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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9344/the-book-and-music-killers/

The book and music killers

January 31, 2009 by

One theory of copyright is that it promotes the production and distribution of literary works. Well, that myth is completely shattered in chapter five of Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrine and David Levine. The chapter is pithy, thorough, dead on in its practical analysis, and deeply radical. It is the perfect illustration of why I think this is one of the most original and compelling books on economics in a generation.

Copyright is a subject replete with mythology. People toss around junk legalisms that they pick up on the street while knowing nothing about the facts or the law. They imagine that copyright is important for protecting rights, even though the practical reality is that it is a killer of ideas and a rights violator on a massive scale. Indeed, something must be done to crush this institution before it brings the creative and literary arts to a grinding halt.

We must remember that the copyright law is a just another bogus modern institution we can do without, just like the income tax and central banking. International copyright only came to exist in 1891–it was the result of lobbying not by authors but by publishers!–and has steadily increased over the century to the point of maniacal absurdity today: thanks to the U.S. Congress, an article you write today is under copyright protection until 70 years after your death.

As mentioned in earlier pieces, copyright originated as a kingly permission to publish what was politically correct. The privilege passed to individual writers in the 19th century but didn’t stay there long: the publishers inherited the right through contracts, and they now use that right to rob writers, musicians, artists, and consumers of what Jefferson considered to be inalienable.

Did the internationalization and institutionalization of copyright actually achieved its stated aim of promoting literary work? There was no increase in copyright registrations as a percentage of the population between 1900 and 1950, despite the double lengthening of the copyright term. So much for the great outpouring of creativity in literature and music.In 1998, the Sonny Bono/Mickey Mouse Copyright Term Extension Act (“the biggest land grab in history”) boosted copyright by 40 percent but with what effect on incentives to produce? None, so far as anyone knows. But the publishers and moguls who pushed for this nonsense are surely happy so they don’t have to work harder and can continue to live off the royalties of their long-dead predecessors.

Actually, what that 1998 legislation did was provide a massive boost for authors to find ways out of the chains of copyright. The development of Creative Commons, and other tools, followed because it is ever more obvious that copyright is at war with the digital age. And thanks goodness for that. But in the meantime, copyright in the 20th century has accomplished horrible evil.

Large swaths of the literary output of the last fifty years, for example, now lies buried in the vaults of large publishers who neither print them nor permit them to be printed absent some huge fee; nor will they return rights to the author. Nor will the publishers allow them to be posted. Getting them back in print is a very expensive and time-consuming operation.

In my own work at the Mises Institute, I’ve encounter a dozen such cases myself, and while most individual cases offer some possibility of a fiduciary workaround, economic considerations on the margin effectively drive these works off the market. Meanwhile, the greatest thing that could ever happen to an author is for his or her works to enter the public domain but that only happens if you wrote your book before 1963 and the copyright was mercifully not renewed.

Here is a test case brilliantly conceived of by Boldrine and Levine. The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs are right on the fence of the copyright law. Some are out of copyright. Some are in. They compared the circulation between them. The books out of copyright in the Mars series are: A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars, Thuvia, Maid of Mars, and The Chessmen of Mars. All of these are available on Amazon, illustrated HTML versions, electronic versions to buy and see for free, and in innumerable editions in stores. Meanwhile, other books in the Mars series are under copyright, including Master of Mars, A Fighting Man of Mars, Swords of Mars, Synthetic Men of Mars, and Llana of Gathol.

Every single one of the under copyright books are out of print! This is not an accident. In this way, copyright serves as a tax on production, so of course it results in less not more.

The same is true of innumerable authors, including many classically liberal authors. The world is highly fortunate that they published with marginal firms that failed to renew their copyrights after they expired. Otherwise, their works would be unavailable. It is in fact tragic that Hayek himself had major publishers who renewed many copyrights, because that fact alone has caused them to be tethered to the point of limiting Hayek’s own influence.

What the 1998 act did was put tens of thousands of titles under copyright that would otherwise have been open to the world. All this was done to protect the work of one company–Disney–which ironically made its fortunate by making movies based on public domain stories! The authors here further point out that large companies have no incentive to bring back into print the titles for which they own copyright because they don’t want them to compete with their new hardback titles. It really is a form of legal suppression of literary work going on here, made possible only by the state’s law, and it is an outrage. A vast swath of the literary output of the West of the last 50 years has been kidnapped by private parties with the legal approval by the state.

Again, the beneficiaries of the law are not authors and not musicians and artists. Musicians themselves typically earn far more from concerts than royalties. So the conventional theory is wrong: copyright doesn’t inspire creativity. These musicians would work and create without it; in fact, no one has a greater incentive for abolishing the current system than creators.

For 2000 years, the core of musical creativity was the emulation and elaboration on existing musical forms, with composers both competing with each other and cooperating in a communal way toward advancement. They depend most heavily on sharing information. If this is stopped, cultural significant creativity is seriously impeded. Copyright shut the cooperative process down at the turn of the 19th century.

Today, serious “classical” composers have to keep returning to public domain material like folk songs to make variations on themes. The music of the 20th century is largely off limits. Meanwhile, the search for originality has created bizarre forms of music within the conservatory culture, none of which has sticking power in the culture at large because it is illegal to imitate it.

This whole scenario represents a radical attack on the very essence of cultural advancement. The repeal of copyright would result in a huge outpouring of great music that uses popular music in a variety of different forms. Composers would be unleash to write, ensembles could perform and record, and musicians of all sorts would produce with glorious new creativity. As it is, they live in a caged world in which lawyers determine what they can write, play, and record. If you understand this, you can see why musical forms have taken such a huge tumble in the last 100 years, while creativity has taken place only in sectors that eschew copyright, such as jazz and independent rock.

As for recording, the whole effort to prevent file sharing has been a disaster for artists. Again, this resulted from special-interest legislation. The tethers are so tight now that many bands are reduced to refusing any recording contracts at all, merely so that they can distribute their own music the way they want to. This has been proven again and again to be compatible with huge sales. The best selling CDs of last year were also the ones available for free download.

Whenever this subject comes up, people unthinking toss around crazy bromides. “You mean you want to allow anyone to just steal anyone’s work? Why would anyone bother to write a book or write a song.”

This kinds of questions reflect what happens to our thinking in a time of statism; we can’t imagine how freedom would work. We do not, for example, ask similar questions about other sectors.

