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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17767/intellectual-property-advocates-hate-competition/

Intellectual Property Advocates Hate Competition

July 19, 2011 by

On a recent Mises blog thread, a commenter noted repeated a common argument that IP rights are needed to protect inventors and innovators. The reasoning is that without IP, some large company can just “knock off” your products and outcompete you.

Think about what he is saying: it’s too risky to go into a given business because someone else might compete with you. It is no surprise that the more honest advocates of IP openly admit that the very purpose of patent and copyright is to provide protection from market competition to entrepreneurs whose products are services are more easily copied than others. As I noted in my post IP Rights as Monopolistic Grants to Overcome the Public Goods Problem, IP proponents support these monopoly privileges on explicitly anticompetitive grounds. Take this explicit opening passage in an article by an ardent IP advocate, Jerome H. Reichman, a law professor at Duke:

Governments adopt intellectual property laws in the belief that a privileged, monopolistic domain operating on the margins of the free-market economy promotes long-term cultural and technological progress better than a regime of unbridled competition.

… Intellectual property laws typically provide qualified creators with temporary grants of exclusive property rights that derogate from the norms of free competition in order to overcome the “public goods” problem inherent in the commercial exploitation of intangible creations. ((Reichman, “Charting the Collapse of the Patent-Copyright Dichotomy: Premises for a Restructured International Intellectual Property System,” Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 13 (1995): 475.))

Here we have an explicit admission that IP grants are monopolistic and derogate from free market norms and are opposed to a regime of “unbridled competition”–i.e., IP is anti-competitive. As is to be expected–after all, it’s a monopoly grant. Also, a recognition that the legitimacy of IP is based on the modern economic idea of “public goods” (see, on this fallacious notion, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “Fallacies of the Public Goods Theory and the Production of Security,” in The Economics and Ethics of Private Property).

One has to wonder why IP proponents are in favor of a competitive free market economy at all. Apparently they are willing to tolerate competition as long as competition is difficult, as long as there are high barriers to entry. If I build a warehouse business, say, someone else can compete with me but only by buying their own warehouse, building up customers, and so on. It takes a while. Thus, I have enough “incentive” to take a “risk” and invest in my business because I know I’ll be free from competition for some time. But with businesses that rely heavily on information–the sale of software or music of movies that are easily duplicable, the sale of products with inventive features that others can soon emulate–it’s “too easy” for competitors to come in and match what I’m doing. So it’s easy to see that these “fair weather free marketeers” have a completely unprincipled, and apparently contingent and begrudging, tolerance for free market competition: they are willing to tolerate it only if competition is not too easy. Otherwise, the state must step in to dole out monopolistic privileges to protect people and their fledgling, tenuous endeavors from market competition. Their entire mentality is pervaded by bad economics, such as the idea of market failure and public goods.

Which is bizarre, if you think about it, in that most conventional economists hold up as a market ideal the idea of transaction-cost-free and perfect-informational “perfect competition”; and then, when the real world markets do not live up to this unrealistic “ideal,” they accuse the market of failure and–what else?–agitate for state intervention to “fix” the market failure. Yet here we have these mainstreamers recoiling in horror when the market does start to emulate their ideal of perfect competition. After all, wouldn’t profits be harder to make under perfect competition (as they allege is the case in knowledge or information industry products)? Wouldn’t information and knowledge be transmitted more easily, quickly, widely, and cheaply (as they allege is the case with easy copying and emulation of new innovation and patterns and recipes and designs)? Wouldn’t there be much more competition in every industry (as they shudder in fear of in the case of the digital economy)? I think they are schizophrenic: they claim to love the market but it’s obvious they really only favor some unrealistic Platonic ideal (perfect competition) that they use as an excuse to have the state intervene in the real economy; and yet, when a segment of the market economy starts to actually approach aspects of perfect competition, this is also used as an excuse to have the state intervene in the economy to prevent it from approaching perfect competition. Hmm, it makes you wonder if they are nothing but dishonest, insincere, hypocritical, power-grabbing economic illiterates who simply want any excuse they can to regulate, intervene, and control.

It makes one wonder: what will they do if the real-world market economy in standard scarce goods starts to become ever more efficient? Say, because of the Internet or other advances in technology; because of increases in overall prosperity and market efficiency; because of a larger and richer world population and an increasingly complex and rich division and specialization of labor; because of the increasing ability of solo entrepreneurs to outsource over the Internet, to be lean and mean, to use just-in-time production methods or other innovations to come in guns-a-blazing and take over and compete with established industries–hell, Borders just declared bankruptcy, no doubt in significant part because of disruptive competition from Amazon (and the Internet and digital goods); and brash upstart Netflix knocked Blockbuster out. And Google+ is now threatening Twitter and Facebook, just as Facebook replaced MySpace and Twitter replaced … well nothing. It came out of nowhere.

The point is you can imagine a future where competition becomes more and more fierce, and barriers to entry fall. You can imagine a sort of convergence between the allegedly too-fierce competition faced by digital goods and idea purveyors (innovators, artists, etc.), and the brick and mortar economy: where the level of competition in the latter starts to rival that seen in the former. Will the Intellectual Protectionists start to push for a New Mercantilism in the physical economy too–having the state hand out monopoly privileges to “fledgling” businesses where it’s “too hard” for entrepreneurs to make a profit–due to that horrible market competition raging outside the window–so that they “need” the government’s “help”? The state does this already in a growing number of insidious and piecemeal ways–from NASA “spinoff” technology and research, to NIH and other federal research grants, plus the NEA and NEH, to subsidies to academic research and universities, not to mention the military-industrial complex, plus the military, CIA, NSA etc which are all on the dole and use taxdollars to engage in R&D. The FDA does this too–under the guise of protecting consumers it charges expensive fees and causes expensive delays to the large oligopolistic patent-protected corporatist drug-pushers that can afford it, but not smaller competitors who are kept out of the walled garden; thus giving effective protection from competition to Big Pharma aside from the patent monopoly itself. Isn’t this also the excuse trotted out for subsidies given to electric car and solar panel manufacturers? It’s unfair if they have to compete with more efficient internal combustion cars or fossil fuel powered electricity. And of course there are continual calls to ramp up and systematize state funding of innovation by handing out tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to inventors “deemed” to be “deserving” by a panel of state-appointed bureaucrats and cronies.

So I wonder: at what point will the Intellectual Protectionists “deem” that market economy has advanced too far toward their perfect competition model so that we need a New Mercantilism to stave off and tame “unbridled competition”? To hand out bookstore monopolies to the existing Big Book companies, shoe monopolies for the cobblers, DVD rental monopolies to Hollywood Video? Think of poor Borders, poor Blockbuster. A humane free marketeer wants to protect them, doesn’t he?

Update: See these great comments by Jeff Tucker, in Mises.org in the Context of Publishing History:

When movable-type printing appeared with the Mainz Psalter in 1457, it seemed that the institution of the scribe would be no more, and monks all over Europe debated what to do. On the one hand, the religious communities had the strongest interest in printing advances. On the other hand, the class of professional scribes associated with monasteries of course opposed the advance, in order to protect the high status of their specialized services.

After the development of printing, and then movable type, German abbot Johannes Trithemius exhorted his monks to continue to copy books. He claimed that printing had a shorter life, and that the automated printing technique denied monks the discipline associated with hand scribing. He worried too that the monks would have idle hands if printing became more fashionable.

But this concern didn’t last longer than a few decades. By the late 15th century, the printing houses were working almost exclusively for monasteries, and monasteries themselves had established printing houses. Far from having taken away work for the monks, it became obvious that the new tool made their work more efficient. Their work could be made ever more valuable. The works of Trithemius himself, on a variety of topics, would eventually be printed in many editions.

But there was a threat on the horizon: mercantilism, the theory that producers needed special protection from government in order to remain healthy in an atmosphere of extreme competitive pressure. Producers were beginning to discover then what every business knows today: namely, that one aspect of free enterprise is that it denies long-run profits to producers.

The market process is always driving profits to zero, as profitable companies are imitated by innovative upstarts using cheaper and more efficient methods. Society benefits from this process, but in order for an established firm to stay on top, it can never stop innovating and striving for excellence.

The answer to this reality in many trades was to seek government protection from competition abroad and to ask favors from the prince to be the only and favored producer. This served both as a guarantee that people would continue to be provided with the goods and services they needed, and as a guarantee that the producer would be protected against the distraction of competitive pressure from others. That’s the theory and practice of mercantilism, and it’s a perfect recipe for hobbling progress.

Just as the printers had driven the scribes out of business, the printers were facing extreme competition by the 18th century. They sought protection from more efficient upstarts, often called pirates, who were making life hard for this very profitable industry.

These pirate firms were publishing older works and distributing them very cheaply and widely. The dominant firms claimed that this practice was undermining their ability to fund new works and was thus inhibiting innovation.

The established printers tapped into the mercantilist spirit, but with a special twist. They claimed that words on the page constituted a special form of property. When they were copied by a firm other than the current publisher, they claimed, their property rights were being invaded. Their “intellectual property” was being stolen.

Now, on its face, this is a preposterous claim. Once ideas are known by others, they are copied. They cannot be owned in the conventional sense, or, another way of putting this is that the ownership of the ideas becomes multiplied without end. The only way to possess an idea as exclusive property is to never share it with another person. Once shared, the idea takes flight.

What’s more, the entire industry had been born in the world of copying, not in making original work. Most famously, the most profitable text to publish was the Bible itself and its most ancient transcriptions and translations. In fact, this had been the driving motivation of the invention of the press in the beginning, just as it had been the driving motivation of the scribes.

For this reason, it is crucial to understand the appearance of copyright as nothing other than an aspect of the mercantilist principle. The claims about “intellectual property” were nothing but a ruse offered up by printers as a way of seeking legal protection from competition.On the Continent, no one bought into this gibberish, seeing it for exactly what it was: a sop to producers, which would have inhibited the whole engine of publishing from the ancient world to the present. They saw that copyright does the opposite of the long-established goals. It raises costs. It limits distribution. And it dooms works to a short life, given the uncertainties of the industry.

This was a terrible direction to go, and in only one place in the world did it take hold: England, which was undergoing a terrible religious struggle. Copyright became useful to the crown in order to suppress works incompatible with the official religion, whatever it happened to be at the time. And so in the 18th century, there were endless fights in England over this matter.

Meanwhile, on the Continent, publishing remained competitive and free for the hundred years after the first copyright statute was imposed on England. Even given England’s laws, copyright statutes were largely ineffective at hobbling the market process until the imposition of international copyright law in the late 19th century. Laws have grown tighter and tighter in the 20th century, until we have reached the point of absurdity since 1995 in the United States, with laws that have pretty well doomed a half century of scholarship to ruin.

If you leave the state and state-protected industries in charge long enough, they will strangle progress to the point that civilization completely stagnates. In the publishing industry, digital media couldn’t have come at a better time. It is saving what the state and the dominant publishers are trying to kill.

[c4sif]

{ 201 comments }

Jeffrey Tucker July 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Love the phrase “Intellectual Protectionists”

DensityDuck July 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm

“Think about what he is saying: it’s too risky to go into a given business because someone else might compete with you. ”

Hey, I got an idea. I’ll take all of your columns, put my name on ‘em, then publish them as an ebook. I don’t plan to give you any credit of any kind. I’m sure you won’t mind; after all, you yourself say that one of the risks of business is that someone might compete with you!

“Borders just declared bankruptcy, no doubt in significant part because of disruptive competition from Amazon (and the Internet and digital goods); and brash upstart Netflix knocked Blockbuster out.”

That would be relevant to your argument if Borders et al were producing their own creative work. The Borders situation has as much to do with copyright protections as does Wal-Mart turfing a local grocery store.

Stephan Kinsella July 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm

This stupid nonserious gadfly move is old–you guys get PWNed every time. Watch:

“Think about what he is saying: it’s too risky to go into a given business because someone else might compete with you. ”

Hey, I got an idea. I’ll take all of your columns, put my name on ‘em, then publish them as an ebook. I don’t plan to give you any credit of any kind. I’m sure you won’t mind; after all, you yourself say that one of the risks of business is that someone might compete with you!

Actually, whether I “mind” or not is irrelevant. If I have a nice hardware store and you open up a nicer one across the street I might “mind,” but so what?

The question is whether this would violate my property rights–and it does not. If I reveal information to the world I cannot whine if people use it.

(And as a matter of fact, though it is irrelevant, I would not mind at all. If you want to look like a fool by being a plagiarist, people will soon realize you are just silly. However if you put MY name on them, I would probably thank you and might buy a few to give to friends and relatives as gifts.)

(As a matter of fact my material, such as Mises articles, is generally published under CC-BY which means you are already licensed by me to use it however you wish–you can re-sell it, make derivative works, etc; the only restriction is you have to give attribution but that is not my wish, that is the only reliable CC license that is available; if I could release it to the public domain I would, if I thought CC0 was reliable I would use that. So just to be clear: I hereby give you a license to do whatever you want with any of my Mises columns to which I hold copyright. Put your name on it, if you want–but since you are a nym here and afraid to even use your real name here, I somehow doubt you will. Do it under DensityDuck if you want–I dare you.

Update: here is a recent article of mine “ripped off” by a repeater site, with my name stripped off. Who cares? And here is another example of some joker pulling the same stunt you did–I called his bluff: Russell Madden’s “The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism”.)

“Borders just declared bankruptcy, no doubt in significant part because of disruptive competition from Amazon (and the Internet and digital goods); and brash upstart Netflix knocked Blockbuster out.”

That would be relevant to your argument if Borders et al were producing their own creative work. The Borders situation has as much to do with copyright protections as does Wal-Mart turfing a local grocery store.

The point is they were done in by competition. If it is “too easy” for people to compete with even brick and mortar companies, I could see you Intellectual Protectionists advocating protecting them from this dastardly, “unbridled” competition.

Anyway, enjoy your complete PWNage.

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 5:49 am

Kinsella–

Your use of PWNage is about typical for the level of debate you’re bringing in these articles. It is unfortunate that you cannot bring yourself to debate the actual argument your opponents are making.

Pro-IP people are in favor of competition– they just want the competition to move the state of the art forward. This is why patents reveal the nature of the invention to all the competitors. Patents give the competition a leg up in their R&D efforts, and inexchange, these competitors also have to move the state of the art forward… or simply not infringe on the patent. Avoiding patent infringement has not prevented any competitive produces from getting on the market– you can’t patent the idea of skinning a cat, you can only patent a particular method for doing it.

And as they say, there are multiple ways to skin a cat.

Finally, your anti-IP positions rests on the claim that, because you don’t care if your personal labor is stolen, that you have the right to steal anyone else’s labor without compensation. While nobody has a guaranteed return for labor, they do have the right to trade it on terms they consent to.

If I work at the steel mill and buy myself a pontiac, you don’t have the right to come steal it. It doesn’t matter if you want the pontiac, or wouldn’t care if your pontiac was stolen! (There, is an example of “PWNage”, I just “PWNed” you. Also, using the term “PWN” makes you look like a fucking idiot. A 12 year old fucking idiot, but still a fucking idiot.)

The pontiac is there after stolen goods.

Intellectual property works the same way. If I only trade my labors towards IP on terms that are included in a license agreement, and you want the labor, you agree to the license agreement. If a third party doesn’t agree to the agreement and instead steals the labor (or you violate your agreement and give it to them) they have still stolen it.

It doesn’t matter that IP can be copied while a pontiac cannot. What makes it theft is that prior to the event the posessor didn’t have a pontiac, or the IP, and aftwerwards they had it. This is genuine property because it is scarce enough to be valuable. If it wasn’t scarce, and it wasn’t valuable, there would be no incentive to steal it.

In fact, your zeal to be able to be guilt free in stealing other people’s labor is proof that IP really is property. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t care.

It really is a shame that mises.org lets people who are incapable or unwilling to respond to their opponents actual arguments to post articles. But at least– for now– we can show up in the comments and laugh and point out how dishonest you’re being.

Seattle July 20, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hint: Property has absolutely nothing to do with compensating labor.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

It is unfortunate that you cannot bring yourself to debate the actual argument your opponents are making.

haha. I have written more on IP policy than anyone I know of. I have taken down every argument for IP I have ever heard. Repeatedly. I keep hearing hte same old stuff over again. And usually it does not even amount to an “argument,” it’s just an incoherent, amateur, confused mishmash of nonsense.

Pro-IP people are in favor of competition– they just want the competition to move the state of the art forward.

hahah, so you trust the state to come in and allow some competition, not others, regulate it, channel it productively. hahahahahhahah

Patents give the competition a leg up in their R&D efforts,

Nonsense. You don’t know what you are talking about. First, most disclosures are useless, and if they are not, they are usually redundant with what would have been disclosed by the sale of the goods, and/or by reverse engineering, in a patent-free world. Second, many woud-be competitors NEVER ENTER a given field that is crowded with patents b/c they are afraid to be sued; so why would they waste money researching in a given area they are afraid to sell products in?

Finally, your anti-IP positions rests on the claim that, because you don’t care if your personal labor is stolen,

You guys are so tiresome and dishonest. You keep question-begging. You think if you just keep shoting the word STOLEN that proves there was property rights in the first place. Question-begging.

that you have the right to steal anyone else’s labor without compensation. While nobody has a guaranteed return for labor, they do have the right to trade it on terms they consent to.

this has nothing to do with patents. How does the right to refuse to perform an action (labor, service) unless someone pays you, give you a right to use state courts to tell other people how they can USE THEIR OWN PROPERTY? If someone competes with you they ARE NOT STEALING YOUR LABOR. Labor is not even ownable; it is just an action.

If I work at the steel mill and buy myself a pontiac, you don’t have the right to come steal it.

Because it is an owned, scarce resource. And if I steal it, you dont have it any more. That is why you don’t want me to steal it. But if I make an identical copy of your pontiac with my own steel and materials, I have not taken your car–you still have it. That you guys refuse to confront this is the height of dishonesty or stupidity.

DD5 July 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm

” you can’t patent the idea of skinning a cat, you can only patent a particular method for doing it.”

Nonsense! The idea of skinning a cat is itself a method for attaining some other goal. All our actions are “methods” for attaining goals. Again, more arbitrary definitions and boundaries by you.

Peter Surda July 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Engineer,

What makes it theft is that prior to the event the posessor didn’t have a pontiac, or the IP, and aftwerwards they had it.

Ah, so the purpose of private property is not to allow people to predict which actions are legal and which not, but to satisfy envy? There’s an old proverb to match that: if my goat dies, let the neighbour’s goat die too.

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I like how you’re pretending that falling on your sword is some kind of masterful burn.

I just wish that you’d accept that there’s a difference between you and the rest of the world. If you choose to give away your property for free–if you explicitly say that you don’t want any kind of compensation at all, even attribution–that’s fine! You, as the property owner, have that right. Why does that mean everyone else has to act the same way?

“The point is [Borders and Blockbuster] were done in by competition.”

Do you honestly not see any difference between retail sales and creative activity? Do you honestly believe that selling a book and writing a book are exactly the same?

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I like how you’re pretending that falling on your sword is some kind of masterful burn.

the point is my demonstration shows how silly your claim is. Nothing was taken from me if you publish my stuff, in your name or otherwise. I still have my stuff.

