Tagged: Jeffrey Tucker Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • R 12:04 am on October 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    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

  • R 11:14 pm on October 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: Why British literature so widely circulated the US in 19th century 

    The authors effortlessly segue from software to books, and here is the part that especially interests me. They provide an alternative explanation for why British literature was so widely circulated in the United States in the 19th century. American publishers could publish without copyright — there were no international copyright agreements — and there was massive competition. It was so intense that American firms would pay authors directly for sending chapters even before they appeared in Britain. The amounts they would receive even exceed their British royalties over a period of years.

    As a result, there was huge dissemination of knowledge. And the prices were low: Dickens’s A Christmas Carol sold for six cents in the United States and $2.50 in England. Printing technology improved. Literacy improved. Ideas spread. Children and schools could have books, which in turn increased the demand for books, and spurred on new investment and technological improvements. It was a dynamic and wild world of publishing, comparable to what we see with the web today.

  • R 2:18 pm on September 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: Absence of IP creates a broad-mindedness 

    As I think more about intellectual property in the form of patents and copyrights, it seems that the implications for social theory are profound. The behavior targeted and slaughtered by IP is one that provides a fuel for all social and economic development: imitation and emulation.

    In the German-speaking world of art in the 18th and 19th centuries, imitation by composers was considered to be the greatest tribute. When Bach would write an elaboration of Buxtehude, it was seen as a wonderful gift to Buxtehude’s legacy and memory. When Mahler would turn a phrase by Brahms, or reorchestrate a Beethoven symphony, it was the tribute of one master to another. So it is in literature and economics.

    Imitation in economic affairs is essential for development, since nothing is ever perfect right out of the box, and society is constantly changing. You need that imitative dynamism in order for technology to keep up with changing market conditions. This is what IP shuts down in the name of rewarding creators. How can creators make a buck in a world of fluid imitation? The same way they always have: by having the best product at the right price to the market first. When others imitate them, they have to hustle again and innovate some more. This is how societies and economies grow.

    Think of the fashion world, where IP isn’t in force. It is fast-moving, innovative, and remarkably profitable. Designers have their ideas imitated nearly as soon as they are seen on the runway. This imitative behavior is widely regarded as a ratification of a good idea. It is something that people are socialized to look for as an indication of marketability. It is the same with generic drugs, fonts, perfume, and other sectors in which there is no IP.

    Sadly, in sectors in which IP does apply, the opposite attitude applies. Authors, artists, and inventors sit and brood about the need to keep their wares to themselves and hunt down anyone who would dare “steal” their ideas. In the successful cases, they can end up rewarding themselves but at the expense of social development.

    In the far more prevalent unsuccessful cases, the obsession with being ripped off leads to brooding, resentment, and disgruntlement that the world has failed to provide them a living. A sector consisting of nothing but people like this — with an attitude encouraged in law — is stagnant. By way of illustration, compare the imitation-oriented jazz and rock sectors with the IP-obsessed area of serious classical music!

    Other sectors like advertising fall somewhere in between. Several years ago, Apple ran a commercial for the iPod that looked incredibly similar to one produced by Lugz shoes. Now, one might laugh and appreciate this — surely it will benefit both companies — or one can regard it as theft. Instead of celebrating a success, Lugz regarded it as a rip-off, which Apple denied. Words flew between the companies, along with threats of litigation and cease-and-desist orders.

    This is really just pathetic and completely unnecessary.

    It really all comes down to the attitude one takes toward one’s influence on others. The absence of IP creates a broad-mindedness that seeks to make a difference in the world and looks for imitators as a sign that it is working. The presence of IP subsidizes a kind of inwardness and bitterness that sees the whole world as being populated by potential thieves to keep at bay.

    You see the two ways of looking at the world in the way kids interact with each other. I’m speaking of preteens and the way they deal with their emergent societies. Let’s say one kid has developed a certain phrase or gesture that is new to the social group. Another kid picks up on it and employs it.

    Now, there are two ways to respond to this imitation. The innovator child can see others doing and saying what he did and said and realize that he has made a difference in the world, put a dent in this little universe. He has become a force for changing the world as he knows it. He has made his mark, and the evidence is how others are doing the same thing. He feels a sense of pride and joy and works at coming up with other unique ways of dressing, speaking, or behaving that others similarly imitate.

