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Owning Thoughts and Labor [Rothbard and Hoppe on 1988 Panel] (Mises Blog, 2006)

Owning Thoughts and Labor

12/11/2006

The issue of whether non-scarce things like thoughts or labor are ownable has arisen in recent debates—see, e.g., Thoughts on Intellectual Property, Scarcity, Labor-ownership, Metaphors, and Lockean HomesteadingIntellectual Property and Think Tank Corruption; and New Working Paper: Machan on IP.

Johan Ridenfeldt called to my attention recently a 1988 panel discussion on ethics with Rothbard, Hoppe, David Gordon, and Yeager, which has this exchange:

Question: I have a question for Professor Hoppe. Does the idea of personal sovereignty extend to knowledge? Am I sovereign over my thoughts, ideas, and theories? …

Hoppe: … in order to have a thought you must have property rights over your body. That doesn’t imply that you own your thoughts. The thoughts can be used by anybody who is capable of understanding them.

This is compatible with (and, of course, pre-dates) my own views on property and scarcity. As usual, Hoppe got it right early on.

(See also Hülsmann’s Knowledge, Judgment, and the Use of Property, at pp. 44, and my Knowledge, Calculation, Conflict, and Law, p. 58, discussing the acquisition and use of knowledge being a mere technical problem.)

My view, as I argue in Against Intellectual Property, is that only some kinds of “things” are ownable in the first place. That is, before you ask who is the owner of a thing, it first needs to be established that the thing is ownable—the type of thing that property rights apply to. This is one mistake, in my view, in Rothbard’s attempt to derive a version of “copyright” (but which really also seems to include patents, since he thought it would cover inventions too). Rothbard assumes (as I explain in detail in the above paper) that where someone contracts with a novelist to buy only a single copy of a book and not to copy it, a third party may also not copy the book because he only has the rights that the customer had. This implicitly assumes that knowledge is ownable.

I think Machan also makes the mistake of implicitly assuming that that any “thing” you can conceptualize or name “exists” and “thus” can be owned. Such as a novel, or poem, or invention. And if these things are ownable, naturally, the person with the best connection to or claim to this thing is its creator. As Machan notes,

the status of something as private property appears to hinge on its being in significant measure an intentional object—its status as a private owned entity has to do with in what mental relation is stands with an agent. But then it would seem that so called intellectual stuff is an even better candidate for qualifying as private property than is, say, a tree or mountain. Both of the latter only come to be related to human intentions, whereas a poem or novel cannot have their essential identity without having been intended (mentally created) by human beings.

(This is somewhat reminiscent of what Rand did when she actually elevated patents over mere property rights in tangible goods, when she wrote that “patents are the heart and core of property rights.” See. p. 18 of my Against Intellectual Property article linked above.)

The problem here is it just assumes any “thing” you can identify conceptually may be owned. One problem with this is that it seems to make reality depend on the way we name or conceptually identify things. If I call or understand your output as a “novel,” then the “novel” is the unit. But just because this suffices for conceptual understanding of the world does not mean there is some “ontological” class of entities called “novels” that may be owned. In fact our concepts are use to refer to many phenomenon in or aspects of reality—truth, love, the-fact-that-I-woke up this morning, the age of the earth, my favorite drink. Are these things ownable just because they are “things” that can be conceptually identified? I don’t think so.

When you ask what things are ownable, before asking who the owner is, you realize the criteria is bound up with the purpose of property rights, which is to assign owners to avoid conflict; that is, they pertain to the types of things over which there can be conflict—that is, to rivalrous (scarce) resources. Clearly not to facts or memories or recipes or patterns or information. So you never get to the question of who owns a poem. It is simply not part of the class of ownable things. Call it a thing if you like; say it “exists”; fine by me. But it’s not an ownable thing.

If you restrict the ownership inquiry to scarce resources, you see the question of “creation” never really comes up, strictly speaking: as I have noted before, the focus on “creation” as an independent source of ownership is confusing and flawed. Actually, it is first use that is the key (as elaborated in my article How We Come To Own Ourselves). This is sufficient to allocate title to any particular scarce resource in question (the body is a special case). Creation, it turns out, is neither necessary nor sufficient: for example, if I am the first to homestead an apple, I own it even though I didn’t create the apple (yeah, you can torture language to try to say you “created” it in a sense since your creative efforts or “labor” were needed to recognize the opportunity etc., but let’s face it: you didn’t create the apple). So creation is not necessary. And if you create a statue in someone else’s granite slab, you don’t own it—so creation is insufficient. By contrast, if you create a statue in your own granite, you own the resulting statue, but not because you created it—because you already owned the granite, but merely changed its form.

Randians justify rights based on man’s “need” to be “productive” etc. I find this a very flawed and non-rigorous approach. It is what leads them to focus on creation as the touchstone of ownership; and this is why they are so eager to grant rights in IP—because yes, these things are “created” moreso than unowned scarce resources in the wild that are found and homesteaded.

Archived comments

Comments (190)

  • Student
  • All those users betting that Stephan Kinsella would post on intellectual property this week, you may collect your winnings by e-mailing me at econ_punk@yahoo.comDisclaimer: Since the odds were 1-to-1 that SK would post on IP, you can think of your winnings as simply a refund on the ticket price.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 12:13 PM

  • Person
  • Yeah, Student, same here; just now I only got a refund on my bet that he would trot out the same long-refuted argument (see my post at October 11, 2006 12:56 PM and the surrounding exchange with Kinsella) against IP. C’est la vie.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 12:32 PM

  • Sione
  • PersonEnough griping and crying already. What is your actual position regarding IP? You’ve never presented it in all your months and months of bickering, back-stabbing, bitching and demanding that people accept you as some sort of clever expert in the field. If you are indeed knowledgeable in this field surely you would have the courage of your convictions and present your position.So fess up and present your grand theory so it can be evaluated and critiqued.

    Sione

  • Published: December 11, 2006 1:11 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • While I still have a lot of ground to cover on this issue, I personally am coming around to Stephen’s view of IP. I think something has to be tangible and scarce to be owned.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 1:34 PM

  • Person
  • Si_one: Why isn’t it enough that I can tear down the arguments of others? Why do I need to present my own theory to show others’ to be false?
  • Published: December 11, 2006 1:35 PM

  • Person
  • Mark_Brabson: what does that have to do with Stephan’s position? In the link above, he concedes that the intangibility and non-scarcity of ideas do not suffice to reject the rights we would recognize as “IP rights”. That whole bit is no longer part of his case against IP. So if your oppose IP because “something has to be tangible and scarce to be owned”, that has nothing to do with Stephan’s position.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 1:38 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • My previous comment was meant in a very general way. The tangible and scarce was not a reference to Stephen, but to Hoppe and Rothbard. I am still studying on this whole matter of IP. And yes, I am reading materials on both sides of the matter. I try to be open minded as possible in these things. For example, while I am a great admirer of Rothbard, I differ from him to the extent of supporting ultra-minimalism rather than anarchy. I think that may be the case with IP. There is a lot of wiggle room from what I see. I will TRY to find the rational middle ground somewhere. In any event, I still have reading to do on the issue, so I can’t give a final answer to either you or Stephen, because I simply don’t know where I will finally end up on this issue. At this point, my viewpoints on IP are at best tenous.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 1:56 PM

  • Person
  • Mark, I agree with every opinion you just wrote. Sione, are you listening?
  • Published: December 11, 2006 2:07 PM

  • Michael A. Clem
  • Devil’s advocate for a moment. Of course ideas can’t be “owned”–that’s why copyright laws (for example) require that the ideas be in some kind of fixed form, like a book, an album, etc.What bothers me is a lack of clarity in such issues. It would be one thing to claim someone else’s novel as your own, for example, but it’s quite a different thing to write your own novel based upon the same characters. Yet IP law tends to be far too broad in just exactly what it protects.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 2:25 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,You are setting up a straw-man argument. In fact, Mr. Kinsella has repeatedly and explicitly stated (e. g., in N. Stephan Kinsella, “In Defense of Napster and Against the Second Homesteading Rule”, LewRockwell.com, September 4, 2000) that denying the legitimacy of intellectual property rights amounts to denying a “second rule of homesteading” (i. e., non-Lockean original property acquisition).Yours in Liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

  • Published: December 11, 2006 2:41 PM

  • Person
  • Carl_Johan_Petrus_Ridenfeldt: How exactly does the content of that citation contradict what I said? In fact, it agrees with me: it’s an instance of Stephan basing a rejection of IP not on idea non-scarcity, but on conflict with a higher homesteading rule. (Of course, that essay is from long before I schooled Stephan on the non-scarcity argument, so he hadn’t abandoned that argument as of that time, but the argument you’re referring to in the link is different.)
  • Published: December 11, 2006 2:50 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,Actually, the matter is quite simple: 

    (1) Because of the natural fact that ideas are not scarce, Mr. Kinsella rejects the concept of property in ideas.

     

    (2) Because of his opposition to any “second homesteading rule”, Mr. Kinsella rejects the institution of intellectual property legislation.

    The first step is quite helpful in getting to the second step.

    Yours in liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:09 PM

  • Person
  • Carl_Johan_Petrus_Ridenfeldt: The first step is irrelevant to the second step. Like I said in the link I gave above, which you didn’t read, and which Stephan has already agreed with, any “IP right” or “right to an idea” can be equivalently expressed as a right to the usages of all scarce resources that instantiate the idea, insofar as they instantiate it. That creates a “second homsteading rule” that violates Stephan’s higher homesteading rule, but has nothing to do with whether you can literally “own” a (non-scarce) idea.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:17 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person, you are being silly. I have never “admitted” your bizarre correction makes sense. Look. The problem is that advocates of IP always enforce it in the real (scarce) world. So giving rights in non-scarce IP “things” is tantamount to overriding the first-use rule for assigning rights in scarce resources. That is why it’s a problem to assign rights in non-scarce things. That’s why we have to identify whether a given thing in which there is to be rights, is a scarce thing, or not. If it is, fine; assign rights to it in accord w/ the homesteading principle. If not, you cannot assign rights in it becuase that would transgress rights in scarce things.If IP advocates would simply say, “Oh, no, we don’t think IP is property, nor do we think there are rights in non-scarce things like ideas. Rather, we think that if you come up with a good idea, you should be rewarded by getting partial ownership of tangible property already owned by others–we think there is a property-title-assignment rule for scarce resources that overrides and is more important than the first-use rule: it is the innovatation rule. And we don’t care about the prior-later distinction, either.” If they said this, Dear Person, then they are talking in terms of assigning property rights to scarce things. Then I woudl not need to point out to them that IP is not scarce. I would only then point out to them that their property assignment rule is not compatible with the conflict-avoiding purpose of property, which purpose shows that only the first-use rule and prior-later distinction satisfy the function of property rules.But if I just ignore the scarcity aspect, I leave it open for people like Machan to say, “Oh, I don’t want to invade rights in your property; I just want to grant rights in other types of things.” In fact, this is exactly what he says. This argument is the one that ignores the necessity of scarcity as a prerequisite to a thing’s being eligible for property rights.

    And in fact, even the basic argument abuot assigning property titles is an argument about how to fairly assign titles to *scarce things*. This requires an understanding of why scarcity is indeed crucial, despite your bizarre and repeated complaints that this is not so.

    Game, set, match.

  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:27 PM

  • Person
  • Stephan:I have never “admitted” your bizarre correction makes sense.Yeah, you just said: “Sure, you can put it this way, if you want–it still suffers from the same set of objections I mounted against it in my paper.” That’s an admission that it makes sense but you disagree.That’s why we have to identify whether a given thing in which there is to be rights, is a scarce thing, or not. If it is, fine; assign rights to it in accord w/ the homesteading principle. If not, you cannot assign rights in it becuase that would transgress rights in scarce things.

    Correct — you concede that IP claims are claims to scarce things.

    If they said [that they are making claims to scarce goods in violation of the homesteading rule], Dear Person, then they are talking in terms of assigning property rights to scarce things. Then I woudl not need to point out to them that IP is not scarce.

    If your argument against the IP claim can be voided merely by making the exact same claim, but using different terminology, it is no argument at all, and to assert its relevance is a fraud.

    And in fact, even the basic argument abuot assigning property titles is an argument about how to fairly assign titles to *scarce things*. This requires an understanding of why scarcity is indeed crucial, despite your bizarre and repeated complaints that this is not so.

    Stephan, how many times do I have to say this? I “get” that scarcity is relevant, but the misunderstanding of its application is on your side. Scarcity implies that not everyone’s desires can be satisfied, so property rules have to be spelled out to dilineate exactly whose desire can be rightfully satisfied and whose cant, when it’s impossible to satisfy both. Attempting to predicate an argument on “idea non-scarcity” (as you do) is thus a category error. People are making conflicting claims when they assert or deny IP. That is scarcity! You’re non-response is to say, “hey, we both have the informational content of the book, no conflict!”. But of course there is conflict. The exact same conflict that forms the need for property rights in the first place.

  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:44 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,On the contrary, I did read your linked-to material. (In fact, I also read it back in October.)Further, I did not claim any strict logical “relevance”. What I did claim was helpfulness. Remember that virtually all advocates of the institution of intellectual property legislation use such phrases as “owning ideas” or “property in ideas” as if we were having conflicts over Platonic objects, not (as you correctly note) “scarce resources that instantiate […] idea[s]”. Clearly, the question of scarcity is not irrelevant as to the question of the concept of owning ideas.

    Yours in Liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:46 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Poor, befuddled Person:A few comments.First, as to Johan’s last post, where he wrote: “Remember that virtually all advocates of the institution of intellectual property legislation use such phrases as “owning ideas” or “property in ideas” as if we were having conflicts over Platonic objects, not (as you correctly note) “scarce resources that instantiate […] idea[s]”. Clearly, the question of scarcity is not irrelevant as to the question of the concept of owning ideas.”

    Oh, oh, ouch.

    Now: you wrote:

    >Correct — you concede that IP claims are claims to scarce things.

    “concede”? Are you mad? This is my main problem with them. The problem is that IP advocates do not see this.

    >If your argument against the IP claim can be voided merely by making the exact same claim, but using different terminology, it is no argument at all, and to assert its relevance is a fraud.

    What? Fraud? How do you define fraud?

  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:52 PM

  • Person
  • Carl_Johan_Petrus_Ridenfeldt: The argument people try to make is predicated on ideas themselves not being scarce. That matter (whether ideas are scarce) most certainly is irrelevant and unhelpful. If any so-called “idea ownership” can be equivalently expressed as ownership claims on certain usages of scarce resources, the scarcity of ideas themselves is irrelevant. Is it “helpful” to argue that “one phrasing of your position is nonsense, but another one isn’t”?
  • Published: December 11, 2006 3:57 PM

  • Person
  • >Correct — you concede that IP claims are claims to scarce things.“concede”? Are you mad? This is my main problem with them. The problem is that IP advocates do not see this.

    It doesn’t matter if IP advocate so-and-so or such-and-such or whatshisname does or doesn’t see this. All that matters, is, “is it true?” If it is true that IP claims are claims to scarce things, your argument against them on the grounds that “ideas aren’t scarce” is invalid. Get it?

    >If your argument against the IP claim can be voided merely by making the exact same claim, but using different terminology, it is no argument at all, and to assert its relevance is a fraud.

     

    What? Fraud? How do you define fraud?

    Lying. You claim that “ideas not being scarce” consititutes a reason to reject the validity of so-called “intellectual property rights”, yet you now know it does not consitute such a reason, so you are claiming something you don’t really believe.

  • Published: December 11, 2006 4:03 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,The phrasing “property in ideas” is nonsense, since ideas are not scarce. Of course, after having proclaimed your advocacy of “property in ideas”, you may proceed to explain that by “property in ideas” you really mean “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas”. This, however, is disingenuous: The original phrasing, by itself, is nonsensical; hence, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of confusion (for examples, just grab any random writing advocating the legitimacy of the institution of intellectual property legislation).Yours in Liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

  • Published: December 11, 2006 4:26 PM

  • Person
  • Carl_Johan_Petrus_Ridenfeldt: Just to be clear, I never advocated “property rights in ideas”; rather, I explained why a particular argument against the substance of such a claim is invalid.you may proceed to explain that by “property in ideas” you really mean “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas”. This, however, is disingenuous: The original phrasing, by itself, is nonsensical; hence, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of confusionNot at all; it’s just metaphorical shorthand for a more complex kind of claim. So what if it confuses you? I thought the important thing was the validity of the substance of the claim, not whether you can play word games by “refuting” the literal meaning of a metaphorical phrase.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 4:38 PM

  • Jesse
  • Why don’t we step back for a moment from the abstract question of whether ideas actually can or cannot be property, and instead look at this from a common-law, conflict-resolution point of view.For the sake of argument let’s say that there are two individuals involved, A and B. A is an author who has written a book and submitted it for publication. B has purchased one of these books, copied it, and sold that copy to an (unnamed, irrelevant) third party. Let us further presume that there are no external laws or other precedents to cover this situation, and that no special contracts were involved (which would have made this a matter of contract law unrelated to the question of whether ideas can be property).A maintains that B’s actions violate A’s property rights in the book and thus constitute aggression; B maintains that no property right violations have occurred, and is prepared to defend itself against what B would consider A‘s aggression in turn.

    Recognizing this state of impasse, and being reluctant to start a costly feud, they have turned to you as a third-party impartial arbitrator.

    Is B guilty of aggression? On what basis?

    If B is guilty, what restitution is A due?

  • Published: December 11, 2006 6:11 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,First, I did not intend to imply that you ever advocated (or, for that matter, not advocated) “property rights in ideas”. In my sentence, “Of course, after having proclaimed your advocacy of ‘property in ideas’, you may proceed to explain that by ‘property in ideas’ you really mean ‘property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas’.”, you may substitute “one’s” for “your”, “one” for “you”, “one” for “you” and “means” for “mean”.Second, the phrase “property in ideas” is a metaphorical shorthand for the phrase “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas” in a meaningful way only in as far as one actually states and explains thus to be the case.

    Third, of course it matters whether I get confused by a claim or not. The purpose of communication is ordinarily not to spread confusion. That is why we insist on precision, rigorousness and the absence of ambiguity.

    Fourth, the validity of the claim that “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas is justified” is indeed “the important thing”. The validity of the claim that “property in ideas is justified” is, however, important only in as far as it is understood to mean the exact same thing as the claim that “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas is justified”, since, taken by itself, it is nonsensical. As is evident from the literature, such an understanding is not at all common. Rather, writers (on both sides, admittedly) are frequently confused and nonsensical, having been led astray by the metaphor.

    Yours in Liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

  • Published: December 11, 2006 6:28 PM

  • Person
  • Carl_Johan_Petrus_Ridenfeldt:the phrase “property in ideas” is a metaphorical shorthand for the phrase “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas” in a meaningful way only in as far as one actually states and explains thus to be the case.Every advocate of intellectual property explains exactly the rights they claim should be enforced, i.e., the substance of their claim.Third, of course it matters whether I get confused by a claim or not. The purpose of communication is ordinarily not to spread confusion. That is why we insist on precision, rigorousness and the absence of ambiguity.

    So do you oppose the use of *any* metaphor, or just the ones that lead you to making irrelevant arguments?

    Fourth, the validity of the claim that “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas is justified” is indeed “the important thing”. The validity of the claim that “property in ideas is justified” is, however, important only in as far as it is understood to mean the exact same thing as the claim that “property in scarce resources that instantiate ideas is justified”, since, taken by itself, it is nonsensical. As is evident from the literature, such an understanding is not at all common. Rather, writers (on both sides, admittedly) are frequently confused and nonsensical, having been led astray by the metaphor.

    Yes, it looks like Stephan is an example of someone on the anti-IP side who does this.

  • Published: December 11, 2006 6:46 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,You state:

    Every advocate of intellectual property explains exactly the rights they claim should be enforced, i.e., the substance of their claim.

    This is not true. Generally, such advocates are simply nonsensically advocating the right to stop people from “stealing their information” et cetera, whatever that means. Rigorously stated rights are in no way legion—quite the contrary.

    You state:

    So do you oppose the use of *any* metaphor, or just the ones that lead you to making irrelevant arguments?

    I do not oppose the use of metaphors per se. I am, however, constantly vary of them—especially in the context of complex argumentation. If, e. g., someone were to treat the statement “it’s raining cats and dogs” as implying that there are really cats and dogs falling from the sky, then I would naturally protest. I would do the same even if the erroneous implication was advocated in a way that was confused, unsystematic or inadvertent.

    You state:

    [I]t looks like Stephan is an example of someone on the anti-IP side who [has been led astray by the metaphor].

    I seriously doubt this.

  • Published: December 11, 2006 7:32 PM

  • averros
  • Enough of this nonsense.If ideas are a property, then every idea belongs to someone. Every word ever spoken – and so if one happens to listen to somebody else and remember words said, the speaker gets a claim to something contained within the listener’s head.If only some ideas can be property then one needs to tell precisely what diffirentiates property ideas from non-property ideas. A whim of PTO examiner? Or what?

    Since no consistent objective theory can be formulated to differentiate between those two kinds of ideas, the only reasonable conclusion remains: ideas cannot be property, period.

    What everyone’s calling “intellectual property” is merely legal fiction – the transferable temporary monopoly grants, created and enforced by the governments ostensibly for social engineering purposes, and in practice serving only to enrich the legal guild.

    So, discuss the necessity and morality of this legal fiction, please, and forget about “property”.

  • Published: December 11, 2006 9:47 PM

  • averros
  • …I really have to remember to proofread my messages before posting. My apologies.
  • Published: December 11, 2006 10:04 PM

  • ktibuk
  • “If ideas are a property, then every idea belongs to someone. Every word ever spoken – and so if one happens to listen to somebody else and remember words said, the speaker gets a claim to something contained within the listener’s head.”No it just means that some ideas are given away for free. Just like tangible objects. Tabgible objects are often given away for free and then it is the receivers property. But you cant take a tangible property away without consent and claim it is yours, just like ideas taken without consent.”If only some ideas can be property then one needs to tell precisely what diffirentiates property ideas from non-property ideas. A whim of PTO examiner? Or what?”

