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  • aaeru1 8:25 pm on July 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    “Intellectual property” in fact leads to escalation of conflict, the opposite of real property 

    Why is it that sometimes your society will respect your ownership claims to certain property?

    “Physical objects bear an inherent conflict within themselves because of their physical properties: they can only be made up of specific atoms and occupy specific space and so cannot be owned multiple times at once. Avoiding the conflict that stems from those properties is advantageous from a pure game theory perspective. Life’s much easier if we don’t have to fight each other every second of every day. That’s where the idea of property and ownership come in. A community that didn’t respect SOME form of property consensus (even if it’s just “everything belongs to the high priest!”) would not get very far.
    Legitimate property is therefore a tool for reducing conflict inherent in society. Things that are (in practical terms) abundant, like …(air when we are outdoors)… or a piece of publicly available knowledge, are not a source of conflict, therefore it makes no sense to call it anyone’s property. “Intellectual property” in fact leads to escalation of conflict, since it requires violent enforcement of unprovable claims against parts of established and otherwise uncontested property.”

    • Piotr Witold Von Fedorowski


  • aaeru1 5:42 pm on June 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Intellectual "Property"   

    Rufus Pollock: Copyright is a Monopoly! (And isn’t like normal property) 

    The equation of ‘intellectual property’ (IP) such as copyright with (traditional “real”) property is frequently made, especially by those advocating its extension. However, this equation is fundamentally erroneous and results in very serious misapprehension of the nature and effect of IP. In particular, patents and copyright confer monopolies in a way that ownership of real property does not.

    How is it different?
    ‘Real’ property like an apple, a car or an acre of land can only ever be used by one person/entity at one time — in economist’s terminlogy they are ‘rival’ goods. Giving someone exclusive rights over them therefore does no harm — only one person can have it and via trade we can ensure the person who values it most ends up with it 1. Here, creating property rights leads to an efficient outcome (at least in our simple case — in more complex setups we would need to think about complementarities, transaction costs etc).

    By contrast, a copyright in, for example, a particular text confers not simply control over this or that particular book containing the text but over every instance of such a book. This is the very essence of a monopoly: being sole supplier of some good!

    And it has all of the standard consequences of the monopoly: prices rise relative to what they would have been and access is reduced relative to its efficient level in which the price equals the cost of reproduction (i.e. we have a “deadweight” loss).

    Furthermore, this cost of monopoly can be particularly serious when we have extensive “reuse” — i.e. new work builds upon old — as the monopoly inhibits not only access by users but the creation of new creative work.

    The difference then between “normal” property and “intellectual property” is the difference between giving someone control of one apple (the apple they bought say) and control of all apples. The latter results in significant harm and inefficiency while the former does not.

    Now, of course, the fact copyright is a monopoly does not mean it is per se bad. After all, we are deeply concerned with the incentives to create and the copyright monopoly helps provide such incentives.

    We may therefore be willing to tolerate the ex-post costs of a monopoly because of the ex-ante benefits it provides in incentivizing and rewarding the creation of new work. But this is fundamentally a trade-off and one which gets worse as the monopoly is extended — a completely different situation from that with “real” property.

    This point is made elegantly by Macaulay (opposing a copyright term extension in the 1840s):

    “It is good that authors should be remunerated, and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil: but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good.”

    This is not something one would write about normal, ‘real’, property.

    • Rufus Pollock


  • R 7:19 am on May 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    Roderick T. Long: You cannot own information without owning other people 

    “Ethically, property rights of any kind have to be justified as extensions of the right of individuals to control their own lives. Thus any alleged property rights that conflict with this moral basis – like the “right” to own slaves – are invalidated. Intellectual property rights also fail to pass this test. To enforce copyright laws and the like is to prevent people from making peaceful use of the information they possess. If you have acquired the information legitimately (say, by buying a book), the on what grounds can you be prevented from using it reproducing it, trading it? Is this not a violation of (added: one’s property’s rights) and the freedom of speech and press?