    “Copyright is a subject replete with mythology. People 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.”
    Or the child can have another response. He can accuse his imitators of stealing his words, ripping off his gestures, pilfering his personality, and plundering his special way. He sees others who imitate as threats, forces that are reducing the value of his unique personality. He treats it as the equivalent of cheating on a test. It is taking what is his. It is the first stages of a very destructive, IP-style mentality.

    Parents: Be alert to signs of this among kids. Explain to children that it is a good thing when others are influenced by you. It means that you have made a difference in the world. It is not something to complain about at all. It is something to celebrate. It means that you are an entrepreneur on the cutting edge, someone who does things that succeed in society. That also comes with responsibilities to do good things and improve the look and feel of the world around them.

    Which attitude do you take toward emulation? Before you answer, consider that emulation is unavoidable. There is no such thing as absolute originality. Everything in a growing and health society is an elaboration on something else that already exists. This applies to technology, literature, music, art, language — everything. A world in which the ethics of IP applied would be backward and stagnant, headed nowhere but backward.

    Children’s movies cut both ways. The movie called Ratatouille strikes me as the ultimate IP-supporting propaganda. A rat with a gift for taste and smell is rescued from the gutter and put in a position to cook food at a fine restaurant. All his food is great. He has imitators all over the place but he alone remains the best. But then he begins to seethe with resentment that he alone is not given credit and accolades. Oddly, some people fear that customers will not like the idea that a rat is cooking all the food! The movie ends with his being discovered — he feels great pride, and we are supposed to be happy about this. The restaurant is destroyed, but the audience is supposed to figure that it is worth it.

    A much better case is Horton Hears a Who. Throughout the film, we see competitive pressure between the various animals to see which one will have the dominant influence over others. The Kangaroo tries to prevent Horton from influencing people, but he does anyway, and eventually everyone comes around. We see it too in the lovely operation of Whoville, a place where emulation is king, and it is a vibrant and lovely society in which everyone is happy.

    As web editor of Mises.org, hardly a week goes by when I don’t see imitators of our successful web presence. It can be images, articles, design, feel, structure — everything. Some years back I had the view that this had to be stopped. Fortunately, no one here had time to bother with it. Thank goodness. The whole reason we exist is to influence the world. Evidence of that is glorious, and it keeps the fire under our staff to keep doing a better job and stay on the cutting edge.

  • R 1:59 am on August 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: There is NO WAY that the State can beat the drive to make Information free. 

    There is NO WAY that the State can beat the drive to make Information free. Freely available and freely shared. That’s the WHOLE POINT of the internet! They CAN’T stop it. BUT! But the sheer fact that they have the power to do so means they can do a fantastic amount of damage and violate human rights and potentially hobble the progress of the digital age and that’s what terrifies me about this subject.

    Speaking on Liberty : Jeffrey Tucker 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0tlfxIgXy0&feature=em-uploademail  (22:00~)

  • R 7:19 pm on August 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: the idea of monopolizing it, using the State to restrict content or punish other people from learning what we are doing is absolutely crazy 

    “All the goods that our club publishes are in the commons. We use Creative Commons: Attribution License. And we do not use DRM. Okay? So… you can share them with your friends! You can send them from your devices to your devices, you can do whatever you want with them, and if somebody else wants to steal our content and start a better business that’s more impressive than what we do? Then I say… let the best man or woman win.

    And the idea of monopolizing it, using the State to restrict content or punish other people from learning what we are doing is absolutely crazy.”



    Speaking on Liberty : Jeffrey Tucker
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0tlfxIgXy0&feature=em-uploademail (17:00~)

    Mr Tucker’s website: http://lfb.org/

  • R 7:10 pm on August 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: Commerce is entirely possible, and it does take place in the absence of the State using IP. 

    “So here is the problem.

    People somehow identify intellectual property with commerce. If you are going to sell something, you’ve got to use the State to restrict it’s… (you have to) obtain a monopoly or else it’s not a marketable commodity. It’s as if copyright and patent makes something commercially viable. And this is a GIGANTIC Error! Commerce is entirely possible, and it does take place in the absence of the State using IP.


