market. It’s astounding some people canot see this–such is the power of state law to corrupt and muddle thinking. If we had never had no IP law none of this would occur to you.

BTW you see that we DO now have a world of copyright and you are still afraid to “release your best stuff”. So…. I guess it’s pointless. It’s like the war on drugs: it does not achieve its aim but in the meantime it destroys lots of lives and property.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I have heard of this false dichotomy before: choose between not participating in the market by keeping your production to yourself, or not particfipating in the market because the first time you disclose something for any reason, you have released it to the public domain.

Not surprisingly, there are alternatives; one is to define limited property rights in those so-called intellectual products, and you get wide distribution, internal economes, and incentives to produce. Good thing Kinsella’s choices are not the only options!

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Wildberry,

Not surprisingly, there are alternatives

No, there are only two options: free trade or violence. Shifting the boundaries of property does not create a third option, it merely shifts the meaning of words vis-a-vis each other.

Same old fairy tale to compensate for your lack of logic. You just make up things which logically correspond to an empty set, and then build your whole house of cards based on that.

Andrei Mincov June 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Peter,

Free taking of results of my creative work does NOT equal free market.

My insistence on you complying with the terms upon which I am offering the results of my creative work to the public does NOT equal violence.

Peter Surda June 10, 2011 at 2:31 am

Andrei,

Free taking of results of my creative work does NOT equal free market.

You continue to miss the point and produce illogical reactions. Did I say in the post you react to that free taking of results of your creative work equals free market? No, I did not. Rather I was pointing out that depending on the definition of property (assuming 100% coverage of actions) either such an action is in accordance or in violation of property rights. If you shift the meaning of property, you are just moving the actions between those two classifications, just like when you have two disjunct sets.

IP confusists like you base their claims on the assumption (although never explicitly formulated) that without IP there are actions which are uncovered by property rights (“public property”, “communism” and so on). I refuted this claim many times. The best reaction you can do is that it’s nonsense. That only underscores that you do not comprehend your own claims and think that ethics takes precedence over logic.

Of course, there is also a problem that you refuse to define the the actual dividing line (or, more precisely, continue to do that in a self-contradictory manner), but that is only of secondary importance with regards to your latest reaction.

Matthew June 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Pictures are physical property, not intellectual property.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Pictures only exist as a collection of 1′s and 0′s until the photographer interprets and publishes them. Once printed a picture becomes physical, but just like a book it remains the creator’s intellectual property methinks.

J Cortez June 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

But the creator’s imaginary property can be copied and copied again leaving the original copy intact.

My head, my print/book, my hard drive, are mine because property rights are a natural outcome of scarce, tangible goods. With ideas, whether they are in biochemical form in our heads, solid form in our hands, or electrical/magnetic form on our hard drives, we are talking about non-tangible non-scarce goods.

To correctly say something was stolen, the original piece of imaginary property would have to have gone missing when it came into contact with somebody other than the creator. But in the scenario we’re talking about, the original is left untouched and unblemished, so calling somebody a pirate/criminal/thief just doesn’t follow.

Iain June 9, 2011 at 12:14 am

Not all pictures, some are still created in dark rooms.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Let’s say I create an image of a pretty flower. Further let’s say I post a low resolution sample of that image on a website advertising it for sale. People may order copies of my image in various sizes, with or without frames. That image is protected by copyright. If another person captures that image, prints it and offers it for sale he has stolen from me.

Lucas M Engelhardt June 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I’m not sure that he has.

In the words of Nina Paley: When I steal your bicycle, you have to take the bus. But, if I just copy it, there’s one for each of us.

So, this “thief” – what did you previously have at your disposal that he deprived you of? You don’t “own” the potential market (if you did, anyone who refuses to buy your product is a thief!). So, what did he steal exactly?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm

He stole my intellectual property. If I make bicycles and sell them I profit from my work. If you also make bicycles and sell them we compete for market share. If you, without my permission, take my bicycles and sell them you are a thief.

Shay June 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

What if I make bicycles just like yours out of my own property, rather than steal all yours?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Welcome to the free market.

J Cortez June 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

“Welcome to the free market.”

How is it free if people aren’t allowed to use their scarce, tangible property as they see fit? That sounds rather unfree, actually.

Maria June 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Well, if you use a copyrighted/patented design to create the same bicycles, then yes, that is theft of intellectual property.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

No, he’s not a thief. You’d be a thief if you tried to confiscate his physical property because he used an idea of yours. If there is ever a vacuous claim of ownership this would be it.

Welcome to the free market. :)

Lucas Engelhardt June 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm

It’s still not clear to me what the picture “thief” stole, precisely.

Let’s look at the bicycle example, to figure out where the theft occurred. I think it’s fair to say that the theft didn’t happen when the thief sold the bicycles. (Otherwise, if someone takes something of mine and doesn’t sell it, it’s not theft. I think we agree that selling the item isn’t what makes the thing “theft”.) The theft occurred when the thief took the bicycles away from you. Now the thief has the bicycles and you do not – and this happened without your permission.

What about the capture/print/sale of the picture?

If the sale isn’t the “theft” with bicycles, it shouldn’t be for the picture, either. So, if a theft occurs, it happens during the capture/print process. But, nowhere in that process does the “thief” take the picture away from you. You still have it, and can do whatever you like with it. (Though it might be harder to sell your copies – but isn’t that’s the nature of all competition?) So, it can’t be that the picture was what was stolen. So what was? What was it that you had before that now the thief has and you do not? We seem to agree that “market share” wasn’t really “stolen” – because business don’t have any legal or moral claim to a specific market share.

So, I’m left wondering… What was stolen?

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm

@Lucas Engelhardt June 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm

You properly raise the problem of using a specific legal theory as an analogy to a completely different legal theory. It must break down at some point, otherwise there would be no need for separate legal doctrines; i.e. theft and IP infringement.

Theft is the taking and carrying away of the property of another. It is not the carrying away that is being highlighted, but the unauthorized use of another’s property.

In order to take and carry away another’s property, the property rights of the victim must be assumed. Also, theft deals primarily with tangible physical goods. “Theft” of intangible goods generally goes by other names, like misappropriation, insider trading, invasion of privacy, defamation, fraud, etc.

What works about the analogy is the concept of the violation of property rights. Since property rights entitle the owner to exclusive use, any use without consent is a violation of those rights. Theft violates them by transferring possession and use without consent. Infringement violates them by making use without consent, even though the original and copy may still both physically exist. IP laws operate on the limitation of unauthorized use.

By analogy, making use of another’s personal property without consent is theft, and making use of another’s intellectual property without consent is a form of theft called infringement; a violation of the right to exclusive use.

So while you are correct to say that unauthorized use is not necessarily a taking, it is an infringement of property rights, as they are define by IP laws. In property law, property rights in land are a bundle of rights which can be alienated and transferred independently; mineral rights can be sold while possession of the land itself may be retained. IP is also based on the idea bundles of rights, and “sale” of IP is really treated as a license for limited use.

What you are attempting to depend on here is the definition of property such that rights in intangible works (the way copyrights defines the property right) are excluded by definition. This is because some theorists limit the concept of property to “scarce, physical resources”. We could go back and forth on the semantics of scarcity where one could argue that the only thing scarce about a book, say, is the paper and ink, and another could argue that the pattern of expression is scarce and therefore qualifies even under this restricted definition.

However, this is not necessary if you acknowledge that property is a human device, and by convention we can establish property rights however we find useful. Such a theory of property does not depend on natural rights theory, homesteading, or a distinction between tangible and intangible, physical or non-physical. However, good rules of law do depend upon a system of ethics that distinguishes right from wrong, good from bad. There is a relationship between ethical principles, legal rules, and economic policy.

This is why property rules are not arbitrary, and why, even though possible (and a historical fact), slavery is not favored under contemporary property rules; there is a higher ethical principle that distinguishes between human property and other forms of chattel.

So, beyond these concepts, it is misleading to use a bicycle/theft analogy to understand and debate IP beyond a certain point. Analogies are useful, but are for illustration only.

I didn’t intend this to be such a long post, but it seem to be a habit I can’t break.

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

more qeustion-begging. IP “tehft” is NOT the “unauthorized use” of your property–ideas and information are not property. In fact when I act I use my own property. The use is GUIDED BY information, patterns, recipes, but I am not “using” your property at all.

FAIL.

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Wildberry,

This is because some theorists limit the concept of property to “scarce, physical resources”.

I’ll repeat it again and again: if you disagree with such a claim, you need to show an action that does not involve “scarce, physical resources”. Instead you write voluminous claims about nothing.

It is a trivial logical problem. It has nothing to do with economics, philosophy or ethics. Or your feeling of being underappreciated.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

When you make a copy of my book, your use is “guided” by my book?

How Clintonesque. It depends on what the meanig of “guided” is…

“I didn’t copy your book. I merely was guided by the original and with that guidance, I made an exact copy.”

Who’s buying this stuff?

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

“If another person captures that image, prints it and offers it for sale he has stolen from me.”

Oh dear. Forgive me if you are new to this, but why do people think simply stating their position offers it any support? How many times do people have to respond to things like these blog posts with, “No, because of copyright that is stealing”? Yes, it is clear you *think* that is stealing…

Rather than go on the defensive like I usually do, I’ll simply ask why? What reason can you give that such an act is theft?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I am new to this and so far appreciate, and will continue to hope, the discussion remains elucidating and does not degenerate into argumentum ad hominem.

I have a photograph which may be of sentimental and/or historical significance. I would like to sell copies of this photograph to as many people as possible to earn money. Is it the feeling that image belongs to society as a whole or to me? Who, other than me, has the right to profit from my being at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, with the proper judgement, perception and skill to capture and process that image into a reproducible art work?

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

“I am new to this and so far appreciate, and will continue to hope, the discussion remains elucidating and does not degenerate into argumentum ad hominem.”

Well then forgive my frustration, it’s because the same line has been used here over and over. That is of course not your fault.

“Is it the feeling that image belongs to society as a whole or to me?”

What exactly does it mean for an image to “belong” to someone? It can only mean that every physical copy of that thing can be excluded in use by that someone. No one is ever saying that “everyone” should own anything. The whole point is that ownership of an image is meaningless and the issue has always been ownership over physical, scarce goods like recording and playback devices. What is important is that a person’s claim to a recording device based on intellectual property is necessarily at odds with someone else’s claim to that good through homesteading or voluntary trading. So the real question is, can a person lose his property rights through the actions of others, over which he has no control? Can I lose a property right in my tape recorder by the action of someone else?

“Who, other than me, has the right to profit from my being at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, with the proper judgement, perception and skill to capture and process that image into a reproducible art work?”

There is no such thing as a “right to profit”. Such a concept would make all forms of competition on the market unjustifiable. There are only rights to goods whose use implies exclusion, i.e. rivalry.

Artisan June 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I think you make a mistake here: being at that right time in the right place, with the right camera settings might be an expression of your individual genius, but it needs another great mind to see that greatness. Another person might have a totally different reason to look at the work you made (have you heard of Rebbecca Black?). You cannot force the public into the appreciation of your work it seems to me, if you respect human free will. You cannot assume that looking and appreciating is the same thing, and ask thus for payment, based on a superficial behavior (possessing a copy). I believe this should be detrimental to the quality of Art in general.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Well it really doesn’t need a great mind, just an emotional attachment in one with the money to indulge their whims. Since I create the image, it seems to me I should be the one who gets paid for its reproduction. If another photographer, painter, sculpture was in the same place at the same time their interpretation of the scene may also be of value and I may or may not see them as competitors for my market but they are entitled to sell their art and also profit from it if they can find a market.

Looking and appreciating are not the same thing. Purchasing is also an entirely different thing, as is appropriating, stealing and selling.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Just Googled and Youtubed Friday. I’m going to show my age here and admit I prefer Monday Monday by the Mommas and the Pappas. :)

Artisan June 9, 2011 at 3:05 am

Dale, I hope you voiced your dislike of “Friday” on the youtube page. I’m not talking about age, or personal taste really though … but about the fact that with 3 million people you then clicked to say this kind of video is not worth much. At times it was roughly 90% of the voters agreeing, making it the most disliked item of the whole INTERNET. Even my 7 years old kid wanted to push on the “dislike” button.

I’m saying here, the “artwork” of Rebecca black has been “hijacked” by the internet community, and it is questionable that this success (161 million views) still belongs to her. The public is not interested in the artist endorsement here, only in the buzz. People are expressing it seems their right to look at a creation and say “it’s sh..” – what they see in it, has nothing to do with the artist himself. No copyright, freedom of choice.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Dale Mathews:

Buck up. You are in for a rough ride, but your common sense leads you to the right conclusion.

Dale Matthews June 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I must admit it’s been 40 years since I was a sophomore.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Wildberry’s use of peer pressure is simply pathetic.

Stuart Pitt June 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

The copyright doesn’t protect you from theft. It just gives you a chance to prosecute someone who you have discovered plagiarized your work. If you live in California and I live in Maine, there is a pretty good chance that I can steal your image and sell it as my own without you ever finding out I’ve stolen from you. Isn’t that one of the reasons why you post a low res image instead of an unaltered version?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

If copyright were respected I could show better quality images. If the low resolution image is copied and sold as if it were mine it reduces my perceived talent in the market. If it is sold as the sellers it is fraud I would think. But I’m here to learn.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Indeed it may be, but the only person who has a case is the defrauded (he who bought the copy thinking it was yours), not you. You don’t have a property right in your reputation, as that would be akin to controlling the minds of everyone else.

Joel June 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

The only possible way this person has “stolen” from you is if they took your physical copy, thus depriving you of your picture. Making a copy is not the same as stealing, because you still retain possession of your picture. IP is protectionism, and carries all the nasty affects that concern trading in physical goods.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Would you please explain your view of counterfeiting U.S. currency? Should anyone be able to copy and sell it?

augusto June 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

well, given that essentially all of US currency is fraud anyway…

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Non-responsive. Give it a shot.

David June 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

He has not stolen from you because you still possess the image. He has only copied your image. He has perhaps lowered the market price of your original image, but that is different from stealing. He has not stolen anything.

It’s the same as arguing that a person is stealing from you if they build a shoddy house in your neighborhood which subsequently lowers the market price of your house. All he has done is make use of his property in accordance with his will. He is not to be held legally responsible for any fluctuations in the market price of your property. Creating a law to protect the “value” of your house would in effect infringe his right to do as he pleases with his property (and essentially his labor and body), and that’s the same case as your copyright example.

Shay June 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Creating a law to protect the “value” of your house would in effect infringe his right to do as he pleases with his property (and essentially his labor and body), and that’s the same case as your copyright example.

Exactly, and why IP is likened to socialism: what you can do with your real, physical property is subject to the whims of others.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

It is not the same at all. So you are saying if you write a book, arrange to have it published, distributed and sold I may obtain a copy, print and sell it with no payments to you?

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Loaded question, typical argumentative fallacies used to support IP.

The answer to your question is yes. So what?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm

If such were the prevailing opinion there would be little music, art, literature, etc. which has value for the creator so it would not be created. Since art can, has and will in the future sell for large sums of money it would seem to have value. In a socialist state individual property has no value because there is no individual ownership. If limited, individual ownership is required to have value, and if art, music, in my case photography, has value should not that art, music and photography be individually owned? If it is owned is it not theft for it to be used without permission of the owner?

J Cortez June 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Actually, the empirical record shows the exact opposite. When copyrights and patents are weak or non-existent, markets grow much, much more. And this is true in all societies, across all endeavors: pharmaceutical, software, movies, music, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.

For information on this read Michele Boldrin and David Levine’s Against Intellectual Monopoly. It can get a bit dry, but if you want raw data on the bad effects of IP on markets, it’s second to none.

Check out the free version
http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm

Or buy the physical version
http://www.amazon.com/Against-Intellectual-Monopoly-Michele-Boldrin/dp/0521127262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307572168&sr=8-1

Gil June 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

There no more historical basis for anti-I.P. and growth than Hoppe’s notion that Monarchies support free markets moreso than Democracies.

David June 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm

You are on a site in which many people write just for the pleasure of spreading their ideas to others. They do not profit monetarily from any of this, but instead obtain a psychic profit. Most of the writings on the Internet would not exist if it were really true that the only reason people create is for monetary gain.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 8:53 pm

David, it’s not about monetary remuneration of creators. It’s about their right to control the use of the results of their creative efforts.

David June 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I agree, but I was responding in particular to the notion that without IP there would be no art, music, etc produced. It’s nonsense, and there is much evidence to prove this is so.

David June 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm

As clarification, by “I agree” I mean that IP should be debated not in utilitarian arguments, but from a natural rights or property rights basis.

I do not agree that a person has the “right to control the use of the results of their creative efforts” because this necessarily leads to the conclusion that it is acceptable for one person to dictate how others may use their own property in either non-coercive private matters or in voluntary exchanges. It is unlibertarian at its essence.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

@ David June 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm

As clarification, by “I agree” I mean that IP should be debated not in utilitarian arguments, but from a natural rights or property rights basis.

This is Mises.org. Economic poicy is essentially based on utilitarian arguments. Natural rights and property rights are human devices designed to serve some social purpose. Why exclude any form of analysis, since all are part of the organic whole?

Pom-Pom June 11, 2011 at 9:19 pm

andrei> “It’s about their right to control the use of the results of their creative efforts.”

My understanding is that it is actually “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,…” (Art. 1, §8) That is, it is ostensibly for the “general welfare,” that which benefits all. It is not for the creators.

Stephan Kinsella June 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

No, because you still have it. come on. this is easy.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Ideas are free?

Roberto June 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

In the same way, we should ban freedom of speech because socialists spread out their ideas due to this right?!?!?!?
Taking other people’s properties, no matter if physical or intellectual, is violence. This is socialism in pure state.
Come on, try another thing to convence us. Do not use Hayek in vain.

Matthew Swaringen June 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

“Taking” involves something coming into your possession, and out of the possession of another. Copying is not taking.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm

not all property is about physical possession.
and intangible property is not limited to IP.
don’t knowingly confuse the issue.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

“don’t knowingly confuse the issue.”

You just did that. He didn’t say anything about intangibility, he said copying is not taking.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm

yes. rape is also not taking.
punching someone in the face is also not taking.
how does that address the issue whether anyone should be able to use what I create against my will?

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm

“yes. rape is also not taking.”

Oh really? It is not taking control of one’s body away from that person? Well then…

“punching someone in the face is also not taking.”

Okay, but it is damaging someone else’s property. Now explain to me how copying someone’s idea (song, book, etc.) damages anything they own (keeping in mind you don’t own potential future profits).

“how does that address the issue whether anyone should be able to use what I create against my will?”

What makes you think by having an idea you can instruct others, after you reveal it to them, on how they may use it? Where in the world do you derive such a fantastic right over everyone else?

Against your will!? Please, you are the one that shares your ideas and makes them available for copy! The person who has something done to him against his will is the person that has his ability to use his tape recorder, computer, or vocal cords restricted because someone else decided to be creative!

Shay June 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

sweatervest, you just posted against my will. I didn’t want you to post but you did anyway, and have harmed me.

Matthew Swaringen June 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Question begging nonsense.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Did they have plagiarism in your school?

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Does that matter?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

It does if it will help me to understand. :)

There is obviously a jargonistic connotation of taking, theft and stolen here with which I am not familiar. My purpose is to learn, not so much to argue in the ‘us against them’ sense.

If in a classroom situation an examination is being taken and one student observes and copies the words of another this was considered to be wrong. It is analogous, to me, of stealing another’s intellectual property. If the examination was of a competitive nature one copying other’s works defrauds the examining authority of determining actual knowledge of potential candidates and deprives those from whom the answers were ‘taken’ the opportunity to advance in violation of the rules.

I am not interested in getting into all the moral and metaphysical questions this poses. I am interested in understanding if the non-copied test answers are perceived to have value.

Shay June 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Your error seems to be going from something you consider wrong (unauthorized copying) to theft (unauthorized removal of something you own). I gather that you don’t consider calling it unauthorized copying to make it sound as wrong and bad as you perceive it to be, so you label it theft in an attempt to make it seem more dire. It fails, because it draws attention away from what you really want to get across, the economic impact it has on the way you run your business.

Jim June 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Additionally, in your example, there is fraud, because (presumably) the student copying the answers then presents them to the teacher as his/her own.

I think you would find more support here for the idea of “fraud”, rather than “theft”, if your argument implies that someone were to use and sell the image you took as you, instead of selling it as themselves (i.e. they misrepresent to the borrower that they are, in fact, either you or your factor, when in fact they are neither). Still, in this case, the fraud is not against you so much as it is against the person making the purchase under false pretenses.

Stephan Kinsella June 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Re plagiarism: it is not the same as IP infringement. see Richman http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/tgif/slave-labor-and-intellectual-property/

Gil June 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm

First Amendment rights would be rather restricted in a free market because a person needs the permission of the private owner before they speak, print, assemble and practice their religion.

Anthony June 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I’m not sure I follow you… the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to speak, print, assemble, etc. on an other person’s private property. Even today you need permission to do anything on someone else’s property.

On the other hand, the government CURRENTLY prevents you from doing many things, including practicing religion (particularly if the religion involves the use of drugs) even on property that you actually own.

Gil June 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

Roberto seems to think there’s a right to freedom of speech in a free society when in fact a free society would have no public land where someone can avoid private censorship.

Gee, the government forbid crimes being redressed as religious rituals? Alternatively, Libertarians seem to wish the 4th Amendment severely inhibits government enforcement of crime on private property.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

@ Gil June 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm

It is true that the protections of IP work against the First Amendment. This is one way to look at Kinsella’s argument. However, no IP works against private property rights, namely that a producer should enjoy the benefits of his production using his own means.

Therefore, IP is a compromise between these competing rights, and is one justification for limited terms.

