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Terence Corcoran: No oil meets no copyright

A somewhat confused op-ed in The Financial Post, Terence Corcoran: No oil meets no copyright. He’s sees similarities between the opposition to SOPA, the copyright enforcement bill that was just defeated by the Internet blackouts, and the opposition to the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the US, which Obama just (for now) rejected:

the pipeline proposal and the SOPA copyright protection law are being derailed by remarkably similar radical ideologies that go far beyond the narrow impact of the pipeline and Internet legislation.

Behind the Keystone campaign is the No Oil movement, which aims to shut down fossil fuels as a source of energy to save the planet from climate change. Behind the anti-SOPA campaign stands No Copyright, which wants shut down intellectual property as a right and make information free. Both movements are at root religiously anti-corporate and share a deep conviction that the current economic regimes must be overthrown.

But the opposition to SOPA (and copyright) has nothing to do with being anti-business or anti-free market or anti-corporations. In fact the real reason to oppose copyright is that it violates private property rights. Most civil libertarian and leftist and Internet/tech opponents of SOPA do not oppose copyright in principle, but argue that SOPA “goes too far.” But among principled libertarian opponents of copyright and SOPA, most are either left-libertarian or Austro-libertarian. (The Rand-influenced libertarians are pro-IP; the utilitarians avoid extremes or principle.) But even the left-libertarians do not root their opposition to IP in being opposed to corporations. Most of them are opposed to corporatism, sure–but any good libertarian should be opposed to the fascist linkages between the state and business.

The opposition to Keystone is different. In part is is based on environmentalist antipathy toward industrialism and increased production of energy. But the opponents of IP are not per se opposed to industrialism or energy–though the free market capitalist could easily oppose the state’s corporatist role in approving the Keystone project, including the various eminent domain takings the state would have to engage in to push the project forward. In short: SOPA opposition is based in respect for property rights and the free market. Opposition to Keystone is mostly motivated by anti-capitalist environmentalism. Corcoran is confused.

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