    Easy. Like every property, the consent of the owner. Because when you mean the difference between ideas that are treated like property and the ideas that are not, you actually mean the owner asking for something for exchange or not.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 5:10 AM

  • ktibuk
  • Maybe I should have said “creator” instead of owner there.Since there is no difference in production process of ideas and tangible objects. Just the product.Both ideas and tangible products, in the creation process, use scarce resources.

    When I come up with an idea I use scarce resource like my mind, my own experiences and past knowledge, my character etc.

    When I produce a tangible object I again use nature given scarce resources plus the scarce resourse mentioned above like my mind, my intellect, experiences, etc.

    IP rights are actually the very basis of every property right.

    If there are no IP rights and the argument that supports it, Lockean homesteading principal falls right on its ass.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 5:15 AM

  • Person
  • Carl_Johan_Petrus_Ridenfeldt:Generally, such advocates are simply nonsensically advocating the right to stop people from “stealing their information” et cetera, whatever that means. Rigorously stated rights are in no way legion—quite the contrary.False. Whenever someone defends IP, it’s always clear what “right” (or claim) they want protected. The fact that they refer to it as e.g. “stealing music” does not take away from that.me:[I]t looks like Stephan is an example of someone on the anti-IP side who [has been led astray by the metaphor].

    you:I seriously doubt this.

    If you’ve been following, his entire use of the argument from idea non-scarcity is a case study in being led astray by a metaphor. When someone wants to “own an idea”, that simply means they want the legal right to prevent others from instantiating the idea without authorization. The fact that Stephan focuses on the problems of literally owning an idea shows he has been led astray by a metaphor.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 8:34 AM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Person, you wrote:If you’ve been following, his entire use of the argument from idea non-scarcity is a case study in being led astray by a metaphor. When someone wants to “own an idea”, that simply means they want the legal right to prevent others from instantiating the idea without authorization. The fact that Stephan focuses on the problems of literally owning an idea shows he has been led astray by a metaphor.Your “simply means” argument doesn’t seem to recognize that enforcing such legal “rights” is no simple matter!

    Besides, what gives people the “legal right to prevent others from instantiating the idea without authorization”? Sounds fishy to me. . .what’s your justification for it?

  • Published: December 12, 2006 9:42 AM

  • Person
  • Okay, Dan_Coleman, I have a few brain cells I don’t mind losing.Your “simply means” argument doesn’t seem to recognize that enforcing such legal “rights” is no simple matter!Saying what something “simply means” implies nothing about the simplicity of enforcing any legal rights.

    Besides, what gives people the “legal right to prevent others from instantiating the idea without authorization”? Sounds fishy to me. . .what’s your justification for it?

    I wasn’t attempting to offer a justification for it, just explaining what an invalid argument against that position would be.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 9:55 AM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Person,The implicit premise of Stephan’s argument is that, in order to have a right to legal defense of something, one must first own the thing that is being defended as a right.If we cut out ownership and say that copyright is “simply” the legal right in itself, it is certainly a good question to ask how one can have such a legal right. Otherwise, it’s begging the question.

    In other words, it looks to me like the conversation goes as follows:

    P: ‘People should have the right to prevent others from instantiating that idea.’
    S: ‘But how can you own an idea?’
    P: ‘Wait, who said anything about owning? All I’m saying is that there is a legal right to prevent others from using it!’
    S: ‘What gives you the justification for that?’
    P: ‘I’m not giving one; all I’m saying is that it isn’t ownership per se.’
    S: ‘But why must that be so? For what reason can you prevent others from doing that?”
    P: ‘Does it matter? Your argument doesn’t work anymore.’

    and so on.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 10:08 AM

  • Artisan
  • If in the copyright question, opponents could consider just one second, that the infringement on homesteaded property rights is not related to “ownership” of thoughts but to “ownership” of individual identity. (Now you might argue that identity knows no ownership either as it is “immaterial”, but you can’t argue individual identity is not scarce… so that’s one thing).Most people in the western world think the authors of artistic works who “identify” strongly with their work have good reasons to, just as you do identify with your individual signature or with your “image”. It’s those people that one needs to explain why they shouldn’t care, if one wants libertarian ideas to overcome one day …without copyright.Here’s an example related to Hoppe to make my concern even more understandable and fitting: some time ago, Hoppe held a lecture on “Small States” in Belgium as he was invited by the “Vlaams Belang” party. This is known as a Flemish “nationalist” party that advocates the dissolution of the actual Belgian Federal State. Hoppe stated he did not agree with all the views of that Party, he only wanted to comment on the dissolution of the larger State entity. If there wasn’t copyright protection however, a political party would be able to republish an “edited” version of “Hoppe’s Democracy” for instance and link it “intimately” to its program, while even writing “dictatorial version approved by Hoppe” on it (what the hell, these are just words, and they cannot be owned, right?). Is that what Mises recommends? Or Hoppe?

    It’s an infringement on homesteaded identity rights.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 10:09 AM

  • Person
  • Dan_Coleman:In other words, it looks to me like the conversation goes as follows:P: ‘People should have the right to prevent others from instantiating that idea.’

    Didn’t say that.

    S: ‘But how can you own an idea?’

    P: ‘Wait, who said anything about owning? All I’m saying is that there is a legal right to prevent others from using it!’

    Didn’t say that; I said that the substance of so-called “idea ownership” is the legal right to prevent others from instantiating the idea.

    S: ‘What gives you the justification for that?’

    P: ‘I’m not giving one;

    Yay, the first thing I actually said!

    all I’m saying is that it isn’t ownership per se.’

    No, I said that the claim which is typically referenced as “idea ownership” needn’t be expressed as “idea ownership”, but rather, as ownership of the right to use any object to instantiate the idea in question; or, as ownership of the usage rights of all objects insofar as they instantiate the idea.

    S: ‘But why must that be so? For what reason can you prevent others from doing that?”
    P: ‘Does it matter? Your argument doesn’t work anymore.’

    and so on.

    And so on, what? I’m not offering a justification for the position opposing Stephan’s. I’m pointing out why one of his arguments is irrelelvant. I don’t need to present a justification for IP rights in order to do that.

    Why is this so hard for your to understand? Could you please read my posts? You’ll like it, I promise. It’s just like reading a book, except “my posts” instead of “a book”.

    Artisan: that falls under “fraud”.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 10:28 AM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Person,You’ll have to excuse me, because I can often be rather slow in conversation. I was under the impression that your counter to Stephan’s ‘ownership argument’ was that one doesn’t need ownership to fully understand IP, and therefore using ownership is taking a metaphor too far.Instead, it sounds like you are doing something different, but I’m no longer clear on exactly what you are saying (and I do actually read your posts, so no worries there 😉

    Stephan’s basic argument (in a crude summary) is that IP falls apart because you can’t own a non-material thing (a non-material *not* being scarce). In this blog post, he furthers that by saying that ‘first use’ of a *scarce* thing is the best way to understand ownership.

    What is your objection? If you give me a summary of your counterargument then perhaps we’ll have something with which to move forward in conversation.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 10:42 AM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Person”,You state:

    Whenever someone defends IP, it’s always clear what “right” (or claim) they want protected. The fact that they refer to it as e.g. “stealing music” does not take away from that.

    This is not true, since it is not at all clear what it means to actually “steal music”. Music is not scarce. Music can not be trespassed upon.

    Am I metaphorically “stealing” a song if I whistle it? What if I change a note or two? What if I only hum it in my head? What if I express my interpretation of it as a painting? These questions are not obviously solved simply by an appeal to a prohibition of “stealing music”. It is all quite uncertain, confused and non-committal, due to the underlying false concept of owning ideas.

    You state:

    If you’ve been following, [Mr. Kinsella’s] entire use of the argument from idea non-scarcity is a case study in being led astray by a metaphor. When someone wants to “own an idea”, that simply means they want the legal right to prevent others from instantiating the idea without authorization. The fact that Stephan focuses on the problems of literally owning an idea shows he has been led astray by a metaphor.

    You are simply incorrect. As I have shown, it is crucial to (1) inform advocates of “owning ideas” that they are (or, if coherent, at least ought to be) merely speaking metaphorically (since the phrase “owning ideas” in itself is non-committal) and (2) investigate the metaphor itself, especially precisely what it is supposed to be communicating. Mr. Kinsella has done exactly this; we owe him our gratitude.

    Yours in Liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

  • Published: December 12, 2006 10:59 AM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Carl Johan Petrus RidenfeldtExcuse me to interrupt. Do you think the expression „ownership of identity” is also utterly „non-committal“? If so, you certainly don’t mind I sign with your name under this post? (Just for once)
  • Published: December 12, 2006 11:07 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • “It is conventional among economists to be polite, to assume that economic fallacy is solely the result of intellectual error.”—Murray N. RothbardMr. Kinsella wrote: The issue of whether non-scarce things like thoughts or labor are ownable has arisen in recent debates.In other words, Mr. Kinsella’s entire argument is based on a false premise. The economic definition of scarcity is this: when the price of a good or service is zero, demand exceeds supply. Only if the supply of free goods or services exceeds the demand for free goods do we say those goods are not scarce.

    Employers demand people’s labor rather than their mere physical presence at the work-place. Employers don’t demand people’s body parts, but their labor as a mean of production. Same goes for useful ideas that can be used as a mean to some economic end: we don’t have an infinite number of these ideas. These ideas are valuable in the marketplace and they could be sold – hence, implying their scarcity.

    If people had a free access to our minds and if we could control other people’s bodies there would be no scarcity of labor and/or ideas. Employers would freely help themselves with other people’s bodies or just their minds, “downloading” ideas.

    In the real world, however, people own their bodies and production of labor is at their control. People also own their minds and they can choose to exchange their ideas in exchange for money. In his article titled “How we come to own ourselves,” Mr. Kinsella says that our self-ownership is the result of “direct and immediate control over the body.” If direct and immediate control is a prerequisite for property rights, we can see that both labor and ideas would qualify – simply because they are products our owned bodies.

    This settles “non-scarcity” argument. Now we can shift our focus to Mark Brabson’s assertion that property must be tangible. Let’s assume that this is absolutely correct, without going into real physical properties of work or problems when this notion is applied to the airspace (if you don’t own the air molecules that fall on your property, than someone can prevent you to use your land by polluting that air, or by building a low overpass that would physically prevent any construction or growth)…

    Going back to economic scarcity of ideas: we can choose not to store our ideas only in our brain, but to write them down on our other pieces of property – like pieces of paper. We can than chose to create voluntary contract with other individuals, in which we allow them to use our writings, while restricting their reproduction and commercial uses (by stipulating that all unauthorized copies that result from that item will become the author’s property). These voluntary, free-market, contractual restrictions are the basis for something that we call “copyright”. Whether you call these products “intellectual property” or something else is a secondary issue.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 12:32 PM

  • Lenny
  • I’m new to this topic and I hesitate to add my less studied opinions but it seems to me that while ideas are not ‘scarce’ meaning that there is no finite amount of the thing and so it cannot be owned; we can say that the expression of ideas does become a finite thing that can be owned. But even then, the expression of an idea or of ideas in general is more like a commodity that, while it can be owned, is not very valuable unless the expression is rare.Take for example the idea that a red octagon means “stop”. This is an idea that is and has been expressed many times and in many forms. I may own my expression of this idea but it has little or no value because so many other people also own similar expressions of the same idea.But why shouldn’t I be able to take that commodity idea and combine it with a whole bunch of other raw material expressions of ideas, to create a complex expression of ideas that has a greater value than the sum of its parts – whether that is a book, a song, or a design for a great new widget. This complex expression of ideas has more value because it is unique or rare (assuming there is a market for it).

    So copyright laws and patent laws are an attempt to preserve the uniqueness and rarity for a long enough period so that the enhanced value is not eroded too quickly. The reason this is deemed necessary is because it is so easy to copy expressions of ideas. On the face of it, this serves a public good by preserving a profit incentive for the creation of unique expressions of ideas.

    I suppose it’s inevitable that any system set up to control trade (that’s what copyright and patent laws are) will eventually be abused. It’s pretty clear to me that copyright laws – and patent laws to a lesser extent – have gotten completely out of control. But you don’t have to demolish the right to the ownership of expressions of ideas in order to argue that trade in expressions of ideas should not be constrained by copyrights and patents.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 2:00 PM

  • Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt
  • Dear “Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt”,First, what a lovely name you have!Second, yes, I do indeed consider the term “ownership of identity” to be non-committal. What is it supposed to mean? How does one trespass upon an identity? Are you “stealing” my identity by having a physical appearance similar to mine? (Good luck, identical twins and doppelgangers of the world!) Are you “stealing” my identity by referring to yourself with a name similar to mine? (Good luck, Joe Smiths and Ali Singhs of the world!) Physical appearances, names et cetera are not scarce.

    (Of what relevance is it whether I “mind” or not that you sign my name under your post? I would “mind” if you were to hit on my girl; so what?)

    Yours in Liberty,

    Carl Johan Petrus Ridenfeldt

  • Published: December 12, 2006 2:07 PM

  • ktibuk
  • You can not steal an identity but you can steal a unique product of it.Nobody in the world past present or future, could have written, lets say, “The old man and the sea”. Only and only the unique person that was Hemingway.How can anyone say that he doesnt, cant own that novel is beyond me.

    Only a socialist claims you cant own what is the product of your labor, your energy, your intellect, and your time (which is the only scarce thing really).

  • Published: December 12, 2006 2:39 PM

  • Michael A. Clem
  • First of all, if someone were to attribute or imply that someone else said something that they didn’t (i.e. the Hoppe on the radical party’s website issue), that’s not so much an issue of intellectual property but a defamation of Hoppe’s character. Little relevance here.But what’s not clear about copyright is how far it extends. Obviously, if I republished “The Old Man and the Sea” with my name on it instead of Hemingway’s name, I am clearly engaging in a fraudulent act. Is copyright law necessary to deal with such fraud?But suppose I wrote an entirely different novel with the same character. Is it just the novel that’s protected? The characters? The plot? The author’s style? Suppose I wrote and published a sequel, “The Old Man’s son and the Sea”. Would that be wrong without the copyright holder’s permission? Why?
  • Published: December 12, 2006 4:52 PM

  • Sione
  • Person wrote: “Why isn’t it enough that I can tear down the arguments of others? Why do I need to present my own theory to show others’ to be false?”Ah, hollow man!Consider the context. What is your purpose exactly? If you are here to learn, you should want people to consider your idea. That way should there be shortcomings, errors or inaccuracies in your system of thought you’d be able to enlist their assistance to:
    a) identify where you’d gone wrong
    b) correct your errors
    c) improve the philosophic system of thought you utilise
    d) add to your system
    In the end your effort may have added to the body of knowledge.

    If you are here to argue for the sake of arguing, then you are in the shocking position of having nothing constructive to present and no intention to learn. Then the only things you are seeking from people are:
    a) response to your posting in order for you to generate a feeling of self-worth
    b) someone to argue with so you have something to do
    Not very productive or useful really. Where is the profit in ego-stroking yourself by trying to tear down other people? Is your sense of self worth so fragile that you need to do that? That’s a dangerous game to be playing. It is self-deceptive.

    Note that given the evidence of the numerous postings opposing your efforts, you have not succeeded in tearing anyone down at all. Be honest. You do not have much support (excepting a possible alter ego).

    All it takes to frustrate your approach is to deal directly with specifics. For example, asking direct questions seeking straight answers that require you to commit to a firm position. That method usually stops you dead in your tracks looking for a way to evade. Another example, when you made a specific suggestion (dealing with the establishment of “obviousness”- we never got to novelty or inventive step etc.) it was very simple to demonstrate the idea was facile. That screams “hollow man”, all argument, no confidence, no knowledge, no content.

    Concluding: You need to present your theory in order to demonstrate how it is that others may be in error. Of course the risk in this is it may (and in this case likely is) you who are in error.

    It all comes down to context. Why are you here?

    Sione

    .

  • Published: December 12, 2006 7:51 PM

  • averros
  • ktibuk –“If only some ideas can be property then one needs to tell precisely what diffirentiates property ideas from non-property ideas. A whim of PTO examiner? Or what?”Easy. Like every property, the consent of the owner.

    Oh? I hereby declare that I (as a creator, and therefore the unquestionable owner) of the text you have read (and quoted from) do not give you consent to read and copy it. The fact that you assumed there’s my consent is irrelevant, as your assumption is incorrect.

    Please write me the check for $1000.00 to compensate me for the misuse of my property, or erase the copy of the content stored in your head immediately. You are also expressly prohibited from any future use of this content, including its reproduction on the screen of your monitor. It is my property, so stay clear of it, ok?

    By the way, this applies to this note as well.

    I think those who hold ridiculous beliefs should be required to live according to them, and that means you.

    Oh, and the Lockean homesteading principle works only when applied to material things. Using it to justify “IP” is demonstrably self-inconsistent, as “IP” and property in physical objects are logically incompatible.

  • Published: December 12, 2006 10:30 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • Person,
    You are still using the term “scarcity” in an absurd and incorrect way, and so all of your arguments against Kinsella are invalid.
    Let’s just take this one step at a time.
    As I showed in this blog — http://blog.mises.org/archives/005196.asp — your definition of scarcity as you use it in your “value scarcity” concept (the main pillar of your “IP is scarce” argument) allows for the absurd conclusion that (for example) imaginary squares and the Mona Lisa are **EQUALLY** scarce. It is not debatable that your definition of “scarcity” allows for this. The only question is, do you not see the absurdity in this conclusion? Are you actually willing to assert that the Mona Lisa and an imaginary square are **equally** scarce?
    As a refresher, please read my final post on this blog — http://blog.mises.org/archives/005196.asp .
  • Published: December 12, 2006 11:46 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • Ooops. That last link should be to this blog:
    http://blog.mises.org/archives/005713.asp
  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:01 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Averros,You used an invalid example. Advocates of free-market copyright protection (like Murray Rothbard) do not claim that you can force contract on someone by having that person read your conditions. Contracts are mutual agreements – not the list of your wishes. Other person must express his/her agreement to your conditions – which in market exchanges means that this person accepted some contract terms by giving his/her money for some goods or services.For example, if I say that I don’t sell certain uses of my product – you can simply walk away and not buy it. But if you choose to buy the product under these conditions, you will be legally bound by that contract.

    Also, you cannot force some information on someone – and than demand that this person erase it from their memory, just like you cannot put an ice sculpture in my backyard without my knowledge (allowing it to melt), and than demand that I return the original sculpture.

    As far as Lockean principles go, we should remember that he stated that property is established when someone’s labor is mixed with unclaimed objects. In other words, some object becomes our property when we transfer our body’s product to it, transferring something we own. This view basically holds that ownership of object is a strong and logical extension of self-ownership, whose manifestation is physical labor or work (when our body is applied to means of production). Lockean argument is closely tied to common law principles that can even be found in Roman law, as evidenced by the principle of adverse possession (as opposed to some “first-used-forever-mine” absolutism).

    On the other hand, communists view property as something that is not so rigidly determined by our self-ownership. To them, property is some kind of social arrangement of scarce resources, which was determined by “community” in order to avoid conflict. In other words, property can be rearranged based on “needs”, if “proletariat” starts a conflict. Some pseudo-Austrians subscribe to this dangerous idea.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:07 AM

  • Person
  • Fred_Mann: Please, for your own sake, give it up. I just said the exact same thing I’ve said everywhere else without using the term “value scarcity”. Your entire “argument” is just some bizarre fixation on terminology. Move on.Dan_Coleman: I’d like to respond, but I would simply be repeating what Stephan and I said elsewhere in the thread. Please, read this thread again for the first time.Carl…etc. If you’re not going to be serious about this, I’m not going to waste anymore time on you.

    Sione: I’ve explained this before, and your grandstanding is getting old. I’m here to point out the errors in both sides. I don’t have to reference my own theory to do it. I simply must show internal inconsistency on the part of existing arguments. Also, I see once again you failed to read my posts. Try again. Search out the last post where I use your name. That should make it easy for you to read my posts, but then, this is you we’re talking about …

  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:09 AM

  • Fred Mann
  • Person,
    Clearly you do not understand the basics of my argument. So I’ll just provide a very brief outline, and you can pick and choose from my “bizarre” statements below and refute away …You are inventing a non-seniscal definition for the term “scarce”. Your entire argument rests on the validity of this definition. But it is invalid and non-sensical, as I have shown. Therefore your entire argument is incorrect. It’s really very simple. Why can’t you understand this?
    I am not fixated on terminology. It just so happens that your ridiculous definition of “scarcity” is at the heart of your errors.
    The fact that you do not want to respond to substance of my arguments makes me think that Sione’s evaluation of you is on target. We’ll see …
  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:38 AM

  • Fred Mann
  • By the way, Person, when Stephan says “Sure, you can put it this way, if you want–it still suffers from the same set of objections I mounted against it in my paper.” , he is NOT saying that your position “makes sense”.
    If I say to you, “Sure Person, you can *SAY* 2+2=5, but you’d be wrong”, I am not saying that 2+2=5 is plausible, or that it makes sense.
    People who are not Ted Kaczynski usually understand this.
    To sum up, Kinsella is NOT admitting that you are correct, as you asserted above.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 1:00 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • By the same token, entire Kinsella’s argument in this thread is incorrect, because it is based on fallacious notion that labor is not scarce, when in fact there is a scarcity of labor services that are exchanged in the marketplace (demand for labor would exceed supply if price was zero). People value some valuable ideas written on a piece of paper – more than a paper written in gibberish, using same letters. Means of productions are valued because of their valued ends – and these means include labor and ideas that are embedded in our property (our minds, our papers, our computers…).We can conclude that conflict does not automatically implies scarcity, contrary to what Person claimed. Also, there can be no historical evidence that property is invented by “comunal agreement to avoid conflict”, as Mr. Kinsella claims.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 1:28 AM

  • Artisan
  • “yes, I do indeed consider the term “ownership of identity” to be non-committal. What is it supposed to mean? How does one trespass upon an identity?”Hmm. I thought so. You seem though to suffer some lack of imagination, not knowing how one could trespass upon your identity… defamation is one example.Let me just suggest another possibility: by pretending in some circumstances he is you, and cashing on the reputation you might have unmistakenly tied to your individuality, a person may engage in something that is called plagiarism. It is a copyright issue, very closely related to defamation in fact. But I imagine you are not really an opponent of plagiarism.

    Do you believe perhaps , like Michael Clem for instance, in the example above involving Hoppe, “it’s not so much an issue of intellectual property but a defamation of Hoppe’s character?”

    But why such nuances anyways? Is fame less immaterial than identity perhaps then? Please tell why would the Ridenfeldt-libertarianism not be defamatory, considering that identity would be “non-commital”?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:05 AM

  • Sam
  • Perhaps this debate on copyright has missed one vital point: copyright only prevents others from COPYING your copyrighted works. It doesn’t prevent others from creating their own similar, but nonetheless original, work.Patents on the other hand, only last for about 16 years, I think, and are there to give a short monopoly on an, usually UNIQUE, invention to compensate the bother of research and development. Once the time is up its there for all.Similarly there are issues of trade secrets: such the recipe for Coca-Cola, KFC, etc. Would exposing such recipes do anything than destroying businesses and put people out of work?

    The only reasons such ownership rights are there is to give the creator the right to profit from their work. Why would anyone bother to invent or compose something when they know anyone else could take their creation and make all the money? It is interesting to note that inventors of yesteryears, such Leonardo da Vinci, in the days before protection would put deliberate flaws in their designs to hopefully thwart dim-witted copycats.

    But one last question: do you think that copying commercial software without permission is theft or not? Such as burning a CD onto a blank CD and giving it to a friend . . .

  • Published: December 13, 2006 7:12 AM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Person,Perhaps I am simply missing your argument amongst all of your references to ‘read what I already wrote’ and your claims that everyone is misquoting you. It seems to me that this conversation would move forward if you were able to restate your position briefly and coherently, but I’m beginning to suspect that this either won’t or can’t happen.Here’s the best formulation of your objection that I can gather from these threads (it’s strange how often you claim that other people have not read what you wrote, by the way):

    From the fact that ideas are not scarce, it does not follow that there are no property rights in them. IP only has to show that it is legitimate to assign “rights” in scarce objects that use the original idea, without ever referring to ownership of the idea itself. One might reject these particular property rights, but these are only being rejected because the property rights have already been assigned through a higher principle, (that is, the homesteading principle). Therefore, “ideas aren’t scarce” doesn’t speak to IP and property rights.

    So it seems to me that your objection is to shift the debate from talking about IP in itself to questioning how it is that people obtain property rights.

    While this seems to make irrelevant whether IP is scarce or not, should we grant some of your premises, it also leads to some seemingly absurd conclusions if we take the objection seriously. (For example, if intellectual property is a way of assigning “rights” in scarce objects, then I may create for myself ownership of physical objects scattered across the nation merely by sitting at my desk and drawing a blueprint).

    But in order to talk about this, I think some terms are going to need to be made a little more clear — and perhaps cleaner, too. I made bold the word “rights” in my summary paragraph because I’m not really sure what you would mean by it. For this sentence:

    IP only has to show that it is legitimate to assign “rights” in scarce objects that use the original idea, without ever referring to ownership of the idea itself.

    Can you (a) say whether you (more or less) agree with it as a formulation of your objection and (b) define what you would mean by “rights” in that context?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 7:33 AM

  • Sam
  • What on earth are yous debating about again? Copyright, patents, trade secrets, trade names, etc., give ownership to a creation such as a book, film, software, invention, etc. That is, yes, something tangible and that which is going to be sold on the market. I haven’t a clue what these ‘ideas’ are supposed to be or whether they are supposed to scarce or what. Just because something is scarce doesn’t mean it’s valuable. Toxic waste would be considered scarce in terms of volume but I don’t want it nor value it.Since copyright, patents, trade secret require a process of application to see if it warrants such protection means that you have to prove you have something tangigle and even then it could still be rejected!
  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:04 AM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Sam, you wrote:What on earth are yous debating about again?Your next two sentence (mostly) answer this question:

    Copyright, patents, trade secrets, trade names, etc., give ownership to a creation such as a book, film, software, invention, etc. That is, yes, something tangible and that which is going to be sold on the market.

    The operative phrase “give ownership” seems to be the object of greatest contention in this debate.

    For example, why should my “inventing” a particular configuration of matter give me (at least partial) ownership of *every* physical object that uses the same configuration?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:28 AM

  • Person
  • Fred_Mann:You are inventing a non-seniscal definition for the term “scarce”. Your entire argument rests on the validity of this definition.No. I am using the same definition Stephan is using and I have clarified this with him several times. When it is impossible to satisfy two people’s desires for a good, there is scarcity. On this, Stephan agrees. I have tried to clarify precisely *which* sense he uses the term (because he shifts) by using new terms. Unfortunately, rather than simplifying, this caused you to go berserk and focus on very irrelevant matters.By the way, Person, when Stephan says “Sure, you can put it this way, if you want–it still suffers from the same set of objections I mounted against it in my paper.” , he is NOT saying that your position “makes sense”.
    If I say to you, “Sure Person, you can *SAY* 2+2=5, but you’d be wrong”, I am not saying that 2+2=5 is plausible, or that it makes sense

    Read the context of that statement. He was specifically conceding that that phrasing of the argument, which asserts the exact same claim, completely sidesteps the objection he spent ten pages of his paper on. Here is a better analogy to math:

    S: 2+2=5 is false. 5 isn’t even a number! And, 2+2 really equals 4.

    P: Wait — of course 5 is a number. It’s the fourth successor to 1. I mean, it may be the case that 2+2 doesn’t equal 5, but that has nothing to with 5 not being a number.

    S: Okay, so what? Alright, 5 is a number; the fourth successor to 1. 2+2=5 still suffers from the same objection I laid out in my paper, namely, that actually peforming the computation on 2+2 actually yields 4 — the third, not the fourth successor to 1.

    P: Okay, so you agree that “5 isn’t a number” is not a valid objection to the claim 2+2=5.

    F: That’s not what he said!

    Dan_Coleman:From the fact that ideas are not scarce, it does not follow that there are no property rights in them. IP only has to show that it is legitimate to assign “rights” in scarce objects that use the original idea, without ever referring to ownership of the idea itself. One might reject these particular property rights, but these are only being rejected because the property rights have already been assigned through a higher principle, (that is, the homesteading principle). Therefore, “ideas aren’t scarce” doesn’t speak to IP and property rights.

    Wow, that’s actually an accurate representation of what I claimed. Odd that you could get that far yet still make your previous posts. Go fig. But then you start to err:

    So it seems to me that your objection is to shift the debate from talking about IP in itself to questioning how it is that people obtain property rights.

    Yes and no. Yes, I’m pointing out the invalidity of a frequently used objection IP; and yes, if that objection is valid, the debate must shift to another matter; but no, this isn’t a clever rhetorical strategy to prove the validity of IP. I consider it intellectual garbage cleanup.

    While this seems to make irrelevant whether IP is scarce or not, should we grant some of your premises, it also leads to some seemingly absurd conclusions if we take the objection seriously.

    So what? I first want to establish the invalidity of the frequently used “but ideas aren’t scarce” objection that crowds out serious debate.

    “IP only has to show that it is legitimate to assign “rights” in scarce objects that use the original idea, without ever referring to ownership of the idea itself.”

     

    Can you (a) say whether you (more or less) agree with it as a formulation of your objection and (b) define what you would mean by “rights” in that context?

    a) agree; b) legally enforcible claim.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:34 AM

  • Sam
  • To Dan Coleman:I have been said simply that copyright, patents, etc., give an inventor, author, creator, etc, the rights to get a return for bothering to create something (assuming anyone could be bothered to buy the product, of course!). Did I not also mention you can only own what YOU have created. And you can make something similar to a copyrighted product provided you created it. AND copyrights and patents are temporary, you don’t get to own your creation for ever. Wasn’t there a recent squabble of certain music bands fearing their songs are now coming out of copyright?Some other contributors, seem to suggest that anything, no matter how intangible, such as an idea or thought, can be owned for ever and be expected a royalty for it, or something. Personally I don’t know what they are talking about.

    Simiarly, your last entry seemed to suggest that when someone made a sci. fi. film, for instance, then no one else is allowed to make another sci. fi. film without paying a fee to the first maker. Rather, you are free to be original and creative, you just can’t go around copying others’ creative work. i.e. Just Be Yourself 😉

    Did I not also finally mention that ownership does happen automatically, you have to get the creation registered (I think copyright in Australia is automatic upon creation of the something new, where in the U.S.A. you have to pay a fee, I’m not exactly sure.). Actually I’m pretty sure I read once that copyright doesn’t give a great deal of protection anyway.

    Finally, when various works do come out of copyright then it’s a free-for-all for those works! Hooray!

  • Published: December 13, 2006 9:13 AM

  • Artisan
  • Registration? Wow, sam, you really need to get the latest information on copyright. Like M.E. Hoffer would say: someone didn’t do his homework.Maybe you’re just reading too fast? Because I don’t know what you are talking about now: “Some other contributors, seem to suggest that anything, no matter how intangible, such as an idea or thought, can be owned for ever and be expected a royalty for it, or something. Personally I don’t know what they are talking about.”Anyways, as libertarians, we are more talking about philosophy, not governmental enforcement of legislation. Not utilitarian aspects.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 10:00 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dan Coleman asked: “why should my “inventing” a particular configuration of matter give me (at least partial) ownership of *every* physical object that uses the same configuration?“Why? Because you (hopefully, for the sake of our argument) stated in your contract with some buyer that every unauthorized copy of your product (and profits they yield) will automatically belong to you. We call this free-market contractual formulation – a “copyright”.Note that copyright only protects those products that are unique (not part of some common knowledge) – so much that you can prove that people didn’t reach that design on their own, but through unauthorized copying of your item.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 11:11 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Remember, Dan, Sasha thinks you “own” your “energy,” like wow man. And because I think that is just a confusion, I’m a “pseudo-Austrian.” Whatever, man.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 11:27 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dan,pay no mind to Kinsella’s bitter comments. He believes that property is communal agreement that was invented to avoid conflict (implying that “community” can rearrange property whenever conflict between proletariat and bourgeoisie arises)… Words of a “true Austrian”, indeed.Like I said, “copyright” is simply a product of free market contractual agreement in which you protect your original idea. That does not mean that you have to argue that you own idea per se… nor that you own your energy (which is implied by owning your body which is consisted of energy patterns according to physics)…

    Copyright advocate only needs to argue that you own a product that contains that idea – and you will have a right to formulate free-market contracts which will protect you from unauthorized copying. Kinsella has a problem with this, because he believes is communal origin of property, as opposed to Lockean view that all property is logically and inseparably tied to self-ownership.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:11 PM

  • Jesse
  • Sasha: “Why? Because you . . . stated in your contract with some buyer that every unauthorized copy of your product (and profits they yield) will automatically belong to you. We call this free-market contractual formulation – a ‘copyright’.”Sure, that might work — if every person who happened to observe your product and might be interested in making a copy actually agreed to the contract. In practice, of course, that is unlikely to be the case for anything involving mass production. (I believe we’ve been over this before.)Stephen: “Remember, Dan, Sasha thinks you ‘own’ your ‘energy,’ like wow man. And because I think that is just a confusion, I’m a ‘pseudo-Austrian.’ Whatever, man.”

    As much as I might sympathize with your feelings on this matter, it does no good to employ ad-hominem attacks on your opponents. This is particularly true when the position you are disparaging happens to be entirely correct — people do own the energy that makes up their bodies just as much as they own its matter. This is a simple correllary of the principle of self-ownership. (It still doesn’t support the conclusions that Sasha was trying to draw from it in the prior conversation, but that is another matter.)

    Everyone:

    I don’t believe anyone has so far managed to clearly explain just how making unauthorized copies constitutes any form of aggression, or what sort of defensive coercion “owners” of “IP” are justified in employing in response to that “aggression.”

  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:12 PM

  • Jesse
  • P.S.: Be sure to consider the principle of proportional response with regard to that last question. The general libertarian principle has always been that defense is justly limited to the equivilent of the original aggression: a life for a life, property for property in equal value. The equivilent for “IP” would be what, exactly? Copyright infringement for copyright infringement? I think most people could happily live with that arrangement. The conflict generally arises only when “IP” supporters try to extract real-property compensation for imaginary-property damages.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 12:19 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Jesse,Thank you for your great comments. I will remind you of my defense of contractual copyright in our previous discussion:If some copycat unlawfully obtained my book from person who purchased in a bookstore – and than made copies of that book from his own raw material – he will still be liable to my purchaser for all the he damages caused by creating the violation of his contract with my publisher (in the amount of these unauthorized copies and/or profits they generated).

    So copycat outside of my contract will not be liable to me – he will be liable to person whose contract stipulated concrete sanctions in case that unauthorized copies occur (and who is liable to me). Similar terms of use always prevent violations of any kind of contract by some third party. In that way, we prevent defense that would always go: “I didn’t do it – my son did”….

    There is no need to argue with this, since you basically agreed with all my points in our previous discussion.

    As far as your “life for life” argument goes, you failed to see that contract don’t always stipulate an “eye for an eye” type of deal (for example, you cannot force someone to provide some undelivered services, because that would amount to enslavement). You have contracts with all kinds of conditions; and “copyright” is saying that copyright infringement (and its profits) will belong to the author.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 1:15 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Jesse said:
    >>I don’t believe anyone has so far managed to clearly explain just how making unauthorized copies constitutes any form of aggression, or what sort of defensive coercion “owners” of “IP” are justified in employing in response to that “aggression.”Read my comments. Copyright infringement is a violation of contract. If you agree to purchase the personal use of my product, and yet, you decide to use it for commercial purposes, directly contrary to the letter of our contract – you committed a violation or aggression – by using my product in ways that you didn’t pay for (my publisher did).
  • Published: December 13, 2006 1:29 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • If you don’t like our explicitly stated terms of use or copyright agreement, you can simply walk away and not buy the use of my product. No one is forcing you to conduct a market transaction with me – if I insist on such “dreadful” copyright agreement. Of course, there are individuals who think that you can violate free-market contracts based on the alleged communal interests, just like they claim that property rights are assigned based on communal needs. Fortunately, these individuals are marginalized after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some of them dwell on cyber-space, posing as libertarians.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 1:38 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha: “pay no mind to Kinsella’s bitter comments.”Bitter? Ha! I don’t even take you seriously, dear Sasha, what in the world would I be bitter about.

    He believes that property is communal agreement that was invented to avoid conflict (implying that “community” can rearrange property whenever conflict between proletariat and bourgeoisie arises)… Words of a “true Austrian”, indeed.

    This is simply a fabrication or a misunderstanding by a confused mind unable to escape from the scientism it has been steeped in and brainwashed with.

    I do believe the social function of property rules is to assign identifiable owners to potentially contestable (i.e., scarce, or rivalrous) resources. Can anyone doubt that?

    See Hoppe on this: discussed in The Scarcity of Timenotes on Hoppe’s lecture regarding scarcity, and Hoppe’s TSC:

    Let us start with an elucidation of the precondition necessary for the concept of property to emerge.1 For a concept of property to arise, there must be a scarcity of goods. Should there be no scarcity, and should all goods be so-called “free goods” whose use by any one person for any one purpose would not in any way exclude (or interfere with or restrict) its use by any other person or for any other purpose, then there would be no need for property. If, let us say, due to some paradisiac superabundance of bananas, my present consumption of bananas does not in any way reduce my own future supply (possible consumption) of bananas, nor the present or the future supply of bananas for any other person, then the assignment of property rights, here with respect to bananas, would be superfluous. To develop the concept of property, it is necessary for goods to be scarce, so that conflicts over the use of these goods can possibly arise. It is the function of property rights to avoid such possible clashes over the use of scarce resources by assigning rights of exclusive ownership. Property is thus a normative concept: a concept designed to make a conflict-free interaction possible by stipulating mutually binding rules of conduct (norms) regarding scarce resources.2 It does not need much comment to see that there is indeed scarcity of goods, of all sorts of goods, everywhere, and the need for property rights is thus evident. As a matter of fact, even if we were to assume that we lived in the Garden of Eden, where there was a superabun dance of everything needed not only to sustain one’s life but to indulge in every possible comfort by simply stretching out one’s hand, the concept of property would necessarily have to evolve. For even under these “ideal” circumstances, every person’s physical body would still be a scarce resource and thus the need for the establishment of property rules, i.e., rules regarding people’s bodies, would exist. One is not used to thinking of one’s own body in terms of a scarce good, but in imagining the most ideal situation one could ever hope for, the Garden of Eden, it becomes possible to realize [p. 9] that one’s body is indeed the prototype of a scarce good for the use of which property rights, i.e., rights of exclusive ownership, somehow have to be established, in order to avoid clashes.
    2. Incidentally, the normative character of the concept of property also makes the sufficient precondition for its emergence as a concept clear: Besides scarcity “rationality of agents” must exist, i.e., the agents must be capable of communicating, discussing, arguing, and in particular, they must be able to engage in an argumentation of normative problems. If there were no such capability of communication, normative concepts simply would not be of any use. We do not, for instance, try to avoid clashes over the use of a given scarce resource with, let us say, an elephant, by defining property rights, for we cannot argue with the elephant and hence arrive at an agreement on rights of ownership. The avoidance of future clashes in such a case is exclusively a technical (as opposed to a normative) problem.

     

    So I guess Hoppe is just a pseudo-Austrian too, eh, Sasha? Or is it that he is able to see past the errors of scientism that have infected your muddled views?

    Like I said, “copyright” is simply a product of free market contractual agreement in which you protect your original idea. That does not mean that you have to argue that you own idea per se… nor that you own your energy (which is implied by owning your body which is consisted of energy patterns according to physics)…

    It is a confusion to say we own energy, just like it’s a confusion to say we own our labor. Either you are double-counting (ownership of the body is sufficient, just like there is no independent right to free speech b/c private property rights are sufficient to allow you to exercise speech), or you are trying to grant ownership in a non-scarce resource.

    Stephen: “Remember, Dan, Sasha thinks you ‘own’ your ‘energy,’ like wow man. And because I think that is just a confusion, I’m a ‘pseudo-Austrian.’ Whatever, man.” As much as I might sympathize with your feelings on this matter, it does no good to employ ad-hominem attacks on your opponents. This is particularly true when the position you are disparaging happens to be entirely correct — people do own the energy that makes up their bodies just as much as they own its matter. This is a simple correllary of the principle of self-ownership.

    To be clear: I was not using ad hominem; I was poking fun at obviously ridiculous ideas. And also: you are wrong: it is a confusing over-use of sloppy, scientistic, imprecise, non-rigorous, overly metaphorical ideas to maintain that we own our energy.

     

     

     

  • Published: December 13, 2006 1:45 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • I wonder, just musing: who’s more annoying: Sasha, or Person? Hmm.Sasha:

    If you don’t like our explicitly stated terms of use or copyright agreement, you can simply walk away and not buy the use of my product. No one is forcing you to conduct a market transaction with me – if I insist on such “dreadful” copyright agreement. Of course, there are individuals who think that you can violate free-market contracts based on the alleged communal interests, just like they claim that property rights are assigned based on communal needs. Fortunately, these individuals are marginalized after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some of them dwell on cyber-space, posing as libertarians.

    Poor Sasha appears not to realize that copyright affects third parties, not just parties to an agreement. And she does not realize how silly she looks implicitly calling Hoppe a pseudo-communist.

     

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:03 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mr. Kinsella,I never claimed that property does not arise from scarcity. Therefore, your entire comment totally missed my arguments and it was completely useless. You didn’t have to copy Hoppe – any serious economist will say that there would be no need for property if there was no scarcity.Our issue here is: how is property right established? Austrians, such as great Murray Rothbard, followed John Locke (who only observed practice that existed for centuries) by stating that you obtain property by mixing your body’s labor with some unclaimed object – transferring your ownership on that object. On the other hand, communist think that property is not tied so strictly and inseparably to self-ownership. To them, property is a function of conflict avoidance. Like Mr. Kinsella said, property is assigned in ways which will prevent conflict. In other words, at some point in history, “first use” principle was good for conflict avoidance, but if this does not prevent conflict, the proletariat could reassign property based on some other principle. This is why Kinsella has a need to deny physics and ownership of our entire physical body, including its energy. But that is not our main issue here. Let’s go back to the copyright.

    —–

    Mr. Kinsella is naturally upset, because he is unable to demonstrate in libertarian terms why would someone be allowed to violate any free-market agreement such as copyright. And this is his raison d’etre on Mises institute. The only possible argument he can make is some kind of communist nonsense that my knowledge, contained on my product, somehow belongs to everyone, regardless of any contractual obligations and without any respect for my private property.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:17 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • Copyright is NOT a free market agreement. A copyright is a government fiat order, agreed to by no one, but the copyright holder. Copyright could only exist under the realm of government and the state, NOT in a pure free market.I am not presuming to otherwise judge on this discussion, which I have decided to sit on the sidelines and just observe, but I had to point that non sequitur out.

     

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:31 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mr. Kinsella says:
    ” Poor Sasha appears not to realize that copyright affects third parties, not just parties to an agreement. And she does not realize how silly she looks implicitly calling Hoppe a pseudo-communist. “That is nonsense. Third party’s involvement can never be an excuse for contract violations. If that was the case, contracts would be completely meaningless. In reality, the side who is obligated to protect my product from unauthorized use will be liable to me – and any third party violator will be liable for damages to person who entered the contract with me.—

    I never called Hoppe a pseudo-communist. I wrote about pseudo-Austrians (false or non-genuine Austrians, in case you forgot what “pseudo” means).

