As is too common–these authors don’t make their article public; they agree to hide it behind a publisher’s paywall, despite being paid nothing for this. Sad.
Here is a pre-publication version at SSRN.
While policymakers often make bold claims as to the positive impact of intellectual property (IP) rights on both developed and developing country economies, the empirical literature is more ambiguous. IP rights have both incentive and inhibitory effects that are difficult to isolate in the abstract and are dependent on economic context. To unravel these contradictory effects, this article introduces an index that evaluates the strength of IP protection in 124 developing countries for the years 1995 to 2011. We illustrate the value of this index to economics study and show evidence that is consistent with IP leading to increased growth. Our results are further consistent with two causal pathways highlighted in the literature: that IP leads to greater levels of technology transfer and increased domestic inventive activity. Yet other aspects of our study fit uneasily with this simple story. For example, we find evidence suggesting that increased levels of growth lead to greater levels of IP protection, contradictory evidence in the literature linking IP with growth, a lack of evidence that increased levels of IP protection lead to actual use of the IP system, and problems with what IP indexes measure. Because of this, we suggest another – and so far undertheorized – explanation of the links between IP and growth: that IP may have few direct effects on growth and that any causality is a result of belief rather than actual deployment of IP.
From my Kinsella on Liberty podcast:
Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 220.
This is my interview by Rod Rojas of the Future Gravy show, which focuses on bitcoin and blockchain topics. We discussed how patents harm innovation and various strategies some companies use to try to deal with the patent threat, such as patent pooling, defensive patent licensing, whether Blockstream’s Patent Pledge is really a tactic that makes them a patent threat to the blockchain community, and related matters.
An interesting argument against copyright based on Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s “argumentation ethics” defense of libertarian rights:
A recently published paper by Cezary Błaszczyk, University of Warsaw, “The Critique of Copyright in Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics.”
Tucker is spot-on here. Take the title: “Knowledge Is as Valuable as Physical Capital” — actually this is what IP proponents say, they say that knowledge is as important as physical goods and therefore you need property rights in ideas just as we need it in physical things. Tucker turns it on its head and say that both knowledge and capital are important and therefore the state should not attack either: it should not tax and regulate or collectivize private capital, and it should not restrict the generation and flow and use of knowledge by IP law:
“It harms prosperity and future progress to attack private capital. In the same way, it harms prosperity and future progress to restrict information flows and their uses, through whatever means: censorship or intellectual monopolies.”
See also my
One of the greatest errors made by opponents of free economies is to disparage and attack the idea of private capital. Without capital, production is only about immediate consumption, not about building for the future. You cannot have a complex economy with advanced technology, rising wages, and many stages of production, in the absence of capital, which requires security in private property.
This is why even today you find very poor countries around the world. What has gone wrong? People are not lazy, unenterprising, uncreative, or unambitious. On the contrary, people in poor countries work harder and longer—even more creatively—than people in developed economies. What’s missing is that crucial thing: security in the cumulation of capital, intended to provide for future consumption. If you look carefully, what you find is that the state steals it (there is always some excuse) before it can be employed for social uses. [click to continue…]
(Adapted from a couple of conversations with Facebook friends.)
I’ve observed before that information is a guide to action, not a means of action. Means of action are scarce and ownable so as to prevent conflict over the use of those means. The same is not true of knowledge or information, which merely guides action.
Another way to see this is to understand that ownership may be viewed as the right to possess or control something, and is distinct from possession or control.
Possession is actual control of a resource — “the factual authority that a person exercises over a corporeal thing,” in the words of a renowned legal scholar A.N. Yiannopoulos. Or as the Louisiana Civil Code puts it, “Possession is the detention or enjoyment of a corporeal thing, movable or immovable, that one holds or exercises by himself or by another who keeps or exercises it in his name.” [click to continue…]
Well, sort of. Not bad, for a patent specialist and federal government employee.
Techdirt Podcast Episode 96: Death Knell For Software Patents
“Software patents have been dubious since their inception — not just in principle, but legally too. Past rulings have called their validity into serious question, and now an opinion from a prominent pro-patent judge has called for people to admit that they simply shouldn’t exist. This week, we discuss what this opinion means for the (hopefully short) future of software patents.”
Nice, concise overview of various libertarian arguments against IP by Rob Nielsen on the Living Voluntary blog:
“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” – Thomas Jefferson
Property ownership is central to liberty and civilization. Property rights prevent conflict over the use of scarce resources. Ironically, the term “intellectual property” (aka “IP”) represents a hodgepodge of concepts that generally introduce artificial scarcity and needless conflict.
The term “intellectual property” is a biased overgeneralization that prevents clear thinking. The first step in untangling the conflated IP mess is to identify the distinct concepts that it represents. There are three main things commonly considered to be covered by the IP umbrella: copyright, patent, and trademark.
Copyright: A copyright is said to exist when a “work” is “fixed” in a “tangible medium of expression”. The creator of said “work” is granted exclusive rights of “distribution” of their “original expression”.
Patent: Patents are granted to exclude people from making, using, selling, importing, or distributing an “invention”.
Trademark: A trademark is a recognizable symbol that identifies the brand owner of a particular product or service.
[click to continue…]
“Patents are bulls–t,” says Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng
At Ars Live 6, we talked to the attorney who fought patent trolls and won.
As I wrote in a Facebook thread:
“It’s all confusion and nonsense. He has no principled position at all. “When Cheng put it that way to his employers, they decided the money was worth it. If Cheng’s strategy worked, they would never have to deal with patent trolls again. “It was obvious there was a scam going on, and someone needed to say no,” he recalled.”
No, this is wrong. Patent trolls are not necessarily “scammers”–sometimes their patents are valid–i.e. will be upheld by a court, and the defendant will LOSE. You can’t just assume you will win if you fight–because there IS PATENT LAW. This guy doesn’t get that the problem with the system is not “scams” and “bullshit patents” but GOOD patents. That’s the real threat to innovation and progress.”