    It may be objected that the person who originated the information deserves ownership rights over it. But information is not a concrete thing an individual can control; it is a universal, existing in other people’s minds and other people’s property, and over those the originator has no legitimate sovereignty. You cannot own information without owning other people.”

    • Roderick T. Long


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  • R 1:25 pm on May 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Intellectual "Property",   

    Fundamental property rights come first over artists/industry survival 

    Well, this is the disconnect I guess. You admit you only hold this view because of the detrimental effects (you think) are impacting the industry. You are asserting that a fundamental aspect of property rights and consumer rights as it has existed since the beginning of trade should be adjusted and recodified on a per-industry basis, not because it’s inherently bad or unethical, but just because you think it’s a threat to the industry’s health. Which means you are essentially arguing for protectionism for corporations–consumers are free to exercise their consumer rights only up to a certain point, but if that free exercise is perceived to threaten the viability of the industry, then their rights must be limited in order to save the industry.

    I don’t think I can put into words my disgust at this demeaning display of groveling at the feet of your game developer overlords. Less a die-hard laissez-faire capitalist, but because even a capitalist would accept that sometimes industries die and that’s the way the world works. As much as I enjoy games, there is no inherent good in this industry to claim ‘public good’. The ends do not justify the means here; there is nothing that makes the gaming industry inherently worthy of preservation, not to the point that would justify carving out a special exemption for them. Just because your favored set of content producers couldn’t properly adapt does not justify rewriting the rules of what “property ownership” means and fundamentally removing the ability to preserve, inherit, pass on, lend, and share its products.

    The industry does not come first; consumers do.

    • modified from neogaf post about first sale doctrine, but it is applied in the same way to real property rights and the right to manufacture copies of your own property for others. Substitute “industry’s health” with “artist’s rights to a living”.


  • R 12:19 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    Prof. Stephen Davies: intellectual property is both intellectually incoherent and dangerous 

    “The third view, which I personally hold, is that intellectual property is both intellectually incoherent and dangerous. It’s dangerous because in order to enforce intellectual property, you have to interfere with people’s other real property rights in real physical objects and to stop them using those objects freely and as they wish to. So you aren’t able to freely use, for example, your computer, your mp3 player, or your video recorder.”

    • Prof. Stephen Davies
  • R 11:09 am on May 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    Boldrin & Levine: Intellectual property law is not about your right to control your copy of your idea 

    “All of this brings us to what intellectual property law is really about – a reality that is simply obscured by analogies to other types of property. Intellectual property law is not about your right to control your copy of your idea – this is a right that we have just pointed out, does not need a great deal of protection. What intellectual property law is really about is about your right to control my copy of your idea. This is not a right ordinarily or automatically granted to the owners of other types of property. If I produce a cup of coffee, I have the right to choose whether or not to sell it to you or drink it myself. But my property right is not an automatic right both to sell you the cup of coffee and to tell you how to drink it.

    It is important to distinguish between property rights and contractual agreements. You could sell me the delicious cup of coffee you just made, and have me sign a contract agreeing not to drink the coffee after 4 pm. But if I were to violate this agreement it would not be theft. As a matter of law, you could not send the police after me. You could sue me for breach of contract – and the courts might or might not decide the contract was valid. But there would be no question of theft or violation of property rights.

    So what is the contractual arrangement in current intellectual property law? The most significant feature is the agreement not to sell copies of the idea in competition with the person who sold you the idea. Outside of the area of “intellectual property” such an agreement would be called anti-competitive, and a violation of the anti-trust law. If you reach an agreement with someone else not to compete with them, not only would the courts refuse to enforce such a contract, but you would be subject to substantial civil and criminal penalties. “Intellectual property” in other words, is not about property at all, it is about legal monopoly.”