    The fact that you equate yourself with Hoppe only shows how this discussion took its toll on your mental concentration. Did you demonstrate that Hoppe ever advocated the violations of free-market contracts, including copyright? Did he ever stated that property over a particular object is based on some society’s will (which is than subject to change)?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:40 PM

  • Jesses
  • Sasha: “So copycat outside of my contract will not be liable to me – he will be liable to person whose contract stipulated concrete sanctions in case that unauthorized copies occur (and who is liable to me).”No, that isn’t how contracts work. The liablity of the party to the contract is self-imposed; the buyer chose to enter into that contract and voluntarily agreed to become liable for any unauthorized copies (potentially whether or not the buyer was actually responsible for those copies). That liability does not transfer to the “copycat”, however, as there is no such contractual arrangement between the “copycat” and the buyer; unlike the buyer, the copycat has not agreed to any such liability. Any losses the buyer suffers are purely due to the buyer’s voluntary choice to agree to the terms of your contract and not the fault of any outside party.Sasha: “There is no need to argue with this, since you basically agreed with all my points in our previous discussion.”

    I beg to differ. We agreed on some points, to be sure: the ones which were irrelevant to your conclusions. As evidenced above, however, I certainly did not agree with all your points, or even the most important ones.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:45 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mark,You did not prove your quasi-religious exclamations with any logical argument. Just like Kinsella, you were unable to explain why you would have a “right” to violate expressed terms of use, or market contract, which would provide the copyright protection. Murray Rothbard provided an excellent explanation of contractual, market origins of copyright. Like I said, if you hate my “dreadful” copyright terms of use, just walk away and don’t buy that product. Make it yourself, if you can.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:45 PM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Sasha, while I see what you are going for with a private contract copyright, it seems to me that this will fall into the same category as free market labor unions, monopolies, merchant guilds, etc.: it can happen — after all, *anything* could happen, but it is highly, highly unlikely to be a product of a free society.This is probably why the government takes it upon itself to enforce copyright currently — without coercion it is highly unlikely to exist.I have a scenario that I’d like to see you address. Suppose that I’m a publisher in your model of copyright. I sell some books to person A with our copyright contract agreement. A, in turn, sells it to person B, except he attaches no copyright contract to this transaction.

    Person B, further, sells the book to person C (also without a contract), who in turn sells it to person D.

    Should person C or D set about copying the book and producing copies, I don’t see how person A is any better off in your system unless the contract between A and B can somehow affect person D through violent force — since person D is clearly not involved with the original, “copyright” contract.

    Is person A out of luck, or am I missing a piece of your argument?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:47 PM

  • Dan Coleman
  • I mixed up my letters a little bit (typical). My example should look something like this:I sell to person A. (with copyright contract)
    A sells to B. (no contract).
    B sells to C. (” “)
    C sells to D. (” “)I seem to refer to me as ‘person A’ later in the post. Sorry for the confusion. . .
  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:51 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Jesse,- If the buyer chose to enter into that contract and voluntarily agreed to become liable for any unauthorized copies (potentially whether or not the buyer was actually responsible for those copies) – he will be liable to me. That’s the end of it, if buyer caused these unauthorized copies to occur, either through direct action – or by his neglect of contractual obligations.- If the unauthorized copies occurred due to trespassing of some third party, that party will be liable to my buyer, because his unlawful actions caused him some damages (in the amount of the unauthorized copies this buyer owes me).

    I think we agreed on everything, although you don’t like to admit it.

    : )

    Regards.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:55 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • I was not making any conclusion as to whether copyrights were “desirable” or not. I was merely stating that copyright could not exist in a free market. And, I might add, as a Deist, I am not very prone to religious pronouncements.I am not going to argue the “desireability or ethics” of copyright at this time, nor am I necessarily taking sides with Stephen, as you mistakenly seem to be inferring.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:58 PM

  • Jesse
  • Dan Coleman: “I don’t see how person A is any better off in your system unless the contract between A and B can somehow affect person D through violent force . . .”I think you meant “I don’t see how I am any better off in your system unless the contract between myself and person A can somehow affect person D through violent force”.The answer would be that person A (the publisher, a party to the contract) would be wholly liable for any unauthorized copies. You, therefore, would be compensated according to the terms of the contract; person A, on the other hand, has no recourse, since person A’s liability was entirely its own fault (self-imposed by voluntary agreement to the contract).
  • Published: December 13, 2006 2:59 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dan Coleman,As in my third party theft example, person A (publisher) is liable to me (the author). This will make sure that publishers will not be stupid to resell my work without any contract (as they do not in real life).Before you try to make a claim that copyright would not exist in purely free market, why don’t you try to explain why would voluntary contracts (terms of use that we have today) be incapable of providing such protection.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:02 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mark Barbson,I am anxiously waiting for any argument that copyright (within terms of use) could not exist in free-market contracts. I have not seen one, as of yet (I only saw Kinsella’s attempt to sidetrack this discussion, by misinterpreting my critique of “communal” property acquisition theory).
  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:15 PM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Hmm, well I think I understand now how that would be enforced in a free market.I still think that a free-market copyright standard would be likely to fail. In my view there would be far too many authors trying to get published (talk about a saturated market as it is!), and there would be too few publishing companies and distributors willing to take on the extra burden and risk that copyright contracts create. The market wouldn’t be especially friendly to these agreements.The result would be that the most demanding authors and publishing companies — wanting exclusive rights for authorizing (and profiting from) copies — would lose out to authors and publishing companies who were less concerned about IP.

    Likewise, the companies taking the least risk by not accepting copyright contracts would be the least penalized for their production. They would spend less time worrying about others making copies of their books (for which they’d be liable) and more time worrying about making a quality product.

    Short of forcing people to recognize copyright (whether they like it or not), I don’t see how these contractual agreements could last in a free market. But I could be wrong.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:18 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dan Coleman,Unfortunately, you are not alone in your lack of trust in free-market contract. This fear that without state power terms of contract would not be enforced is responsible for the existence of government monopoly in many areas, not just in copyright contract enforcement.On the other hand, I insist that this fear must be supported by some sort of logical argument or evidence – or it would be nothing but a religious claim.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:26 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Also Dan, free-market copyright would not be one-size-fits-all type of arangement. As I said in our previous discussion:”In addition to other factors, the competition in a free-market would be based on rigidity/flexibility of the user rights. With our current “intellectual property” interference, the state prevents market competition that would occur based on many possible conditions of sale. So many complicated factors in price formation would be a true nightmare for a central planer that aims to predict future price levels and other data. Such complicated pricing process would make it harder for statists to call for price controls or to accuse someone of price gauging. Furthermore, our law is limiting the period during which the copyright can be applied, implying that this right actually belongs to the state – not to private authors and their successors.Our current “intellectual property” laws represent aggression on private property rights, because they deny the right of free individuals to completely arrange these issues on a contractual basis. Of course, among the first victims of such liberty would be many econometricians, as well as holders of unjust patent monopolies (many powerful groups). That’s why I think that the regulations of copyrights will be returned to markets – right about the same time when the control of money supply is returned to people (I don’t see that day coming any time soon).”
  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:30 PM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Sasha, I think you may misunderstand me. I have no doubts that such contracts could be worked out in a free market without the help of government intervention (I am, in that sense, leaning more every day toward Rothbard’s vision of libertarianism).Just like labor unions without aggressive coercion, I can see the logic for why there might be contractual copyright agreements. What I am disputing is whether such contracts are likely to be widespread in a libertarian society.It seems that you agree that IP cannot be owned in any meaningful sense (like a physical object such as a book). If one’s ‘intellectual property’ is to be guarded from unwanted duplication, then it must be done in a peaceful manner.

    You are arguing that a free society would likely still have copyright; I think that it would die out as an archaic, impractical system. (Just like merchant guilds, labor unions, monopolies, etc. — even if they refrained from aggression — would in a free market).

  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:37 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dan,Sorry if I misunderstood you, based on your earlier claims.If you argue that in free-market copyright would “die out”, it is normal that some people who share your opinion, but see the logical and practical reasons for copyright, would turn to government.

    I don’t see a single reason that would prevent any author in free-market to contractually limit ability of others to use his product for commercial purposes. If there is such argument, I would love to see it.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 3:48 PM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Sasha, you wrote:If you argue that in free-market copyright would “die out”, it is normal that some people who share your opinion, but see the logical and practical reasons for copyright, would turn to government.Surely that can’t be an argument against my position. The same could be said about social security and a plethora of other government programs.

    I don’t see a single reason that would prevent any author in free-market to contractually limit ability of others to use his product for commercial purposes. If there is such argument, I would love to see it.

    There is no argument against that particular claim, but there is good reason to think that such authors wouldn’t stay in business very long! Again, there is no reason that labor couldn’t organize into a union in the free market (if there is an argument against this idea, I’d love to see it), but likewise that ‘union’ isn’t likely to keep their jobs for very long at all!

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:00 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • “I am anxiously waiting for any argument that copyright (within terms of use) could not exist in free-market contracts. I have not seen one, as of yet (I only saw Kinsella’s attempt to sidetrack this discussion, by misinterpreting my critique of “communal” property acquisition theory).”Sasha:I insist that “copyright” could not exist, in a pure, non governmental market. Free market “agreements” as to usage could be made between author’s/publishers/customers etc. Free market agreement’s are just fine and dandy. If somebody wants to add a contract to sale, that is just fine.

    However, copyright, is NOT a free market agreement. A copyright is a government fiat order. A free market agreement is a voluntary agreement between free citizens. I have no problem at all with free market agreements. I have NOT yet reached a conclusion as regards to government “copyright” other than making the distinction between a fiat copyright and a free market agreement.

    Kind of like how fiat money is not real commodity money.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:01 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • “I am anxiously waiting for any argument that copyright (within terms of use) could not exist in free-market contracts. I have not seen one, as of yet (I only saw Kinsella’s attempt to sidetrack this discussion, by misinterpreting my critique of “communal” property acquisition theory).”Sasha:I insist that “copyright” could not exist, in a pure, non governmental market. Free market “agreements” as to usage could be made between author’s/publishers/customers etc. Free market agreement’s are just fine and dandy. If somebody wants to add a contract to sale, that is just fine.

    However, copyright, is NOT a free market agreement. A copyright is a government fiat order. A free market agreement is a voluntary agreement between free citizens. I have no problem at all with free market agreements. I have NOT yet reached a conclusion as regards to government “copyright” other than making the distinction between a fiat copyright and a free market agreement.

    Kind of like how fiat money is not real commodity money.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:02 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • “I am anxiously waiting for any argument that copyright (within terms of use) could not exist in free-market contracts. I have not seen one, as of yet (I only saw Kinsella’s attempt to sidetrack this discussion, by misinterpreting my critique of “communal” property acquisition theory).”Sasha:I insist that “copyright” could not exist, in a pure, non governmental market. Free market “agreements” as to usage could be made between author’s/publishers/customers etc. Free market agreement’s are just fine and dandy. If somebody wants to add a contract to sale, that is just fine.

    However, copyright, is NOT a free market agreement. A copyright is a government fiat order. A free market agreement is a voluntary agreement between free citizens. I have no problem at all with free market agreements. I have NOT yet reached a conclusion as regards to government “copyright” other than making the distinction between a fiat copyright and a free market agreement.

    Kind of like how fiat money is not real commodity money.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:02 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • Sorry for the triple comment, computer just went bonkers on me.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:04 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mark,You can repeat your claim 1,000,000 times, but that does not make it true. If I say that I don’t permit reproduction of my book (or any commercial use of it) – and you accept this agreement by giving me your money for permited uses, you will be legally bound.That is nothing but a free market contract.

    —–

    Dan,

    You did not prove why would copyrighted authors run out of business. Your claimed is challenged by facts of reality. Who prevents authors today to avoid copyright protection? Why don’t they drive out of business those authors and publishers (such as Hans Herman Hoppen or George Reiseman, or Mises Institute) who choose copyright?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:25 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    I never claimed that property does not arise from scarcity. Therefore, your entire comment totally missed my arguments and it was completely useless. You didn’t have to copy Hoppe – any serious economist will say that there would be no need for property if there was no scarcity.

     

    No? Earlier you said:

    Mr. Kinsella wrote: The issue of whether non-scarce things like thoughts or labor are ownable has arisen in recent debates.In other words, Mr. Kinsella’s entire argument is based on a false premise. The economic definition of scarcity is this: when the price of a good or service is zero, demand exceeds supply. Only if the supply of free goods or services exceeds the demand for free goods do we say those goods are not scarce.

     

    This is not the same as Hoppes notion of scarcity. See his TSC, et pass, e.g., :

    I will first state this general theory of property as a set of rules applicable to all goods with the purpose of helping one to avoid all possible conflicts by means of uniform principles, and will then demonstrate how this general theory is implied in the nonaggression principle. Since according to the nonaggression principle a person can do with his body whatever he wants as long as he does not thereby aggress against another person’s body, that person could also make use of other scarce means, just as one makes use of one’s own body, provided these other things have not already been ap propriated by someone else but are still in a natural, unowned state. As soon as scarce resources are visibly appropriated—as soon as someone “mixes his labor,” as John Locke phrased it,10 with them and there are objective traces of this—then property, i.e., the right of exclusive control, can only be acquired by a contractual transfer of property titles from a previous to a later owner, and any attempt to unilaterally delimit this exclusive control of previous owners or any unsolicited transformation of the physical characteristics of the scarce means in question is, in strict analogy with aggressions against other people’s bodies, an unjustifiable action.11 [p. 135]

    Note hoppe nowhere assumes you own your labor, any more than you own your acts, thoughts, knowledge, intentions, etc., all of which are needed to do possess something. Hoppe focuses on *embordering* something–being the first to demark an unowned thing as one’s own. “… property claims … which can be derived from past, embordering productive efforts and which can be tied to specific individuals as producers… ” So, according to Hoppe, it’s not because you own your labor; it’s because you have the best connection to the resource because you were the first; note elsewhere Hoppe focuses repeatedly on the significance of the prior-later distinction.

    Note HHH writes:

    Hence, the right to acquire such goods must be assumed to exist. Now, if this is so, and if one does not have the right to acquire such rights of exclusive control over unused, nature-given things through one’s own work, i.e., by doing something with things with which no one else had ever done anything before, and if other people had the right to disregard one’s ownership claim with respect to such things which they had not worked on or put to some particular use before, then this would only be possible if one could acquire property titles not through labor, i.e., by establishing some objective, intersubjectively controllable link between a particular person and a particular scarce resource, but simply by verbal declaration; by decree. [] The separation is based on the observation that some particular scarce resource had in fact – for everyone to see and verify, as objective indicators for this would exist – been made an expression or materialization of one’s own will, or, as the case may be, of someone else’s will.” (TSC, pp. 135-136; see also pp. 142-144)

     

    Here Hoppe talks about acquiring property by one’s labor, which he *equates* to “establishing some objective, intersubjectively controllable link between a particular person and a particular scarce resource*”, and which he contrats with “simply by verbal declaration; by decree”. i.e., for Hoppe, ownerhsip of a thing is established by establishing an objective link between the person and the resource. Once this is done, that person has the best claim to it, by virtue of the prior-later distinction. *Nowhere* does Hoppe accept the ridiculous notion that you “own” your “labor.”

    See also Defending Argumentation Ethics (http://www.anti-state.com/article.php?article_id=312), etc.

    Our issue here is: how is property right established? Austrians, such as great Murray Rothbard, followed John Locke (who only observed practice that existed for centuries) by stating that you obtain property by mixing your body’s labor with some unclaimed object – transferring your ownership on that object.

    Sure. But you don’t need to assume you “own” your labor to do this. As noted, you have to have many abilities or acts to homestead a thing–you have to think, create, innovate, judge, move, emborder, transform. Yeah, but you don’t own these things you do; you own the thing you homestead because by your actions you emborder it and therefore set up an objective indicator that you have now possessed it; as the first possessor, you have the best claim to it. This nowhere assumes you own your labor; this assumption is not needed. Labor-ownership is both unnecessary and insufficient. It’s unnecessary because you don’t need to “own” your labor to show that some thing you labored on is owned by you–you are the first user of the thing regardless of whether you own your labor. And it’s insufficient because there is no reason to assume that you are not just throwing your labor away, if you do own it–if you spit in the ocean you lose your spit, you don’t homestead the ocean.

    Likewise,as I argued in my IP article (and which Hoppe promoted and pushed to get the “best JLS article in 2 years” award (not bragging or arguing by authority: just debunking Sasha’s notion that Hoppe is not subject to the same criticisms she is leveling at me; to make her aware of how serious and erroneous her charges of “pseudo-Austrian” are), the focus on “creation” as the touchstone of property owenrship is also mistaken, sicne, like labor, creation is neither necessary nor sufficient to own property.

     

    SEe e.g., pp. 10, and 27, of my Against IP article, clearly criticizing the mistake of saying we own our labor or creations — which article Hoppe agrees with and has promoted as a great article.

    On the other hand, communist think that property is not tied so strictly and inseparably to self-ownership.

    ? Tied? I’m not commie. I believe it’s “tied” in that you are a self-owner with a body that you own, and this body-owning acting unit is able to homestead unowned scarce resources by embordering these things, as Hoppe says. This whole notion simply does not need the spooky, unscientific, artsy-fartsy, metaphorical, distracting, confusing notion of “labor ownership” to work.

    To them, property is a function of conflict avoidance. Like Mr. Kinsella said, property is assigned in ways which will prevent conflict. In other words, at some point in history, “first use” principle was good for conflict avoidance, but if this does not prevent conflict, the proletariat could reassign property based on some other principle. This is why Kinsella has a need to deny physics and ownership of our entire physical body, including its energy.

    You are just confused, Sasha. It’s okay. Maybe one day you’ll grow out of your naive scientism.

    Mr. Kinsella is naturally upset, because he is unable to demonstrate in libertarian terms why would someone be allowed to violate any free-market agreement such as copyright.

    I’ve only said third parties ought not be bound by private agreements.

    And this is his raison d’etre on Mises institute.

    You are just ignorant. I wrote and spoke for years there on rights thoery, legal topics, etc., before IP.

    The only possible argument he can make is some kind of communist nonsense that my knowledge, contained on my product, somehow belongs to everyone, regardless of any contractual obligations and without any respect for my private property.

    Knowlege does not belong to everybody, because it does not belong to anybody. It is not property. It is not an ownable thing, any more than the distance between your fingers is ownable.

    Mr. Kinsella says:
    ” Poor Sasha appears not to realize that copyright affects third parties, not just parties to an agreement. And she does not realize how silly she looks implicitly calling Hoppe a pseudo-communist. “

     

    That is nonsense. Third party’s involvement can never be an excuse for contract violations. If that was the case, contracts would be completely meaningless. In reality, the side who is obligated to protect my product from unauthorized use will be liable to me – and any third party violator will be liable for damages to person who entered the contract with me.

    I have shown repeatedly and clearly that you must presuppose knowledge is owned in order to bind a third party to your agreement. To take an example, if A sells his song to B, on the condition B not show or reveal it to anyone else; but one day B is walking in the park, and absent-mindedly whistles the tune, and C hears this tune, there is no libertarain way to say that either A or B has any right to stop C from recording a song based on that tune. It is on the verge of insanity to argue that there woudl be. But that is what you are stuck with, that is an implication of your confused views.

    I never called Hoppe a pseudo-communist. I wrote about pseudo-Austrians (false or non-genuine Austrians, in case you forgot what “pseudo” means).

    Right, you were referring to me; but I showed you that he holds the same views you call me a pseudo-Austrian for.

    The fact that you equate yourself with Hoppe only shows how this discussion took its toll on your mental concentration.

    I don’t equate myself; I am showing we are in agreement on some issues. Most because I learned them from him.

    Did you demonstrate that Hoppe ever advocated the violations of free-market contracts, including copyright? Did he ever stated that property over a particular object is based on some society’s will (which is than subject to change)?

    He agrees exactly with my view of copyright and ownership of knowledge, labor, etc. See the quote this started with where he explicitly disavows ownership of knowledge.

    You did not prove your quasi-religious exclamations with any logical argument. Just like Kinsella, you were unable to explain why you would have a “right” to violate expressed terms of use, or market contract, which would provide the copyright protection. Murray Rothbard provided an excellent explanation of contractual, market origins of copyright. Like I said, if you hate my “dreadful” copyright terms of use, just walk away and don’t buy that product. Make it yourself, if you can.

    Rothbard first of all confused patent and copyright; patent covers inventions, copyight covers original works of authorship–because he said you could stamp “copyright” on a mousetrap (an invention). Second, his attempt to show how the contract between seller and buyer of a “copyrighted” “invention” (?) binds a third party is confused, as I explain in detail in my against IP article (which Hoppe agrees with).

    Why don’t they drive out of business those authors and publishers (such as Hans Herman Hoppen or George Reiseman, or Mises Institute) who choose copyright?

    They don’t “choose” copyright; federal law automatically gives anyone who creates a work of authoriship fixed in a tangible medium of expression a copyright, whether they want it or not. I just gained a copyright in this post; and you, in yours. We didn’t “choose” copyrigt, we chose to express.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:35 PM

  • Jesse
  • Sasha: “If I say that I don’t permit reproduction of my book (or any commercial use of it) – and you accept this agreement by giving me your money for permited uses, you will be legally bound.”I don’t think anyone disagrees with you on that, as long as you leave out the part you claimed earlier about third parties being liable for others’ contracts.I should make it clear that I think the system you describe could work in theory. My objections are entirely to its practicality in the face of mass distribution:

    (1) I don’t believe that either publishers or consumers would be willing to voluntarily take on the liability required by the contract, unless, in keeping with point (2) below, they believed you incapable of enforcing that liability.

    (2) Even assuming that you found a publisher and a market willing to take on that sort of liability, I don’t think you would be able to find the one person out of thousands of authorized buyers that allowed that first unauthorized copy to be made. By rights that one buyer ought to be liable under the contract for all the derivative copies, but you’d have to find out who did it before you could begin effective, targetted enforcement. In the meantime those non-buyers who have created and distributed the subsequent unauthorized copies (probably numbering in the millions by now) are not liable for anything, since they were not parties to the contract. You could make all buyers liable (see point (1) above first), but that is unlikely to act as a serious deterrent against individual contract violations.

    None of this is meant to disparage Austrian free-market principles or the sufficiency of contracts in governing interpersonal relationships in society. As I do not believe that copyright is worth supporting I do not consider its practical absence to be a failing in free-market contracts, any more than I would consider the absence of an aggressive government to be a failing of the free market, though some who might personally benefit from and desire either system might think otherwise.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 4:57 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • Sasha:You seem to be utterly and completely missing what I am trying to say. I am not challenging free market contracts in any way. I have not once challenged free market contracts. Why are you replying to me as if I am challenging free market contracts. I agree that you may make the free market restriction you speak of.ALL I AM REFERRING TO IS THAT GOVERNMENT INSTITUTION KNOWN AS COPYRIGHTS. NOTHING MORE. I hate to have to shout, but you just don’t seem to be getting the distinction here.

    1. Free market contracts=ok.
    2. Copyright not= freemarket contracts.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:02 PM

  • Mark Brabson
  • BTW, government can enforce your contract even if there weren’t any IP laws on the books. Breach of contract is in the common law. If somebody made an unauthorized disclosure or copy of your material, in breach of contract, than sue for breach of contract.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:05 PM

  • Daniel Coleman
  • Sasha, you wrote:You did not prove why would copyrighted authors run out of business. Your claimed is challenged by facts of reality. Who prevents authors today to avoid copyright protection? Why don’t they drive out of business those authors and publishers (such as Hans Herman Hoppen or George Reiseman, or Mises Institute) who choose copyright?As Mr. Kinsella has stated, authors do not currently “choose” copyright. Any piece of IP that you or I produce (including these comments!) is by U.S. law automatically copyrighted and backed, ultimately, by guns.

    I don’t think that I have to prove to you that authors who cling to copyright will go out of business. As I have said, in a free society they will have every right to try and maneuver those kinds of deals if they see it as being in their best interest. It remains to be seen whether they can successfully do this, but it seems to me that market incentives move in the other direction.

    I say this for several reasons. Some of my reasons are stated above. Another reason why I think copyrighted material will die out in the market is that restrictions based on IP tend to limit wealth, restrict innovation, and otherwise hamper human action. That kind of friction generally doesn’t last very long in the free market.

    Again, I could be wrong. However, I don’t see why I bear the burden of proof in this particular case. 🙂

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:05 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • 1. The fact that property would not exist if there was no scarcity – does not deny my definition of economic scarcity (which is a well-known definition, and Hans Hermann Hoppe never denied it)…The economic definition of scarcity is this: when the price of a good or service is zero, demand exceeds supply. Only if the supply of free goods or services exceeds the demand for free goods do we say those goods are not scarce.Since demand for labor services exceeds its supply when price is set to zero, we can conclude that labor, as a mean of production, is scarce.

    —–

    2. When it comes to issue of property acquisition, Hoppe accepts Rothbard’s and Locke’s notion that we acquire property through labor (although Hoppe does not explicitly state that we own labor, like Rothbard does). Hoppe agrees that mixing labor with some unclaimed object creates “objective link” between a person and that object. This “objective link” is contained in fact that our body (or energy according to physics) transformed that object and we transfer our self-ownership onto some unclaimed object. That does not mean that property is acquired based on some “conflict avoidance” principle, because conflicts can arise even with property rights (because some people wish to violate them).

    Like I said, I did not call Hoppe a “pseudo-communist” (false-communist). And Rothbard did not confuse anything… His explanation of free market copyrights holds when it comes to inventions. He tried to differentiate copyright from government granted monopoly which would prevent independent discoveries based on known scientific principles (for example, if Tesla and Marconi both invented radio independently and it is hard to argue why either should have a grant of monopoly).

    ———

    Now let go back to copyright issue,

    Like I said, any violation of a free-market contract would still cause penalties stipulated in that contract. Mr. Kinsella should know that “absent-mindedness” is not a valid defense for contract violation. Absent-minded people should avoid entering a complex contract in the first place.

    But Mr. Kinsella also failed to prove: why would people who choose to use copyright protection drive out of business those people who want their copyright? In spite of federal provisions – I choose not to pursue any copyright claims. Why would I drive out of business those sane and intelligent authors who choose to restrict certain uses of their works?

    Use hypothetical free-market situation: what would be disadvantages of publishers who use copyrights, compared to publishers that can be copied and resold by anyone, without any compensation? Kinsella used so many words and spent so much time, yet he failed again to answer this simple question.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:14 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mark,As I already explained, we can formulate free-market contracts that would protect copyright, contrary to what Kinsella claims based on his ideological beliefs. I also oppose government’s monopoly in copyright protection. You basically say that you agree with me – but you use term “copyright” to refer only to government’s institution.—————-

    Dan,

    I can choose to ignore a copyright violation. How would that make me more profitable than the author who choose to use copyright?

    But you tried to take issue to other direction by claiming that copyright would:
    1. “limit wealth” – but whose wealth? Not the wealth of the author who is protected by copyright.
    2. “restrict innovation” – but you fail to see that by restricting reproduction of your own object – you don’t automatically restrict anyone’s innovation. Plus, consider that innovation can be motivated by copyright protections.
    3. “hamper human action” – but you fail to see that not every human action is consistent with free markets. Free markets would not tolerate actions that would be violations of valid contracts. Copyright infringements would be punished in a perfectly free market.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:28 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    1. The fact that property would not exist if there was no scarcity – does not deny my definition of economic scarcity (which is a well-known definition, and Hans Hermann Hoppe never denied it)…

    But it’s not the same as his focus on scarcity as meaning possibility of conflict, so that property rules are the thing that allow conflict to be avoided.

    2. When it comes to issue of property acquisition, Hoppe accepts Rothbard’s and Locke’s notion that we acquire property through labor (although Hoppe does not explicitly state that we own labor, like Rothbard does).

    Yeah, me too, I’m with Hoppe. Labor for Hoppe is just the doing-with something that shows that it’s embordered–claimed.

    Hoppe agrees that mixing labor with some unclaimed object creates “objective link” between a person and that object. This “objective link” is contained in fact that our body (or energy according to physics)

    No, it has nothing to do with energy; this is an irrelevant side-point

    transformed that object and we transfer our self-ownership onto some unclaimed object.

    Hoppe never states nor even implies this. Rather what he says is that you have title because you have an objective link to the thing unlike all others and latecomers.

    That does not mean that property is acquired based on some “conflict avoidance” principle, because conflicts can arise even with property rights (because some people wish to violate them).

    wrong. HHH is clear on this.

    Like I said, I did not call Hoppe a “pseudo-communist” (false-communist). And Rothbard did not confuse anything… His explanation of free market copyrights holds when it comes to inventions.

    No one familiar with the bizarre intricacies of the practice of applying for patents for invetions, could maintain this. You are just a naif.

    Like I said, any violation of a free-market contract would still cause penalties stipulated in that contract. Mr. Kinsella should know that “absent-mindedness” is not a valid defense for contract violation. Absent-minded people should avoid entering a complex contract in the first place.

    Evasion and pettifogging. dishonest. Even if the person B intentionally whistled the song in public, and other third parties heard it: these third parties would be able to sing the song themselves, record it, etc.

    But Mr. Kinsella also failed to prove: why would people who choose to use copyright protection drive out of business those people who want their copyright?

    I have no idea waht you are trying to say. You sound like an amateur or crank.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:30 PM

  • Axel Riemer
  • Whoo! 101 posts! i was pulling for you guys to make it! And yet, this debate has filled me with such fury I sometimes can only shout meaningless syllables at my computer. Seriously. You guys (and gals?) come so close to getting an answer and then whoa, tangent!Is the question under debate whether or not an original idea, attributed to a single person or entity, is therefore owned by that person or entity, or can libertarians no longer debate in a respectful manner?
  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:30 PM

  • Axel Riemer
  • And am I confused or correct on this point:Energy refers to things measured in Joules, in physics refered to work, as in how many calories are required to perform a task. So work is energy expended, and labor is work… so is that the connection?
  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:35 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dan,Rather than using “maybe I’m wrong” after your claim, perhaps you should create a hypothetical scenario.- Imagine an author who sells his manuscript to publisher – without any copyright contract. Imagine that the same publisher than sells copies of that book without any copyright contracts with buyers.
    – Now imagine author who protects his copyright, and that his publisher restricts reproduction and commercial use as well.

    Why do you think that former author+publisher will be more successful in a free market than latter? How would they achieve their success and why would copyright holders be in any disadvantage?

  • Published: December 13, 2006 5:36 PM

  • averros
  • Shasha – if you read what I wrote more carefully you may notice that I objected to the argument advanced by ktibuk that “non-property” ideas arise from the “property” ideas by the fact of the original owner giving consent. Your subsequent argumentation is totally irrelevant to my refutation by demonstration of obvious incoherency of this argument.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:01 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Mr Kinsella fails to see that he made a terrible error when he said that labor is not scarce. The fact that labor is a scarce mean of production is known to anyone who ever studied economics.The fact that property would not exist without conflict, does not change my definition of scarcity (and Hoppe does not challenge it in his writings). It is an established economic definition that states that demand exceeds supply of scarce resource when prices are set to zero… This means that in absence of markets and property rights (zero prices), we would have shortages and potential conflict regarding the distribution of that resource.Scarcity does not exist only in markets for goods. Services are also scarce and they have their market price.

    ——————

    Now, theory of property acquisition is a totally different issue. Economists like Rothbard and Hoppe stressed that when we apply our labor to some unclaimed object, we create an “objective link” between us and that object. Unlike Hoppe, Rothbard and Locke explicitly claimed that we own labor, which is consistent wit scientific fact that our self-ownership implies ownership over our body’s real physical properties. But even Hoppe accepted their view that property is acquired by creation of that inseparable link between our self-ownership and some transformed object. On the other hand, communists would like to think that property is societal arrangement, whose only justification is conflict avoidance (implying that property rights can be rearranged, based on “class conflicts”).

    ————————

    Now, to copyrights again:

    Mr. Kinsella should know that absent-mindedness is not an excuse for contract violation. If this was the case, any contract violator would claim he/she was “absent-minded.” That would, of course, never hold in any court.

    Of course, an author cannot force someone to hear or see his work – and then demand that he gets protection from copying. Just like you cannot put an ice sculpture in someone’s sauna – and than demand that this person should un-melt it and return it to you. Copyright can only be a contractual agreement.

    Mr. Kinsella does not know how to prove that copyright contracts would not exist in a free-market. He completely gave it up.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:07 PM

  • averros
  • Why do you think that former author+publisher will be more successful in a free market than latter? How would they achieve their success and why would copyright holders be in any disadvantage?If some people go around and force others to buy their wares by brandishing guns in the faces of their “customers” if they dare to get the exactly same stuff elsewhere – they will undoubtly be more successful in selling their wares than the guys who were trying to sell the same product by merely erecting a stand and advertising their presense to all passer-bys.The argument from market success you advanced is total nonsense. Of course people whose business model is backed by violence towards captive customers will be more profitable than those who do not threaten customers with violence.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:08 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • averros,Like I said, you used an invalid example. Advocates of copyright protection (including Murray Rothbard) do not claim that you can force contract on someone by having that person read your conditions. Mutual agreement is necessary and you demonstrate it by purchasing copyrighted item.Ownership of property containing idea is enough to establish a copyright, not the ownership of an idea per se (which is irrelevant).
  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:14 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Averos,The argument about market success was advanced by Dan Coleman – not me. Read more carefully.Dan claimed that people who use contractual copyright protection would “die out”, implying that people who don’t use any copyright – and whose works you can copy and resell without any compensation – would somehow prosper relative to former group.

    Free-market copyright enFORCEment implies force. If contracts were not enforceable, there would be no private property protection. We would have communism.

    PS
    Note that I don’t claim that we need the state to enforce contracts or to protect private property. Free markets are capable of doing this.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:20 PM

  • Jesse
  • Stephan Kinsella: “To take an example, if A sells his song to B, on the condition B not show or reveal it to anyone else; but one day B is walking in the park, and absent-mindedly whistles the tune, and C hears this tune, there is no libertarain [sic] way to say that either A or B has any right to stop C from recording a song based on that tune. It is on the verge of insanity to argue that there woudl [sic] be.”Sasha: “Like I said, any violation of a free-market contract would still cause penalties stipulated in that contract. Mr. Kinsella should know that ‘absent-mindedness’ is not a valid defense for contract violation. Absent-minded people should avoid entering a complex contract in the first place.”This is a complete non-sequitur. Stephan’s statement concerned C’s lack of liability (due to the fact that C was not a party to the contract between A and B). Your response merely confirms B‘s liability, which was not in question.

    As for why I think contract-copyrights are not a sustainable business model, consider that current state-enforced copyrights, with indiscriminate third-party liability and coercion-funded enforcement, are already on the brink of total unenforceability in the face of modern advances in digital storage and distribution technology. Your scheme, for the reasons I outlined previously, would be less enforceable, not more so.

    Anyway, this debate is going nowhere. As that seems to be a pattern with Sasha, I’m just going to add Sasha to my block list. Goodbye, Sasha; I won’t be seeing you again.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:27 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Jesse,you completely missed my point.In Stephan’s silly example, B is liable to A – and that’s the end of it. “Absent-mindedness” is not a valid defense for violations of terms of use. So where is the problem?

    Of course that radio station will not purchase music, which will be allowed for only personal use. An artist would not be stupid to make such contract.

    Take it easy Jesse.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:35 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • If any musician wants to have a radio station as a marketing tool, which would promote his concerts and albums, of course he would not create copyright contracts that would hold that station responsible for possible copyright infringements.But there is nothing wrong with is. As I said in our previous discussion “musicians should earn their bucks like the artists used to do before recording devices were invented – by going out and performing (and by people sponsoring them). And I am aware that market in this situation would eliminate all “Milli Vanillis” of this world who are not talented enough to pull-off a live show.”No matter how much you try to invent problems with privatized copyright, you cannot prove that this system would be less efficient than our current one. Some extremists are stubbornly claiming that copyright would not exist in a perfectly free market, but they fail to offer a single argument for such claim. That is the reason why this discussion “is going nowhere” as Jesse pointed out. Even Jesse tried to fabricate a disagreement, even when he conceded to every single point I made.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 6:46 PM

  • Person
  • Wow, I’ve never seen such successful coordination in ignoring me.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 7:12 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Note that even on this thread: http://blog.mises.org/archives/005764.asp , I recognized that there are some real reasons why some musicians love mp3 P2P sharing of their music, because it promotes their concerts and album sales. The same situation would exist in completely free market.However, these conditions would not apply to designers/authors whose work does have the same characteristics. If Hans Herman Hoppe did not have a copyright and we don’t give him a penny for reproduction of his books, he could not make it up with his lectures. Unlike Green Day or Red Hot Chilli Pepers, he cannot fill the arenas by reproduceing his works in a live format.Hoppe could ask for more money from the publisher for his original manuscript, but in the absence of copyright contracts publishers would not have an interest to do so (since their copies could also be reproduced without any compensation to them in this imaginary Kinsella’s world). Creativity and innovation would stagnate under these conditions, just like the absence of private property rights or any contractual enforcements always cause misery and stagnation.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 7:18 PM

  • averros
  • Like I said, you used an invalid example. Advocates of copyright protection (including Murray Rothbard) do not claim that you can force contract on someone by having that person read your conditions. Mutual agreement is necessary and you demonstrate it by purchasing copyrighted item.Then you simply misunderstand what the copyright is. If A purchased a copyrighted copy from B and made a copy for me, under the copyright law I become liable to B despite having no contract with B whatsoever.For the record – Rothbard never advocated copyrights; he advocated contracts. There’s a world of difference between these.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:03 PM

  • averros
  • Creativity and innovation would stagnate under these conditions,This is totally bogus, as the evidence shows us that creativity and innovation are presently observed precisely in the areas not noted for respect with intellectual “property” – namely, high-tech, modern electronic music, and science.(In high-tech, every piece of gadgetry on the market is illegal, period. It is impossible to make any working electronic gadget without stepping on some of the millions of patents – so all high-tech companies take patent litigation simply as a part of business overhead. The modern electronic music is fundamentally based on sampling and mixing and takes sounds from other’s works liberally. Science is impossible without free sharing of ideas.)

    Compare that with the drivel coming from the bastions of “IP” protection such as Hollywood.

    Please take your head out of sand and take a look at the real world.

    just like the absence of private property rights or any contractual enforcements always cause misery and stagnation.

    Absense of private propety rights on physical objects is bad only because it leads to conflicts because the same physical object cannot be in posession of two parties at once. Resolution of these conflicts is the one and only reason for the institution of property rights. It reduces violence for the control of rivalrous resources.

    Unlike physical goods, information is not rivalrous, and can be shared indefinitely. Therefore there is no potential for conflicts.

    The fact that some professions won’t be able to make as much profit as they do now does not constitute justification for violence, which the copyright and patent regimes are.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:15 PM

  • rtr
  • I disagree that ideas are “not ownable” things. Ideas are owned by whoever possesses knowledge of the idea. Ideas are just not necessarily exclusively owned, unless if you are the only one who possesses knowledge of a particular idea.For something to qualify as property, it must be tangible and circumscribable. Ideas cannot be delineated nor circumscribed, like say land or person can be.Of course, ideas are not scarce. They cannot at all be diminished. A recipe, for instance for making coffee, is infinite. Copying the recipe does not use up the recipe nor take the recipe away from the creator of the recipe. The recipe remains, and is in as perfect working condition as it ever was and ever will be.

    But ideas can be possessed, and thus owned, by all, by anyone who thinks. They are ownable. They are just not *exclusively* ownable, unless of course one were to attempt to initiate violent coercive force to prevent others from thinking and/or shaping their actually existing, tangible, circumscribable property in any manner they would so choose.

    You have the right to remain silent. You do not have the right to impose silence upon others, which is exactly what IP, patents, et al attempt to do.

    The next great quantum leap, Mises-caliber Nobel prize idea, is showing the wealth destruction IP causes. The vast majority assume IP creates incentives for technological research & development, and thus makes society better off, wealthier. But that is clearly false, for it violates a, if not the, fundamental axiom of economics, which is that free trade occurs precisely because both parties to an exchange are wealthier having traded. Prohibiting free trade is synthetically the same as creating poverty. Violent offensive coercion is never necessary to increasing the wealth of any parties that would freely voluntarily trade. By definition, trade increases the wealth of all parties who exchange.

    Granting IP protection to any single existing idea necessarily grants IP protection to the class of ideas, and thus any and all ideas, except of course as the fancies of human kind may arbitrarily vary. All that is needed to prove that IP protection is bogus is to show how ownership of one idea would or could lead to the annihilation of existence. And IP on procreation, multiplication, fits perfectly that bill. Who would dare “claim” onwership on the scientific process of procreation, and the destructive violent offensive coercion that would necessarily entail? Thus, any and all IP is necessarily invalid, is by definition an act of murder, rape, or theft. And as IP violates the axiom of wealth creating free trade, it also necessarily causes poverty, leaves human kind in a less wealthy state than would otherwise be the case without IP. Ironically, the same inefficiences of socialism vs. the free market apply to the socialistic universal ownership of ideas vs. IP.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:26 PM

  • Sam
  • For goodness sakes!!!!! COPYRIGHT IS ONLY THERE TO PROTECT OTHERS FROM COPYING YOUR WORK, A.K.A. PLAGIARISM, AND IT IS TEMPORARY!!!!! It is there to BRIEFLY REWARD a creator for creating, a.k.a FOR INNOVATING!!!Who on earth is suggesting that permanent unlimited ownerships of ideas or products a good thing!??!?!?Are some of you pro-plagiarism? Do you want to steal what others have worked hard to produce?!?!

    Finally, why, WHY?!?! is it so hard for some of yous to create YOUR OWN works. WRITE your own book, CREATE your own software, CARVE your own sculpture, COMPOSE YOUR OWN music, etc. ?!?!?!.

  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:29 PM

  • rtr
  • Why not create your own reply in your own language, Sam?
  • Published: December 13, 2006 8:33 PM

  • rtr
  • “If Hans Herman Hoppe did not have a copyright and we don’t give him a penny for reproduction of his books, he could not make it up with his lectures.”You are narrowly defining wealth. Hoppe is enriched by the reciprocal ideas of others, by the warmth of praise, etc., and not just necessarily in monetary terms. Likewise, musicians and artists are enriched by the works of other musicians and artists, even musicians and artists who sample and remix original works of art. There’s an awful lot of that potential wealth which is destroyed by IP copyright.You can order your books from amazon.com or you can order your books from mises.com. Those are voluntary exchanges. Nothing is preventing you from voluntarily giving whatever you want to give to another.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 9:51 PM

  • Michael A. Clem
  • COPYRIGHT IS ONLY THERE TO PROTECT OTHERS FROM COPYING YOUR WORK, A.K.A. PLAGIARISM, AND IT IS TEMPORARY! It is there to BRIEFLY REWARD a creator for creating, a.k.a FOR INNOVATING!Tell that to the U.S. Congress–please! Copyright protection extending to and beyond the life of the creator makes no sense, but the Disney Corporation still has the copyright to Mickey Mouse (the image, the name, the use of the character, not just existing animation and comics), even though Walt Disney is long dead.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 11:03 PM

  • Sam
  • I agree with you M. A. Clem. Yes if folks out there are trying to extend copyright to absurd lengths then a great disservice is being created. As I said, and personally believe, that such protection should be brief, an inventor shouldn’t get some eternal privilege for a one-off creation.But to rtr, however, are you saying people who produce shouldn’t get paid? If people want to give away their products for free that’s fair enough. Somehow the best products come from those who expect profit in return for their cost inccurred from production. The open-source movement shouldn’t be overstated.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 11:14 PM

  • rtr
  • Getting paid is a voluntary reciprocal exchange action. Are you paying anyone for using language in this thread? Do you pay anyone when you open a window in your house or apartment? Then why should you pay someone to open a window in a software operating system? So you don’t profit yourself when opening a window to allow in a cool breeze on a hot summer night? You should be allowed to use the State to force people to pay you if you claim you invented the idea for opening windows to allow in cool breezes? You and society would be better off if opening windows was banned, or strictly regulated and enforced according to IP Law? Without IP, opening windows to allow in cool breezes for profit would never have come about? And if they decided to open windows anyway, they’d be “producing for nothing”? Only you should be allowed to use labor in opening others windows, unless you grant permission to others to start window opening businesses? Sounds like State Monopoly to me.
  • Published: December 13, 2006 11:39 PM

  • Sam
  • To rtr:I have been saying that copyright is (or should be) generally weak. I have said that such rights should only apply to something new and different. I have said that such rights should be narrow and brief. I have agreed that no one should have some sort of total and eternal right that would amount to a monopoly advantage.Perhaps I forgot to mention that a seller can set a price for an object, but no buyer is obligated to buy it if they think the price is too high. Then the seller would have to consider dropping the price. I wasn’t advocating any sort of price-fixing.

    I thought I said that copyright merely prevents blatant copying of someone else’s product. E.g. if want to create an alternative operating system to compete with Windows, Unix, Linux, etc, then there is nothing stopping you (nor should there be). If you take a copy of Windows, mass produce, slap your own business name and logo on it, then why shouldn’t Microsoft folk call the police? Similarly, if you want to create your own operating system then give it anyway for free, who’s stopping you? I don’t think I said anything against voluntary production, did I?

    But I thought the heart of capitalism was one of buying/selling, service/payment, supply/demand, business/consumer. You seem to have suggested in your previous entry that people should not be expecting actual payment if their produce returned some sort of ‘spiritual payment’. I’m sorry if I hopelessly misread your other reply, my apologies. 🙁

  • Published: December 14, 2006 12:40 AM

  • r
  • What is the action implied by copyright? Offensive force prohibiting and or punishing others from shaping their material property (whether that be cds, paper, or circuit boards) in any manner they would so choose.What makes your particular brand of “generally weak” IP better than another’s “generally strict” IP?What’s new and different? Words? Symbols? Mathematics? Meaning?

    There’s new hairstyles. Should someone be allowed to use force to prohibit another from doing whatever they want to their own hair or voluntarily doing to another’s hair whatever they want? Are hair and dress to be exempted but not software?

    If there’s no total and eternal right, then there is no right at all, at anytime. Like I said before, if someone doesn’t want to be copied, then there only choice is to remain silent, making themselves and society poorer, as opposed to doing what they want to do, and making themselves and society wealthier. We didn’t need IP for the wheel or fire, and nor do we need IP for anything else. All IP does is delay and suppress the latest versions of wheels and fire from existing.

    The heart of capitalism is free trade and the division of labor. One person can’t do it all by themself. By focusing, concentrating, specializing, on doing what they do best, and trading for what others do best, all parties increase their wealth. That’s what capitalism is about. There’s all kinds of business models that work, such as advertising with content when it’s launched.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 1:32 AM

  • Fred Mann
  • Person,
    Please define “scarcity” for me. I’m not sure if your definition has morphed since we last communicated (I assume it hasn’t, but who knows …).
    Remember to define it in such a way as to support your argument that there is “scarcity” in IP (the core of your argument against Kinsella). Feel free to use examples, rewordings/restatements, etc..
  • Published: December 14, 2006 1:47 AM

  • Sam
  • Does that mean it’s OK to copy commercial software onto a CD then give it to a friend? That software piracy doesn’t actually exist and is a Statist conspiracy? That companies such as Microsoft are really evil Statist monopolies?
  • Published: December 14, 2006 1:56 AM

  • Sam
  • P.S. Sorry if I offended any one with my use of Caps in one particular entry. I’ll be more considerate about my entries from now on.
  • Published: December 14, 2006 2:06 AM

  • rtr
  • CDs are actually existing real tangible circumscribable property. CDs can be and are actually owned. Why can’t you put whatever you want to put on a CD you own and trade that CD to whoever you want to for whatever they’re willing to give you in return for it? The only piracy that exists is someone telling you that you can’t put whatever you want to put on your CD and voluntarily trade that CD to whomever you want to. Only the favored Monopoly can insert code, can insert instructions, can insert orders? Nobody can open windows in their own homes without paying IP fees or getting permission from the first to open a window, for some arbitrary period of time?
  • Published: December 14, 2006 2:11 AM

  • Sam
  • So it should be OK to copy commerical software and distribute freely it then?
  • Published: December 14, 2006 3:07 AM

  • Fred Mann
  • Sam,
    To quote me from an older blog (http://blog.mises.org/archives/005314.asp):By definition, IP *PREVENTS* small incremental changes in technology, goods, etc. . Obviously, if you make a very small improvement to an existing good, you may find yourself with an IP lawsuit on your hands. For what good is IP if you can circumvent it with tiny changes? So, IP necessarily shifts innovation from the hands of the many into the hands of the few. It outlaws small innovations in order to grant favor to larger innovations. This is really what the pro-IP crowd is defending…. at some point, an improvement will be deemed “too small” – arbitrarily, of course. For example, if I change the composition of the metal used in a small pin on a very large and complex machine, but everything else remains the same, I have almost certainly commited an IP violation, even if the pin IS, in fact, an improvement. If this is not the case, then IP is effectively rendered useless as it can easily be circumvented with any small change. Of course, I believe that this improvement *would* be deemed a violation. Therefore, “small” (always defined arbitrarily by IP law) innovations *ARE* illegal. So my statement still stands. “Small” innovations are outlawed. Of course, “small” innovations are the most common type of innovation. Most people don’t have revolutionary ideas every day (I am the exception). So outlawing small innovations effectively blocks the most common type of innovation. What do you think is the cumulative effect of outlawing these millions (billions?) of tiny innovations over time?

    To supplement this with a personal example with respect to copyright …
    I have played drums in various bands and recorded several CDs over the past 20 years. Overall, it has been a money loser for me (maybe break-even … touring is expensive!), but I will continue to do it because I LIKE PLAYING AND WRITING MUSIC. Also, I would argue that I am a better musician, both technically and artistically, than many people who are financially successful in the music biz (you’ll just have to trust me on that one — although there is a testimonial somewhere on Amazon.com saying how wonderful I am). It may very well be that copyright subsidizes the terrible artists/musicians/authors who are in it for the money.
    Also, look at all of the incredibly informative posts in the Mises Blog archive. Arguably there is more to be learned from these blogs than can be learned in any book (or even a small library).
    The creation of software has also been exhaustively covered in the blogs, but it’s not really my area of expertise. Just type “software” and “IP” into google and limit the search to mises.org.
    I could go on and on ….
    But to sum up, we don’t need IP even for utilitarian/consequentialist reasons.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 3:17 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Averros provided a nice summary when he said that profits and creative motivation cannot be a justification for copyright enforcement.That is absolutely correct! FORCE is used to protect private property rights and to enforce a voluntary contract. Justification for copyright is based on the fact that you have the right to create any kind of contract, including the one that limits the ability of others to reproduce or commercially use YOUR product. Only a communist would advocate a complete absence of force when someone violates a contract and private property rights – just like a communist would argue that property should be acquired based on some “societal” conflict avoidance principles, rather than some objective criterion based on self-ownership (Locke’s and Rothbard’s approach).Rothbard defended contractual copyright, just as I do. The fact that the state established a monopoly in this matter does not mean that copyright is wrong. As I explained, without it, many professions would completely stagnate and many authors would rightfully resort to copyright contracts in order to prevent this misery. Yes, they would ask for enforcement of their contract and there is nothing wrong with that. Libertarians do not seek to avoid force and protection of contracts – their aim is to fight aggression in any form.

    Let’s talk about our first topic…

    When the author of this thread states that there is no scarcity of labor, he only conveys his lack of understanding of basic economics. Even if he does not believe in science of physics and sees no objective link between labor and ownership, he should still see that labor is scarce in the marketplace. In the absence of markets and prices, there would be a chronic shortage of labor as a mean of production. That is why we get paid for labor, rather than simple physical presence at our jobs.

    As far as idea-scarcity goes, I don’t think that anyone would argue that we have a scarcity of random thoughts. On the other hand, we do have a scarcity of useful ideas that can be employed as a mean to some employer’s/consumer’s end. You can argue that we don’t own idea per se – but we do own our brains, our vocal cords, and our hardware that is used for storage and communication of ideas. A person has every right to create terms of use before he sells his idea or design to someone else.

    You may not like these conditions – or any kind of force which would protect that person’s contract and property rights – but tough luck! Private property rights allow for the creation of enforceable contracts, and these contracts would often limit your ability to reproduce or commercially use someone else’s design. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it – and make it yourself. The same response goes to all socialists who complain about market prices and trespassing laws.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 8:16 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • It is interesting to note that even Hans Herman Hoppe (who was misinterpreted by Stephan Kinsella) talks about labor services as some means of production that worker owns and exchanges for money with his employer. In his article “Marxist and Austrian class analysis,” he states:”…labor services represent only future goods-and he (laborer) values present goods more highly. After all, he could also decide not to sell his labor services to the capitalist and then reap the
    “full value” of his output himself. But this would of course imply that he would have to wait longer for any consumption goods to become available to him. In selling his labor services he demonstrates that he prefers a smaller amount of consumption goods now over a possibly larger one at some future date…… If the laborer were not permitted to sell his labor services and the capitalist to buy them, output would not be higher but lower because production would have to take place with relatively reduced levels of capital accumulation.”

    The fact that we are able to sell some labor services and ideas imply their scarcity. Labor ownership is a completely different subject, tied to the labor-mixing origin of property and the origin of market contracts (exchanges of property).

  • Published: December 14, 2006 8:47 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • I proved that Hoppe views labor services as “goods” produced by people. Now, I will show that Hoppe completely accepted Locke’s view that unclaimed objects become our property when we transfer our owned means of our bodies (our labor) to these object (just like you can own, sell, or steal mean of production such as electrical energy). In his recent (2004) article “The ethics and economics of private property” http://www.mises.org/etexts/hoppe5.pdf Hans Hermann Hoppe states the following:”Everyone is the proper owner of his own physical body as well as of all places and nature-given goods that he occupies and puts to use by means of his body, provided that no one else has already occupied or used the same places and goods before him. This ownership of “originally appropriated” places and goods by a person implies his right to
    use and transform these places and goods in any way he sees fit, provided that he does not thereby forcibly change the physical integrity of places and goods originally appropriated by another person. In particular, once a place or good has been first appropriated, in John Locke’s words, by “mixing one’s labor” with it, ownership in such
    places and goods can be acquired only by means of a voluntary – contractual – transfer of its property title from a previous to a later owner.In light of wide-spread moral relativism, it is worth pointing out that this idea of original appropriation and private property as a solution to the problem of social order is in complete accordance with our moral “intuition.” Is it not simply absurd to claim that a person should not be the proper owner of his body and the places and goods that he originally, i.e., prior to anyone else, appropriates, uses and/or produces by means of his body? For who else, if not he, should be their owner? And is it not also obvious that the
    overwhelming majority of people – including children and primitives – in fact act according to these rules, and do so as a matter of course?”
  • Published: December 14, 2006 9:17 AM

  • rtr
  • Marriage is a contract. Does a married person lose their right to divorce? They no longer own their body and their right to freely associate with whomever they wish whenever and for whatever whimsical reason they may so choose?Selling labor is a contract. Does a laborer lose their right to quit working for someone?When the free voluntary association is willingly dissolved by any party, the contract is over. All property goes to their rightful owners. That means you own your body, you own your actually existing tangible property. Guess what? You can’t get back any IP because it isn’t tangible or circusmscribable, nor tranferable in the way land or body is. Are you going to use force to brain erase ideas which are possessed by others who didn’t originally create those ideas? Or does that just justify execution since they would be in continuing violation of theft according to IP proponents. If not, tough luck for the IP claimants.

    There’s too much confusion between contract and trade. Trade is final. Contract is conditional on continuing voluntary willingness.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 9:42 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • rtr,you misunderstood the nature of all contracts, including marriage and labor contracts.If I pay give you $1,000,000 to perform a labor service for me in 7 days – and if you run away with that money without fulfilling our contract, you committed a contract violation and you will owe me damages.

    Likewise, if you buy only personal use of my product, but you decide to use it commercially – you violated the contract. Actually, copyright contracts state that any profits from unauthorized use and reproduction will go to the author.

    The fact that marriage and labor contract are not so strict and that they allow one side to exit it does not invalidate copyright contract or trade contracts that are final. That is why RTR is confused.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 9:58 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • In other words, we can have all sorts of contracts… we have those that can easily be terminated and those contracts that specifically spell out sanctions in cases of contract violation (including labor contract and even marriage). It is up to individuals to formulate their voluntary contracts any way they want to.You don’t have to like copyright in some product’s terms of use. But no one is forcing you to accept those terms. You can simply walk away and not buy such product. Is that so hard to accept for copyright haters?
  • Published: December 14, 2006 10:07 AM

  • Sione Vatu
  • personYou asked a question, it was answered for you. Interesting how you try to evade. You fail. Why are you so scared of the answer?Stop being an intellectual coward. Take your own advice and READ what is provided for you. Face up to it and THINK on it. It would benefit you to learn something about yourself.

    Sione

  • Published: December 14, 2006 10:54 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha,

    I proved that Hoppe views labor services as “goods” produced by people. Now, I will show that Hoppe completely accepted Locke’s view that unclaimed objects become our property when we transfer our owned means of our bodies (our labor) to these object (just like you can own, sell, or steal mean of production such as electrical energy). In his recent (2004) article “The ethics and economics of private property” http://www.mises.org/etexts/hoppe5.pdf Hans Hermann Hoppe states the following:”Everyone is the proper owner of his own physical body as well as of all places and nature-given goods that he occupies and puts to use by means of his body, provided that no one else has already occupied or used the same places and goods before him. This ownership of “originally appropriated” places and goods by a person implies his right to use and transform these places and goods in any way he sees fit, provided that he does not thereby forcibly change the physical integrity of places and goods originally appropriated by another person. In particular, once a place or good has been first appropriated, in John Locke’s words, by “mixing one’s labor” with it, ownership in such places and goods can be acquired only by means of a voluntary – contractual – transfer of its property title from a previous to a later owner.

    In light of wide-spread moral relativism, it is worth pointing out that this idea of original appropriation and private property as a solution to the problem of social order is in complete accordance with our moral “intuition.” Is it not simply absurd to claim that a person should not be the proper owner of his body and the places and goods that he originally, i.e., prior to anyone else, appropriates, uses and/or produces by means of his body? For who else, if not he, should be their owner? And is it not also obvious that the overwhelming majority of people – including children and primitives – in fact act according to these rules, and do so as a matter of course?”

    I agree w/ Hoppe here, but it does not show that he thinks we own our labor. You are having a brain fugue, Sasha, a type of monomania or mental block.

    It is interesting to note that even Hans Herman Hoppe (who was misinterpreted by Stephan Kinsella) talks about labor services as some means of production that worker owns and exchanges for money with his employer. In his article “Marxist and Austrian class analysis,” he states:”…labor services represent only future goods-and he (laborer) values present goods more highly. After all, he could also decide not to sell his labor services to the capitalist and then reap the “full value” of his output himself. But this would of course imply that he would have to wait longer for any consumption goods to become available to him. In selling his labor services he demonstrates that he prefers a smaller amount of consumption goods now over a possibly larger one at some future date…

    … If the laborer were not permitted to sell his labor services and the capitalist to buy them, output would not be higher but lower because production would have to take place with relatively reduced levels of capital accumulation.”

    The fact that we are able to sell some labor services and ideas imply their scarcity.

    Not at all. To “sell” something is just a convenient way to specify what is the condition that triggers a contractual transfer of title. This is exactly the implication of Rothbard’s title theory of contract, which Hoppe and I (but not mentally challenged, scientistic-minded little Sasha) accept.

    So, if I know the 1,075th decimal number of pi, and you wnat to know it, we can agree that you pay me $1 if i tell you. My revealing this info to you triggers the transfer of the dollar. We can colloquialy say I “sold” you the information, i “sold” you the 1075th decimal of pi. But did I? did I really own it? Don’t be silly, Sasha.

    Note that even on this thread: http://blog.mises.org/archives/005764.asp , I recognized that there are some real reasons why some musicians love mp3 P2P sharing of their music, because it promotes their concerts and album sales. The same situation would exist in completely free market.However, these conditions would not apply to designers/authors whose work does have the same characteristics. If Hans Herman Hoppe did not have a copyright and we don’t give him a penny for reproduction of his books, he could not make it up with his lectures. Unlike Green Day or Red Hot Chilli Pepers, he cannot fill the arenas by reproduceing his works in a live format.

    Hoppe could ask for more money from the publisher for his original manuscript, but in the absence of copyright contracts publishers would not have an interest to do so (since their copies could also be reproduced without any compensation to them in this imaginary Kinsella’s world). Creativity and innovation would stagnate under these conditions, just like the absence of private property rights or any contractual enforcements always cause misery and stagnation.

    Ah, the utilitarian in Sasha the amateur scientist/engineer comes out, as it always does with people eaten up with scientism.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 11:19 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,Unfortunately for you, Hans Hermann Hope explicitly stated that we SELL our LABOR as our physical body’s real PRODUCT. He used those words and that context and there is nothing you can do about it. Hoppe even quoted Locke to support his view of ownership acquisition through mixing OUR labor with something that does not belong to anyone.—

    Contrary to Kinsella’s fabrications, I explained that I don’t justify copyright from utilitarian perspective. It is true that you can make a valid argument that in absence of private property rights and contract protection (including the copyright protection) many authors would loose incentive and ability to produce their works…

    The justification of copyright is based on respect for private property and private contracts. Nothing else… In spite of his persistent attempts, Kinsella was not able to deny that copyrights contracts be quite possible (and very probable) in a completely free market. If you advocate violation of these market contracts on the basis that these contracts are “bad” for society (which is fact a utilitarian argument, but Kinsella does not realize this) – you implicitly advocvate violence against all private contracts and private property in general – if you think they are “bad” for “society.”

  • Published: December 14, 2006 11:39 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan said:
    —————————————————-
    “We can colloquialy say I “sold” you the information, i “sold” you the 1075th decimal of pi. But did I? did I really own it?
    —————————————————-No sir. You did not sell me 1075th decimal of pi. You sold me your service, by providing information regarding this decimal, and I paid you for it. This sale was possible based on the fact that you own your brain that contained that information and you used your vocal cords or hands that you used to communicate it. It is a valid exchange of MY goods (money) for YOUR service (your physical body’s output, as Hoppe would say).In order to fully understand economics, you cannot deny reality of physical existence in which we live. Physical objects that we own are not consisted only of tangible, visible matter (as people assumed in dark ages). It is possible to steal electrical energy from someone, just as it is possible to sell it or to sell our body’s physical output (labor). I should not be excused if I commit the maximal aggression (murder) against you with radiation (without touching your body/property with any material object). If I find a way to erase your memory without physically harming you, I am still committing an aggression. Do you think that computer virus attacks should be legal, based on the false notion that no aggression took place?

    In his article “The ethics and economics of private property” Hoppe explained that we indeed own our physical body’s output. It is the logical conclusion based on the fact that physical body is consisted of energy (ability to work). By transferring our body’s output to some unclaimed object, we create property right over it. The only way Kinsella can cope with this scientific fact is by repeating his complete nonsense about scientism.

    But Hoppe did not refer to “SELLING LABOR” in a colloquial manner, as Kinsella wants to portray it. Hoppe explicitly talked about LABOR OWNERSHIP – making it analogous with the ownership of any other mean of production. To quote Hoppe (A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism):

    ——
    “First, since the OWNERS OF LABOR factors can no longer become self-employed, or since the opportunity to do so is restricted, on the whole there will be less investment in human capital. Second, since the OWNERS OF LABOR factors can no longer sell their labor services to the highest bidder (for to the extent to which the economy is socialized, separate bidders having independent control over specific complementary factors of production, including the money needed to pay labor, and who take up opportunities and risks independently, on their own account, are no longer allowed to exist!) the monetary cost of using a given labor factor, or of combining it with complementary factors, can no longer be established, and hence all sorts of misallocations of labor will ensue. And third, since the OWNERS OF LABOR factors in a socialized economy own at best only part of the proceeds from their labor while the remainder belongs to the community of caretakers, there will be an increased incentive for these caretakers to supplement their private income at the expense of losses in the capital value embodied in the laborers, so that an overutilization of labor will result…

    …as consumer demand to which the production structure now increasingly had to adapt (and not vice versa) was changing constantly, and the upspring of new enterprises became increasingly less regulated (insofar as it was the result of original appropriation and/or contract), no one’s relative position in the hierarchy of income and wealth was secure anymore. Instead, upward and downward social mobility increased significantly, for neither particular factor-owners nor OWNERS OF PARTICULAR LABOR SERVICES were any longer immune to respective [p. 71] changes in demand.

    (Emphasis added by S.R.).

    “Colloquialism?” That is so shameless!

  • Published: December 14, 2006 1:42 PM

  • rtr
  • Sasha Radeta: “By transferring our body’s output to some unclaimed object, we create property right over it.”Ideas aren’t objects. Only objects are objects. You can’t touch an idea. Like was said before, if you sculpt my granite into a statue you don’t thereby own my granite. If you don’t physically code my cd with your labor, or even if you did physically code my cd with your labor, it’s still not your cd, no matter what manner the cd is sculpted in.Electricity is a physical materially existing object. If you steal sombody’s owned electrical field, you stole something materially existing. Likewise, if you send electricity to cause damage to somebody’s computer in the form of a virus, you cause damage to something materially existing. You maliciously change the physical characteristics of something. You can’t cause another harm by merely wishing or thinking bad thoughts about them.

    But your claim that you own magnetism, that you can claim IP on compasses is absurd. Whether you were the first to build a compass or not, does not give your the right to ownership of the materials and gears that could be formed into a compass. That’s real theft of real materially existing use of property. Anyone who owns real material can shape their owned material into a compass whenever they feel like it, whether you like it or not, whether you signed a contract or not, whether you claim IP or not.

    Hopefully, with this latest example, it should be clear that you are waging offensive aggression against the actually materially existing property of others.

    If the contract is cancelled, you get back whatever actual material existing property rightfully belongs to you. Unfortunately for you, you don’t own another person’s mind, or their cds, or their cardboard, or their keyboards, or any thing else of their actually existing material property. And since you don’t own that before the contract, during the contract, or after the contract, they can do with their own property whatever they feel like doing with it. If you wanted ownership you should have *traded* for the actually existing material objects.