I just wish that you’d accept that there’s a difference between you and the rest of the world. If you choose to give away your property for free–

IT’s not property. More question-begging from stupid and/or dishonest IP advocates.

if you explicitly say that you don’t want any kind of compensation at all,

Oh, I want it. What do my “wants” have to do with it?

even attribution–that’s fine! You, as the property owner, have that right. Why does that mean everyone else has to act the same way?

More question begging. Ideas are not property.

“The point is [Borders and Blockbuster] were done in by competition.”

Do you honestly not see any difference between retail sales and creative activity? Do you honestly believe that selling a book and writing a book are exactly the same?

We can always make “distinctions.” But there is no *relevant* difference for purposes of whether the state should rein in competition.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

“The question is whether this would violate my property rights–and it does not. If I reveal information to the world I cannot whine if people use it.”

I agree with that, but is there any way to profit from being the first to reveal information ?
I could ask money for information.

If I invested money in producing the information, how can I then profit from it ?

How could you profit from making a movie if everybody can copy it ?

Do you have any ideas ?

Maybe the point is that lack of IP laws would make everything cheaper and in greater abundance so producing the idea in the first place would also be cheaper ?

But even if it’s very cheap to produce something, it’s not going to be profitable if people will pay zero for it.

Sasha Shepherd July 21, 2011 at 3:33 am

People pay zero for Linux. And yet companies like Red Hat and Novell still make millions of dollar from it. Or Wordpress software – totally free for everyone, and the creator is now worth $40M.

Here’s the thing – if 99 people ‘steal’ your non-scarce IP, and 1 person pays you for it – YOU STILL GOT PAYED. If 99000 ‘steal’ from you, and 1000 buy, you have enough to make a living.
etc.

It’s better to have 1,000,000 people ‘steal’ your product, and 10,000 buy, than it is to have no one ‘steal’ or buy in the first place.

How to make money from it? It’s called being creative. Keep your reel under lock and key; if any movie theater shows unauthorized copies, they can never be allowed to get one of your first release movies from you again; or you charge them 50% more.

With music, sell it directly. Build a simple website, promote, tour, get fans. Similar with books. The model of ‘press a record and sell ten million copies’ is dead and obsolete.

Hell, there’s freeware versions of most all software – so why do people still pay for it? And yet, they do.

People are not blind, dumb economic animals. A good proportion of the population, maybe 50%, VERY MUCH WANTS to pay the legitimate creators of art – because they recognize that art is good and they want to support it. Some people will buy from the shady guy with the CDs on the street corner, but if YOU get paid, who cares?

What pro-IP people don’t realize is how much of the monetary value of the product comes from the WORK done to market and distribute it. I could write the great American novel, but without distribution, it’s value is $0. And the distribution/marketing work is real and tangible, and not so easy to steal. If I build a website, I for all intents and purposes OWN that site, through my contractual agreement with ICANN concerning the domain name. So I OWN the traffic and sales from it.

But the data itself? Nobody owns it. It’s useful to whoever can extract value from it. Naturally, this process will greatly favor whoever first created it.

NAPpy July 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm

The intellectual dishonesty of that statement takes my breath away. Either your dishonest or lazy. Is this your first time on this site? Do a google search on copying as intellectual property. Heck, do a search on intellectual property. Your argument has been made and answered so often that it’s now boring. Try what you said. I wouldn’t pay you a dime for your ebook because I could do a search of your name and find that you are an intellectual hack. I could, however, find that Stephan has serious background knowledge on intellectual property, and would pay for his ebook. Try selling on-line classes and compare your results to anyone on Mises online. Try giving speeches for pay. Try selling articles to blog sites that make money by clicks. All these answers to your concerns were out there, which makes me believe that you didn’t actually care about learning, only trolling.

Stephan Kinsella July 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm

It’s probably Silas. :)

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 5:51 am

I love how your incoherent rants, and dishonesty give you a “background in intellectual property”. I’ve read your “against intellectual property”. Pure assertion.

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm

So…you wouldn’t have a problem if I made the “Density Duck Writes Crazy Shit About IP” ebook? You’d just figure that if I could rip off all of Kinsella’s shit and make a million dollars, then that’s only what I deserve for being such a good competitor? Even though I didn’t add a damn thing to the world’s creative wealth?

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Please, go ahead and do it. This is the worst kind of response to these types of posts. People make the same point, but we never see any reproductions of the texts in questions (despite the “threats”).

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

So…you wouldn’t have a problem if I made the “Density Duck Writes Crazy Shit About IP” ebook? You’d just figure that if I could rip off all of Kinsella’s shit and make a million dollars, then that’s only what I deserve for being such a good competitor? Even though I didn’t add a damn thing to the world’s creative wealth?

The point isn’t whether or not I actually do. I’m asking a question, and that question is “would it be wrong if I did?” And if so, why?

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Obviously, the people you are debating against don’t think it would be wrong. So, go ahead and do it.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

it’s not wrong. easy.

DD5 July 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Why is it always so easy, apparently according to you pro-IP guys, to “make a million dollars” off copying materials of others, as if the original thinkers never thought of the idea of making the million dollars themselves, or they are too incompetent to figure out a way themselves. It’s always the copycat who is the brilliant businessman making all the money without any effort.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

And you actually would have added to the world’s “creative wealth”, because you would have succeeded in distributing more of this wealth to a greater amount of people than Kinsella has.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

haha. no problem. it’s not ripping off–I still have my ideas. As for whether you added to wealth–who cares? We live by right not permission. You don’t have to justify your actions by showing that they increase wealth–only tat they don’t commit aggression against others.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I understand that copying is not an aggression nor theft.

But how is one to justify investing resources into coming up with an idea if there is no way to profit from it himself but that same idea will increase the wealth of others ?

A movie is a form of wealth, the entertainment it provides is wealth. Well, it costs resources to develop that movie. How is it justified to develop the movie if there is no way to sell the movie on a number of copy basis ?

Ideas do benefit humanity when they pan out but there is no way to enforce a rent seeking without aggression. This seems to be an unresolvable paradox.

Care to offer a solution ?

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm

suppose I dont care to. So waht? You are assuming that the purpose of the law is to make sure some nym on a comment thread has an answer to questions about how entrepreneurs would operate in a free society. The purpose of law is not to answer such questions. Asking such questions is not an argument, it is just a statement of confusion and ignorance. It’s okay to be confused about how the market would operate, but your confusion is not a justification for state grants of monopoly privileges.

Sasha Shepherd July 21, 2011 at 3:44 am

Well, I did on my response above. But let me state it clearly.

The assumption that the creator cannot benefit from it is faulty. There are a number of ways where the creator has a clear natural-law advantage over the copycat.

They have better reputation and contacts.

They are more devoted to the project.

People react with open wallets to integrity and creative force.

They have control over the master copies. For instance, programmers can set a software to de-activate if it is not authorized. They can offer ‘perks’ that the ripoff artists can’t – like free concert tickets, autographs, membership into the author’s private blog, etc.

In this day and age, everybody has to be more entrepreneurial, and has to think about marketing. No one can just sit in a hut and scribble on paper all day.

Being entrepreneurial beats being litigious every day of the week.

Anyhow, what makes you think there is “no way” for the creator to monetize the content?!?!?

What most people don’t understand about IP, is that if someone else makes a billion dollars off your work, and you only make a million…well shit, you just made a million dollars. There is no assurance you could have marketed it as well as the other guy and made a billion. But you definitely made a million dollars yourself, so why complain? Go out and create some more.

IP is not scarce.

Shay July 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm

DensityDuck, if your compilation saved people the time of finding the individual works contained, or involved an intelligent selection of which works best fit a particular theme or interest of the audience, you would be contributing something. The market notices all sorts of subtle value-additions that a person might not notice.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Wouldn’t it be ironic that a person would pay money, out of copyright restrictions, for a work that talks against the very copyright that forced you to pay money to read it, LOL :-D

The reason Stephan Kinsella doesn’t care is that there is no money to be made with his work, nobody will pay money for a song or a movie if they can get away with it, let alone some intellectual lectures on IP.

The information has already been revealed by Stephan, so there is no way you can reverse and stop people from freely spreading it.

There is no way to make money with those articles but then again, Stephan did not have to invest millions to produce them.

I wonder how creativity will be profitable and how the business model can depart from the number of “impressions” paradigm.

If you cannot make money with content based on how many of those are “impressed” then how can you make money, that is the question.

Peter Surda July 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

King,

nobody needs to invest millions. If you invest millions on the basis of an erroneous assumption about future returns, then you should suffer a loss.

Sasha Shepherd July 21, 2011 at 3:36 am

You added something to it – you added time, energy, and money to distribute it, package it, and market. That is significant, and if you got paid, you would be paid for THAT value that you added.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

So the value of an album on CD is the little plastic disc, the bit of metal inside, and the ink used to create the cover art? All of this together is what we pay $12.99 for?

Rudd-O July 20, 2011 at 1:19 am

LOL you got überpwned.

Peter Surda July 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm

DensityDuck

Hey, I got an idea. I’ll take all of your columns, put my name on ‘em, then publish them as an ebook.

I think you missed the glaring counterproductivity of such an approach: you would be promoting the anti-IP position in your own name.

Sometimes one’s opponents just shoot themselves in the foot.

coturnix19 July 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

You are confusing ownership and attribution. What you are talking about would be lying, but not stealing.

Tim July 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

“Hey, I got an idea. I’ll take all of your columns, put my name on ‘em, then publish them as an ebook. I don’t plan to give you any credit of any kind. I’m sure you won’t mind; after all, you yourself say that one of the risks of business is that someone might compete with you!”

I’m sure Stephan would be more than happy for you to spread the ideas that he propagates in his columns. But I doubt you’ll make much money because your attempt at a scam would quickly be outed for what it is. On a humorous note, suppose someone ELSE copies your idea to copy Stephan Kinsella’s writings, and ends up making more profit than you. Are you going to sue him for stealing your intellectual property?

Hexman et, al raised an important question. What’s there to protect the enterprising inventor from big companies who want to lay their hands on his creations? Well…not much as it turns out. The “effectiveness” of IP is measured by the amount of money a litigant has to spend in court proceedings. That is why many small businesses and inventors try to sell their consulting skills rather than wage a court war over defending a patent they’re most likely going to lose. Much wealth is thus wasted on unnecessary and pointless litigation and the only party that benefits from all this are often the patent lawyers. The millions of dollars that media industry heads spend on lobbying or lawsuits could have been far more profitably put into internal investment that would have allowed them to bring their technology and means of content distribution to a wider segment of the world population.

Another point to make against patents is that they are often used to stifle or restrict innovation from smaller, more dynamic competitors. For example, ACME.co feels alarmed at an engineer who came up with a new variant on a widget it produces which is far more effective and cheaper than their own. Normally, it has two options. Either invest into its own research department to come up with an even better widget than that of the engineer, or…dig up some old patent and go to court. Since the engineer didn’t have the massive funds at his disposal that ACME has, he can’t afford to legally defend himself against such a spurious case. But that’s not the only thing. The very fact that he improved on an existing design, implies that somewhere along the line, there’s a great chance that he violated some existing patent. This is especially evident in the software development industry, where many coding and design approaches are often shared openly, down to the point where it is essentially impossible to determine who “intellectually” owns what.

These cases are rarely pursued to completion, but mostly settled out of court, with the defendant often running out of business, and being forced to give up his design. If the situation regarding patents was more lax, perhaps far more people would be able or willing to undertake research projects. IP legislation does not in practice protect entry level private ventures, as much as it keeps existing monopolies and cartels in their comfortable place.

A company or an individual has every right to keep trade and design secrets. Likewise, they can put “locks” in their data to prevent or discourage unsolicited copying. Much cracked pirated software is often malfunctioning, riddled with bugs and viruses and obviously receives no customer support, all which encourages the user to purchase the legal version (as anyone who has ever worked with a pirated copy of any software should be well aware of). An inventor could also make money from offering management and improvement services to the company or companies that sell or use his product. There are many interesting and innovative ways how enterprises based on innovation could thrive without constrictive patents and copyrights.

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 5:57 am

Patents can only stifle smaller competition if the adjudication system is inefficient. In this case it is the justice system that is the problem, not the existence of patents. Any big company can sue any small company out of existence for any reason they wish to make up. Patents are unnecessary.

However, patents do protect small companies from having their product just copied by a larger competitor and being driven out of business by scale. At least the larger competitor has to come up with their own innovations.

In the market, the patents have real value protecting smaller companies from larger ones, and this is why venture capitalists like to see a patent portfolio, or at least the beginnings of filings when doing an investment.

The reality is, in the market, the patents have a strong positive effect on the valuation of small companies, and this shows that they do protect the small companies against larger ones.

The bottom line is, the patent system is a tradeoff– it increases the spread of ideas by giving people an incentive to disclose. If there were no patent system, then obfuscation would be the order of the day…. and you guys would be advocating for a law to force people to reveal their trade secrets! (After all, since you’re already in violation of the non-aggression principle, there’s no reason you wouldn’t continue to be.)

The bottom line is, the anti-IP issue is not about competition (which would be reduced) and it is not about innovation (which would be curtailed) it is about wanting to steal other people’s efforts without paying them.

And for that, you should be ashamed.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

“it is about wanting to steal other people’s efforts without paying them. ”

Lol, you have a stupid definition of “stealing.”

If you ever see me in the street, I insist you don’t look at me and remember my face, thereby stealing my appearance!

Josh S July 20, 2011 at 9:36 am

I like how whenever someone writes a cogent pro-IP argument, anti-IP commenters don’t respond and just call him “stupid” or something.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

I didn’t call anyone stupid, I called his use of the word “stealing” stupid.

Stupid statements should be treated as stupid. Referring to acts which do not deprive a possessor of the object of his possession as “stealing” is stupid.

Virginia Llorca July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Oh, wait up a sec. Is that ‘ad hominem’ argument thing? Google that. It’s a riot.

Peter Surda July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Oklahoma Libertarian,

If you ever see me in the street, I insist you don’t look at me and remember my face, thereby stealing my appearance!

In some primitive societies, people do not like to be photographed because they believe it steals their soul. IP advocacy is just a slightly more sophisticated version of this belief.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Should you have a right to not be photographed ? Do you have a right to your image ?

What if someone invented an x-ray zoom camera device that can see people naked in their bathroom through the walls of their house and without having to tresspass on the property of the person.

Is that person committing theft or aggression against the person being photographed naked in his bathroom ?

Can the person then upload this on youtube for everybody to see and laugh at ?

The libertarian vision would say that you don’t own your image, you don’t own your reputation and that no theft nor aggression was committed.

What is a person to do to defend himself ?

Would you accept such behavior ?

Sasha Shepherd July 21, 2011 at 3:54 am

Well, for one, the agrieved party could appeal to youtube; could petition them to remove the video. Looking out for their customers, they probably would.

Second, most people would consider this offensive behavior, so the offender would be socially castigated.

But, it’s an issue of social mores rather than law.

If I photographed you on the park bench, and emailed it to my pals in Bora Bora, would that be a crime? And yet, that is a similar activity, only on a different scale.

Me, I would just put some hedges up.

Peter Surda July 21, 2011 at 5:37 am

King,

first of all, as in most of your comments, it is not very clear what specifically you have an issue with. The essence of your argument is that some people might not like the outcome of my arguments. Why is that relevant in any way? I attempt to phrase my arguments based on logic. If someone does not like logic, how does that refute my argument?

The potential problem with xray is that you need to first irradiate the object you are monitoring. Since this alters the object, it could be potentially interpreted as trespass. However, unless you use flash, visible-light photography and thermal photography, for example, does not need the photographer to irradiate the object. With visible light, it could be a natural source you have no control over, and with infrared it’s the object itself that produces the radiation. So there is no basis for a claim of a property rights infringement. Furthermore, if there was, it would be illegal to look at other people. Is that what you’re proposing?

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The arguments of libertarians is that, while patents to protect the original invention, it stifles further innovation now that the idea is the “property” of the inventor. It is not easy to make small modifications and sell the copy because it is owned by the inventor. Therefore patents delay progress. That is the libertarian logic.

Sasha Shepherd July 21, 2011 at 4:06 am

Patents do have value for small companies, but the simple fact is they have much greater value for large companies. Patents are only useful insofar as you can exercise them in a court of law. They are only useful to those with deep pockets.

For every protected small business, how many have been intimidated out of the market by patents?

But, your point is an interesting one.

Unfortunately, you miss the broader picture. Libertarians don’t want to abandon IP laws so they can ‘have stuff for free.’ Indeed you already can – laws or not.

Libertarians are primarily concerned about IP in this day and age (in a way that, say, Rothbard wasn’t 30 years ago) because of how they are being used so aggressively by the very largest software and media companies to fuck everything up. Microsoft trying to use them to kill Linux, Apple trying to kill Android, and the RIAA/MPAA, trying to advance mandatory ISP level packet filtering. That’s just wrong, and sets such a dangerous precedent, a power no one should be allowed to have. Various areas of software have become patent minefields, where no one dares to tread because they will be sued to pieces, because exclusive patents have been granted to technologies that are non-exclusive in nature, that were developed in different ways at different times by different people, but only patented by one.

You can’t program shit today without violating at least some patents. Curious which ones? Well, you can either spend 1000s of dollars trying to figure out, or just wait until some corporate suit sends you a letter annihilating your business.

The purely philosophical arguments about IP are worthy and interesting. But I think that most people who pay attention would agree that, in 2011, the real world downsides of patents and copyright laws far, far outstrip the benefits.

Robert July 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Good lord Stephan, it’s just unfair at this point! I almost, almost feel bad for these guys…Keep up the excellent pwnage of nubs!

Nielsio July 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Very powerful insights, Stephan. I’ll be passing this on.

J.P. Quiceno July 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Great post Stephen. Thou shall know be known as “The ow3n3rer of IP noobs”.

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 5:58 am

Yes, because regurgitating incoherent Talking Points is such an intellectual triumph.

It really is a shame that the anti-IP crowd is unable to conjure up an actual argument for their position… or have the basic intellectual honesty of being truthful about what their opposition is saying.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

What a bunch of crap. I have written the equivalent of a book here about property rights theories and economics to support the anti-IP position. That you just showed up and don’t know what has been already said is no excuse. You are arguing from ignorance.

Hexman July 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Stephan,
You’ve missed my point over and over. Please invent a product or service and bring it to market. I appreciate your years of study and service to the cause.

Please attack the truth and facts of my comments on competition. I gave you one excellent example of how the patented Herman Miller®’s Aeron® Chair actually created more competition and innovation. I pointed out that having patent protection actually helps improve competition. and I’m sure you can come up with examples where patents are used to protect a companies position in the market to stiffly competition. But the fact is that the Herman Miller Corp invented a product that created a whole new niche market in office chairs and created a tremendous amount of imitators and not exact clones. That is my point!

I’ve never stated I didn’t want competition! But what I do want is my competitor to compete with their own ideas, brand, look, manufacturing process, etc… I don’t want a competitor to take my words, concepts, designs, etc… as their own. Just because someone can manufacture another person idea and hard work at a cheaper price, is neither just or right. If we truly lived in a world like that, i.e. China, we would have less innovation!