    Now let me be clear on something here. IP doesn’t just mean that you are keeping your content proprietary or that you are introducing artificial scarcity. If I invented an App, and I wanted to deliver it to you for a fee, it’s really irrelevant to the marketing of that app whether or not it is copyrighted or not. I mean the point is, I’ve got a good, you’re buying the good. That’s the beginning and the end of the story.

    What IP does, is that it doesn’t commodify that good I’ve sold you (or that service really), what it does is that it restricts the rights of everyone else in the world from making anything similar, even if they have never experienced your app. So the important thing to recognize is that it is coercion against third parties.

    So I say this because it is not possible within a market arrangement to reinvent copyright or reinvent patent. Whatever kind of arrangement that are voluntary and mutual on the market cannot involve coercing against someone else’s property. So in a market economy there cannot be or would not be anything like intellectual property because it is necessarily a coercive institution they do not come about as a result of contract.”



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0tlfxIgXy0&feature=em-uploademail (13:50)
    Speaking on Liberty : Jeffrey Tucker

  • R 12:48 am on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: If You Believe in IP, How Do You Teach Others? 

    “My lectures are protected by state common law and federal copyright law. They are my own original expression and I record them at the same time that I deliver them in order to secure protection. Whereas you are authorized to take notes in class thereby creating a derivative work from my lecture, the authorization extends only to making one set of notes for your own personal use and no other use. You are not authorized to record my lectures, to provide your notes to anyone else or to make any commercial use of them without express prior permission from me.”

    You can make “no other use” of what you learn? Really? That sort of smashes the whole point of education, doesn’t it?

    • Jeffrey Tucker


  • R 12:21 am on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: (the enforcement of IP) is an attempt to stop progress and to stop the flourishing of civilization and the improvement of the well-being of all of humanity 

    “A hundred years from now, people are going to look back and go, “what is going on? you know, where the early parts of the 21st century the government was trying to stop progress. What were they doing?” I mean the whole beauty of the digital world is that we are seeing this mass migration from the intrinsic scarcity of the physical world over to this world of infinite copyability embeded in this digital media so that you can use it and I can use it and this can go on for billions and trillions (of uses for infinite people) and unto infinity. So we are seeing this migration of goods and services from the scarce world to the non-scarce world and is leading to this global productivity that is flowering this civilization everywhere.

    And what is the State trying to do? It’s trying to stop it. It’s fighting it tooth and nail. It’s trying to turn the digital age back into the analog age, where the State was really running everything. And it’s stupid and it’s embarrassing. I mean as citizens of the world we should be embarrassed by what our governments are doing because it’s aphoristic, it’s silly, it’s no different than if you had a bunch of goon-squads trying to chop up the Gutenberg Presses (printing presses) in the late 15th century. It’s no different from that. It is an attempt to stop progress and to stop the flourishing of civilization and the improvement of the well-being of all of humanity, and at some point people are going to recognize this and go, “well this is just dumb”. What is the thing that causes the State to do this? “Oh it was a mistake. They called it Intellectual Property. They used to think that ideas could be owned.”

    It’s just the same way with how today we look back and go, “what were those people thinking that they thought that human beings can be owned or that there can be such a thing as slavery. Isn’t that obviously contrary to human rights?” And we all recognize that now. And in a hundred years from now people are going to go, “what is this thing they called intellectual property, don’t they know that ideas, once they are stated are the common property of everybody? and that’s part of what makes for the flourishing of civilization and part of what makes for progress, in fact isn’t that the motive force and the driving force behind prosperity?”

    • Jeffrey Tucker

    Start from 30:00~

  • R 12:01 am on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: On Intellectual Property 

    “The phrase intellectual property just has to go. because it doesn’t actually make any sense. The only property I can really claim to have in my ideas are the ideas I am thinking or maybe staying in a room of total isolation, but the minute, the minute, the instant, the instant anybody else hears of them, yes I retain that idea but I’ve shared the idea, now that idea has been put into the commons, it is potentially at a point where anyone of the people who hears it or has recorded it, it is potentially powerful enough to take over the whole planet, for all time. That is the truth of ideas and that is the miraculous aspect of ideas. Yes I retain total ownership of it, but I share ownership rights with the whole of humanity. And no kind of preposterous law is going to prevent that as we’ve learnt in the digital age, intellectual property rights (probably regarded next to war) as the second most dangerous thing because you’ve got the State directly dealing, intervening, to control the Thing that makes History Tick. And that is an unbelievable power and some incredibly presumption and as we have seen recently is the basis of massive violation of human liberty. ”

