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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9322/molinari-symposium-2009-call-for-papers-on-intellectual-property/

Molinari Symposium 2009: Call for Papers on Intellectual Property

January 27, 2009 by


The Molinari Society will be hosting its sixth annual symposium in conjunction with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in New York City, December 27-30, 2009. We hereby invite the submission of papers on the topic of intellectual property (IP).

IP has long been a matter of debate among libertarians. For its defenders, it represents a just protection of innovators’ rights to the products of their labour, as well as a vital economic incentive for creative effort; for its opponents, it is one more state-granted monopoly privilege with elements of protectionism and censorship. The issues raised by IP seem especially urgent in the present age of electronic media, when the ease of copying and disseminating information is at an all-time high; and the legitimacy or otherwise of IP has recently become an especially hot topic of discussion in the libersphere in the wake of the long-anticipated publication of Michele Boldrin and David Levine’s book Against Intellectual Monopoly (as well as the re-release of Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property in book form).

Those submitting papers should be prepared, if selected, to present their papers at the December meeting.

Send submissions to Roderick T. Long at:

Deadline for receiving submissions: 5 May 2009
Notification of acceptance / rejection: 15 May 2009


Silas Barta January 28, 2009 at 12:08 am

Thanks for the “heads-up”, Roderick_T._Long. I plan to submit a paper expanding my devastating critques of libertarian anti-IP arguments.

I fully expect that my ideas will get a fair, honest, complete hearing from the very principled theorists in this marketplace of libertarian ideas.

Oh, well, back to collecting pixie dust, assisting an imprisoned Nigerian prince, and finalizing the purchase of a bridge in lower Manhattan.

Roderick T. Long January 28, 2009 at 12:36 am

If your comment implies that we would only accept anti-IP papers you’re certainly mistaken; ideally we’d like to have contributions from both sides.

Gil Guillory January 28, 2009 at 8:05 am

Silas, have you ever authored a white paper critique of Kinsella or others, with scholarly citations? I have only seen blog comments and emails by you. Are you in earnest that you will submit a paper, or is this just a joke?

Mike January 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

“If your comment implies that we would only accept anti-IP papers you’re certainly mistaken; ideally we’d like to have contributions from both sides.”

There might be other reasons why a self-styled “devastating critique” might not pass muster, though.

Peter Surda January 28, 2009 at 9:05 am

This is very interesting, because just a couple of days ago I started to write a paper about IP. I wanted to put my words into a more formal structure. Despite being an IP opponent, the paper does not argue for or against IP, rather it tries to clarify what it is (and isn’t), and interpret it in the context of various concepts, such as: legislature, contracts, markets, economics, ownership, natural law, etc.

Large parts of the paper are done, if anyone would like to review it before I finish it, feel free to contact me:

Egosumabbas January 28, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I think I might try my hand at this… I might write about the loaded term “IP Socialism”, and why a principled position against IP is totally compatible with a free market philosophy.

Far from being an ad hominem attack, such charges should be taken seriously and addressed.

Curt Howland January 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Sadly, anything I’d write on the subject wouldn’t be anything more than a rant better left as a blog post.

Silas Barta January 29, 2009 at 11:26 am

@Gil_Guillory: have you ever taken seriously a criticism of the anti-IP arguments? I have only seen pandering to groupthink by you. Are you in earnest that you will consider the possibility that you could be wrong, or is this just a joke?

Okay, snarkiness aside, we’ve been over this. The purpose of peer review is to filter out certain kinds of stupid errors. But those stupid errors are not the problem here. If you check the blog post I’ve linked (the initial post, not the deep-linked comment), you’ve seen Stephan_Kinsella quite clearly admit to a very damaging criticism of his case. Specifically, it crucially hinges on the decision of what counts as a “relevant use” of a resource, a decision that Stephan_Kinsella has not and cannot justify in a way that favors his case.

Given that Stephan_Kinsella knows there is a critical problem with his argument, he has an obligation to himself to rescind his position or fill this hole. If he’s interested in truth, it shouldn’t matter that these points are not in a scholarly paper. He understands the point, which is all that matters. No one should wait for formal exposure to highlight the problems in their arguments.

Yes, I could flesh out the arguments into a more scholarly paper (and I actually plan to at this point). That would add some traceability to the arguments, but that’s about it. Their substance is clear as day for anyone to follow. If you can’t grasp them now, you will not be able to grasp them in their scholarly form either. If you can’t decide whether they suffice to make your question your opinion now, neither will you in the scholarly version.

If you’re really justified in finding the truth, rather than attacking IP (and those aren’t necessarily the same thing!) you’d want to take the five minutes to read the points to see if they might be worth considering in expanded form.

@Roderick_T._Long: Just to clarify, I would never claim that the symposium would outright reject anti-IP papers. Rather, judging by the history of the individuals opposing IP, what will happen is this: you will accept some poor anti-IP papers, and reject all the anti-IP papers that have any chance of making anyone change their opinions. I’d love to be proven wrong, it’s just that, well, I won’t be.

Roderick T. Long January 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Silas Barta –

So, is this a fair summary of what you’re saying?

“Without even knowing who your judges are I’m arbitrarily and without evidence going to assume, first, that you are all anti-IP, and second, that you have no integrity. So accept my submission or be exposed as the rotters you are!”

Well, it’s an interesting approach.

Silas Barta January 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Yes, Roderick_T._Long, that was a hasty assumption about you that I couldn’t specifically justify. For that, I apologize. I should not have so accused you.

You have written against IP, however.

Silas Barta January 29, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Wait, just to clarify: that last sentence was just to respond to your implication that you weren’t anti-IP, *not* an attempt to mitigage the offensive accusation.

Mike January 29, 2009 at 11:54 pm

“Yes, Roderick_T._Long, that was a hasty assumption about you that I couldn’t specifically justify. For that, I apologize. I should not have so accused you.”

Why do you write people’s names like that, Silas_Barta?

Dan Mahoney January 30, 2009 at 9:10 am

Even a poor anti-IP paper would probably be superior to Silas Barta’s contributions to the subject.

Silas Barta January 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

@Mike: It’s mainly a software issue. My software picks up the handles of commenters and posters on blogs and gives me a hotkey to pull them up without typing the whole thing. However, because of poor design, the software adds an underscore for all spaces. I could manually remove it, but underscores aren’t offensive and that defeats the purpose.

Plus, it avoids the issue of proper forms of address.

Stephan Kinsella February 2, 2009 at 12:38 am

Silas, you yourself used a variety of nyms to force people to use a preferred name for you–Richard Harding, Person, and others. Well, I prefer you not call me Stephan_Kinsella, as if I’m some computer fiction or nym. I would prefer you call me Dr. Stephan.

Silas Barta February 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm

No problem, Stephan_Kinsella, just start using that handle and I will address you as “Dr. Stephan”. But I’d leave out the space unless you want an errant underscore ;-)

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