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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7622/oliva-on-objectivists-and-second-hand-property-rights/

Oliva on Objectivists and “Second-hand Property Rights”

January 5, 2008 by

In response to my post Objectivist Law Prof Mossoff on Copyright; or, the Misuse of Labor, Value, and Creation Metaphors, Skip Oliva, founder of the Voluntary Trade Council, has written a fascinating, original, and insightful critique of the “intellectual property” and related theories of Objectivism.

{ 52 comments }

Sasha Radeta January 6, 2008 at 5:53 am

If I sell the non-commercial, strictly limited use of my book (a market service, like renting a car, or a house) and you are not satisfied with it, you may break that contract by not using it any more (it’s like returning the book you purchased back to the bookshop). If you decide to assume the full ownership of that book, by violating expensive full-ownership rights that the author never sold to anyone, you are committing a pure theft.

No theory of contracts or private property rights could ever justify such theft. Anyone can purchase the full ownership of any property, including a book or a CD, and with this market contract you become immune to any copyright restrictions. Unfortunately, many people choose not to spend so much money, purchasing only a limited use of books and CDs, and then they decide to take the full-ownership rights without paying a dime. That is a trespass par excellence.

rtr January 6, 2008 at 6:17 am

Huh? Nothing was purchased. Yeah, let us pretend there was *EVER* any such thing as a “house”. Still *trying* to express yourself in words, in language, you yourself didn’t invent. How convenient. Sasha Radeta Still ripping off and plagiarizing the work of others. Oh, noez, there;s now a shortage of words! DF. Dumb F. Yeah, U. :P

/sniffle

Stop being so mean@! Stop STEALING the words CREATED by others. No self-professed “theory” of your stupidity is avoidable from thieve’s like yourself. What’s that? You’re not not done stealing words you didn’t invent? Blah blaH JUstification excuse … Silly Sasha, tricks are for rabbits with more cognitive intelligence than yourslef.

rtr January 6, 2008 at 7:17 am

Huh? What? Did you have something original to say for yourself? We’re waiting … “break” your pretend “contract”. :P Dummby. Moron. Dumb F. “F” for “Failing”, grade, post, you.

C’mon, plagiarize another word. Waste some more space. Contradict your deepest unholy bull. (it’s like returning nothing to nothing, hah, *expensive* NOTHING!) //////

Sasha Radeta: “and you are not satisfied with it, you may break that contract by not using it any more”

What? You forgot to say SIMON says, D. F.

/yawn. Nothing left to say? It’s *your* pride, DISSECTED. Have an “E” for “Effort”.

And please don’t forget to register in advance for your next worthless meaningless utterly devoid of cognition next post.

Dedicated to “Math is Hard” Sasha Radeta.

ktibuk January 6, 2008 at 7:33 am

“Stop being so mean@! Stop STEALING the words CREATED by others. No self-professed “theory” of your stupidity is avoidable from thieve’s like yourself. What’s that? You’re not not done stealing words you didn’t invent? Blah blaH JUstification excuse … Silly Sasha, tricks are for rabbits with more cognitive intelligence than yourslef.”

Are you not able to concieve a situation where property is given away free to some individuals or anyone. by the creator/owner?

When you taste a free sample of cheese at the supermarket, do you have to deonounce all property rights for cheese?

You are assuming for something to be property, it has to be sold in each circumstances.

And you are wrong.

IP can be free if the owner whishes it to be. Or it can be sold/leased.

But once you denounce the owners right, you in effect claim the society owns the labor of the creator which also means society owns that person.

And that is called socialism.

Todd January 6, 2008 at 10:15 am

It seems that Sasha has conflated the physical instantiation of ideas (a book) with the ideas themselves. While it is clear to me that if you owned a book and agreed to loan/lease it to me, we could craft definite terms of use regarding the physical object that would be easy to interpret and obey. However, if you agreed to read your book to me, the subsequent regulation of what I do with my newly acquired knowledge lacks the same transparent and direct connection with natural law. Knowledge is not a rivalrous commodity, and my use of it does not impair your equal exploitation. We may have laws that attempt to dictate the use of knowledge, but to place them on the same theoretical footing as tangible property rights is inappropriate.

Sasha Radeta January 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm

So many malicious comments… It seams that truth really hurts.

1. RTR is blabbing incoherently. Find some help dude!

2. Ktibuk, people do give away their property for free, if they CHOOSE to do so. Many people make their works a SHAREWARE or public domain. Yet, if someone does not want to give you their full-ownership rights of a book for couple of bucks (but only a limited use of it), in order to replicate the book at will you will have to pay more money – or don’t buy that book.

3. Todd, we all use the knowledge we acquired from different books. It is called studying.

However, it is inappropriate to treat the ownership rights over CDs or books differently than any other piece of property… If you contractually purchase only a limited use of someone’s book (physical property) that doesn’t mean you can treat it as your property, by replicating it and doing whatever you want with it. You simply did not buy the full ownership rights over that book (the publisher maybe did) and you have to abide by your terms of use.

I personally think that limited use and copyrights suck, just like my 2000 Dodge sucks. However, that doesn’t mean I can legally go to Hertz, rent an Audi, and then hijack it and sell it to black market… The same goes for CDs or books… the moment I want the full-ownership over a work of art – I’ll pay the full price of it. It’s called free market exchange.