“If you allow the private growing of vegitables, why would anyone bother to start commercial farms or open grocery stores? If you allow people to cook at home, why would anyone open a restaurant? If you allow people to just share recipes, why would anyone become a master chef? You would allow just anyone to steal the idea of a tomato or a sauce or a fancy dish that took years in culinary school to create?”

These questions only sound stupid to us because we don’t have existing laws covering these topics. Somehow everything works out. Because we have copyright, we can’t even imagine how we could get along without it. And yet we see many examples around us. Public domain works are hugely popular and firms profit from selling them, and they are more prevailent than copyrighted works.

What I find striking is that copyright operates today by state-authorized theft of creativity by large firms. Writes and composers and bands permit themselves to be looting of their own right to distribute their own work. Composers work years on a piece and then give up the results to some business corporation in exchange for their right to publicly hum the tune they wrote. It is astounding, and wholly nonviable.

Fortunately, the free market is finding a workaround to evil copyright laws in the form of Creative Commons and other institutions. In this way, at least there is a path to freedom for us, whereas the same can’t be said of patent laws.

Finally, let me say this: I know that I’ve written many articles on this book and this live blog of this one chapter is long, but the truth is that I’ve barely scratched the surface here. This one chapter has far more to offer, but I’ll end for now.

One last note: do not write me with some smarty pants remark about how, if we are serious, the Mises Institute should allow anyone to publish our books. All our new works, insofar as it is possible, will be published with a Creative Commons license as a matter of signed contract with authors. As for this article, please “steal” it. That goes for anything I write. If you can sell it and make a buck, good for you.If you become a millionaire, shame on me for not thinking of it first.

{ 68 comments }

ktibuk January 31, 2009 at 7:48 am

Jeffrey said,

“It is the perfect illustration of why I think this is one of the most original and compelling books on economics in a generation.”

Well Jeffrey this isn’t original at all but good old socialist argument.

Do you know why and how socialists back in the 18th and 19th century opposed property rights?

Well, they opposed them mainly because at the beginning only feudal lords, aristocrats could own property. And the kings even had overriding authority over feudal lords. And then when the industrial revolution started, some so called capitalists enjoyed government privilige when it came to property rights.

Yes there were lots of legislative problems when it came to property (both tangible property and IP) back then too and the conclusion they drew from all this, being socialists, was that the main problem was property itself.

Sounding familiar?

Yes , regarding IP laws there are many legislative problems and some are even part of the crony capitalism set up. But this is no excuse for abolishing private property rights. If you still think after all this, that the problem is private property, at least be honest and admit you are a socialist.

Jeffrey Tucker January 31, 2009 at 7:53 am

socialism and IP came to the world about the same time, both as forms of state planning and at the tail end of the age of laissez-faire.

by the way, as bad as feudalism was, not one would be stupid enough to beat someone up for imitating a good idea.

David Bratton January 31, 2009 at 7:57 am

Errata: “In my own work at the Mises Institute, I’ve encounter a doesn’t such cases myself,”

Should be “dozen”.

ktibuk January 31, 2009 at 8:08 am

IP has nothing to do with “planning” anything. Some of todays legislation may be used for monopoly privilages but “planning” is something very different.

It is obvious this is a weak attempt for a comeback because I call you guys socialists. But I keep explaining that I am not trying to agitate you by name calling. You are socialists, because you argue for the abolishment of private property. You even use the same types of arguments as socialists.

So I am sorry but if you don’t want to be called socialists, you will have to stop being a socialist and change you position regarding private property.

selena January 31, 2009 at 8:17 am

Something which befuddles me… what happens in the event of plagiarism? Of course, plagiarism can take on many shades (and I believe most people start via ‘emulating’ others). Someone could very well steal what was your original idea – but with some glossy marketing can make a huge buck out of it.

Another concern is piracy – people invest time, effort, and money into the production of any creative work. Hollywood movies cost millions. How can it be ensured that their work is protected – all the more since their livelihoods depend on it? You can distribute your works for free, but not everyone must agree to doing the same.

David Bratton January 31, 2009 at 8:21 am

ktibuk: “You are socialists, because you argue for the abolishment of private property. ”

IP is not an object. It is an action.

newson January 31, 2009 at 8:45 am

to selena:
if the copycat has made a fortune out of a plagiarized text, it means the work has had an enormous distribution (no ip means no monopoly rents). the widespread fame would surely attract scrutiny, and it’s unlikely the real author suffer in silence. style/syntax is idiosyncratic.

think of the intense debates on the authenticity of literary works (shakespeare) and paintings (rubens versus the workshop).

plagiarists would still be stigmatized, just not be the subject of penal sanction.

DavidNcl January 31, 2009 at 8:53 am

Despite the conflation of terms actual property and intellectual property are quite different. One is made of atoms, the other is not not.

Because they are so radically different things actions in the real world involving them have quite distinct effects. If I steal your loaf and you steal my bike we have lost physical something as well as having gained something. If you steal my ideas and I yours we have both gained ideas and we still retain our original ideas.

The whole of human activity, creativity and knowledge – from the refinement of woodcutting tools, language, social institutions, literature, art, science are evolved constructs made by myriad individual changes and adaptations of what has gone before. The practice of IP stifles this natural human action.

newson January 31, 2009 at 8:54 am

to ktibuk:
why did the socialist block produce so few great literary works? (outside of prison, that is).

how does this fit with what was a profuse artistic output in the west under “ip socialism”?

Deefburger January 31, 2009 at 11:18 am

ktibuk:

You continue to view the thought, the idea, as a tangible, objective thing. It is not. Ideas, thoughts, language, are non-physical entities. Furthermore, they are social, by their very nature. Until they are expressed and percieved by another, they are practically non-existent.

To label objective, rational, libertarians as “socialists” for pointing out the objective truth, the true, real, nature of the situation is wrong.

Markets deal only in tangibles. Ideas are intangible until they are expressed. Expression is the book, the play, the movie, the concert, the PRODUCT.

Would you pay to hear a song you have never heard before? No. Would you buy it if you could not KNOW it before the purchace? No. Would you buy my idea before you knew what it was? No.

Intelectual “property” has to be shared to even exist.

I can bake a loaf of bread, and sell it to you sight unseen, because you can know it exists without seeing it, and I maintain possession of it until I hand it over to you. But for me to sell you an idea, I must first give it to you to consider. But I still posses the thought after doing so, even though you now possess it as well.

This is intrinsically social! It is not “socialism” per se. Social behavior is a requirement of social beings, “Socialism” is forced social behavior. Social discourse is voluntary. When I tell you of my idea, it is social discourse.

