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!

41 thoughts on “I Believe In Patents and Intellectual Property – Change My Mind

  1. I thought libertarians didn’t believe in any government lol

    in the perfect Libretarian world the scenerio of IP theft would be sorted out personally in a gun duel. Survival of the fittest. If I’m fit to club you to death and get your IP and land it was meant to be. In the hypothetical libretarian world.

     

     

  2. I’m not educated enough on the subject to have a strong opinion one way or another, so I’m just going to share some thoughts that come to mind.

    A lot of products can already be illegally acquired without paying the creator (e.g music, books, computer software). How do creators make money now?

    I think the creators adapt and find different ways to monetize what they produce. For example music and films tend to be streamed via a subscription service now, with the streaming company paying the creator for the rights to the music/film. The creator can provide free content (e.g blog) and build a dedicated userbase that is happy to support them via product purchases and/or donations, even if cheap or pirated copies are available. They can provide more services that can’t be pirated, such as 1-on-1 coaching or music concerts.

    One example is your books, which have a money-back guarantee. So presumably it is possible to order a book, make a copy and then claim a refund, yet most people don’t. Obviously it was your voluntary choice to offer this, but it seems like a similar scenario to the non-IP world where knock-offs are widely available.

    I don’t know what the net result of all this is and whether there have been any studies done, other than the EU one from a few years back (which suggested piracy had little effect). Also for products such as inventions or medical drugs it may be a different situation. But unless you believe the illegal nature of piracy is what holds people back from taking part in piracy, it seems like for the industries I mentioned we’re already living in a world where free and cheap copies are widely available, and people are still willing to pay the original creator for the content.

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    Property rights are a system for efficiently and ethically allocating scarce resources. Ideas and digital goods are not scarce resources so it doesn’t make sense to apply property rights to them. Moreover, someone copying your book can’t be stealing because that action does not deprive you of your copy. It is possible that it may derive you of revenue but that is not a violate of the NAP and many actions that individuals or businesses take can and do deprive others of revenue. Business endeavors are inherently risky there is no guarantee  that they will generate or continue to generate revenue. Using the government to increase the probability of this through regulation and monopoly is unethical because in order to enforce your IP you must restrict the right of others. The argument about protecting your resource investment are similar to those used by other monopolies from zoning to controlling the supply of doctors. Restricting housing may protect investment and controlling the supply of doctors will prevent their decade plus investment from being undercut by an increase in supply, do you support that?

     

    There are many alternative funding models from advertisements, kick-starters, limited edition signed books, asking people to pay what they think it is worth, subscription services, ect. Many industries also work very well without IP. Fashion and Cusine are two industries with little to no IP yet there is significant innovation and wealth created in both.

  4. I am a hard core Libertarian and agree with your view on Government’s LIMITED role on IP.  I too have tried and still work on sending in Provisional patents over the last 20 years or so.

    However, my issue seems to be the hypocritical views or debates I get into with people that believe Government should be a “protector” of our rights.  OK, so if that is true and if life begins at conception than how is abortion legal?  By killing an infant that has life and rights as well, we are violating those same principles.  Has nothing to to with Religion.

    So, in my opinion, our Government should protect those rights as well.

    My ex-wife had an abortion while we were married.  She was having an affair.  I never knew she was pregnant so had no opportunity to do tests to see who’s baby it was.  So, not only did she violate the rights of the baby but one could argue that the baby is a sort of property of mine as well that she stole from me.

    Now, I don’t bring this abortion issue up to start a religious debate or women’s rights debate up on this blog but to help show how deep and complex this issue can go!

     

  5. So-called intellectual property typically refers to a union of three things: copyright, trademarks and patents. All three are quite different and so shouldn’t be lumped together.

    I think trademarks are fine, copyright is mostly fine, and patent law should be heavily adapted to reflect current reality (primarily the sheer speed at which inventions are made).

  6. Theft is when you take something from someone and they don’t have it anymore. If someone steals your car, you have to cycle to work.

    This dies not apply to intellectual “property”. I use scare quotes, because smuggling in the word “property” is question-begging: it’s arguing by assuming the point at issue.

  7. OK, so if that is true and if life begins at conception than how is abortion legal?  By killing an infant that has life and rights as well, we are violating those same principles.  Has nothing to to with Religion.

    Yes it does. Even if you’re not religious, the essentialist idea that people are already “people” and should have their full rights at the moment of conception is judeo-christian heritage deeply embedded in western culture – “the soul is implanted at that moment”, “there is no such thing as being ‘a little’ pregnant”, etc; even the secular thinkers that believed it centuries ago were influenced by that.
    I find CJ’s opinion on the matter (if I remember it correctly), that abortion becomes murder after the 8th week, much more rational, though I personally might push it to a few weeks later (but under 3 months) and apply a sliding scale of severity to the crime of killing older fetuses.
    Consciousness begins around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. As long as we’re generously before that, the baby is essentially a parasite that uses cleverly evolved biochemical tricks to make the mother’s body mistake it for part of itself (even though its DNA is 50% outsider) and feed it; morally speaking I don’t see a case for distinguishing it from any other mammal’s embryo (which it is functionally nearly identical to; no higher neural functions in the first couple months); if you’re not vegan, you can’t object to killing it.

     

  8. None of you have directly responded to my question in the article in bold, which is telling (with the exception of “You can do more labor by providing consulting or something”).

    Your specific points:

    I thought libertarians didn’t believe in any government lol

    That’s very sad. I suggest you educate yourself about what a libertarian is.  Start by reading this.

    A lot of products can already be illegally acquired without paying the creator (e.g music, books, computer software). How do creators make money now?

    Some still make money, just much less than they should.

    I think the creators adapt and find different ways to monetize what they produce. For example music and films tend to be streamed via a subscription service now, with the streaming company paying the creator for the rights to the music/film.

    That works for some mediums, but how would that help an inventor (for example?)

    One example is your books, which have a money-back guarantee. So presumably it is possible to order a book, make a copy and then claim a refund, yet most people don’t. Obviously it was your voluntary choice to offer this, but it seems like a similar scenario to the non-IP world where knock-offs are widely available.

