An Objectivist friend pass on to me the news that the pro-IP Objectivist law professor Adam Mossoff1 is giving a speech called “Convincing the Intellectual Property Skeptic” at the 2013 Objectivist Summer Conference (“OCON”) event in Chicago this summer, as can be seen on p. 4 of the Jan. 2013 ARI newsletter Impact.
My guess is that as more and more young people, libertarians2 and even Objectivists turn against IP [as mentioned in my posts Yet another Randian recants on IP and An Objectivist Recants on IP, the latter of is discussed in detail in an interesting podcast I just learned about, “Complete Liberty,” Episode 98 – Copyright versus property rights, anti-IP Objectivism, contradictory logorights], the few remaining free market proponents of IP are increasingly worried and mounting a rearguard defense of it. I am sure libertarians and Objectivists like Mossoff, Richard Epstein, etc., routinely hear younger libertarians very skeptical of IP, if not for outright abolition, and they know the case mounted for IP to date does not satisfy them. Rand’s defense of IP is a strange combination of property rhetoric mixed with utilitarian considerations, and ad hoc, arbitrary term limits; Epstein’s defense is outright utilitarian but bereft of any real empirical evidence to make the IP case. Mossoff probably sees that the existing Objectivist arguments for IP are wanting, and is trying to patch things up. This is how I became an IP skeptic/abolitionist: I attempted for years to find a way to justify IP that improved on Rand’s deeply flawed arguments, until I finally realized why I was unable to find such a defense: IP is unjustified and totally incompatible with free markets and property rights.
- Objectivists: “All Property is Intellectual Property”; Classifying Patent and Copyright Law as “Property”: So What?; Mossoff: Patent Law Really Is as Straightforward as Real Estate Law. [↩]
- The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism; There are No Good Arguments for Intellectual Property; Intellectual Nonsense: Fallacious Arguments for IP (Libertopia 2012). [↩]