Kinsella weights his arguments in favor of First Amendment considerations by denying the legitimacy of property rights in IP. He neglects the externality problem of producing for external economies in the absence of IP.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

“However, no IP works against private property rights, namely that a producer should enjoy the benefits of his production using his own means.”

What’s this, another empty claim with no justification or explanation what-so-ever?

It is plain wrong. To enforce copyright one must interfere with everyone’s use of their private, physical recording devices. To enforce patent one must interfere with a person’s right to transform his own private property into something else based on an idea.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

This is where Hayek was wrong.
In my articles, Copyright and the Great Socialist Degradation (http://mincov.com/articles/index.php/fullarticle/copyright_and_the_great_socialist_degradation/) and Modernization of the Inconceivable (http://mincov.com/articles/index.php/fullarticle/modernization_of_the_inconceivable/), I explain why THE ATTACK AGAINST copyright laws is what constitutes the road to socialism.

In short, there is nothing libertarian or capitalist in the assumption that anyone should have the RIGHT to use something which would not have existed but for the creative effort of someone else AGAINST the creator’s wish.

I do disagree with the current interpretation of copyright laws as laws designed to maintain “a balance of interests between authors and the public”. I argue that interests of the public are IRRELEVANT in the necessity to provide protection to those without whose creative efforts the works may not exist.

Matthew Swaringen June 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm

“that anyone should have the RIGHT to use something which would not have existed but for the creative effort of someone else”
If causality is your basis, did you ask the creators of the individual words of the post that you wrote if they were ok with your use of their words?

“necessity to provide protection to those without whose creative efforts the works may not exist.”
Ok, so they may not exist. So what? They also might not exist if these people were not free to learn from others.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

“In short, there is nothing libertarian or capitalist in the assumption that anyone should have the RIGHT to use something which would not have existed but for the creative effort of someone else AGAINST the creator’s wish.”

Okay, then you have no right to use your body, since you had no hand in its creation, unless your parents wished that you get to use it. What an abysmal failure of a property rights theory.

How many times must the creation = ownership theory be defeated?

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Logic – Use it!
That absence of creation does not equal absence of ownership, does not prove anything in the case of positive creation.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

“Logic – Use it!”

Maybe you should follow your own advice.

“That absence of creation does not equal absence of ownership, does not prove anything in the case of positive creation.”

By your reasoning, you have no right to use the internet without Al Gore’s permission (or whoever it really was), which I assume you got. You also have no right to use the English language without the permission of the heir to the estate of whoever did create the language, so I can only assume you got that permission as well. Did you get permission from the guy who first designed an internet blog, whoever he may be? You use logic quite well.

How many times must the creation implies ownership theory be defeated?

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Yes, I do not have the RIGHT to use the internet other than because whoever created it decided to allow me to use it. If they decided to keep the configuration closed, I could not claim the right to get onto the network.

Languages are not protected by copyright. Argument ad absurdum don’t help you.
Guy who designed an internet blog decided to make it public. Had he patented the idea, he would have been able to stop others from using it. And rightfully so.

Creation implies ownership theory must be defeated once. Unfortunately for you, you failed to do it.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm

And rightfully so.

I have to disagree with you very strongly here.

Creation implies ownership theory must be defeated once. Unfortunately for you, you failed to do it.

In libertarian-land ownership is determined by property rights. Property rights concern physical property. They are created because in order to perform useful human function on physical property you have to have exclusive control over that particular physical item.

The example I use is a spoon. Say you live in a community that has some ‘communal spoon’ that you all share. You can say that everybody owns it, but in order to use it you must be the only person to possess and control that spoon for a period of time. No two people can use the spoon at the same time. Property rights is how we determine who has the moral right to be able to use that spoon versus the rest of the planet.

Under this perception of the universe theft implies removal of your ability to utilize something. That is if I ‘steal’ the spoon then you are denied use of the spoon.

There is no such deny function in copyright violation. If you have a book, sell it to Jack, and I copy the book from Jack using a photocopier with his permission, then I have a copy, Jack has a copy, and you have a copy. I have not taken away anything from anybody. Everybody still has full use of their copy and nothing was lost.

Your concept of IP theft is predicated on your belief that if somebody copied your photo in a unauthorized manner then it would deny your ability to make money through that act of copying. For the vast majority of copying this is not true… the person who made a unauthorized copy never had any intention of paying you for the photo regardless. So you cannot say that in that act you actually lost anything. You still have your photo, you lost no money, nothing was denied to you, and nothing was taken from you.

And anyways there is no ‘right’ to profitability in a completely free market. The only rights you have under this sect of libertarian dogma is your property rights. That is not to say you wouldn’t have have obligations. Especially under contracts, which are considered sacred here.

Matthew Swaringen June 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

“Languages are not protected by copyright.”
But you’ve taken the position of copyright supposedly not for the utilitarian reasons the government took it, but as you said yourself “I argue that interests of the public are IRRELEVANT in the necessity to provide protection”

This would normally mean you view copyright as inalienable right, and so sticking to what the government does serves you not at all. You must be able to establish a viable theory of intellectual property that isn’t self-contradictory. You had defined causality (creation) as that criterion to this point, but now you are going back on that by saying it only applies to copyrighted material to avoid a reductio ad absurdum. Now you need to provide a viable reason why and when a certain collection of ideas becomes property.

Good luck with that.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I created a photographic image. I had it printed as a 24″ x 36″ canvas. It hangs on my wall. I will sell copies of that image for $1,500 with the understanding it not be reproduced. If a visitor to my home sees it and accepts my offer we trade. If he shows it to a friend and the friend wishes to purchase a copy from me we can trade. If the first purchaser creates copies of the image he purchased from me, in violation of our contract, and sells them for $10 a copy I lose the opportunity to make a living from my art. If the society in which i live recognizes my right to profit from my work I am appreciative. If the society in which I live has no such recognition I can only hope it is a true anarchy. Because that frees me to use force to protect my livelihood.

David June 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

“If the society in which i live recognizes my right to profit from my work I am appreciative.” – Dale Matthews

What does it mean for you to profit? I assume you mean monetary profit, so all of my uses of the term profit will be in this sense from here out.

What decides the value of a good to be sold? The answer is the subjective valuations of the consumer. A “right to profit from your work” implies the right to either force another to buy your work (involuntary exchange: immoral), or the ability to force another person’s subjective valuations of your work to change (impossible unless persuaded voluntarily), thus you do not have a right to profit from your work. You have a right to attempt to sell your work for whatever price you see fit, but if nobody is willing to buy it at the minimum price possible for you to make a profit, you have no right to force them to buy it.

Colin Phillips June 9, 2011 at 2:53 am

Dale Matthews,

Firstly, I want to thank you for maintaining a civil tone and an open mind. I can tell that you’re not 100% convinced by the libertarian argument against IP yet, but that you’re willing to investigate the idea fully, which is very commendable.

I just want to point out a sticky issue that caught me out when I first discovered libertarianism. You said:

“If the first purchaser creates copies of the image he purchased from me, in violation of our contract, and sells them for $10 a copy I lose the opportunity to make a living from my art.”

That is true, but notice that you are not actually talking about copyright here – you’re talking about contracts. The contract could be something silly, you could sell your neighbour an apple at a certain price on condition that he never wears pink shoes. If he then wore pink shoes, he would be in violation of contract, because he broke a condition that you and he mutually agreed upon. However, if your neighbour on the other side did not buy the apple, and he chooses to wear pink shoes, then because he did not agree to that condition beforehand, and he did not initiate force against you in order to wear pink shoes, he has done no wrong (except maybe in the fashion sense).

So, you’re right that if you had sold an image under contract to someone, and they broke the conditions of that contract, then they would be doing wrong, and you would lose out on potential income (which is not to say that you have a “right” to that income). But you don’t need copyrights to know that, you just need the contract. If you are smart, you can build penalties for breach of contract into the contract.

So, your example does not serve as support for copyrights, only for contracts.

Again, thanks for putting in the effort.

nate-m June 9, 2011 at 2:55 am

If the society in which i live recognizes my right to profit from my work I am appreciative.

There is no such right, there never was, and there will never be any. Think about it… a person performs labor and therefore they have a ‘right’ to be paid? What labor?

Who, specifically, is required to compensate me for my labor? Any labor? If I dig a ditch in my back yard then are you required to compensate me?

Or is it just your creative labor? What if it sucks? Am I still required to make your labor profitable?

Ergo there is no such right. Many people spend much of their time engaging in labor that ends up not only not making money, but is so unprofitable that it causes bankruptcy.

in violation of our contract

If you had a contract then that is legitimate under laissez faire anarchy-style capitalism. If they violate your contract then they are required to compensate you under the terms of your contract.

In this situation copyright is not only redundant, but potentially conflicts with your ability to seek compensation.

If the society in which I live has no such recognition I can only hope it is a true anarchy. Because that frees me to use force to protect my livelihood.

You would get smashed.

The only way that approach would work is if you gang up with other people to extort payments from the population under pain of imprisonment or death. And that, actually (and unfortunately) works. You can see evidence of this in every state government on the planet.

Oh, and congratulations and thanks for threatening to kill people in order to make sales of your printed canvases profitable. That makes it a lot easier to show people the true nature of IP when you strip away it’s many facades of legitimacy and show the realities behind it’s function.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

@ Colin Phillips June 9, 2011 at 2:53 am

Contracts and copyrights coexist. For example, an author, protected by copyrights, makes a contract with the publisher.

Also, you can essentially recreate IP law through contracts. If you understand that property is a human device, you can see why it is advantages to reduce transaction costs by maknig IP a property right.

Dale Matthews June 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I tend to not like the use of force. However, if you come into my house, uninvited and begin to deprive me of my property I am likely to shoot you.

I have no intention to use force to maintain the free market price of my photographs. If there are no buyers at my asking price I will make changes either to my marketing efforts, my pricing structure or the style of the photographs in order to better match the market with my products. I employ no coercion to induce the purchase.

In a lawless society if you steal my property I must use force to defend myself against your attack or give you authority. I produce photographs and I consider them to be my property. Do you suggest one not defend one’s property?

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Dale, information is not property. You IP guys always beg teh question.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

@Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Dale, information is not property. You IP guys always beg teh question.

And you ancap guys always assume your conclusion and conflate the meaning of IP.

IP is not ideas, information or patterns. One of the hallmarks of civilization is the abilty to distinguish one thing from another.

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Wildberry,

IP is not ideas, information or patterns. One of the hallmarks of civilization is the abilty to distinguish one thing from another.

Same fallacy again and again. You assert something which is logically an empty set, refuse to demonstrate that it is not, and instead build your argument upon that.

You know, repeating a lie does not make it true.

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Wildberry, of cousre IP means to impose scarcity on ideas, informaiton, recipes. Sure, only a subset of all ideas, thank goodness. The honest advocates of IP, if this is not an oxymoron, admit this.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

@Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Wildberry, of cousre IP means to impose scarcity on ideas, informaiton, recipes. Sure, only a subset of all ideas, thank goodness.

How is it that IP doesn’t sweep up all ideas? I mean if IP means to “impose scarcity on ideas, information, recipies “, if that is the purpose as you claim, then how is it that it distinguishes between some “ideas” and others? How does it distinguish the “subset of all ideas”?

Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

The subsets are defined legislativey. Copyright says you can protect only non-functional creative or original expressions of ideas, which of course is a subset of all ideas or information or patterns. Patent says you can protect practical, functional, “inventive” type of ideas embodied in a certain way. Look it up. You are pettifogging I think. You guys go crazy if we oppose IP, saying ideas are so important!! They should be protected. Then we say ideas are not property and you harumph and says “well it’s not exaclty ideas that IP protects.” For goodness’ sake.

Peter Surda June 10, 2011 at 5:50 am

Wildberry,

first of all, let me just repeat that your insistence that IP does not protect ideas but manifestations thereof is flawed, since it is impossible to interact with an idea without interacting with a physical medium. The distinction can only occur on metaphysical level, but is empirically unobservable, nor can it be praxeologically deduced. For the purposes of a serious debate, it’s just a rhetorical trick. So confront this fallacy or shut up.

How is it that IP doesn’t sweep up all ideas?

Stephan has been for long pointing out that IP needs to divide immaterial goods into protectable and unprotectable (for example by taxatively listing them). For example, see pages 23-28 in Against Intellectual Property. I have also been long pushing my opponents to explain how to perform this division, and why different economic and ethical rules should apply to them in the first place.

And now, after months of posting, you suddenly ask how come that IP does not cover all ideas? That’s incredible. Are we supposed to take you seriously?

I mean if IP means to “impose scarcity on ideas, information, recipies “, if that is the purpose as you claim, then how is it that it distinguishes between some “ideas” and others? How does it distinguish the “subset of all ideas”?

Yes, a very valid question. That’s what we have been asking for ages, and that’s what you IP proponents have to explain, rather than us. I have been asking this other IP proponents before you showed up on the site.

Why are you asking this us? We do not claim that you can divide immaterial goods (or, if you insist on using your point of view, manifestations of immaterial goods) into protectable and unprotectable (by the author), beneficial for inventors and detrimental for them, ethically just and ethically unjust, and so on. You IP confusists do that.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm

“Argument ad absurdum don’t help you.”

I’m not sure what this could mean beyond the fact you are unfamiliar with one of the most often used methods of proof.

Why should languages not be protected by copyright? You are drawing arbitrary lines in the sand to separate that which can be copyrighted from that which cannot be copyrighted, and offering no justification as to why the line should be drawn there and nowhere else.

“Guy who designed an internet blog decided to make it public. Had he patented the idea, he would have been able to stop others from using it. And rightfully so.”

You’re really good at assuming the conclusion you’re trying to prove.

“Creation implies ownership theory must be defeated once. Unfortunately for you, you failed to do it.”

Yes, I’m amazed. Assuming that creation implies ownership, you managed to arrive at the conclusion that creation implies ownership. I have defeated it using reductio ad absurdum, but even if you do not accept that for what it is I’ll ask you to present a single bit of defense for why creation equals ownership. You have the burden of proof for your stance just as much as I have the burden for my stance.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

“And you ancap guys always assume your conclusion and conflate the meaning of IP.”

Oh right, we have the nerve to suggest that intellectual property concerns have property rights in the intellectual. I must say I never would have guessed that someone would admit that IP has nothing to do with protecting rights to ideas and yet still suggests IP is not deceptive and mischaracterizes the actual problems at hand.

No we don’t assume our conclusions. As demonstrated by Hoppe our property rights theory is contained in the a priori of argumentation and so by the very act of arguing you are necessarily assuming the validity of that property rights theory. If you’d like to actually read the argument it is presented in “Economics and Ethics of Private Property”. The only thing you’ve mustered up against that is, “oh well Hoppe is an ancap, and I’m not an ancap”.

I have done my own work establishing the property rights theory I have described as resulting from the fundamental distinction between the two, and only two, ways that multiple actors can interact with each other: violence and cooperation. Every possible interaction counts as one of the two and no action can count as both (there is no cooperative violence or violent cooperation). Cooperation is any interaction that is voluntary for all involved actors, that is they desire the interaction and see it as a means to their ends. Homesteading of unused goods and voluntary trading of used goods covers all possible cooperative interactions, because any possible third option would involve an actor losing rights to use a good he is already using by the actions of other actors, which are beyond his control and therefore cannot count as being agreed upon by this actor and therefore is not cooperative, but an act of violence.

On the other hand, the opposing property rights theories are:

Property is a matter of convention. This is total nonsense because it is suggesting both that I must enter an agreement with someone to forbid him from trespassing into my house for example, and that A and B can agree that they may murder C, which I should not have to address any further. It also begs the question of why every single society adopted more or less the same conventions. Property as a means to maximize wealth is not only utilitarian and therefore in contradiction with the Austrian subjective theory of value but also circular because wealth is property, and it suggests that property is defined in order to maximize the amount of property (it puts the cart before the horse).

Property is defined by what people “deserve” for their “efforts” or “creations”. This is a vacuous and ill-defined theory whose fundamentals are amorphous concepts that are different for everyone that uses them and even different for a particular person as he uses them at different times. This theory is a sophistical dress-up of “property rights are whatever they must be to make me happy”.

Creation implies or equals ownership. First of all, this has never been supported with anything and merely suggested and insisted. Second of all, it ignores the only relevant point, which is that ideas are non-rivalrous, i.e. there are no conceivable conflicts over the use of an idea (use of an idea is non-exclusive, the act of one person using an idea does not interfere with anyone else’s use of that idea) and that the very concept of ownership (exclusion in order to use) simply does not apply to ideas. With this in mind, the “creation implies ownership” reduces back to the homesteading theory of property, since the only thing it can mean to “create” a good is to permanently transform a previously existing good into a new product of human action, which is exactly what homesteading is. This of course defeats IP because the author of a creative work does not create unauthorized copies (he only creates the copy from which those copies are made) and therefore has no claim of ownership over them. Furthermore, if a person creates new property based on a patented idea, he created that property and therefore owns it, which renders patents meaningless. I will admit I was barking up the wrong tree trying to reduce this property rights theory to the absurd. That can only be done under the insane assumption that when you create a new piece of property you created anything more than that one specific instance of property, not the entire universal category of all instances of that property (ignoring for a moment the otherwise unavoidable problem of precisely what category a particular good belongs to that defines the scope of such ownership).

But the assumption of the conclusion is at least in the periphery of every pro-IP argument, especially whenever it is assumed that copying is in fact stealing and that there is even such a conceivable thing as a property right in a creative work that could be distinct from a property right in the physical manifestations of that creative work.

Wildberry June 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm

@ Stephan Kinsella June 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

The subsets are defined legislativey.

Copyright says you can protect only non-functional creative or original expressions of ideas, which of course is a subset of all ideas or information or patterns. Patent says you can protect practical, functional, “inventive” type of ideas embodied in a certain way. Look it up. You are pettifogging I think. You guys go crazy if we oppose IP, saying ideas are so important!! They should be protected. Then we say ideas are not property and you harumph and says “well it’s not exaclty ideas that IP protects.” For goodness’ sake.

I guess neither you or Peter didn’t understood that it was a rhetorical question. I think you can safely assume I “looked it up”.

If such a distinction between mere “ideas” and IP can be defined legislatively, as you say, then apparently there is a distinction there you insist on equivocating. I believe I can safely assume that you know the difference, yet you insist on using the term “ideas” in a general way, and use examples of how IP operates that ignore this distinction.

In your experience as a lawyer, have you found that statutes mention things that have absolutely no meaning or purpose? Is that the case with the copyright statutes, that it excludes ideas from the subject matter of copyright protection for no purpose?

You and I both understand I think, that it is true that the boundaries between what is protectable and what is not is a fuzzy one, not a perfectly bright line. This is not uncommon in the real world.

One example that Kid Salami recently reminded me of was that of Stack Island, used by David Friedman in his book “Law’s Order”, where the problem was an island in the Mississippi that, due to erosion and re-depositing of sand, slowly moved down river. Also mentioned n the same section was the example of how property boundaries vary with the undulations of the Nile. Somehow, we seem to adequately deal with these fuzzy boundaries, since rarely do we have a choice, anyway.

I’m sure you know and understand, more than those who only know about IP from reading these blogs, where those boundaries are. In the cases where disputes cannot be resolved by the mere language of the Act, court cases have refined that distinction.

Then you come along and preach that “ideas are free” and try to mix it all back up in the same pot. Someone accused me of sophism the other day. Apparently it was not a compliment.

Isn’t it true that you rhetorically depend on equivocation between what the law distinguishes as a meaningful difference between “idea” and “original work” to support your anti-IP case?

Don’t you enlist that fallacy for the purpose of making what’s wrong with trying to protect mere ideas, equally wrong with protecting any and all IP?

As you know, I object. If your case against IP was strong, you would not need to depend on this constant equivocation between mere ideas, and the proper subject matter of IP.

Peter Surda June 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Wildberry, you moron,

If such a distinction between mere “ideas” and IP can be defined legislatively, as you say, then apparently there is a distinction there you insist on equivocating.

In a confusion typical for your idiocies, you are conflating two separate arguments. The first one is that if someone writes IP laws, he can make it somewhat recognisable what they apply to. The second one is that if you have IP, it allegedly is supposed to have beneficial effects from some perspective. There is no logical connection between those two. The ability to pull arbitrary definitions out of one’s ass does not mean that these have anything whatsoever to do with economics.

So shut up or confront your opponents you coward.

David June 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

“Logic – Use it!”

We really shouldn’t. We haven’t paid Aristotle his IP royalties for systematizing it ;).

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm

@ David June 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

IP rights are for a limited term, so I think you are safe. I’m pretty sure Aristotle died more than 70 years ago.

David June 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm

What is your definition of “right?” In the generally accepted definition of the word, a right cannot have a term limit unless you consider the death of the rights holder as a term limit. You’re just using the arbitrary positive law proscription.

Also, you still haven’t addressed the contradiction in assuming both physical property rights and intellectual property rights which Peter Surda and others have demonstrated to you over and over again. Until you do so, it will be hard to take you seriously, and I personally will just assume that you’re trolling.

Wildberry June 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm

@ David June 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I am not aware of any definition of “right” that precludes it from existing for a limited time. By your own admission, even natural rights expire at death. Others, like the right to determine the how your property is distributed upon your death, can exist beyond death, but are themselves limited by the rule of perpetuities.

I don’t know what an “arbitrary positive law proscription” is, but it sounds bad.

I really don’t expect you to take me seriously, David, so that is a pretty empty threat.

Peter is so wrapped around the axel on this issue I have determined it is a waste of time to continue to dialogue with him on this subject. I’m not likely to take up the same futile effort with you.

Notwithstanding the above, rights in IP and Peter’s rights to use his paper and ink is not the monumental contradiction he claims it to be.

All rights (to act, Stephan) are limited by the rights of others. So to say that using your paper to copy my book is a violation of your rights, is merely assuming the conclusion that I have no rights to protect. It also turns causality on its head, since the original book is a requirement to make a copy. All that other stuff about set theory, “immaterial” goods already being part of “physical” property, ideas are free, etc. is just hocus pocus.