    • Michele Boldrin and David K.Levine


  • R 4:47 pm on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property",   

    They hijacked our sense of morality here in the West 

    [Aaeru] K13T3Y: they hijacked our sense of morality here in the West. for example in the 70s in the US, copyright was largely considered by the public as an advantage given to authors that the public was willing to tolerate, in order to see More creations. it was only after the 80s that this view began to be reversed (see first 4 paragraphs http://open-spaces.com/article-v2n1-loren.php/ by professor Loren)

    [Aaeru] K13T3Y: in fact the term ‘intellectual property’ didn’t even appear in our vocabulary until the 80s http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=intellectual+property&year_start=1950&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3
    so before the 80s, it wasn’t even regarded as property

    [Aaeru] K13T3Y: in fact, the chinese had almost 1000 years worth of printing technology (they were several centuries ahead of the west), and yet NO concept of author’s rights or intellectual property ever arose.

    [Aaeru] the first chinese copyright law appeared at the start of the 20th century (they copied the Japanese), and serious enforcement was not in place until the 70s, when it was still being Resisted by the public at the time. http://c4sif.org/2013/02/to-steal-a-book-is-an-elegant-offense-chinese-saying/

  • R 8:41 pm on April 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    The term ‘intellectual property’ is an oxymoron, a nonsense word. 

    “This is an intellectual ‘property’ (IP) issue. First of all, you need to understand what property really is. Legitimate property arose spontaneously as a means of justly determining the allocation of units of scarce resources among human beings. Imagine if we were in the garden of eden, there is no scarcity. I can conjure apples from the tip of my fingers, and so can you. Therefore the concept of property would not have arose, for it makes no sense. In a world where you can ‘have your cake and eat it too’, if you ate my cake, I will just conjure a new one. There is no scarcity. What does it matter that you ate mine? And so it is with packets of information. Information is not-scarce. I don’t have to wait until you’re done with the movie before I can play one. We press a button and we each have a movie each. If I modify my movie, it does not modify yours. If I copy yours, you don’t have any less. It is as if by magic, there is infinite copies of movies available. What does it matter that you are using this copy? I will just conjure a new one. That is why there is no conflict in the use of information, hence no need for property rights. We don’t have to guard the other from using our information. We can both use it at the same time. That is why the term ‘intellectual property’ is an oxymoron, a nonsense word.

    On the contrary, In the world of scarcity, if you ate my cake, I can’t eat it anymore. Therefore I will defend my cake with a gun if you dare try to eat it. Intellectual property is the opposite. You are saying you will invade other people’s use of their own cake with guns. You are saying you will invade other people’s use of their own movie with guns.

    However, you certainly have the right to keep your creation to yourself. If someone were to steal your copy, it would indeed be theft, and you would be entitled to compensation.

    However, it is another matter entirely if you willfully release your creation to the world, and then try to tell others that they can’t use their own property and effort to make a copy, or try to improve on their copy and share those improvements. To deny them this implies that you have the right to restrict their use of their own property. If they continue to use their property as they choose, you are saying you will use the government to steal from them in the form of fines, and if they resist…. then break their knee caps.”

    from http://fuwanovel.org/faq/5

  • R 5:37 am on March 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property",   

    If I print 1000 books, all 1000 books are mine. If I sell one book, I have 999 left. 

    If I print 1000 books, all 1000 books are mine.

    If I sell one book, I have 999 left.

    The one book that I have sold it is no longer my property. It has become the customer’s property. Now this one book that is no longer my property, it competes against my 999. The customer I have sold to is free to re-sell it or even give it away to friends, family or community for free, and clearly that may subtract a potential sale of my 999. But my customer does not steal from me, he merely competes with me.

    Now suppose my customer was to flip through his book and stroke by stroke with a pen, he copied his entire book into a 2nd book. So now my customer has two books. He has the book he bought from me, and he has his copied book. Now do we say that the 2nd book is not his property and that it is my property? No, the 2nd book is still his property. Just because he manufactured it by using a piece of property that he bought from me does not mean I even partly-own his 2nd book. He has full control over the 2nd book just as much as he has full control over the 1st book. If he chooses to spend his own time and money to manufacture a 2nd book so that he can give it to a friend, then he is free to do so, because THAT IS HIS PROPERTY.

    I do not even try to pretend that I partly-own his 2nd book because that would be implying that I can restrict my customer’s use of his own property, which is theft. I do not try to confuse my customer into thinking that competing against me is the same as theft, because that itself is the moral equivalent of frauding an old lady off her pension funds.

    It does not logically come to pass that if I manufacture a 2nd book using 21st century technology that it is no longer manufacturing books. Manufacturing a book in 14th century is the same as manufacturing a book in 21st century regardless of the technology of the time. Words like theft, piracy, stealing, protection are dishonest words that attempt to confuse the customer into thinking they do not fully own their own property, that someone else does. These attempts are the real theft. These are the words of thieves. Unfortunately their attempts do not work on thinking people. Do you not see it?

    See why do copyright monopolists think they can just steal from somebody else’s work? http://falkvinge.net/2013/02/10/why-do-copyright-monopolists-think-they-can-just-steal-somebody-elses-work/

    Also see 5 basic misconceptions about the copyright monopoly and sharing of culture. http://falkvinge.net/2013/02/13/five-basic-misconceptions-about-the-copyright-monopoly-and-sharing-of-culture/

    • Crosbie Fitch 7:46 am on March 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      NB there are (usually) two forms of property here: the paper book (material work) and the novel (intellectual work).

      If you sell someone a book, you necessarily sell them the intellectual work within it too.

      However, if the book/manuscript is in your private possession, a burglar can steal the intellectual work (by making a copy), even though they haven’t stolen the material work (the paper book).

      Intellectual work is property. The state granted monopoly called copyright is not a property right, but an 18th century privilege – despite the fact that so many people like to pretend it makes their words their property even after they have sold them.

    • Chris Tenarium 10:46 am on April 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      If someone were to copy the entire works of harry potter, printing 100 copies of those works and selling them or giving them out etc, that is illegal, property and intellectual property are two different things, I can’t justify it in a court of law by saying “Well I copied/improved their work and then used it for my own benefit”, people can pirate until their heart is content but I can’t let someone try and justify piracy.

      • Aaeru 12:45 am on April 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I didnt spell out the point of the article properly.

        the point is that any enforcement of your so-called intellectual “property” requires the destruction of real property rights. you can have real property, or you can MODIFY it to make way for IP. u cannot have both at the same time.

        • houstonlawy3r 6:52 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink

          Interesting point. I was going to also make the comment that the act of copying copyrighted content (“the book”) is what the person with the pen was not allowed to do.

          Obviously I have my own feelings on whether it is right or wrong to make a copy of something you have purchased of lawfully acquired, but this is where copyright law differs from many peoples’ sensibilities. With some “fair use” exceptions, the law generally does not allow you to copy someone else’s copyrighted content, even if it is for the purpose of sharing it with your friend so that he can read it to. The law wants you to give YOUR PHYSICAL COPY of the book to your friend; this would be okay. In its essence, you purchased the tangible book; not the rights to the content in it.

          As for your comment, you are correct that the PAPER AND THE INK that you used to copy the content is still your personal property. Now obviously there are those who want to alter the laws to take even that away from you, but that is a very different issue than whether you were allowed to make the copy in the first place.

        • houstonlawy3r 6:54 pm on July 26, 2013 Permalink

          And sorry for the misspelling. The “f” and “r” keys are quite close together on this laptop.

          “Obviously I have my own feelings on whether it is right or wrong to make a copy of something you have purchased *OR* lawfully acquired, but this is where copyright law differs from many peoples’ sensibilities.”

  • R 11:17 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    Legitimate property exists only as a means of justly determining the allocation of individual units of scarce resources. 

    “First of all, you need to understand what property really is. Legitimate property exists only as a means of justly determining the allocation of individual units of scarce resources.

    You certainly have the right to keep your creation to yourself. If someone were to steal your copy, it would indeed be theft, and you would be entitled to compensation.

    However, it is another matter entirely if you willfully release your creation to the world, and then try to tell others that they can’t act upon information gained from it, or use their own property and effort to make a copy. To deny them this implies that you have the right to restrict their use of their own property. If they continue to use their property as they chose, you are saying you will use the government to steal from them in the form of fines, seizure of property and possibly jail time.”

    • rikugo1


  • R 8:25 am on February 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    C4SS: So-called “intellectual property” is in fact nothing more than a legally fabricated monopoly 

    Several years ago, when I first put this website together, I dealt with these issues by means of “copylefting” notices and policy statements intended to make my writing freely available through a Creative Commons license. If you want to reprint this stuff under a Creative Commons license, you can still do that, all you want.[1] But I don’t care anymore. It’s not enough to try to kludge the legalities of copy-monopolies from within. So-called “intellectual property” is in fact nothing more than a legally fabricated monopoly, suppressing competition and emulation, constraining creativity, confining culture, science and technology to captive, capitalist-dominated markets, and violently depriving many of the poorest and most marginalized from access to critical resources for education and life-saving medicines. The legal fictions of copyright and patent are despotic attempts to monopolize the human mind; power-psychotic burdens crippling and destroying individual ownership and the progress of grassroots culture and technologies; outrageous constraints on human intelligence and creativity; and a destructive and desperate protectionist scheme for the profit of powerful corporations. This web project is, in spirit and in letter, at war with every aspect of Intellectual Protectionism, in its principles — of monopolizing power, entitlement, social control and economic privilege — and in its operation — through increasingly invasive government policing and legal coercion — and in the disastrous global effects of patent and copyright restrictions.

  • R 11:20 pm on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    If I print 1000 books, all 1000 books are mine. If I sell one book, I have 999 left. 

    If I print 1000 books, all 1000 books are mine.

    If I sell one book, I have 999 left. The 1 book i sold i exchanged my right to control it for a sum of money.

    Now this one book that I no longer control, as soon as I’ve sold it, it competes against my 999. The customer I sold it to may decide to re-sell it, or possibly even give it away to friends, family or community for free. That is why your customers ARE your competitors.

    But if that customer decides to copy his book so now he has 2 books, either by hand, or using the 21st century copying machines we call ‘computers’, do we say that the 2nd book is not his property?

    No his 2nd book is still his property. It is not my property in the sense that he may use sufficient force to thwart my attempts to steal his 2nd book. Be it using knives or guns. He is morally justified to do so.

    This second book that is his book, he is free to re-sell it, or even give it away to friends, family or community for free.

    On the other hand, copyright is the author’s attempt to steal part-control over that 2nd book using knives and guns.

    Modified comment from:

  • R 6:31 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property",   

    “Some men say the earth is flat.
    Some men say the earth is round.
    But if it is flat. Could Parliament make it round?
    And if it round. Could the kings command flatten it?”

    • St Thomas More, arguing as his own lawyer for alleged treason, for refusal to acknowledge Henry VIII as the head of the Roman Catholic Church of England. For that refusal he was beheaded.

    When he was making his case to the jury, well of course the parliament or the king cannot make the round earth flat. Of course they cannot make a flat earth round. He is not only appealing to the common sense of his juries, he is appealing to their understanding of the natural law. Their understanding of the order of things, their understanding of the immutable laws that regulate and control even the king!

    It is unfortunate that our present day kings, in their incredible arrogance, still seem to think that, they can make things in the world of ideas, behave in exactly the same way as things in the physical world.