Let’s say you work for two years and build a house that cost you $250,000 and someone steals it from you. What is the difference if you spend two years and $250,000 to do R&D and invent a new product and some one steals your idea by knocking it off?

Lets take real world cost and examples. Say they reverse engineering my product, their cost is only $50,000 or $100,000 max. They now have a economic advantage of $200,000 to $150,000 to sell the product for less money.

Lets say the innovator spends over those two years another $250,000 on Marketing to build it’s Brand and inform the consumer about their product. Now the Knock off company does Zero advertising and sells and exact duplicate of your product and use your Brand name. This company now has another $400,000 economically advantage and therefore can sell your product without these carrying cost. I’d bet the streets would be filled with folks willing to risk all of their hard work and wealth to bring new and innovative products to the market place if this was the case of your world view.

Ever wonder why you can get those Oakleys® Sunglasses so cheap on the streets of New York. Ok, on the streets you know their knock offs. But say a store is selling them for half price on sale and you think you’ve just purchased an actual pair of Oakleys®. But the problem is that these Oakleys® are made of cheaper materials and scratch and break quickly! The owners of Oakleys® Brand have just had their brand besmirched and long run potential ruined in the market place.

Or maybe you chose to save up and buy a very expensive Northface® Jacket with all the newest bells and whistles.The newest and lightest new Gortex® laminates to keep you dry and warm. But what you get is a cheap Knock off from China. This Knock off is so good it’s even made in the actual Chinese factor that makes the real Northface® Brand products. But the problem is it is made of inferior materials that falls apart and leaks. You now send this fake Northface® knock off for warranty and replacement. But when the jacket is received, the factory informs you that it is not an actual Northface® Brand product. Now the dealer who sold you that Fake Northface® product bought it in good faith from a Dist. they trusted, you bought the jacket in good faith from your local specialty shop that gives you superior service. But you are now stuck with a bogus fake but “Northface Branded” product! Please tell me how this Real World example worked out for Northface and the consumer? The cost to deal with these knockoffs cost the Northface® company hundreds of thousand of dollars that could have been better spend in R&D and innovation and the consumer got conned and stung. I’m pretty sure many folks also stopped buying Northface brand products for years. Please tell how we all ended up with better and more innovative products. Please give me real world examples!

Actually instead of stealing your writings and publishing them as my own, a better example of might be to use your identity and your Credit Score to gain credit. What I’m doing is stealing your Good Name, i.e. your Brand, to gain access to the Credit Markets. When you steal someones IP your doing the same thing.

I never stated I didn’t want competition, you incorrectly interpreted my statements that way. Some of my best designs have been invented due to someone knocking off one of my designs and my ability to compete by improving the design. I’ve even had to improve some of my product designs that were deemed to close to a patented design. I’ve been on both sides of the issue.

Sorry if this is poorly written and stated, but I’m tired and I’m not a professional writer, I’m a product designer, inventor, marketer, accountant, small business man, father of four, etc…

I live in the real world.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 19, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Hexman,

There are important differences between spending 2½ years building a house and having it stolen and spending 2½ years developing an idea. In the first case, your ability to use the house for whatever purpose is explicitly denied to you. In the second case, you still have the ability to use the idea in whatever purpose you’d like. The idea is not taken from you, rather it is replicated. Surely, if someone replicated the house you spent 2½ years working on it would be a lesser issue to you.

This doesn’t mean that people won’t try to internalize the benefits of the their ideas, though. I think that the urge to internalize will ultimately be best for the consumer, as well. Imagine a developer who tries to saturate the market with a new product, before competitors can join that specific sector of the market.

But, the notion that without monopoly privileges people will not develop new products is nonsensical. Neither is it a novel argument. People will still be able to profit from their ideas, even if they can’t do so over a specific period of years due to monopoly privilege.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 1:15 am

Hexman,

I was not really aiming all this at you. Your comment just sparked this thought, or helped crystallize it as I’ve heard comments like yours many time.

Please invent a product or service and bring it to market. I appreciate your years of study and service to the cause.

? My company does this, and we waste millions on patents because of the ridiculous system, and are threatened by patents all the time. BUt this is irrelevant.

I pointed out that having patent protection actually helps improve competition.

The whole point of patents is to help someone use the state courts to literally outlaw competition. You don’t just “have patent protection”–it’s a system that lets A use state guns against B’s use of HIS OWN PROPERTY. That needs a justification. Just muttering “maybe having patents promotes competition” is not a justification of this vile aggression.

I’ve never stated I didn’t want competition! But what I do want is my competitor to compete with their own ideas, brand, look, manufacturing process, etc…

Why? We all use ideas we have learned from others, and competition almost always involves observing and watching and learning from your competitors and then imitating, emulating, copying, or surpassing what they are doing. This is part of the very market process. Wendy’s and Burger King have a fast food burger restaurant chain like Mcdonald’s. why didn’t McDonald’s get ot own that idea, and let Wendy’s compete in some other business than fast food burgers??

like I don’t want a competitor to take my words, concepts, designs, etc… as their own.

I don’t want someone to take my girl, and I don’t want a competitor to take my customers. So what if I don’t want it?

And they don’t “take” your words from you–you still have yours.

Just because someone can manufacture another person idea and hard work at a cheaper price, is neither just or right.

It is of course just and right. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with competition and emulation and copying and learning. Waht is not just is using force to stop someone using ideas you have revealed to them to manipulate their own property.

Let’s say you work for two years and build a house that cost you $250,000 and someone steals it from you. What is the difference if you spend two years and $250,000 to do R&D and invent a new product and some one steals your idea by knocking it off?

Because if someone steals my house I don’t have it any more. That is what is wrong with stealing. But if someone competes with my by making products similar to mine, they are not stealing anything from me–I still have my designs, concepts, and even my products. What i might not have any more are all the customers I could have sold to–but I don’t own my customers, so they are not stolen from me either.

Lets take real world cost and examples. Say they reverse engineering my product, their cost is only $50,000 or $100,000 max. They now have a economic advantage of $200,000 to $150,000 to sell the product for less money.

All competition works this way. That’s why prices fall, consumers always benefit. And entrepreneurs have to keep innovating and thinking of new things to give them a temporary advantage so as to make profit–until competition notices this and starts eroding profit, leading to more incentive to keep innovating and pleasing customers.

Lets say the innovator spends over those two years another $250,000 on Marketing to build it’s Brand and inform the consumer about their product. Now the Knock off company does Zero advertising and sells and exact duplicate of your product and use your Brand name.

The real world does not work this way. You couldn’t make a perfect substitue for an Apple iPad easily. Knockoffs of rolexes sell for $20 not $10k. But if someone could easily and perfectly supply a perfect substitute, fine–more competition, more benefit for the consumer (more suppliers).

This company now has another $400,000 economically advantage and therefore can sell your product without these carrying cost. I’d bet the streets would be filled with folks willing to risk all of their hard work and wealth to bring new and innovative products to the market place if this was the case of your world view.

Of course there will always be innovation even in a world without patents. I’d say there woudl be more in a patent free world, but even if there is less, how can you say it is less than some optimal amount? Is the amount we have now optimal? Do we need more? At what cost?

Ever wonder why you can get those Oakleys® Sunglasses so cheap on the streets of New York. Ok, on the streets you know their knock offs. But say a store is selling them for half price on sale and you think you’ve just purchased an actual pair of Oakleys®. But the problem is that these Oakleys® are made of cheaper materials and scratch and break quickly! The owners of Oakleys® Brand have just had their brand besmirched and long run potential ruined in the market place.

You are confusing things. You insinuate it’s fraud, and then you talk about trademark infringement. Which is it? And what has either to do with patents? And people who buy Oakleys’ from some rinky dink shop are taking a risk; if you buy it from a reputable dealer then that dealer has an incentive to make sure they are selling the real deal. None of this is hard to undersatnd.

Or maybe you chose to save up and buy a very expensive Northface® Jacket with all the newest bells and whistles.The newest and lightest new Gortex® laminates to keep you dry and warm. But what you get is a cheap Knock off from China. This Knock off is so good it’s even made in the actual Chinese factor that makes the real Northface® Brand products. But the problem is it is made of inferior materials that falls apart and leaks. You now send this fake Northface® knock off for warranty and replacement.

Let’s see, I go down to REI and buy it, and find out it’s fake, and raise holy hell with them and they fix it. But of course REI has an incentive to make sure this doesn’t happen. If I buy Crest toothpaste in the local Kroger then even without trademarks (now you have switchd for some reason to trademarks, from patnets??) Kroger will be sure to guarantee the authenticity of what they sell, or they will lose business to a competing chain that does better quality control. These are all straw men.

But when the jacket is received, the factory informs you that it is not an actual Northface® Brand product. Now the dealer who sold you that Fake Northface® product bought it in good faith from a Dist. they trusted, you bought the jacket in good faith from your local specialty shop that gives you superior service. But you are now stuck with a bogus fake but “Northface Branded” product! Please tell me how this Real World example worked out for Northface and the consumer?

You are describing quite unrealistic examples of fraud; and fraud is actionable, but by the deceived buyer, against the person who deceived him. It has nothing to do with Northface.

The cost to deal with these knockoffs cost the Northface® company hundreds of thousand of dollars that could have been better spend in R&D and innovation and the consumer got conned and stung.

Ridiculous. In an IP free world they would not “deal” with them. they would just compete and sell high quality products, even though some cheap or stupid people buy cheap knockoffs–just like is done NOW in today’s world. You can buy fake Rolexes and Louis Vuitton purses NOW and miracle, Rolex and Louis Vuitton still sell the real deal for 1000 times as much.

Actually instead of stealing your writings and publishing them as my own,

It is impossible to steal a writing, since the original author still has his copy.

And you are confusing copyright infringement (“stealing”) with plagiarism (putting your name on them).

a better example of might be to use your identity and your Credit Score to gain credit. What I’m doing is stealing your Good Name, i.e. your Brand, to gain access to the Credit Markets. When you steal someones IP your doing the same thing.

Surprise, but there is no right to a reputation either. What you are doing is just question-begging–you keep using the word “steal” in an argument to demonstreat that IP is property, but of course saying “steal” implies it’s property. Your argument is totally circular.

Sorry if this is poorly written and stated, but I’m tired and I’m not a professional writer, I’m a product designer, inventor, marketer, accountant, small business man, father of four, etc…

It’s just not well argued or well thought out. You are confused and just repeating lots of jumbled common wisdom. If you had been born into a free society and were used to real competition then if someone came along and proposed to let people sue other people for competing with them or using learned information on their own property you and everyone else would laugh at them as if they were madmen.

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 6:00 am

When you say “literally outlaw competition” you are literally telling a lie.

It is clear that you think a patent is on an idea, and thus could “outlaw competition” rather than a method.

Since you don’t understand — or aren’t honest enough to be truthful about– the most basic nature of patents, it is no wonder you are incapable of producing an argument for your positon. Or being honest about the opposition– even when you call them out by name.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:10 am

Interesting that you claim he is wrong and don’t even try to correct him.

Explain how making it illegal for competitors to produce something is not outlawing competition…

Hexman July 20, 2011 at 8:52 am

Thanks for the detailed response.

First let me digress, being a bit new to your position on IP, I thought that most of the mises.org gang also did not believe in TradeMarks and I lumped the two together incorrectly? After reading your rebuttal, am I correctly to assume that you believe in the fair and legal use of TradeMarks, Trade Dress and Branding your product and State protection for them? Maybe that would explain and clear up some of my arguments for you. I truly and foolish assumed you and Jeffrey Tucker were advocating a market place where there was neither patent protection, © copyright protection and Trademark protection, where clones could not only look like your product, but also use your Trademark, Brand and Trade Dress. For that foolishness and ignorance I beg your forgiveness.

Second, I’ve enjoyed the response of most folks and the intellect discourse, nothing like stirring the pot and Iron Sharpens Iron.

Third, I’ve still not seen the damage to the market place that you and others have describe. Over and over in the business world, I’ve seen creative people and business innovate around patents and laws. Like I’ve stated, sometimes they create a better product sometimes not, let the market place decide.

Let those who can invent a better mouse trap do so. But that drive to create and bring to market will always be lessened if innovation is not protected, it’s simple human behavior. Let those who can create and design better methods of manufacturing or delivery do so. But when you allow them to take a competitors exact product and duplicate “Clones”, you will only get an industry that is mostly focused on how to improve manufacturing. Your innovation will be focused mostly on manufacturing and the process and you will have less innovation in actual product design and innovations. You therefore end up with a society, i.e. China, that has it’s main focus on producing a product cheaper and cheaper and not necessarily a better or new and improved design that innovative and change societies.

Seeing the bulk of the IP debate is that there would be more innovation, not less, this is where we will not agree.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

First let me digress, being a bit new to your position on IP,

Really, let me suggest you do some reading on this and think carefuly on it. I suggest some of my articles on http://www.c4sif.org/resources, such as my concise guide to IP, and the one about IP & learning.

I thought that most of the mises.org gang also did not believe in TradeMarks and I lumped the two together incorrectly?

Our primary targets are patent and copyright; there are problems w/ the current implementation of TM but it is different than patent and copryright. the point is our arguments are very developed, and there are differences in the arguments for and against patents, copyrights, trademarks, and the issue of fraud and plagiarism are also distinct and are used in different ways by IP proponents for each of these types of IP–so you need to do your research and get a clear view of the landscape before pontificating, trying to reinvent the wheel, or asking questions here that we have answered many times alreayd in our writings.

After reading your rebuttal, am I correctly to assume that you believe in the fair and legal use of TradeMarks, Trade Dress and Branding your product and State protection for them?

I am an anarchist so oppose the state. As for the law, what the law on trademark should be, i have answered this in that section of my Against INtellectual Property. But in short: no. There should only be a law against fraud. If a knockoff company defrauds a consumer by pretending to be a competitor, then the customer has a lawsuit against the knockoff company. BUt the competitor does not. Further, for normal knockoffs like fake rolexes the customer is NOT defrauded so there is no cause of action. Modern trademark law is flawed in 5 ways: 1. in cases of legitimate consumer confusion, which is similar to fraud, it gives the cause of action to the trademark holder, instead of to the customer. 2. it is enforced by the state. 3. federal trademark law is unconstitutional–not authorized in the patent/copyright clause; only the states have the legal authority to enforce trademark law. 4. the law prohibits use of another’s mark even when the consumer is NOT confused, such as cheap rolex knockoffs. 5. in the 1990s a ridiculous “anti-dilution” cause of action was added to the trademark law thus making it deviate even more from a fraud basis.

Maybe that would explain and clear up some of my arguments for you. I truly and foolish assumed you and Jeffrey Tucker were advocating a market place where there was neither patent protection, © copyright protection and Trademark protection, where clones could not only look like your product, but also use your Trademark, Brand and Trade Dress. For that foolishness and ignorance I beg your forgiveness.

I think you can use someone’s mark as long as you do not deceive customers. But I think any reputable company would want to use their own mark so this is a non problem.

Third, I’ve still not seen the damage to the market place that you and others have describe. Over and over in the business world, I’ve seen creative people and business innovate around patents and laws. Like I’ve stated, sometimes they create a better product sometimes not, let the market place decide.

It is there. You are accepting the rosy propagandistic view. It’s al nonsense. Peruse the blog posts reporting on all this on http://www.c4sif.org or http://www.techdirt.com

Let those who can invent a better mouse trap do so. But that drive to create and bring to market will always be lessened if innovation is not protected, it’s simple human behavior.

This does not follow. Or, rather, proeprty rights is all that is needed to protect innovation. Not state monopoly privileges.

Let those who can create and design better methods of manufacturing or delivery do so. But when you allow them to take a competitors exact product and duplicate “Clones”,

Copying a product IS NOT TAKING IT. The first guy STILL HAS HIS PRODUCTS AND DESIGNS.

you will only get an industry that is mostly focused on how to improve manufacturing.

You have no basis for asserting this. Do more reading. You are out of your depth here. (Not trying to be rude; just short of time.)

Your innovation will be focused mostly on manufacturing and the process and you will have less innovation in actual product design and innovations. You therefore end up with a society, i.e. China, that has it’s main focus on producing a product cheaper and cheaper and not necessarily a better or new and improved design that innovative and change societies.

You have no basis for these rickety assertions; but in any case IT IS NOT AN ARGUMENT FOR STATE MONOPOLY PRIVILEGE GRANTS. At most it is an observation of how innovation would occur in a free market.

Seeing the bulk of the IP debate is that there would be more innovation, not less, this is where we will not agree.

I don’t understan this sentence, but my primary concern is justice and property rights. Not innovation.

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

“I am an anarchist so oppose the state.”

Ah-ha. I guess I should have read your bio, first, because otherwise I wouldn’t have tried to argue with a Jew about whether or not Christ was the Messiah.

(now watch Kinsella act like he’s confused. “duh, this argument is about COPYRIGHT MONOPOLY, not RELIGION”.)

nate-m July 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

It is much more entertaining to see people who arguments are demolished so soundly that their only recourse is to resort to sophomoric arguments and insults.

Congratulations on undermining your own position.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:12 am

Haha this again. Oh you’re an anarchist so nothing you say counts.

Brilliant.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

What I’m saying is that it’s useless to argue about the practical applications of copyright law when the person you’re talking to believes that the only justifiable concept of “property right” is “what I can keep the other monkeys from taking away”.

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

“My company does this, and we waste millions on patents because of the ridiculous system, and are threatened by patents all the time.”

Ah. So you’re against the concept of patents and copyrights because you want to infringe on them. It’s nice of you to admit that straight out (although kind of surprising, because it ruins the whole ‘moral-high-ground’ thing you’re going for.)

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

More gross ignorance. Do you realize what infringing means? It means if I indepenently invent a product, someone can sue me for infringing their patent even if I never heard of it and never learned from it. (But besides, what’s wrong with learning?)

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Infringement of patents do not involve independent invention but independent marketing.

Patents are about who has the right to produce and market a particular arrangement of matter. It limits how you can sell your property, not how you can use it for yourself.

But Stephan, the world is complex and complicated. I almost see Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle here were we will always be in a gray area between non-aggression private property rights vs aggressive use of force for your own advantage and there is no way to say what’s right and what’s wrong in a certain way.

The world we live in is much more complex than right or wrong and simple moral philosophies.

I was once a Christian obsessed with sin, then I was a libertarian obsessed with right, now I begin to think that it’s all bullshit and that the absolute is all bullshit and that there is no such thing as the absolute.

This probably has something to do with Godel’s incompleteness theorem. So I can no longer have a discrete right or wrong version of the world and I must admit that sometimes force do come into play.

Why wait to have the complete truth before taking an action, why wait to be completely right before doing something.

And being obsessed with right all the time makes you depart from might and those who obsess with might will gain an advantage.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:13 am

“there is no such thing as the absolute.”

Well then that cannot be absolutely true (that there is no such thing as the absolute) which means that there can be something absolute.

As usual, nihilism defeats itself.

