The PROTECT IP Act Will Slow Start-up Innovation

by Stephan Kinsella on June 23, 2011

From Union Square Ventures: The PROTECT IP Act Will Slow Start-up Innovation. Sure they are right. But I get tired of seeing people oppose “new extensions” of or “abuses of” IP law. They are so concrete bound and unprincipled (not sure if these guys are; I’m making a general comment); they never oppose IP in general. So here is the approach. Oppose the PROTECT IP Act, because it will slow innovation. But we shouldn’t be extreme. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Se should reform the system, but not abolish it.

After all, it’s okay to slow innovation a little bit. Just not too much.

(H/t Geoff Plauche)

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Crosbie Fitch June 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

It’s doublethink.

People cannot afford the psychological trauma of confronting the fact that privileges, which they have been brainwashed to believe are fundamental rights of artists and inventors (or the utilitarian’s doubleplusgood), are actually unethical (let alone uneconomic). Therefore the recent problems must be caused by recent changes to the legislation (not the fact that people’s facilities to infringe have recently changed). The doublethinker then comforts themselves that: a) copyright & patent remain a priori good, and b) recent legislative enhancements are problematic and could be improved. That is the doublethink, that instruments of injustice can be made fair and just again – a contradiction in terms.

Underlying this is the perception that it is just the tip of the iceberg that is bad (that we only hear of rare aberrations). The imagined base of the iceberg that no-one ever sees or hears about must therefore be all the good that these privileges do for mankind (which of course, is just indoctrination – correlation not causation). The assumption is that monopolists ‘raking it in’ to give (pitiful) royalty payments to artists and inventors are a slam-dunk indicator that progress is being accelerated and wealth is being created (instead of siphoned off from the far greater costs of brakes upon the cultural and technological progress that would otherwise occur unimpeded).

Allegorically, it’s very difficult to get slave owners to confront just how unethical their business is, similarly for their children to confront just how unethical their parents have been that have left them a legacy of a prosperous and thriving cotton farming industry. To deny slavery on ethical grounds (rather than economic) is too traumatic for most as one must then confront oneself, one’s partners and one’s parents as unethical. Better just wait for the mechanisation of agriculture to provide an economic reason to discontinue slavery.

Hence, it may be best if there’s an economically justifiable migration path from exploiting the suspension of the people’s liberty to exchanging intellectual work in a free market – so that people can quietly pretend they never really supported monopolies in the first place (without going so far as to admit they were unethical). Copyright and patent can then fall into disuse and disrepute.

And when I can afford to continue the http://contingencymarket.com I believe this will provide such an exchange and migration path.

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