But that’s just a troll talking. Feel free to ignore it.

Peter Surda June 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Wildberry,

Notwithstanding the above, rights in IP and Peter’s rights to use his paper and ink is not the monumental contradiction he claims it to be.

There are only three options: the rights contradict, the rights do not contradict, or the connection is logically undeterminable. The adjective “monumental” only serves to confuse, I see the habit is difficult to get rid of. You deny that they contradict, yet cannot provide a situation where they do not. So, the whole objection is moot.

All rights (to act, Stephan) are limited by the rights of others.

As I have said multiple times, rights are not limited by other rights. Actions are limited by rights. Stop making up stuff.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Why are they for a limited term? What should the limit be?

Let me guess: I should go read a law book.

There is nothing more statist than presenting positive law as an elaboration on logical principles.

Pom-Pom June 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

w-berry> “I am not aware of any definition of ‘right’ that precludes it from existing for a limited time.”

You’re a legal positivist?

Wildberry June 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Dear choir:

It’s fascinating how one little comment from me can draw out such empty vindictiveness from you. What gives?

All rights (to act, Stephan) are limited by the rights of others.

As I have said multiple times, rights are not limited by other rights. Actions are limited by rights. Stop making up stuff.

Peter, do you even read anymore? The distinction between an action and a right to act is what, exactly?

Pom Pom, why all of the effort to classify people in this box or that? In an case, no I guess not, since I think that all laws must have some connection to acceptable social ethics.

Sweatervest, I’ve pretty much lost interest in reading your long, rambling rants. Anyway no, please don’t read anything, especially a book on the laws you so oppose. That would spoil what is otherwise near perfect ignorance of the subject matter upon which you confidently pontificate.

Matthew, I know you oppose my position, but I can’t figure out what your argument is. It seems you are merely restating what I already said about your position. You completely ignore the policy of disclosure that in large part shapes IP rights laws.

Fundamentally, you appear to hold a view of the human experience that has no basis in reality. We are not a sea of individuals on a desert island that have no relationships with one another. Humans cooperate and form societies, and societies form institutions. Humans are capable of holding common beliefs and structuring their institutions around those beliefs.

As to the limitation of terms for IP, I reject the false dichotomy that they should be either zero or infinite. No rights are infinite for an individual, and zero term is equivalent to no rights.

So obviously, the correct choice lies somewhere between zero and infinity. Currently that is life+70 years for copyrights, which I personally think is too long, but it does fall within the correct range, in my opinion.

Kid Salami June 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

“you still haven’t addressed the contradiction in assuming both physical property rights and intellectual property rights which Peter Surda and others have demonstrated to you over and over again.”

Frankly, I can’t really be bothered with this IP debate any more, i’ve satisfied myself that the party-line here is jsut idiotic. But as i have a hangover and nothing else to do, and while we’re on te subject of unanswered questions, I might summon the energy to discuss that issue if one of you squares the party-line argument with the following words of Kinsella:

“One type of property right is an easement..”

Hmm, what exactly is tangible about an “easement”? (And Wildberry also brought this up some time ago).

BTW, it continues, “…. (servitude, in the civil law). Say people routinely walk over a path from point A (their village) to point B (watering hole). You can say they have homesteaded at least that use of the propety. If someone else builds a home there, they have to let the easement continue. A similar case can be made for airways (“tunnels” in the sky that airplanes pass thru) and shipping lanes.”

Homesteading a “use” of a property? Can I also apply that to other scenarios?

Peter Surda June 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Wildberry,

Peter, do you even read anymore? The distinction between an action and a right to act is what, exactly?

You’re raping the English language. You turn it into meaningless dadaism. You’ve long demonstrated that you’re not here to argue, but to spread confusion.

Wildberry June 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Surda, aka Dr. Frued:

What is my motivation for spending this much time just to spread confusion?

Nate-m:

If certain people wouldn’t dance around the subject and try to change the subject of the debate, or move the goal posts, every time they got stuck in the same corner over and over and over again then it would of probably ended long ago.

It looks like you agree with Kid Salami…to the extent anyone can actually tell what you are trying to say.

nate-m June 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

What is my motivation for spending this much time just to spread confusion?

Self immolation is what passes for entertainment for you is my guess.

It looks like you agree with Kid Salami…to the extent anyone can actually tell what you are trying to say.

It’s easy to tell what I am saying if you can follow the subject.

Peter Surda June 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Wildberrry aka Dr. Fraud

I don’t know what your motivation is and I don’t care. Maybe you were a kindergarten teacher and when you wanted to switch to primary school teaching, it turned out you were too stupid and got fired, so now you’re looking for new targets willing to listen and look up to you.

nate-m June 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Frankly, I can’t really be bothered with this IP debate any more, i’ve satisfied myself that the party-line here is jsut idiotic.

If certain people wouldn’t dance around the subject and try to change the subject of the debate, or move the goal posts, every time they got stuck in the same corner over and over and over again then it would of probably ended long ago.

“One type of property right is an easement..”

Hmm, what exactly is tangible about an “easement”? (And Wildberry also brought this up some time ago).

Property rights are not tangible. Property is. Property rights is how we decide who gets the use of property.

Homesteading a “use” of a property? Can I also apply that to other scenarios?

Yes. If you have a piece of physical property that your using then easement can apply to it, depending on the circumstances.

Kid Salami June 13, 2011 at 3:45 am

“Property rights are not tangible. Property is. Property rights is how we decide who gets the use of property.”

Ok, my wording wasn’t the best but you’re really not trying very hard to understand. That isn’t the issue. The point is that the responsibility to allow the easement is passed on to a new owner automatically.

There is no physical item being passed around, it is the right to do something. So if I buy land and it turns out there is an easement held to cross it, then I have to allow it – regardless of the fact that I never made any contract with the easement holder. Such a scenario – having to obey agreements you didn’t explcitly make – is described as aggression in arguments made against IP here. Yet it exists already and no’one has a problem with it. This seems to be a problem to me and I wanted someone to explain it to me.

Stephan Kinsella June 13, 2011 at 5:52 am

Kid, a property rights is just the legal right to control a scarce resource. The right can be limited with respect to a given resource, due to the nature of initial use and/or the resource itself. If you build a farm on unowned land you have established particular use-rights. If you walk across it regularly, you have other use-rights. They are all property rights, the latter sometimes called an easement. If you homestead land you of course homestead it subject to any existing easements. Hoppe discusses this in “Of Private, Common, and Public Property and the Rationale for Total Privatization”, http://libertarianpapers.org/2011/1-hoppe-private-common-and-public-property/.

It does have to do with property rights in scarce things, and has nothing whatsoever to do with IP.

Colin Phillips June 13, 2011 at 5:59 am

Kid Salami,

I agree with your query. I would also appreciate an explanation of easements. They’ve never really sat right with me – even if you could, for a particular easement, define exactly what that easement allows or disallows, I still do not understand how (or rather, why) they are legitimate.

At the moment, my understanding is that easements are a “patch” for smoothing the transition from a state/public property paradigm to a homesteading/libertarian property paradigm – easements only seem to occur where someone tries to claim a piece of property which others have been using previously, but nobody has before claimed as their own property. This situation, as I understand it, cannot really occur under my conception of libertarian property paradigms, because in order for you to use something, that something is always already either owned by you, homesteaded by you, or owned by someone else (in which case you’re violating or have permission to use somebody else’s property). Therefore, the first user/builder of a road would be the owner under libertarian legal theory, and no easement theory is required.

Am I completely off the mark on this? It makes sense to me.

Stephan Kinsella June 13, 2011 at 6:41 am

Colin, take a look at my comment above http://blog.mises.org/17228/hayek-contra-copyright-laws/comment-page-1/#comment-786704 and the hoppe piece linked in it.

Imagine you are first to arrive on a continent and you homestead a nice big farm. Later others move and homestead nearby tracts. One of them negotiates a right of way over your property–an easement, or what is called servitude in the civil law. So you sell him this. As owner you can sell limited or full rights in your property.

But there is no reason easements could not be established by use instead of purchased from an owner. It depends on whose use was first.

Kid Salami June 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

Stephan – I understand broadly what easements are and agree that what you say makes sense. However, what I said was:

“Such a scenario – having to obey agreements you didn’t explcitly make – is described as aggression in arguments made against IP here.”

I am not saying what I just said is “case closed” for the anti-IP argument. I am saying, well, what I said – that is, I am objecting to the fact that on occasion an IP defender will present a scenario that involves someone finding an engineering drawing in a field and suggests that the finder might have some restrictions on his behaviour that he didn’t explicitly agree to.

I have made such suggestions and howls and wails immediately follow, along with comparisons to Hitler (or maybe Obama), as if I am cheerleading for their attempts to bring about a totalitarian society. And I am demonstrating that this argument is not – in the simplistic form it is presented – valid, because the very same implicit-agreement-whether-you-like-it-or-not already exists in another scenario on which we all agree.

Colin Phillips June 13, 2011 at 7:41 am

Stephan Kinsella,

Thanks, that’s much clearer now. If I’m understanding, then, the answer to Kid Salami’s question is that if you bought land that had an easement held to cross it, then you what you bought was the legal right to use the land in any way which does not damage the legal right to use the land which has been held as the easement. So, it’s not that you are being held to a contract you didn’t sign, you are being held to the contract that you *did* sign, which was that you were buying the same legal right as the original owner was selling. The original owner, then, did not have the right to sell you the land without those easements, since he did not own that, he could only sell you the land with the easements.

This seems reasonable.

Wildberry June 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm

@Kid Salami June 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

You consistently come up with interesting questions that probe at the fundamentals. I always enjoy your posts.

The problem here, of course, is that IP is specifically excluded as subject matter for property rights by opponents, as you have said numerous times before. Notice that SK uses “scarce resource”. This is code for the “ideas are free” line of argument that denies the scarcity of ideas, and then equivocates the meaning of ideas and IP. One wave of the hand and the problem is solved. Ironically, this line of argument relies on the constructs of the copyright statute itself, which excludes ideas for good reasons. Those good reasons, then, are applied to IP in general to make the case against it. It is pure sleight of hand.

A fundamental distinction between the operation of property and the operation of contracts is the issue of privity. Property rights work against the world (at least as defined by legal jurisdiction), while contracts work only between the parties (and third party beneficiaries, a minor exception, although they are still made explicit to the agreement by the intent of the contracting parties).

What is interesting is that the “bundle of rights” concept appears fine with SK, as long as it applies to a “scarce” resource. Yet the concept of limited transfer of rights in IP (i.e. use but not copying or distribution) is opposed; rights in the original ownership of a manuscript (i.e. before it is disclosed) cannot be the subject of a limited transfer, because “ideas cannot be owned because ideas are not scarce. Therefore IP, which is just another name for ideas, cannot be property”. It is a slick theory, internally consistent, and wrong. Scarcity cannot be applied to ideas, but can be applied to IP. That is why this equivocation is necessary to make the anti-IP case.

I revisited the Hoppe paper that SK cites. My understanding of his premise is that the only way for conflict to be avoided is through private ownership of scarce resources. (a simple restatement of Rothbard’s homesteading principle). The problem, of course, is that just holding ownership title to something is not sufficient to avoid conflict; it must be defended. To be defended, there must be coercion, and whether private or public is just a “technical issue” as SK likes to say.

Rothbard, Hoppe, and Kinsella all presume that if scarce resources are merely privately owned, conflict can be avoided. Since this is an obvious departure from historical fact, a band-aid is placed on history in order to leave the property theory intact (“crimes” of aggression too far removed in time are forgiven).

In reality, property is a human device, and presumes cooperation and enforcement within a social unit. Therefore, the doctrines of easement and servitude (they are not synonymous; a servitude relates to the servient estate or the burdened land, whereas an easement refers to the dominant estate, which is the land benefited by the right), as well as bailment, lease, etc. are perfectly consistent and analogous with the operation of property rights in IP.

Everyone, even ancaps, agree that an author owns his manuscript before it is disclosed. Furthermore, there is no problem in parsing out the bundles of rights in IP by contract. However, the problem arises for ancaps when you try to apply that principle of bundled rights to IP, as if there is some special reason that this particular application of the property device is outlawed by nature.

When I grant you an easement over my property, I am granting a limited us of property I own. If I later sell my land to a third party, both you and he are bound by the easement agreement, even though those parties have no privity to the original agreement. You have a right to “invade” the land even though you don’t own it. If it is a public easement, then it operates as such for the whole world, not just between the parties who created it.

When you buy land burdened with a servitude, (say, not to construct more than one story buildings), your rights of ownership are limited, even though you may not be a party to the original agreement that created the servitude.

When I give you my watch to repair, (bailment) I am granting you limited rights of possession for limited uses (repair), and this prohibits any other uses (wearing it as your jewelry on a date). I still own it and can demand its return at any time. A contract is not required.

When I sell you a book which is my property, I am selling limited rights to use it. Those limited rights, operating as property rights, affect the whole world. Ooops. Ideas are free, (non-scarce) so that book cannot be property. As an author, you can keep it to yourself or give it away freely, and that’s it.

Ironically, SK recently said that IP cannot be recreated by contract, and I try to explore the distinctions between the Title Transfer Theory of contracts and traditional contracts here.

I think I’m pretty much done now, too. I’ve learned all I can from this debate. I can recite the arguments from memory. Except for rare visits by folks like you and a few others, they quickly become dominated by the rants of Peter Surda, Sweatervest, and the like. It would have been nice to discover a jewel here, but unfortunately, not the case.

Wildberry June 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Kid Salami June 15, 2011 at 4:28 am

I have no problem with easements in and of themselves, I’m not sure why anyone thinks I do. I am applying the logic in one area to another to see whether there is consistency.

Colin said: “The original owner, then, did not have the right to sell you the land without those easements, since he did not own that, he could only sell you the land with the easements.”

This is true. Why this is all relevant is that if someone is sold land and they are defrauded in that they are not told there is an easement allowing access to it, then tough – the easement stands. The easement is between the two owners of the properties, whoever they are – it is, essentially, an invisible tag on the land that the easement holder places, one that no future owner can remove without the permission of the holder of the easement.

That is, something that is impossible according to the party line. An engineering drawing, for example, can’t possibly have an invisible tags on it – if someone comes across one in a field, then so long as they weren’t part of a conspiracy to obtain it, they can go nuts with it. Actually, copyright notices on the drawing would in actually in fact be visible, but that isn’t good enough either – you are simply a totalitarian if you think people should be resricted from acting as they please with physical property they “own” didn’t make any contracts about.

An “easement” is not, itself, property. Is it a contract? It seems not – as Kinsella himself described it as a property right. And it is not tangible – there is no physical media on which it is imprinted. If people return to an area after a Noah-type flood and draw around their property with white paint as it was before, we can’t just use this physical property ownership to resolve the situation. This though is the party line here:

nate–m: “A idea cannot be expressed, used, or documented without some form of tangible media. Therefore if you have ‘rights to a idea’ then it’s either always going to conflict or be redundant to the property rights of the owner of the physical media.”

Peter Surda: “…nor does that mean that such an identity would be ownable, nor that this ownership would take precedence over the ownership of the media that it’s embedded in.“

Sweatervest: “Indeed. Physical property rights deals with all these issues just fine. Confounding the issue with suspicious, vague claims to property that were clearly not homesteaded or traded towards the claimant, seems at best pointless and at worst dangerous.”

I can dig out quotes like this all day – these are from that one thread the other week with Schulman. It is clear: you only have to consider the ownership of physical property. Intangibles is covered by their representation on physical media – if we consider anything else, then this must contradict physical property rights. But the easement is not “imprinted” anywhere, so what gives?

Is someone now going to argue that land is different to other items of property? If so, I’m with you – David Friedman suggests this has evolved with land because of land registries and the like, and how with land you can do a systematic investigation into the adjoining land any easements the owner might hold and therefore it is reasonable to hold the buyer responsible because he knows easements exist and simply didn’t do his due diligence.

But these kind of arguments are labelled “utilitarian” and don’t fly around here. Specifically, Kinsella and Peter said a week or two back when discussing homesteading that there is no special rules you can apply to land and nothing else. They said this very clearly.

Kinsella “for there is no relevant distinction between an apple and a bucket of water and a tract of land-all are scarce resources. If you can’t ever own land you can’t own anything else, even including your own body; and all civilized life would be impossible.”

Peter “Well, both can be possessed (or occupied), and be left unattended. From the point of view of a primitive society, there might be a difference, but when you have drills, dynamite and trucks there isn’t really much [difference between land and other non-land property]”

They say there is scarce and non-scarce and that’s that. I told them I thought this was absurd, and i still think this.

I think the free market could/would evolve the equivalent to land registries for items like engineering drawings – central places where you register documents to make them subject to copyright, just like you might register an easement between two adjoining plots. I think the market would benefit from this personally, although of course I’m happy for it to decide for itself.

So my question then is: why can we have these invisible tags for land and not for engineering drawings, especially when there is “no relevant distinction” between land and engineering drawings (when considering ownership and usage issues)?

Colin Phillips June 15, 2011 at 9:43 am

Kid Salami,
The way I understood Stephan, an easement *is* a type of contract. Stephan said “One of them negotiates a right of way over your property–an easement, or what is called servitude in the civil law. So you sell him this.”
To say that you sold something to someone implies that there was a contract of sale, correct? So the ‘invisible tag’ is a contract stating the terms of the easement. So maybe an easement is not a contract, but an easement is created by contract. I don’t know. Anybody got any clarity on this?

Stephan Kinsella June 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

Colin, the civil law distinguishes two types of easements (or servitudes): predial and personal:

Servitude. A charge on a THING in favor of either a person, as in the case of a PERSONAL SERVITUDE, or in favor of another estate, as in the case of a PREDIAL SERVITUDE.
Conventional servitude. A SERVITUDE established by contract. See La. C.C. art. 654.
Legal servitude. “[L]imitations on OWNERSHIP established by law for the benefit of the general public or for the benefit of particular persons,” La. C.C. art. 659, e.g., the OBLIGATION to keep one’s building in repair so that it does not fall and cause damage to a neighbor or to a passerby. See YIANNOPOULOS, 4 LA. CIVIL LAW TREATISE § 23.
Personal servitude. “A charge on a THING for the benefit of a person.” La. C.C. art. 534. The three major personal servitudes are USUFRUCT, HABITATION, and RIGHTS OF USE.
Predial servitude. A “charge on a SERVIENT ESTATE for the benefit of a DOMINANT ESTATE.” La. C.C. art. 646. The two estates must be owned by different owners. Predial servitudes are either APPARENT or NONAPPARENT.Similar to an appurtenant easement at common law.

I’d say predial is a type of property right, and is established by contract.

A personal or conventional servitude is just a contract between two people.

Wildberry June 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm

@Kid Salami June 15, 2011 at 4:28 am

I have no problem with easements in and of themselves, I’m not sure why anyone thinks I do. I am applying the logic in one area to another to see whether there is consistency.

Well, I for one don’t think you do. But it is a slippery subject when in the hands of the anti-IP, Ancap crowd. I’ve been working to unravel the fallacies, and think I am getting close to a comprehensive picture. Your insightful queries continue to shed light on the subtleties of the arguments regards whether IP can “legitimately” function as property, and why not, according to the prevalent anti-IP logic.

An “easement” is not, itself, property.

To answer what an easement is, we have to understand what property is and is not.

First, property is a “thing” to which the owner has “title.” Legally, it can be tangible or intangible, but the party line denies recognition of property in anything intangible.

This is the first fallacy. An easement is an intangible right to modify the bundled rights of one property identity (blackacre) and to transfer it to the second property identity (whiteacre). Whiteacre becomes the dominant property and blackacre become the servient property. It becomes a “thing” when the rights are defined (width, purposes, etc), and when the transfer of title to it is memorialized in a way which defends its operation against those who would violate it. Before it is made specific to particular land and parties, “easement” is just a concept in the domain of property law.

Second, property is freely alienable. (Sweatervest apparently doesn’t get this concept.)
Being a human device, property is owned by humans. As owners, they have exclusive rights to use and possess it. These rights can be transferred to other humans. Humans have developed devices to facilitate the alienability of property rights. We use the concept of “title” to memorialize the ownership of a thing. There is no necessity to distinguish between tangible and intangible things, only that we acknowledge that title to a thing is not the same as the thing itself.

If one has title to a thing, it can be transferred to another; it can be freely alienated from one owner and transferred to another. This is the nature of property rights. Property law seeks to protect the alienability of property by preventing contracts which forbid assignment, (a form of transfer) for example. Unless you are a good lawyer and know how to write a contract that actually prevents assignments from taking place, the law honors assignments, even if the contract says they can’t happen. This is an example of how property laws influence the operation of contracts to protect the fundamental alienability of property.

This is an economic issue encoded in law, and has nothing to do with ethics. Chattel slavery operates in precisely this same way, which is why it is proper to describe slaves as chattel; they can be sold, and title can be transferred from one person to another.

This is a second fallacy. One of Surda’s favorite rants is about how all things are tangible, and all things tangible are already owned, so assigning any property rights to an intangible thing is a contradiction. In this way, he can support the idea that it is the paper, not the “work” that matters, and so rights to intangible “property” transfers with the tangible medium. Under this concept, it is the title to an easement that rules, not the easement itself that rules property rights. Likewise, it is only the paper and ink that one owns that matters in determining who has better title to a literary work.

Of course this is nonsense, as you already pointed out. If the paper upon which the title to an easement is fixed, is later burned, does the easement still exist? Of course. If the paper upon which a literary work is fixed is destroyed, does the work still exist? Naturally. Property is a device for assigning ownership to a thing. Proof of ownership may take the form of a title document recorded in the county office. That document is not the thing itself. It is proof of title to a thing.