    “Property rights and ideas have essentially nothing to do with each other. IP represents an attack on property rights. Because it binds certain parties to things that don’t agree with, it always represents an attack on property rights. Now what if I as a private producer decides to, tries to, attempts to prevent my potentially infinite good restricted in its distribution? And the answer to that is of course I can. There is nothing wrong with that. Just say I decided to put this video behind a paywall. Hey better cough up some money to me. Does that make me immoral? Well No! Of course not. It’s perfectly fine but I as a private producer has to provide the means of exclusion. I can’t rely on the State to do this. It is only the State that causes the IP to exist at all or to perpetuate itself. To the extent that private producers want to restrict access to their software? To Music? To whatever they want to restrict, that’s fine. It’s no different from if I were to hold a private dinner party and I said, “Hey whatever happens at this dinner party? Let’s just keep it to ourselves.” That’s fine. If somebody says, “Hey buddy! That’s a restriction on the communism of ideas by telling me that I can’t—” …. well maybe I should kick you out of my dinner party! “

    • Jeffrey Tucker

  • R 9:05 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: Is Intellectual Property the Key to Success? 

    Jeffrey Tucker, July 5, 2007.
    One of the greatest tragedies of intellectual property law is how it generates intellectual confusion among successful business people. Many are under the impression, even when it is not true, that they owe their wealth to copyrights, trademarks, and patents, and not necessarily to their business savvy.

    For this reason, they defend intellectual property as if it were the very lifeblood of their business operations. They fail to give primary credit where it is due: to their own ingenuity, willingness to take a risk, and their market-based activities generally. This is often an empirically incorrect judgment on their part, and it carries with it the tragedy of crediting the state for the accomplishments that are actually due to their own entrepreneurial activities.

    {continue here} https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qvwIC9wgtOUza2DqcknABuXYSjARt_KpzyCxX9K1qCk/edit

  • R 9:02 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jeffrey Tucker   

    Jeffrey Tucker: There are two different types of goods in the world. 

    “There are two different types of goods in the world. There are scarce goods and there are non-scarce goods. Like the speech I am giving you, is a non-scarce good. You can take it with you, but it doesn’t take it away from me. A song I sing you, you can go out and sing that song it doesn’t take it away from me. Very beautiful, lots of non-scarce goods in the world. Information. Pictures. Sounds. There is no reason to, restrict or allocate these things, or ration them once they are made public. (They are) Good for everybody. That’s not true, in the physical world. This podium I am speaking from, this book, one copy. All the chairs you sit in, all the clothes you wear, all the food you eat, everything you can see and touch, these are all scarce goods which is a way of saying, there really isn’t enough to serve everybody (in the world) who would like to have it. So there has to be some mechanism we use to allocate these things. We can either allocate these things through political decisions, or allocate them through economic decisions. The economic decisions use markets, and prices and private owners. Political decisions uses things like public mandates, force and bureaucracies. These are the essential choice we face.”

    • Jeffrey Tucker

  • R 8:28 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jeffrey Tucker   

    Violating our natural rights in the name of intellectual “property” 

    “If you look at the origins of these two institutions, we can see the essence of what is going on. Copyright originated as a government restriction on printing during England’s religious wars. As it developed, it had nothing to do with individual rights and everything to do with protecting dominant publishing firms against competition. It is the same with patent, which grew out of the mercantilist experience of Europe in which the prince would grant one producer rights against all competitors. Both are designed to slow down innovation and drag out the process of economic development with government restrictions. For this reason, the idea that IP somehow creates an incentive to innovate is completely wrong; in fact, the reality is precisely the opposite.
    The advent of the liberalism of the 18th century gradually wiped out most of these antique institutions and replaced them with competitive capitalism. But in the world of ideas, these protections remained and became worse, especially in the latter part of the 20th century. They are remnants of a precapitalist age.
    In the digital age, when ideas can be multiplied by billions of times in a matter of seconds, the notion of IP protection becomes ridiculously outmoded. And it is for that very reason that enforcement is being stepped up and now threatens free speech and the freedom to innovate. Ultimately, a consistent enforcement of IP would shut down free enterprise as we know it.”

    • Jeffrey Tucker


Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc