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“Intellectual Freedom and Learning Versus Patent and Copyright” (2011)

Intellectual Freedom and Learning Versus Patent and Copyright,” Economic Notes No. 113 (Libertarian Alliance, Jan. 18, 2011)

Related Mises.org post; archived comments below:

Kinsella: “Intellectual Freedom and Learning Versus Patent and Copyright”

My article, “Intellectual Freedom and Learning Versus Patent and Copyright,” was published today in Economic Notes (No. 113, Jan. 18, 2011), a publication of the UK-based Libertarian Alliance. (This article is based on my speech of Nov. 6, 2010, at the 2010 Students for Liberty Texas Regional Conference, University of Texas, Austin; audio and video versions may be found here; see also below.)

Mises Academy: Stephan Kinsella teaches Libertarian Legal TheoryIn my various publications and speeches about intellectual property (IP), I’ve approached it from a variety of angles. In this article, I consider the role of information and learning, and the role of property rights, in human action. I use a praxeological analysis to argue that human action employs scarce resources or means, but that action is guided by non-scarce ideas and knowledge. Property rights are recognized in means because they are scarce; but ideas are not scarce things: they are infinitely reproducible. The growing body of knowledge is a boon to mankind. Property rights is needed for scarce means so that they can be peacefully and productively used in action; property rights in ideas restricts, impairs, and impedes learning and the use of information to guide one’s actions. Copying information and ideas is not stealing. Learning is not stealing. Using information is not trespass. In this article, I urge young libertarians to stay on the vanguard of intellectual freedom, and to fight the shackles of patent and copyright.

Incidentally, my 6-week Mises Academy course “Libertarian Legal Theory: Property, Conflict, and Society” starts at the end of this month (Jan. 31-Mar. 11, 2011). I describe it in my article “Introduction to Libertarian Legal Theory,” Mises Daily (Jan. 3, 2011).

Archived comments:

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Beefcake the Mighty January 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I wonder how long it will take Silas to make his usual assinine statements. We know he won’t bother actually reading this paper.


Stephan Kinsella January 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

He’s been banned from the blog.


Beefcake the Mighty January 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm

No kidding? What was the final straw? Of course, now he’s crowing about how he’s “won”, that he was banned because his “arguments” couldn’t be refuted, etc. Just can’t win with that guy.


Stephan Kinsella January 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I’m really not sure. It wasn’t my doing (though he outrageously accused me of being behind it, even though I argued in previous bans to have him reinstated).

Where’s he crowing about it?


Beefcake the Mighty January 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I don’t actually know that he is; I’m just speculating that he’s viewing this as a badge of honor thing. In the interest of fairness, I retract any suggestion that he is crowing about it (although I can make informed guesses based on his previously observed behavior).


Colin Phillips January 19, 2011 at 5:52 am

That seems like a mistake. First of all, I’m sure he’s intelligent enough to get around the ban if he wants to, secondly, given his vitriolic temperament it is almost certain that he will do so, and simply use someone else’s name, like that person pretending to be Dave Narby does.

I’m pleased to hear it was not your doing, Stephan.


Stephan Kinsella January 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

He’s gone by various nyms–John Sharp, Person, Richard Harding. Who knows what others he has.


Matt January 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Aww, I think I learn as much from the arguments with Silas as from the articles themselves….


matskralc January 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Yeah, I’d say two things have formed the largest parts of my current thinking on IP:

1) Kinsella’s book, articles, blog posts, etc.

2) Peter Surda’s responses to Silas.


Andras January 19, 2011 at 1:30 am



AskanIPquestion January 19, 2011 at 8:00 am

hmm as an objectivist he has to obey the wish of mises.org. Remember: IP dictates everything.

But I agree with others here: If someone that eager to spread the objectivist word is “banned” he will try and find a way to get back. Therefore it would be better imho to let him back here under his “real” name.


Dick Fox January 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

It is amusing when I debate this issue, economists who deal with scarce resources are always concerned with increasing the supply to increase production and reduce production costs. Yet, when they deal with IP, non-scarce resources, they are constantly attempting to reduce the supply and by doing so reduce the production based on the supply and increase the cost. Seems kind of “non-economic” to me.

It simply makes no sense to me. It is like stimulating the economy by rationing air.


Edgaras January 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm

hehe spot on.


{ 5 comments… add one }

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.