Property is a conceptual device for assigning ownership to a thing, and title is a concept that facilitates the assertion, defense and alienability of property rights. Depending on the nature of the thing, the rules for recording and transferring title may evolve specifically to solve the problems associated with that particular thing. This is why we have something called property law. It is the accumulation of various doctrines that establish the rules of operation for property acquisition, use, and transfer. In its fundamental principles, it has nothing to do with one particular thing or another.

In its details, it is very specific. Land property involves certain rules, and is integrated with other rules of contract, wills, torts, etc. Rights are defined, and infringement of those rights become causes of action, which follow the rules of civil or criminal law. IP law is merely a specialized branch of property law. It is a wondrous and beautiful artifact of civilization, though like humans themselves, imperfect. But I digress…

Next, we come to scarcity. This is a somewhat metaphysical concept that is played like a violin by the party faithful. One branch follows the “rivalrous” line of logic.

If two people cannot possess a thing simultaneously, it is rivalrous, and therefore scarce, and therefore requires a system of ownership to avoid conflict over its exclusive use, i.e. ownership rights. This is contrasted with non-scarce things, for which abundance removes the possibility of rivalry. Air and ideas are non-scarce.

Are easements scarce or non-scarce? One could argue that all easements are applied to a particular piece of property, and since the property is scarce, so is the easement. However, this does not square with the rivalrous use argument.

If we have two parcels of land, W and B, and W includes an easement over B, then the owners of the parcels have merely transferred rights to their own scarce, rivalrous goods. All others, who are not a party to this agreement are excluded, except by consent of the owner of the easement. The easement is scarce, and rivalry for its use is determined by the owner of the scarce easement; so far so good.

But let’s say in order to buy a particular parcel of land, I agreed to negotiate with the owner for a public easement across the land to the ocean beach. I agree, record the easement, build the house and die. My land is sold to a third party, who moves in and sits on his new porch and watches the streams of people walk across his land to the beach. Is the easement still scarce? Is there rivalry for its use? Obviously, there is no rivalry over the use of the easement; all comers are welcome to avail themselves of its use.

Imagine that the new owner objects, and refuses to allow transgress. Is the use of coercion justified? Obviously yes, but why? How can you use coercion to defend a non-scarce right to use an intangible thing? That would be aggression, wouldn’t it?

The simple answer is because the land is property, and rights in property are bundled and alienable. So the owner unbundles the limited right to transgress over a particular portion of it, while retaining other rights. He follows accepted procedures for modifying and recording his property rights such that future disputes can be resolve peacefully by following the rules of property rights and enforcement.

This is true of all property, and is not dependent upon whether the “thing” is tangible or intangible. In fact, an easement is an intangible “thing” fixed upon a particular piece of tangible property. The property itself is scarce within the meaning of the homesteading principle, but the easement itself is neither tangible nor scarce.

In the same way, a literary work is comprised of intangible things fixed upon a particular piece of tangible property. The paper it is fixed upon is not the “thing” that is the subject of property rules. Everything about the operation of Intellectual Property rights is consistent with the example above. It was brilliant of you to use this easement example to bring these distinctions to light.

Finally we come to the “ideas are free” line of reasoning. I have addressed this is such detail elsewhere, I’ll simply say here that I had an exchange with Kinsella having to do with the property rights of a sword produced by means owned by a sword maker.

I argued that the forge that heated the unformed metal depended upon oxygen in the air, which is free. Therefore, to follow his argument, I would have to conclude that the sword, once disclosed to the market by its sale, would have to be free, since oxygen is free and cannot be owned by anyone. Since I cannot own it, I cannot sell it, and if I cannot sell it, why bother to make it, and so if you want a sword, you better make one yourself.

Because ideas are one of the components of a literary work does not mean that we can’t tell the difference between an idea and the work. The fact that the work is intangible before it is fixed is no more relevant than the fact that the letters used to write the words cannot be owned either. The fact that the sword maker didn’t own the oxygen he used to make the sword does not mean he has no property interest in the product he makes with what are otherwise his own private means.

Kinsella will even agree that before it is disclosed to anyone, there is no dispute about the fact that an author owns his original manuscript. What he disputes is that, except for the paper and ink, nothing else about that manuscript can operate as property. Why? Because “ideas are free”. Once you perceive the circularity of the argument, it seems obvious.

Is someone now going to argue that land is different to other items of property?

No, this cannot be done, so it is essential to attack IP on the grounds that it is not property at all. This is why all the enthusiasm around the scarcity principle. It defines away IP on those grounds, yet ignores the inconsistency with other forms of intangible property interests.

If so, I’m with you – David Friedman suggests this has evolved with land because of land registries and the like, and how with land you can do a systematic investigation into the adjoining land any easements the owner might hold and therefore it is reasonable to hold the buyer responsible because he knows easements exist and simply didn’t do his due diligence.

But what Friedman is saying here is still correct. Rules evolve to deal with the particular thing. Land has its own attributes. Fundamental along this line is the impossibility of “copying” land. In the sword analogy, it would be possible to “copy” the sword from the original, but it is costly in terms of physical means, time and know-how. This is the specialization feature of the division of labor economic society, where specialization makes it more attractive to buy rather than to make everything you want to own.

When the sword maker sells his sword, he does not also sell his means. He keeps his forge, know-how, and supply chains. If you want to recreate those means, you have to invest.

When an author sells a book, he is also selling his means. Copies are easy and cheap to produce, provided you have an original copy to work from. This is the feature of IP that requires the creation of special property rules concerning intangible works.

But these kind of arguments are labeled “utilitarian” and don’t fly around here. Specifically, Kinsella and Peter said a week or two back when discussing homesteading that there is no special rules you can apply to land and nothing else. They said this very clearly.

Another thing that Friedman reminded me of is that economics itself is a utilitarian argument.

This has really been my point all along, why I was attracted to Mises.org originally, and the final issue (I think) in the anti-IP arsenal. I have been trying to engage Kinsella in a discussion of externalities, and have been quoting the “production for external economies” passage from Mises to try to address this issue. So far, no takers.

I have argued for the principle of IP, not for the acceptance of every detail and nuance of existing IP laws and application. The fundamental principle, which has both ethical and utilitarian (economic) justifications, is “You should own what you make with your own private means”.

Everyone with a free market belief understands the validity of that principle. But oddly, in order to make the anti-IP argument work, you have to draw an exception to this principle around IP. Kinsella also said (to paraphrase) that an author with an undisclosed, original manuscript has two choices: 1) keep it secret (which includes 1 to 1 contracts) by not disclosing it or 2) sell it once and you’re done, (once disclosed, it is an un-owned, non-scarce, non-homsteadable, resource available to all. No whining about that allowed!).

Translation; authors are not entitled to own what they produce with their own means. Whether they choose option 1 or 2, they are not permitted to participate in the market along with other producers. Why? Because “ideas are free”. Ironically, as I said rhetorically before, this puts anti-IP advocates in the curious position of advocating slavery, because slaves do not benefit from their own production. Authors who cannot produce for their own markets are slaves to an external economy. This is the net result of Kinsella’s false dichotomy, and why some accuse him of “IP Socialism”.

So my question then is: why can we have these invisible tags for land and not for engineering drawings, especially when there is “no relevant distinction” between land and engineering drawings (when considering ownership and usage issues)?

The fact is they are not invisible. Humans are very capable of making the discrimination between public and private property with ease. Fences are nice but they are hardly necessary, otherwise we could not tell the difference between a public park and someone’s front yard. If you know it is not your property, it is a good bet it is someone else’s. A well worn path to the beach may be all the indication you need that an easement exists or you are on public property. Notices can help, too.

How hard is it to grasp that if you didn’t write a particular book, it must have been written by someone else? Since books don’t write themselves, and they don’t get washed up on the beach from undersea volcanoes, they must have been written by someone who invested time and money to make them available to you, and are not “un-owned resources” subject to the rule of capture (or homesteading)?

I know I am singing to the choir, but you provided a great opportunity to lay it all out, as I see it.

Colin Phillips June 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Stephan Kinsella,

Thanks! “Ask and ye shall receive”, I suppose. A predial servitude is an interesting concept. It seems to be a very clever trick to solve a complicated problem.

Kid Salami,
Do you buy that a predial servitude can be a contract that establishes a property right? It seems a useful legal model to allow property owners to create easements which can remain enforceable between any two concurrent owners of the dominant and servient estates. Rather than have each new owner of each estate make a reaffirmation of the easement a condition of the purchase contract, predial servitudes instead establish a relationship between two pieces of property, which future buyers of the two properties will be bound by unless the two owners concurrently agree to dissolve the easement, or the dominant estate chooses to abandon the easement.

To me, then, this is just a short-hand, for a complicated but nevertheless common situation in co-operative societies. I think, then, that this “invisible tag” is essentially valid. It establishes a contractual relationship between two properties which could equally (but not as simply) be established between every pair of property owners.

I think then, that predial servitudes are a way for the servient estate (the land-owner) to guarantee to the dominant estate (the easement-holder), that he will not sell his land to anyone who does not agree, as a condition of the contract of sale, to contractually commit to uphold the same easement agreement.

With this in mind, I think Stephan was correct above in saying that easements can be considered valid property rights in scarce things.

Wildberry June 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm

@Stephan Kinsella June 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

Stephan, next thing you know you’ll be encouraging ME to quote from Blacks or something without calling me “crankish”. We are making major progress!

Let’s go with this part for a minute:

Legal servitude. “[L]imitations on OWNERSHIP established by law for the benefit of the general public or for the benefit of particular persons,”

In other words, in property law, a servitude is a device employed to establish a limitation on ownership (rights) of the subject property. It is established by operation of law, and is therefore enforceable against everyone, despite lack of privity to the transaction which establishes it, correct?

If ownership of property means exclusive use, and use is a bundle of rights that can be alienated, then transfer of property can be burdened by an operation of law which does not depend on contract and/or privity. For example, I can sell you my land, yet prevent you from total freedom of use of that property, correct? And that lasts forever?

So I can, by operation of law and under threat of coercion, interfere with your property rights by the terms of transfer. As the property passes down from party to party in subsequent transfers, the servitude runs with the land, (if I have notice it exists)?

As a legal concept, how is this different than the limitations on ownership established by copyright law for the benefit of the general public (consumer) or the benefit of a particular person (author)? In terms of its operation on property rights (ownership), aren’t they rather analogous? I sell you a book under terms which limit your use of that property by operation of law, and it applies to everyone without a need for a contract.

How does this square with the assertion that if I sell you a book, I am only selling you the paper and ink, and it is not possible to sell it to you with the equivalent of a “servitude” that restricts your use of it?

Stephan Kinsella June 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Wildb: I was quoting from my own legal dictionary, coming out from Quid Pro press in just about a month. So it’s permissible and not crankish.

you acn have an agreement with your cusomter that makes him the licensee or borrower of your book, if you want, but what moron would do accept this? Why pay $10 to “license” a book when you don’t get full ownership, and when you subjecty ourself ot millions of dollars of liability if you “use” the information you “learn” from the book? such models would fail. Obivoulsy.

Wildberry June 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm

@Stephan Kinsella June 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Well, I have to hand it to you; appealing to yourself as authority! Among other things, you are certainly prolific…

you acn have an agreement with your cusomter that makes him the licensee or borrower of your book, if you want, but what moron would do accept this? Why pay $10 to “license” a book when you don’t get full ownership, and when you subjecty ourself ot millions of dollars of liability if you “use” the information you “learn” from the book? such models would fail. Obivoulsy.

Obviously. We’ve been over this before.

This is why you say there are only two options under your property rules; 1) keep it to yourself (secret or contract) or 2) deposit it into the public domain (recognize no property rights if disclosed) Since this destroys, for the most part, anything like an economic interest in writing books, we will, according to AET, have fewer of them. I get that.

I am asking you if the legal concept of servitude is analogous to the operation of IP laws, in your opinion. It seems that way to me.

If so, then we can dispense with all the posturing about how IP works against property theory, and simply reduce the debate to the fundamental issue.

In no other area of market operations does property operate the way you propose for IP (subject matter). That is, there is nothing wrong with the operation of IP law that would not also be wrong with the operation of the rules of servitude in real estate law. Do you disagree?

• We have established that the “ideas are free” line or reasoning is not adequate to dismiss IP. There is a distinction that is meaningful between “ideas” and “original works”.

• We have established that an “original work” is the property of the author prior to disclosure.

• We have established that the ability to contract for a title transfer of a thing presumes that it is owned by the transferring party. Some “thing” that is owned is the property of the owner.

• There is nothing wrong with a law that establishes “limitations on ownership” of a thing that is transferred to another, (i.e. a servitude).

• I think the only place you can land is to assert that what starts out as property can be transformed to non-property at the point of disclosure, and as such, can no longer be the subject matter of a property law.

Why? Because “ideas are free”? Anyone else getting dizzy?

Stephan Kinsella June 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

DingleBerry:

“you acn have an agreement with your cusomter that makes him the licensee or borrower of your book, if you want, but what moron would do accept this? Why pay $10 to “license” a book when you don’t get full ownership, and when you subjecty ourself ot millions of dollars of liability if you “use” the information you “learn” from the book? such models would fail. Obivoulsy.”

Obviously. We’ve been over this before.

Glad you agree. so you admit it’s disingenuous to say that IP can be created by contract.

This is why you say there are only two options under your property rules; 1) keep it to yourself (secret or contract) or 2) deposit it into the public domain (recognize no property rights if disclosed)

I don’t say this exactly, I mean who knows what intermediate things you can work out by contract etc. Up to the entrepreneur.

Since this destroys, for the most part, anything like an economic interest in writing books, we will, according to AET, have fewer of them. I get that.

I don’t agree there woudl be fewer books. We know that copyright prevents the publication of some works–sequels, derivative works. And it also imposes billions of dollars of cost on the economy, i.e., impoverishing us, and in its absenc,e with more money, there would be some people on the margins who are not writing now b/c they have to work ar egular job, etc., but who could afford to with the additional resources available absent copyright’s “tax.” Further, more money in the hands of consumers means more money to buy books. So you cannot assume there would be fewer works absent copyright. Nina Paley had a devil of a time making Sita Sings the Blues b/c of copyright; a lesser artist would have given up. But absent copyright lots of projects that are now dissuaded, or too costly, would be viable.

I am asking you if the legal concept of servitude is analogous to the operation of IP laws, in your opinion. It seems that way to me.

A servitude is a limited right to use a scarce resource. E.g., you are the naked owner of a tract of land, and I have a servitude to drive over a portion of it, say to get to my own driveway.

A patent or copyright gives someone the right to veto how another person uses their own scarce resources. So it is like a “negative” servitude except that it is not voluntarily negotiated.

“Negative servitude. A PREDIAL SERVITUDE “impos[ing] on the owner of the SERVIENT ESTATE the duty to abstain from doing something on his estate.” La. C.C. art. 706.”

If so, then we can dispense with all the posturing about how IP works against property theory, and simply reduce the debate to the fundamental issue.

I do. the fundamental issue, as I wrote even back in my 2000 article on LRC, http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella2.1.1.html , IP sets up a second homesteading rule that undermines the Lockean one of first use. All IP is a disguised way of stealing and reassigning ownership to scarce resources. If you have a copyright, it means you own some of my money (if I do X) or you own my printing press, since you can tell me what not to do with it (unless I pay you extortion-ransom).

This is the problem with all unlibertarian, statist law. Drug laws say that the state owns your body–they can tell you want to do wit hit. Tax laws transfer ownership of your money to the state. When a criminal steals from you or kills you he is assuming ownership of your stuff of body. This is not a good thing, it’s a bad thing. That is THE problem with IP. In an IP free world people are free to use their own property, so long as they do not invade the borders of others’ owned resources/bodies. they do not need permissio. They can use whatever ideas or knowledge they have to guide their actions, or to decide what ends to pursue or means to use to achieve their ends. In an IP free world the first guy to build a log cabin can’t tell me not to build one, since when I build one, I am not trespassing on his property–his use of his own log cabin is undisturbed. As I am not committing trespass he has no right to stop me, and if he does, he is the aggressor, not me. IP legalizes what would otherwise be a a crime.

We have established that the “ideas are free” line or reasoning is not adequate to dismiss IP. There is a distinction that is meaningful between “ideas” and “original works”.

Ideas are free is just a shorthand way of explaining that ideas are free goods, not scarce resources. And *therefore* they are not suitable objects of proeprty rights, and that to attempt to protect ideas as property rights really is a disguised way of re-assigning existing property rights.

We have established that an “original work” is the property of the author prior to disclosure.

If by “work” you mean a pattern of information or idea, I dont agree–it was never property. Just b/c you are able to keep it secret does not mean it’s property. It means that your property rights in your body are useful to you since they allow you to keep secrets. further, all ideas are to some extent derivative, so nothing is 100% original (by the same token, nothing is 100% derivative–every new idea is somewhat original, and somewhat derivative).

We have established that the ability to contract for a title transfer of a thing presumes that it is owned by the transferring party.

Not at all; as I have explained dozens of times now, some contracts are unilateral and the event or act that triggers a title transfer is not itself owned–e.g. I will give you $10 if it rains tomorrow is unilateral and conditional, and does not imply “raining” is owned; “I will give you $10 IF you tell me your secret” does not mean the secret is owned: it only means the one-way transfer of title (to the $10) is triggered by a specified event (telling the secret).

” Some “thing” that is owned is the property of the owner.”

This sounds like the bizarre reasoning of Schulman who thinks “thingness” implies ownability.

There is nothing wrong with a law that establishes “limitations on ownership” of a thing that is transferred to another, (i.e. a servitude).

Depends on the content. If the servitude is a negative one that says “you may not use your body to ingest narcotics unless I give you permission,” there is something wrong with it. Likewise with IP, which says “you may not use your computer to calculate an answer to the traveling salesman problem in X way without my permission”.

I think the only place you can land is to assert that what starts out as property can be transformed to non-property at the point of disclosure, and as such, can no longer be the subject matter of a property law.

Ideas are never property.

Peter Surda June 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Moronberry,

We have established that an “original work” is the property of the author prior to disclosure.

And we also have established that the original work is the property of the author after disclosure. Same with the copied work: it is owned by the copier prior to the disclosure and after the disclosure.

We have established that the ability to contract for a title transfer of a thing presumes that it is owned by the transferring party. Some “thing” that is owned is the property of the owner.

We also have established that in order for a “thing” to appear as a noun in a contract it is not necessary that that “thing” is owned by either of the parties, or even to exist at all.

There is nothing wrong with a law that establishes “limitations on ownership” of a thing that is transferred to another, (i.e. a servitude).

As I explained about two months ago, there does not have to be any legal connection between a noun that you put into a contract and property rights. There does not even have to be a causal relationship. The only connection required is rhetorical: both parties need to understand what the noun means.

I think the only place you can land is to assert that what starts out as property can be transformed to non-property at the point of disclosure, and as such, can no longer be the subject matter of a property law.

As I said before and above, you are committing a fallacy by performing a rhetorical trick. The disclosure has no effect on property rights. And since it was already explained to you multiple times, you’re stupid or a fraud or both. Based on the reactions of other people, I’m not the only one coming to this conclusion.

The endless stream of crap you produce is nauseating. Stop your meaningless demagoguery and confront the huge pile of errors you have accumulated, you coward. Oh sorry, I forgot, you’re not here to argue, but to confuse and repeat erroneous statements over and over.

Kid Salami June 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

From Wikipedia:

Easements by prescription, also called prescriptive easements, are implied easements granted after the dominant estate has used the property in a hostile, continuous and open manner for a statutorily prescribed number of years.

“The period of continuous use for a prescriptive easement to become binding is generally between 5 and 30 years depending upon local laws”

“Government or railroad owned property is generally immune from prescriptive easement in most cases, but some other types of government owned property may be subject to prescription in certain instances. In New York, such government property is subject to a longer statute of limitations of action, 20 years instead of 10 years for private property.

These easements are often such that a period of nonuse is sufficient to extinguish the easement. How many times have I read hysterical anti-IPers screaming about the arbitrariness of the length of copyrights and how this requirement for a parameter makes them impossible?

Am I also justified in asking why ten years and not nine or eleven or a million is sufficient with easements? Easements seem to be doing just fine with this – is it any wonder I’m not persuaded by these “arguments”?

Kid Salami June 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Colin – are you reading what i’m writing? I already said explicitly that my problem is not with easements, I am very happy indeed with easements. I am applying the logic of easements to another area to see if there is consistency. So i don’t understand why you are explaining easements to me. It might be because you think I’m asking questions or phrasing things like I’m confused? I’m not – lawyers don’t ask someone on the stand where they were at a certain time because they don’t know the answer, questions aren’t always questions. So yes, I am very happy to accept that Stephan is 100% correct in his description of easements.

Kid Salami June 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Wildberry basically asked my question, only better. He said:

If ownership of property means exclusive use, and use is a bundle of rights that can be alienated, then transfer of property can be burdened by an operation of law which does not depend on contract and/or privity. For example, I can sell you my land, yet prevent you from total freedom of use of that property, correct? And that lasts forever?

So I can, by operation of law and under threat of coercion, interfere with your property rights by the terms of transfer. As the property passes down from party to party in subsequent transfers, the servitude runs with the land, (if I have notice it exists)?

As a legal concept, how is this different than the limitations on ownership established by copyright law for the benefit of the general public (consumer) or the benefit of a particular person (author)? In terms of its operation on property rights (ownership), aren’t they rather analogous? I sell you a book under terms which limit your use of that property by operation of law, and it applies to everyone without a need for a contract.

How does this square with the assertion that if I sell you a book, I am only selling you the paper and ink, and it is not possible to sell it to you with the equivalent of a “servitude” that restricts your use of it?

And Kinsella responded:

you acn have an agreement with your cusomter that makes him the licensee or borrower of your book, if you want, but what moron would do accept this? Why pay $10 to “license” a book when you don’t get full ownership, and when you subjecty ourself ot millions of dollars of liability if you “use” the information you “learn” from the book? such models would fail. Obivoulsy.