As for the market, the music industry is changing. Artist are learning that the copy protection does nothing for thier bottom line. An excellent example is Trent Reznor and his band Nine inch Nails. Their last album was released for free download, in a higher quallity format(s) than the record companies ever published in, and their sales of CDs, concert tickets and t-shirts went through the roof. They have the most technically sophisticated concert show ever produced. (See Rolling Stone).

The reason they can do this is PROFIT. Not from the IP, but from the Expression! They make their money AFTER people hear the music. There is no need for copyright when it is the expression that is unique and inalienable! No one else can do THEIR show. It’s not possible, and so they are safe from imitators by default.

Plagiarism is not copying. It is the expression of thought as original, when it is not original. If I tell you my idea, express my thought, and you turn around and re-express that same thought as your own, represent the expression of the idea as though you thought of it yourself, alone, that is plagiarism. If you tell someone else that you heard it from me, it is citation. It is simply giving credit where credit is due.

Look at the suppressed books examples cited by Mr. Tucker. Copyright has forced out of the market the ideas represented in those works. Artists have been having the same problem for years as well. How objective, how rational is it to sell the “right to copy” to someone only to see the work disappear into a filing cabinet, never to be seen again?

You still possess a copy your self, yet you gave up the right to make more copies in exchange for “royalties” that are now at the discretion of someone else. So much for “property”. The state now tells you that your “property” is not your “property” even though you actually still hold it in your hand. That is Scocialism!!!

heuristic January 31, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Tucker wrote:

“What I find striking is that copyright operates today by state-authorized theft of creativity by large firms. Writes and composers and bands permit themselves to be looting of their own right to distribute their own work. Composers work years on a piece and then give up the results to some business corporation in exchange for their right to publicly hum the tune they wrote. It is astounding, and wholly nonviable.

Fortunately, the free market is finding a workaround to evil copyright laws in the form of Creative Commons and other institutions. In this way, at least there is a path to freedom for us, whereas the same can’t be said of patent laws.”

Your statements above are a distortion of language in the same mould as statist terms such as “tax fraud”: offering a contract in which the terms are clear cannot reasonably be described as “looting” and “theft of creativity.” Such a contract need not have anything to do with the state – it is an agreement where both parties agree to certain terms including the concept of “copyright.” The copyright is CREATED by the contract; i.e., both parties are committing themselves to act in certains ways with respect to the the existence of this posited property of (and property in) the artistic work. The property (in both senses) is simply a label for the legal and financial arrangement that the two parties to the contract have agreed to, regardless of the arm-waving of people in this forum that it “doesn’t really exist” because it isn’t a concrete object. Other examples of “legal fictions” that can be created by contract are arrangements such as a “marriage” or a “corporation” neither of which is a physical object nor necessarily requires a state since for example the contracts may stipulate private arbitration.

heuristic January 31, 2009 at 2:10 pm

newson writes:

“think of the intense debates on the authenticity of literary works (shakespeare) and paintings (rubens versus the workshop).”

Good luck with discerning the difference between “authentic” digital bits and “fake” ones. :-)

Nelson Cruz January 31, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Just last night I was thinking about the “morality” of copyright (and patents at least in certain fields) in the 21st century. The “droits de auteur” (author’s rights) where initially set up in France in part for the moral outrage of big theatrical producers making a lot of money, while the plays’ authors sometimes where forced to begging in front of the theaters. Today however, while I am still inclined to agree that authors deserve a share of whatever profits are made from commercial use of their work (but not necessarily setting prices), I see much more reasons for moral outrage against copyright.

At an age where anyone with a computer can have access to all the music, books and movies ever made, with zero cost to the creators for each new copy, and remix and build upon them to make new works, how can authors and governments possibly morally justify locking up all this culture from most of the world? Publishers, labels and studios, demand high prices for new works, while suppressing old ones to avoid competition. Copyright can clearly be a big barrier to dissemination of culture, free speech, and creativity, especially on the internet.

The same goes for millions dying of AIDS in Africa while pharmaceutical companies fought African governments to have their patents respected for the “sanctity of intellectual property”. I almost threw up the first time I read about that.

Yes, IP attracts investment that makes those works and medications be made in the first place. But that compromise must at least be reworked in the 21st century. There are other ways to fund creation and research (government grants, setting up prizes, etc). And artists are finding new business models that allow them to make money without locking up their works.

And yet, industry associations and many politicians keep talking about IP as if it is universally good, as if more control is always better, as if creativity and knowledge are private finite property, as if making money justifies everything!

Francisco Torres January 31, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Do you know why and how socialists back in the 18th and 19th century opposed property rights?

This is irrelevant. This form of arguing is called “poisoning the well”. Just because socialists opposed property rights does not mean that opposing PHONY BALONEY “rights” like IP makes one a socialist.

Yes there were lots of legislative problems when it came to property (both tangible property and IP)

This is a damned lie. Common law established the legal base for property and property rights based on Natural Law. IP is entirely artificial and had no sound philosophical base – it is entirely a government grant.

Yes , regarding IP laws there are many legislative problems and some are even part of the crony capitalism set up. But this is no excuse for ABOLISHING PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS.[The emphasis is mine]

This is intellectual dishonesty – private property rights and IP are not the same, the legislative “problems” you think exist notwithstanding.

If you still think after all this, that the problem is private property, at least be honest and admit you are a socialist.

After all the fallacies you made to get to this point, the whole argument ends up being an Ad Hominem fallacy.

Andras January 31, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Everyone,
Hey, it is a progress. Old socialists were proud of their name, the recent ones fight it to the nail to refuse it. Way to go mises.org!

Francisco Torres January 31, 2009 at 3:41 pm

it is an agreement where both parties agree to certain terms including the concept of “copyright.”

You’re confused as to the scope of copyright law. Contracts are only binding to buyer and seller. Copyright law goes beyond the scope of contracts to trample on other people’s property rights who copy or imitate ideas. Copyright has nothing to do, thus, with contract law. It has however much to do with virtual Letters of Marque granted by the government to publishers and industrialists as a way to circumvent the market, by virtue of “owning” ideas as if ideas were exclusive.

In conclusion: Saying that copyright is implicit in contracts is nothing more than an obfuscation of the true scope and reach of copyright law.

Andras January 31, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I have discovered why mises.org pushing this anti-IP agenda. It is a conspiracy:
If they get their way we are only a small step away to challenge the government’s copyright claim on fiat money. After all what is fiat? An idea printed on paper.
Way to go mises.org, just be sure to reach that goal, too, don’t give up half way. That would be a double whammy again!
Sorry for busting your scheme.