    I can do that precisely because free copies of my work are not widely available. It’s not like you can just hop on some torrent service and quickly download my Blackdragon books like you can a Star Wars movie. Thus, most people are forced to purchase them.

    Now imagine if I started my ebooks business but it was perfectly legal for anyone to email my books to everyone they knew. How would I be compensated for my labor? And if your answer is that I have to do more labor by providing consulting or whatever, then you’re proving my point.

    someone copying your book can’t be stealing because that action does not deprive you of your copy.

    That doesn’t address the question I asked in the article in bold.

    It is possible that it may derive you of revenue

    That’s the problem.

    but that is not a violate of the NAP

    Yes it does. You’re forcibly depriving me of income from my hard work. Do this: Spend 500 hours of hard work writing a book you want to sell, then see how you’d feel about the NAP if I took a copy of that book and made it a free download on my websites where 50,000 people download it for free instead of buying it from you. Just imagine, when you complained to me, that I said, “Hey man, you still have your copy, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

    The argument about protecting your resource investment are similar to those used by other monopolies from zoning to controlling the supply of doctors.

    Incorrect; totally different things. Zoning or doctor supply doesn’t have anything to do with protecting my personal labor.

    However, my issue seems to be the hypocritical views or debates I get into with people that believe Government should be a “protector” of our rights.  OK, so if that is true and if life begins at conception than how is abortion legal?

    http://www.blackdragonblog.com/2014/02/13/abortion/

    Theft is when you take something from someone and they don’t have it anymore. If someone steals your car, you have to cycle to work.

    This dies not apply to intellectual “property”.

    That doesn’t address the question I asked in the article in bold.

  9. Interesting… I totally agree with you on this.

    But, what do you say to those who steal the actual blueprint or the actual idea or vision which was shared in a meeting before the product is actually created.

    This happens often in Entertainment and I might add in Business…we all have heard of the boss who takes credit for his/her employee’s idea or creation. Hollywood (like the case with scripts) and Music (lyrics, melody and beats) or Fashion (clothing, hats, shoes, etc.. designed).

    It’s can be complicated and confusing.. for example, as in the case of comedy. Plenty of stories, like the case of Robin Williams getting on stage telling other comedians’ jokes, that he heard backstage or in the green room, only to get his ass kicked outside for doing so.

    How does one go about protecting his/her intellectual property from those who have the power and/or platforms to taking your idea and creativity to market first?

  10. The following 100+-year-old essay by Benjamin Tucker changed my mind on the subject.

    The Attitude of Anarchism Toward Industrial Combinations

    The relevant argument begins at AIC.12 “Of these four monopolies…” Pay special attention to paragraph AIC.16. Tucker analyzes why we have property in tangible things in the first place, discusses the fundamental differences between tangible things and information, and shows that none of the reasons why property in tangible things is both desirable and necessary apply to information. If I remember correctly, Tucker goes so far as to argue that copyright and patent laws are actually violations of property rights.

    For a more practical argument — that IP laws don’t yield the benefits claimed for them — see Against Intellectual Monopoly. One of the claims they make is that the Industrial Revolution was stalled for 20 years until the original steam engine patents expired.

     

  11. It is too vast a subject to deal with just in comments, but let me say this: one of the biggest problem is the term “intellectual property.” This is a problem for a couple of reasons: firstly because IP doesn’t behave like regular property, and the differences are really crucial to the whole concept of property in law (and in morality and ethics). And secondly IP covers four entirely different things that should be considered and treated differently (the four categories being copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrets.) Conflating the four leads to muddled thinking.

    In regards to property — fundamentally the reason we have property laws at all is because of scarcity. If you own that piece of land then I can’t own it. Only one person can control the land and decide if it should be a forest, an orchard, a house of a strip mall. I can’t make it a strip mall and you make it an orchard. The nature of property is that only one person can own it at the same time. Of course that is plainly not true of IP. I can own Beyonce’s latest song and so can you, and my ownership doesn’t interfere with yours at all. I can sample it, play it backwards, change the words, or whatever, and it doesn’t affect you one whit.

    Now there is a different aspect to property which is the ability, the right, to use your property exclusively to generate more property. Beyonce wants to use that song to generate a private jet for her to travel about in. She wants to do that by generating an artificial scarcity (which is what IP law actually is) allowing her to milk it for her benefit.

    Now there might be reason to allow this, since without Beyonce nobody would know to “put a ring on it.” After all, it is not like someone is going to come up with exactly the same song as Beyonce at the same time. So if I start humming away “crazy in love” you can be pretty sure I copied it from here.

    So in a sense there is some reason for copyright law, though the form it is in right now is quite dreadful. And it is certainly true that Beyonce can make money without copyright law (by selling hardware instead of software: hardware such as concerts, autographed CDs, personal apperances, endorsements etc.) Should we allow the law to be used to have her generate more money than she can from these things? I don’t think the answer is clear. But let’s just say the case for copyright is the strongest of the IP laws.

    However, if I invent a lightbulb at the same time as Edison, you most certainly can’t make the assumption that I copied him, as you can for Beyonce. Things get invented, as a general rule, when technology allows them to be invented. All inventions are built on precursors, and when the precursors are available then inventions based on them are quickly produced based on the entrepreneurship, capital and hard work of people. The nature of invention is that things often get invented at the same time. So, I create a lightbulb and register it with the government too late and now I am excluded from using the thing that I invented, in fact I am required to pay a license to my competitor? How does that square with the idea that the fruits of my labor are my own? How does that square with the non aggression principle?

    This sort of thing happens all the time, in fact I’d argue that the VAST majority of patent cases are exactly this. Patent trolls rely on precisely this phenomenon. But don’t think it is just patent trolls. Every major company has a farm of lawyers cranking out patent after patent on every tiny, insignificant innovation. They do this for two reasons, offensive and defensive. Firstly they use it to milk unsuspecting coinventors of part of their profits — that is why every android phone pays a tax of $15 to Microsoft. Not because of Microsoft’s inventiveness, but because Microsoft filed the obvious ideas first. And second, defensively. Often what happens in patent cases is Apple sues Google over these thirty patents, so Google sues Apple back because of these twenty seven patents, and they settle and agree to cross license.