Kevin B January 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Todd,

I believe Sasha is not arguing for ownership of ideas, but the right to put conditions on the sale of items, in example:

- I will let you hold and read this book indefinitely, in exchange for $12.99 and the promise not to copy it.

That way, those who want justification for suing others who copy books bought will have just cause to do so. I think the compensation amount for terminating the agreement will have to be written into the contract, though.

Also, this could not apply to third parties who happen to overhear words or lyrics, etc. So, I think that the system would quickly undergo drastic evolution.

—–

Sasha Radeta,

If we get rid of the silly idea of “intellectual property rights,” then people will still have the option of offering contracts on books (and CDs, cars, etc.), sure, but what’s your point?

Jonathan Bostwick January 6, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Sasha Radeta,

You can only make contracts concerning property you already own, any other contract would be unenforcible.

You can’t claim that IP is legitimate property because of a contract, it has to already be legitimate property for your contract to be enforceable.

You are using an invalid, circular argument.

Jonathan Bostwick January 7, 2008 at 12:45 am

Imagine that Joe sells me a book, but tells me that he retains the right to read it. The right to read a book is not separate from the right of ownership, so it would not be enforceable, but lets imagine that it was enforced.

If I were to read the book and break the contract, I would have made the transaction different than what Joe agreed upon so would be required to return the book in order to avoid taking it without his consent. And since I no longer have the book, Joe has taken my money in exchange for nothing, so must return my money to avoid taking it in a transaction I never agreed to.

The contract to not read the book is not enforceable because it does not involve theft. An enforceable version would be a performance contract. I agree to store Joe’s book for a fee, but if I read the book I owe Joe a cash payment.

So contracts to sell a book sans copy-right is not enforceable because it does not involve theft any separate right of ownership that pre-existed the contract. But if it were to be enforced the only effect of breaking the copy prohibition would the negation of the contract. The ORIGINAL book and the payment would be returned to the opposite party, but the copies which were not a part of the contract and never owned by Joe are not effected.

kisanri January 7, 2008 at 6:58 am

“If you decide to assume the full ownership of that book, by violating expensive full-ownership rights that the author never sold to anyone, you are committing a pure theft.”

I wonder if it is posible for an author of a book to steal it from someone else.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 7:17 am

“If we get rid of the silly idea of “intellectual property rights,” then people will still have the option of offering contracts on books (and CDs, cars, etc.), sure, but what’s your point?”

But you can’t get rid of the intellectual property rights, because intellectual property exist whether you honor it or not.

There is a difference between a blank notebook and a novel, and humans are capable of figuring this out.

It is true it is easier to transfer intellectual property using physical mediums because the distributer controls it better and also it lasts more than the memory of humans.

Imagine listening to Mises’ lecture. He might as well charge you for that lecture, and you might pay.

But what are you paying for? His theatrical performance?

Isn’t there a difference between the knowledge carried by Mises’ sound waves, and an monkey making sounds which is soundwaves all the same?

IP exists.

Humans create it with their scarce resources (time) and labor. They may keep it to themselves and nobody can copy it.

True, some other person mught produce the same thing but except for the idiotic patent laws, noone claims they cant.

It is truly amazing seeing intellectuals, who produce IP and nothing else, trying to deny that IP exist.

Maybe all intellectuals arent that intelligent, who knows?

Sasha Radeta January 7, 2008 at 10:54 am

1. Kevin B,
You ask: “If we get rid of the silly idea of “intellectual property rights,” then people will still have the option of offering contracts on books (and CDs, cars, etc.), sure, but what’s your point?

My point is that we currently have countless implied market contracts in which we can obtain full ownership over CDs, books, etc. If you pay the full market price, you don’t have any copyright/usage restriction. Those restrictions apply to those who only want to purchase a limited use and to hijack the full ownership rights.

Third parties who derive uses from someone else’s good without paying for it are involved in an unintentional trespass. As such, they are not liable for anything and they cause no harm. However, if those third parties use that trespass to cause a financial injury to the owner this amounts to an act of tort.

2. Jonathan Bostwick, I’m not making a circular argument, as you incorrectly state. You said: “the right to read a book is not separate from the right of ownership.” If you think about it, your statement is nonsensical.

As Mises said, the ownership means to fully control all services that can be derived from your good. If you own a car, you can sell the service of regulated driving, through a rent or lease. The same goes for housing: to live in a house IS separate from the right of ownership. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to rent your house.

Everything else you derived from that false premise is just wrong. People do have a right to contractually sell only a limited use of their books or CDs, just like they can do it with cars or housing.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 12:13 pm

IP violates self ownership (by creating a category of thought criminals). ALL property and freedom arise from self ownership. Self ownership is not a wise thing to compromise, people.

IP violates occam’s razor (some of its defenders presuppose an elaborate network of billions of implicit ‘contracts’, instantly and irrevocably binding each and every actor in the universe with every individual creative act).

IP is subjective (how many ‘stolen’ letters constitutes a violation? how many words? how many frames of video?)

IP ‘expires’ (what other property spontaneously becomes public domain if the bureaucratic gods are not appeased?)