Francisco Torres January 31, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Andras,
Everyone,
Hey, it is a progress. Old socialists were proud of their name, the recent ones fight it to the nail to refuse it. Way to go mises.org!

Despite of your attempt to be cute, the new socialists may not use the same name but are very proud of their newer name: liberals.

And again, being against IP does not make one a socialist. The irony is that, while the State has done everything in its power to trample on people’s liberty and their rights to possess TANGIBLE assets and property, the State is instead very gung-ho about protecting phony-baloney “rights” like IP.

IP, by the way, is a positive rights and like all positive rights, is just as phony, because these impose undue obligations upon others (e.g. people have a right to a home, to education, to a job, to health care, et cetera). Libertarians defend the concept of negative rights, which impose responsibilities or restrictions on others (as in: others cannot kill you, cannot rob you, cannot stop you from seeking your happiness, as you cannot do the same against others).

Francisco Torres January 31, 2009 at 4:25 pm

The same goes for millions dying of AIDS in Africa while pharmaceutical companies fought African governments to have their patents respected for the “sanctity of intellectual property”. I almost threw up the first time I read about that.

Just goes to show you how monopoly grants are heavily protected by those that receive the privilege from the State. IP as a racket has gone truly global, and not far behind comes global taxation – both are schemes to fleece people, and I don’t mean the poor only.

Whenever I have debated people on IP and the validity of granting ideas the same characteristic of tangible property, the counterargument is always that, without IP, we would not have great drugs. The problem with this argument is that people still think on terms of how much it costs in the US to offer a new medicine in the market because of regulatory restrictions, but complying with regulatory agencies does not justify imposing restrictions to other manufacturers based on “Intellectual Property”. People do not see what lies behind those costs and simply accept them as part of nature in order to justify IP law enforcement.

The end result of this form of corporate welfare is terribly costly drugs (due to lack of competition and no incentives for the pharmaceuticals to lower their prices) and a barrier to entry for competing manufacturers. Most defenders of IP do not realize (or dishonestly obfuscate) that many competitors do not actually copy the products, they just find similar substitutes that can be manufactured cheaply, and even so, IP law is so vague that courts can (and have) granted protection to pharmaceuticals based competing products having a formula “too similar” ( as if pharmaceuticals had exclusive rights to how molecules arrange themselves), which are bogus to the point of being ludicrous. Even when patents were granted in the Old Countries in the XIX Century, the protection was for the manufacturing PROCESS and not the formula, since courts at least had the good judgment to understand that whatever NATURE did cannot be patented.

heuristic January 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm

“it is an agreement where both parties agree to certain terms including the concept of “copyright.”

You’re confused as to the scope of copyright law. Contracts are only binding to buyer and seller. Copyright law goes beyond the scope of contracts to trample on other people’s property rights who copy or imitate ideas. Copyright has nothing to do, thus, with contract law. It has however much to do with virtual Letters of Marque granted by the government to publishers and industrialists as a way to circumvent the market, by virtue of “owning” ideas as if ideas were exclusive.

In conclusion: Saying that copyright is implicit in contracts is nothing more than an obfuscation of the true scope and reach of copyright law.”

Not at all, since any purchase can be an explicit contract as spelled out in “terms of sale.” Although in my post that you replied to I was specifically addressing the relationship of author to publisher that Tucker was claiming was “looting” of the supposedly inalienable rights of the author, contracts also extend to anyone who nuys a copy of the work from the publisher, under whatever terms of sale the publisher chooses to clearly express before the sale. By buying the product, the purchaser agrees to the terms.

Andras January 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm

@Francisco Torres,
About socialism: Do you know Marx’ slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” ? With abolishing IP, it is exactly what you promise. Are you sure it develops the way you expect it? Do you also consider the unseen?

I am not arguing the fact that IP laws are bad. They are very bad. However, I think, it is too big a jump from there to declare that all IP is worthless. After all that is exactly what we try to discuss here.
Is it right to say that under your $0 price rationalization scheme the consequence will be:
The more desperately a new idea is needed i.e., the more people copy it the less its scarcity consequently the stronger your claim that it is worthless. The more (desperately) is it needed the faster it becomes worthless? Don’t you see some contradictions?
Isn’t it possible that a non-IP world is anti intellectual as well? Will it not handle IP (now totally externalized) as an act of god and society will simply cannibalize it and its providers. It would be like overfishing or deforestation of “public” resources.
New ideas become liabilities instead of adaptations or roads to improvements.
Just a thought to consider.

Andras January 31, 2009 at 5:03 pm

@Francisco Torres,
There are no AIDS drugs, not even for the Africans, even if they need it that desperately. And there never be under your scheme. What we have currently, drugs that slow down certain HIV viruses. It is not enough to sprinkle drugs from helicopters on infected people. It needs individual drug regiment. The bulk of the cost. Additionally, the African strains are more diverse, some of them not even responding at all. Ignoring these facts are a certain recipe to develop resistance and loose all your activity to everyone.
And this is only beyond the fact that their guilt is that they tried to recover expenses (to develop the next generation of drugs). Like every technology driven industry the drug industry is heavily dependent on innovation. Without IP it goes to a screeching halt. It may be only temporary till it figures out how to interact with it. But who knows, it is another unseen.

Andras January 31, 2009 at 5:05 pm

@Francisco Torres,
There are no AIDS drugs, not even for the Africans, even if they need it that desperately. And there never be under your scheme. What we have currently, drugs that slow down certain HIV viruses. It is not enough to sprinkle drugs from helicopters on infected people. It needs individual drug regiment. The bulk of the cost. Additionally, the African strains are more diverse, some of them not even responding at all. Ignoring these facts are a certain recipe to develop resistance and loose all your activity to everyone.
And this is only beyond the fact that their guilt is that they tried to recover expenses (to develop the next generation of drugs). Like every technology driven industry the drug industry is heavily dependent on innovation. Without IP it goes to a screeching halt. It may be only temporary till it figures out how to interact with it. But who knows, it is another unseen.

newson January 31, 2009 at 7:35 pm

to heuristic:
your point on the perfect reproducibility of digital files is a red herring.
shakespeare lived in the time of the printing press, which allows perfect copying. the debates on the authenticity of his works are centred on the style and syntax. are they likely to have come from one artistic mind, or several etc?

likewise, there is often doubt regarding the authenticity of old masters’ works, as many had schools. from memory, rubens was inclined to sign works produced by his most talented students.

absent ip, one would expect to see a blooming expert market in provenance. ip stunts this.

newson January 31, 2009 at 8:33 pm

the film industry is already reacting to the apparent failure of its current business model, notwithstanding the weighty ip framework.

“the future film festival of bologna, 2009″ dedicated a day to the latest in 3D.
the beauty of stereo 3D for the industry is that it creates scarcity (special goggles available only in cinema).

this is the sort of reflex that characterizes the market, no “wise” hand of government needed.

Ken January 31, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Whatever else it does, copyright law illustrates the pitfalls and travails of trying to keep tame the dragon of government. Recall: “thanks to the U.S. Congress, an article you write today is under copyright protection until 70 years after your death.”

It was once 28 years, period. You might think that’s an acceptable compromise, but even if it is, then ask yourself this: How did it go from there to here?

Then ask yourself: What’s it going to look like the next time that godforsaken mouse gets ready to go into the public domain? Life plus 150 years?

newson January 31, 2009 at 8:52 pm

it strikes me that no one has brought photography (subject to perfect reproducibility) in this debate.

paparazzi seem to get the concept: first shot to market wins (exclusive: britney leaves rehab! kate moss coke-fiend! di dies in merc!) their product has almost no shelf-life, and yet very high present value.

celebrity photographers (annie leibovitz etc) seem to do ok on commission work with upfront fees.

hell, people are even prepared to pay wedding photographers, when they could perfectly well take pictures themselves.

newson January 31, 2009 at 9:11 pm

andras says:
“Isn’t it possible that a non-IP world is anti intellectual as well?”

and the renaissance? kindly explain that away.

clever-title January 31, 2009 at 10:25 pm

@heuristic
Not at all, since any purchase can be an explicit contract as spelled out in “terms of sale.” Although in my post that you replied to I was specifically addressing the relationship of author to publisher that Tucker was claiming was “looting” of the supposedly inalienable rights of the author, contracts also extend to anyone who nuys a copy of the work from the publisher, under whatever terms of sale the publisher chooses to clearly express before the sale. By buying the product, the purchaser agrees to the terms.

Your comment leads to another point. If an author creates a work that is similar to an existing copyrighted work, he faces legal threats from the copyright holder, even though the author was not a party to the contract. One cannot make a valid comparison to contract law if copyrights restrain the actions of entites who are not party to the contract.

gooddebate January 31, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Nicely said all. Now, can someone tell me where all the Beatles songs are on iTunes?

Erick Vasconcelos January 31, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Are posts like this the reason George Reisman cut back his participation in the Mises blog?

newson February 1, 2009 at 12:16 am

to ev:
reisman stills manages to sell hardcopy versions of “capitalism”, despite it being freely downloadble on mises.org

strikes me as good business sense – increases his profile, and he captures a section of the reading public that never would have paid the cover price.

unless you’re accusing him of altruism…

ktibuk February 1, 2009 at 3:26 am

Deefburger said

“You continue to view the thought, the idea, as a tangible, objective thing. It is not. Ideas, thoughts, language, are non-physical entities”

No I don’t. I just don’t care if something is material or immaterial. You are the one that is stuck on that.

When it comes to property, the individual and homesteading is what matters to me.

From this perspective, by treating the intangible differently, you are actually treating the created ideas as “freely floating natural goods”. The Harry Potter novel was not a free natural good that was floating around where Rawling happened to stumble on.

This is clearly wrong. If an idea is here this means it was created by some individual. The same idea, or similar ones may be homesteaded by different people at the same time, but it is never the case that the idea is a gift from Nature, or God for that matter. It is a pure product of reason which only humans have.

Also aggression is NOT something that is to do with the physical integrity of matter on an atomic level. It is about the individual and his consent. Actually almost all libertarians concede to this point when the question is about “fraud” but when it comes to IP, suddenly aggression becomes solely about physical integrity. They keep claiming the owner still has the original after the copying so there was no aggression. Well, the aggression is about consent of the owner, and if someone copied something without consent then there is aggression.

Also I am aware that there are “technical” difficulties when it comes to enforcing IP rights. But this is also true for any property right. And enforcement issues can come only after the homesteading which is the process of making something property.

ktibuk February 1, 2009 at 3:42 am

Torres said,

“Do you know why and how socialists back in the 18th and 19th century opposed property rights?

This is irrelevant. This form of arguing is called “poisoning the well”. Just because socialists opposed property rights does not mean that opposing PHONY BALONEY “rights” like IP makes one a socialist.”

Have you read the article? I am responding to the article where Jeff continuously refers to 18th and 19th centuries and evolution of the IP laws.

You people keep asserting IP rights don’t matter without a sound argument, but that was exactly what socialist did with all property rights. They also called all private property rights “PHONY BALONEY” rights.

You keep proving you are the same by arguing that you are not. Tragic.

“Yes there were lots of legislative problems when it came to property (both tangible property and IP)

This is a damned lie. Common law established the legal base for property and property rights based on Natural Law. IP is entirely artificial and had no sound philosophical base – it is entirely a government grant.”

So it is lie that during Feudalism property rights were abused? The legislation back then didn’t give privileges to certain aristocrats? Anyone could obtain property and exchange it freely? You have to study some history kid.

You are the one that is being dishonest by nitpicking through my posts and respond to the ones you want.

I am saying that legislation doesn’t represent the theory. If you try to abolish private property based on the flaws of the legislation this means you are doing the same thing socialists did.

“Yes , regarding IP laws there are many legislative problems and some are even part of the crony capitalism set up. But this is no excuse for ABOLISHING PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS.[The emphasis is mine]

This is intellectual dishonesty – private property rights and IP are not the same, the legislative “problems” you think exist notwithstanding.”

That is just your assertion. You have no coherent paradox-free argument to back it up. No ethical argument, no economic argument.

You just claim that you are entitled to other peoples product and you keep repeating this like spoiled children in a toy store.

Drake February 1, 2009 at 3:50 am

@ktibuk

Your calculation argument rests upon the assumption that the producer of an “intellectual creation” (to use Mises’ phrase) does not possess a competitive advantage sufficient to justify production. However, Mises has already addressed this issue:

“[Inventors and authors] have a temporary advantage as against other people. As they start sooner in utilizing their invention or their manuscript themselves or in making it available for use to other people (manufacturers or publishers), they have the chance to earn profits in the time interval until everybody can likewise utilize it. As soon as the invention or the content of the book are publicly known, they become ‘free goods’ and the inventor or author has only his glory.”