    That is all very well for Apple and Google (it is, BTW why Google bought Motorola Mobile — not for their tech but because Google was behind in the patent battle, so they bought $10 billion dollars worth of patents from Moto to defend themselves.) However, what about you? What if you come up with some great invention? For sure some part of your invention will already have been caught up in the river of patents that these big guys have filed, and you have no defensive patents, and so they can crush you in an instant.

    What I have described is how the patent system actually works. The idea that Uncle Bob invents a widget in his garage, files a form with the government and is protected to allow him to market his invention without interference is almost completely a myth. It isn’t what actually happens except in a few rare cases. The vast majority of patents are generated by the farms of lawyers in big companies, and in many respects all these companies are simply a type of patent troll themselves.

    We talk of patents stiffing innovation. Imagine how much innovation could have take place had Google spend $10 billion on new product development rather than buying a stock of patents to defend themselves.

    There are a million more things to say about this, I haven’t touched on trade secrets or trademarks. However, in summary there is some justification for copyright laws, however, patent law is extremely toxic and is particularly damaging to the people whom it is designed to protect.

    You might consider this complex subject as the next topic for one of your “debate me” series.

     

  12. 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.

    Just because there’s no explicit government IP, patents, copyrights doesn’t mean individual entities and corporations couldn’t still create contracts, agreements, etc that function basically like IPs, patents and copyrights.  I don’t necessarily think it’s the best way to do things, but it’s a possibility.

    Assuming a governmental that has strong contractual laws, I would just create personal contracts with all the clients that purchased the physical copy of the product.  Technically, a digital copy occupies physical space, too (though maybe just a few million electrons of mass).  Instead of emailing the “copy”, you could use a program that actually created a specific digital version on a device.  While basically the same thing, legally it could be different.  One is a copy, the other is actually a specific physical product.

    In the contract (in lieu of a copyright) you could say something like:

    I agree to not share this physical copy with anyone.  If I do, I agree to be liable for the amount of works the author could have sold otherwise.  etc…

    Also, you could sell your products with a guild or club. 

    So to drive a Tesla, you’d have to join a club where you signed a contract that you wouldn’t use specific technology from the Tesla.  If you breach the membership agreements, then you would suffer the contractual consequences.  Or there could be different types of fair use items in the contract, etc, even commercial clauses like for reselling the car, etc.

    Furthermore, you could not sell anything.  Instead you could lease your products, say for 50 years. Just like an apartment, only a certain amount of people could use the leased product.  If more used it, then the lessee would have to pay more.

    In other words, say I leased a book from Blackdragon for 50 years and shared it with 100 people; I would be liable to pay all their leases under the contract I made with Blackdragon when I leased the book.

    Ultimately, it’s almost the same thing as the IP, patents, and copyrights, just using non-specific government-enforced contracts.

     

  13. It’s an interesting debate. If I were to argue the anti-intellectual property side, I’d use these points.

    First, why should you have the right to make money on something? There are lots of things I’m good at and could conceivably spend a lot of time on that nobody would ever pay me for. Let’s say I was the best Slither.io player in the world, should the government go out of it’s way to make sure I could earn a living playing it? So then why should you have the right to earn a living writing books?

    Secondly, intellectual property laws mean that an individual or corporation can own information, which leads to some philosophical problems. How much can I change a work before the original creator no longer owns it? So let’s say I took one of your books and created a Sparknote’s version and sold it, should you have the right to it? Or what if I created my own dating system that leaned heavily on your ideas, would you own that? Or what about the sharing aspect. If I emailed a copy of one of your books to somebody that’d be illegal, but if I loaned them my computer and they read it off it that would be fine, even though it’s the exact same outcome.

    When you consider those two points, why couldn’t we just get rid of intellectual property laws? From a Libertarian point of view, shouldn’t the burden of proof be on those who want to add laws and regulations, not on those who want to get rid of them?

    Personally, the strongest argument in favor is that it encourages people to create things. I’ve bought your books and they’ve easily been worth the money, but they wouldn’t exist without intellectual property laws. The same goes for my favorite songs and movies. In a capitalistic system you simply have to accept the philosophical flaws of the intellectual property laws if you want people to be able to create high quality content.

  14. I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot as well. I have yet to read it, but the book that seems to be the most relevant to the anti-IP argument is written by Stephan Kinsella and is titled “Against Intellectual Property”. Here is the link to the PDF:

    For a more practical argument — that IP laws don’t yield the benefits claimed for them — see Against Intellectual Monopoly. One of the claims they make is that the Industrial Revolution was stalled for 20 years until the original steam engine patents expired.

    Lots of good points. But why are these both copyrighted?

    Check out Flikr’s Creative Commons (https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) and Steve Pavlina’s uncopyright (https://www.stevepavlina.com/uncopyright-notice/) for some examples with different licenses.

    An interesting aside from the Against Intellectual Monopoly – why doesn’t Einstein get to patent his discovery of E=MC2?

    Also

    Jefferson recognized that because ideas are not scarce, patent and copyright are not natural rights, and can be justified only, if at all, on the utilitarian grounds of promoting useful inventions and literary works (and, even then, they must be created by statute, since they are not natural rights). See Palmer, “Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach,” p. 278 n. 53. Yet this does not mean that Jefferson supported patents, even on utilitarian grounds. Patent historian Edward C. Walterscheid explains that “throughout his life, [Jefferson] retained a healthy skepticism about the value of the patents system.” “Thomas Jefferson and the Patent Act of 1793,” Essays in History 40 (1998).

     

  15. But, what do you say to those who steal the actual blueprint or the actual idea or vision which was shared in a meeting before the product is actually created.

    Exactly. According to most of the commenters here, the answer is, “tough shit, nothing you do about it.” It’s the huge blind spot in the anti-IP argument no one has addressed yet. Again, I’m willing to have my mind changed about this, but someone must address this particular aspect of the argument.

    So in a sense there is some reason for copyright law, though the form it is in right now is quite dreadful.

    ^THAT^

    That’s the bottom line of this entire issue, on both sides. Yes, we clearly need to protect IP. But no, the way we currently go about doing it is really bad, and we need a new way.