    Claiming IP or claiming infinite unbreakable contract does not allow you to forcefully take the property of others, or the use of the property of others in any manner they would so choose, to yourself. If you want another’s cd with code you originally created on it, you must voluntarily trade for that cd which is owned by another. IP doesn’t give you the right to take a cd you don’t own and that another does own, no matter what ideas may or may not be present in its physical manifestation.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 2:28 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Pasha, Pasha, I mean, Sasha, Sasha,

    Unfortunately for you, Hans Hermann Hope explicitly stated that we SELL our LABOR as our physical body’s real PRODUCT. He used those words and that context and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Really? Where did he say this? Could you quote it please, where Hoppe calls labor a “product”?

    In any event, this does not counter waht I said above. You just don’t understand it. Natural scientists often have difficulty with normative and logical reasoning.

    Hoppe even quoted Locke to support his view of ownership acquisition through mixing OUR labor with something that does not belong to anyone.

    Right, as I said, he then explains that what he means is embordering a thing–showing that it’s possessed, used. See? Does not rely on “owning” “labor” or “energy” or “magnetic fields.”

    The justification of copyright is based on respect for private property and private contracts. Nothing else… In spite of his persistent attempts, Kinsella was not able to deny that copyrights contracts be quite possible (and very probable) in a completely free market.

    Sasha you are so confused you are not even sure what you are arguing in favor of. Poor Sasha. Engineers get so flustered when they get out of their depths.

    If you advocate violation of these market contracts on the basis that these contracts are “bad” for society (which is fact a utilitarian argument, but Kinsella does not realize this)

    I only argue that a third party is not bound by that of two other parties. You seem not to realize that unless you do this, you cannot have copyright-by-contract. On this, just take it from me as an IP expert–I assure you I am one–if third parties are not bound, then copyright disappears. If you don’t understand this, too bad.

    – you implicitly advocvate violence against all private contracts

    I didn’t know contracts had rights.

    “We can colloquialy say I “sold” you the information, i “sold” you the 1075th decimal of pi. But did I? did I really own it?
    ————————————————–
    No sir. You did not sell me 1075th decimal of pi. You sold me your service, by providing information regarding this decimal, and I paid you for it.

    Actually, there is really no “sale”. There is only an event that happens that triggers a conditional transfer of title to money. The event happens to be the performing of a specified action.

    This sale was possible based on the fact that you own your brain that contained that information and you used your vocal cords or hands that you used to communicate it.

    Sure, I would not have been able to do what you want (give you information) if I didn’t control my body. Sure…. and…?? Oh, I know–“therefore” we “own our energy, like wow, man.”

    It is a valid exchange of MY goods (money) for YOUR service (your physical body’s output, as Hoppe would say).

    If you want to use loose language and call it an exchange, fine, so long as you realize it’s not really an exchange of things there are title to.

    It is possible to steal electrical energy from someone, just as it is possible to sell it or to sell our body’s physical output (labor).

    Sasha, don’t steal my aura, man! Hey, leave my aura alone! Hey, don’t invade my astral form, man, wow.

    Do you think that computer virus attacks should be legal, based on the false notion that no aggression took place?

    Depends–would it shut you up?
    Just kidding. I’ve written whole articles on why spam, e.g. ,is a species of aggression.

    In his article “The ethics and economics of private property” Hoppe explained that we indeed own our physical body’s output.

    Really? Please show me the exact passage.

    It is the logical conclusion based on the fact that physical body is consisted of energy (ability to work).

    Like those glowing-white space aliens in Coccoon?

    By transferring our body’s output to some unclaimed object, we create property right over it.

    Sort of like, if I pee on a possum, I own him? Good toke man!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 14, 2006 2:50 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • rtr,Ideas aren’t objects – nor did I ever claim such thing. I only said that physical objects can contain ideas – and you can sell these objects. Furthermore, you can sell only a particular use of your object, while restricting other uses.Electricity (electrical energy) is a physical materially existing object – and that is exactly my point. If you steal somebody’s owned electrical energy, you stole something materially existing. Likewise, our body has its own energy (ability to work) and we can say that we own it. That is what Hoppe means when he says that we own our labor.

    If you say that you can maliciously change the physical characteristics of something with radiation, or a computer virus, you are basically saying that you can commit an aggression against someone’s property without any material object. That’s all I tried to say. You think about implications of that.

    My claim that you can own energy (electricity) does not imply that you can claim IP on all compasses. That is not only absurd – it is your complete fabrication. It only shows that you completely misunderstand what copyright is. Copyright refers to contracts that state that reproduction of your particular product will not be allowed. In order to prove that your product was reproduced – it must be completely unique with its design.

    Anyone who owns real material CANNOT shape their owned material into a product that is replica of my product, if they contractually obligated themselves not to do so. Furthermore, if you signed a contract that states that any such replica will become MY PROPERTY – you are obligated to hand it over to me – or you are committing a theft. If you voluntarily agreed to these terms with the purchase of my product, you signed an obligation that you must respect.

    Hopefully, with this latest example, it should be clear that you are waging offensive aggression against the actually materially existing property of others. Property that you contractually recognized, by stating that any unauthorized copies will become the property of the original seller.

    If the contract is cancelled, you get back whatever actual material existing property rightfully belongs to you. Copyright CONTRACTS state that unauthorized copies will not belong to you. Unfortunately for you, you don’t own commercial use of another person’s copyrighted cds, or their cardboard, or their keyboards, or any thing else of their property. Copyrighted products were only sold for your PERSONAL USE. If you use their product in some different way (for which you didn’t pay, like a publisher) you are in fact committing a THEFT.

    You seem to be completely oblivious about what contract law means and what copyright actually states.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 4:07 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan Kinsella,If you pee on possum, you can claim that you own it at that moment. But unless you establish some kind of control by catching it, putting it in your fence, and demonstrating your ownership (like with a collar) someone else may rightfully establish their adverse possession over your possum. All these actions “fencing, tying, controlling” – they all represent labor that we own according to Hoppe (and according to physics, if you claim that we own our physical bodies). You transfer something you own (and Hoppe says we own labor, as evidenced by its market exchanges for money) – to something you don’t own.Since I already quoted Hoppe’s statements in which he refers to labor as to a factor of production and good that we sell and OWN – I really don’t have to spend any more time on that. Kinsella may want to spam this discussion, but I clearly demonstrated that Hoppe denied Kinsella’s silly claim that we don’t own our own body’s physical output (labor). I even emphasized instances in which Hoppe explicitly mentions labor ownership, contrary to what Kinsella claimed about this author. Enough of that….
    Kinsella is trying to misinterpret my statements about copyright. I never said that a third party is bound by contract between two individuals. Some copycat can unlawfully obtain my book from my publisher (the person who accepted to compensate me in the amount of all unauthorized copies originated from that item). If this thief actually makes some unauthorized copies – I will still demand compensation from my publisher based on our contract, while the will in turn demand compensation for damages from this thief (in order to pay his obligation to me)
    So copycat outside of my contract will not be liable to me – he will be liable to person whose contract stipulated concrete sanctions in case that unauthorized copies occur (and who is liable to me). Similar terms of use always prevent violations of any kind of contract by some third party. If third party violations of contract were excusable – any contract would be absolutely meaningless and totally unenforceable. But Kinsella is pretending to be clueless about this.
    As I said: “my justification of copyright is based on respect for private property and private contracts… nothing else… In spite of his persistent attempts, Kinsella was not able to deny that copyrights contracts be quite possible (and very probable) in a completely free market.”
  • Published: December 14, 2006 4:52 PM

  • rtr
  • Sasha Radeta: “If you say that you can maliciously change the physical characteristics of something with radiation, or a computer virus, you are basically saying that you can commit an aggression against someone’s property without any material object.”That statement is false. You absolutely unconditionally cannot commit malicious harm to person or property without material object. Radiation and computer viruses are material objects. Like I said previously, wishing or imagining harm against someone or something does not cause actual harm.Compasses can’t or weren’t ever copyrighted or aren’t a good example of IP protection? Pick whatever product you like.

    Sasha Radeta: “Copyright refers to contracts that state that reproduction of your particular product will not be allowed.”

    What “*product*” are you talking about? Products must be objects, must be physical, materially existing things. Any product that may be yours does not encompass any gold, any silicon, any electrons, any whatever material things, that wholly belong to others. Your product begins and ends with actual material things you actually own. Your IP claim does not grant you title to material things owned by others. Nor does IP claims grant you aggressive restriction on material property you don’t own.

    Sasha Radeta: “Anyone who owns real material CANNOT shape their owned material into a product that is replica of my product, if they contractually obligated themselves not to do so.”

    You can shape your hunk of granite into a statue and I can shape my hunk of granite into that same exact statue. And there’s nothing you can do about it except to attempt violent agressive action. It doesn’t even matter if someone at one point agreed not to shape their hunk of granite into the exact same statue you created. That agreement is null and void the moment the other party cancels that contract. Sure, you can expect back any payments you might have made for another agreeing to not copy your statue. But guess what? You didn’t make any payments. You received payments. You didn’t make a payment to obtain by *trade* the other’s hunk of granite. As the contract is over whenever someone decides it is, just like divorce in marriage, or quitting a job, they can do whatever they want to with any granite they own. You don’t own their granite if they shape their granite in exactly the same manner you shaped your granite. It’s their granite! Not yours.

    Your pretend IP claim is an agressive action on the real property of others, as this granite example has clearly shown.

    Sasha Radeta: “Furthermore, if you signed a contract that states that any such replica will become MY PROPERTY – you are obligated to hand it over to me – or you are committing a theft.”

    LOL! What fantasy! Lemme guess what’s next, pretend contracts without explicit signatures? You’d probably consider bulk mailings with contracts inside claiming acceptance of the terms of slavery, indentured servitude, and tranferance of all your wealth conditionally accepted by your opening of the envelope, valid? So divorce is theft? Quitting a job is theft? Being fired is theft? Harsh. Very harsh. You want your pound of flesh. State so.

    At any rate, your still left with absolutely no claim of IP whatsoever, and a claim of contract. So concede the non-existence of IP, as it’s clear you believe what is known as IP to be mere contract. No need to obfuscate with misleading terms such as “IP”.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 5:08 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • rtr said:——————————————-
    “You absolutely unconditionally cannot commit malicious harm to person or property without material object. Radiation and computer viruses are material objects. Like I said previously, wishing or imagining harm against someone or something does not cause actual harm.”
    ——————————————–Actually, radiation is not material. It is a form of energy. But if no one owns energy as Kinsella claims, no one can be responsible for its trespass against someone’s property. Same goes for Kinsella’s claim that someone’s information (malware or spam) can constitute his trespass against someone’s property. You failed to see my point, but you failed to see something more important…

    In cases of copyright contracts you are simply refusing to think:

    – If you agree to purchase a granite statue based on explicitly stated condition that you will not make a replica or commercial use of it – and if the contract states that in case of this violation ANY PROFITS OR EXISTING REPLICA WILL BE FOREFITED TO THE AUTHOR – you obligated yourself to do so! You purchased only some limited uses of this product – and if you use it in a way that you did not purchase, you are committing a theft.

    If you made a purchase with these terms of use – that’s the end of it. Same goes for any kind of contract- labor or marriage – whatever particular contract specifies it must be enforceable. Some labor and marriage contracts are different than others and don’t think that their breach can pass without any consequences.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 5:36 PM

  • Peter
  • Oh, Sasha, you really have it all wrong. rtr is exactly right. If I buy your statue with the condition that “all copies belong to you”, I can still make copies that don’t belong to you – on breaking the contract, I merely become liable to you for the property that belonged to you in the absence of the contract – i.e., your original statue! Not the copies; contract be damned (you really should go and read chapter 19 of The Ethics of Liberty, wherein Rothbard talks specifically about this idea you have that “any voluntary contract whatever must be enforceable in a free society”, and why it’s nonsense)As for “Actually, radiation is not material. It is a form of energy. But if no one owns energy as Kinsella claims, no one can be responsible for its trespass against someone’s property”, you’re wrong and then wrong again. Of course radiation is material (what do you mean by “radiation” anyway? Only EM? It’s still material, but most of the “radiation” that people are frightened of in nuclear accidents, the Litvinenko polonium-210 affair, etc., is massive-particle radiation, obviously not “a form of energy” in the classical sense), but how does ownership relate to “responsibility for trespass against someone’s property” anyway?
  • Published: December 14, 2006 9:20 PM

  • Daniel Coleman
  • Since Sasha may be unlikely to look it up:Let us illustrate this point. Suppose that Smith and Jones make a contract, Smith giving $1000 to Jones at the present moment, in exchange for an IOU of Jones, agreeing to pay Smith $1100 one year from now. This is a typical debt contract. What has happened is that Smith has transferred his title to ownership of $1000 at present in exchange for Jones agreeing now to transfer title to Smith of $1100 one year from now. Suppose that, when the appointed date arrives one year later, Jones refuses to pay. Why should this payment now be enforceable at libertarian law? Existing law (which will be dealt with in greater detail below) largely contends that Jones must pay $1100 because he has “promised” to pay, and that this promise set up in Smith’s mind the “expectation” that he would receive the money.Our contention here is that mere promises are not a transfer of property title; that while it may well be the moral thing to keep one’s promises, that it is not and cannot be the function of law (i.e., legal violence) in a libertarian system to enforce morality (in this case the keeping of promises). Our contention here is that Jones must pay Smith $1100 because he had already agreed to transfer title, and that nonpayment means that Jones is a thief, that he has stolen the property of Smith. In short, Smith’s original transfer of the $1000 was not absolute, but conditional, conditional on Jones paying the $1100 in a year, and that, therefore, the failure to pay is an implicit theft of Smith’s rightful property.

    I’m not exactly sure why Sasha is so caught up in trying to defend the idea of copyright being widespread and implemented in this way in a free society. Why introduce involuntary servitude into liberty?

    Initially, I thought it was strange to propose a free-market ‘copyright’, but I figured that the idea had as good a chance of surviving liberty as unionized workers, universal health care, or any other state intervention.

    I tried to find an answer in dialogue with Sasha but I think we missed each other in conversation (or something), and that’s why I stopped trying to figure it out.

    But thanks for pointing me to that chapter, Peter. The Ethics of Liberty has been quickly approaching the top of my reading list — I can’t wait to delve into it!

  • Published: December 14, 2006 10:02 PM

  • rtr
  • He he he,Sasha Radeta: “Actually, radiation is not material. It is a form of energy.”Is the sun not material? Is heat not material? Is light not material? I’ve never heard of a recipe or the idea of a recipe burning someone. But I’ve heard of radiation and the sun burning people.

    Sasha Radeta: “If you agree to purchase a granite statue based on explicitly stated condition that you will not make a replica or commercial use of it – and if the contract states that in case of this violation ANY PROFITS OR EXISTING REPLICA WILL BE FOREFITED TO THE AUTHOR – you obligated yourself to do so!”

    Guess what? I renegged. Guess I don’t get to collect $200 as I pass Go and must go Directly to Jail! Here’s your granite statue back if you also return what was exchanged for that granite statue. Oh well, we reverse the trade that originally made us both wealthier. However, you have no claim whatsoever on any other existing hunks of granite that have yet to be turned into statues of Greek gods, whether those hunks of granite be owned by me or owned by other third parties. You have no claim against hunks of granite that you yourself did not supply that exist as mere hunks of granite not ever owned by you whether or not they be transformed hunks of granite that mirror your statue creation. You put zero labor into those other hunks of granite that were transformed into replicas of your original statue. Somebody else put in that labor which transformed those other hunks of granite into replicas of your statue. Yet you think you have a claim on hunks of granite you don’t own and put zero labor into transforming? You can yell “copycat” and “jinx” until your blue in the face, but the only way your getting my or anyone else’s hunks of granite (even if they are transformed into replicas of your original creation) is if you pry it from our cold dead hands. Or I guess you could create a State and use violent coercion or the threat of violent coercion under the name of IP to amass granite which was never owned by you but was owned by others.

    Naturally, you must admit that third parties that never directly explicitly contracted with you are exempt from your silly little Napoleonic claims. That in itself would render the form of Patent almost completely impotent. My neighbor could see your statue and with reckless abandon churn out thousands of exact replicas of your statue, because, hey, he’s got talent for creating knockoffs. He never made any contract with you whatsoever, and your claims against my neighbor’s granite statues are wholly without merit. Ooops.

    Sasha Radeta: “If you made a purchase with these terms of use – that’s the end of it. Same goes for any kind of contract- labor or marriage – whatever particular contract specifies it must be enforceable. Some labor and marriage contracts are different than others and don’t think that their breach can pass without any consequences.”

    Wait, contract isn’t contract now? Contracts are “different”? They can be entered into and disolved by arbitrary fancy? If a women promises to have sex with a man whenever he feels like it, he can then rape her if at some future time she changes her mind and no longer wishes to have sex with him? Those sure are conseuences. That’s rape. And that’s why IP claims are aggressive offensive action which are the exact opposite of libertarian principles.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 10:48 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • rtr and Peter,Please stop embarrassing yourself.RADIATION IS A FORM OF ENERGY. That is physics 101. You have radioactive materials – but radiation they emit is just a form of energy – and to be affected by radiation you don’t have to swallow-up any materials like Litvinenko.

    You totally missed my point and how it pertains to argument about energy ownership and trespassing (versus nuisance). But first you should learn that radiation and electric energy is not material.

    —–

    As far as copyright goes, like I said:

    If you VOLUNTARILY agree that you purchase only non-commercial use of some product – and that all profits from any unauthorized replicas will be forfeited to the author – THERE IS NO SERVITUDE OF ANY KIND.

    That is strictly a voluntary free market contract. If such contract were not be enforceable, than no contract would ever be enforceable and private property could not be protected.

    Like I said, Rothbard explained how copyright logically emerges form property rights and voluntary contracts. DO YOU NEED A QUOTE FROM ROTHBARD, or you will keep mentioning “Ethics of Liberty,” without logically or factually denying anything I said?

  • Published: December 14, 2006 11:04 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Not to forget this:If a contract specifies that you purchase only personal use of a product, but you use commercially – you are committing a theft! According to Rothbard (and common sense) “a contract should only be enforceable when the failure to fulfill it is an implicit theft of property”. In the case I mentioned, an implicit theft occurred.What you guys also don’t realize is that by stating that you will forfeit any future unauthorized replica to the author – YOU AGREED TO TRANSFER PROPERTY TITLE OF THESE ITEMS TO THE AUTHOR! It does not matter that you owned the means of production that were used to produce such replica. You VOLUNTARILY agreed that items will be the property of the author – and if you decide to keep them you are committing the theft. So this issue has nothing to do with morality.

    If your marriage contract states that in case of violation on your part you will pay x amount of dollars to your spouse – YOU CONDITIONALLY TRANSFERRED THE PROPERTY TITLE OVER THAT MONEY. In the event that these conditions occur (if you cheat) that money automatically becomes her property. Guess what: if you decide to keep that money, you are committing a theft.

    During our previous discussion, Kinsella even mentioned gambling contracts that must be enforced based on conditional ownership transfer, but I won’t confuse even further. It is obvious that you guys are lost and got into this topic by accident.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 11:28 PM

  • rtr
  • Since when is energy not material? It’s quite clear that the idea of a recipe cannot ever be transferred into the physical world. Therefore, the ideas of recipes are immaterial. It’s also quite clear that energy exists in the physical world. Therefore, energy is material. Energy can and does touch all manner of physical objects. Ideas of recipes do not and cannot touch physical objects.Let’s see, there’s absolutely zero problem with trade in regards to protecting private property. By definition, this is exchanged for that. And that’s that. Could be possible the previous libertarian-austrian generations messed up contract the same way they messed up money. Personal note: Add contract to the list along with money, of things that need to be re-examined from the bottom up.How odd that trade requires zero enforcement whatsoever, yet contract requires enforcement? Trade naturally occurs because both parties benefit, become wealthier having traded.

    Sasha Radeta: “If you VOLUNTARILY agree…”

    If you voluntarily agreeD, past tense, then you should have traded wholly then and there. Voluntary agreeMENT, present tense, and future tense, assumes continued VOLUNTARY agreement. That’s why people can and do quit their jobs. That’s why people can and are fired from their jobs. That’s why people can and do divorce.

    Sasha Radeta: “…THERE IS NO SERVITUDE OF ANY KIND.” Assuming, of course, CONTINUED voluntary agreement. Guess if someone changes their mind, there goes the continued voluntary agreement, and in comes the SERVITUDE.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 11:38 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • rtr,Stop and think for a moment. Energy is not a matter or material. Matter is a stable pattern of energy, not vice-versa. Anyhow, RADIATION IS ENERGY and not a material.So you can conclude that you can commit a trespass and maximal aggression (murder) with energy, and according to Kinsella you can claim that you don’t possess energy… According to him, claiming that radiation violated your property is analogous to claim that “aura” violated you. On the other hand, he thinks that the electronic information can trespass against your property…. That was my point about radiation.

    —–

    Anyway, you said that: “trade requires zero enforcement whatsoever.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? If you pay me $1,000,000 to perform my services for you in seven days, but I fail to show-up on that day and instead drive-out to Mexico, you think that enforcement is not necessary??? My god, you are a joker! You think that force would not be necessary at all to protect private property…. how funny, considering that scarcity and conflict motivated property creation at the first place (but conflict resolution principles do not determine property distribution as communist claim).

    Like I said, if you agreeD (past tense) that you will transfer the property title over some items upon the satisfaction of some conditions – those items are no longer yours when these conditions occur. If you said that any unauthorized replica produced by you will become my property – by finishing your production that item becomes mine. You conditionally transferred that property to me.

    If you purchase only a certain use of my book – unlike my publisher, you did not pay for a right to commercially use it. If you violate your contract and you use that product contrary to what you voluntarily paid for and agreed upon – you are in fact committing a theft.

    That is it. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change these simple basics of contract law.