IP is not universal (no creative alien on a distant world, physically isolated in every way, could possibly conclude “whoops, I am violating some earthling’s IP”. It is only when the earthling shows up with a posse of armed enforcers that the alien learns of his supposed crime. Though the IP advocate will insist that the alien IS a filthy thieving criminal.)

A question for the IP advocate: If a vandal owns neither the spraypaint nor the wall, does he own the graffiti? Can the vandal compel the wall’s owner to erase it at her cost? May he demand a fee from her, should she decide to keep it? The IP advocate contradicts himself if he answers No to any of these questions.

—-

On every count, IP reveals itself as a clumsy and misguided exercise in social engineering, nothing more pure or noble than that. It is an aggressive means to subjectively valued ends, and totally incompatible with liberty.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 12:29 pm

“IP violates self ownership (by creating a category of thought criminals). ALL property and freedom arise from self ownership. Self ownership is not a wise thing to compromise, people.”

Is the object of IP discussion a free nature given thing, or created by man?

When you say “Ms Rawlings you may have written Harry Potter, but you have no rights on it” dont you mean “you can not own the fruit of your labor but the whole human kind (or society) owns it”. And by claiming this don’t you also imply society owns Ms Rawlings, who can only create tha thing that can not be owned called IP.

Talk about self ownership. It is hilarious when a socialist talks about it.

“IP violates occam’s razor (some of its defenders presuppose an elaborate network of billions of implicit ‘contracts’, instantly and irrevocably binding each and every actor in the universe with every individual creative act).”

This is not a utlitarian argument, but a moral one. At least for many people.

“IP is subjective (how many ‘stolen’ letters constitutes a violation? how many words? how many frames of video?)”

Every crime is jusdged in a court so in away every crime is judged subjectively. But like in all just cases, accuser has the burden of proof of proving that the accused actually copied the original IP.

“IP ‘expires’ (what other property spontaneously becomes public domain if the bureaucratic gods are not appeased?)”

It shouldn’t and it should be treated like all other property.

“IP is not universal (no creative alien on a distant world, physically isolated in every way, could possibly conclude “whoops, I am violating some earthling’s IP”. It is only when the earthling shows up with a posse of armed enforcers that the alien learns of his supposed crime. Though the IP advocate will insist that the alien IS a filthy thieving criminal.)”

Nobody here defends stupid patent laws, that assumes independent discovery is impossible. If you dont copy it, but come up with it yourself by all means own it and use it. You dont have to be in some other planet, earth would do.

“A question for the IP advocate: If a vandal owns neither the spraypaint nor the wall, does he own the graffiti? Can the vandal compel the wall’s owner to erase it at her cost? May he demand a fee from her, should she decide to keep it? The IP advocate contradicts himself if he answers No to any of these questions.”

When you agress against others property you lose your rights in exchange. This is nothing to do with IP but embedded in the general theory of property.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 12:48 pm

ktibuk says: “Imagine listening to Mises’ lecture. He might as well charge you for that lecture, and you might pay. But what are you paying for? His theatrical performance?”

Mises himself would certainly answer that every person who pays to ‘experience’ the lecture is paying for this and nothing more: to experience the lecture. They are paying whatever source promises to deliver an experience, and it is the EXPERIENCE that they are paying for.

Beyond that, you can’t speculate on the VALUE that people expect to derive from the experience. Mises would certainly disapprove if you tried to project your own pet valuations on the attendees – such as insisting that they were actually here to acquire a implicit license to use but not reproduce the ‘IP’ expressed in mises words.

Some of the attendees might tell you, if you asked, “I am paying for the wisdom” – but the wisdom wasn’t for sale – cannot be for sale. The only thing for sale was an opportunity to be exposed to the lecture.

What each attendee does with his unique personal experience of the lecture – which is clearly the most legitimately ‘owned’ thing being discussed here – is solely for the attendee to decide.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Ktibuk says: “Talk about self ownership. It is hilarious when a socialist talks about it.”

Lets talk self ownership then and see who’s answers are funniest.

Self ownership is what every person is born with – a new and innocent life, free of obligation, bound only by the natural laws that bind all.

Consider a person who never once relinquishes self ownership. Can you imagine such a person? I’ll wait for you to answer.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 1:15 pm

“Consider a person who never once relinquishes self ownership. Can you imagine such a person? I’ll wait for you to answer.”

I can think of every creator of IP not budging when socialist try to socialize what they have created and own.

It is far too easy to theorize here.

I suggest you go to J. K. Rawling, and tell her she doesn’t own the Harry Potter Novel. Tell whatever she produces belongs to the society. If novels are all she can produce, tough luck, then the society owns her life. And if she is making any money out of Harry Potter she is the one that is stealing, coercing people by copyright laws.

Kevin B January 7, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Sasha Radeta: “Third parties who derive uses from someone else’s good without paying for it are involved in an unintentional trespass.”

This is only true if the use is made by force. For example, if you derive pleasure from the particular colors of light eminating from my house, you are not forcing me to emit the light. You are deriving a use of my house, without force and without contract. You owe me nothing for the pleasant view. You can even take pictures and sell them, because the pictures would be just another derivation of use without force.