    So the answer is, I think, not to do away with the concept of IP, but come up with a much less bad way of protecting it.

    You might consider this complex subject as the next topic for one of your “debate me” series.

    No, because I don’t know for 100% sure that I’m right about this. I could be wrong and I want to be shown that I’m wrong if I am (which no one has done in this thread yet). Those debate me posts are only for issues where I know for sure I’m right and where I can defend my position vehemently.

  16. @Caleb Jones says (quoting someone else)
    But, what do you say to those who steal the actual blueprint or the actual idea or vision which was shared in a meeting before the product is actually created.

    But this situation isn’t difficult to handle at all, people deal with it all the time. Simply before showing it to someone else you place them under some binding contractual agreement such as a non compete agreement or non disclosure agreement. People do this all the time. I’ve signed dozens of them. In a world without patents there would probably be other types of similar legal agreements that would be used, but frankly current NDAs would probably prove perfectly adequate.

    Also, Caleb responding to me:

    That’s the bottom line of this entire issue, on both sides. Yes, we clearly need to protect IP.

    Again, IP is not one thing, the law is completely different for the four different classes of IP, and IP is not property in any conventional sense of the word, in fact it bears very little resemblance to any other kind of property.

    But I do want to make sure I am clear. The case for copyright is stronger than for patents, but I still think the world without copyright would be better.

    Let me answer your original bold question — “How would authors, artists, software developers, inventors, and other such creators make a living if everyone can just legally steal and duplicate their content?

    First of all, lets be clear that the vast majority of art and written content is not created for money, or at least is not recompensed with money. People make art, music and literature because they want to. Huge swaths of the software the world runs on people created for the love and glory of creating it, rather than for money. Certainly some artists do it for money, and there is lots of money to be made in these fields even without copyright. Last year I paid a woman I know who is an excellent artist to create a painting for me. I used to be a software developer, and nearly every piece of software I wrote was written custom for a specific client, and so stealing and copying it is both irrelevant and largely impossible. From figures I have read (which I don’t have handy) something in the order of 80% of software is of that nature (and probably half of the rest is open source.)

    But let’s take you as an example. I don’t know all of your business, but I know some of it. You write here partly to generate buzz and interest in your books which you then sell. Without copyright how would your business be any different? Have you ever sued someone for illegitimately copying your book? Have you ever sent a C&D to a web site hosting a pirate version? Maybe you have, but the vast majority of self published authors don’t. Rather they rely on the loyalty of their readership not to steal from them. They provide value added services to link their readership into a network. They promise updates, sometimes give advice, perhaps give seminars where book owners get discounts, and where you could sell signed copies.

    Perhaps not in your case, but there are lots of other sources of revenue, merchandizing, endorsements, personal appearances, concerts or exhibits, ownership of originals (for example with paintings or first editions) and on and on.

    Heck, it would even be possible to protect your books with some form of copy protection. Not foolproof, but neither is copyright law. Annoying and burdensome, but so is copyright law. I mean I’m sure you know that people steal your books all the time even under the auspices of copyright law. It is kind of like a cost of doing business.

    Nonetheless, even without copy protection, a little imagination and you can certainly generate an income even without copyright. Monetizing content is one of the big topics on the web. Necessity is, they say, the mother of invention.

    However, Britney Spears might have to do without her G650, and fly in a Learjet instead, and that would, after all, be a real tragedy.

    However, copyright law has more justification that the outright theft and crushing of innovation that goes on under patent law.

     

  17. I can own Beyonce’s latest song and so can you, and my ownership doesn’t interfere with yours at all. I can sample it, play it backwards, change the words, or whatever, and it doesn’t affect you one whit.

    If millions of people can download all of Beyonce’s song for free, Beyonce makes less money. So Beyonce is either forced to do something else to make income (thus reducing the time she has avaliable to make awesome songs) or she decides to move to a place where she can actually make money from her creative work.

    On the long term, a society that protects intellectual property will have more creative geniuses that one that doesn’t, because they will actually get a fair remuneration for their work. Therefore, protecting IP rights is good for society as a whole.  I am 100% with Blackdragon on this.

  18. Again, IP is not one thing, the law is completely different for the four different classes of IP,

    Break out the four types of IP, describing each one in one sentence (not a paragraph, just one sentence each), and where you stand on each. That would help clarify things for me.

    First of all, lets be clear that the vast majority of art and written content is not created for money, or at least is not recompensed with money.

    Completely irrelevant to my point and my question.

    nearly every piece of software I wrote was written custom for a specific client, and so stealing and copying it is both irrelevant and largely impossible

    I understand, but that’s still irrelevant to my question. I’m only talking about people who are A) trying to make money with B) the open market. I get what you’re saying about software, but most fiction writers or movie makers aren’t going to write an entire book or make an entire movie just to sell to one company or person, as just one example.

    Without copyright how would your business be any different?

    I would make far less money, which means I would end this entire business and do something else. I wouldn’t even be here right now, and no one would be getting the benefit of my advice.

    they rely on the loyalty of their readership not to steal from them.

    And the fact that their readership knows they’re breaking the law and could get into legal trouble if they steal helps this. I don’t understand why you don’t see that.

    Perhaps not in your case, but there are lots of other sources of revenue,

    I already responded to that argument above. “Well, you can do even MORE work to make money when the hundreds of man-hours of your creating doesn’t make any.” Not only is that massively unfair to content creators, but it will discourage them in your society.

    I will repeat that if anyone could legally put my books up on their website for free downloads, I wouldn’t be here at all right now, because I wouldn’t be able to make enough money from writing alone to justify my time. I’d go do something else, and my audience loses.

    Heck, it would even be possible to protect your books with some form of copy protection. Not foolproof, but neither is copyright law.

    Finally you make a relevant point. Yes, if we were at the point technologically to easily and reliably copy protect everything digital (ebooks, movies, music, software, videos, audio, etc) without making the process difficult for the paying customer, then I agree we could chuck all IP laws right now and just rely on the technology. Agree.

    However, we’re not there yet. Until we get there, we need IP legal protection.

    I mean I’m sure you know that people steal your books all the time even under the auspices of copyright law. It is kind of like a cost of doing business.

