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Abject Dogma’s Review of Against Intellectual Property

I just came across a pretty nice review of my monograph Against Intellectual Property, by anarchist “Abject Dogma,” as part of his “10 Book Reviews in 10 Days” series (others in his 10-part series can be found here):

10 Book Reviews in 10 Days: Day 6

Number 5 – Against Intellectual Property by Stephan Kinsella

Against intellectual Property is by far one of the most important documents in libertarian theory. As far as condensed information goes only Gustav de Molinari’s ‘The Production of Security’ or ‘Anatomy of the State’ rival ‘Against IP’. IP as anyone reading this already knows is a hot topic among libertarians. Because of the focus on property rights that is the crux of libertarianism and voluntarism many people take for granted the idea of IP. Others, mostly objectivists, cite Ayn Rand’s disposition towards her own works and her…some would say fanatical defense of IP. In my own personal experience there seem to be an unusual number of software engineers/coders/etc who defend IP…which makes sense due to the (near)infinitely copyable nature of their work though I wonder how many of them regularly visit The Pirate Bay. Unfortunately for them though you don’t get to violate the NAP whenever it is convenient or relevant to your employment.

Kinsella’s argument is multi-faceted; he refutes Utilitarian, Natural Rights, Contract and property-rights defences of IP and the book is targeted towards libertarians and non-libertarians alike. This book is only about 60 pages long but managed to fully convince me that this issue is settled from an An-Cap stand point. Kinsella argues that not only does IP not help innovation but stifles it. The property rights argument was actually settled by Rothbard in Man, Economy, & State where he explicitly states that recipes are not property and this extends to IP as well being that any given item of IP is not scarce and therefore not an economic good, Kinsella merely elaborates this point but it was a necessary elaboration.

The two most important arguments in ‘Against IP’ are that contracts cannot bind a third party and that you have no right to ‘the value of the property’. For the former: A contracts with B to not copy a mousetrap but C sees the mousetrap on B’s desk. C is under no contractual obligation to not copy the mousetrap. The latter is basically a reference to Hans-Herman Hoppe who successfully argued that you only have a right to your property’s physical integrity not to any ‘intrinsic value’. Both of these have been vital in the evolution of my own thought and will serve anyone as a primer to further libertarian philosophy especially Block and his endlessly entertaining defense of the right to blackmail.

Final Score: 9.25
Topic appeal: 10
Information: 8
Execution: 9.5

Special modifier: — No modifier for this one, it is a solid work with few flaws and I wish it had ended the IP discussion among libertarians once and for all, alas that is not the case which is endlessly frustrating. If anyone would like to yell at me about how vital IP is abjectdogma@gmail.com for all of your hate-mail.

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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.