“My point is that we currently have countless implied market contracts in which we can obtain full ownership over CDs, books, etc.”

I mean, a world without IP is not a world without the ability to attempt to mimic the affects of IP through contract. So what is the point of pointing out that contracts are possible to someone who is merely arguing against IP? Maybe I missed something?

Kevin B January 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

ktibuk,

“But you can’t get rid of the intellectual property rights, because intellectual property exist whether you honor it or not.”

I doubt that many, if any, here would agree with your belief that one can own others’ brain cells at all.

Even so, if one could own others’ brain cells, the “sellers” would have to agree to it first.

Furthermore, when others here talk of IP, they are not referring to brain cells. They are referring to the immaterial, which of course can’t be owned.

“There is a difference between a blank notebook and a novel, and humans are capable of figuring this out.”

There is a difference in the physical characteristics, to be sure.

“It is true it is easier to transfer intellectual property using physical mediums because the distributer controls it better and also it lasts more than the memory of humans.”

Until we discover telepathy, we have no choice but to rely on physical mediums for the transfer of information.

“Isn’t there a difference between the knowledge carried by Mises’ sound waves, and an monkey making sounds which is soundwaves all the same?”

Yes, they sound completely different. They are different sound waves.

“IP exists.”

Let me take a moment to help others who read this to understand what you mean. You mean that we know things. The things we know are made up of brain cells. We own our brain cells. Our brain cells are our intellectual property. With this, I cannot disagree. But as I said before, others here are discussing IP in the immaterial sense. Your arguments will never meet.

“It is truly amazing seeing intellectuals, who produce IP and nothing else, trying to deny that IP exist.”

This could easily be misconstrued as meaning that IP (in the immaterial sense) is produced. They would argue with you, and be right in that sense, even though you are right in the way I believe you mean it, in the physical sense. You and they are arguing about two different things.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 1:37 pm

ktibuk, I will happily state it here for all to see, including Miss Rowling: “You can own physical things, and I can own physical things, and nobody can own ideas.”

Of course since nobody can own ideas, and also since ‘society’ is an abstraction that doesn’t really exist, it’s doubly meaningless to say society owns anyone’s ideas.

You can’t divide by zero, you can’t take the arithmetic sum of a carrot and an ocean, and you can’t own an idea. These things just don’t mean anything. They don’t compute.

Kevin B January 7, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Sasha Radeta,

I feel compelled to further say that, with my house example, the only one of us two who could be committing any trespass is I, since I am making use of your property through my display.

Breaking it down, when one displays something, they are projecting. When one receives a projection, that one is being forced upon. The one who dumps his property, whether valuable to him or not, on another is consuming use of the receiver’s property.

Sasha Radeta January 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Jean Paul asks an IP advocate:

“If a vandal owns neither the spraypaint nor the wall, does he own the graffiti? Can the vandal compel the wall’s owner to erase it at her cost? May he demand a fee from her, should she decide to keep it? The IP advocate contradicts himself if he answers No to any of these questions.”

Your example is completely inadequate. The question here is: If I own the book or a wall in its physical entirety, can sell you only a certain kinds of uses (personal, non-commercial), while retaining my full-ownership rights over commercial uses, such as replicating it for commercial purposes. The answer is: YES.

Even according to Mises’s definition of ownership, the owner controls all services that can be derived from a good. That means that he can sell certain services, while retaining others. That’s why I can allow someone to live in my house for money – without ever selling it to that person. Likewise, the book author can sell only a certain kinds of uses of his work, while retaining his exclusive right to use that book for commercial purposes, including its replication.

Once again, we can all become full-owners of best-sellers and replicate it at will. All we have to do is to pay the full price for that luxury. You can’t legally buy an inexpensive, limited service from a book’s publisher and then to expect full-ownership benefits.

=======

Kevin B,

trespass by definition is using (deriving service) from someone else’s good without the owner’s consent. Logically concluding from that definition: unintentionally deriving a service from someone’s CD is an unintentional trespass. You don’t have to use force to unintentionally derive use from someone else’s good.

If you argue that looking at something does not constitute “use,” perhaps you should imagine an example in which someone is stalking your child. What if someone is using cams to spy on your property and even following your child, recording his/her every move. Imagine if that sick person is broadcasting your child’s life on the internet. Isn’t that a trespass?

You ask:
“So what is the point of pointing out that contracts are possible to someone who is merely arguing against IP? Maybe I missed something?”

Sure you missed something. Anti-Ip advocates are arguing that you should be able to assume the full-ownership rights over a CD (those expensive, publishing rights) even if you only pay $14.95 for limited personal use. By any definition of private property rights and contract that is a pure theft! That is why I am pointing out that currently there are markets contracts which provide full ownership (and no copyright restrictions). All you have to do is to pay the price to the rightful owner.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Why do the IP advocates limit themselves to such commercially-relevant-in-2008 technologies as ink marks on paper, energized semiconductors, magnetic tape, photochemical film, etc?

Because their philosophy of criminalizing imitation, taken to the logical extremes that a rule-of-law ideology must survive, results in the total criminalization of all existence.