    Yes, but under the current system, it’s a cost of business that represents perhaps 2-5% of expense instead of 25% or 60%. If it was that high I’d forget all of this and do something else.

    However, Britney Spears might have to do without her G650, and fly in a Learjet instead, and that would, after all, be a real tragedy.

    Be aware that is a left-wing, anti-money statement. I don’t like her any more than you do, but she has a right to that G650. She sold something to the open market that they wanted at a price they wanted it.

    If millions of people can download all of Beyonce’s song for free, Beyonce makes less money. So Beyonce is either forced to do something else to make income (thus reducing the time she has avaliable to make awesome songs) or she decides to move to a place where she can actually make money from her creative work.

    On the long term, a society that protects intellectual property will have more creative geniuses that one that doesn’t, because they will actually get a fair remuneration for their work.

    Correct. This is an issue were people put philosophy over practicality. Usually it’s left-wingers who do this; this IP thing is one of the times libertarians do it too.

  19. but the book that seems to be the most relevant to the anti-IP argument is written by Stephan Kinsella and is titled “Against Intellectual Property”. Here is the link to the PDF:

    https://mises.org/system/tdf/Against%20Intellectual%20Property_2.pdf?file=1&type=document

    For a more practical argument — that IP laws don’t yield the benefits claimed for them — see Against Intellectual Monopoly. One of the claims they make is that the Industrial Revolution was stalled for 20 years until the original steam engine patents expired.

    I read quickly through these 2 books, though didn’t completely read them – lots of cool ideas, thanks.  Interestingly enough, they both hold copyrights?

    One of the claims they make is that the Industrial Revolution was stalled for 20 years until the original steam engine patents expired.

    Things like this seem to happen with drug companies and certain drugs, too.  Certain drugs cost different amounts in different countries, you can buy generics in another country but not the US.  I see many sides (different corporations, countries and people) of the story, but don’t know the best solution at the moment. Probably a good compromise. Check out Drugs as intellectual property and Drug patents: the high price of watchdog litigation.

    It’s interesting to consider that this question/debate has been going on for some time, from Against Intellectual Property:

    Jefferson recognized that because ideas are not scarce, patent and copyright are not natural rights, and can be justified only, if at all, on the utilitarian grounds of promoting useful inventions and literary works (and, even then, they must be created by statute, since they are not natural rights). See Palmer,  “Intellectual  Property:  A  Non-Posnerian  Law and  Economics Approach,” p. 278 n. 53. Yet this does not mean that Jefferson supported patents, even on utilitarian grounds. Patent historian Edward C. Walterscheid explains  that  “throughout  his  life,  [Jefferson]  retained  a  healthy  skepticism about the value of the patents system.” “Thomas Jefferson and the Patent Act of 1793,”  Essays in History 40 (1998).

     

  20. Copyright itself is the unnatural contruct here. You conceived and shared your ideas of your own free will, knowing the consequences of how you shared your ideas.

    Enforcing copyright in the digital world is already an uphill battle in the digital world. However, companies can still get by without depending on the unreliable digital copyright laws.

    Digital artists can live through commission. There is already a plethora of copyable, beautiful art on the internet. If a computer can easily duplicate these works, is there no longer a need for artists? The value of artists lies in their talent and the ability to bring specific ideas to life. Successful artists live under the commissioning model, though the demand for artwork may be another story.

    Software developers also have to deal with the failures of the existing copyright system. It still thrives. Big tech companies do not outsource propriety code to India or other countries because the requirements of the software are often complex and vague. Often, software is either sold as a personalized product to some big entity, as a service through a client-server system, or as a medium for other content to be enjoyed through. If someone can copy-paste software online for their needs, their win.

    Inventors make profit not through ideas alone, but through business execution. Take Nikola Tesla. Smart guy, bad business sense. Truly, half-finished projects deserve zero points and half-baked goods add zero sales. If Tesla was never born, another genius would rediscover the same idea and perhaps execute it under a better monetization model. That’s the beautiful thing about science – since it’s a constant, anyone can discover a particular secret. If someone can reverse engineer your “original” product, improve upon it, and market it better, they deserve to take all the profit. To me, it makes more sense to place that burden upon the innovator rather than upon the taxpayer.

    Copyright law has created unnatural markets by working against the natural flow of information and files. Some industries have already been ousted by advances in technology. Even if copyright laws do hold some products aloft, the demand for said products will remain constant. I’m not worried about what I want disappearing. I have money. Some smart guy will make a deal happen. On the other hand, having a copyright system poses other costs as detailed here. Copyright systems force innovators to make patents regardless of whether they need one or not, as imitators could submit the innovation in their stead and force the true innovator out of the government through force. We freedom-loving folk have to feed some disgusting bureaucracy with our hard-earned dollars through taxes. If I was not willing to pay a creator up-front for protection costs, why would I want to be forced to pay it regardless through taxes?

  21. 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?

    Then you’ll sell some kind after-services thing. You become the expert one aka people would pay time for your intellectual while for the artist, people would buy an experience.

    This especially true, if your content is really top notch! when everybody who’ve consuming it could feel the IMPACT!!

    People would then pay more expensive for seminars, consultancies, expertises, concerts, shows, etc.. (so you create business around it)

    Quality content can create credibility, in other words; marketing machine itself.

  22. Crap!

    I haven’t read the comments above mine before write another one. It’s good as it’s get though.

    Bottom line; (similar to what I’ve said on this very blog sometimes ago) as soon as we approaching the future then it’ll become pointless to discuss some kind to be personal/private/ownership/secrecy thing, including knowledge and information.

    It’s just inevitable!

  23. Copyright itself is the unnatural contruct here. You conceived and shared your ideas of your own free will, knowing the consequences of how you shared your ideas.

    That’s interesting. It’s making me lean (a little) toward the anti-IP stance. No IP laws, but just let intellectual creators and IP “thieves” anarchically settle things among themselves (within the confines of all the others laws of course, eg you can’t just kill the creator to steal his idea, but you *can* copy his idea if he failed to protect it, technological protection or other). I am way more reluctant to apply this in “hard” areas such as engineering patents or scientific plagiarism, that seems way worse, but for the arts or self-help books etc, I might agree.

