My article Against Intellectual Property has been translated into several languages. I was asked some time ago to write an introduction for two upcoming Persian translations by two separate translators. Since I don’t have much of particular interest to say pertinent to Iran itself, and can’t see a way to write a separate intro for each of them, and since I already wrote an Introduction for the 2012 LFB edition, I decided to write a new, more general article that could be used as an introduction by either of them, or by any other translations for that matters. It took me a while and the scope kept expanding and it has turned into a full-fledged article.
I post it here as a working paper, but anyone is free to use it for purposes of an introduction to any foreign language translation (or, indeed, for any other purpose, as it is released free of copyright, i.e. CC0).
HTML version below; doc; PDF. [continue reading…]
See Reason‘s article Josh Hawley Targets Disney With Copyright Legislation:
Hawley’s bill, the Copyright Clause Restoration Act of 2022, would shorten the period of time that a creative work can be copyrighted. Currently, any creation is protected for its creator’s entire life plus 70 years; works created prior to 1978 are protected for 95 years. Hawley’s bill would shorten that period to 28 years, with the option to renew at the end of that term for a limit of 56 years total. While this would be a significant decrease, it is no radical shift: The exact same terms were in place from 1909 up until 1976. Plus, shortening the terms brings the law closer to the actual stated constitutional purpose of copyrights—encouraging innovation rather than simply protecting stakeholders’ financial interests.
Should intellectual property be accorded the same protections as tangible forms of property?. One law professor wants to know.
No endorsement implied. But still.
Peter S. Menell, “Intellectual Property and the Property Rights Movement,” Regulation, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Fall 2007) [PDF]
The somewhat mealy-mouthed but cautiously leaning in the right direction Conclusion:
The property rights movement is too limited and grounded in absolutist ideology to support the needs of a dynamic, resource-sensitive intellectual property system. It is not particularly helpful to think of real and intellectual property as “structurally unified.” To the contrary, the landscape of intellectual property itself is quite variegated. Functionally-oriented property rights analysis can be useful to legal and policy debates, but property rights rhetoric is misleading philosophically, historically, and functionally. Suggesting that “intellectual property” must be treated as part of a monolithic “property” edifice masks fundamental differences and distracts attention from critical issues.
This is an original submission by Bernado Decoster. See also Bernado Decoster, Why Intellectual Property Isn’t Necessary to Reward Innovation.
Update: see also his Meds: The Seen—and Unseen—of Intellectual Property Laws and the vigorous comments section.
The Seen and the Unseen of Intellectual Property Laws
By Bernardo Decoster
April 17, 2022
Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned in economics is that public policies have seen and unseen effects. The mastery of such a lesson is what separates the good from the bad economist. “The bad economist”, writes Henry Hazlitt, “sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economist sees only what the effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups.”
The purpose of this article is to simply apply good economic reasoning to Intellectual Property Laws. By joining together not only the seen, but also the unseen consequences of intellectual property laws, we can achieve a solidly ironclad understanding of its impacts on humanity. [continue reading…]
From Patently-O, 2012. See also: Mossoff: Patent Law Really Is as Straightforward as Real Estate Law; and re negative servitudes: Intellectual Property Rights as Negative Servitudes and Libertarian Answer Man: Restrictive Covenants and Homeowners Associations (HOAs).
Libertarian writer and patent attorney Stephen Kinsella has written a critique of Prof. Mossoff’s Trespass Fallacy paper. LINK. Libertarian thought on intellectual property is somewhat unsettled. Kinsella is one of the thought leaders of the modern anti-patent libertarians while Mossoff represents the pro-patent side.
One of Kinsella’s basic arguments stems from the traditional libertarian support for individual liberties and strong private property rights. When some third party holds a patent, that patent limits what I can do with my scarce private property as well as my individual freedoms.
An old Mises post from Skip Oliva.
See also The Fountainhead and IP Terrorism; What Sparked Your Interest in Liberty? (FEE.org)
Stephan Kinsella has previously written regarding Ayn Rand, Objectivists, and intellectual property:
First, note the extreme, almost Galambos-like importance [Objectivists] attach to intellectual property. For example, [Ayn Rand] actually wrote: “patents are the heart and core of property rights.” I kid you not. (See Rand and Marx.) One pro-IP Objectivist even equates humans-as-inventors to “gods” (Inventors are Like Unto …. GODS…..). (The Randians’ deification of intellectual creation reminds of Galambos, who believed that man has “primary” property rights in his thoughts and ideas, and secondary property rights in tangible goods; see Against Intellectual Property.)
Interesting paper by Alfredo Bullard, “Is Intellectual Property Theft?“, Yale Law School SELA (Seminario en Latinoamérica de Teoría Constitucional y Política) Papers (Jan. 2008)
Marx said that private property is theft. In the Marxist vision of reality, to own something is to have stolen it from someone. Today few subscribe to this belief. We know that property is a central institution for market development and for the operation of any reasonably structured economy. Another truism arises from the simple application of this idea to the concept of intellectual property (hereinafter “IP”): IP is equally useful to the operation of the economic system as is the private ownership of tangible goods. If the Marxist belief that private property is theft turned out to be false, so is the belief that IP is theft. But this conclusion is not as simple as it might seem. The conceptual foundation that justifies the existence of exclusive title over tangible goods does not translate to the existence of exclusive title over ideas. In fact, it is questionable whether IP should even be considered property. Its foundations are, in most cases, very doubtful, and its existence, in every case, justifies a serious limitation on the reach that it is currently granted. In this sense, perhaps, Marx’s phrase might have had a longer and happier life if he had limited himself to stating that IP was theft.
Below is a transcript of my debate with Bob Wenzel on IP:
KOL038 | Debate with Robert Wenzel on Intellectual Property
Debate with Robert Wenzel on Intellectual Property
Stephan Kinsella and Robert Wenzel
April 1, 2013
ROBERT WENZEL: Everyone, this is Robert Wenzel. Welcome to a special edition of the Robert Wenzel Show. You didn’t hear the usual music introduction because what we’re doing is we’re putting the raw audiotape up of the debate I’m having here with Stephan Kinsella. So this will be on my site, EconomicPolicyJournal.com, and it will also be at Stephan’s site as part of his podcast. I’ll put a—actually, I don’t know how Stephan has—what his link is, so I’ll have him mention that when he gets on the show, which is right now, Stephan, so take it away. You have eight minutes. [continue reading…]