They would insist, by our past failures to uphold the justice of IP, we have turned a blind eye as thieves ran amok. The imperfections of patent, copyright, and trademark law have abused owner-creators, confiscating IP at arbitrary dates of expiry and delivering it into the undeserving hands of the thieving masses.

The estates of the first creator-owners of the (perpetually-owned-just-like-non-IP-property) human language sounds, and their estates must be owed back royalties sufficient to enslave humanity in perpetuity for their repayment.

Likewise for every word and every language thereby derived.

Crawling. Walking. Running. The backstroke. The backflip. The knuckleball. The feint, the parry. Multiplication. Logarithms. i. pi. Birthday presents. Christmas presents. Easter Eggs. Christmas and Easter, for that matter. Sandals. Pants. Salad. Steak. Historical re-enactments. You name it.

It’s ALL stolen IP. There’s not a single instant of your life that isn’t an expression of millenia of stolen IP, and none of it is yours to use unless and until the rightful owner/creator cedes permission to you. Just like real property.

—-

The IP advocate’s world is ridiculous to the point that even they dare not set foot inside. If they would care to explore the implications of their claims beyond the shrill special interests of relevance in today’s protectionist non-market, they would surely recoil in horror and recant their unfounded position.

Ideas can be discovered; they can be discarded or treasured; they can be shared; and they can be sustained for as long as there are willing minds.

But they cannot – CAN NOT – be OWNED.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 2:33 pm

“ktibuk, I will happily state it here for all to see, including Miss Rowling: “You can own physical things, and I can own physical things, and nobody can own ideas.”

Of course since nobody can own ideas, and also since ‘society’ is an abstraction that doesn’t really exist, it’s doubly meaningless to say society owns anyone’s ideas.

You can’t divide by zero, you can’t take the arithmetic sum of a carrot and an ocean, and you can’t own an idea. These things just don’t mean anything. They don’t compute.”

These are just semantics.

Ownership means having exclusive decision over things.

According to you Rawling doesnt have it but everyone else has it.

If anyone can legally copy the Harry Potter novel and read it, that means society owns it. It even has a name for it. “Public domain”. http://blog.mises.org/archives/007606.asp

Of course you can do what Kevin B does and deny existence of Harry POtter but that should be the last line of defense, IMHO.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Jean Paul.

“It’s ALL stolen IP. There’s not a single instant of your life that isn’t an expression of millenia of stolen IP, and none of it is yours to use unless and until the rightful owner/creator cedes permission to you. Just like real property.”

Do you think all physical property people own today has been justly homesteaded and exchanged voluntarily throughout history?

You can say that about all property and it has been said. I suggested you read Rothbard, you really need to.

Past injustices doesnt take away anything from the ethical case for IP.

Also throughout history some IP have been given away for free by the owners, like physical property has been given away either it was impossible to commercialize because of transaction and enforcement costs or in acts of charity and some were discovered independently.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Sasha, all you are saying is a party to a contract is bound by his contract. Agreed, but I will remind you that ONLY the parties to the contract are bound by the contract.

I will propose that contracts are NOT continually, unwittingly entered into by the accident of light entering a person’s eyes; nor sound their ears; nor smell their nose; and so on for any impingement of matter and energy upon any ‘virtual’ eyes and ears they may posess in the form of cameras, microphones, radio antennas, modems, etc.

If anything, it is the physical impingments of matter and energy from others upon my stuff which must be considered the trespass. Such trespass may be excused or not at my sole discretion. Certainly under no circumstances do I become obligated to someone else as reward for their trespass.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Ktibuk,

For one thing, stolen property should be returned to the rightful owner if possible. Please show me where Rothbard ever indicated otherwise.

Second, my point with the IP-enforced world example was not to show how crappy it would be if we had to pay the royalties on all that IP – a utilitarian argument at best. My point was how simply IMPOSSIBLE existence in that world would be. There is no action which is not the embodiment of an idea. IP demands ALL actions be conditional on the permission of all others – don’t you have a pet word for that?

Socialism is an impossiblity because living life by the permission of all others is an impossibility – precisely the same self-contradiction of IP. Unsurprising, the one being a subset of the other.

Both systems are self-precluding. That’s NOT a utilitarian argument. Think about it.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 3:02 pm

ktibuk says: “Ownership means having exclusive decision over things. According to you Rawling doesnt have it but everyone else has it.”

A breakthrough! YES! Yes! Ktibuk, you are getting it!

According to me, Rowling does not get any kind of exclusive decision-making authority over a single other person, ever, and everyone else keeps (forever) the exclusive decision-making authority over themselves which they always had since they came into existence.

Ktibuk, truly a breakthrough moment. I’m (nearly) speechless.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 3:06 pm

“For one thing, stolen property should be returned to the rightful owner if possible. Please show me where Rothbard ever indicated otherwise.”

“If possible” is the key. You were clearly and intentionally talking about an impossible situation. In fact “the impossiblity” was your point.

“Second, my point with the IP-enforced world example was not to show how crappy it would be if we had to pay the royalties on all that IP – a utilitarian argument at best. My point was how simply IMPOSSIBLE existence in that world would be. There is no action which is not the embodiment of an idea. IP demands ALL actions be conditional on the permission of all others – don’t you have a pet word for that?”