I’m not at all sure why whether or not a particular business model will fail or not is relevant to a discussion of the foundation of property rights, but anyway. This doesn’t answer the objection at all. I didn’t suggest a registry where people register information that you could extract from their work and then have this registry go around aggressing people who “use” this information. I didn’t suggest that because it is idiotic. But if you want to argue with strawmen of your own creation then that is up to you.

I said a registry could evolve on the free market in which people can register their engineering drawings (ones only ever released with terms of sale which stipulated that the buyer could not create copies) for copyright. Just like a new owner of the sevrvient estate who is unaware of the easement must have been defrauded by the original owner, someone sold a copy if the engineering drawing without being given knowledge of its copyrighted status must also have received it via a breach of contract on the part of a legal owner somewhere down the line.

I ask again: what is the difference? Why can a servitude “run with the land” but not “run with the book”? And just like the new owner of the servient estate may be forced to allow the easement to continue despite the fraud, so could the new owner of this drawing have to give it back and destroy any copies he made (insofar as this is possible, if it’s already been made into a poster in Times Square then so be it). The buyer of the servient estate can be expected to do due diligence in the land registry – so can the buyer of an engineering drawing be expected to do due diligence on its origin by visiting the copyright registry.

More difficult and fuzzy in the latter case no doubt – is this your objection to it?

Or are you going to say it’s because you make a copy of the book using your own paper and ink and so this new entity is not the one about which an agreement was made and so restricting your use of your own paper and ink makes it totalitarian?

Or is it this?

A servitude is a limited right to use a scarce resource. E.g., you are the naked owner of a tract of land, and I have a servitude to drive over a portion of it, say to get to my own driveway. A patent or copyright gives someone the right to veto how another person uses their own scarce resources. So it is like a “negative” servitude except that it is not voluntarily negotiated.

So does the whole thing come down to this – “except that it is not voluntarily negotiated”?

Stephan Kinsella June 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Kid: “So does the whole thing come down to this – “except that it is not voluntarily negotiated”?”

yeah, that’s “all”. hahahah Just like, it’s okay to have sex with a girl if it’s voluntary you know, but if it’s not, it’s rape. The difference between them is that one is voluntary, the other is not–that’s all!

Colin Phillips June 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Kid Salami,

I’m not assuming you don’t understand, I’m assuming that our understanding is different, and so I’m laying out as best I can my understanding. If you did not find anything objectionable in what I wrote (other than that I addressed it to you), then my assumption was wrong. And that’s fine.

I understand that you are “applying the logic of easements to another area to see if there is consistency” – but I believe you are applying this logic incorrectly. What I was trying to convey (rereading my post I see why it was unclear) is this:

An easement is just a shorthand for a complex set of contracts which stipulate conditions which future sale contracts must contain for the sale itself not to be a breach of contract. The important feature in this is that if you have a potential seller and a potential buyer, the seller is already bound by the contract of the easement, and the buyer must agree to the easement (and thus also the condition that whoever he resells the land to must agree to the same easement) in order for the sale to be valid.
Thus, your original objection (or at least, the one I was responding to):
“having to obey agreements you didn’t explcitly make” is not exactly correct, I don’t think. If there is no fraud, then easements only affect those people who own the property, and those people who choose to agree to the easement in order to buy the property. The “chain” of contracts is never broken, and they only impact those who agree to the terms of the chain.

This is not analogous to IP, as there are some situations in IP in which someone who made no agreement whatsoever with anyone can be in the position of “having to obey agreements you didn’t explicitly make”. So IP can make you into a criminal even if you did not use threats, agression or fraud against anybody – that’s the part of it I really object to, I suppose.

I apologise if my tone was condescending – I respect your opinion, intelligence, and commitment to finding the truth. I like to believe I am heading towards the same destination myself, even if my current position is not the same as yours.

Wildberry June 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm

@ skinzilla June 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Glad you agree. so you admit it’s disingenuous to say that IP can be created by contract.

Ah, “disingenuous”? I think you are saying here and below that IP can be created by contract, but who would bother under your rules of property. I agree with that.

This is why you say there are only two options under your property rules; 1) keep it to yourself (secret or contract) or 2) deposit it into the public domain (recognize no property rights if disclosed)

I don’t say this exactly, I mean who knows what intermediate things you can work out by contract etc. Up to the entrepreneur.

Yes, that would be option 1. The range of possibilities are vast and pointless; as pointless as trying to make a contract with a publisher in the absence of copyrights.

Since this destroys, for the most part, anything like an economic interest in writing books, we will, according to AET, have fewer of them. I get that.

I don’t agree there woudl be fewer books. We know that copyright prevents the publication of some works–sequels, derivative works. And it also imposes billions of dollars of cost on the economy, i.e., impoverishing us, and in its absenc,e with more money, there would be some people on the margins who are not writing now b/c they have to work ar egular job, etc., but who could afford to with the additional resources available absent copyright’s “tax.” Further, more money in the hands of consumers means more money to buy books. So you cannot assume there would be fewer works absent copyright. Nina Paley had a devil of a time making Sita Sings the Blues b/c of copyright; a lesser artist would have given up. But absent copyright lots of projects that are now dissuaded, or too costly, would be viable.

Wow, really reaching for that one. Of course the sequels and derivative works can’t be sequels or derivative works without a prior existing original work, right?

As for the billions in costs, that must be balanced with SOME amount of benefit. After all, Amazon alone did nearly $10B in sales for the first quarter of 2011. Did you figure that in? Do you think copyrights cost consumers $10B in legal costs in three months? Of course with more money to buy books because of the “copyright tax relieve”, all that extra money is sure to go into buying books, assuming there are any to buy. You know this how?

I am asking you if the legal concept of servitude is analogous to the operation of IP laws, in your opinion. It seems that way to me.

A servitude is a limited right to use a scarce resource. E.g., you are the naked owner of a tract of land, and I have a servitude to drive over a portion of it, say to get to my own driveway.

A patent or copyright gives someone the right to veto how another person uses their own scarce resources. So it is like a “negative” servitude except that it is not voluntarily negotiated.

“Negative servitude. A PREDIAL SERVITUDE “impos[ing] on the owner of the SERVIENT ESTATE the duty to abstain from doing something on his estate.” La. C.C. art. 706.”

Although I understand your point to Kid Salami about the difference between rape and consensual sex, I will simply observe that a servitude is not renegotiated each time title passes. That is because it passes by operation of law. When you buy the land, you accept the burden, voluntarily. When you buy a book, you accept the burden of copyrights. Those are the terms under which it is offered. As you have said elsewhere, there is no way to buy a book that is not burdened by copyrights.

So again, what’s the difference?

One small legal quibble: I think of what you call a “limited right to use” as an easement, and is imposed by the owner of property W on property B, the dominant parcel burdens a servient parcel with a limited right of use. A servitude is a limitation on the right to use your own property, like limiting building height or what color you can paint your house. There are no dominant or servient parcels. I guess that is why there are two words, and not one.

In the context of copyrights, one could say that I sell you a book with an “easement” to the work; I grant you limited use of my property. Or, one could also say that the ownership of a copy of my book comes with a servitude, limiting what uses you can enjoy. When you buy the book, you accept the burden because you have notice.

From the viewpoint of the operation of law, what is wrong with this analogy? Both are conditional transfers of property rights by operation of law.

the fundamental issue, as I wrote even back in my 2000 article on LRC, http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella2.1.1.html , IP sets up a second homesteading rule that undermines the Lockean one of first use. All IP is a disguised way of stealing and reassigning ownership to scarce resources. If you have a copyright, it means you own some of my money (if I do X) or you own my printing press, since you can tell me what not to do with it (unless I pay you extortion-ransom).

I beg to differ. Lockean homesteading deals with first use. You cannot possess a specific book unless it is written first. There is no way you can possess a copy of something “first”. A copy of a work can only be derived from a pre-existing work. A derivative work can only be derivative of something that already exists.

In a Lockean sense, the original homesteading act must be the act of authorship to create the original work. Only if this original work already exists, and it cannot exist without an author, can copies or derivative works be produced.

If I have a copyright, it means that your possession of that protected work is being made available only on condition that you accept the burden of the limited terms of use. How is it that you can claim to have received it under those terms, and then claim that by asserting those terms, I am “stealing and reassigning ownership”?

And why is the operation of law under copyrights any different than the operation of law under the doctrine of what you call a “PREDIAL SERVITUDE”?

In an IP free world people are free to use their own property, so long as they do not invade the borders of others’ owned resources/bodies. they do not need permissio. They can use whatever ideas or knowledge they have to guide their actions, or to decide what ends to pursue or means to use to achieve their ends. In an IP free world the first guy to build a log cabin can’t tell me not to build one, since when I build one, I am not trespassing on his property–his use of his own log cabin is undisturbed. As I am not committing trespass he has no right to stop me, and if he does, he is the aggressor, not me. IP legalizes what would otherwise be a a crime.

Unless you believe that in the libertarian world, everyone should be free to own their own nuclear bomb, you are merely engaging in your own side of a utilitarian argument about what is “good”.

If you are making the utilitarian argument that without IP, we are all better off, I beg to differ; it seems to me the principle that people should own what they make with their own means is pretty “Libertarian”.

But to return to the fundamental point; if you buy a piece of property burdened with a servitude, is it legitimate to then claim that to conform to that burden is a violation of your rights, because “people are free to use their own property so long as they do not invade the borders of others property? If that is the case, then the entire concept of servitude is meaningless. So, do you oppose servitudes as a violation of property rights? Certainly violating the terms of use imposed by the servitude does not trespass on another’s property, or does it?

It seems to me that the servitude creates a right by others to use coercion to enforce the terms of use you previously accepted. You acquired it under those terms. What is legitimate in one case seems to be legitimate in the other.

If you are saying that no one, to be a true “Libertarian” should accept the burden of servitudes, then you can stop buying and reading books. You do have freedom to do that right now. Isn’t that a voluntary act?

Ideas are free is just a shorthand way of explaining that ideas are free goods, not scarce resources. And *therefore* they are not suitable objects of proeprty rights, and that to attempt to protect ideas as property rights really is a disguised way of re-assigning existing property rights.

Yes, ideas are free goods, and shorthand is a way of leaving details out. The fact that oxygen is used to makes a sword and that ideas are used to write a book does not change the fact that a property rights in the sword is not ruled by the rule of oxygen, and a work is not ruled by the rule of ideas, letters, or the free oxygen you breath while writing. It is the means that is material, not the composition of inputs.

What is the detail behind the purpose of making a distinction between “ideas” and “works”? It is to distinguish one from the other in order to define the subject matter of copyrights, which according to you, “thankfully does not cover all ideas”. Which ones does it not cover and why? Because “sun” is not equivalent to “The Sun Also Rises”. Anyone can easily tell the difference. Yet you insist there is no meaningful distinction?

If by “work” you mean a pattern of information or idea, I dont agree–it was never property. Just b/c you are able to keep it secret does not mean it’s property. It means that your property rights in your body are useful to you since they allow you to keep secrets. further, all ideas are to some extent derivative, so nothing is 100% original (by the same token, nothing is 100% derivative–every new idea is somewhat original, and somewhat derivative).

No, as you know a “work” is not merely a pattern. Your use of “pattern” is just a way of describing an objective method for distinguishing between two patterns. In your words, it is merely a “technical issue”. A pattern can be random, meaningless and worthless. Works, the author hopes and intends, are none of these. A “work” implies something “Lockean” has occurred. No wonder you avoid that like the plague. One might otherwise conclude that a work is a first use of unclaimed and un-owned patterns, and thus is an act of homesteading.

Not at all; as I have explained dozens of times now, some contracts are unilateral and the event or act that triggers a title transfer is not itself owned–e.g. I will give you $10 if it rains tomorrow is unilateral and conditional, and does not imply “raining” is owned; “I will give you $10 IF you tell me your secret” does not mean the secret is owned: it only means the one-way transfer of title (to the $10) is triggered by a specified event (telling the secret).

And I have responded a dozen times that I am not claiming I own the “rain” in your example. But I am saying that unless you own the $10, you cannot transfer it to me. Unless I own the secret why would you be willing to pay me for it? I am simply stating that to contract for something you will exchange, you must have the right to transfer it.

So, if I can contract with you about my “secret”, you must not be able to get it from anyone else. Because I have exclusive possession and use of it, I can transfer it to you. If I did not own my work, how could I enter a contract to transfer it to you under any terms?

This sounds like the bizarre reasoning of Schulman who thinks “thingness” implies ownability.

Schulman can speak for himself. I am merely saying that “things” are the subject of property rights, and as a human device, if the “thing” can be defined, then it can become property. There is no ordained limitation on what can be the subject of property rights. Likewise, we may specifically exclude some “thing” as property, as we have done with slavery.

There is nothing wrong with a law that establishes “limitations on ownership” of a thing that is transferred to another, (i.e. a servitude).

Depends on the content. If the servitude is a negative one that says “you may not use your body to ingest narcotics unless I give you permission,” there is something wrong with it. Likewise with IP, which says “you may not use your computer to calculate an answer to the traveling salesman problem in X way without my permission”.

That is quite correct. It depends on what you think is right and wrong. Since all rights must be defended, and ethical, and economic principles are employed in that defense, then it really depends, ultimately on how you construct your defense of any asserted right. My defense of IP depends on the ethical and economic principles of this statement:

“A producer should own what he produces with his own means.”

Ideas are never property.

As you know, I completely agree. They could be, given that property is a human device, but it is bad policy to secure ideas with property rights. That is why they are specifically excluded from the subject matter of copyright law.

Have we learned anything?

Kid Salami June 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

“yeah, that’s “all”. hahahah Just like, it’s okay to have sex with a girl if it’s voluntary you know, but if it’s not, it’s rape. The difference between them is that one is voluntary, the other is not–that’s all!”

Do you think this is some kind of head-shot? You are simply doing the same thing I suggested Colin was doing, which is making assumptions about what I do and don’t think from the questions I’m asking. Would you respond to a question on the witness stand of “Do you see this man anywhere in the courtroom?” by saying “Don’t you know him? He’s your client? Do you need glasses? He’s right there? Jesus – judge, I think this guy is losing his marbles, he can’t find his own client.”

You are now claiming that I advocate for forcing people to do things they don’t agree to. Let’s be honest – you know perfectly well that I don’t think that.

Actually answering the question in a manner becoming of the scholar you claim to be might have been nice. Had you simply said “yes, it is option three”, I could have pointed out how I don’t agree that the situation is as clear as you suggest and that there are still similarities between the two scenarios that require explanation. As it is though, i still don’t know your answer, since all you did was put words in my mouth.

I’m just trying to pin you down precisely on this issue and focus the debate, and as I think that your case relies largely on a bait and switch between the precise meanings of words, I am trying to get you to agree with exact words that I can take issue with.

You though are refusing to be pinned down. It’s funny, I’ve watched you debate a large number of “ideas can be owned” shouting douchebags for inordinate amounts of time. Maybe I’m not worth it because i’m an idiot and not worth responding to. Or maybe it’s something else?

Peter Surda June 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Andrei,

In short, there is nothing libertarian or capitalist in the assumption that anyone should have the RIGHT to use something which would not have existed but for the creative effort of someone else AGAINST the creator’s wish.

I refuted your argument back in March:

http://blog.mises.org/15867/the-fight-against-intellectual-property/#comment-763252

You simultaneously claim that causality is and is not the basis of rights. That’s a self contradiction. Whether you call it libertarian or not is irrelevant, as it’s illogical.

But I have become accustomed to IP proponents having a poor grasp of logic and when confronted, reacting by running away from debate. Nothing new here.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I claim that your argument about causality is NONSENSICAL. Therefore, it does not require a meaningful response.
You cannot refute a meaningless response to a nonsensical argument.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Hahahaha YES!!!!

He claimed it, so THERE!

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 2:01 am

Andrei,

I claim that your argument about causality is NONSENSICAL.

Let me repeat: you simultaneously claim that causality is, and isn’t, the source of property rights. Let’s look again at your own words from one day ago:

In short, there is nothing libertarian or capitalist in the assumption that anyone should have the RIGHT to use something which would not have existed but for the creative effort of someone else AGAINST the creator’s wish.

(emphasis added).
The emphasised part is merely a description of causality. Let’s look at wikipedia page on causality:

Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.

So, what are you going to do? Continue denying logic?

David June 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm

It’s a testament to the failed university system that Mincov made it through law school. His career will not be long lived given his disdain for logic and correct argumentation. He’s much better suited for politics.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm

The causality argument is meaningless. You can cover anything or nothing by reference to it.
As to protection of individual words, copyright laws are very specific as to what attracts protection, and they do not cover individual words.
Your last argument is analogous to the following: “So some people would not work without pay. So what? Some of them would not get paid much anyway. Let’s just enslave everyone for the common good.”

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

“As to protection of individual words, copyright laws are very specific as to what attracts protection, and they do not cover individual words.”

Right. It makes sense that groups of words can be copyrighted and individual words cannot because, you know, someone said so.

*Why* should they not cover individual words? What is the reasoning behind this choice? Why is it the right choice to make and all others are wrong?

““So some people would not work without pay. So what? Some of them would not get paid much anyway. Let’s just enslave everyone for the common good.””

Ahh, yes. So enough of a good is being produced for free that there is no need to pay anyone to produce it. And when you go and produce it, demand money for it, and don’t get it, you are being enslaved! Apparently people enslave themselves with their own decisions to spend their lives doing something no one will pay them for.

Shay June 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm

So by saying that A cannot forbid B from doing certain things with B’s property, A and B are enslaved? I’d think it’s the opposite.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I take it some here believe taking involves only physical property being transferred from one to another but that is obviously not my take on the matter. Taking can, and does, also mean to claim or exercise as an option or right.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm

No it doesn’t. You can’t just make up definitions of words and claim they are rooted in reality. This is worse than equivocation. You can call copying taking, but that just means the word taking has two definitions, one of the being “to copy”. It does not change the fact that the concept of copying is distinct from taking. There are two different concepts involved, no matter what words we attach to them.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Likewise,
You can differentiate between unauthorized copying and unauthorized taking all you want.
Both are immoral and should not be tolerated among free individuals.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

“Both are immoral and should not be tolerated among free individuals.”

Why, because you say so?

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I did not make up either the words or their definition. Any good dictionary will show the definition I used; I merely copied it.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Generally speaking Libertarianism believes that we should seek out the create the best society we can while avoiding institutionalized violence as much as possible. Some libertarians beleive that IP is ok, but generally on this website they are aiming the discussion towards full on ‘Ancap’ society. Anarchic Capitalism theory says that it’s possible to create a society were people are self governing through capitalism and contract law with no need for state government. That’s not to say that there would be no government… just no state government.

The definition of state in this context is talking about all the mechanisms/people/organizations of the state government… police, military, judges, politicians, bureaucrats, etc.

They have a monopoly on deciding law, judiciary, and use violence to carry out the enforcement of their will. That is if you don’t obey then your fined. If you don’t pay the fine then eventually they will send groups of armed men to try to arrest you and put you in a cage. and if that fails and you resist too strongly then they will simply kill you. That sort of thing.

Any time you talk about law in the context of state government laws, you are talking about deciding whether or not it’s useful to inflict violence on other people.

IP laws are objected to here because they depend on the state form of institutionalized violence to support them. The IP law depends on you using the state to restrict the ability of people to act in their own self interests with their own private property.

In a full Ancap society it should be still possible to carry out many of your profitable functions as a photographer through contract law. That is when you do business with a client and you want to restrict their use of the photographs for a time period or restrict what they can use the photos for, then you can include that in your contract with them. If they agree to it then it would be considered well within the moral confines of libertarian property rights and actions, etc.

The major difference is that you would not be able to restrict the actions of people that never entered into any agreement with you or your business partners.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Thank you for the cogent response.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm

No problem.

Also you can see that this site lives by the creed it preaches. It has a book store, but for the vast majority of useful information under the legal control of the Mises institution you can get copies of it just by downloading. In fact the entire website is available via downloads via bittorrent.

I especially like the audio books. Helps explain a lot and I can listen when doing mundane stuff. :)

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I mentioned this in response to another so please forgive me if it is out of order to repeat here.

I value each copy of my photograph. I may make one or many depending upon my perception of its value in the market. I see no difference between one making an unauthorized copy of my photographic images and one making an unauthorized copy of U.S. currency.

Would Libertarian thought differentiate between my paper and that of the state?

Jim June 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Probably not. Being more ancap, many people around here would advocate for an end to state monopoly on currency, and for freely competing currencies on the open market. Right now the state uses force to prevent this.

nate-m June 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Would Libertarian thought differentiate between my paper and that of the state?

Probably not. The money system we have now is called ‘Fiat Currency’, which means it has value only because the state government says so.

Money originally was not created by any government or king. It’s something that developed naturally from the barter system. It would be accurate to describe that money was created before people understood what money was. Economics is funny and interesting in that way… unlike many technologies human action created economy even though nobody understood why or how it worked or even that ever existed. Much of economic theory is based on the struggle to understand what is value, wealth, interest, and so on and so forth. People don’t really understand all the details of what these things are or what is the exact function they provide in a economy and different viewpoints have widely different and conflicting theories.

As you know the barter system is a trading system which you trade a physical good for a good. As society evolved the barter system becomes much to complex and unwieldy.

Effectively money evolved out of commodity exchange. It was created naturally by almost all human societies no matter what. Humans have far more in common with economics, contracts, and commerce then they ever did in terms of language or even customs. All this stuff just was created naturally and spontaneously once all societies reach a certain level of complexity.

Money can be anything… feathers, large rocks, pigs, cattle, bales of wheat, salt, etc etc. It’s just some commodity that you know almost everybody wants or is willing to exchange goods and services for. Gold is just one of the more ideal moneys because it can’t be faked or created spontaneously. It doesn’t rot or rust. It can be cut up into tiny pieces or melted down and still retain it’s value. And unlike, say, iron; you can carry around a small amount and it would represent a large amount of wealth.

