Canada’s “Free Market” Fraser Institute Urges: Strengthen Intellectual Property Law

by Stephan Kinsella on September 11, 2013

I don’t know much about Canada’s Fraser Institute, but have long assumed it is generally pro-free market and private property rights. After all, it’s published articles by leading libertarian and free market economist thinker Walter Block, it publishes an annual report ranking countries on their level of economic freedom (I think Block used to be a co-editor of this report, back in the day), and its website’s tagline is “A free and prosperous world through choice, markets and responsibility”—somewhat vague and nebulous, but sounds libertarian-ish. And its website says “We depend entirely on donations from people who understand the importance of impartial research and who support greater choice, less government intervention, and more personal responsibility.”

Yet despite being in favor of freedom, prosperity, choice, free markets, and “less government intervention,” Fraser is calling for the Canadian state to ratchet up its patent and copyright laws, in its recent report “Stronger intellectual property for pharmaceuticals would benefit Canada,” promoted on its email newsletter with the comment: “Aligning IP protection with international standards would benefit Canadians.”

As most free market advocates nowadays recognize,1  these laws are state-granted privileges, in direct contravention to private property rights and free markets. In a brazen display of arrogant imperialism, the US bullies other countries into adopting Western-style fascist IP law and into ratcheting up IP protection and enforcement efforts,2 So then we have perverse, bizarre situations such as: countries like Canada impose fascist patent controls which let pharmaceutical corporatist cronies of the US state charge monopoly prices for drugs imposed by various state-supported medical cartels, and then, perversely, to use anti-trust  or price-control type laws to limit the “price gouging” permitted in the first place by the state-big Pharma cooperative complex.3

In other words, America’s lapdog, Canada, goes along with American arm-twisting to impose US-style patent and copyright laws, at the behest of American/Western interests like Big Pharma, entrenched high-tech industries that now rely on IP protection, Hollywood/movies, music, some software/computer game, and so on, and then its “free market” institutions repeat this dreck in the name of free markets. Mistake. Groups like the Fraser Institute should be loudly calling for the state to dismantle patent and copyright, in the name of freedom, free markets, prosperity, and property rights.

  1.  “The Four Historical Phases of IP Abolitionism”; “The Origins of Libertarian IP Abolitionism”; see also “Legal Scholars: Thumbs Down on Patent and Copyright”; “The Overwhelming Empirical Case Against Patent and Copyright“.  []
  2. See China and Intellectual PropertyThe Economist on Patents and Innovation in ChinaIntellectual Property Imperialism;  Free-trade pacts export U.S. copyright controlsWikileaks cables reveal that the US wrote Spain’s proposed copyright laws.   []
  3. See State Antitrust (anti-monopoly) law versus state IP (pro-monopoly) lawHsieh and Mossoff on IP and Sewing MachinesWhen Antitrust and Patents Collide (Rambus v. FTC)The Schizo Feds: Patent Monopolies and the FTCThe Schizophrenic StateIntel v. AMD: More patent and antitrust waste; Are Patents “Monopolies”?Patents, Prescription Drugs, and Price Controls. []
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