Andras July 20, 2011 at 1:51 am

@Hexman,
The current rule is if you give up your intellectual creation you will receive temporary, property like monopoly rights on it. This can not be more arbitrary similarly to all rules concerning property. It keeps changing and with it we change, too. As long as there are rules we can innovate. However, like all arbitrary rules, IP also invites extreme theories with religious zeal. They see only a fraction of the issues but claim totality so they ignore, deny and ridicule everything outside their agenda. Whoever of them says to know how their scheme would work lies arrogantly. There is no way to know as it never happened before in a capitalistic system. And the chance is it never will. So…
You shouldn’t argue with a religion. And when it comes to IP (and anarchy) you shouldn’t mistake von Mises for mises.org.
On the other hand, all this baiting and heckling has brought about a wonderful bunch of pro-IP people. These articles give us superior opportunity to discuss IP as well. I thank Mr. Kinsella and Mr. Tucker for that.
Best Regards,
Andras

DixieFlatline July 20, 2011 at 2:41 am

Andras, your post has this horrible logical error;

Property like monopoly right > Property right

In case you didn’t know, property rights are for the purpose of eliminating property conflicts. IP creates property rights conflicts and therefore is a property right which undermines property rights. The use of IP is a performative contradiction to your argument.

The current rule is if you give up your intellectual creation you will receive temporary, property like monopoly rights on it.

And we ask, why should anyone receive a temporary, property-like monopoly right that enables the use of violence against peaceful people exercising their property rights?

Andras July 20, 2011 at 3:27 am

Your dead horse was beaten to boredom. If you wanted to understand it you would have. If you want to try again read wildberry. He eloquently went through all of your points already again and again. But here is another, shorter version: because these are the current accepted rules. Your rules are as arbitrary as any others’. There are so many solutions but only one practice. that is where we have to start.
We both want to recognize the fundamentals and minimize our contradictions. I agree with your first sentence but it hangs in mid air. You should also add “however, the laws concerning property rights are still arbitrary”. Try again from there.
And for your last question: You put the chart in front of the horse. The real question is “Why would an inventor give up his invention for temporary benefits?” Because under the current rules it is advantageous for him. And it is for you too, though not as an instant gratification.

Peter Surda July 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Andras,

your argument about arbitrariness has a glaring error: logic is not arbitrary. And Wildberry is not eloquent, he just all smoke and mirrors, and lots of them.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

“In case you didn’t know, property rights are for the purpose of eliminating property conflicts”

But if everything originates from conflict, is there such a thing as a right ?

Isn’t it a sham to claim to be right ? Does being right or rights really exist ?

Shouldn’t we be honest and just call it an anti-conflict regulation ? That way we would admit that this is an arrangement to stop conflicts and that it embetters the situation without having the pretention to claim that we are right.

After all, two fleas on a dog can claim the right to own a patch of skin, oblivious to the fact that it’s the dog’s skin.

And given that rights are always protected with might, shouldn’t we be honest about the might used to protect this arrangement instead of claiming to be right.

It’s this obsession about right as opposed to being honest about practicality that makes me uncomfortable.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

“It’s this obsession about right as opposed to being honest about practicality that makes me uncomfortable.”

Maybe you should actually try to understand libertarianism (it is the most practical, indeed the only practical, social order) instead of knocking down your straw men and denying the existence of truth.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

So whoever disagrees with you suddenly is a practitioner of religion? That sounds more religious than what you’re criticizing, tbh.

Andras July 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

@Jonathan M.F.C.
Please don’t try to misunderstand me. It is not disagreement what I called religious but the way of disagreement. It is the form not the content, even if the form reflects on the content.
I think one can hardly argue that anti IP reached a canonized state with its pope, church, dogmas, saints, minions, martyr mentality, sacred books, psalms, fulminations etc. (I bet you guys even have a secret handshake, too :).) It has became a closed and narrow circle of thoughts built on yearning for statelessness in a totalitarian world. Although I understand this development it is rather damaging because it implies that all other alternatives are hopeless. Well, there are still a few who disagree.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 11:23 am

But, all those accusations are patently false! Those who oppose IP don’t do it as an act of faith, rather their beliefs stem from a certain logic. The logic may be wrong, but calling it “religion” doesn’t make it any less logical. It just suggests that you’ve run out of real arguments.

Andras July 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Come to the other side for a day and see what I am talking about. You may find those accusations fitting. You must be an outlier as you left room for being wrong. You might be able to do this.
BTW, I did not address the faithful when I called it a religion. I would never do that, not because my view is selective but because it is pointless. Arguments were listed and ignored but not refuted. It might be because our vocabulary is not overlapping. Just imagine the difficulties with those who does not even come here.
Since you said “The logic may be wrong” I see hope. Try to apply logic at a deeper level, right after your Misesian axiom, and build your concept of property from there.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Andras,

Just because you haven’t been able to persuade anybody doesn’t mean that your opponents are practicing religion. You could very well just be unpersuasive. Your frustration doesn’t legitimize your accusation.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Andras,

BTW, I did not address the faithful when I called it a religion.

Hmm, I wonder how would describe the patent bar who are 99% in favor of patents–such remarkable homogeneity in this diverse country! Is it hypocrisy, or religion?

Andras July 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Sorry Jonathan,
It was my mistake to write to you.

Andras July 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Stephan,
Is your problem that they won’t let you in or that their religion challenges your religion?

nate-m July 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Is your problem that they won’t let you in or that their religion challenges your religion?

I think the problem is that patents infringe on individual liberty, private property, and the free market.

If that was not bad enough then they also cost our economy billions, stifle innovation, are used as a weapon by large interests to protect markets, and is helping to destroy the ability of the USA to compete in a world economy.

THAT is the problem.

Andras July 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Nate-m: “I think the problem is that patents infringe on individual liberty, private property, and the free market.”

Again, these are quite complex abstractions. Even without patents any pair of these three can easily be convoluted to contradict each other. Introducing IP just makes it harder to clarify their connections. Canonizing these concepts will not help.
If you want an exchange could you define these three based on your axioms? (just to see what patents infringe on after all)

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

So what Andras? You have nothing to say against our arguments so you complain that we’re too consisten in our position? Oh it’s a closed and narrow circle. And, what, that means it’s wrong?

Complain about the club all you want, it doesn’t support your case. It’s an ad homimen and those have become the main tool of the anti-IP side now.

Andras July 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

@sweatervest,
Have you read my thread of posts?

Matthias Burchardt July 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

Looks like poor Lady Gaga is also surrounded by IP proponents.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504943_162-20080786-10391715.html

This mentallity seems to be everywhere.

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 6:01 am

Yeah, people don’t like to have their labor stolen. They’re called libertarians. I welcome you to learn more about us.

Matthias Burchardt July 20, 2011 at 6:39 am

OK, how do you steal someone’s labor when you just learn from him, like our beloved Lady Gaga does it once in a while?

I hope we don’t have to go trough the copying=theft debate once again.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 8:03 am

Imitation steals labor? God, what a bafflingly stupid statement.

DixieFlatline July 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Yeah, people don’t like to have their labor stolen. They’re called libertarians. I welcome you to learn more about us.

Labor theory of libertarianism.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:19 am

How in the world does one have their “labor stolen”?

Hey, man, give me back my labor!

Typically libertarianism isn’t a bunch of meaningless metaphors masqueraded to say something meaningful. You might be more at home with some Marxists.

Engineer July 20, 2011 at 6:12 am

The irony of pointing to companies that have innovated- like netflix- in favor of removing the ability and incentive to innovate, by removing the public disclosure, and narrow protections of patents, is rich.

Netflix succeeded because they solved the problem in a new way. Not because they were able to replicate someone else’s success without having to fund R&D.

You will always be losing this argument so long as you rant against patents, without addressing the reality that would happen without them. You forget that disclosure gives the competition a leg up on R&D in order to start innovating at the same point the disclosing company reached. The limited protections give them an incentive to do so, and compensate the disclosing company for the act of disclosure.

If you want to rail against patents, then propose an alternative. By not doing so, then you’re essentially advocating obfuscation, yet assuming that won’t happen. Genuinely innovative companies benefit greatly from this disclosure… and tall that will go away.

Since you won’t address the ramifications of your position, it sounds like you just want something for nothing.

I, for one, will be glad if Apple destroys google over Android. Then maybe next time, google will actually advance the state of the art, rather than ripping off a decade and several billion dollars worth of work.

We only have to look to the 1990s to see an example of what happens when IP is not protected. Microsoft ripped off the GUI from Apple, but Apple had not gotten patents on it. As a result, the entire software industry was destroyed by microsoft, and the personal computer market became a sea of boring boxes, clones that competed only on price, withe zero innovation. The places where any innovation happened were places where IP was protected– 3D graphics cards and intel chips. Both areas enjoyed Patent protection.

If it wasn’t for Microsoft’s incompetence at the internet, there might not even be a thriving software industry now. Notice that apple only introduced digital distribution in the form of the App Store recently…. yet going back to the late 1990s ,the boxed software market was dead. (And people stared making web applications because they could do so without being crushed by microsoft.)

There is a manifest example of failure to protect IP resulting in the destruction of two industries– PC software and PC hardware– with the only innovations actually happening in the pockets where IP was protected (and Apple which is genetically programmed to be innovative.)

Your position is that Microsoft should rule over us and we should not be allowed to compete with them.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 8:05 am

Your statements do more to discredit IP than Mr. Kinsella’s at this point.

Josh S July 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

I see you have improved your repsonses to no longer feature profanity and name-calling. Now if you could only construct an argument.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Why would I waste my time? To collect rambling, repetitive responses?

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

Microsoft has brought nothing but bugs and misery to me. Their Operating Systems are buggy, dysfunctional, prone to viruses and attacks, they push policies and controls over us, you cannot do what you want with it, they are bloated with full of add-ons that you can’t get rid off. You cannot uninstal internet explorer. I am fed up with Microsoft.

A month ago, my Vista crashed and I could not get back into my hard drive. Luckily for me, I had downloaded Ubuntu Linux before that and I run it from a USB key.

It takes mere seconds for me to boot my computer from cold start to ready to work, it took ages with Vista.

I will never again use Microsoft products. They are inferior pieces of trash that bring no value.

Peter Surda July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm

King,

do you realise that the history of Linux invalidates most of your claims for IP? Most Linux distros, including Ubuntu, are freely downloadable, copyable and modifiable. Yet, magically, the people who write that software (including me) still earn money. OMG, WTF?

Linux Is King July 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Please explain how you earn money. How is it that you can get paid ?

I downloaded my Linux for free on the Internet, I paid for the USB key on which it’s running. In my case, only the USB key hardware vendor made money but it’s my own isolated case of course.

I am curious to know how you can make money with free software ?
Offering paid support perhaps ? Being paid managing Linux networks ?

Peter Surda July 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Paid support and maintenance contracts are one method I get paid, I also provide hardware+software combos. I also have a day job with an online service provider (which I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t have the prior experience). I used to do all kinds of stuff including helping people install linux or teach them how to use it. I recall that in the times of slow internet, I used to sell linux CDs too and ship them by mail. Some of the code that I write for my own personal use I release anyway to encourage the network effect.

Wildberry July 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Peter,

This is what I said to you long ago. You sell your labor, and you think that is sufficient to argue against the ligitimacy of IP.

You do not need to own IP in an automobile to work as a mechanic.

However, the abilty to get paid for changing the oil is not conclusory evidence on the issue of whether the existence of the principles of IP are legitimate. It is in fact irrelevant.

FYI, relevance is the tendency of a partilar fact to prove that another fact is also true.

What is the relevance in saying thay by selling your labor, you make a living without IP, and therefore the fact that IP is illigitimate must be also be true?

Peter Surda July 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

Wildberry,

You sell your labor, and you think that is sufficient to argue against the ligitimacy of IP.

So, if you claim that it is impossible (or at least difficult) to earn money by mental labour without IP, and I provide a counterexample, that does not, in fact, refute your argument? What would then refute your argument? If nothing, why should I take it seriously as opposed to a dogmatic stance of a confused mind?

What is the relevance in saying thay by selling your labor, you make a living without IP, and therefore the fact that IP is illigitimate must be also be true?

Where did I say what you claim I say?

Are you denying that your argument for IP is the existence of external economies without IP? Are you denying that my counterexample refutes your implicit assumption that this is a systematic issue, rather than a consequence of specific business models?

Wildberry July 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

@Peter Surda July 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

As you well know, I never said such a thing, but if you can provide a quote, I’ll address it.

A lawyer makes his living from “mental labor” without IP. So what? If a lawyer writes a book, though, he needs IP or you will rip him off. See the difference?

Where did I say what you claim I say?

http://blog.mises.org/17767/intellectual-property-advocates-hate-competition/comment-page-1/#comment-794359

http://blog.mises.org/17767/intellectual-property-advocates-hate-competition/comment-page-1/#comment-794463

Are you denying that your argument for IP is the existence of external economies without IP?

No.

Are you denying that my counterexample refutes your implicit assumption that this is a systematic issue, rather than a consequence of specific business models?

Yes. I didn’t make any implicit assumptions, they were painfully explicit. It is an economic problem that you, Kinsella, nor anyone else that I know of, have not addressed. You have refuted nothing, but then again, it’s never too late.

A refutation would be to select an example that DOES depend on IP, and then use that example to show why Mises, and humble little me who happens to agree with his arguments, are both wrong. That would be a refutation.

Have a nice day.

Peter Surda July 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Wildberry,

As you well know, I never said such a thing, but if you can provide a quote, I’ll address it.

So, on one hand, you claim that without IP, “producers of IP” will be producing almost entirely for external economies. On the other hand, you are denying that it is difficult or impossible for “producers of IP” to earn money from their “production of IP”. You contradict yourself.

A lawyer makes his living from “mental labor” without IP. So what? If a lawyer writes a book, though, he needs IP or you will rip him off. See the difference?

The difference is blindingly obvious to anybody but IP-fetishists. Both are business models that make certain assumptions about property rights. If the assumptions are erroneous, then the profit does not materialise and the entrepreneur suffers a loss. There is nothing IP-specific to this, and is exactly in accordance with free markets and private property.

(your quotations)

You are wrong. I did not say that my argument proves that “IP is illegitimate”, rather that your assumptions regarding externalities are wrong. I make very specific arguments. You’re just smoke and mirrors. In fact I do not recall ever saying that IP is illegitimate. That sounds like a normative statement and I try to avoid those. I try to stick to the claims that the pro-IP position is self-contradictory and vague, of which you are an excellent example.

I didn’t make any implicit assumptions, they were painfully explicit.

You made the assumption, copied from Mises, that without IP, some people will producing almost entirely for externalities, and from this you derive that the externalities should be eliminated. I refuted this flow of argumentation several times over, only to be met by your ignorance. Repeating a false statement does not make it true. It makes it boring. So stop boring me. You need a new act in your show.

A refutation would be to select an example that DOES depend on IP, and then use that example to show why Mises, and humble little me who happens to agree with his arguments, are both wrong. That would be a refutation.

Mises said that the existence of externalities is not a valid reason to conclude that the product that is thus prevented from being produced should be produced. That is the refutation.

So, did Mises say or not that the existence of externalities is an invalid justification for enforcing the production of goods that would not be produced without them? Is it not true that IP producers do not need IP to earn money? Is it not true that IP is just a redistributive policy? Is it not true than that this invalidates the argument for externalities, because all benefits must be offset by costs? Is it not true that externalities are, apart from exotic cases which do not correspond to either of our positions, unavoidable, and therefore you cannot arbitrarily select one type of them for an economic argument?

Wildberry July 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

@@Peter Surda July 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

So, on one hand, you claim that without IP, “producers of IP” will be producing almost entirely for external economies. On the other hand, you are denying that it is difficult or impossible for “producers of IP” to earn money from their “production of IP”. You contradict yourself.

With all due respect, this is a stupid comment.

First, I believe the phrase was “for the most part” not “almost entirely”. You have no right to take liberties with what I or Mises may have actually said. I notice that you could provide no link to an exact quote of mine or Mises. Go figure.

Second, this “other hand” is idiotic. If you own something and don’t benefit from its use or sale, you do not benefit from owning it. To claim otherwise, as you seem to be doing, is idiotic.

“A lawyer makes his living from “mental labor” without IP. So what? If a lawyer writes a book, though, he needs IP or you will rip him off. See the difference?”

The difference is blindingly obvious to anybody but IP-fetishists. Both are business models that make certain assumptions about property rights. If the assumptions are erroneous, then the profit does not materialise and the entrepreneur suffers a loss. There is nothing IP-specific to this, and is exactly in accordance with free markets and private property.

This is so stupid I don’t even know how to respond. What does “if the assumptions are erroneous” mean? What are “certain assumptions”? Are you actually trying to say something here? Take it from me, it is not “blindingly obvious”. I would guess it would depend on the meaning of the words you use, which is, to be generous, stupefyingly vague and ambiguous.

(your quotations)

You are wrong. I did not say that my argument proves that “IP is illegitimate”, rather that your assumptions regarding externalities are wrong. I make very specific arguments. You’re just smoke and mirrors. In fact I do not recall ever saying that IP is illegitimate. That sounds like a normative statement and I try to avoid those. I try to stick to the claims that the pro-IP position is self-contradictory and vague, of which you are an excellent example.

Self-aggrandizing aside, so you say that IP is legitimate? Take a stand! Anything else is just posturing for reasons that can only be ultimately embarrassing to you.

“I didn’t make any implicit assumptions, they were painfully explicit.”

You made the assumption, copied from Mises, that without IP, some people will producing almost entirely for externalities, and from this you derive that the externalities should be eliminated. I refuted this flow of argumentation several times over, only to be met by your ignorance. Repeating a false statement does not make it true. It makes it boring. So stop boring me. You need a new act in your show.

It was not an assumption; it was an assertion with reference to Mises. Externalities cannot be entirely eliminated, thus Mises choice of words “for the most part”. If you would have read the context, you would see (giving you the benefit of the doubt) that he discusses this very point in the context of the individual actor’s calculation of costs v. benefit.

If you are going to have the balls to assert that Mises is making a false argument, then also grow the balls to try and prove it. Instead you choose intellectual masturbation of some perverse form that apparently involves Socrates and Perry Mason.

“A refutation would be to select an example that DOES depend on IP, and then use that example to show why Mises, and humble little me who happens to agree with his arguments, are both wrong. That would be a refutation.”

Mises said that the existence of externalities is not a valid reason to conclude that the product that is thus prevented from being produced should be produced. That is the refutation.

Would you like to provide a link and exact quotation to that effect? Otherwise, admit that you don’t really know what you are talking about. I believe I actually know what you are referring to, and he said no such thing. But if you think he did, then prove it.

So, did Mises say or not that the existence of externalities is an invalid justification for enforcing the production of goods that would not be produced without them?

Who knows what you are saying here? Who, do you imagine, is “enforcing the production of goods”? What goods “would not be produced without them (externalities?)”? Speak English.

Is it not true that IP producers do not need IP to earn money?

It depends. What a stupid question. If they are depending on IP rights to do it, then yes. If they are merely selling their labor, then no. I thought I already said this. If you want make this point, pick some activity that depends on property rights in IP.

Is it not true that IP is just a redistributive policy?

Another meaninglessly vague and ambiguous question, so the answer is yes and no but probably more no that yes.

Is it not true than that this invalidates the argument for externalities, because all benefits must be offset by costs?

It appears that you do not grasp the distinction between external costs and external economies, much like you didn’t grasp the distinctions being made in the easement discussions. But of course, that doesn’t stop you from trying to play Perry Mason.