This is one of the fun things about economics. People just created contracts, interest, money, accounting, and so on and so forth as just a matter of course. Even societies in relative isolation still either created economics or quickly adopted it. It took decades before academics even began to understand the basic functions of things like interest rates… yet people have been using these things for centuries very successfully.

You can look at something like the USA economy and see that it works, but nobody really understand why it works. They don’t understand the mechanisms behind it or why people decide on most things they decide on.

The USA used Gold as the basis for our money up until 1971 (thanks Nixon!).

The Gold standard was finally dropped in order to pay for USA’s foreign debt. The government decided that we no longer needed gold reserves and got the Fed to literally start producing money out of thin air and sending that to foreign nations as payment (in a bit of a round about manner) for our debts. (probably largely due to Vietnam) As a result of this we saw large inflation and when countries like Germany dropped the dollar as the basis for their own currency then they saw their economies revitalized whiles ours suffered the resulting inflation.

Ever since then we have been flirting with disaster. With commodity-based money no matter what happens the money will always have value. No king or government created money… it just developed naturally as a result of the complex economic relationships that people formed voluntarily. Governments only standardized it, mostly for taxation purposes.

So according the Libertarian outlook is that the fiat currency (combined with fractional banking system) is already counterfeit. The only reason we have it in the first place is just to make it easier for the government to defeat accounting rules and printing money (although this is a euphemism***). This is the real reason behind inflation and it is effectively a hidden tax. The money’s only value is that people simply assume it has value. Why? Because the government says so.

On a side note:
*** How ‘printing money’ works nowadays is that major banks like Goldman Sachs purchase USA government treasury notes. Then the Fed purchases these treasury notes from the banks. You and I would normally purchase notes directly from the government, but the Fed purchases them from banks. They also announce well ahead of time that they are going to purchase them… why? So that Goldman and friends can hurry up and increase the market value of the so they can reap huge profits selling the notes to the Fed.

The logic, I suppose, is that these banks make large profits, which then get put into capital investment loans, which purchases capital goods used to create consumer goods. During the course of this process people are hired to produce consumer/capital goods, then they use their paycheck to later go out and buy said consumer goods… thus ‘saving’ the economy.

The reality is that the government gets to send more money out to foreign countries so that it can convince those countries to keep financing it’s activities and companies like Goldman Sachs get huge profits derived from the loss we suffer through inflation.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Correct.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

It would probably be less presumptuous of me to say instead that “I agree.” I do.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm

sweater – re: rape

I’m glad you fell into the trap.
Yes, rape is taking control of one’s body away from that person.
Likewise, copyright infringement is taking control of one’s property away from that person, even if it does not result in loss of possession of the physical copy of that property.
Lack of physical possession does not equal lack of property.
Likewise, lack of physical trespass does not mean lack of infringement.

sweatervest June 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

“Likewise, copyright infringement is taking control of one’s property away from that person”

Congrats on assuming the conclusion in order to reach that conclusion. Apparently using logic means using circular reasoning. Yes, assuming that one can have property rights in ideas leads you right to the conclusion that one has property rights in ideas.

Can you explain to me how or why a book, photo, song, idea, etc. can possibly count as a persons’s property? Do you even know what “property” is and where the idea comes from?

“Lack of physical possession does not equal lack of property.”

No one ever said it did. Lack of rivalry means lack of property, because no conflicts in use makes property rights meaningless. Property means exclusion. Ideas are non-rivalrous goods. That they are non-physical is an irrelevant point dragged into the discussion as a straw man by IP proponents.

“Likewise, lack of physical trespass does not mean lack of infringement.”

And yet the only justifiable restitution for such “intellectual infringement” is a confiscation of the copier’s *physical* goods. So a non-physical trespass is always made right with a physical trespass. Hmmm…

It seems as though you are the one that fell into the trap. :)

Daniel June 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm

He activated your trap card

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 3:33 am

Andrei,

Likewise, copyright infringement is taking control of one’s property away from that person, even if it does not result in loss of possession of the physical copy of that property.

Let us analyse this statement. First of all, a copyright infringement (excluding those that constitute a violation of property rights in the physical property) does not alter the physical property you own. You claim that it, nevertheless, constitutes “taking control of one’s property”. Taking control implies that there is a change. If however your physical property does not change, how do you come to the conclusion that there is a change? The only way to come to that conclusion is to interpret changes of the physical property of other people as a change of your immaterial property. If you disagree, feel free to object to any part of the reasoning.

Two issues arise from this. The fist strikingly obvious one is that the two property claims contradict each other, or to view this from a different perspective, the claim to immaterial property requires the expropriation of physical property and vice versa.

The second problem is, what rules to apply in order to determine whether the change of other people’s physical property violates your property rights? If you eliminate the condition that a change of your own physical property is the deciding factor, then sky is the limit. You cannot coherently explain whether causality is the missing necessary condition (indeed, you apparently do not understand it yourself), and do not provide any other explanation.

In summary, your argument is poorly formulated and contains inexcusable gaps.

David C June 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Wow. Well, I’m going to ignore the other debates here, because to me copyrights are crap, they are not property nor incentive nor “protection”, and the intellectual debate about them (like socialism) has been closed for a long time.

As for their link to socialism, I have often felt that there had to be some kind of link there simply because hollywood and the mainstream media are so socialist and statist. I think the deal is that when you have copyright, you can create wealth by creating hype over substance, and so there is a natural disincentive to be productive within the system. In a normal system, the hype can’t be monetized, because it is dissipated. Only information that offers value can be monetized, with services support, and so on, but in a copyright system there is a direct coorlation between more eyeballs and more money, even if that information is just hype. Once you have things set up so that the unproductive people can make wealth, then it is only a matter of time before socialist mentalities creep in.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm

So you are saying art and music have no value?

Artisan June 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Art and music are original individual (or group) expressions. Their value lies in the uniqueness, not the reproducibility. Andy Warhol’s main claim to fame in Art history is his obsession with that unique/reproducibility duality… and Roy Lichtenstein as well in fact.

Dale Matthews June 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I would suggest a work of art, music, literature may have a financial as well as an emotional value. Copying a soup can was not great art. It was however, in my opinion, brilliant marketing.

Artisan June 9, 2011 at 2:44 am

I’m not sure your (or mine) judgment is relevant for art history. We can only hope to understand the circumstances that made some pieces famous. The financial genius of Warhol is also not questionable. But let’s only focus on the evolution of art philosophy for a moment: Warhol’s success (whether deserved or not) relies a great deal on his irony and provocations. He was pushing – an already celebrated and fascinating “ready-made” idea – to the extreme… and no one made it more clear than him, I guess, that the originality of an Art concept had no value “in itself”.

Never had it been more easy to produce a “fake” Warhol. The multiplication of Marylins (whose picture Warhol did not take himself, by the way) on Americas’ walls did not dissolve the collector value of his unique original work. Quite the contrary if we believe that December 2, 2004 article in The Guardian where “the painting was named the third most influential piece of modern art in a survey of 500 artists, critics, and others.”
Conclusion: the acceptance of an artwork’s (historical) value goes together with the artist endorsement of it, and the public (buyer) must be willing to pay for that endorsement, unless you can hardly assume it’s much worth. (By the way: great photographies you’re showing, Dale!)

J Cortez June 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Just because an idea can be copied at little to no cost (making it essentially free) doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.

But that also doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be copied.

David June 8, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Anything can have value, since value only exists in the heads of humans. This doesn’t mean that any one individual’s subjective valuations equates to market price, which I think is where you’re getting confused. Value and market price are not the same thing. Value is subjective, whereas price is objective.

Stephan Kinsella June 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm

To be precise: value does not exist in any location, including human heads. Prices are historical facts. Value is that which is manifested or demonstrated in human action. But consider I punch you in your face. Where did the punch occur? It occurred nowhere; it’s just a fact. Facts have no location. Nor does prices or valuations.

David June 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I was using it figuratively, but it’s probably for the better since precision is very important in these matters.

Stephan Kinsella June 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Right. I was not being pedantic. I think it’s important to be precise.

Andrei Mincov June 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Copyright does not force you to pay for my works.
Copyright does not force you to use my works.
All copyright does is stops you from using MY works without asking me if I’m OK with that.

PS I wonder how many people in this discussion have actually read Hayek’s article.

Jonathan M. F. Catalán June 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Is Hayek is basically saying that if there were no copyright laws then there would be lesser incentive for intellectuals to propagate their beliefs through writing? I’m guessing that the unstated corollary is that with less literature, they’d also be less influential. Is my interpretation accurate?

Stranger June 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Surely if there was no demand for the literary products of intellectuals, their copyrights would not earn them any income, as no one is forced to purchase literary goods from any specific writer. This is wantonly calling for the elimination of an entire economic sector taking place between consenting buyers and sellers.

Intellectual communists will grasp at any straw to destroy the production of intellectual goods. I am reminded of Schumpeter pointing out that capitalism created the very class of bourgeois intellectuals who preached its destruction.

Peter Surda June 9, 2011 at 2:05 am

Have you found the courage yet to confront the self-contradiction in your claims?

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

“Intellectual communists”

Yeah, whatever Mr. Labor Theory of Value.

“will grasp at any straw to destroy the production of intellectual goods.”

Your refusal to listen to us astounds me. Making illegal certain ways to produce intellectual goods (i.e. unauthorized copying, producing based on an unlicensed patent, etc.) does not lead to production of more intellectual goods, anymore than minimum wage leads to more jobs or giving GM a monopoly in car production results in more cars. No, forbidding people to do things does not result in more of those things.

“I am reminded of Schumpeter pointing out that capitalism created the very class of bourgeois intellectuals who preached its destruction.”

Yes, I’m sure you think this is relevant because you keep calling us communists. I don’t think you’re argumentative skills go beyond calling people names and falsely grouping them with people with which they have nothing in common.

In fact, the bourgeois intellectuals you mentioned are the most dedicated proponents of intellectual property because they mostly make their livings off selling books.

Do you have any idea what you’re talking about when it comes to any of this?

Thomas June 9, 2011 at 1:50 am

What kind of a bullshit argument is “the abolition of copyright laws may very well be a liquidation of the professional intellectual class that defends and propagandizes for the American Welfare-Warfare State”? You should be more open and can do way better than that. Read Mill for example. Or Humboldt.

Alan June 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Someone above said: “Radio stations don’t pay royalties for the music they play.” That is incorrect. See ASCAP and BMI.

Someone else argued: “Your concept of IP theft is predicated on your belief that if somebody copied your photo in a unauthorized manner then it would deny your ability to make money through that act of copying. For the vast majority of copying this is not true… the person who made a unauthorized copy never had any intention of paying you for the photo regardless. So you cannot say that in that act you actually lost anything. You still have your photo, you lost no money, nothing was denied to you, and nothing was taken from you.”

Even if one accepts the argument that the vast majority who copy have no intention of paying for the photo, what about the small minority who copy but would have bought if they could not copy for free? If there are 10 people who would have bought my photo for $500 and there are 1000 people who copy my photo but never would have paid for it, I am out $5000.

How do we restrict unauthorized copying to only those who never would have paid in the first place?

Matthew Swaringen June 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

If someone produces a new tablet PC for $500 and 1000 people don’t buy your photo because they spent the money on the tablet PC instead, it has the same effect as 1000 people not buying it due to copying. Lost sales are irrelevant, they assume you have a right you don’t have.

Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

@ Matthew Swaringen June 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Lost sales are irrelevant, they assume you have a right you don’t have.

If you sell hot dogs across the street and revenue in my hotel cafeteria drops, that is fair competition and I have no rights to stop you.

If you set up a hot dog stand in my hotel lobby, that is another thing altogether.

The difference between these two fact patterns is the definition of property rights. Only with a prior definition of property rights could you figure out which case of lost revenue violates rights and which doesn’t.

Being a human device, we choose to define property rights to serve some purpose. To the extent they exist, they create the right to exclusive use.

Therefore, your example does not prove what you seem to claim it does. Rights are not assumed, they are asserted and defended. Beneficiaries of IP rights have successfully done so, for the time being.

If you wish to change that situation, you are going to have to assert your rights and defend them such that you obtain your goal, which appears to be possession of what starts out as one persons property (you don’t deny that it is “his” before he discloses it, right?) and become yours by operation of some property rules. Transfer of property follows established rules of property rights.

It appears your rule is the following: 1) If you want to keep it, don’t try to sell it ( outside of a specific contractor keep it secret) or; 2) donate it to the public domain.

Do I have it right?

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

“Being a human device, we choose to define property rights to serve some purpose”

Moral bankruptcy at its worst. We only have a right to our bodies because our rulers chose for it to be that way. I suppose those people down in Guantanamo Bay really don’t have any rights, because no one ever chose for them to have rights.

Matthew Swaringen June 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm

“If you set up a hot dog stand in my hotel lobby, that is another thing altogether.” – This is based on some odd metaphysical analogy.

“Only with a prior definition of property rights” – Yeah, and for you these rights are defined based on legislation, legal precedent, the constitution, and they are for all times correct and perfect. It doesn’t matter if they are internally contradictory to you at all.

“We” choose nothing. Only individuals make choices. You make the choice to support an agency of force in exercising that force against individuals use of their own property to combat the copying of patterns and information.

“Beneficiaries of IP rights have successfully done so”
The same as beneficiaries of the military industrial complex have successfully engaged us in constant warfare. I’m really happy about these decisions.

“you don’t deny that it is “his” before he discloses it, right?”
Yes, in fact I do deny that “his” has any real meaning in an ownership context even prior to disclosure. He is in no way required to exercise his body to disclose the information or idea that he possesses, but the right not to release is in no way an implication of ownership.

“1) If you want to keep it, don’t try to sell it ( outside of a specific contractor keep it secret)”
If you want to prevent others from learning it, don’t distribute it. “Keeping” has no meaning because there is no loss of it that comes from others learning it. I do agree if you have a contract, but no contract would affect 3rd parties who weren’t part of the agreement.

“2) donate it to the public domain.”
I would say reveal or disclose, not “donate”, and there is no “public domain.” There are only other individuals, and to the extent they were aware of what you had revealed/disclosed they would act on the information in accordance with their own preferences. They might pay you for choosing to reveal it. They might not. They might pay you or someone else who is supporting you for products/services related to it or pay to support you expecting releases.

G8R HED June 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

“The difference between these two fact patterns is the definition of property rights. Only with a prior definition of property rights could you figure out which case of lost revenue violates rights and which doesn’t.”

Purely an assumption.

How do you know that people simply prefer to buy hotdogs at the location across the street because it is closer to the beach? Maybe they just don’t want to walk all the way back to the hotel lobby to get a hotdog.
All you are doing in your example is justifying a hotdog monopoly on the fact that you serve them in your hotel lobby and you don’t want people to buy them anywhere else.

Ned Netterville June 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

From ANDREI MINCOV’S blog: “Ever since I started practicing in the field of intellectual property law…” To me, this admission, more than anything else, explains your unwavering, unreasonable defense of IP. IP is how you make your living. Nothing wrong with that, mind you (except see below in my comment to Dale), it is just that telling a union man that the “right” to picket and forcibly prevent “scabs” from replacing the striker’s job is not really a “right,” although it is the law here in the U.S., and has been for so long that the union man cannot comprehend working without it. You are, may I suggest, like the union man, afflicted with cognitive dissonance, by which I mean you cannot perceive life without IP laws, perhaps because of a subconscious belief that IP’s demise would make your work, perhaps the most important thing in you life, inconsequential and entirely un-remunerating. Like your belief in IP, the union man believes his job depends on the union and cannot but believe that without unions all workers would be slaves.

DALE MATTHEWS, I doubt if I can add much to what NATE-M said to you about the reason why so many folks here at Mises oppose IP: “IP laws are objected to here because they depend on the state form of institutionalized violence to support them. The IP law depends on you using the state to restrict the ability of people to act in their own self interests with their own private property.”

Dale, I doubt very much whether you would condone the initiation of force in the ordinary course and conduct of your affairs with other humans, but that is what all governments (aka, the State) do, and must do in order to exist. The State utterly depends on the collection of taxes–by force and violence if necessary. And I contend, because it is logically and empirically irrefutable, that the initiation of violence in human affairs almost always begets more violence. Furthermore, and on the same solid grounds, I contend that IP laws cannot exist in the absence of the State. Does that mean that by supporting IP you are supporting the initiation and spread of violence (i.e., wars, murder, genocide, etc.)? Yep, although until today you may never have thought so. At least IMHO, any voluntary support of the State or any of its offices is an implicit if not explicit endorsement of violence.

Can we survive without the State? Not survive; thrive! Regarding its necessity, government is like slavery, a similarity particularly noticeable in its claim on the fruits of its citizens’ labors. For a very long time most people in this world believed. and could not be convinced otherwise (viz., cognitive dissonance), that slavery could not be done away with. So too most people’s current perception of the necessity of government. But mis-perceptions, like the scales on Paul’s eyes, can fall away.

Andrei Mincov June 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

So, using your logic, a surgeon can never voice his opinion that people should not maim other people — simply because he would have less work if people didn’t?

Matthew Swaringen June 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Obviously not, Kinsella speaks against IP, so “never” is a bit much. But for a surgeon there are many injuries that don’t require someone to have maimed them. It’s the exception to the rule for purposeful maiming to be the reason for surgery.

A better comparison would be the people involved in the military industrial complex. How many of them are going to speak out against the wars or especially their own weapons/etc. and how many civilians are killed by them? They only make money if government buys from them, and the government continuing to buy requires fear and constant warfare.

Dale Matthews June 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Somalia comes to mind. There is no government there for quite sometime now. It does not seem to be doing very well.

David June 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Actually, it’s doing better than it was when it had a centralized state, which is the only comparison that makes sense. There’s even an article about it here on mises: http://mises.org/daily/2701

Wildberry June 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Here is the fist bullet offered in evidence from this article:

Life expectancy increased from 46 to 48.5 years. This is a poor expectancy as compared with developed countries. But in any measurement of welfare, what is important to observe is not where a population stands at a given time, but what is the trend. Is the trend positive, or is it the reverse?

Now call me crazy, but a 2 1/2 year increase in life epectancy is not something to write home about when you start wth 46. I suppose when you simply eliminate mechanized mass murder, some increase in life expectancy is bound to occur.

And this is the poster child of anarchists?

David June 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

It’s over a 5% increase. Not bad in my opinion. Comparing the life expectancy of a non-industrialized African country to modern first world standards is dishonest.

Wildberry June 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Well, that’s nice, coming from someone with an average life expectancy of something like 80.

In ny case, it seems like a major stretch to imply that Somalia is on its way to spontaneously generated, widespread prosperity, owing primarly to the fact they have not rganized themselves a government.

The civilized western world should look to Somalia for our shining example of anarchism at work? No thanks…

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm

“In ny case, it seems like a major stretch to imply that Somalia is on its way to spontaneously generated, widespread prosperity, owing primarly to the fact they have not rganized themselves a government.”

So you’re saying the future prospects of prosperity don’t depend on the rate of increase of prosperity?

You are focusing on the standard of living itself, when it is better to focus on the rate of change of the standard of living. For example, a socialist society may be very very wealthy to start off, but this would only be because of previous capital accumulation under capitalism, and the failure of socialism would manifest itself in the fact that however high the standard of living is, it will always be declining.

On the other hand, when capitalism begins everyone is in complete poverty, but their standards of living will rise more rapidly than under any other organization.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm

“The civilized western world should look to Somalia for our shining example of anarchism at work? No thanks…”

That’s exactly what they should do. If a society has been wrecked into abject squalor, how can its current level of prosperity be a reflection of its current organization? That Somalia is dirt poor is a legacy of its past, not what they are doing right now, and it is pretty unfair to blame their anarchist organization for their poverty, since they began their anarchism at that poverty level, or to expect a successful organization of society to instantly shoot them out of their poverty into prosperity.

Pom-Pom June 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm
Wildberry June 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I don’t know what to make of Joseph Salerno’s article, when he says this:

In his brilliant article on “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” Friedrich Hayek suggests a strong causal connection between copyright laws and socialism.

This is the actual paragraph from the article from which he draws:

In the sense in which we are using the term, the intellectuals are in fact a fairly new phenomenon of history. Though nobody will regret that education has ceased to be a privilege of the propertied classes, the fact that the propertied classes are no longer the best educated and the fact that the large number of people who owe their position solely to the their general education do not possess that experience of the working of the economic system which the administration of property gives, are important for understanding the role of the intellectual. Professor Schumpeter, who has devoted an illuminating chapter of his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy to some aspects of our problem, has not unfairly stressed that it is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs and the consequent absence of first hand knowledge of them which distinguishes the typical intellectual from other people who also wield the power of the spoken and written word. It would lead too far, however, to examine here further the development of this class and the curious claim which has recently been advanced by one of its theorists that it was the only one whose views were not decidedly influenced by its own economic interests. One of the important points that would have to be examined in such a discussion would be how far the growth of this class has been artificially stimulated by the law of copyright.

Emphasis added

It is hard for me to see where this can be an assertion that Hayek is saying there is a “strong casual connection between copyright laws and socialism”.

This is the only reference to copyrights in the entire article. Despite the High Fives from Jeffery Tucker and “respeck” from Stephan Kinsella, I can’t see how this article amounts to a triumph for the anti-IP crowd.

If any of you have any further insights concerning “how” this class of intellectuals have been “artificially stimulated by the law of copyright”, I would love to hear it, especially given that Hayek himself seemed to think it would “lead too far”.

I agree, you have led too far.

