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Argumentation Ethics vs. Copyright

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.”

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Tucker, “Knowledge Is as Valuable as Physical Capital”

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.”

Brilliant!

See also my

Knowledge Is as Valuable as Physical Capital

Jeffrey A. Tucker

 

 

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…]

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(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.1

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.2 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.”3 [click to continue…]

  1. See, e.g., Intellectual Freedom and Learning Versus Patent and Copyright, and many talks e.g. KOL217 | Intellectual Property is the Bastard Child of the Gatekeepers. []
  2. A.N. Yiannopoulos, Louisiana Civil Law Treatise, Property (West Group, 4th ed. 2001), § 301 (emphasis added). []
  3.  Louisiana Civil Code, Art. 3421, emphasis added.  See also my article What Libertarianism Is for citations and further discussion. []
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CAFC Chief Judge Bashes Patent System

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.”

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Rob Nielsen: So-Called Intellectual Property

Nice, concise overview of various libertarian arguments against IP by Rob Nielsen on the Living Voluntary blog:

So-Called Intellectual Property

light-bulb

“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…]

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“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.”

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By Steve Lolyouwish:

The Rise of 3D Printing pushes the State closer to the Absurd Logical Conclusions of Intellectual Property and Copyright


The UK has just changed its copyright-and-patent monopoly law to extend copyright to furniture and to extend the term of that copyright on furniture with about a century. This follows a decision in the European Union, where member states are required to adhere to such an order. This change means that people will be prohibited from using 3D printing and other maker technologies to manufacture such objects, and that for a full century.

The people selling these copies are not necessarily “scam merchants”. Everybody knows they’re copies and not Vitra or Herman Miller originals. […] But – is there really £6800+ worth of value in the Vitraproduct? Or are they just charging that because they can? Who’s the scam merchant?
A relevant question indeed. Where’s the real scam when something designed 50 years ago is suddenly off limits to 3D printing and home manufacturing, requiring people to buy it at a 2000% markup instead?
 
Read the full article by the good folks over at Private Internet Access (a great and important kind of company) covering this issue, here.
Looks like yet another reason to finally abolish copyright and intellectual property, if you ask me. The only ones who will really win out in the grand scheme of things with laws in place for IP and copyright are the state, lawyers, and special interests.
The concept of private property was created and evolved to more easily minimize, manage and settle disputes regarding who had just control over some resource(s) — be it land, real estate, raw materials, capital — or any other kind of actuallyeconomically scarce resource. Desperately needed information systems regarding the supply, demand, their meeting place of ‘price’, profit and loss (which reward or punish you for management or mismanagement of these valuable, scarce resources according to the demand of society) evolved further out of that concept.
[click to continue…]
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“Let us stand on each other’s shoulders, instead of each other’s feet!”

From: Are “Intellectual Property Rights” Justified? (2000), by Markus Krummenacker

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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.