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OCALogo_edited.pngAnnouncing the Open Crypto Alliance, which has been formed to fight blockchain and crypto patent trolls and patent abuse that threatens the bitcoin space (as discussed in this Facebook post).

As we know, one significant threat to bitcoin and cryptocurrency is state regulation and law. Another looming threat to freedom and innovation in crypto also results from state law: the patent system. A group of us—blockchain and crypto advocates, working in technology and patent law for over 30 years—have created this alliance to organize a successful fight to provide freedom to operate in blockchain and crypto technology. ​The Open Crypto Alliance is dedicated to keeping blockchain and crypto technology free of unwarranted patent assertions. We intend to do this by taking aggressive proactive action to oppose unwarranted patents that are being filed and collected by patent trolls and other bad actors.

As I noted here, previous patents have already needlessly distorted and hindered bitcoin technology. What a waste. What a shame. And the patent threat is growing. See, e.g., this Bloomberg interview with one of our Advisors, patent attorney Marc Kaufman, about Blockchain patent strategies and Blockchain patents: the emerging landscape of risk, and, by our Founder, Jed Grant, What Would A Blockchain Patent War Look Like? For example, the rabidly pro-patent Craig Wright (see his comments here; see also my IP debate with Wright) has a growing arsenal of patents related to blockchain and crypto technology. (For example, see Craig Wright/nChain’s global patent filings or granted US patents and pending US patent applications. 

If you are a crypto entrepreneur or company concerned about the patent threat to innovation and freedom to operate in this space, please pass the word along, and join us.

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Miracle–An Honest Patent Attorney!

Old post from 2006:

Miracle–An Honest Patent Attorney!

09/07/2006 | 

In this post I reprinted a letter to the editor that I sent to a patent lawyer trade journal, IP Today, in which I responded to the comments of a patent attorney to the effect that “the patent system is necessary for there to be invention and innovation.” I explained that

There is … no conclusive evidence showing that the purported benefits of the patent system—extra innovation induced by the potential to profit from a patent; earlier-than-otherwise public disclosure of innovation—exceeds the significant and undeniable costs of the patent system…. Is the patent system “worth it”? Who knows? Apparently no one does. It seems to follow that we patent attorneys ought not pretend that we do.

I received today an email from a respected patent attorney, a senior partner in the patent department of a major national law firm. This person is not a libertarian. These are just his/her honest observations based on his/her long experience in the field:
[continue reading…]

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Patent Trolls and Empirical Thinking

Old post, from 2006:

[Update: see Miracle–An Honest Patent Attorney! (Sep. 7, 2006)]

Patent Trolls and Empirical Thinking

06/22/2006 |

[Archived comments]

Patent trolls are under increasing attack of late—patent owners who don’t actually develop or manufacture the product covered by their patents, but just sue other companies who do make it.

Normally, if company A sues its competitor B for infringement of one of A’s patents, B will look through its own stack of patents and hit A with a counterclaim for infringing one of B’s patents. The end result is often that both sides execute cross-licensing agreements and back down. In fact this is a main purpose many companies acquire patent portfolios: to establish a MAD-like system in which patentees are afraid to assert their patents against others with large portfolios for fear of a countersuit. Thus, acquiring patents is largely defensive; patents are the bombs sitting unused in your arsenal. [continue reading…]

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First Amendment Defense Act of 2021

An Open Letter to Congress

Dear Member of Congress:

Below please find some suggestions for legislative improvements to federal law in favor of American free markets, property rights, and individual liberty.
[continue reading…]

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Jammit to the wall.

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Lockean Intellectual Property Refuted, Cezary Błaszczyk

Lockean Intellectual Property Refuted, by Cezary Błaszczyk, Scienza & Politica, vol. XXXII, no. 63 (2020).