    If we go back to the state of nature and picture a caveman who just learned to fish. He might take steps to hide exactly how he makes his nets or fishing rods, how he baits/finds the fish, etc; he might demand some kind of price from every member of the tribe who asks to watch him or asks for explanations; he might even bribe or threaten those he teaches to not teach other people unless he gets yet more out of the deal; but if someone does manage to see him fishing and deduce how to do it, or if those he taught or those who saw him secretly share the methods with other people unbeknownst to him, then screw him, he tried and lost. If he does succeed in continuing to get benefits every time the info on how to fish reaches any member of his tribe or of other tribes, then more power to him.

  24. Break out the four types of IP, describing each one in one sentence (not a paragraph, just one sentence each), and where you stand on each. That would help clarify things for me.

    I did that above first (at least in part), so you aren’t the only one whose reading comprehension can be criticized : ) But let me elaborate.

    Copyright is a conflict around copying — you want to be able to provide your readers with copies of your books, yet you want to stop them from doing the same. The current solution is legal restriction of copying. It’s not great.

    Patents are a conflict around disclosure — you want to use others’ inventions while keeping your own ones secret. The current solution is a temporary monopoly in exchange for disclosure. It’s quite bad.

    Trademarks are conflicts around a scarce resource of catchy names — which isn’t that scarce and the topic is not very controversial. The current solution is mostly fine.

    Trade secrets that the other poster lumped in here as well do not involve any conflicts, it’s just a matter of trust.

    The nature of the conflicts implies there can’t be a technical solution. And the conflicts themselves are purely artificial, being but means of encouraging certain behavior that the society deems beneficial.

    Also note that making a living publishing things is at odds with foundations of capitalism, so some other social system is necessary to bring it to anywhere near “fair” (however you define it).

  25. Enforcing copyright in the digital world is already an uphill battle in the digital world.

    I agree but that doesn’t answer my questions or concerns.

    I think technology will eventually be the answer, but as I said above, we’re not there yet with certain things, but we are with others.

    For example, I think we’re “there” with video games. When I was younger, if you were the average technical nerd, it was super easy to pirate/copy video games instead of spending the $50 to buy them. I did it with my nerdy friends all the time.

    Today, that’s no longer true. Most video games today have fantastic copy protection, and/or require you to log into an online server to play, even if it’s a single-player game. If you somehow hack it and get around it, much of the game still doesn’t work correctly.

    Yeah, you can still pirate games, but an average nerd can’t do it; you need to be an uber-nerd and/or spend a HUGE amount of time fucking around. Thus, for most nerds, not all but most, it’s just easier to go to Steam Powered and just pay the $50 and get the damn game.

    So copy protection for video games I consider a success story; laws to protect that IP aren’t really needed there in my opinion. The problem is this is not yet true with things like movies, audio, ebooks, etc. Anyone of moderate technical skill and quickly and easy illegally download just about any mainstream movie they want. We have a long way to go there. Same goes for ebooks, music, etc. So I don’t see any other answer to that right now other than IP laws.

    If someone can reverse engineer your “original” product, improve upon it, and market it better, they deserve to take all the profit.

    I agree 100% but that is not a violation of IP in my view. Improving something is not copying it. If someone comes along and uses my concepts to develop a better system for online dating for the typical, normal man than I have (good luck) then he deserves his money. But he can’t post my books on his web page for free download. See the difference?

    We freedom-loving folk have to feed some disgusting bureaucracy with our hard-earned dollars through taxes.

    We have to do that to pay for police to protect your home too. I don’t see a problem with that.

    If I was not willing to pay a creator up-front for protection costs, why would I want to be forced to pay it regardless through taxes?

    Why do you pay taxes for an army that protects my house? Not your house, my house? My house is where I run my business, so you’re paying taxes to protect my creation.

    If you’re for that, then you’ve just answered your own question.

    If you’re against that, then you’re an anarcho-capitalist instead of a minachist libertarian like me, and that’s a completely different discussion.

  26. I did that above first (at least in part), so you aren’t the only one whose reading comprehension can be criticized : )

    It’s not reading comprehension; it’s that I didn’t read most of your comment. My policy is to not read comments that are too long. I know that annoys some of my readers but I have to manage my limited time here.

    Copyright is a conflict around copying — you want to be able to provide your readers with copies of your books, yet you want to stop them from doing the same. The current solution is legal restriction of copying. It’s not great.

    Patents are a conflict around disclosure — you want to use others’ inventions while keeping your own ones secret. The current solution is a temporary monopoly in exchange for disclosure. It’s quite bad.

    Trademarks are conflicts around a scarce resource of catchy names — which isn’t that scarce and the topic is not very controversial. The current solution is mostly fine.

    Trade secrets that the other poster lumped in here as well do not involve any conflicts, it’s just a matter of trust.

    Okay, good. So here is my position on each unless someone can answer the concern I raised in the above article (which no one really has yet):

    Copyrights are a pain in the ass but are sadly required until such time as technology can prevent the theft of income from content creators. I think this day will come, someday.

    Patents my not be required at all. I think you guys may have changed my mind on that one.

    Trademarks are required.

    Trade secrets should not be a government function at all, and should instead be handled with private contracts where violators can be sued in civil court.

    The nature of the conflicts implies there can’t be a technical solution.

    It’s more accurate to say that there isn’t a technical solution yet. See above what I said about video games.

    Also note that making a living publishing things is at odds with foundations of capitalism

    Incorrect. Benjamin Franklin (as just one example) made a lot of money in the publishing industry, and that was back during the foundations of capitalism.

  27. So copy protection for video games I consider a success story

    You are absolutely wrong about this. For example, every Steam game relies on the same DRM mechanism which is easily circumvented. Steam succeeded because it was easy to pay them money, not because of some complicated DRM.

    For any copy protection scheme imaginable, there will be enthusiasts breaking it, if for no other reason than their love of solving puzzles.

    DRM is inherently an impossible task, because a copy is a copy, you can’t allow some ways of copying but not others; you can’t provide something to a user without that user being able to share it further.

  28. Also note that making a living publishing things is at odds with foundations of capitalism

    Incorrect. Benjamin Franklin (as just one example) made a lot of money in the publishing industry, and that was back during the foundations of capitalism.