Is it not true that externalities are, apart from exotic cases which do not correspond to either of our positions, unavoidable, and therefore you cannot arbitrarily select one type of them for an economic argument?

Look Perry, since you don’t grasp what an externality is, apparently, I can’t assume whether you are talking about external costs or economies. I don’t know what an “exotic case” is, and I certainly don’t know what your position is, since you seem to consider yourself above the fray. I don’t know how you “arbitrarily select” something, even lottery numbers. According to Mises, every actor has his own personal reasons for his actions.

And I certainly have not idea what YOU mean when you say an “economic argument”.

Other than that, I really think we are communicating.

Peter Surda July 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Wildberry,

First, I believe the phrase was “for the most part” not “almost entirely”.

Mises used similar phrases in two places:

What they produce is for them entirely or almost entirely external economies.

and

It has merely to stress the point that this is a problem of delimitation of property rights and that with the abolition of patents and copyrights authors and inventors would for the most part be producers of external economies.

If you think that the difference is relevant, what is it? If you think it isn’t, why do you mention it?

Second, this “other hand” is idiotic. If you own something and don’t benefit from its use or sale, you do not benefit from owning it. To claim otherwise, as you seem to be doing, is idiotic.

Since causality extends to infinity, apart from some unrealistic cases, it is unavoidable that some benefits will fall to people other than the owner. My argument, rather then being idiotic, is the logical conclusion. I have challenged you in the past to disprove this, but you ignored it.

“A lawyer makes his living from “mental labor” without IP. So what? If a lawyer writes a book, though, he needs IP or you will rip him off. See the difference?”

You are begging the question. Some business plans are profitable, some are not. If you choose the one that is unprofitable, that only demonstrates that you were unable to correctly assess the future. From the point of view of property rights, it per se does not mean anything.

Self-aggrandizing aside, so you say that IP is legitimate?

No.

Take a stand!

I take a stand at the side of logic, rather than stupidity and emotion, like you do.

Externalities cannot be entirely eliminated, thus Mises choice of words “for the most part”.

This would only make sense if IP addressed this “for the most part” specifically, for which you provide neither empirical evidence nor theoretical backing.

If you are going to have the balls to assert that Mises is making a false argument, then also grow the balls to try and prove it.

You are misrepresenting my argument. My argument was not that the producers of IP are not, for the most part, producing external economies without IP, but that almost all producers of anything in all practically relevant systems do that.

Would you like to provide a link and exact quotation to that effect?

So, the whole point of Mises’ chapter on externalities is not the argument that the existence of externalities is an invalid justification for enforcing production of unprofitable venues? What is it then?

Who knows what you are saying here?

Apparently, everyone except you.

Who, do you imagine, is “enforcing the production of goods”?

So, your argument is not that the authors should be given rights at the cost of copiers in order for the author’s production to be stimulated? Because if not, then your whole argument falls apart.

It depends. What a stupid question.

On the contrary, it demonstrates that you are wrong.

If they are depending on IP rights to do it, then yes.

Begging the question again.

If they are merely selling their labor, then no.

How do you sell your labour?

If you want make this point, pick some activity that depends on property rights in IP.

Circular reasoning.

Another meaninglessly vague and ambiguous question, so the answer is yes and no but probably more no that yes.

On the contrary, it explains that you contradict yourself. All the “extensions” of rights that IP produces must be offset by the costs of other people’s rights. Can you show an example where this is not the case?

It appears that you do not grasp the distinction between external costs and external economies,

And your proof is?

much like you didn’t grasp the distinctions being made in the easement discussions.

Where’s the evidence?

since you don’t grasp what an externality is, apparently, I can’t assume whether you are talking about external costs or economies

Where is the evidence that I don’t understand and you do? In all the months you have been here, you continue to avoid answers and producing an intelligible explanation of your position.

I don’t know what an “exotic case” is,

I explained it in the past. If you run away from debate and then claim you don’t remember, that only underscores your disingenuity.

I certainly don’t know what your position is

My position has from the beginning been the same: your arguments are self-contradictory and/or vague. You do not seem to be bothered by this though.

And I certainly have not idea what YOU mean when you say an “economic argument”.

Why is the argument for redistribution due to externalities valid for IP, but not for other externalities?

Other than that, I really think we are communicating.

No, we are not. You are avoiding again.

Have you found new tricks yet or are you going to continue boring me?

Wildberry July 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

@Peter Surda July 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Mises used similar phrases in two places:
What they produce is for them entirely or almost entirely external economies.
and
It has merely to stress the point that this is a problem of delimitation of property rights and that with the abolition of patents and copyrights authors and inventors would for the most part be producers of external economies.
If you think that the difference is relevant, what is it? If you think it isn’t, why do you mention it?

Peter, if you think you understand what he means, then why do you try to use this in some way that is not consistent with what he is trying to explain?

The key phase in the first quote is “for them”, meaning that a “product that can be gratuitously enjoyed by everybody” breaks the private property principle of output from privately owned means, and input from the right to exclusive use of private property. Is that what you mean? This is the counter-argument to “ideas are free” line of reasoning.

In the second, he says “for the most part” in recognition that external benefits are not avoidable, in relation to his earlier discussion of economic calculation. So given his assertion, what is your position? For example:

Since causality extends to infinity, apart from some unrealistic cases, it is unavoidable that some benefits will fall to people other than the owner. My argument, rather then being idiotic, is the logical conclusion. I have challenged you in the past to disprove this, but you ignored it.

What does “causality extends to infinity” have to do with the case Mises is making? Just answer that question, and it will be clear where you stand with everyone and I can hold you to it later when you try to stay on the fence.

The legal concept here is “actual” and “proximate cause” as I have explained many times. You prefer the logical principles of necessary and sufficient causation. I don’t think you are so stupid as to not realize that the closer one gets to infinity, the less relevant the causality, and the closer to the actual cause, the more relevant. You can talk about the fact that butterfly wings in Brazil are causally related to hurricanes in the Atlantic if you want to, but I don’t and Mises doesn’t. To do so is to either miss the point, which makes you stupid (and there is no cure for stupid) or dishonest for trying to create a diversion from the essential point of the argument.

“A lawyer makes his living from “mental labor” without IP. So what? If a lawyer writes a book, though, he needs IP or you will rip him off. See the difference?”

You are begging the question. Some business plans are profitable, some are not. If you choose the one that is unprofitable, that only demonstrates that you were unable to correctly assess the future. From the point of view of property rights, it per se does not mean anything.

So? You are making an irrelevant point. Relevance means the tendency of one thing being true making it more likely that a second thing is true.

You are arguing that because some business plans do not involve the principles of IP, then the principle of IP must be invalid. Does that sound relevant to you? You are arguing that a bad business plan is unprofitable, so that must “prove” that IP is not necessary? Stupid or ignorant, take your pick.

“Self-aggrandizing aside, so you say that IP is legitimate?”

No.

Did you look up “aggrandizing”? So you don’t say it is, and you don’t say it isn’t, but you argue nonetheless? What a waste of wattage you are.

I take a stand at the side of logic, rather than stupidity and emotion, like you do.

Ooooo. Peter is on the “side” of logic and I am stupid and emotional. That is really an piercingly intelligent comment. I’m crushed.

“Externalities cannot be entirely eliminated, thus Mises choice of words “for the most part.”

This would only make sense if IP addressed this “for the most part” specifically, for which you provide neither empirical evidence nor theoretical backing.

I am referring you to Mises’s argument. He starts this section with the following words”

The External Economies of Intellectual Creation

Forgive me for assuming that he is thinking specifically of “intellection creation” which is the general concept for the “intellectual” part of “Intellectual Property”. Gee, you really got me there…

If property rights are not secured for the producers (or creators) of intellectual goods, the producers are, “for the most part producers of external economies”. Could it be any more clear? Not that you have it, what is your argument against his argument? Do you have one, or do you just want to be part of the circle jerk?

“If you are going to have the balls to assert that Mises is making a false argument, then also grow the balls to try and prove it.”

You are misrepresenting my argument. My argument was not that the producers of IP are not, for the most part, producing external economies without IP, but that almost all producers of anything in all practically relevant systems do that.

That is your argument? Then why does he say “The extreme case of external economies…” and why does he put “production” in quotes to include “the intellectual groundwork of every kind of processing and constructing”? And why does he start the second from last paragraph on page 658 with “patents and copyrights” if he is not thinking specifically of IP?

You are not being honest, but what else is new?

“Would you like to provide a link and exact quotation to that effect?”

So, the whole point of Mises’ chapter on externalities is not the argument that the existence of externalities is an invalid justification for enforcing production of unprofitable venues? What is it then?

I thought not, but what else is new?

Where did he say anything about “unprofitable venues”? How about a link to that one? I suspect you would prefer to just keep making things up.

“Who knows what you are saying here?”

Apparently, everyone except you.

Really? Have you taken a poll? I would like to see your questions and your sample. Somehow I think you are in the minority of the general population, but I suspect your poll doesn’t reflect that reality. So put up or shut up.

“Who, do you imagine, is “enforcing the production of goods”?”

So, your argument is not that the authors should be given rights at the cost of copiers in order for the author’s production to be stimulated? Because if not, then your whole argument falls apart.

Do you actually have the cojones to answer a direct question? That would be novel. Have you heard of low T?

My argument, as if you don’t know, is that producers who find they are producing, for the most part, external economies, don’t choose to continue to do that voluntarily; they reallocate their resources. So yes, most definitely, I concur with Mises, that intellectual creation is an extreme case of how, without the property rights secured by IP rights, producers who produce economic intellectual works will not do it, because it is a road to serfdom. It doesn’t pay. They cannot recover their investment. It is a bad business plan. It sucks to work and not get paid.

Would you continue to be the proprietor of Surdix if you couldn’t get paid? That is not a principle limited to IP, it is a general economic principles consistent with AET. I’m on the side of AET, not some nonsensical “argument” that doesn’t state what exactly it is arguing for or against.

“It depends. What a stupid question.”

On the contrary, it demonstrates that you are wrong.

I guess in some ways, stupid questions imply that everyone else must be wrong without explaining or understanding why. That is what makes them stupid. Thank you for confirming that.

“If they are depending on IP rights to do it, then yes.”

Begging the question again.

I guess just plain statements like this one can be stupid too.

“If they are merely selling their labor, then no.”

“How do you sell your labour?”

How do you make your living?

If you want make this point, pick some activity that depends on property rights in IP.

Circular reasoning.

Stupid lack of reasoning.

“Another meaninglessly vague and ambiguous question, so the answer is yes and no but probably more no that yes.”

On the contrary, it explains that you contradict yourself. All the “extensions” of rights that IP produces must be offset by the costs of other people’s rights. Can you show an example where this is not the case?

That question is like the Mad Hatter asking someone to prove he is not crazy and then arguing with whatever they say. That would be a hard argument to win. Better to just drink tea.

“It appears that you do not grasp the distinction between external costs and external economies,”

And your proof is?

You ask stupid questions and make stupid statements, like t his one. You say nothing of any importance or relevance. But you can’t stop talking…

“much like you didn’t grasp the distinctions being made in the easement discussions.

Where’s the evidence?

Read your own posts. You may be the only person who can understand what you mean, but you can’t explain it. I know someone who spends their days on the corner talking to themselves. You remind me of that person. They are better when they take their medicine.

“since you don’t grasp what an externality is, apparently, I can’t assume whether you are talking about external costs or economies

Where is the evidence that I don’t understand and you do? In all the months you have been here, you continue to avoid answers and producing an intelligible explanation of your position.

She also repeats herself a lot. That is another symptom that she hasn’t taken her meds.

I don’t know what an “exotic case” is,

I explained it in the past. If you run away from debate and then claim you don’t remember, that only underscores your disingenuity.

I remember now. I call this the “butterfly in Brazil” argument. Very unpersuasive.

“I certainly don’t know what your position is”

My position has from the beginning been the same: your arguments are self-contradictory and/or vague. You do not seem to be bothered by this though.

That is not your position. That is our opinion about my position. You don’t have a position I guess. You have a fantasy that you are asking really, really smart questions and showing everyone how intelligent you are by saying that anyone you choose to troll is being “self-contradictory and/or vague”. I don’t think you have the faintest idea what a real conversation would be like. At least, I have never seen any evidence that you do.

“And I certainly have not idea what YOU mean when you say an “economic argument”.”:

Why is the argument for redistribution due to externalities valid for IP, but not for other externalities?

Have some more tea. Take your meds. You are blabbering to yourself.

“Other than that, I really think we are communicating.”

No, we are not. You are avoiding again.

Failure to recognize sarcasm, that’s another symptom.

Have you found new tricks yet or are you going to continue boring me?

Heavens me! Off with their heads!

Peter Surda July 25, 2011 at 4:14 am

Wildberry,

The key phase in the first quote is “for them”, meaning that a “product that can be gratuitously enjoyed by everybody” breaks the private property principle of output from privately owned means, and input from the right to exclusive use of private property.

There is no “breakage”. You can almost never prevent a benefit to fall upon people who do not own the source of the benefit. Mises merely chose to concentrate on a specific aspect of human action, in my opinion, misleadingly, but in essence not necessarily incorrect. You are however drawing incorrect conclusions.

in recognition that external benefits are not avoidable, in relation to his earlier discussion of economic calculation

You are arbitrarily merging unrelated claims. Mises argued that these are separate questions, rather than, as you are attempting to portray it, one being the conclusion of the other. You can’t have it both ways. Either externalities are a valid argument for redistribution of property rights, and then there is no reason to handle IP differently than other exteranlities. Or they are not a valid argument, and then IP would have to follow from other assumptions.

What does “causality extends to infinity” have to do with the case Mises is making?

It demonstrates that he arbitrarily picked an aspect of human action and used it as an example. Again, in essence he is not incorrect but it’s prone to misrepresentation and, of course, does not prove anything.

The legal concept here is “actual” and “proximate cause” as I have explained many times.

This is not an explanation. This is just a rhetorical trick. You have failed to explain how to distinguish between the two, and furthermore, you are referring to positive law, which is from economic point of view an invalid argument.

You prefer the logical principles of necessary and sufficient causation.

Exactly. And, you have repeatedly refused to address my objections which show to inconsistencies in your application of these.

I don’t think you are so stupid as to not realize that the closer one gets to infinity, the less relevant the causality, and the closer to the actual cause, the more relevant.

Of course. The difference is quantitative, rather than qualitative. But that does not prevent you from drawing qualitative distinctions between “relevant” and “irrelevant” causality. This makes your argument incoherent.

To do so is to either miss the point, which makes you stupid (and there is no cure for stupid) or dishonest for trying to create a diversion from the essential point of the argument.

The one dishonest is you. Your whole argument depends on the ability to divide causality into “relevant” and “irrelevant”. This distinction, according to you, not only results in different legal, but also economic rules. You utterly fail to explain how that is supposed to work, furthermore, you avoid even confirming that this is an accurate representation of your position.

You are making an irrelevant point. Relevance means the tendency of one thing being true making it more likely that a second thing is true.

On the contrary. You are making the assumption that a specific business model should be profitable, and challenge me to provide an example that this does not require a specific assignment of property rights. This is a logical fallacy.

You are arguing that because some business plans do not involve the principles of IP, then the principle of IP must be invalid.

No. I am arguing that if you assume your conclusion (that specific business models must be profitable), you are committing a logical fallacy.

So you don’t say it is, and you don’t say it isn’t, but you argue nonetheless?

I counter specific arguments based on their logical aspects, not based upon their ethical value. Even if IP was “legitimate”, that still would not absolve you from providing a logically correct argument for its support. Your attempts to divert this into a discourse about ethics is moot. Ethics does not trump logic.

Forgive me for assuming that he is thinking specifically of “intellection creation” which is the general concept for the “intellectual” part of “Intellectual Property”.

He said that this is the extreme case. He did not say he’s going to make an exception, on the contrary, he rejected such a notion. Your argument is erroneous.

Not that you have it, what is your argument against his argument?

My argument is, like I said several times, that there is nothing IP-specific about this. External economies are omnipresent and to choose IP as “extreme example” or something that deserves an exception has no praxeological nor empirical backing.

Then why does he say “The extreme case of external economies…” and why does he put “production” in quotes to include “the intellectual groundwork of every kind of processing and constructing”?

He simply did not think it through. He thought it’s an extreme example. It isn’t. The agrarian sector, for example, supports all the other sectors. Without it, we would have no industry, services or information sectors. This easily outdwarfs the scope of IP. Yet for some reason, you are not arguing that these externalities are relevant in this case. That makes your argument inconsistent.

And why does he start the second from last paragraph on page 658 with “patents and copyrights” if he is not thinking specifically of IP?

You have still failed to explain where he is saying that an exception should be made for IP.

I thought not, but what else is new?

So what is it then?

Where did he say anything about “unprofitable venues”? How about a link to that one?

Here is the quote:

A project P is unprofitable when and because consumers prefer the satisfaction expected from the realization of some other projects to the satisfaction expected from the realization of P. The realization of P would withdraw capital and labor from the realization of some other projects for which the demand of the consumers is more urgent. The layman and the pseudo-economist fail to recognize this fact. They stubbornly refuse to notice the scarcity of the factors of production. As they see it, P could be realized without any cost at all, i.e., without foregoing any other satisfaction. It is merely the wantonness of the profit system that prevents the nation from enjoying gratuitously the pleasures expected from P.

So put up or shut up.

So, when you avoid questions and avoid explaining what specifically is wrong with your opponents’ arguments, and I object, then it’s somehow my fault?

producers who find they are producing, for the most part, external economies, don’t choose to continue to do that voluntarily; they reallocate their resources

There are many examples of products that create external economies, and would not be profitable without the producers being able to get paid based on these external economies. Why is IP any different?

without the property rights secured by IP rights, producers who produce economic intellectual works will not do it, because it is a road to serfdom. It doesn’t pay.

First of all, you have provided no empirical evidence, nor theoretical backing to support your position that this (reduced production) would indeed be the consequence. Furthermore, even if it was, so what? Unless you make the assumption that such production is desirable (which I “accused” you of earlier), your argument is pointless. And if you do make that argument, then, as Mises said, it’s praxeologically invalid.

Would you continue to be the proprietor of Surdix if you couldn’t get paid?

Ah, but I do get paid, because I did not build my business model on the assumption that I should be paid based on the externalities which I have no control of. You have failed to explain that your argument represents a systematic “deficiency” of the lack of IP, rather than being merely a consequence of unprofitable business models.

How do you make your living?

I sell services.

That is not your position.

Where’s your evidence?

You don’t have a position I guess.

You don’t have a position. If you had, you would have presented it already, and answered questions about it.

A summary:
Where is your evidence that lack of IP has a detrimental effect on “intellectual creation”? Where is your evidence that you are presenting a systematic deficiency, rather than a result of unprofitable business models (which has, per se, nothing to do with “intellectual creation”)? What is your justification that even if lack of IP did have a detrimental effect on “intellectual creation”, this is a valid reason for its inception? Last but not least, how do you define IP (considering that you claim it is distinguishable from causality as such)?

JFF July 20, 2011 at 8:46 am

Steph, I’m really getting a kick out of the absurdity of some of the commenters trying to tell you, the patent attorney and corporate counsel, how patent law works, what it does, and what it is or isn’t.