    Don’t you know that things in the world of ideas are non-scarce and non-rivalrous? They are what Ludwig von Mises calls “Free Goods”, because copies are potentially limitless. They “do not need to be economized.”

    Our kings of today are in fact, playing God.

    • Aaeru 6:35 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

    • Daniel Flynn 2:10 pm on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. Natural must be a given. If the world is round it is round. Congress cannot make it flat; nor can Congress make ” income” as defined in dozens of Supreme Court cases; as Corporate profit and gain. Not working for a living to give sustenance to One’s self and family. Working to feed One’s self is a natural right. You cannot be taxed for the enjoyment of a right( unless it’s apportioned among the states. (Cases that have never been overturned ) yet every day the IRS the DOJ and Congress puts American workers into servitude( in order to get campaign donations from Corporations who either pay less or nothing at all in many cases) involuntary servitude if you object and attempt to redress with IRS. You get an orange jumpsuit with nice white sneakers. The sad truth is you don’t even have ” income”. But the King/ Congress and the IRS/DOJ says you do have “income”. Do not pass go ; go directly to jail. A biblical tragedy in our midst.

  • R 4:48 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    Isaac Morehouse: Intellectual Property Is Childish 

    When children play with Legos, violence sometimes ensues.

    “He knocked down my tower!”

    “Only because she built it to look exactly like the one I made, and that’s not fair. I made mine first!”

    All the parents I’ve ever met handle this situation by pointing out to the aggressor that it is perfectly acceptable for other kids to build things that mimic his own creations; in fact, he should feel honored!

    But let’s visit a household wherein the parents are strict advocates and respecters of intellectual property. In this house, children are punished for copying their siblings. Any new Lego ideas, whether actually built or not, are immediately filed with the parent, and every time Lego building takes place, the children must first check the files to make sure they aren’t about to build something that someone else had already thought of and filed. No imitation is allowed in this household.

    This is, of course, an absurd environment, and the main source of learning for children, imitation, is being crushed while some of the most beastly childlike tendencies — spite and anger at others’ success and an overwhelmingly selfish desire for all the attention — are nurtured. This is also the environment faced by all inventors, entrepreneurs, creators and businesses in any legal structure that enforces IP laws.

    Let’s fast-forward a few decades. The IP-conscious parent gets a call from their grown-up child complaining about how he designed and built a beautiful garden, but the neighbor loved it so much he put in an identical twin next door. The good parent would immediately sympathize with the victimized child and come over with some shovels and firearms and help his son destroy the thieving neighbors’ copycat garden, and demand some payment from the neighbor at gunpoint, to boot.

    This is only fair, of course, because this gardening son built the garden for profit, not just pleasure. It was so grand that he planned to sell tickets to people who wished to walk through and enjoy its splendor. How could he do so when the neighbor’s identical garden could be walked through for free?

    It seems easy to spot the ridiculous and childish nature of anti-copying arguments in these examples, but there is no significant difference in the real world of IP law. Ideas, unlike physical goods, are not scarce. The neighbor can build his garden without so much as a single fern being removed from the other.

    Garden design is an idea. Some argue that it’s not the idea of garden itself that’s being stolen, but the value it could produce. Even in the case of physical goods, no one has a right to a certain market value. If I steal your car, your property rights are violated. If a manufacturer designs a slew of new cars that make yours far less valued in the market, your rights are not violated, because you never had a right to a given resale value.

    Many people argue that the real need for IP law arises when we’re talking about companies making multibillion dollar investments in R&D, not merely five-figure gardens. What incentive is there to pursue such costly innovations with no promise of reward for the effort? There are several problems with this analysis. First, even with current IP laws, there is no guarantee of profit. How many billions of R&D dollars are spent on projects that end up yielding no return? Consumers are fickle, and IP doesn’t guarantee they’ll like your product, no matter how much you spend on research.

    Second, the massive R&D sticker price is somewhat deceiving. Drug companies, for example, are not spending billions of dollars of the CEO’s money. Instead, they are spending billions of dollars of shareholder money. Most shareholders have shares amounting to thousands, and they have portfolios with money spread across many companies and industries. Even if a $1 billion R&D project is fruitless, the losses are actually not that acute.

    But let’s say they are. Let’s pretend a single individual had a great idea and they could devote their entire life and livelihood to developing it. Surely, without the security of IP law, they would have no incentive to do so, right? How do you explain a fashion designer whose every energy goes into designs that can be immediately copied in the IP-free fashion industry? How do you explain football coaches who spend years developing and perfecting new schemes and plays only to have the best of them immediately adopted by inferior coaches across the league?

    Do you think the NFL would be more dynamic and innovative if coaches could copyright their plays? What if no one were allowed to use the cover 2 defense except its creator? The spread offense? The I formation?

    Thankfully, no such IP laws exist in football. Do you think we’re suffering a lack of innovation for it? Are there innovative coaches sitting on the sidelines with amazingly innovative plays, failing to use them for fear they won’t reap enough reward in a copycat league?

    IP law is not necessary to incentivize innovation. There are no guarantees of success or uniqueness in the market, yet entrepreneurs and investors put significant resources into innovation every day, apparently willing to hazard the risk. IP law stifles, rather than encourages, innovation.

    Not only is IP unnecessary, it is a holdover from our nursery days before we learned that it’s not OK to be possessive little tyrants who demand no one copy their babbling noises, Lego towers and Crayon scribbles. IP laws are childish and bring out the kind of nasty and immature backbiting that parents work so hard to correct in their kids. Let’s grow up and quit trying to hold back the beauty and dynamism of a world where ideas are free.

    • Issac Morehouse


  • R 9:23 am on October 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property"   

    Boldrin and Levine: Being a monopolist is, apparently, akin to going on drugs or joining some strange religious sect. 

    “Being a monopolist” is, apparently, akin to going on drugs or joining some strange religious sect. It seems to lead to complete loss of any sense of what profitable opportunities are and of how free markets function. Monopolists, apparently, can conceive of only one way of making money, that is bullying consumers and competitors to put up or shut up. Furthermore, it also appears to mean that past mistakes have to be repeated at a larger, and ever more ridiculous, scale.

    • Boldrin and Levine


  • R 12:04 am on October 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Intellectual "Property",   

    Jeffrey Tucker: I write a book and publish 1,000 copies. They are all mine. When I sell one, I now have 999 remaining. 

    The authors make a very important point with regard to ideas or information. If you have an idea, it is yours. You can do with it what you want. If you share it (sing, speak, broadcast, let others see the products of your ideas) or if you sell it, others then have copies of it. They are entitled to do with their copies of the idea precisely what you can do with your copy. They can use it how they want provided they don’t prevent others from doing with it what they want. This is a simple application of the nonaggression principle that governs a free society. Whether it is fashion, language, know-how, or whatever, people are free to copy once they have purchased it or it has been shared.

    Ideas, then, are what Mises calls “free goods”: copies are potentially limitless. They “do not need to be economized.”

    Intellectual property is the completely wrongheaded idea that, in the words of the authors, someone has the right “to monopolize an idea by telling other people how they may, or more often may not, use the copies they own.” This strikes at the heart of progress, because it means not improving what exists but rather prohibiting others from using and improving it.

    Let’s say I write a book and publish 1,000 copies. They are all mine. When I sell one, I now have 999 remaining, and the new owner of the one book, in a free society, is free to do with his copy what he wants: use it as a placemat, throw it away, deface it, photocopy, and even republish it. You can even rerepublish it under your own name, though that would amount to the socially repudiated vice of plagiarism (vice, not crime). The new copies, which always involve some cost, compete with old copies.

    • Jeffrey Tucker

    Ideas, Free and Unfree: A Book Commentary

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