    Economics is a study of scarce resources. Books are scarce. Ebooks are not.

    Capitalism (nor any other economic system) hasn’t yet made all the necessary adjustments to that, only half-assed attempts like copyright. Note that things like universal basic income (which have their own problems) are a fundamentally different approach to fostering creativity.

    Patents my not be required at all.

    Despite all the corruption associated with pharmacology, the hypothetical reverse situation isn’t pretty either. What if every laboratory, after running dozens of lengthy (as in years) and expensive (as in $ millions) clinical trials to find out which prototype drug actually works, would suddenly find the market flooded with the same substance mass produced by all the other companies?

  29. You are absolutely wrong about this. For example, every Steam game relies on the same DRM mechanism which is easily circumvented. Steam succeeded because it was easy to pay them money, not because of some complicated DRM.

    Even if you’re right, you’ve exactly demonstrated my point. The video game industry figured out a way to make it easier to purchase content than to illegally copy it. Thus, IP regulation is not needed in this particular medium, at least in my opinion. However, this has not yet happened in the world of ebooks, movies, etc, thus IP protection is needed there… at least for now.

    You (and a lot of people) are too focused on DRM. DRM doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the issue. I’m sure there are market innovations (that I have not figured out) that would compel the vast majority of the market to purchase content instead of copy it for free and rip off the content creator. DRM is one option, but it’s not the only one. This is why the “DRM is hard” argument doesn’t really apply to my concerns or my point.

    Economics is a study of scarce resources. Books are scarce. Ebooks are not.

    You did not specify ebooks. You just said publishing.

    Capitalism (nor any other economic system) hasn’t yet made all the necessary adjustments to that, only half-assed attempts like copyright.

    I agree.

    My point is that just because copyright is half-assed doesn’t mean we dump the whole thing… unless someone can replace it with something better, but dumping it and replacing it with nothing is not a system I see working.

    Despite all the corruption associated with pharmacology, the hypothetical reverse situation isn’t pretty either. What if every laboratory, after running dozens of lengthy (as in years) and expensive (as in $ millions) clinical trials to find out which prototype drug actually works, would suddenly find the market flooded with the same substance mass produced by all the other companies?

    Correct! That’s why I said patents may not be necessary. I’m not 100% there yet, for the reasons you just stated.

  30. Stated as above, your viewpoint is in complete agreement with that of this anonymous user on the Internet. You are entitled to 1 (one) pat on the back : )

  31. You may see “stealing” and “duplicating” as a bad thing but in the same time it’s all free advertisment for you. Even if some steal from you, you’ll be more famous. Heck, you already know that giving away free ebooks is a common strategy nowadays.

    So it’s “give more, receive more” motto. How do you believe Youtubers are making money? With ads and crowfunding. Some of them are even making more money than you’ll ever make.

    You’ll be more famous (which I know you don’t want it), then people would pay to support you. To be coached by you. All these thing that’ll get you more money than the supposed loss you’ll get.

    Dale Canergie books and Hal Elrod books are among the most torrented/piraced and people like to share the book physically. Are they getting poor anytime soon? No, because it’s all free advertisment. And people will pay them more money to support them.

    Get off the scarce mentality and you’ll find yourself in better place than you thought.

  32. 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.

     


    Despite the fact that I agree with you on this, Im of the opinion that this is AGAINST the principles of Libertarianism, and is a form of hypocrisy.
    Arguments in no particular order of importance:

    1. NOBODY OWES YOU SHIT. You are not entitled to ANY profits, money, fame, sex, etc ever, other than what you win by fighting tooth and claw. If you are afraid of your content stolen secure it better via passworded DMR or other solutions, not calling the gov for help. Make it harder for pirates to steal your shit, not harder for them to get away with it post factum (which not only does not work, but empowers the gov, not you)

    2. You do not automatically deserve EXPECTED profits. You might have written a book expecting to make 100k$ out of it, but that is just it, Your projection/imagination. Potential customers/thieves/pirates cannot be expected to match your financial prognoses. Expecting your IP to be legally protected is kinda like expecting the girl to sleep with you because you were so nice to her, and she is “supposed” to put out to reimburse you.

    3. Philosophically speaking, you are not creating much of anything, just mostly rehashing the memetic load inherited from other people (99% of which you learned for free). You learned how to read or write, then read a metric ton of PUA/business books and forum posts, then practised it, now coach. Its a slow evolution of derivatives, because those people also copied from other people, and so on, back to the Stone Age. This is not a personal attack on You (though the coaching industry is extremely guilty of this), but on intellectual creation in general, and applies to all kinds of content. You (and your content) are a product of your society. Society giveth (via education and books), and Society taketh away (piracy).

    4. Pirates will pirate. Logically (and im pretty sure, statistically), people who illegally download your stuff would not buy it, either because they cannot afford it, OR, because they do not want to spend that much money. Its not like your sales would dramatically go up or down depending on whether your stuff is on torrent sites.

    5. A bit of a subtle point, but, the content that is REALLY worth it, is the content You would write and share anyway, even if there was no money involved. Not because you expect to get mad $, but because you are so madly passionate about the subject, and its your intellectual brain-child. Will some creators stop creating, if they cannot get reasonably paid? Im pretty sure the worthwhile ones would not, even if it meant poverty, starvation or certain death. Just ask Tesla, or van Gogh, or fucking Socrates.

    6. And finally, piracy and content theft is not that much of a threat to your profits as lack of recognition is. Your pocket will be filled as long as your popularity (measured via attention economy) outpaces theft, which, AFAIK, always happens. Moreover, piracy might actually *increase* your brand recognition, hence why many authors post their own work on torrent sites, or (like say, Cory Doctorow) provide direct downloads, and only ask that the derivatives from their work would mention the original author.

  33. You may see “stealing” and “duplicating” as a bad thing but in the same time it’s all free advertisment for you. Even if some steal from you, you’ll be more famous. Heck, you already know that giving away free ebooks is a common strategy nowadays.

    Advertising to do even MORE WORK beyond the 500+ hours spent writing the damn book. Read my comments above about my view about that.