Everyone knows that a song writer who lived 2000 ears ago didnt have the same advantage as the one living today as to sell his creation.

This true for many physical objects too.

Oil was a nuisance 200 years ago, today it is invaluable.

Relative to circumstances some IP cant be sold or cant be controlled by the owner. And in some cases giving knowledge away for free accomplishes other things.

I dont deny all these.

I just say whoever produced IP owns it.

He can keep it in his head till he dies, or he can sell it, or he can give it away.

It is his decision. Not yours or some others or societys.
That doesnt change the fact

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Jean Paul you have to pick.

Either society owns Harry Potter, or it doesnt exist.

Either you are a socialist, or deluded.

Kevin B January 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Sasha Radeta,

The use of force is how one measures whether or not “use” is trespass.

For example, if I shoot a laser, and the beam of laser light comes into contact with your eye, then is my laser using your eye or vice versa?

I say that the use of force on my part proves that I have committed the trespass. Consequently, you have learned something from the experience, but being forced to learn something is certainly not trespass, and I may certainly not charge you for the knowledge, nor what you do with it. How absurd that would be!

“If you argue that looking at something does not constitute “use,” perhaps you should imagine an example in which someone is stalking your child. What if someone is using cams to spy on your property and even following your child, recording his/her every move. Imagine if that sick person is broadcasting your child’s life on the internet. Isn’t that a trespass?”

I think this has come up before. My counter argument is that as long as the stalker uses no force on your property, nor violates any contractual obligations, then he/she cannot be judged as a trespasser.

A trespasser is one who violates the property rights of another through force.

“Sure you missed something. Anti-Ip advocates are arguing that you should be able to assume the full-ownership rights over a CD (those expensive, publishing rights) even if you only pay $14.95 for limited personal use. By any definition of private property rights and contract that is a pure theft!”

Let’s get something straight: You are born with the right to publish (copy) anything you can think of. Only by voluntarily giving up that right can it be separated. CDs do not come with publishing rights. You may give up your right to publish the CD in exchange for the CD, but, unless that is in the contract, you do not.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Well ktibuk, I say that ideas are something characteristically different…

Just as words are the precursors to language, and letters the precursors to words, the capacity of the human mind is precursor to all. To deny the right of the human mind to any idea it may encounter or contain is to deny self ownership.

By virtue of it’s ability to comprehend them, ideas – all of them – are the birthright of the human mind.

Call ideas ‘the face of God revealed’ if you are so inclined. Then tell me anyone can own the face of God.

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 3:15 pm

“Either society owns Harry Potter, or it doesnt exist.”

If society owned harry potter, society could deny me the use of it.

Well F$%# me sideways, that’s exactly how it works, now isn’t it.

* socialism *

Kevin B January 7, 2008 at 3:20 pm

ktibuk: “Of course you can do what Kevin B does and deny existence of Harry POtter but that should be the last line of defense, IMHO.”

George Orwell: “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

Jean Paul January 7, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Kevin B says: “You are born with the right to publish (copy) anything you can think of. Only by voluntarily giving up that right can it be separated. CDs do not come with publishing rights. You may give up your right to publish the CD in exchange for the CD, but, unless that is in the contract, you do not.”

The nail, struck on the head.

Everyone is born with absolute freedom to do *whatever* with *their* stuff. That stuff starts out being just their body and mind, but quickly they acquire other items of 100% wholly-owned, unfettered property such as clothing, land, and tools for measuring and manipulating physical things, like cameras and microphones and computers and such – an every-shifting envelope of physical being surrounding a single core ego.

Being wholly owned and unfettered, all of these things inside this envelope of ownership dance freely to the command of the owner – who at no point ceded any right to do *whatever* with *his* stuff.

The only valid form of anything remotely approximating IP is deliberate and explicit ip-by-contract, such as NDAs. Sasha can claim such a contract is implicit in the ‘terms of service’ of a book publisher or restaurant or theater, and that’s fine – and it can be considered that the physical act of being handed a book, or served a meal, or being allowed admission, is granted in exchange for assent to the terms of service – all fine and fair and good. But the contract thus-entered does not stick like some invisible scum to all the downstream results of the exchange, silently but inexorably infecting all that it touches. The contract was established between two parties – and between two parties it remains.

The IP advocates protest that this is not enough to protect what they want protected – to that I say, I am sorry for their disapointment, but tough beans, I guess.

ktibuk January 7, 2008 at 4:49 pm

If we actually sunk that low Kevin B, here it is.

The novel “Harry Potter” exists.

Kevin B January 7, 2008 at 5:03 pm

ktibuk: ‘The novel “Harry Potter” exists.’

Oh, sorry. I thought you were talking about the boy-wizard, since I never said that copies of the novel “Harry Potter” don’t exist.

The boy-wizard “Harry Potter” doesn’t exist, therefore nobody owns him. Nobody owns any other of the characters in the Harry Potter series either, for the same reason.

Are you going to claim that Harry Potter, the character, is owned? If so, then I will have to perform the first duty of an intelligent man.

JonBostwick@hotmail.com January 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Sasha Radeta: “Everything else you derived from that false premise is just wrong. People do have a right to contractually sell only a limited use of their books or CDs, just like they can do it with cars or housing.”

Actually, my assertion that violating your hypothetical contract would merely negate it was not derived from the seperate assertion that copy-right is not a transferable legal right. But lets explore your “limited use” theory.

Suppose that I buy a new car from GM with the agreement that I will only get the car serviced by GM. This is not an enforceable contract, ownership requires right to use. Either I get to get to repair my car where ever I want, or GM did not really transfer ownership of the car to me. The two clauses are exclusive.

So GM, in an attempt to get around this, decides to rename the same contract a “permanent lease.” This also fails because, regardless of the term GM uses, the contract is not a lease; GM does not retain ownership of the vehicle.

If GM wants to ensure the car is only serviced by GM it would have to agree to an actual lease. If the agreement is an actual lease, then its the same situation as when we enforced our book, sans right-to-read, contract. If the agreement is broken GM can have the car returned, in other words, they can negate the contract. But they can not demand future payments continue to be paid. If GM did demand to paid for a lease that no longer existed, that would be theft.

No matter what kind of hypothetical contract you devise, you will never create an agreement requiring the copy-right violator to pay damages that would be enforced in a libertarian(or free market) legal system.

Chad January 7, 2008 at 10:47 pm

Even if one does not agree with the rules regarding IP in theory, they are agreeing to abide by them in practice every time they accept the Terms of Service for installed computer software or purchase a book, CD, or DVD that has explicit copyright information (that is, who has the exclusive right-to-copy) clearly printed on it. (The copyright restrictions for books would be taken more seriously if books came physically sealed with the copyright information on the seal itself.)

A PROPOSAL TO ALL IP OPPONENTS:

If there are individuals who do not want to be bound by the current system of copyrights, trademarks, and other IP protections used for practically all media goods (that is, information encoded on a physical object), then they should withdraw completely from that system (rather than flagrantly violate that system through illegal copying and such). Don’t buy (or sell for profit) copyrighted books, DVDs, or CDs. Don’t install or use any software that requires a Terms of Service acknowledgement. If the system is so completely wrong-headed and economically inefficient, then I say it is time for its opponents to demonstrate their convictions by withdrawing from it.

Next, those IP opponents should organize a competing system using only originally created media goods (books, movies, operating systems, etc.) that they developed themselves using their own scarce resources (time, money, physical resources, and energy). These new media goods would have absolutely no IP protections in place and would state that “All rights are granted” (versus “All rights reserved”) for anyone who owns a physical instantiation of that media good (ex. actual DVD, CD-ROM, etc.).

If some “entrepeneur” purchased a physical music CD under the no-IP system, made 10,000 copies of it on their home equipment, and then sold those copies on eBay with none of the profits going back to the CD’s original creators, then those who originally put their scarce time, money, and effort into producing that CD would have no grounds for crying “foul” in any way. After all, that eBayer owns a physical copy of that CD and should be able to do anything he wants with it, right?

Once the system with absolutely no IP recognition or protections was put in place, let it then compete in the marketplace with the current IP-protected system. Then, we could see which system one has a more viable business model in actual practice.

Jonathan Bostwick January 7, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Compete on the market place with the current IP-protected system? Our current IP system has nothing to do with the market, its built entirely on government violence.

Governments invented IP. I think the burden of proof falls on you to prove that IP can survive without government fiat.

TLWP Sam January 8, 2008 at 12:27 am

Government violence? Burden of proof? I’d like to see the proof that inventions and artistic creations would have appeared without I.P.. Last time I looked progress in times past was very slow and inventors tended to encrypt their designs. I find it not surprising that modern inventions and creative works correlate with patents and copyrights when inventors are willing to do an above-average job if there’s an incentive at the end of the day to achieve. I’d say I.P. opponents must see progress as a mere convient positive externality.

ktibuk January 8, 2008 at 11:16 am

Chad, what you propose already exist. Open source software, non copyrighted material like books and music.

But for anti IP people it is not enough. They want to socialize the whole thing.

And they get upset when I call them socialist.

In a free society, socialist have a right to form communities and practice socialism, communism, what ever they want. But this is usually not enough.

We are seeing a similar thing here.

ktibuk January 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

“Compete on the market place with the current IP-protected system? Our current IP system has nothing to do with the market, its built entirely on government violence.”

This is exactly the same things socialist say when we capitalist say, “go ahead live your dream, form communes, get rid of private property among yourselves, but please don’t force us”.

Of course some of them tried it in the past and starved and that maybe the motivation behind this rejection.

In any case, parasitic systems like socialism need some victims producing, so others can steal. So they need the capitalistic society that honors IP.

Beldie January 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Anyone thought to go back and look at Rothbard on this one? In Man Economy and State doesn’t he show that the origin of property is a result of a rational means to deal with scarcity? If an idea, or recipe as he calls it can be copied without harming or altering the original, such a thing cannot be scarce, and by extension it cannot be property.

Jesse January 9, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Chad: “Even if one does not agree with the rules regarding IP in theory, they are agreeing to abide by them in practice…”

It’s impossible to say whether any of those people would have voluntarily agreed to some sort of “copy-deterrent” performance bond in the absence of the universal, non-contractual copyright enforcement presently in vogue; as it is, the presence of aggression obviously makes any such coerced agreement null and void. In any event a copyright notice or ToS agreement represents at most what Rothbard would call a “mere promise”, involving no transfers of titles to property and thus unenforceable even if it were voluntary.