Notice that Mises describes freely copyable works as “free goods” and not “socialized goods”. Conspicuously absent from the above quote is any mention of the impossibility of economic calculation absent copyright. To the contrary:

Mises stated that the services rendered by intellectual creations are “not scarce, and [therefore] there is no need to economize their employment. Those considerations that resulted in the establishment of the institution of private ownership of economic goods did not refer to them. They remained outside the sphere of private property not because they are immaterial, intangible, and impalpable, but because their serviceableness cannot be exhausted.”

[My thanks to Mr. Kinsella for having the integrity to actually read Mises and for providing us with relevant quotes.]

ktibuk February 1, 2009 at 3:55 am

And some IP socialists like Jeff and Newson on the comments keep claiming since there weren’t any “IP legislation” back in the days therefore we can conclude there was no IP.

This is a fallacy.

This is like saying a house on a remote mountain that no one would go to wouldnt need a property title, so there is no property rights or no need one.

Legislation is about “protection of property”. A property is not something that is created by legislation, registration or a piece of paper that is handed down by states.

If IP is naturally protected there may not be a need to personally protect it by legislation or courts.

Before the printing press this true for the books. There was IP but there wasnt a need for IP laws because there was no easy way for piracy.

The main problem with you IP socialists is that you have no notion of natural property rights.

heuristic February 1, 2009 at 4:02 am

clever-title writes:

“@heuristic
Not at all, since any purchase can be an explicit contract as spelled out in “terms of sale.” Although in my post that you replied to I was specifically addressing the relationship of author to publisher that Tucker was claiming was “looting” of the supposedly inalienable rights of the author, contracts also extend to anyone who nuys a copy of the work from the publisher, under whatever terms of sale the publisher chooses to clearly express before the sale. By buying the product, the purchaser agrees to the terms.

Your comment leads to another point. If an author creates a work that is similar to an existing copyrighted work, he faces legal threats from the copyright holder, even though the author was not a party to the contract. One cannot make a valid comparison to contract law if copyrights restrain the actions of entites who are not party to the contract.”

Your statement is equivalent to: “One cannot say that swans are white if I have managed to find a black swan.” Sure I can validly say that, if nearly all the swans that I and the other speakers have encountered, are white. The anti-IPers here are not talking about such exceptions as you cite; they are arguing about the very existence of white swans.

Contracts that create IP potentially cover the bulk of cases where the concept presently applies, and your attempt to finding “outrider” cases is a distraction that hardly invalidates the basic concept: contracts create IP and potentially cover most cases where it currently applies.

Now it is true that there are people who disregard contracts such as terms of sale and copy anyway. And it is also true that it may be difficult or impossible to trace back to find the original contract violator, and even if you found him, to penalize him. Nevertheless, the ethics are clear (contracts create IP, and it is right to do what you have agreed to do and to refrain from doing what you have agreed not to do) regardless of the short-term costs and benefits of any particular IP regime.

So much of the discussion here revolves around the utility or disutilty of IP but that is only partly relevant to what is ethically right and wrong. In a totally free society most people most of the time will do the right thing (specifically: honoring their contracts) even if on particular occasions they might be able to get away with violating their agreements. In other words, in a stateless world there will still be IP.

ktibuk February 1, 2009 at 4:07 am

@Drake

“Your calculation argument rests upon the assumption that the producer of an “intellectual creation” (to use Mises’ phrase) does not possess a competitive advantage sufficient to justify production. However, Mises has already addressed this issue:”

It is not my calculation argument it is Mises’ and it doesnt rest on that “competitive advantage” assumption. Yes Mises is right on this point, and I agree the author would have a competitive advantage.

But calculation argument is a different, more complex issue. It is about prices and signals they relay, not some ahead time Price signals are about what to produce, how much to produce and who should produce them. Without this information, ahead time would have no meaning.

Drake February 1, 2009 at 4:28 am

@ktibuk

Mises said,

“As soon as the invention or the content of the book are publicly known, they become ‘free goods’…”

He did NOT say that they become “socialized goods”. He did NOT say that economic calculation becomes impossible. He did NOT equate the abolition of copyright with socialism.

TO THE CONTRARY:

Mises stated that the services rendered by intellectual creations are “not scarce, and [therefore] there is no need to economize their employment.” Intellectual creations remain “outside the sphere of private property … because their serviceableness cannot be exhausted.”

ktibuk February 1, 2009 at 4:46 am

@Drake

“”As soon as the invention or the content of the book are publicly known, they become ‘free goods’…”

He did NOT say that they become “socialized goods”. He did NOT say that economic calculation becomes impossible. He did NOT equate the abolition of copyright with socialism.”

Yes, of course they become free goods. “Socialized” is another way of saying “free”, only “free” is an economics term.

But I concede Mises didn’t apply his calculation theory solely on IP. He just mentions externality since IP can be bundled with tangible goods but doesn’t take the issue far enough.

In his time IP was mostly about patents because piracy wasn’t this elaborate. There was no digital media, or internet.

If he was alive today I am sure her would analyze IP regarding the calculation issue.

Drake February 1, 2009 at 5:07 am

@ktibuk

Thank you for finally conceding that Mises did not propound your calculation argument. If you want to claim that Mises wasn’t farsighted enough and/or that your brilliant mind has outdone him, those are other issues entirely.

Drake February 1, 2009 at 5:13 am

P.s. You’re full of ****

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_good

“The free good is a term used in economics to describe a good that is not scarce. A free good is available in as great a quantity as desired with zero opportunity cost to society.

A good that is made available at zero price is not necessarily a free good. For example, a shop might give away its stock in its promotion, but producing these goods would still have required the use of scarce resources, so this would not be a free good in an economic sense.

There are two main types of free goods:

* Resources that are jointly produced. Here the free good is produced as a by-product of something more valuable. Waste products from factories and homes, such as discarded packaging, are often free goods (see also dumpster diving).

* Ideas and works that are reproducible at zero cost, or almost zero cost. For example, if someone invents a new device, many people could copy this invention, with no danger of this “resource” running out. Other examples include computer programs and web pages.”

Artisan February 1, 2009 at 10:49 am

@Tucker
Yet another specific utilitarian argument against IP… and though the ERB facts were quite interesting, the argument doesn’t really change much as it could be a special case, couldn’t it?