DWF Photographer June 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Forgive me if I am repeating something already said, but I got through a good portion of this debate, but not all. On the basis of someone “stealing” an image, let’s go through the underlying understanding of “theft”. If you take a bicycle that I make, everyone pretty much agrees that this is theft. If you make a bike exactly like it, it is competition. However, if I come up with a novel and groundbreaking way of designing or manufacturing a bike, then I should be protected (as I am with patents) to allow myself to enjoy the fruits of my R&D investments and not allow everyone else to enjoy those efforts I undertook. If you want to invent something, go forth and do so and spend the money to come up with something. However, R&D investments do not assure a 100% success rate. How would you feel if you spent (after 3 attempts) thousands of dollars to invent/design something, only to have everyone else say “Gee thanks for spending the money to help us make a new/better product.”? If you don’t care, then spend a decent amount of money or post your best idea on the web and see how you complain later that someone benefitted from your “good idea”. I’m sure you’ve already said that before.

OK, now on to the book author. If you use someone’s book as “inspiration” then there is some grey area. If you copy that book word for word (or even parts) and stamp your name as author, do you really think that would fly? Did you ever hear of plagiarism? That didn’t fly in grade school, HS or college, did it? Why, because it wasn’t YOUR work or the efforts of your creative work. You took someone else’s efforts/ideas and, without investing any other efforts to enhance or interpret, used that work for your benefit. If you wrote a slasher novel that took a different twist than the Best Selling Novel of the Week, then the customer can decide if your effort is worthy of purchase. If you copied that BSNotW and slapped your name on it, do you really think you deserve the profits? Really? If so, try and write a book. Go for it. Try it the hard way for once and not cop out.

OK, on to photography. A photographer goes to a site (a cost), invests money into equipment to capture the image (another cost) and takes a photo and markets it (yet, another cost). Has he/she invested the money for everyone else to take the resulting image and profit from it? No. The photographer has invested time, money and skill into capturing that photo and should be entitled to the fruits of their investment and effort. If you want to enjoy that photo on your wall, go buy it. If you want to sell that image, go buy a camera, go to the same spot and take the “exact” same photo. Basically, spend the same (or relatively) amount of money/effort and DO THAT. That is “competition”. The buyer can now make an informed decision to patronize the image that appeals to them. Did you actually “take” the photo or are you just using that image and, essentially, “stamping YOUR name on that image”? Why not go out and do a better job, rather than take someone else’s image and call it your own? Could you tell someone how you captured that image and let them have confidence that you could do that again? That is how IP works. It protects an individual from having someone else use their efforts to “portray” themselves as having done that work or improperly portraying themselves as having abilities that they do not have. That is theft….basically it is identity theft. Capture your own image and sell it….not theft. Something will be different between the two images. Still think using someone’s image for your benefit is ok? Go to some exotic place and get a great image. Plaster it all over the internet (hi-res, of course), send it to stock agencies and tell them it is free, email every Fortune 500 company and tell them to use it without compensation or credit. That is what photographers want you to do. It is easy to say you would do that….much harder to actually pony up and do it. All talk, no action. Try to step into our shoes and not always feel “entitled” or take the easy way out.

If a photographer posts unwatermarked images then he/she is liable for “identity theft” by someone copying that image and making it available for whatever other use. Same thing for the bike manufacturer who posts the results/ideas of his R&D improvements on the web, without first obtaining a patent. It becomes fair game. They (both photographer and bike manufacturer) are tacitly approving anyone to use that information. If they watermark or caption a photo that basically says “keep your grubby hands off”, then it should be that way. Feel free to pay those for their efforts, investments and creative abilities and quit trying to feel so “entitled” to everything around you.

sweatervest June 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I only read your first paragraph, but it was all assuming that you “should” be protected without arguing to that effect. It may be sad for some inventors, but that does not imply it is unjust (besides, patents make successful inventions far harder to design because producers can only produce based on a few of the best inventions when they must pay high licensing fees, which means only the few best inventions will ever become successful… so I don’t know how sad it would be for inventors. It would be about as sad as how getting rid of the minimum wage would result in the few people that survived the restriction of the market having their wages lowered).

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

“Sweatervest, I’ve pretty much lost interest in reading your long, rambling rants. Anyway no, please don’t read anything, especially a book on the laws you so oppose. That would spoil what is otherwise near perfect ignorance of the subject matter upon which you confidently pontificate.”

Wildberry is completely ignorant about the science of ethics to the point that he cannot distinguish a discussion about ethics from one about positive law.

For you, reading any little bit about natural rights theory, or any other approach to ethics, such as the one done by Aristotle thousands of years ago in his book called “Ethics” (or any of the several other works one the subject done by philosophers), would spoil your otherwise total ignorance of the whole discipline of ethics and philosophy in general (i.e. sophistry).

Instead you repeat “property rights are a human device” ad nauseum and demonstrate the lack of intellectual capacity to understand what that means.

You know what else is a “human device”? Mathematics. Math was not handed down to us from nature, it was constructed by humans for the purpose of humans using it to act successfully in the real world. You would have us believe that humans got together and “agreed” that 2 + 2 = 4, and then hide behind the painfully obvious insanity of such a position by reminding us that math is a human device, created by humans, and at some point someone decided to write down “2 + 2 = 4″ on a piece of paper. You would have us believe that people can just construct any mathematical system they want and use it successfully, and that it is only a matter of convention that addition is commutative and associative.

Property rights are a “human device” but you seem to think that means humans can just decide arbitrarily on what property rights are. People design blueprints for a building too, but they can’t just draw anything they think is pretty on a piece of paper and expect it to be the basis for an actual, physical building. And yet you think people can just do whatever they feel is right and expect a civilization to result from it.

To you, it is a complete and amazing coincidence that there are any similarities among the property rights that are defined and recognized (or not) by different societies. It is completely by chance that all property rights systems converge to one form of property rights, exactly how theories of mathematics began differently and are converging to the same, universal system of math.

You might agree that math is a human device created by humans to be used by humans, and that does not mean it is a matter of convention and that it is in fact rooted in reality. If you cared to expose yourself in even the slightest to theories of ethics, you might understand that individual rights are exactly the same in that they are rooted in reality and the theories of those rights are constructed for the purpose of capturing objectively existing phenomena that transcend the evaluations of actors.

I doubt it however, because I have exposed you to a substantial chunk of ethical theories and you have been nothing short of being flatly hostile to the whole endeavor, instead thinking that the very attempt to scientifically capture ethics is an expression of my psychological character. Apparently the very attempt to say, for example, that murder is wrong no matter who or how many people disagree, is just an expression of ego-mania and the refusal to admit the possibility of being wrong (which, I should say, you commit every time you post something and expect it to be correct and worth posting).

You are the only one here talking about positive law. You are having an argument with yourself, and no surprise you keep “winning” it. I will only speak for myself, but I don’t care in the slightest bit what positive law is. I don’t care in the slightest bit that it is illegal for me to have sex with the lights on. You are the only person who thinks that has any impact on anything being discussed here. You are the only one here who would ever think to respond to, “that is unjustifiable” with “yeah, but it’s the law”.

I just don’t get how “but, but, intellectual property laws exist” counts to you as something worth bringing to the discussion here.

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

As another point, I know more about existing copyright law than Wildberry. He just misinterpreted my objections to that law as being unclear about what the law says. I know more about the details of copyright law than he does.

He has never expressed any knowledge concerning the details of positive law. He just keeps saying, “I know it all” and instructs the rest of us to read up on what I have concluded he himself has not read up on. Not that he should, since it is pointless to a debate over what the law *SHOULD* be not what it is, but I thought I would point out that in addition to how inappropriate Wildberry’s insistence that I learn more about actual intellectual property legislature, he has never actually shown that he knows anything about that legislature.

He knows no more about the details than I do. He just misinterpreted my arguments (because he is so completely ignorant about ethics he doesn’t even know an ethical argument when he sees it) that there is no logical place to draw the lines that IP legislature does as me being unfamiliar with the fact that IP legislature draws those lines or what those lines are.

In fact, Wildberry has misconstrued existing positive IP law to the point that it no longer means what it literally says it does and calls itself, and accuses me of simply not knowing the laws. His argument that IP is not about protecting ideas is contradicted by the wikipedia article on intellectual property: “Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets”

So, it seems that Wildberry is not only so ignorant about ethics that he can’t identify it when he sees it, he is also so ignorant about positive IP law he mistakes others’ accurately describing it as themselves being ignorant of it.

Apparently Wildberry himself is not the law professor he insists we must be in order to discuss this problem at all.

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Also, he only quotes people like Mises, who I *have* read.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

@sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

What animates you so?

Property rights are a “human device” but you seem to think that means humans can just decide arbitrarily on what property rights are. People design blueprints for a building too, but they can’t just draw anything they think is pretty on a piece of paper and expect it to be the basis for an actual, physical building. And yet you think people can just do whatever they feel is right and expect a civilization to result from it.

Not that you are going to be persuaded by anything that doesn’t already support your view, but consider this:

Yes, humans can and do arbitrarily decide what property rights are. But you fail to understand that it is not enough to assert a right, it must be defended. Civilization, in one respect is a process of asserting and defending certain principles.

Slavery, at one time, was asserted as a property right, and successfully defended for quite awhile. It is the failure to defend the legitimacy of slavery that caused its demise. Civilized people sufficiently agreed that recognition of slavery as chattel property rights was a violation of a higher principle, and the right to own slaves was eliminated. This is the essential historical fact.

A blueprint must be “defended” against gravity, and other engineering principles. It has to fit within a cost budget, etc. This is what constrains what can be built from a drawing. If you have ever seen a drawing by M.C. Escher, you know you can draw anything. You cannot always defend the concept, however, by building it in the real world.

Such is the case with property rights. They are designed to serve a purpose, and are asserted and defended, and thereby may be encoded in laws which are enforceable by the state. But this does not give them immortality, or immunity from challenge or change. Such is the process of civilization.

You seem to think that there is some higher principle operating above the human experience that hands down the Truth, and only enlightened souls like yourself are capable of perceiving this natural Truth. You seem to think you have God on or side, or some other preemptory force of nature.

Civilization, since you introduced that subject, is the product of human kind. It is a system of starts and stops, experimentation and survival. Certain things, like the principle of individual freedom, persists longer than others, like slavery.

Civilization is also fundamentally a cooperative enterprise, and is not well described by the Crusoe device of man alone on an island. Property is an attribute of human civilization, and is devised in the service of human kind’s cooperation with others. You have no moral authority to declare that your views on what is legitimately property and what is not, are correct.

Our particular brand of civilization, during this time and in this place, has define property rights in a particular way. Time and evolution have some considerable authority behind them. Attributes of civilization that have persisted throughout the process of social development cannot be simply cast aside because you think, upon a few minutes reflection, have cornered the ultimate Truth. It is an ongoing process.

You seem to think that fanatically holding onto a certain position, despite any thought or evidence to the contrary demonstrates that you are a man of principle.

Rather, you are superficial, disrespectful, and arrogant. You seem to have endless opinions about what property is not, yet have yet to answer Kid Salami’s simple question about what it is.

One more example before I go…

In fact, Wildberry has misconstrued existing positive IP law to the point that it no longer means what it literally says it does and calls itself, and accuses me of simply not knowing the laws. His argument that IP is not about protecting ideas is contradicted by the wikipedia article on intellectual property: “Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets”

Of course you realize that I already spoon-fed it to you here:

http://blog.mises.org/16099/ideas-free-and-unfree-a-book-commentary/#comment-766645

I have no interest of going down this same rat hole with you again. Enough already. You go with wikipidea, and I’ll go with the statute. Ignorance is bliss.

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

“What animates you so?”

Your lies, your insistence on giving me a psychotherapy lesson I didn’t ask for, and you’re refusal to admit that you are having an argument with yourself about something that has nothing to do with what this blog is about.

“Not that you are going to be persuaded by anything that doesn’t already support your view, but consider this:”

Not by someone who talks to me like that. Hoppe changed my life. But he didn’t do it by telling me I’m stubborn and don’t listen. If he did say that, I probably would have stopped listening.

Do you think I was born believing all of this, or was I convinced by people who actually know how to argue?

“Slavery, at one time, was asserted as a property right, and successfully defended for quite awhile.”

You cannot defend an ethical principle by force. That is the whole point of ethics. Ethical principle are justified the same way anything is ever justified: with an *argument*. Violence does not justify, it cannot. They are mutually distinct spheres of interaction. As I have accused you of over and over, you are literally implying that blacks during institutionalized slavery had no rights. It is not that their undeniable rights as humans that all humans everywhere at all times have were being systematically violated, it is that enough people made the right decision and took those rights away. You cannot grasp the difference between the rights that exist and the rights that are recognized and respected.

People can write down that 2 + 2 = 5 and act according to such a claim, and everyone in the world can be convinced that 2 + 2 = 5, and that will not change the fact that 2 + 2 = 4.

“Civilized people sufficiently agreed that recognition of slavery as chattel property rights was a violation of a higher principle, and the right to own slaves was eliminated.”

So you admit there exists a higher principle that constrains what can and cannot be rights. Why is it so hard to understand that the exact same higher principle constrains those rights to not include anything expressed by intellectual property? You want to abandon any consideration of those higher principles and focus only on your utilitarian “why not” approach to property rights.

“Such is the case with property rights. They are designed to serve a purpose, and are asserted and defended, and thereby may be encoded in laws which are enforceable by the state.”

I do not understand how the first part leads to the last part. Do you not realize that the state is not here to enforce property rights? Are you really still duped by that fairy tale? No, they are here to leach a living off of productive society without producing themselves. The state does not enforce laws, they enforce legislature, and I cannot understand how you are connecting the two. How many mass genocides do states have to commit before we get that they have no concern what-so-ever for law, but only for legislature, or rules? How does the fact something is enforced by the state even a suggestion that it is based in anything justifiable?

“But this does not give them immortality, or immunity from challenge or change. Such is the process of civilization.”

You know what, you have a lot of nerve claiming that those old slavery laws are unjustifiable without expressing intimate knowledge concerning all the details of the actually existing legislatures that involved slavery. Why are you allowed to say that about slavery, but I am not allowed to call intellectual property unjustified without going to law school first?

Also, you still refuse to acknowledge the universal and perpetual nature of theoretical claims, particularly the assertion of human rights. If something is ever a right at any place or time, it is a right at all places and all times. If 2 + 2 = 4 here and now then 2 + 2 = 4 at all times and all places. If you go down the historicist road of attaching every theoretically claim to a place and time you defeat your own goal because at most you could only defend IP here and now and that defense could not carry over to any other place or time, including any time in the future, and so it merely becomes an irrelevant historical fact that you defended IP at a certain time and place.

“This is the essential historical fact.”

Historical facts don’t say anything. We are theorizing, which means connecting various historical facts together under some sort of relationship. You are connecting the historical fact of slavery being abolished to a logical fact about the justifiability of slavery, and that is what it absurd: to think that might equals right.

“You seem to think that there is some higher principle operating above the human experience that hands down the Truth, and only enlightened souls like yourself are capable of perceiving this natural Truth. You seem to think you have God on or side, or some other preemptory force of nature.”

This is what “animates” me, Wildberry. The only people who waste their time spewing this garbage are people that don’t have the capacity to actually argue, and I have far more than you as an example to bolster that claim. Instead of detailing how stupid this is, I will simply ask you to explain where you got this from. What exactly did I say that even remotely supports this notion that I think truth is handed down to me? Am I doing the same thing when I say 2 + 2 = 4, not just here and now but everywhere at all times? I can’t tell you how obnoxious this is. What nerve do you have coming in here claiming you *know* the property rights theory I submitted is wrong? Do you have God on your side? Is that why you are so sure I’m full of crap and self-absorbed in my own ego-mania?

This is your expression of hostility towards analytical thinking. Everyone is apparently too stupid to think for themselves and must reference the “great thinkers” of the past or the current rulers and creators of statutory law to have an opinion? I’m sorry I *try* to find the truth and am confident that I have some capacity to do so. At least I’m not hostile and rude to the people who try to solve problems with their own brains instead of repeating what other people have done. And in case you ignored this every other time I said it, I have *never* read Kinsella’s book. This is all my own contributions to the problem.

This is sophistical bullshit at its worst and you will never admit it, will you? You will never admit that this “condemnation” of my position is equally a condemnation of every possible position ever, because in order to assert anything you must act as though you are capable of asserting anything, and know what is true and what is not. Continue to do sophistical crap like this and I will continue to lose respect for anything you post here, and so will everyone else who knows deceptive twisting of language when they see it.

Maybe I’m assuming too much on your case. I am, after all, assuming that you are not simply stupid enough to not realize what you are doing, and are doing it purposefully and consciously.

“You have no moral authority to declare that your views on what is legitimately property and what is not, are correct.”

Then neither do you, and neither do the rulers of the present or the past. You have no moral authority to claim that IP is legitimate, no moral authority to claim that the creators of statutory law have the moral authority to do so, and this is all a big waste of time. I may have no moral authority to claim I am right, but then you have no moral authority to claim I am wrong.

“Civilization is also fundamentally a cooperative enterprise”

And intellectual property is fundamentally non-cooperative because as a user of my computer it is beyond my control what creative works other people produce and, as a result, reserve the right to tell me how to use my property. That is entirely beyond my control and yet it results in me having my rights restricted, and so it is fundamentally non-cooperative and is therefore an act of violence on part of he who exercises his IP rights. In other words, IP is at odds with the necessary conditions of civilization and their enforcement is tantamount to an attack on civilization.

“Time and evolution have some considerable authority behind them”

No they absolutely do not. For thousands, maybe even millions of years people thought the sun revolved around the Earth. Before that it was a popular notion that the Earth was flat. This is an argumentative fallacy involving an inappropriate appeal to tradition.

“You seem to think that fanatically holding onto a certain position, despite any thought or evidence to the contrary demonstrates that you are a man of principle.”

Please define “fanatical”. I want to you tell me right now what it is about how I argue that makes me a “fanatic” (to whom, Kinsella? I’ve never even read his book!) And tell me how you cracked my mind upon and discovered that I have never thought about the other side, and that you apparently know my own childhood better than I do, cause I swore I was pro-IP and defended that notion until I was around 17 or 18 years old. Wildberry, I don’t know if this is on purpose or not, but I think you’re trying to personally insult me so as to piss me off and make me hysterical on these forums.

If you think I am out to prove to anyone on this forum, or myself, that I am a “man of principle” then congrats, you couldn’t be further from the truth. You have at multiple times literally argued against the notion that claims are universal and perpetual, and truth transcends space and time. That is a rejection of principled thinking. I didn’t say that out of some childish attempt to pat myself on the back, and I am very sorry you twisted it into that. If you reject the concept of principles (that theoretical claims are true everywhere and at all times, or false everywhere and at all times) then what the hell should I say in response that won’t result in you turning it into a discussion about me and how full of myself you think I am?

I have spent years of my life studying formal logic and proofs, mostly in the context of mathematics. That I know what it is to think logically is not some gift I think I was born with, it is the product of considerable effort to understand what logical (principled) thinking is and being actually, honestly convinced of its usefulness. It’s not my fault that most people in this world never study logic at all, and then they get all pissy at me for pointing it out to them. The only reason I was drawn to study it is because I am obsessed with math, and screw me that it ended up being applicable outside of that. No I don’t think I understand logic perfectly, but you have never challenged my grasp of logic, instead opting to call me a douchebag of some sort for trying to grasp and use it at all.

“Rather, you are superficial, disrespectful, and arrogant”

The arrogance is something you made up and projected onto me. That’s your problem. I responded to said projection by being disrespectful and sarcastic. I don’t know what you mean by superficial.

“You seem to have endless opinions about what property is not, yet have yet to answer Kid Salami’s simple question about what it is.”

This is a plain and simple lie. My property rights theory is presented in detail in this very thread some ways up. I have explained over and over that property rights are the preconditions to cooperation/argumentation. I think you are confusing “I don’t like what you think property is” with “you never said what property is”. I have repeated it ad nauseum.

From the quote you linked to:

“Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression”

In other words, copyright protects the intangible idea, not the tangible media of expressions. The rest of that post of yours is self-contradictory non-sense that barely means anything. The wikipedia article says exactly what the statute says. It literally says that IP give rights to the intangible, which is what you are saying it does not do.

Either your comprehension skills are shot or you are are lying demagogue who sophistically uses language to confuse and deceive (I’m not the only one here that suspects as much). You spoon-fed me exactly what I just claimed. That you think what you quoted supports your notion that IP is not about protecting the intangible (ideas) is so confusing I have nothing else to say to it. It’s just literally the opposite of what the friggin’ statute says, not to mention *WHAT THE LAWS ARE CALLED!!!!!!*

“I have no interest of going down this same rat hole with you again. Enough already. You go with wikipidea, and I’ll go with the statute. Ignorance is bliss.”

Except the wiki and the statute say exactly the same thing, sooo, you are again spouting self-contradictory non-sense. Whatever you think ignorance is it clearly has nothing to do with actually being familiar with the laws.

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Addendum:

Do you not see that IP is falling apart just like slavery was? Do you not see that the only way to even come close to enforcing copyrights is to shut down the entire internet? Do you not see that rulers are required to transcend their own self-described boundaries of authority to enforce IP, like people in Sweden getting arrested for violating a U.S. copyright law? Do you not see the level of totalitarianism, not to mention the astronomical cost of such a system, that would have to be implemented to actually seriously enforce copyrights?

IP is far more unsustainable than slavery would ever be, at least the copyrights part. Also, I can’t help but delight myself with what side you would have been on in the abolitionist debate prior to the Civil War.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Race baiting is beneath even you. Haven’t hit bottom yet?

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for dodging the argument because you have no real response because you can’t argue and don’t know what you are talking about.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Also, you didn’t assure me that you would have been on the abolitionist side. Wonder why…

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Final point: I will not grant you a shred of respect so long as you refer to Peter, me or anyone else as part of a “choir”.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

People who sing the same tune at the same time in the same place are a choir.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

So I’m not allowed to conclude myself that IP is unjustifiable without being part of a choir?

Do you enjoy making an idiot out of yourself?

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Also you are part of the choir of intellectual lightweights who enter arguments and only expose to everyone how unprepared they are to argue anything.

It would be especially delightful if you think anything you have posted is something I haven’t heard a hundred times before from dozens of mental zombies.

G8R HED June 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

@ sweatervest – “Also you are part of the choir of intellectual lightweights who enter arguments and only expose to everyone how unprepared they are to argue anything.”

Please do not disparage intellectual lightweights by comparing us to wildberry ;)

Wildberry June 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

G8R HED June 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Good one!

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Almost nothing you say here is comprehensible, but this explains a lot:

People can write down that 2 + 2 = 5 and act according to such a claim, and everyone in the world can be convinced that 2 + 2 = 5, and that will not change the fact that 2 + 2 = 4.

This seems to reveal an attitude that without guardians of the Truth like yourself, people will be just too stupid to figure this out for themselves. Without you to point the way, we would all be lost. The arrogance is incandescent.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Haha yep, that’s right. I’m arrogant because I claim to know that 2 + 2 = 4.

You really do enjoy making an idiot out of yourself, don’t you?

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

You are incredibly arrogant for thinking you know what it means to be a guardian of the truth. I suppose you had the truthfulness of your condemnation of me handed down from your gods, because you are so perfect and infallible no one can contest what the great Wildberry says without overstating one’s intelligence in the process.

Only someone so arrogant would try to challenge the great and wise Wildberry.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Another reason why this is total crap. That I am responding to your posts is tantamount to me trying to say the right things so you will figure this out yourself in your own mind. By arguing with you I am assuming that you are intelligent enough to grasp the problem and will either show me an error in my understanding or you will see an error in your own if I can find it and present it.

If I really believed I was so arrogant that I had direct access to the truth, I wouldn’t dump huge volumes of my thinking onto public internet forums to be picked apart by all sorts of strangers over and over again. I would not feel any need to convince anyone of what I believe, or even share it, because I would be already convinced that I know everything there is to be known and would keep silent on everything, only thinking to myself how stupid everyone else is.

Rather, I come onto public places and lay out my theories completely naked in front of everyone to be criticized, attacked, parodied and whatever else people may do to my theories because I actually *am* interested in what others have to say to me because I actually *do* recognize my fallibility and eagerly await someone to set me on a greater path.

Wildberry, that you fail miserably to get me to budge even slightly from my position is not a testament to my inability to budge. Hoppe changed my mind dramatically about many things, as did Rothbard and Mises. I even started off pro-IP and did not turn away from that until I was 17 or 18. No, that is a testament to your inability to say anything that is good cause to budge.

Wildberry June 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

@sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I even started off pro-IP and did not turn away from that until I was 17 or 18. No, that is a testament to your inability to say anything that is good cause to budge.

There is a quote attributed to Mark Twain that goes like this: “When I was 17 and left home, my folks were stupid and uneducated. When I returned at 20, I was amazed at how much they had learned.”

Moral: You must be very wise now that you are 20.

sweatervest June 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

And you must be wiser at whatever age you are.

Also, you didn’t respond to anything else I said because you know there’s nothing worthwhile to say against it.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm

@sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I don’t know what you mean by superficial.

Of course you don’t.

“ “Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression”


In other words, copyright protects the intangible idea, not the tangible media of expressions.

See, if your reading comprehension was better, this might go more smoothly for you.

As you can see perhaps, upon review, copyright protects original works when fixed; not before, only after. Based on the principles of cause and effect, works must exist in an intangible form before they can be fixed, but let’s don’t let the metaphysics throw you.

Also, while all ideas are intangible (unless fixed), not all intangibles are mere ideas. For example, (not to stray too far from this one sentence), a work is not merely an idea. That distinction is made explicit in the law itself.

Finally, the non-existence of an intangible thing as property only interests you when we are talking about intellectual property. It doesn’t seem to bother you when talking about other intangible property, such as securities created by contract, for example, or a servitude or easement. This is because Ancaps employ the homesteading principle to deny property rights in the intangible work fixed upon a tangible medium. This allows adherents to shift the focus from the work, which is what is important, to the medium, which is trivial.

Kinsella and his followers try to argue that it is the paper and ink that rules property rights, not the work that is affixed upon it. That stands causality on its head. Copying a book is not a function of who owns the paper and ink, it is a function of who owns the work. Can you see the difference? (I’ve added emphasis to try to help you out)

Using the scientific method as an analogy, this is equivalent to shifting the value of the data to fit the desired conclusion. Being a math expert such as you are, I believe the technical term is “fudge factor”.

You are loads of fun.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

“See, if your reading comprehension was better, this might go more smoothly for you.”

From the person who just reduced two lengthy posts of mine to a single statement. Not superficial at all, don’t worry.

“As you can see perhaps, upon review, copyright protects original works when fixed; not before, only after. Based on the principles of cause and effect, works must exist in an intangible form before they can be fixed, but let’s don’t let the metaphysics throw you.”

There is no way for an idea to exist without being fixed to something. Your idea of “metaphysics” is self-contradictory nonsense like everything else you post. Go read Aristotle.

“Also, while all ideas are intangible (unless fixed), not all intangibles are mere ideas. For example, (not to stray too far from this one sentence), a work is not merely an idea. That distinction is made explicit in the law itself.”

I never said copyright protects all ideas, I said it protects ideas, so this is a misrepresentation of my claim. Furthermore, all ideas are fixed and that does not change the fact the idea itself is intangible. More self-contradictory nonsense from a non-arguer.

“It doesn’t seem to bother you when talking about other intangible property, such as securities created by contract, for example, or a servitude or easement.”

I never focused on the tangible/intangible distinction, that was you straw manning me like you usually do because you don’t read what I say and instead make up an easy position to defeat. I focus on the rivalrous/non-rivalrous distinction, which explains exactly why I have no problem with securities, servitude or easement (all involving conditional use of rivalrous goods), while intellectual property attempts to present itself (your nonsense claims to the contrary not-with-standing) as protection of non-rivalrous goods and ends up being protection of rivalrous goods *without* contract.

“This is because Ancaps”

You have already misrepresented ancaps enough with your BS about what Rothbard said. Maybe you should let the ancaps elaborate what ancaps think, seeing as you totally misunderstand it.

“employ the homesteading principle to deny property rights in the intangible work fixed upon a tangible medium.”

See? I sure as hell never said that. And ancaps use non-aggression as the principle, using it to derive homesteading. They don’t start with homesteading. My property rights theory is presented further up this very forum. You will instead bask in your ignorance of my position and yet continue to try and argue with me (and fail miserably).

“This allows adherents to shift the focus from the work, which is what is important”

Labor theory of value.

“to the medium, which is trivial.”

I sure as hell never said that. Thank you for lying about what my position is once again.

“Kinsella and his followers”

Who are Kinsella’s followers? I have never read Kinsella’s book and solidified my arguments here before I ever heard the name. You are pathetic.

“try to argue that it is the paper and ink that rules property rights, not the work that is affixed upon it”

Once again you have misrepresented the only theory of property rights that has ever been based in a priori principles instead of ad hoc assumptions that are thrown out mid-theory.

“That stands causality on its head”

What in the world could property rights say about causality? This is utter nonsense and means nothing.

“Copying a book is not a function of who owns the paper and ink, it is a function of who owns the work.”

Copying is a function of something? This is a meaningless stringing together of words, i.e. sophistical nonsense. You’re not saying anything here, just filling up white space.

“Can you see the difference?”

I can’t provide a counter-argument to a meaningless string of words.

“I’ve added emphasis to try to help you out”

No you fill up space with ad hominems because you have no arguments to support your nonsense position.

“Using the scientific method as an analogy, this is equivalent to shifting the value of the data to fit the desired conclusion. Being a math expert such as you are, I believe the technical term is “fudge factor”.”

Hahaha whoops!! That’s actually not what a fudge factor at all, and thank you so much for exposing your complete lack of understanding even of the scientific method and the use of math to solve science problems. That is fantastic. A fudge factor does not involve shifting the data to fit the conclusion, it involves postulating an unsupported conclusion for the sole purpose of fitting the data. Fail, Wildberry.

“You are loads of fun.”

You are cannon fodder. In the time here I have squeezed out of you that you are proud to be a sophist, you think black people had no rights in the 19th Century and they only do now because society decided to try something new out, and anyone who thinks he knows that 2 + 2 = 4 is an arrogant ego-maniac that thinks he has special access to the truth.

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm

“Ironically, SK recently said that IP cannot be recreated by contract”

So did everyone else who actually grasps this problem. Contracts bind the parties that sign them, not everyone with an internet connection.

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

“Rothbard, Hoppe, and Kinsella all presume that if scarce resources are merely privately owned, conflict can be avoided. Since this is an obvious departure from historical fact, a band-aid is placed on history in order to leave the property theory intact (“crimes” of aggression too far removed in time are forgiven).”

You do *NOT* understand this at all! What a bunch of crap you dismiss everyone that tries to explain it to you. This really pisses me off because anyone here trying to understand ethics will read this crap and it will only confuse them.

Wildberry, who forgave aggressions far removed in time? Show me where Kinsella said that. Show me where Hoppe said that. Show me where Rothbard said that. Or, maybe you can stop lying about what people said. This is why people usually back up their claims with, you know, a quote or something, to show they’re not just making a bunch of crap up out of thin air. Not one of those guys said anywhere that the abundance of ill-gotten property claims should be forgotten or not considered. You have obviously never read Rothbard, Hoppe, or Kinsella, or you glossed over them and did not absorb their actual points.

I know for a fact that Hoppe explained in detail what could be done about the long history of property violations in the process of establishing a free society based on private property. He provided specific means to determine who the heirs to the rightful owners of all that property are where available, and laid out methods to achieve at least partial justice in the event that those records are unavailable. He spent pages in “Democracy: The God That Failed” talking about that. In addition, he confronted your claim, which was first expressed by Marx, head on in the fourth chapter of “Economics and Ethics of Private Property”, “Marxian vs. Austrian Class Analysis”, where he explained that using the history of property violations to call property rights themselves (be it the general idea or their specific form) into question is a semantic trick.

I cannot believe you would come on here and lie about what Hoppe argues. It would be admissible if Hoppe did not literally explain what his take on that very issue is, leaving it open to interpretation based on his arguments, but that is not the case. I am pretty sure Rothbard did it too, but I know for a fact that Hoppe dealt with the problem of past property violations and the fact that most current property titles are ill-gotten in detail and so his take on that problem is in plain English in at least one of his books. To claim he said something else is a lie.

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm

And you have the nerve to tell me to go read up on this problem.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

@ sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

You do *NOT* understand this at all! What a bunch of crap you dismiss everyone that tries to explain it to you. This really pisses me off because anyone here trying to understand ethics will read this crap and it will only confuse them.

Wildberry, who forgave aggressions far removed in time? Show me where Kinsella said that. Show me where Hoppe said that. Show me where Rothbard said that.

Try this:

But what if Smith I did indeed steal the land from Jones I, but that all of Jones’s descendants or heirs are lost in antiquity and cannot be found? What should be the status of the land then? In that case, since Smith VI is not himself a thief, he becomes the legitimate owner of the land on the basis of our homestead principle. For if the land is “unowned” and up for grabs, then Smith VI himself has been occupying and using it, and, therefore, he becomes the just and rightful owner on the homestead basis. Furthermore, all of his descendants have clear and proper title on the basis of being his heirs.

It is clear, then, that even if we can show that the origin of most existing land titles are in coercion and theft, the existing owners are still just and legitimate owners if they themselves did not engage in aggression, and no identifiable heirs of the original victims can be found.
In most cases of current land title this will probably be the case. A fortiori, of course, if we simply don’t know whether the original land titles were acquired by coercion, then our homestead principle gives the current property owners the benefit of the doubt and establishes them as just and proper owners as well. Thus, the establishment of our theory of justice in property titles will not usually lead to a wholesale turnover of landed property.

http://mises.org/daily/4047/Justice-and-Property-Rights-The-Failure-of-Utilitarianism

Or this:

Suppose, for example, that Henry Jones I stole a piece of land from its legitimate owner, James Smith. What is the current status of the title of current possessor Henry Jones X? Or of the man who might be the current possessor by purchasing the land from Henry Jones X? If Smith and his descendants are lost to antiquity, then title to the land properly and legitimately belongs to the current Jones (or the man who has purchased it from him), in direct application of our theory of property titles. .

http://mises.org/daily/2473

Stephan Kinsella June 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

As I explain here in a later version Rothbard added this paragraph:

It might be charged that our theory of justice in property titles is deficient because in the real world most landed (and even other) property has a past history so tangled that it becomes impossible to identify who or what has committed coercion and therefore who the current just owner may be. But the point of the “homestead principle” is that if we don’t know what crimes have been committed in acquiring the property in the past, or if we don’t know the victims or their heirs, then the current owner becomes the legitimate and just owner on homestead grounds. In short, if Jones owns a piece of land at the present time, and we don’t know what crimes were committed to arrive at the current title, then Jones, as the current owner, becomes as fully legitimate a property owner of this land as he does over his own person. Overthrow of existing property title only becomes legitimate if the victims or their heirs can present an authenticated, demonstrable, and specific claim to the property. Failing such conditions, existing landowners possess a fully moral right to their property.

This does not imply forgiving aggression at all. It only specifies who has better title to a resource now: the person productively using it who did not steal it, assuming the original owner or his heirs are gone.

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Yes, Wildberry is turning “there is no possible way to find the rightful owner, and because the current owner was not the aggressor there is simply no restitution to speak of” into “let’s ignore the past aggression”.

There cannot be no rightful owner to a good that is being used. Either the user is the rightful owner, or he is not the rightful owner which means someone else is. If the rightful heir to property simply cannot be identified, then no one can claim they are the heirs to said property and make a case against the current user for using their property. No one can claim to be the rightful owner of the property, and so its current user has the best claim to ownership of anybody. That is not ignoring the past but dealing with it as best one can.

And besides, Wildberry’s solution to what he calls “putting a band-aid over past aggressions” is to abandon the very concept of inalienable rights that are true everywhere and at all times and claim that there simply was no aggression to put a band-aid over! It’s not that people in the past had their rights violated, they simply did not have rights! And that apparently “solves” the problem of most current property claims being founded in aggression, by simply claiming there is no problem at all! Aggression is how you get property rights!

I can sum that notion up in three words, as many others have done: might is right.

And I know what he’s gonna say. That’s how it happened, and apparently theory and history are the same thing. Forget the 400-page book Mises wrote about just that.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm

@ sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

One source of your confusion.

“inalienable rights” does not mean “everywhere and at all times”, it means; separated from the owner.

Property rights are alienable. A right to life is not. See the difference?

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Haha Wildberry, for the love of god *you* are confused about that. I have tried to literally explain this to you so many times, it is getting so frustrating!!

Property rights are *not* inalienable, anymore than one can undo the truth of 2 and 2 being 4. You can choose not to recognize someone’s rights, but that does not mean you take them away or make them nonexistent. You can choose to act according to the belief that 2 + 2 = 5, but that will not all of a sudden change what mathematical truths exist in the world.

Property rights are *not* inalienable. The slaves of the past did not have their rights taken away, they had their rights *violated*. This is statism at its worst! The whole notion that rights are “given to” or “taken away” from people is statist propaganda. Nobody hands out rights, and no one can confiscate them.

The only choice people have is to act in accordance with the rights people have, or to not act in accordance with those rights. There has never been a choice over what rights to give to or take away from anyone.

Beyond that, “right to life” is a meaningless metaphor. You have a right to your body. People can violate that right, but they cannot take it away. Your right to your body cannot disappear it can only be recognized by others or trampled on by others.

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I suppose I should explain why that is true, though I have done that more times than I could ever remember.

By arguing anything you are engaging in a means to solve conflicts (i.e. our conflict over what we think is true and not) in a way that is literally tantamount to giving up on violence. By using our words to try and resolve a conflict we are, by doing that, not using force to try and resolve a conflict.

Thus, by even trying at all to convince of anything using your words, you are implicitly admitting, by doing so, that one ought to act in a way that preserves our ability to use words to resolve this conflict, which requires that we autonomously use our bodies, minds included, to reach conclusions ourselves based on the words spoken to each other. You are not raising your fist to me and telling me to believe what you say or else, you are trying to convince me with words, and doing so requires that you implicitly admit “all of us ought to act in a way that allows us to convince each other with words” because if you made any other normative statement like, “one ought to beat everyone else up” then you could not simultaneously act according to this belief and argue in favor of it, because by arguing at all you are acting in defiance of that belief. That is what rights are: the necessary preconditions to being able to cooperative resolve conflicts through an argument.

People cannot simply decide on what those preconditions are, nor can they decide whether it is possible to claim one ought to act in defiance of those preconditions without contradicting oneself through the very act of arguing at all. The necessary preconditions to cooperation are what they are, independent of any decision, and the necessity of claiming one ought to recognize them in the act of arguing is also independent of any decision.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Me: Property rights are alienable. A right to life is not. See the difference?

You: Property rights are *not* inalienable…

Is it any wonder you can’t get it?

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm

“Me: Property rights are alienable. A right to life is not. See the difference?

You: Property rights are *not* inalienable…

Is it any wonder you can’t get it?”

I’m sorry, I made one statement and moved on? Well, now I have no doubt that you don’t read my posts and yet respond to them as though you did, you liar.

You: Empty claims that are apparently true cause you say so.

Me: Claims backed up with reason, illustrations and evidence.

You are cannon fodder, Wildberry. I only argue with you for target practice.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm

You have lost this debate Wildberry. It is painfully obvious to everyone but you. That doesn’t mean we are right, but you have nothing worthwhile to contribute because you cannot grasp the problem.

sweatervest June 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

From my own post:

“I suppose I should explain why that is true…” followed by three paragraphs, none of which was mentioned or refuted.

You are a deceptive demagogue Wildberry. No wonder you champion positive law.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

@ Stephan Kinsella June 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

How ironic that you would use the concept of “better title” here, when you so objected to my use of the concept elsewhere.

In any case, let’s agree that this does not imply “forgiving aggression”. For example, we may still hold the King of Spain responsible for an original act of aggression in granting land to some known conquistador to the detriment of some unknown indigenous inhabitant.

Yet this “exception” to the homesteading rule results in the legitimacy of the prior “criminal” act, correct? A known act of aggression, under the homesteading rule as explained here, is legitimized by this application of “waiver”, correct?

If the act of capture and conquest results in legitimate title under both traditional and the Rothbardian homesteading principle, and if most (nearly all) current land titles are the result of the operation of the exception rather than the rule, then what problem exactly, has the homesteading rule “solved” that the traditional property rules fails to solve?

If the ethical principle of homesteading is excused in order to arrive at the same result as would occur without it, then how can you claim an ethical basis for favoring homesteading as the only basis for establishing property rights?

Stephan Kinsella June 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

it’s not ironic. you are totally confused.

Wildberry June 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

enlighten me. As you know, I actually read what you write.

sweatervest June 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

“Yet this “exception” to the homesteading rule results in the legitimacy of the prior “criminal” act, correct?”

No! How in the world are you reaching this conclusion!? That there is nothing that can possibly be done to correct and undo the illegitimate acts of the past implies to you that they are now legitimate!? And as I have said, your “solution” to this is to claim that there really never was a criminal act. According to you there is nothing to be upset about, because it was legitimate for the conquistador to steal land from natives!

“A known act of aggression, under the homesteading rule as explained here, is legitimized by this application of “waiver”, correct?”

Total nonsense. No one waived anything, and I cannot see how you pulled that out of any of the arguments. I cannot help but think you are trying to trick us by equivocating the lack of any ability now to correct and undo an illegitimate act with a claim that the act has become legitimate, which is actually much closer to what *you* are claiming, which is that the act was *always* legitimate!

“If the act of capture and conquest results in legitimate title under both traditional and the Rothbardian homesteading principle”

It doesn’t. You are refusing to see the actual point, which is that the legitimate title has been lost and cannot be recovered. You are the only one who is turning that into conquest creating legitimate titles. The whole point is that the aggressor *never* has a legitimate title, no matter what. Rothbard talked about the heir to property that was acquired through aggression, who is someone that *never* aggressed!

“then what problem exactly, has the homesteading rule “solved” that the traditional property rules fails to solve?”

Wow Wildberry. Just wow. It has solved the problem of identifying what property titles are legitimate and what are not! You are literally doing exactly what Karl Marx did a hundred and fifty years ago, literally the exact same thing: claiming that property rights are really about conquest and aggression because that is what most things called property now are. According to you, if I conquered your property I would be the rightful owner. According to us, if I did that, I would *never* be the rightful owner, but if justice goes unserved for hundreds of years to the point that the rightful heir is lost then the current user would be the rightful owner.

This is ridiculous. You are using these problems about what to do about conquest in the distant past in order to say something about conquest now. You are attempting to claim that the homestead principle, which assures us that if you conquer property *now* and its rightful owner is that guy right there you kicked off the property, has no impact because there are possible situations in which justice cannot be served. Except it has a huge impact because according to your theory you, the conqueror, are the rightful owner even though everyone can conclusively identify who you kicked off the property.

There he is, with plain evidence that he was using this property and you came in and kicked him off, and you honestly are telling us the homesteading principle has no impact on this!? Because the homestead principle offers an impossible solution in cases where the rightful owners are lost in time, that means the homestead principle is actually identical to the rejection of the homestead principle!?

By the way, I’m not getting upset, I’m just pointing out how utterly absurd these claims really are. This is getting increasingly “out there”. Yes, the homestead principle makes a difference. It’s what assures that you continue to rightfully own your house even if I kick you out of it tomorrow.

sweatervest June 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm

By the way Wildberry, I never would have adopted the dismissive attitude towards you if never barked up the “you’re just an ego-maniac, what makes you so perfect and infallible?” tree. You brought this upon yourself by giving me a personality test that I never asked for. Perhaps you are blind to how rude and self-absorbed your own posts come off.

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