Engineer and Hexman, trust me, I get your objections because like all forms of protectionism, the classic Pro-IP position feels intuitive at least locally even for many, many libertarians.

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm

That’s a really nice Argument From Authority you’ve got going there.

Shay July 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Argument from authority is all there is when it comes to discussing what the law says and doesn’t say. The law books are the ultimate authority, and lawyers are the next best thing to that.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

“Here is what the law books say, and here’s how I’ve interpreted it” is not an argument from authority.

“You should totally do what I say because I’m a LAWYER” is an argument from authority.

Wildberry July 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Yes. I agree.

Josh S July 20, 2011 at 9:49 am

Okay, here’s a real-world example:

Making a Call of Duty game costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $50m and takes about two years. Currently, Activision releases COD games as fast as they can–once a year, right in time for Christmas. Consumers typically buy over 10 million copies of COD and pay to download millions of official expansions. Activision makes a profit from this rather than depending on subsidies, so we can say they are providing genuine positive economic value.

Currently, IP laws make it illegal to reproduce COD. Pirated versions are out there, but they are unstable, potentially infested with viruses, and difficult to install.

Without IP laws, pseudo-legitimate copies could be easily reproduced by rival publishers within hours of the game hitting the market and sold for a fraction of the price. Suppose that in this scenario, the price is driven so low that Activision can’t recover its investment, suppose their minimum threshold for making a profit is $50 per unit. They go out of business, and no more COD games are made.

Now you have consumer demand that’s going unsatisfied because of lack of IP protection. In fact, a whole class of profitable business–high-production video games–simply vanishes, never to return. Is it the position of the anti-IP people that any product that requires IP to exist is less important to consumers than those that don’t? Because just about anything that requires a large capital investment to produce, but is easily copied, likely won’t exist without *some* kind of IP protection.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 10:38 am

That’s why I’m starting to think that pure libertarianism is a truck load of bullshit, that might has always existed and will always exist and that one should also use all the mights he can to advance himself.

That we live in reality and it’s okay to use the state to gain and advantage and it’s okay for pirates to try and break your copy protection. That war has a purpose and that all is not about producing ad-infinitum, that there are purposes other than economic and that this is natural, universal, and that the result of all this production-war-circumvention results in reality as we know today and that libertarianism can never become 100% true because there will always be powers and that those with smarts use them.

I refuse to let libertarianism make me feel bad about myself any longer. I’ve been through that in christianity about sin and hell and it brought me no good. I refuse to let Libertarianism tell me I am worthless, stupid, not original. I refuse to let libertarianism devalue by intellectual abilities and I refuse to let libertarianism condemn me for using my mights to defend myself and to further my goal.

After reading all the philosophies, political philosphies, earth sciences, religions, science, physics, I come to one logical conclusion.

MIGHT IS RIGHT.

Welcome to the game !

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

“That’s why I’m starting to think that pure libertarianism is a truck load of bullshit, that might has always existed and will always exist and that one should also use all the mights he can to advance himself.”

Okay good I don’t feel concerned that you support IP anymore. You think people should use as much violence as they desire. Why are you wasting your time here? Go run for office!

“That we live in reality and it’s okay to use the state to gain and advantage and it’s okay for pirates to try and break your copy protection”

Okay to use the state to gain advantage! Wow, with everyone competing to gain advantages over each other with violence, cooperative society can only flourish!

“That war has a purpose and that all is not about producing ad-infinitum, that there are purposes other than economic and that this is natural, universal, and that the result of all this production-war-circumvention results in reality as we know today and that libertarianism can never become 100% true because there will always be powers and that those with smarts use them.”

Yeah, whatever you say dude. War is great. Why? Cause I have a shotgun and you don’t.

Ironic that you are using debate, a form of peaceful cooperation in order to condemn peaceful cooperation. That’s logic according to the person who keeps trying to lampoon libertarian logic.

“I refuse to let libertarianism make me feel bad about myself any longer”

Libertarianism “makes” you feel bad? How insane can you be? War and killing people is okay, but people sharing arguments is too much force for you!?

“I refuse to let Libertarianism tell me I am worthless, stupid, not original”

You told yourself that dude. I am anti-IP *because* I am a musician and I have come to understand vividly how copyrights undermine creativity.

“I refuse to let libertarianism devalue by intellectual abilities and I refuse to let libertarianism condemn me for using my mights to defend myself and to further my goal”

So you refuse to lay down your fists whenever you feel it necessary to use them? Then you are uncivilized and dangerous and have no place living in peaceful society. You certaintly won’t have anything relevant to say to social problems seeing that you act like a stubborn toddler who refuses to quit throwing violent tantrums.

“After reading all the philosophies, political philosphies, earth sciences, religions, science, physics, I come to one logical conclusion.”

Wow, you’ve read all of those things EVER!? Dear god, you must be hundreds of years old.

“MIGHT IS RIGHT”

If people were using might on you now you wouldn’t be able to open your mouth and claim that anything is right, let alone might. This claim is self-contradictory in the most supreme sense. You have to assume it is not true to even state it at all. If you really believed your own statement you wouldn’t waste time trying to peacefully convince anyone of it, you would just go out and start robbing and killing people.

But you don’t care about logic do you? You just got through in a previous post denying that there is any such thing as truth. Makes me wonder how I should interpret any of your claims.

Also, if might is right, then as soon as the IP regime collapses under its own unsustainable costs then people will be in a position to defend themselves against vacuous claims of ownership and you’ll just have to deal with it. Tough luck buddy!

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

I don’t understand why the maker couldn’t change their business model? i.e. reduce production cost, find ways of better saturating the market, find ways of remaining competitive? You guys unfairly assume that it is either A. you can profit B. you can’t profit.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 10:58 am

The problem is not the business model, it’s the costs to produce the game.

If you cannot profit after investing millions of dollars, then you won’t invest those millions of dollars.

Suppose the business model is game server hosting instead of selling individual copies. The company spends millions of dollars producing the game and then gives away the copies for free.
They make their money through hosting games on the Internet and the game will only work if you’re running it on a server of the company, so you have to pay a monthly fee to use it.

Then some nerds crack the code and get along with a bunch of his friends and start free servers to host the game. So people get the game for free and the server for free or cheaper.

The company could still not recover it’s initial investment.

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

The problem is not the business model, it’s the costs to produce the game.

Yes, I mention this in my response; it’s really a short response (so you couldn’t have missed it).

Jonathan M.F. Catalán July 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

Then some nerds crack the code and get along with a bunch of his friends and start free servers to host the game. So people get the game for free and the server for free or cheaper.

It’s interesting you mention this, after the original poster conceded to how difficult it has been to copy the game (how poor the copies circulating for free have been).

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

“If you cannot profit after investing millions of dollars, then you won’t invest those millions of dollars.”

“The company could still not recover it’s initial investment.”

Brilliant defenses, there, LiK! I take it you support government funding for bridges to nowhere in Alaska since they wouldn’t be profitable investments in a free market?

You are proving absolutely NOTHING by stating over and over that copiers destroy investments’ profitability. So too, do unimpressed consumers and poor engineering.

Linux Is King July 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

So patent laws are like bridges to nowhere ?

The free market would never have invested money to build bridges to nowhere because it’s not profitable, there will not be enough customers to justify said bridge.

But I fail to see how it relates to patents.

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I love how people’s argument in response is “if you can’t make money on games then you’re making them too good.”

Screw that CoD bullshit, let’s all just play Bejeweled for the rest of time.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

What about you is so special that you deserve super-expensive video games at the cost of others’ property rights?

suur July 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm

You should also read my reply to the Call of Duty comment below; if you think IP laws are stopping piracy and protecting AAA games right now, you’re way off base. CoD Black Ops was one of the most pirated games of last year, and also one of the games that made the most money. Even if they didn’t make a cent off of the PC version since it’s widely available for free (which certainly isn’t true), their decision to put it on consoles and offer a robust and addictive online multiplayer component encourage people to buy the physical disk. And even if other companies were able to copy and sell the physical disks themselves (which likely won’t even be a relevant “what if” scenario in the future, as everything becomes digital download and perhaps console manufacturers themselves help out developers on the front of getting them money by making it ultra-convenient to buy), game companies aren’t standing still and are providing online account and stat tracking that requires a fee to access. The next Modern Warfare game will be doing this, and this is in a world WITH IP laws; of course, with the flaw that they don’t actually provide the protection in real life that you attribute to them.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

Haha you have no idea how many people play CoD without paying for it do you.

You pro-IP guys live in a fairy tale where people can’t download whatever they want for free already.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Please publish your address, so I can come over, break into your house, rape you to death, take what I can carry, and burn the rest.

I mean, you have no idea how many violent crimes are committed every year. You pro-civil order guys live in a fairy tale where home invasions don’t occur already.

(Or maybe you shouldn’t be making a “de facto defines de jure” argument.)

Josh S July 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

We don’t need to hypothesize. The video game industry is *extremely* competitive. There’s no lack of cost-saving innovation (which comes primarily via middleware tools and reused media libraries). Further, there’s a limit to how much you can cut costs, which is nothing more than reducing resource consumption. For example, you can’t build a jet engine without using large quantities of metal and energy. And in this case, you can’t design a video game without consuming the man-hours of intelligent, skilled, professional artists–people who are smart enough and skilled enough to have gone into another line of work if the game developer isn’t making enough to pay a fairly high salary.

Colin Phillips July 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

Josh S,

First, sorry if it seems like I’m trolling your posts, I’m not, I just like your examples.

First of all, let me point out that I have absolutely no problem with Activision taking non-aggressive steps to make copying more difficult. I’ve heard of games that require people to log in to a company owned server, and they make sure that only people who have paid them can successfully log in (I’m fuzzy on the details, but this seems to be effective to me). So it is not as if game companies couldn’t survive without IP. I’d be willing to believe that there are some games for which this were not possible, such as those games developed pre-Internet.

Second, when you say that there is a consumer demand going unmet due to a lack of IP protection, you really mean it would be due to a lack of IP protection plus the company not taking any other measures whatsoever to secure their investment. I don’t think this is very realistic. For example, have you heard of services such as Groupon? If there are really millions of people who would be willing to pay $50 if there were no other way they could get the game, then it is precisely those people who should be approached by Activision to fund the game’s production – in the extreme case where one person buys an original Activision disk, and every other person buys a copy of that disk at almost zero cost, Activision could refuse to sell that one disk until the gaming community had covered their costs.

Lastly, you said:
“Is it the position of the anti-IP people that any product that requires IP to exist is less important to consumers than those that don’t?”
No, it isn’t. At least, that’s not my position. Rather, it is my position that any product that *requires* IP to exist is less important than the cost of personal freedoms lost in the enforcement of IP.

If you can explain a coherent system, which achieves the same aims as current IP is supposed to be achieving, without simultaneously having the problems which make the current system “broken and stupid” as you called it above, then I would have no problem with it, personally. All I ask is that you ensure that your new system does not impose decisions made by one group onto another group that did not voluntarily agree to them.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

The problem is that a production, a movie, a software, an invention, an idea, has no value as long until it is fully developed and marketed. You cannot assess the value of an intellectual creation until it is fully invested and tested. You cannot test an idea for free.

People could not know in advance if the game will be to their liking or satisfactory, they will not want to risk their money on an uncertain product. Just like when you buy a car, a house, a bed, you want to know first hand what you buy, you want to know if it’s in good shape, quality, branding etc.

You don’t just give money to somebody and say bring me a car, any car.

That’s the problem with the libertarian point of view concerning IP, they don’t understand that there is money involved in it and that people will not value an undeveloped and untested idea.

Was the first activision games copyrighted ? How could the people have known in the first place that the games were great if activision never made one the traditional way before ?

I could start a company right now, then send an ad to people asking them to fund me and in return they will all get a free cool game. I don’t think this would work.

When you ask people to show you the money, they want to see the merchandise first hand and that takes money to develop the merchandise.

nate-m July 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

That’s the problem with the libertarian point of view concerning IP, they don’t understand that there is money involved in it and that people will not value an undeveloped and untested idea.

That is cute.

Do you not realize that you just accused the authors at Mises.org that they do not comprehend the basics of capitalism and entrepreneurism?

For fuck sakes, man: Learn to think before you talk.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I think alright, I realize that this discussion is becoming heated and starting flame wars.

What, I can’t make a point now because I must assume everybody already knows about it ?

This does not make sense.

I am saying that an Idea is proven valuable only when it has been tested and successfully marketed, that ideas are not valuable by themselves but that they are what’s the most valuable to mankind because they are what is improving production and increasing capital.

Ideas, if they are cheap to spread and copy do cost money to be developed. So how is the originator of the idea suppose to recover his investment ? (Forgetting that you guys refuse to acknowledge the concept of originality, because according to you all that can be invented has been invented.)

Why would somebody invest money in an idea, a movie, a software, if he cannot recover the investment because everybody can copy it ?

Okay, in the case of music, live representation can be a better business model and freely distributing the music is in fact publicity and entices people to come see the show.

But what about software, there is no live representation ?
What about movies, people will not pay to go to the theater if they can watch it on their PC or in the comfort of their living room ?
What about inventions ?

What I was saying is that the problem with ideas is that one cannot sell the idea to an interested party upfront and measure it’s value and potential. The idea must first be tested to see how valuable it is. Therefore the inventor must expose himself to market, copycats.

He could sell his idea to a company that will produce it, but he will have to sell it for cheap because the company buying it doesn’t know if it will be successful.

At least by patenting the idea, the inventor knows that in the case it is successful, he will benefit from it so it’s worth the risk.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

“I think alright, I realize that this discussion is becoming heated and starting flame wars.”

Oh, gee, how did that happen?

Maybe “libertarianism is bullshit” ad nauseum had something to do with it.

“Ideas, if they are cheap to spread and copy do cost money to be developed. So how is the originator of the idea suppose to recover his investment ? (Forgetting that you guys refuse to acknowledge the concept of originality, because according to you all that can be invented has been invented.)”

Because his future creativity is useful and people will pay him for it. When people do something useful they get paid for it.

“But what about software, there is no live representation ?”

Uh, what about Intel? You don’t think they would pay software designers? What good is a processor when nothing runs on it?

Same goes for every computer hardware manufacturer on the planet. Computers won’t really sell if there is no software to run on them. That is at least one way that software designers can get paid.

Also, the empircal answer to your question is in your damn screen name! Plenty of people get paid to develop Linux.

“What about movies, people will not pay to go to the theater if they can watch it on their PC or in the comfort of their living room ?”

Uhh, the PC manufacturers! Or DVD player producers. Or big screen TV and home theater receiver producers. Who would buy a home theater when there is nothing good to watch on it?

“What about inventions ?”

If you are good at inventing stuff companies will pay you to do R@D for them and gain the advantage over the competition. Legalizing the competition by abolishing patents will result on more firms bidding up the wages of researchers and developers.

“What I was saying is that the problem with ideas is that one cannot sell the idea to an interested party upfront and measure it’s value and potential. The idea must first be tested to see how valuable it is”

How is this not true for every investment ever? When can you ever invest in something knowing before-hand that it will be valued highly enough by your future customers?

I think the problem is you cannot or refuse to imagine how a functional creative market would work without IP. You don’t seem too interested in trying to imagine that.

“At least by patenting the idea, the inventor knows that in the case it is successful, he will benefit from it so it’s worth the risk.”

So? I thought economies produced for consumers, not for producers.

Josh S July 24, 2011 at 9:22 am

Here’s some free Internet advice: Don’t write lengthy responses to people who write profane two-sentence troll posts. Your blood pressure will improve.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 11:06 am

Why don’t you emigrate to the south pole and life off fishing and hunting, there is no IP there and no government to take away your freedoms.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 11:48 am

If you don’t like the fact that in this country we are still allowed a few freedoms like the freedom to bitch about the socialist policies you guys favor, so long as we are forced to comply with them, why don’t YOU get the hell out?

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I love it how this discussion is becoming emotionally charge and passioned but getting nowhere.

I have a question for you, do ideas and information have value. Does a movie have value, does a video game have value, does a new technology have value ?

If it’s worth nothing then why bother making it in the first place.

When content were based on physical media, it was easy to sell the physical media because individuals could not have access to the content without the media, therefore IP made sense and followed a distribution network process like it would be milk, cars or other products.

But now that information is no longer tied to a physical media, how do you market it ?
How can you recover your principle ?

I know that I am not entitled to my potential profits. But how do I profit from it ?
If you cannot propose an alternative to patents and copyrights, then I cannot agree with you.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

According to his replies up-thread…no, he doesn’t believe that ideas and information have value. He’s not willing to admit it, but he’s going by the Marxist theory, where the only thing that has value is labor that produces a quantifiable output.

suur July 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm

“Currently, IP laws make it illegal to reproduce COD. Pirated versions are out there, but they are unstable, potentially infested with viruses, and difficult to install.”

The reason why many copies are unstable and difficult to install has nothing to do with IP laws making it illegal to reproduce Call of Duty. Those laws only give Activision’s legal team a foot in the door to go after people that they figure out make the copies, it doesn’t prevent the game from being copied, nor does it affect the quality of the copies. If anything, citing an example from gaming highlights the ineffectiveness of the IP laws you support towards reaching the goals of protection you want, as well as showcasing the ways video game companies are already changing their distribution and business models to handle a world that is de facto without IP laws.

Generally, copies of games are unstable because the developers take active steps to make it harder to copy, or to make the experience less rich if you don’t access it legitimately. Some games require online activation, some games have substantial online components that can only be accessed by proving you got the copy legitimately, or purchasing a code to reach the online portion of the game. Of course, a game company can go too far for consumers’ tastes, such as Ubisoft’s recent decision to require a constant online connection to play many of it’s most popular PC games, kicking players out in the middle of their game if they happened to lose their connection, and not allowing them to play offline period. In that case, they just encouraged people to pirate the game, if only because they actually got a better experience from the non-legit version, and the blowback from Ubisoft’s decision has led them to rethink that control strategy and come up with different options that provide a much better experience to the people that actually DO pay for their games.

Even though we ostensibly have IP laws protecting games from being copied and distributed, the idea of enforcing them is so ridiculous that companies already do not rely on them and have been coming up with alternate ways of making money in this “insane and lawless” IP-free digital area that has existed for at least a decade. “Freemium” models have recently become the most lucrative business model for online games: give away the game for free, encourage copying, all of that, then make it easy and convenient for users to purchase small upgrades or expansions in the game. Some companies garner a great deal of good-will from customers by making their games DRM (digital rights management) software-free, which makes the games very easy to copy and redistribute, but also ensures the customers never have to worry about their games not working because they ran out of activation codes or lost the DVD, making the customers far more willing to shell out the money for the game because they know it will work, period. Some companies even give away the source code from their games to help encourage an active and enthusiastic community of modders to attract new fans and customers by providing endless additional content, at no development cost to them. There are digital distribution platforms like Steam that disguise DRM in a fully-featured online store and client that encourages users to purchase, register, and launch games through the client, because of the additional social and online features and experiences that come with it.

And that’s just in the online PC realm. Game companies are also switching focus to game console development, which provides the additional protection of requiring a physical disk to play a game (unless the customer is willing to tinker around with their expensive console box). Or the mobile realm, where games are small and cheap enough to encourage impulse buys.

And finally, it may just end up that a glut of $60 games are no longer what consumers are looking for. Developing games is in some ways becoming easier than ever before, because of the power of game development tools at the hands of hobbyists and indie developers, and the new channels of advertising and selling. It doesn’t need to cost tens of millions of dollars to make a game that people will enjoy and will make the developer money. That’s not to say that AAA games will disappear completely; their business model might just have to change, and perhaps it will be harder to get away with selling a $60, 4-hour-long game as people spend more of their discretionary money on cheaper, more innovative games that just might not have “teh best graphixz.” Also, I know this wasn’t in your comment, but games like Minecraft are proving you don’t even need to make a substantial initial investment before you start selling your game. The developer allowed purchase of the very early alpha version of his game, with the promise of all later updates and the full game being free. The game is not even done yet, but he’s made millions of dollars because of how many consumers were willing to buy an incomplete product to see it updated and finished.

Video games are part of a digital online world where copying is very easy, and IP law enforcement basically non-existent, and yet the industry has grown to be the biggest media industry in the US. Some game companies complain about rampant piracy eating away their bottom line, and the gargantuan publishers occasionally pursue legal action on IP grounds (though nearly all the cases you hear about are patent trolls suing Nintendo or Sony for things like “using a shaking controller to provide tactile feedback”), but the majority of companies are exploring new ways to make money in a digital world and continuing to innovate as they compete with each other to provide the best consumer experience. You don’t need to be afraid of what would happen to Call of Duty in an IP-free world, since it’s basically already living there.

suur July 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm

By the way, despite the topic of my posts, my opposition to IP is not utilitarian, but based of principled application of property rights and non-aggression. I just wanted to point out that the video game market is already pretty darn good approximation of an IP-law-free environment, and it’s almost costless to copy and distribute video games because they are digital (unlike some of the fears of chairs or more physical innovations being copied mentioned before), and yet innovation definitely hasn’t stopped, and it’s still an incredibly fast-growing industry where designers, developers, and artists are making gobs of money.

Also, the reason why video games de facto have no IP protection is because of how incredibly difficult it would be to enforce. It’s disturbing to think about the lengths companies and governments would have to go to prevent people from copying and distributing video games, the control they would have to have on people’s own property, their computers, and their associations with others. Video games don’t need IP protection, but if proponents insisted on them being protected to the point that piracy actually stops, the violations to property rights and stifling legal environment would kill the industry right off.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

You got it all wrong. The proponents of IP, especially in the case of movie production and inventions, contend that the cost to produce the movie or produce the invention are higher than the cost to copy and compete against it.

That in the case of hard competition, there is a cost for cost approach and the competitor exposes himself to the same risks than the previous entrepreneur, such is the case with warehouses and it’s sane competition between the two and they will try to outcompete one another by providing better services, added value services, more space etc.

But suppose it would cost $1,000,000 for one entrepreneur to build his warehouse and nothing for a second entrepreneur to build his warehouse because the first one spend all the money (something like that). All the second one has to do is copy the previous entrepreneur’s idea and bang he has all the warehouses he wants and can sell them for dirt cheap and reap all the benefits while the one which put in all the efforts to come up with the idea is punished.

The problem is that the second entrepreneur could not have done this without the input of the first one. Especially not for free.

We have a paradox here where input is what is the most game changing and what brings the most value yet it is what is the most difficult to protect and sell for profit.

How are you going to encourage people to come up with ideas if they cannot benefit from it.

Libertarians seem to think that the contribution to society is only physical production. They frown uppon intellectual contribution, they say it’s worth nothing.

An intellectual input, an invention that if enacted will bring prosperity, how can you not see this as valuable ?

Your point is that it is easy to copy it so that is why it’s not valuable. Well inventors and creators find ways to make it difficult and costly to copy it.

You are distorting language and mind here. If things are modifications of prior things, it takes nothing away from being original that the modification and improvement itself is original and sometimes it is almost completely original.

People like to have recognition and to be seen as the one who came up with an idea.

Why should people invest resources and time to invent something or create something if they will not benefit from it.

I stand by my position. If I ever come up with something great, I will show the world that I own it by giving it to North Korea, see if you like it when they kick your butts with it.

DixieFlatline July 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Your point is that it is easy to copy it so that is why it’s not valuable. Well inventors and creators find ways to make it difficult and costly to copy it.

Whose argument is that? Surely not Stephan’s.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Microcontrollers that operate vending machines, ATM’s, and a host of other electronic systems are locked in reading. Once you loaded the code, the customer cannot read the source code and therefore cannot decompile nor reverse engineer it and must purchase your services for further modifications, added functions or debugging.

So, intellectual property only has value if it can be forbidden to others in some way.

Well, the state, like the reading lock, is one of such ways.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

IP is no different than receiving credit for an idea in a large company while working as an employee.

Suppose you work at a large company and come up with an idea and you are building on that idea as time comes by. Then another co-worker spies on you while snooping on your computer and develops the idea ahead of you and takes the credit, gets promoted and you lose your job.

He could not have benefited if you did not come up with the idea in the first place.

People, in general, hate those who steal their ideas and claim credit. They are sleazy and of the most vile kind.

Why would IP be any different.

Society cannot function if you cannot recognize who is the originator and if he cannot be compensated.

You IP socialists would even forbid originators from taking credit for their own work.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

“You IP socialists would even forbid originators from taking credit for their own work.”

Another statement deserving of the adjective “stupid.”

There is a difference between socialization and non-ownership of something. That the distinction eludes does not make it non-existent.

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Calling my statement stupid is not enough to refute it.

Socialization is part of branding and marketing.

But you guys claim that nothing is original and therefore nobody can claim to have invented or created something.

That’s the part that I find hard to swallow.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

“Calling my statement stupid is not enough to refute it”

You should listen to your own statements!

Linux Is King July 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm

It’s going to be hard to intelligently discuss with you people and try to get your point if you only resort to flame wars.

Okay, you hate me, I understand that. Now, can you explain your point ?

When even Stephan Kinsella becomes rude and doesn’t want to reveal his true logic, there is no way to understand.

You know, free market capitalism is not only about producing goods and services and selling them. It’s also about marketing ideas.

When it comes to marketing something, the success comes from both the superiority of the product and the superiority of the marketing.

Consider your idea that IP laws are wrong, an aggression against private property rights, to be an idea (even if you consider it demonstratable scientific truth).

Then you should make a good free market capitalist of yourself by making efforts and caring at better marketing your idea by showing how the lack of IP laws will bring a better outcome than simply saying that IP laws are aggressive and then resorting to flaming when I disagree that we can do without them.

Demonstrate in which way the abolishment of IP laws are superior in terms of economics than maintaining them.

But of course, Stephan Kinsella then says that he doesn’t care, tries to insult me, attacks me etc.

I understand that Libertarianism is about freedom and that freedom is even more important than economic outcome itself. But the economic outcome is very often the argument to promote libertarianism.

So, if you want us to BUY your scientifically “proven” idea that it would be best to do without IP laws, then please bring your capitalist sales pitch and demonstrate us, show us how we can do better without them.

If, like Stephan Kinsella, you don’t care to make that demonstration, then don’t expect the public to buy your idea since you cannot demonstrate that it would bring a better outcome.

If, on the other hand, you don’t want to demonstrate that it will bring a greater economic prosperity but you base your anti IP stance on the fact that IP violates private property rights, that it is just a moral stance against aggression, then communism is also a moral stance against poverty and want, even if it reduces the bulk of the pie, it claims to at least distribute enough pie for everybody to eat, even if in practice it doesn’t work.

In practice, lack of IP also doesn’t work. Or do you care to demonstrate otherwhise.

So, is your Anti IP stance a plead for greater economic outcome or a plead for greater individual freedoms or maybe both.

You have already demonstrated that IP is better for individual freedom, that part is taken care of and Stephan Kinsella’s arguments are convincing and they show that lack of IP laws bring a greater amount of individual freedoms.

But now, for the economic growth, because ideas change the world for the better and without them we would still be using stones to cut raw meat, how can we grow the economy if the inventor cannot recover an idea that requires a lot of investment.

Just demonstrate a bit.

Peter Surda July 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Linux is the King (the least fitting nickname as far as I remember)

You IP socialists would even forbid originators from taking credit for their own work.

Just out of curiousity, do you have a right to other people’s opinions?

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I find the experience of discussing with libertarians to be painful because everything is rhetoric and twisting of words with you where words no longer have meanings and everything is relative and where nothing is meaningful anymore. Where there can be no common grounds of understanding or mutually recognized concepts.

Everything is a matter of opinion, individual relativistic ideas and there is no foundation.

A person invent somethings, your anti IP stance is so great that you would deprive that person for the right to feel good about himself for having the intelligence to come up with the invention. You would say that he only copied or made a mere modification and therefore the person feels stupid and worthless. As if he is not the origin of the modification nor did he used his intelligence to bring it forth. You treat inventors like cogs in a machine as if they did not contribute any input in the pool of intellectual knowledge and creativity.

Worse, you tend to claim that inventions invent themselves because nothing is original. You basically remove the inventor and creator from the process and would want to deprive him of any rewards or credit or recognition.

Then, when I object about this, you come and say that you have a right to your own opinion and that I don’t own your opinion.

When I complain that people make stupid decisions and go crazy over rock stars and waste resources superficially instead of investing in themselves, you then ask me who or what made me an authority on the definition of stupidity.

There is no firm ground, no common sense with you people, everything is free floating with no clear definition, no reproducible paradigm.

Like we’re living in lala land.

Like, you’re opinion is as good as mine and this is getting nowhere.

Or, it’s just a “polite” way to say “shut up” without looking like a grunt. A way to say “shut up” in an intellectual manner that makes you look like you’re intelligent.

Because I don’t see what was the point of your post about opinion aside “shut up”.

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I hereby give you permission to feel good about having invented something.

Is this enough?

Peter Surda July 21, 2011 at 5:28 am

King,

may I suggest that you first attempt to form a coherent argument, rather than having your emotions overflow you?

By the way I’ve been using Linux since 1997, contributed code to many open source projects and have my own Linux distribution.

Linux Is King July 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

As an end user, I find Linux to be superior to Microsoft in terms of price, quality, stability and functionality. The price I have to pay to use Linux is time to learn how to use it and efforts to make it work but once it works it continues to work, it does not break down like Vista and it does not get in your way with controls and user account control and digital rights managements etc.

I see Linux as an example that open source is superior to copyrighted operating software. But Linus Torvalds did not make billions of dollars out of his OS. However he did gain notoriety.

At least you have to give credit to who invented the operating system in the first place and to who modified it.

Would you say that it would have been wrong for someone to copy Linux from the original developer and claim it to be his own or from him, even if there was no way to stop him ?

Can inventors and creators claim credit and recognition for their contribution ?

Sometimes, just that is more important than money because it lets the world know your talent and skills and builds your resume and you can market yourself by giving away your creations for free because then companies will want to hire you or subcontract you for doing internal work etc.

Is that a good analysis and understanding of how it works better without IP ?

But you still have to give credit where credit is due.

Peter Surda July 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm

King,

Would you say that it would have been wrong for someone to copy Linux from the original developer and claim it to be his own or from him, even if there was no way to stop him?

If someone did this, he would be soon exposed as a liar, because he would not be able to perform similar feats in the future to his new potential customers (or fans). Everyone would laugh at him and he would not be able to get a usable employment in the future.

Can inventors and creators claim credit and recognition for their contribution?

Why shouldn’t they be? You can claim whatever you want. But if you lie, you have to take the risk that your lie will be exposed. If you make plans based on that lie remaining secret, then you can suffer huge losses.

Sometimes, just that is more important than money because it lets the world know your talent and skills and builds your resume and you can market yourself by giving away your creations for free because then companies will want to hire you or subcontract you for doing internal work etc.

Let’s say you lie about what you can do, and then you get a new contract to perform such a feat. What do you do then?

Is that a good analysis and understanding of how it works better without IP?

I think you’re getting closer but still missing the obvious.

In fact, there was some guy a couple of years ago, he was paid by Microsoft to write a book about how Linux wasn’t written by Linus but Tanenbaum (author of Minix). Even though the architecture of Linux and Minix is completely different, all the people who are involved in OS development (including Tanenbaum) denied this, a code review did not show any similarities, Brown still claimed that Linus “stole” the code. Also both Linux and Minix are open source, so the accusation is meaningless anyway. In the end the book was never published (presumably because the lies were so embarrassing), but a prerelease still circulates on the internet. Here’s more background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat_(book) . The author now has his own Wikipedia page, and half of it is about the debacle with the book.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I think it’s worth pointing out that Kinsella is as much a libertarian as Lenin was a Democrat.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

“He could not have benefited if you did not come up with the idea in the first”

Oh my god, people benefit each other and don’t get paid for it! What a travesty! Why, this morning I put on deodorant, and everyone who stood next to me got to enjoy a pleasant smell instead of sweaty grossness, and those bastards didn’t pay me one cent.

You think every time you do something that helps someone else you deserve compensation? That is so ridiculous I don’t know what to say to it.

“People, in general, hate those who steal their ideas and claim credit. They are sleazy and of the most vile kind.”

Haha argumentum ad popularium, assuming it’s even true. Can you provide me with the world-wide poll you conducted to reach this conclusion?

Did you invent the pro-IP position? Did you come up yourself with all the arguments you have presented? If not, why have you not given credit to those who did come up with those ideas? You are sleaze and the most vile kind, because you came onto this forum and presented a bunch of other peoples’ ideas and I don’t see one citation. You should be ashamed of yourself.

“Why would IP be any different”

It’s not. Why do you think that someone overhearing a good idea and using it is wrong? Are you kidding me? So you’ve never spotted another person doing something smart and decided to start doing it yourself?

You seem to be suggesting that no one ever pay attention to anything anyone else ever does.

“Society cannot function if you cannot recognize who is the originator and if he cannot be compensated”

Why? That makes no sense. Society definitely cannot function if it is illegal for us imitate and learn from each other.

“You IP socialists would even forbid originators from taking credit for their own work”

Really? Please give one example of an anti-IP arguer claiming one should not establish one’s self as the author of one’s work. Please tell me what that has to do with whether it is okay for someone else to copy that work.

Socialism means central planning. You are advocating something that inherently requires centralization: a central patent office, a central database of copyrighted material, etc. You are obviously deeply confused when you call us socialists.

Linux Is King July 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm

“Why, this morning I put on deodorant, and everyone who stood next to me got to enjoy a pleasant smell instead of sweaty grossness, and those bastards didn’t pay me one cent.”

It did not cost you millions of dollars in research to develop that idea and there is no large scale market of people willing to pay to smell you, so I don’t think this analogy fits our discussion.

Peter Surda July 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

King,

It did not cost you millions of dollars in research to develop that idea and there is no large scale market of people willing to pay to smell you, so I don’t think this analogy fits our discussion.

However, if twisted laws and emotional propaganda made him believe that he ought to be compensated for wearing the deodorant, then he might have been mislead into thinking that spending millions in research is a profitable venue. When subsequently the expected compensation did not materialise and then he started protesting how unfair it is, then the analogy would be complete.

Linux Is King July 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm

“You think every time you do something that helps someone else you deserve compensation?”
If I give it for free, then I can no longer claim compensation, it’s already given.

If it costs me millions of dollars to help someone and I’m willing to pay just to help, there is no problem. But if I continue to do this over and over again, I will run out of millions and will no longer be capable of helping others.

If resources were invested in helping others, others will need to pay me back capital and profit if I can continue. That’s how it works in the real world. It’s too bad it cannot work that way in the imaginary world.

So, if it would cost a lot of money to come up with something that will benefit others, how do you get that money back.

It’s not about “deserving” to be compensated. It’s about the free market capitalist model that you do something for a profit.

I don’t think your proposition makes sense here. You compare IP with deodorants and giving your neighbor a helping hand. I don’t know how to extract an honest and thoughtful answer from you at this point.

People who invest resources into something with the idea of making a business out of it will want to profit from it.

Peter Surda July 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

King,

But if I continue to do this over and over again, I will run out of millions and will no longer be capable of helping others.

so, you will have made an erroneous choice and be confronted with bankruptcy. On the market, you will be replaced by someone who can perform such a service profitably.

So, if it would cost a lot of money to come up with something that will benefit others, how do you get that money back.

That’s easy: think before you act. If you can’t figure it out, someone else will.

People who invest resources into something with the idea of making a business out of it will want to profit from it.

Wanting to profit is insufficient, you need to have a usable business model. If you insist on an unprofitable business model and then go bankrupt, you only have yourself to blame.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

So…your argument is that people should not labor to produce useful ideas because it’s fundamentally wrong to expect compensation for doing it?

I mean, are you honestly saying that everything that needs to be invented has been invented and we’re just going to live exactly like this until the end of time?

“Wanting to profit is insufficient, you need to have a usable business model.”

This is a very funny thing to say when you’re making the argument that nobody should be paid for non-physical labor.

Edgaras July 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

you are creating a straw man out of Kinsella’s argument. He doesn’t say one shouldn’t except compensation or that nobody should be paid for non-physical labor (actually, you forgot services, which are paid for and are also of non-physical kind).

Thing is, one shouldn’t expect people to value things that you value and more importantly shouldn’t use force to prevent others from using ideas, knowledge etc. with their own property.

Peter Surda July 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

DensityDuck

So…your argument is that people should not labor to produce useful ideas because it’s fundamentally wrong to expect compensation for doing it?

I am not arguing about what should or should not be. I am merely pointing out to logical errors my opponents commit, such as making arbitrary assumptions.

This is a very funny thing to say when you’re making the argument that nobody should be paid for non-physical labor.

First of all, that is not my argument. Second of all, you are presenting the labour theory of value, i.e. that because you work, someone should pay you. Others have dealt with LTV more eloquently than I can. Third, if you want to be precise, there is no such thing as “non-physical labour”, since all action is manifested in a physical change of the world.

Wildberry July 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

@Edgaras July 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Isn’t providing a service to someone a form of labor as opposed to an exchange of goods?

Maybe you are an honest person, but this statement isn’t:

Thing is, one shouldn’t expect people to value things that you value and more importantly shouldn’t use force to prevent others from using ideas, knowledge etc. with their own property.

First, I don’t recall anyone saying that anyone SHOULD expect what you say about valuing things.

Second, who is preventing the “use” of ideas, knowledge, etc? The only use I think is up for debate is copying; that is, making an exact copy of an original which you do not own outright, and using it to make a copy for yourself, and enjoying the benefits of the origianl without respecting private property rights. You do not support such a concept in any other realm of property rights, yet you seem to think it is OK for IP.

I have challenged opponents to show how you can get to this conclusion without violating the very principles you hold to be “libertarian”. You cannot do that, because it cannot be done.

Care to give it a shot?

Junarchist July 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

I would like the IP advocates to answer a simple question for me. If I am sitting in front of the computer in my house, does anyone have the moral authority to dictate what I can and cannot do?

a) I have legal ownership of the house and everything that’s inside and I am up to date with payments on the internet and all other utilities / services
b) I am alone and I have no pets
c) I am not plotting to build a bomb or have any desire to cause harm or inflict pain on anyone else

This is a simple question that requires a simple answer, yes or no. Please dont bother answering if you’re going to ramble on like a politician.

Cheers,

DensityDuck July 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Yes.

DixieFlatline July 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

By what authority, moral or otherwise?

Hint: the answer is by the authority of brute force.

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

Yep, that sums it up. Accept IP and you have no privacy, no rights. Everything you do is subject to review by the copyright holders.

Junarchist July 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

So there you have it, based on your answer there is a fundamental difference on what is morally justifiable behavior. I don’t see IP as being the core of the disagreement, more of a derivative.

No matter how strong of a case (and I personally think Mr. Kinsella makes a very strong case for his position) someone makes, as long as you believe that have the moral right / justification to tell me what I can do with my body and / or possessions there really is no point to debate.

I would equate this with two people arguing over whether Basketball is a better sport than Hockey, when one things scoring is the most important thing while the other thinks that hitting is the most important thing.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I’m sorry, I thought you didn’t want me to bother answering if I was going to ramble on like a politician.

“[A]s long as you believe that have the moral right / justification to tell me what I can do with my body and / or possessions there really is no point to debate.”

How old are you?

Because you have been living in a society which has claimed for itself the “moral right / jusitification” to tell you what you can do with your “body and / or possessions” for exactly that many years. That’s what civilization is.

Edgaras July 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

not an IP advocate but Devil’s. Yes, your are not allowed to trespass other peopls’ property, i.e. “break into their computer” (aka hacking). But then again, it’s not a limitation on your property, just on the actions you can do (or can not do) to other peoples’ property. Kinsella answered it quite many times (thanks to him) with a “gun example”….

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Do you own your bank account’s password ?

After all, if I break into your PC and find your password, then I am free to copy it and distribute it to my friends and they could rob money from you but for the time being they decide not to because they are good libertarians.

So as long as I distribute your bank account’s password to as many people as I want, I am not committing theft nor fraud because I am not robbing your bank account, I am just copying your bank account number and password.

What do you have to say about that ?

Knowledge is power and if I copy your password then I can rob your bank account.

I had to use your password to rob it though, so the issue here is protection of the password.

Since you did not create the password, since it was not original because numbers and letters already exists, you will have no objection for me to use it, right ?

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Do you own your bank account’s password ?

No. It’s a pattern of characters. If I have a combination lock on a safe, and someone reveals to the world the fact that I hvae a safe and the combination 3-17-32, then I do not “own” the password “3-17-32″ nor the fact that I have a safe. What I own is the safe, and the scarce resources inside it.

After all, if I break into your PC

Ah, here is the problem: someone is trespassing on scarce resources. Breaking into my PC.

and find your password, then I am free to copy it and distribute it to my friends and they could rob money from you

Note that the robbing would be taking my MONEY. That is what I own. NOt the password. So no, your friends are not entitled to rob from me, by WHATEVER means tehy want to employe–whether they use the password or not. The fact that they are not entitled to rob my money, which I own, does not mean I own the password. After all they are not entitled to rob me using their own gun, but that does not mean I own their gun.

So as long as I distribute your bank account’s password to as many people as I want, I am not committing theft nor fraud because I am not robbing your bank account, I am just copying your bank account number and password.

Correct. Though depending on circumstances you might be aiding and abetting in a crime (stealing my money).

Since you did not create the password, since it was not original because numbers and letters already exists, you will have no objection for me to use it, right ?

If you use it to steal my property, I object to it, just like I object to your use of your fist to strangle me.

Wildberry July 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Stephan,

Isn’t this analagous to a trade secret? You do not own the pattern of numbers, but use an secret pattern to access your account. If someone got that number, they could also access your account. Once they knew the code, they have a right to the code, but not the bank account. You can select a new pattern from the public domain of numbers to secure your account.

If the number was “stolen”, i.e acquired through improper means, that act is aggression and is a separate offense, even if nothing is stolen from your account. If it was stolen, put out on the internet, and some random third person accessed your account, the first “thief” would be at least partially liable for the acts of the random third party.

Isn’t this correct and a valid analogy to a trade secret?

Matthias Burchardt July 21, 2011 at 3:44 am

What happens if a random person creates my password from scratch in his mind without “stealing” it from me and robs my bank account?

Does he own my bank data because he used his “intellectual property”? What do you think?

sweatervest July 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

Ironic that you are advocating exactly such trespasses onto everyone’s computer in order to discover that they are illegally sharing files.

How would you enforce copyrights without breaking into peoples’ computers online?

Linux Is King July 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Should your bank account password be considered private property ? Intellectual property ?

If someone has access to your account number and password they can rob your bank account.

If they do rob your bank account, since all of this was based on knowledge that is easy to copy and distribute, what constitutes the crime here ?

Are you going to charge the robber of stealing you money or stealing your password. He could not have stolen money without knowing your password.

Richie July 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

So if someone steals the key to a person’s house, takes everything, and is then caught, with what will the the thief be charged? Stealing the key? Sure…

Stephan Kinsella July 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm

good point, Richie. Consider a better example: Richie has a house but no locks on the doors. Linux-is-King comes over one night when Richie is not home, opens the door, steals Richie’s TV. There is no password to steal. Obviously, this is theft of the TV, plus trespassing. In fact the law would (properly) regard this as breaking and entering.

Sione July 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

What these guys are trying to do with their password argument is pretend that a string of numbers is property. Once they’ve got their pretence announced, then they like to opine that since they consider a string of numbers to be property, what they call IP is also property etc.

OK. Let’s humour them for a moment or two.

Linux chooses a password for his bank account. It is 24666. He says it is his IP and he owns it. Along comes Xunil. He knows nothing of Linux. He goes to the bank and opens an account. He select a password which is going to allow him to transact and operate his accounts. Xunil punches in 24666. The bank accepts and now Xunil’s password is set at 24666, exactly the same as Linux. Linux “owns” 24666 and Xunil “owns” 24666.

Hmmmmm. It would appear this scenario supports Dr Kinsella’s position and not the Linux-Is-King” I own a string of numbers” one.

Oh dear.

Sione

Linux Is King July 22, 2011 at 12:15 am

You seem oblivious to the fact that your money is a string of numbers in a bank computer.

Take bitcoins for example, total intellectual property here with no IP laws to back it up.

Intellectual property without intellectual property laws. All based on encryption, hashing, spreading and your own restraint on disclosing your financial information.

Peter Surda July 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

King,

Bitcoin is not “intellectual property”. Bitcoin is a standardised infrastructure, similar to written language. You can “copy” other people’s Bitcoins as much as you want but their “supply” will remain unaffected. If anything, this utterly refutes the IP analogy because it shows how ridiculous the objection against unauthorised copying is.

Linux Is King July 22, 2011 at 12:12 am

But the bank account is virtual strings in a computer managing scriptural money, not physical holdings in a safe. That was my point.

Hexman July 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

Stepahan,

Please put up with my ignorance again, Why is it not stealing, fraud, etc… when some use another person’s or corp’s Trademark and Brand, reputation and they sell an inferior cloned product as if it’s the actual original item. Per the Fake Apple Stores in China.

Stephan Kinsella July 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

“Why is it not stealing, fraud, etc… when some use another person’s or corp’s Trademark and Brand, reputation and they sell an inferior cloned product as if it’s the actual original item. Per the Fake Apple Stores in China.”

The fake stores in China are selling genuine Apple products. Not fake ones. So where’s the fraud? What are they stealing, exactly? To say “stealing” you have to identify an act of theft: where someone takes someone owned by another person, without their consent, so that the original owners no longer has it. In this case the only possible theft I can think of is the taking of money from the customers. But is that theft? No; they gave it voluntarily to purchase Apple computers. Did they get apple computers? Yes. So where is the fraud, where is the theft? See my post http://c4sif.org/2011/07/fake-apple-store-in-china-selling-real-apple-products/

Hexman July 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thanks, and sorry, the earlier reports I had read did not make it clear that they were selling “authentic” Apple® Products. There was still debate on this issue.

Still, the customer did not have a “authentic” Apple® experience and therefore you see the emotional response from some of the customer. The purchase of a product is often a very emotional experience and for others utilitarian experience.

What this practice has show that some customers don’t like to be fooled or tricked into a purchase even if it’s authentic.

Stephan Kinsella July 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

But you can see that you don’t need state IP for this. If the fake apple store’ actions rose to the level of fraud, the defrauded customers can sue. And even if it’s not fraudulent, if customers really value shopping at an authentic Apple store it’s easy for them to research this and determine it, and for real apple stores to advertize this comparative advantage. IP is not needed.

Wildberry July 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

@Stephan Kinsella July 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

By this logic, we shoud all have our own gas spectrograph if we take medicine, because it is up to us to detect fraud before we pop it in our mouth?

I know about caveat emptor and all, but what is wrong with a requirement that merchants represent the origin of their products, and their affiliation with the advertised company logo, honestly? Is there something “unlibertarian” about that concept?

Stephan Kinsella July 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

Wildberry,

We can argue about what the defaults ought to be regarding caveat emptor. But the point is that issue concerns fraud, not IP: a concrete person defrauded by a particular seller; and this has nothing to do with the third party company whose name was used by the defrauder. That company is a third party, not the victim of the tort of fraud.

Moreover, my point is that in reality the problem you posit is not a serious one. If for whatever reason the default line was drawn regarding caveat emptor so that the customer has no fraud claim unless the misprepresentation is blatant then in that case it’s easy for the genuine Apple stores to advertize that they are genuine and for consumers to easily tell. For those that really care, all they have to do is find out whether the store is making the standard representations that demonstrate that it is genuine–if they are not, the customer is aware it’s a fake store, or just doesn’t care.

In any case the fraud issue is not the basis for IP nor can it be, nor is it what IP advocates are getting at. They want to outlaw copying that is non-fraudulent. So yapping about fraud is just a dishonest red herring.

Stephan Kinsella July 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Reports are the Chinese state has just closed down the fake apple stores. Thank God we have the benevolent mass-murdering commie criminal state to protect us from people selling things to people in voluntary transactions.

Wildberry July 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

@Stephan Kinsella July 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

We can argue about what the defaults ought to be regarding caveat emptor. But the point is that issue concerns fraud, not IP: a concrete person defrauded by a particular seller; and this has nothing to do with the third party company whose name was used by the defrauder. That company is a third party, not the victim of the tort of fraud.

I do not disagree that fraud is a distinct legal concept from trademarks. They are not mutually exclusive. If your focus is merely on the transaction between the seller and the buyer, there is a distinguishable act of fraud that can be identified.

Moreover, my point is that in reality the problem you posit is not a serious one. If for whatever reason the default line was drawn regarding caveat emptor so that the customer has no fraud claim unless the misprepresentation is blatant then in that case it’s easy for the genuine Apple stores to advertize that they are genuine and for consumers to easily tell. For those that really care, all they have to do is find out whether the store is making the standard representations that demonstrate that it is genuine–if they are not, the customer is aware it’s a fake store, or just doesn’t care.

Yes, but “unless the misprepresentation is blatant” is just another arbitrary line to be drawn. Why couldn’t the fake store use the word “genuine”? You would have to establish a rule about that. That rule is trademarks. That is the function of trademarks, to “advertise” what is “genuine”. It is simple. It requires that stores refrain from using marks that are identified with an origin (or affiliation) that is not “genuine”.

In any case the fraud issue is not the basis for IP nor can it be, nor is it what IP advocates are getting at. They want to outlaw copying that is non-fraudulent. So yapping about fraud is just a dishonest red herring.

You, of all people, should not be blurring the distinctions between copyrights and trademarks, neither of which necessarily have to involve fraud against the consumer. So yapping about me yapping about fraud is slightly…slightly…dishonest? But as you correctly observe, dishonesty does not necessarily rise to the threshold of fraud.

What we can say, I think, is that all IP rules, patents, copyrights, and trademarks, are rules against use without consent, and such consent is attributable to an owner of something which is being used. Your general approach is to deny that such ownership can or should exist. However, I have come to the position that you cannot actually state that conclusion without being inconsistent with other principles of libertarian property rights theory you also hold to be true. That is what makes our exchanges interesting.

@Stephan Kinsella July 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Reports are the Chinese state has just closed down the fake apple stores. Thank God we have the benevolent mass-murdering commie criminal state to protect us from people selling things to people in voluntary transactions.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still doing the right thing.

Peter Surda July 26, 2011 at 3:46 am

Wildberry,

Yes, but “unless the misprepresentation is blatant” is just another arbitrary line to be drawn.

Isn’t it, however, up to the buyer to determine whether the misinterpretation is blatant, and are not the opinions of other people irrelevant? Isn’t that what subjective means in the first place?

Why couldn’t the fake store use the word “genuine”?

Yes, why? Maybe because they are in China and would use a different word instead?

You would have to establish a rule about that.

Yes, and the rule is whether from the perspective of the buyer, the seller misrepresented to him the nature of the good to such an extent that he would not have bought it if he was informed correctly.

That rule is trademarks.

This injects a new party into the debate: the owner of the trademark. Why is it relevant, Wildberry? Another plug in the dam of nonsense?

That is the function of trademarks, to “advertise” what is “genuine”.

Why is it than that trademarks establish the holder of the trademark, rather than the buyer, as the victim?

What we can say, I think, is that all IP rules, patents, copyrights, and trademarks, are rules against use without consent,

Oh yes, we’re back now to my accusation that you are basing your claims on the fact that the author does not like what the copiers are doing.

and such consent is attributable to an owner of something which is being used.
Assuming your conclusion, Wildberry.

Your general approach is to deny that such ownership can or should exist.

Ah, so by taking the moral upper ground, you magically eliminate all the logical contradictions that you have piled up? Fascinating. You should write a book about this and label it “Demagoguery for dummies”.

I have come to the position that you cannot actually state that conclusion without being inconsistent with other principles of libertarian property rights theory you also hold to be true.

I have extensively documented that it is you who pile up contradiction upon contradiction and seem not to be bothered by it. And I have not even made the claim that this is related to libertarianism.

Why the stubborn refusal to engage in a debate? Why all the mirrors and smoke? Is that all you’ve got?

Linux Is King July 22, 2011 at 12:11 am

The key is private physical property as opposed to a virtual string of numbers, your password, which is not. Suppose someone knows the number of your electronic door lock, that would have been a better analogy.

Edgaras July 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

so what? God, knowing something is not “stealing”. If you opened the door and took my things, that would be stealing. It’s not so hard to understand or is it? If I know your entire DNA code am I stealing YOU? LOL.

Sasha Shepherd July 21, 2011 at 3:57 am

The answer is that solutions don’t come from laws and punishment. They come from being being intelligent.

Use high security unique passwords. Use an encrypted master key file. Change it often. Keep your passwords safe. Then, there is no problem.

If they steal your password and cleans out your bank account, then clearly everyone agrees a crime has been committed – but it came primarily from the act of cleaning out the bank account.

Linux Is King July 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

Makes sense. Thanks.

So how could movie companies apply this high security, encryption, change to protect the distrubution of their movies ?

Hexman July 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I’ll let this speak for it’s self.

Entire Apple stores being faked in China

By LOUISE WATT – Associated Press | AP – 10 hrs ago

BEIJING (AP) — At first, it looks like a sleek Apple store. Sales assistants in blue T-shirts with the company’s logo chat to customers. Signs advertising the iPad 2 hang from the white walls. Outside, the famous logo sits next to the words “Apple Store.” And that’s the clue it’s fake.
China, long known for producing counterfeit consumer gadgets, software and brand name clothing, has reached a new piracy milestone — fake Apple stores.

DensityDuck July 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm

As other people have pointed out, this is “fake Apple stores selling fake Apple products”, this is more like car dealerships in America. Joe’s Chevy down on Main Street will certainly say that he’s selling Chevy cars, and the Chevy badge is all over the place, and he’d probably tell you that he “works for Chevy”, but nobody’s under the impression that Joe’s Chevy is actually owned and operated by GM Incorporated.

Sione July 21, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Riiight. So it is fake. That is, it is different. That is, it is not the same as…. You have a problem with that?

Sione

Linux Is King July 22, 2011 at 12:03 am

I propose a solution to circumvent IP Laws and do without them in the case of an invention, like a new product, a new medicine, a better mouse trap.

Instead of having patents and government monopoly on force. Retail stores and department stores and manufacturing companies could form some sort of cartel or truce where they agree to take the risks of manufacturing and distributing the product for you, the small inventor, in exchange for your ideas and a large part of the profits but they agree to pay you a royalty as part of the deal for full disclosure.

Then, you already have a structure that will rapidly produce and market your product and brand it. You don’t need to spend years examining patents and paying patent attorneys and you get down to business right away with cartels willing to risk capital on inventions.

Would that be an acceptable solution ?

Provided of course that there are laws to respect brand names but then again, the brand could be displayed at the companies that sell the original product and if copy cats want to copy the brand, they might not have the same quality, support etc.

Please accept my appologies if my past rudeness offended you, let’s civilize this passionate discussion for the sake of understanding.

So I am offering a solution here. Free market capitalism could bring forth a structure to rapidly manufacture and distrubute an idea and agreement could be made between the idea disclosure and the manufacturing/distrubuting companies to share a part of the profits.

Would that be an acceptable libertarian solution without the need for IP laws ?

Maybe if big companies don’t want to hear about your ideas is because there are patents and legal fees attached to it.

Maybe, without IP laws, anybody could propose an invention to companies, sometimes not even for profit but just for the sake of being able to purchase that invention at the store, it’s better than not being able to buy it and without IP nothing would stop companies from already making it come true if they find it’s a good idea.

Is that an acceptable libetarian way of doing business without IP laws ?

Edgaras July 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

“Instead of having patents and government monopoly on force. Retail stores and department stores and manufacturing companies could form some sort of cartel ”

there are much more to it. But yes, that’s one of the solutions. No need for state monopolies.

“Would that be an acceptable solution ?”

Probably yes (I would say yes) if non aggression principle isn’t violated.

We can speculate ad infinitum about free market.

Linux Is King July 22, 2011 at 12:07 am

Now, in the case of movies, it’s clear that there would be very little money to be made by selling DVD’s of movies. That one could only charge for the service of copying and packing the DVD.

If one would invest millions of dollars to make a movie, could he based himself on private property rights to limit the behavior of people during the production of the movie so as to forbid them from unauthorized filming ?

And then, could movie theaters use private property rights to limit the behavior of their customers and forbid them from using means to copy the said movie ?

Could movie theaters offer new experiences not felt behind your computer as a new business model to sell movie viewing ?

3D at the movies is cool but is soon coming at the TV screen and computer screen.

Maybe some sort of virtual reality at the movie, you would experience sensations etc ?

Edgaras July 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

” it’s clear that there would be very little money to be made by selling DVD’s of movies.”

not true now, but in future we can expect less and less DVDs EVEN WITH IP laws intact. After all, internet does the job better than driving to the stores, polluting with your car, buying prepacked DVDs etc.. That takes too much energy and time.

“And then, could movie theaters use private property rights to limit the behavior of their customers and forbid them from using means to copy the said movie ?”

yes. It’s all being done NOW. You are not allowed to film in a cinema for example. Does it work? Not perfectly, but yes.

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