Still I don’t know if I understand that indignation over “imprisoned works” completely except for historians like Jeffrey Tucker…

If authors really didn’t want publishers to starve their potential public in the future, wouldn’t they just prefer to sign special agreements over the use of their copyrights instead of allowing anyone else to use their work in any possible way, to start with? I’ve seen such contracts before in fact, where publishers loose their rights if they fail to reprint on demand…

To the other utilitarian aspect:
Certainly, to earn money with one’s individual work is not always the sole reason for doing an enterprise… one’s own glory really is nice too (and what about per deo gratias?) especially for philosophers I guess.

On the other hand would you then use that argument for condemning any rewarding scheme?

Example
Someone invests money and (fulfilling) work in an enterprise concept with the idea to get returns on the benefits later … and by the end of a profitable period the manager tells him -”sorry, our contract is worth nothing”, because I happened to manage that enterprise you found, I can’t give you a share of the profits. It’s all my work really. The starter deserves all glory he gets for sure, so congratulations, but that really SHOULD be enough.

@Drake:

before posting quotes that are:
rated as “Start-Class” on the wiki quality scale.
perhaps you should read the article that its author on wiki has “most worked on” also, as it is called “libertarian socialism” and you may want to explain if you are affiliated to that formulation as well.

Deefburger February 1, 2009 at 10:57 am

ktibuk says: The main problem with you IP socialists is that you have no notion of natural property rights.

Apperently you are missing the point of fact that there are no natural IP rights. Thoughts and ideas, in order to exist, naturally must be shared. That is their nature. Thoughts and ideas by their very nature are social once expressed. To claim any right to them one must keep them to one’s self. But even then, it is natural for a thought or idea to become known to others as well. Who then can claim exclusivity? It is the height of vanity and arrogance to think that you alone are the only one capable of conceiving of any one particular thought, and therefore to assume exclusivity of use and expression.

That my friend is not natural.

What you can claim is the uniqueness of expression. Your performance, your product, your book, your composition, your brand, your unique expression. Naturally, you are the only one who can express it in the manner and style in which you do. But for that you need not employ state protection. You are unique by default, naturally, and can not, therefore, be “robbed” of your unique expression. This you can claim a right to, naturally. But not the thought itself.

This is not socialism. It’s natural law.

That said, you make a valid point in another post about the nature of contracts. You argue that a contractual agreements, law, etc. are also thoughts, and equally non-physical in nature, yet we consider them real.

I agree, except that contracts are generally shared between parties, expressed in printed form, signed uniquely by the involved parties. Again, it is the unique expression of the contract that is binding.

The same with Law. The ideas are expressed in a specific manner, under specific conditions, and agreed upon by multiple parties.

You cannot bind me to honor your thought simply by thinking it up. That would be the same as drawing up a contract and then enforcing that contract without the expressed knowledge and consent of the other party. This is what Positive Rights means. As for the wrongness of this type of contract you need look no further than the Federal Reserve. They draw up a debt contract, sell it to a third party, and then hold the taxpayers responsible for the repayment of the debt.

IP effectively does the same thing. You think up a great idea, get your patent, and then expect everyone else to forget thinking about it because you have a “contract” of exclusivity of expression. Very nice.

And if my idea is too “similar” to yours, then you can claim that your idea trumps mine?
By what standard? Is your idea the “Archetype”, the “Master” because your patent says it is so?

It it exclusive by divine right? Did your god hand it to you through the mechanism of your mind to the exclusion of all others? Were you the “chosen one”?

I think not!

clever-title February 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm

@heuristic
Now it is true that there are people who disregard contracts such as terms of sale and copy anyway. And it is also true that it may be difficult or impossible to trace back to find the original contract violator, and even if you found him, to penalize him. Nevertheless, the ethics are clear (contracts create IP, and it is right to do what you have agreed to do and to refrain from doing what you have agreed not to do) regardless of the short-term costs and benefits of any particular IP regime.
I was only pointing out that the relationship to contract law is only valid between parties who actually have a contract. e.g. between author & publisher, or between buyer & seller of a CD, book, or digital file. Applying concepts of contract law beyond these cases does not make sense.

So much of the discussion here revolves around the utility or disutilty of IP but that is only partly relevant to what is ethically right and wrong. In a totally free society most people most of the time will do the right thing (specifically: honoring their contracts) even if on particular occasions they might be able to get away with violating their agreements. In other words, in a stateless world there will still be IP.
I follow your points about utilitarian arguments and the behavior of most people in the marketplace, but I was questioning the ethics of the restrictions IP places on society as a whole. IP restricts not only direct copies of protected work, but other works that the owner feels are similar to the protected work. IP prevents owners of a printing press, webserver, film studio, etc. from using their property to create new works that involve a boy going to wizard school learning how to fight an evil wizard, even if they have never heard of JK Rowling or read her work. I am not certain that the prior restraints that IP places on owners of those devices are any more ethical than stealing IP.

Joe February 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm

I would reply to the posters who claim written material is property, except that I am concerned that after quoting them they may retaliate with force for ‘stealing’ their ‘property.’

If we were unfortunate enough to run across each other in a dance hall, I would also fear violence if I sang the wrong tune or danced the wrong steps, in my ignorance not knowing they had already proclaimed such behavior to be their ‘property.’

The pro IP posters may be relieved to know that the government has developed computer systems for tracking people who steal others property by communicating forbidden words or making use of forbidden engineering practices.

After all, it’s apparently a God given right to prevent others from repeating words or behavior that we have declared to be our ‘property.’ Presumably if the words or behavior that one owns were to be repeated too many times, the supply of said words and behavior would run out leaving none for the originator.

Wait a minute, why was this IP thing invented again?

Joe B February 1, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Socialism means, among other things, FORCING everybody to give up their property to the state.

This is not the approach that Anti-IP’ers here are taking (if I may speak for the group). We are only opposed to arbitrary universal laws decreed by fiat. Individual creators are free to take whatever means they choose towards preventing others from using their ideas, at their own expense.

A contract is a contract. If it prevents two parties from taking certain actions, then those two parties must abide by the contract and refrain from those actions. It doesn’t matter whether the contract refers to ideas or physical property. Any contract should include terms describing the acceptable measures to enforce it.

The problem with copyright law (and any law) is that it forces everyone into a particular contract, subject to enforcement, without their consent.

Property rights only serve their purpose of preventing conflict when they are universally regarded as being fair. Physical property rights require coercive enforcement because many people disagree with the view that unclaimed scarce resources belong to nobody – as I mentioned on the last post, some would argue that they belong to everybody (resulting in socialism).

Like it or not, the morality of “Natural” property rights is ultimately derived from a utilitarian notion that they are better than constant conflict over scarce resources. In addition, the logical extension of the socialist view requires sacrificing more individual liberty than the capitalist view, which generally makes the capitalist view more preferable or “ethical.”

The arguments that ideas would not be produced without some monopoly protection are also fundamentally utilitarian, under the assumption that more new ideas are better than fewer new ideas. Perhaps that is why many of the examples that Jeff cites provide a utilitarian case for the removal of IP laws.

In order to justify forcing everybody into contracts, you must provide a strong case that the alternative to these laws is generally less preferable. If you are going to coercively enforce these nonconsensual contracts, don’t bother preaching about ethics.

Regarding calculation, price signals do not tell you “how much to produce,” they tell you how many scarce resources are worth allocating to production. You are lumping the process of idea creation with the process of using that idea (a non-scarce, infinitely durable capital good) to repeatedly produce consumer goods.

You are stuck in a mindset that only quantity of units sold can produce a price signal, and this leads you to assume that the free market price of an idea tends to zero quickly enough to make idea creation unprofitable. There are other ways to put a price on an idea, and these are the challenges (or opportunities) facing specific business models.

Drake February 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm

@Artisan, ktibuk

In case you’re wondering about the veracity of the wikipedia entry, here’s a quote from “Human Action”:

“[Economists have customarily] differentiated between free goods and economic goods. They called free goods those things which, being available in superfluous abundance, do not need to be economized. Such goods are, however, not the object of any action. … Only the economic goods are the substratum of action. They alone are dealt with in economics.”

In other words, free goods are not dealt with in economics.

“As soon as the invention or the content of the book are publicly known, they become ‘free goods’…”

Gil February 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm

I beg to differ Joe B. ktibuk stated, and I would agree, that property rights come from being able to enjoy the fruit on one’s labour. He also said, to which I also agree, is that such ownership is singular and doesn’t require the input of anyone else. To put a Utilitarianist spin on why things should be this or that is faulty, dangerous or, even, pointless.

Take the Utilitarianist argument against slavery – free labour is more cost-effective than slavery. Does that mean slavery should be reinstated when free labour loses its competitve edge? Shouldn’t slavery be wrong, period?

Or – more guns equal less crime. If certain parts of the world show more guns equals more crime, does that mean it mean banning gun ownership is a good thing? Or should responsible gun owners not be punished by the crimes of irresponsible gun owners regardless of how rare honest gun owners are?

Stephan Kinsella February 2, 2009 at 12:30 am

Ktibuk:

“Common law established the legal base for property and property rights based on Natural Law. IP is entirely artificial and had no sound philosophical base – it is entirely a government grant.”

So it is lie that during Feudalism property rights were abused? The legislation back then didn’t give privileges to certain aristocrats? Anyone could obtain property and exchange it freely? You have to study some history kid.

You are the one that is being dishonest by nitpicking through my posts and respond to the ones you want.

It’s not nitpicking to point out that IP has not and could not evolve on the free market any more than a tax code or Americans with Disabilities Act could. See my comments here, here, and in my Legislation and the Discovery of Law in a Free Society. And legislation is clearly incompatible with libertarianism, just as the state is. So it’s not “nitpicking” at all. You advocate something that can only be imposed by state diktat; you advocate state legislation, central planning. You dare to say here, in this den of libertarians, that pointing this out is nitpicking? You dare to show up here and call us socialists?

You call Jeff and others socialist. We call you socialist. Who is right? Who is right is the person with the proper view of property rights. Who is wrong is the one who is advocating infringement of property rights. Well, let’s see. By advocating IP you ARE advocating that person A gain a right to tell person B how B can use property B already homesteaded and owned. Before your IP rule, B had the right to use his property as he saw fit. After IP, A can veto some uses. Your IP scheme has redistributed property rights from its first user and owner, to some third party A who was not its homesteader. This is what socialists and thieves do, ktibuk: they take, partly or completely, the property of others. They steal. Unlike the more honest private criminals (see Spooner’s great quote about the highwayman being morally superior to the government, as quoted here), the more visible, smooth, oily, and institutional ones try to hide their theft, masquerade its true nature, and come up with rationalizations that confuse their victims and the onlooking public. But it’s all the same: you have some looters coming up with a reason for stealing someone’s property. Even a typical socialist is more honest: he takes it because he wants it, he needs it, he wants to give it to the poor, or to the state so it can do its thang. But you? Your rationale is this one: A thought of a way to use his own property, so that gives him a right to own part of B’s property.

What? Say what? come again? Do you not see how full of fertilizer this reasoning is? In the face of the hallowed, glorious, and unimpeachable Lockean homesteading rule that underpins all libertarianism, and all society and civilization–and the concomitant rule that the owner of property is now its owner until he voluntarily reliquishes it–that is, that the current or prior claimant to land always of necessity has a better claim to it than any late-comer.

In the face of these proud, beautiful principles that all sane men, certainly all those educated in basic economics and who are not monsteres–and all libertarians–recognize and cherish–you want to mar them, to add another that undercuts them–you want to say, “yeah, all that–except if A thinks of a way to use his own property, right, he gets the right to stop B from doin’ it too!”

This is nothing but the latest, state-aided manifestation of the sickening and common desire to stop people from competing with you. If I open up a supermarket chain with nice wide aisles, open 24/7, yeah, they’ll outcompete the local mom and pops. Until, of course, the mom and pops start emulating the things the chain is doing that is drawing away customers. This is exactly what competition is–emulation and imitation (and improvement) in a constant battle for market share… all the while, the improvements and innovations spread and benefit all. Yes, sure, the chain would like to stop the local stores from opening 24/7 and having wide aisles. We know why tey want to. We know also why Apple is happy to have patents it can use to stomp competition for its iPhone.

This is disgusting, man at his worst; it’s not libertarian. It’s sickening to see an allege libertairna advocating this socialist claptrap and claiming opponents of it are the socialists. That’s really rich.

You also seem unable to recognize how inane your argument is, when you continually resort to question-begging. Do you know what it means to beg the question, and why it’s an illegitimate argumentative tactic? E.g., “You just claim that you are entitled to other peoples product and you keep repeating this like spoiled children in a toy store.”

See, you are here assuming what you want to prove by classifying the patterns at issue as owned “products.” Uhm, that’s the question, ktibuk.

And finally, out of desperation and ever-changing tactics, you are now dredging up Silas’s inane, cibbed argument about IP being needed because of the calculation problem. Give it a rest, will you? You are beaten, handily; slink back and rethink.

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