    I do have several free ebooks that can be downloaded for free, dude. The goal of those is advertise other ebooks that cost money. If there were no IP protection, I couldn’t do that.

    How do you believe Youtubers are making money? With ads and crowfunding. Some of them are even making more money than you’ll ever make.

    The YouTube model is very different from the selling ebooks or selling movies model, and has nothing to do with IP or this discussion.

    he content that is REALLY worth it, is the content You would write and share anyway, even if there was no money involved. Not because you expect to get mad $, but because you are so madly passionate about the subject, and its your intellectual brain-child. Will some creators stop creating, if they cannot get reasonably paid? Im pretty sure the worthwhile ones would not, even if it meant poverty,

    Then you’re saying none of my content is “worth it,” despite the fact it’s changed the lives of tens of thousands of men for the better, because I would not have spent the last 10 years writing content as a part time job if I wasn’t getting paid for it, and I’m not the only content creator with useful content who feels this way.

  34. Then you’re saying none of my content is “worth it,” despite the fact it’s changed the lives of tens of thousands of men for the better, because I would not have spent the last 10 years writing content as a part time job if I wasn’t getting paid for it, and I’m not the only content creator with useful content who feels this way.

    No Caleb, this is not what I meant. I meant that You would most likely create the content anyway, even for free, because you are a driven and passionate mofo, and a smartass who wants others to know he is a smartass 😉

    Maybe there would be less filler in your writing, or You would be more laconic, but in the end you would put Your best ideas out there anyway, or (based on what we know about You from this blog and BD) Your brain would burst from unspent creativity.

    The same applies to pretty much all content creators. Think of Your favourite best movies, music, books, blogs, paintings or whatever you like best. You’ll notice that 9/10 times those were created by the kind of people who were simply driven to create by inner artistic madness, or because they had a message, or wanted to be known. Money came to them, but not always, and not as a priority.

    On the opposite side, look at the content that is created solely for money and it shows (a lot of YT channels, most Hollywood blockbusters other than the nerd-driven ones, pop-music etc). Its almost unanimously uninspired drivel.

    Its passion that drives good art/writing/creation, not money. Removing IP protection means that money goes only to those who create stuff good enough that people wish to *go out of their way specifically* to pay for the content, out of respect for the creator.

    (disclaimer: As I mentioned before, I actually agree with you that we need IP protection, but for purely irrational-selfish and hypocritical reasons. AFAIK, there is no good, logical, moral or even economic reason to want it AND be a freedom-oriented libertarian. We are however, imperfect creatures who sometimes want things that disagree with our own beliefs.)

  35. I meant that You would most likely create the content anyway, even for free, because you are a driven and passionate mofo, and a smartass who wants others to know he is a smartass

    And you’re wrong. I would never do that.

    Your brain would burst from unspent creativity.

    Incorrect. I would just do what I did before; write fantasy fiction novels strictly for myself as a creative outlet.

    Think of Your favourite best movies, music, books, blogs, paintings or whatever you like best. You’ll notice that 9/10 times those were created by the kind of people who were simply driven to create by inner artistic madness

    That’s art, and with art you might be right to some degree. But what about non-fiction guys like me? All those books in the bookstore on science, business, investing, computers, career, real estate, taxes….  ? Those people are like me; they are not artists; they’re business owners who need to be paid for their content, and who write not because of an artistic need, but out of a desire to get paid. If they don’t get paid, the vast majority will go do something else just like I would.

    (disclaimer: As I mentioned before, I actually agree with you that we need IP protection, but for purely irrational-selfish and hypocritical reasons. AFAIK, there is no good, logical, moral or even economic reason to want it AND be a freedom-oriented libertarian. We are however, imperfect creatures who sometimes want things that disagree with our own beliefs.)

    As I said in a comment above, I think IP protection is a terrible idea, but one that is needed until either technology or the free market can come up with a solution, which it hasn’t yet.

  36. Science fiction – as always – may already have the answer.

    Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, Black Mirror etc, all present a different way to infuse the human/cybernetic body with a simple recording mechanism.

    The solution to protect IP would be:

    1) to automatically record ON YOURSELF every purchase you make, thus making you as a client somewhat responsible if that content is distributed without authorization;

    2) like the guys said, to make it even easier and cheaper buying than stealing;

    You mentioned videogames, but every encrypted barrier that was created eventually got broken. The real problem is not IF it will break, but how fast those bypass methods go mainstream.

    Remember the first Playstation and those damn CDs? I could buy illegal copies of those games for five bucks just around the corner. I could even order new releases and the guy would bring them to me the next day. And they worked just fine.

    You’re right Caleb, technology still is our best bet.

     

  37. 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? 

    Authors, artists, musicians, and inventors made a living for thousands of years before the creation of intellectual property laws.  Copyright laws are ignored now on a wide scale, and not enforced at all in most of Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Yet coders still manage to make a living.  I’m reminded of this scene from south park.  Which was ironically uploaded as a bootleg recording.

    Many people (including me) would lose a lot of money and have literally thousands of work hours creating content wasted.

    Uhm… ok.  That’s not an argument though.  Owners of taxi medallions in New York stand to lose a lot of money due to competition with Uber.  Those medallions used to be an effective way to artificially restrict the supply of transportation services and extract above market rates.  Making the ownership of the medallions very costly.  That doesn’t make the taxi medallion system moral, or mean that its survival should continue to be guaranteed by even more government intrusion into voluntary transactions between private citizens.

     

    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.

     I would be more sympathetic to IP of the length until sunset or expiration was reasonable.  But anyone who thinks that the current length of copyright protection is reasonable needs to get their head examined!

    You also seem to confuse the idea of theft with copying.  In order for someone to commit theft they have to take property from you, without your consent, thus depriving you of that property.  If I take your Rolex watch from your home, without your permission, and run off with it; then you no longer have a watch.  That is theft.  However if someone willingly lets me examine their Rolex watch, then I make an exact copy using my time and resources than that is copying.  They’re completely different actions; with completely different moral implications due to the aspect of voluntarism.  Which is the fundamental underpinning of libertarianism.

     

  38. You could give away your books for free and let them work as advertisements for your consulting and seminar business.

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