I Believe In Patents and Intellectual Property – Change My Mind
I seem to have a disagreement with many of my fellow libertarians. Let’s see if we can figure this out together.
I believe in intellectual property. This means that if you create something, like write a book, create a piece of art (a panting or a movie), write a piece of software, invent something new, or whatever, that item is a result of your labor. Since I follow Natural Law and the Non-Aggression Principle, I believe that your labor is 100% yours and no one else’s. This means that the result of your labor is also 100% yours and no one else’s. This applies to if you create something tangible, like if you build your own house on your own land, or something intangible, like you write a book or make a video and sell it online. That latter item is called IP, or intellectual property.
As a minarchist libertarian, I believe that one of the very, very few valid roles of government is to punish and help prevent theft of your personal property. So if you make a movie and try to sell it for a profit, and millions of people copy that movie and download it for free, the government should indeed step in and prevent/punish those people from stealing from you, via patents, copyrights, etc.
Many of my fellow libertarians think this is somehow wrong or abusive. So for those of you who are against the concept of government enforceable patents and IP, I’m willing to listen to your arguments. If I find them objective, accurate, and logical, I may change my mind on this. So leave me a comment and tell me the following:
If there were no government involvement in IP, copyrights, patents, etc, how would authors, artists, software developers, inventors, and other such creators make a living if everyone can just legally steal and duplicate their content? Many people (including me) would lose a lot of money and have literally thousands of work hours creating content wasted.
I think having a sunset/expiration on patents/copyrights of something like 70 years (or whatever) is fine, but I’m against having no patents/copyrights at all. Please tell me why I’m wrong, answering the specific point I made above in bold.
One more thing before you leave a comment: many of you are going to start screaming about patent trolls. I absolutely agree with you that these assholes are a huge problem, one of the biggest problems in silicon valley, and that serious changes need to be made regarding the ease of challenging people on the basis of patents alone. However, just because patent trolls are a serious problem doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have patents at all. IP creators still need to be compensated for the their labor, just like everyone else is.
So leave me your comment and try to change my mind on this. I have a very open mind, particularly on this issue. If there is a better way to handle this with zero government without ripping off content creators, I’m all ears. As always, I will listen to logical, objective arguments backed up by facts, and I will, again as always, ignore arguments based on anger, feelings, emotion, one-time anecdotal experience, irrationality.
Go for it!