Regardless of how Sasha and others try to twist things, the current copyright regime rests on the government’s will and power to do basically whatever it wants by mere aggression, not on any kind of voluntary contractual arrangement. That such a complex arrangement would come about in the absence of aggression-backed copyrights is pure speculation; in any event, it hasn’t come about yet, and the only copyright-related agreements anyone could have possibly entered into in the current environment are clearly involuntary due to the presence of coercion and thus non-binding.

Sasha Radeta January 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Kevin B,

Trespass by definition is “unauthorized use.” Nothing more and nothing less. Trespasses can be accidental, but if that trespass is used to create an injury to the rightful owner, this amounts to tort.

Anyway, if you purchase one kind of use of any product, you simply don’t have any rights to use it in any other way. I think we agree on that – regardless of what you say about “third parties” who, in the most cases, can’t simply memorize and replicate the entire content of CDs and books.
—-

JonBostwick,

Nobody is legally required to sell you the full ownership of their property. According to Mises, you own something if you control all services that can be derived from that good. The way in which you demonstrate the control of those services is by selling certain uses (services), while withholding others. For example, I can contractually rent my house, providing only a limited set of services to rent-seekers.

According to the very definition of ownership, mostly authors, publishers and record companies are full owners of books and CDs. When you buy a limited use of those items, you don’t become a full owner. I know this is hard for you to understand, but you simply don’t pay enough money.

As far as your Gm example goes, it’s completely irrelevant. GM does not have to sell their full ownership rights to you. If we abolish all IP laws, your contracts with GM would state your limited use terms – and everything would stay the same.

===

Chad said:

“If there are individuals who do not want to be bound by the current system of copyrights, trademarks, and other IP protections used for practically all media goods (that is, information encoded on a physical object), then they should withdraw completely from that system (rather than flagrantly violate that system through illegal copying and such). Don’t buy (or sell for profit) copyrighted books, DVDs, or CDs. Don’t install or use any software that requires a Terms of Service acknowledgement. If the system is so completely wrong-headed and economically inefficient, then I say it is time for its opponents to demonstrate their convictions by withdrawing from it.

Next, those IP opponents should organize a competing system using only originally created media goods (books, movies, operating systems, etc.) that they developed themselves using their own scarce resources (time, money, physical resources, and energy). These new media goods would have absolutely no IP protections in place and would state that “All rights are granted” (versus “All rights reserved”) for anyone who owns a physical instantiation of that media good (ex. actual DVD, CD-ROM, etc.).”

AMEN brother!

But who is preventing people from doing that already? The problem with anti-IP crowd is that they don’t realize that full-ownership of CDs and books has its price. That price is maybe steep (that’s why publishing companies pay it to cash on limited use sold to general public), but that is a fair market price for unlimited use of such goods. Even if we hypothetically abolish all IP laws, we can’t ever abolish the fact that we usually purchase only a LIMITED USE of goods through either implied or explicit market contracts (market exchanges).

Kevin B January 9, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Sasha Radeta: ‘Trespass by definition is “unauthorized use.” Nothing more and nothing less.’

I guess we are looking at two different dictionary definitions.

tres·pass [tres-puhs, -pas]
–noun
1. Law.
a. an unlawful act causing injury to the person, property, or rights of another, committed with force or violence, actual or implied.

Which dictionary are you using?

Kevin B January 9, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Sasha Radeta: “Anyway, if you purchase one kind of use of any product, you simply don’t have any rights to use it in any other way. I think we agree on that…”

How can it be that one must purchase the right to use something in a particular way when that something may already be used in such a way without force? If no force is necessary for a particular use, then has the claim of control of such use truly been demonstrated?

Jean Paul January 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Pretending to sell something when you really expect to treat it like a lease is fraud.

I don’t have a problem with Ms. Rowlings renting out her book in book rental outlets with all kinds of ridiculous terms of service that no one will agree to, and eventually the rental store goes out of business because modern technology renders it a stupid idea – or maybe it succeeds wildly because people are retards, who knows. The success of the rental store is not relevant, only the fact that it’s a legal way to run things.

But if she offers to “SELL” her books in book “STORES”, then the consuming public would be obliged to take that offer at face value as the sale of the ‘full item’ that Sasha insists only happens in the big million-dollar publisher’s deal.

Sasha claims that the sale of, say, a news magazine at the corner store, is really only a PARTIAL sale. Trying to treat the advertised ‘full sale of this object’ as a ‘partial sale and the customer should know that without being told’ is what I would call fraudulent.

Jean Paul January 9, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Sasha says: “Trespass by definition is ‘unauthorized use.’ Nothing more and nothing less.”

Sasha, you do realize that when you are discussing something with someone, and they have taken pains to present their interpretation / definition / unconventional usage of some loaded word, and then they use that word (resting on that interpretation) to structure their argument, it doesn’t take things in any productive direction to claim they got their definitions wrong? The word is just a ‘best fit’ placeholder to make exposition of their position easier.

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