Abstract: Locke’s theory of property is irreconcilable with intellectual property. Property-like titles in ideal objects cannot be introduced within the framework of the natural law, because they could constrain others from acts necessary for their survival. Nevertheless, followers of Locke’s theory of politics choose to belittle this conclusion and even Locke himself supported early copyright legislation. The inconsistency is important, for it depicts the problem of legitimization of intellectual property as political and demonstrates liberal reification of various aspects of social life.

This paper is solid, thorough, conclusive, and full of brilliant insights. It demolishes the case that IP, propounded by some such as Adam Mossoff, is a natural right or that Lockean theory supports IP. Related:

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Or should I say “libertards”?

[Update: see Jeffrey Tucker, Backdoor Censorship through Libel Law; Techdirt Podcast Episode 266: In Defense Of Section 230 & A Decentralized Internet]

It’s understandable conservatives, who have no serious principles about liberty or property rights, want to end the “safe harbors” granted to ISPs and related social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, by §230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA) (which has to do with defamation) and the “OCILLA provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (which has to do with copyright).1 This is to be expected. But it’s disheartening when even some libertarians want to do this (e.g., Tom Bell; the late Justin Raimondo).

These laws, signed by Bill Clinton at the dawn of the Internet, prevent platforms from being vicariously liable for tortious conduct (e.g. defamation law) or copyright infringement by their users. They were instrumental in the early flourishing and development of the Internet; Youtube, blogging, etc. would not have been possible without them. See The Court Case that Enabled Today’s Toxic Internet.

Some argue that these laws were premised on the assumption that ISPs and now, social media services, are mere neutral platforms, not “publishers,” and thus they should not be responsible for actions of their users, any more than the telephone company should be liable for criminal actions by individuals when they make phone calls to plan a crime. But now that Facebook, Twitter, et al. have become more woke and are censoring non-progressive speech, they are “acting like publishers” and should be treated like publishers. If the New York Times is potentially liable for libel for publishing an article or letter or ad that defames someone, so should Twitter and Facebook, since they now obviously monitor and edit the content their users post. But removing the §230 and DMCA safe harbors would just be a way of imposing defamation and copyright liability on companies that are now somewhat exempt. Since both defamation and copyright law are utterly unjust and unlibertarian (as Murray Rothbard and Walter Block have shown re defamation; and as I and others have shown re copyright), we should not urge the abolition of these safe harbors. It would be like, instead of abolishing the drug war, advocating that rich white kids suffer the same criminal penalties as the poor do, or instead of advocating an end to the draft, advocating for a universal draft so that it doesn’t disproportionately affect the underclasses. No. Abolish taxes, copyright, the draft, and the drug war for all. Don’t extend it just to reduce inequality.

But the incremental advance of IP law continues. See, e.g., Covid-19 Relief Bill Adds Criminal Copyright Streaming Penalties and IP Imperialism; and The EARN IT Act Violates the Constitution—the EARN It Act seeks to undermine the ability to encrypt data, which will expand IP enforcement and threatens Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Some of my comments from previous posts and emails are below. [continue reading…]

  1. See Trump Threatens to Veto Defense Bill if Tech Liability Shield Stands; Tucker Carlson Interview with Senator-Elect Josh Hawley on CDA 230; Mike Masnick, Lindsey Graham’s Latest Attack On Section 230: Reform It By 2023, Or We Take It Away; other Masnick posts; Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act. []
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As noted in this Facebook post:

It’s sad to see Republicans and even Fox News types applauding the Covid “relief packages” Congress recently passed and also earlier this year. These are massive wealth transfers and simply theft. I wonder however if the libertarians who believe in takings (eminent domain) have any principled opposition to this, e.g. Richard Epstein, author of Takings. Epstein’s argument there is that sometimes, because of free rider problems and holdouts, you need a public measure that takes someone’s private property for public use, while compensating them for the fair market value, with general tax revenues. This way, the overall cost of a measure is distributed evenly, and everyone benefits since the measure helps the “size of the pie” grow bigger (it is this surplus that you compensate the expropriated victim from, so that no one is harmed on net and everyone benefits overall). [continue reading…]

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To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to C4SIF. This work is published from: United States. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.