  • Published: December 14, 2006 11:58 PM

  • Peter
  • Please stop embarrassing yourself.RADIATION IS A FORM OF ENERGY. That is physics 101. You have radioactive materials – but radiation they emit is just a form of energy – and to be affected by radiation you don’t have to swallow-up any materials like Litvinenko.

    Back to physics 101 for you. “Radiation” is a rather general term; in the sense you use it, it covers three main things, termed alpha, beta and gamma – alpha particles are ionized helium, beta particles are electrons, and gamma is electromagnetic radiation. Of the three, only gamma radiation is classically “energy”; alpha and beta are definitely “matter” (though for any physicist since the early 20th century the distinction is somewhat fuzzy anyway). Alpha, being extremely massive particles, is the most harmful, but for the same reason (large cross-section for interaction) it doesn’t penetrate very far, so alpha sources (such as polonium-210) need to be ingested to be really harmful. Most EM (gamma) radiation that isn’t stopped by your skin (sunburn!) passes harmlessly right through you.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 12:26 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Peter – great! I wanted you guys to check the facts.Alpha radiation is only most harmful if it is ingested into human body. If it is external, it amounts to an X-ray.On the other hand, gamma radiation (ENERGY) is by far the most dangerous when it comes to external radiation of human body. And I talked exactly about that in my example. So if my gamma radiation violates you – it’s not the same as if my “aura” violated you. Do you agree? Yes? That was my point.
  • Published: December 15, 2006 12:37 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Correction: it (external alpha) does not amount to an X-ray (gamma)—-Anyway, we have to stop with this, because Stephan will accuse you of scientism.
  • Published: December 15, 2006 12:46 AM

  • rtr
  • Energy is indeed matter or material. Energy is traded, energy is bought and sold. Energy exists within the physical material world. Energy effects the properties of other physical material objects.If someone were to release a dirty bomb on your property it would be absurd to claim there is no effect on the physical properties on the land. It’s absolutely absurd to think radiation is immaterial in the way thinking thoughts is immaterial. I can think as hard as I want about making your land radioactively poisoned and that will have no effect whatsoever on your land. That’s why thoughts and ideas are immaterial. But if radiation is released on your land there are absolute discernable measurable effects, and thus radiation is material.——-

    Sasha Radeta: “Like I said, if you agreeD (past tense) that you will transfer the property title over some items upon the satisfaction of some conditions – those items are no longer yours when these conditions occur.”

    And like I said that logically leads to rape the moment a person changes their mind. I gave you a specific example of a woman promising sex to a man. That’s a perfect example of a typical contract. You claim a woman’s body is thus no longer hers after such a promise, and that is without question servitude. She must be forced to have sex with someone she no longer wishes to according to your interpretation of contract. I gave you plenty of other specific concrete examples as well, such as quitting a job, being fired from a job, and divorce.

    Clearly if contract can result in rape, contract can likewise result in theft, which is what you advocate by your confiscatory claims against material property not owned by you but owned by others.

    The contract is over once continued voluntary agreement is over, whether the terms of the contract have been fulfilled or not. It’s clear you wish to abuse the easily understood notion of voluntary agreement by wishfully pretending past voluntary agreement applies to future voluntary agreement. Once something has been exchanged for something else, that is a completed trade, a final transferance of property.

    If you gave something but did not get what you were supposed to be given in return for what you gave, the only claim you have is to what you originally gave if what you were supposed to be given in return is not forthcoming. But that is not an example of trade, that is an example of an uncompleted trade. There’s a reason such things as deposited collateral evolved. Deposited collateral is an example of something that has been traded, exchanged. What need would there be for such free market innovations as reputation, credit risk bureaus, etc, if contracts were enforced after continued voluntary agreement ceased to exist? That’s why trade works, and is without exception mutually beneficial. You can’t get blood from a stone.

    And again, at a minimum, you failed to establish the existence of immaterial “intellectual property”, and immediately went into a defense of “contract”. “Contract” is clearly something entirely different than “property”. Hence, why contract does not contain the name or idea of property.

    Unless you can specifically answer how forcing a woman to have sex against her will is not coercive involuntary rape, even if she at prior agreed to the act, this discussion is over.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 10:28 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • rtr,You can say that matter is form of energy – but not vice versa. Nevertheless, you basically said that energy can be owned and traded – implying that human energy and its labor is owned and traded. That confirms Hoppe’s view on labor ownership and denies Kinsella’s view (look at his introduction of this thread).——–

    Again, you are misunderstanding the basic purpose of free market contracts. Some sales are final, while others are not – depends on a contract. You cannot “change your mind” in order to justify contract violation.

    Do you think that a businessman can just “change their mind” during their contractual obligation to deliver some purchased goods – and than just take into their possession someone else’s property? You are so wrong, but we’ll come back to that later.

    If you read Rothbard more carefully, you would find the answer for your sex dilemma. If a person is paid for his services but he fails to deliver them – you cannot force them to perform any service, because that would constitute enslavement. If you order a painting from me and I fail to make one – you cannot force me to paint. BUT GUESS WHAT… I would owe you damages for undelivered goods or services that belong to you according to our contract. Woman in your example would not be forced to perform labor (sex) – but she would owe me damages for violation of contract – just like an actor would be sued by his studio.

    But now think about copyright example. You cannot just transfer property title on some good or service during a voluntary – and than “change your mind” and keep it. If that was the case, there would be no private property protection. You can change your mind and try to return copyrighted item to its owner (if he chooses to accept it back – he doesn’t have to if sale was final). But you certainly cannot “change your mind” and than use his item in ways that you didn’t pay for (more expensive, commercial use). You cannot “change your mind” in order to commit theft – in any kind of market transaction or a strict conditional contract (like labor, marriage, or even gambling contract according to Kinsella).

    Regards.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 10:58 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • I am glad if “rtr” abandoned his statement that trade does not require any enforcement. That was funny.Once he understands that you cannot pay for one kind of use of a product and than “change your mind” and use it in a different, more expensive way without paying (just like you cannot pay for an economy class airline seat and than “change your mind” and sneak into the first class)… once he understands that you cannot “change your mind” after property title is transfered to someone else – and keep someone else’s property (just like a mob cassino that refuses to pay-out someone’s honest winnings)…
    … He will become the greatest copyright advocate. I’m positive 🙂
  • Published: December 15, 2006 11:12 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Just to prevent any potential confusion and fruitless discussion that can never deny that copyrights could and would exist in a perfectly free market:- Professional soccer team Real Madrid cannot just buy services from another team’s player, like Ronaldinho of F.C. Barcelona, without paying damages to that organization specified by Ronaldinho’s contract with Barca.
    – Professional player like Ronaldinho can stop playing during his contract – and no one can force him to play – but he will suffer consequences that are stipulated in his contract (no pay, and no chance that he can play for someone else without paying damages to his team).Same goes for any kind of good or service – or even a lottery (gambling contracts) – you cannot legally violate the specific letter of some contract and unlawfully take someone else’s legally transferred property, without paying some damages. When those damages are specifically expressed in your contract – the case is absolutely straightforward.

    Copyright contracts would not specify prohibited uses, but they would also specify damages in case of violation of these terms (conditional transfer of property to the other side). For anyone who cares about private property rights, copyright contracts must be enforceable without any controversy. Nonsensical attacks on private property rights expressed in voluntary terms of use (copyright) are essentially the attacks against free market economy.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 1:21 PM

  • rtr
  • Why are you again obfuscating with the use of the term “copyright”? You’re talking about “contract”, plain and simple.Sasha Radeta: “Do you think that a businessman can just “change their mind” during their contractual obligation to deliver some purchased goods – and than just take into their possession someone else’s property?”Nobody ever said they could just take into their possession someone else’s property. If they change their mind, they return the original property, and that concludes the cancellation of the contract.

    Sasha Radeta: “If a person is paid for his services but he fails to deliver them – you cannot force them to perform any service, because that would constitute enslavement.”

    Good, we finally agree. Remember this statement, because it’s going to destroy your notions of contract. We’ve already established that things such as “copyright” and “patent” are immaterial non-property, and are now focusing soley on contract, on agreements to exchange, and the voluntary vs. involuntary nature of those contracts.

    Sasha Radeta: “BUT GUESS WHAT… I would owe you damages for undelivered goods or services that belong to you according to our contract.”

    Hmmmm, “damages”. A matter of free voluntary exchange or a matter of arbitrarily awarding a party whatever one feels like as a self judge, jury, and executioner, or third party judge, jury, and executioner? Now what do “damages” have to do with returning your property? Why the use of the word “damages”? Again, you want to confiscate that which does not rightfully belong to you. What other reason would there be for using a vengeful term such as damages. And unfortunately you are in violation of our agreed standard of voluntary agreement in regards to servitude: “If a person is paid for his services but he fails to deliver them – you cannot force them to perform any service, because that would constitute enslavement.” Asking for damages, above and beyond what belonged to you prior to the beginning of the contract, constitutes forced performance of service, which we agree, is servitude.

    Sasha Radeta: “But now think about copyright example. You cannot just transfer property title on some good or service during a voluntary – and than “change your mind” and keep it.”

    First, let’s fix that first sentence: “But now think about *contract* example.” Fixed.

    But of course, you cannot take that which is valued more to you without also giving what is valued less to you. That’s not trade. That’s indeed theft. And neither can you take back more than what was taken from you, for that would also be theft.

    If you want to talk about specific terms of use contractual agreements, then you are talking about leases, since property is not being traded but merely loaned. If you want to cancel the lease of your car rental, or you want to cancel the lease of your software operating system rental, then you can cancel that contract at anytime, whether you are the buyer or whether you are the seller. Of course, you get your property back. And that concludes the business. Unfortunately for you, there is no such thing as “IP” that was traded as IP is immaterial non-property. And again, you have no say what others do with their real existing material property. It doesn’t belong to you, and you cannot subject others to servitude with false contractual claims that are in violation of the standard of voluntary agreement.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 1:57 PM

  • Dan Coleman
  • Sasha,Let’s say that, in a fit of bad judgment, you agree tomorrow to become my slave for life in exchange for a pencil. You voluntarily agree that any and all products of your labor in the future belong to me in exchange for the pencil, and furthermore you will do whatever I tell you.A month later, you come to your senses and realize what a terrible mistake you’ve made, and you wish to cancel the contract.

    In your model: I can get my pencil back, but I can no longer force you to do whatever I command you to. However, you still owe me the *damages* of the unfulfilled contract — that is, any and all products of your labor are hereby my property. The property rights for anything that you do from now on have *transferred* to me, as per the agreement, regardless of whether you renege later. You are not forced to do anything, but if you do whatever you do belongs to me. Poor Sasha.

    In the alternate model: I get my pencil back, I can no longer force you to work for me, AND the fruits of your labor still belong to you. What *is* returned are the original pieces of the contract: my pencil and your liberty.

    Am I seeing this correctly or would you reason differently?

  • Published: December 15, 2006 2:04 PM

  • rtr
  • That’s a crystal clear summary Dan Coleman.
  • Published: December 15, 2006 2:23 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha, you are very confused and your ideas and argumenation style are shoddy. You are trying, but like most engineers you are just out of your depth.

    If you pee on possum, you can claim that you own it at that moment. But unless you establish some kind of control by catching it, putting it in your fence, and demonstrating your ownership (like with a collar) someone else may rightfully establish their adverse possession over your possum. All these actions “fencing, tying, controlling” – they all represent labor that we own according to Hoppe (and according to physics, if you claim that we own our physical bodies).

    “represent” labor? What do you mean? I think labor is just what you do with your body. You could also call it human action. Who cares? It does not mean you “own” your actions.

    You transfer something you own (and Hoppe says we own labor, as evidenced by its market exchanges for money) – to something you don’t own.

    Wrong, he does not say or imply this.

    Since I already quoted Hoppe’s statements in which he refers to labor as to a factor of production and good that we sell and OWN – I really don’t have to spend any more time on that.

    Kinsella may want to spam this discussion,spamming my own post? hahah

    but I clearly demonstrated that Hoppe denied Kinsella’s silly claim that we don’t own our own body’s physical output (labor).

    no, and you are too thick to realize this.

    I even emphasized instances in which Hoppe explicitly mentions labor ownership, contrary to what Kinsella claimed about this author. Enough of that….

    Naaah, pettifogging.

    Kinsella is trying to misinterpret my statements about copyright. I never said that a third party is bound by contract between two individuals.

    Then, there is no way to recreate a version of copyright or patent by contract; and you are now disagreeing w/ Rothbard. When you figure out what you believe, let us know.

    Some copycat can unlawfully obtain my book from my publisher (the person who accepted to compensate me in the amount of all unauthorized copies originated from that item). If this thief actually makes some unauthorized copies – I will still demand compensation from my publisher based on our contract, while the will in turn demand compensation for damages from this thief (in order to pay his obligation to me)

     

    Yes but it’s not always a thief. If A loans B his unpublished book but on the condition he not let anyone else read it, then B loses it or leaves it on the ground, or maliciously publishes it on the Internet, people who find it or read it are innocent, and are not violating anyone’s rights by using the knowledge/information they now possess…. riggghhhht sasha?

    Similar terms of use always prevent violations of any kind of contract by some third party. If third party violations of contract were excusable – any contract would be absolutely meaningless and totally unenforceable.

    You have no idea what you are speaking of.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 15, 2006 5:17 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • You guys are funny.Just read my last comment and you will realize how absurd your comments are. And you can avoid “poor Sasha” comments when you are obviously clueless about contract law.Try to answer the following question: can you legally change your mind when you buy your airline coach ticket – and than just go into the first class without paying anything, refusing to leave?? It’s the same with copyright. If you use copyrighted item in a commercial way – you are committing a theft, because you didn’t pay for that kind of use.

    Or try to imagine the following scenario: you decide to sell your house for $100,000. You accept that money and you even transfer the property title on someone else. But than you realize that prices of houses are going up and you decide that you made a bad decision – do you think that you can just refuse to move out???? I’m sorry to tell you this, but that house is no longer yours… Property title transferred and you cannot demand that someone to correct your stupidity (although government often does this and we consequently see more stupid decisions, like in rebuilding of New Orleans). You will have to move out.

    Just like that – based on your copyright contract – unauthorized copies are not your property. They are the property of the original item’s author. Or you can think of an example with a lottery or a casino winner.

    rtr says:
    ———-
    “Hmmmm, “damages”. A matter of free voluntary exchange or a matter of arbitrarily awarding a party whatever one feels like as a self judge, jury, and executioner, or third party judge, jury, and executioner?”
    ———–

    HOLD ON ONE SECOND! What judge, jury, executioner? Your copyright contract – that you voluntarily agreed upon – specifies what damages will take place in cases of violations. Just like one soccer team cannot purchase the services of someone else’s player, without that player (or other team on his behalf) paying contractually specified damages to that team.

    Like said – not all market-exchange contracts are the same but they all have in common exchanges of property title exchanges. In Dan Coleman’s example, after you sell your labor services for a pencil, that pencil becomes your property – and you owe services to your buyer. If you decide not to provide your services you will have to pay damages to your buyer. If these damages were specified by contract – you will pay exactly those damages. If these damages were unspecified – you will pay the amount equivalent to current value of your non-provided service and any other cost that the other side might have incurred due to your cancellation (it may be 1 pencil or more).

    There is no confusion there and no contradiction with the copyright contract. Your attempts to deny centuries of legal reality based on pure logic are futile and ridiculous.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 5:47 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,You are just wasting space here. You did not say anything that would contradict anything I stated. Contractual copyrights were advocated by Rothbard, and they are absolutely possible. I provided examples on how these contracts would hold. The only objection that you could think of is your scenario in which my customer (publisher for example) looses the book – and then other people copy it. But as I explained – those people would not be liable to damages to me – the person who neglected my property and lost it would be liable. That’s why publishers are generally careful with manuscripts and they cannot defend themselves based on “absent mindedness”. It is not the duty of legal system to subsidize idiocy, regardless of your interest in that.
  • Published: December 15, 2006 6:01 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Suma sumarum,In Kinsella’s imaginary world, an author may submit his manuscript to a publisher – and than publisher may “loose” it and from that point unauthorized copies will flood the market, not giving a single penny to the author. Knowing this, this author may try to get a large sum of money from the publisher, but he will likely not get – simply because unauthorized copies will also reduce any profit they make. In short, in Kinsella’s world poor authors and publishers do not have solution for this problem. They are just scratching their heads, while authorship is dying out.In the real world, however, people are much more innovative and they are able to find a solution to this problem (especially in the absence of coercive state). Authors can simply formulate copyright contracts with publishers, and they would create similar contract with retailers in order to protect themselves, retailers with consumers, and so on. Just based on contract law, the authorship would survive and we would avoid dark ages. Private property and contracts always save the day.

    If Mr. Kinsella objects to the real world scenario – based on the notion that these contacts would punish honest people who happen to loose the book – he should reconsider his skepticism. If the state was abolished and private copyright contract were taking place, the importance of not neglecting the author’s work (book for example) would become so great that people would report their lost items as stolen. As you know, in private copyright contracts any copyright violation must be compensated to the author by the other side in contract – and that person (who lost the book) would have a case against the third party thief (“finder”) who caused the damages. Bearing that in mind, people would naturally hesitate before they just take and keep someone else’s lost property (which is likely to be reported as stolen) – and knowing that they could be responsible for large damages, it would make no sense for them to engage in gross copyright violation.

    Therefore, private contracts would provide strong safeguards against copyright violations and they would save private property rights and incentives for creators.

  • Published: December 15, 2006 11:57 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • It was brought to my attention that one of my sentences can be (mis)interpreted as a rude personal attack. I just want to say that I don’t want to insult anyone (at least not with primitivism and epithets) – I am only attacking arguments that I find wrong.Regards and thank you all for your time.
  • Published: December 16, 2006 1:04 AM

  • Peter
  • In the real world, however, people are much more innovative and they are able to find a solution to this problem (especially in the absence of coercive state). Authors can simply formulate copyright contracts with publishers, and they would create similar contract with retailers in order to protect themselves, retailers with consumers, and so on.But if such contracts are, contra Rothbard, to be upheld, why would the publisher agree to a contract that left him liable to essentially infinite “damages” if the manuscript “leaks”? If he would agree to that, why wouldn’t he agree to pay the author a large sum up front (which you already dismissed with “he will likely not get” in the previous paragraph)? Of course, anybody in their right mind would prefer the latter (with the large payment fixed and known in advance) to the former! And how would mass-market retailer contracts with “consumers” work? Would individual customers be responsible for copies of the book sourced only from the copy they bought, leaving you with the virtually impossible problem of proving which particular buyer of a book that sold 40 million copies “leaked” it, or would all buyers be held responsible, en mass, for any copies? In the former case, buying a cheap paperback could, through no fault of the buyer, end up costing him millions of dollars? Nobody would ever buy a book, authors would never get a cent, and your “copyright contract” would utterly fail in its supposed purpose. In the latter case, you’d have to price the penalty into the sale price of the book, and then buyers, having already paid it, have bought the right to make copies!! 🙂Just based on contract law, the authorship would survive and we would avoid dark ages.

    Well, that’s just silly. There’s no reason at all to believe that “authorship would die out”, or even decrease, in the absence of copyright, or crazy “contracts”

    Private property and contracts always save the day.

    When properly understood, yes. Not what you have in mind.

  • Published: December 16, 2006 5:10 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Peter saidBut if such contracts are, contra Rothbard, to be upheld, why would the publisher agree to a contract that left him liable to essentially infinite “damages” if the manuscript “leaks”?You are wrong, because we’re not talking about “infinite” damages. Contractual copyrights presuppose finite, strictly defined, and conditional, property transfer. Just like a lottery or a casino winner does not have an infinite claim, neither does the copyright holder. He just has a claim over replicas of his original item – based on conditional property title transfer that you voluntarily agreed upon in a completely free market exchange. Essentially, his claim over those items is not weaker than a claim of a person who purchases something and obtains property that needs to be delivered.If we agree that I will fine you $50 if you trespass against my property – that is not an “infinite” claim. It is a conditional property transfer that can be prevented at any time – by you not trespassing. But if you satisfy the conditions that generate this $50 claim – that money becomes my property and there is nothing anyone can do about the outcome of this free-market contract.

    Any actions in violation of copyright terms are essentially theft – and if we could just “upgrade” our goods or services without ever asking or paying for it, there would be no private property protection and no sense in any market transaction.

    Peter said:There’s no reason at all to believe that “authorship would die out”, or even decrease, in the absence of copyright, or crazy “contracts”

    Well, communists also claim that production would not stagnate if you completely abolish property and profit incentive for producers. But they rarely provide any meaningful argument in support of such claim. I explained how in absence of copyright (contract enforcement) plagiarism could start at the manuscript levels, without paying a dime to the author. Why do you suppose that person will continue producing with the same motivation? Wouldn’t that be true of all producers than – as some communists claim?

    But more importantly, you don’t offer any reason on why the author would accept such situation, and why he would not formulate terms of use which would prevent unauthorized commercial use of his items. You tried to say that these contracts would be unenforceable based on the notion that they are asking for “infinite damages” – but I explained that you are incorrect. Copyright is only requiring conditional and strictly defined property transfer of items that are produced in the violation of terms of use. These title transfers do not have to occur if a buyer does not commit a theft by using some item in ways he did not pay for.

  • Published: December 16, 2006 9:30 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • I missed this part from Peter. He says: If he would agree to that, why wouldn’t he agree to pay the author a large sum up front (which you already dismissed with “he will likely not get” in the previous paragraph)?Why are you ignoring my explanation in the same paragraph? I said:
    “Knowing this, this author may try to get a large sum of money from the publisher, but he will likely not get [it] – simply because unauthorized copies will also reduce any profit they [publishers] make.”Even Aristotle in 4th century BCE knew why this situation would occur: value of inputs is determined by the value of final goods for which these inputs are used. If publishers did not have any copyright protection – they would earn little or no profits on sales of their copies, which anyone can copy as they please. Why would anyone pay a large sum of money for a manuscript that will yield little or no profit? This situation would naturally lead to an extreme stagnation, just like it happens anywhere when private property rights and free market contracts are not protected.

    My objection to this situation is not “objectivist” as Kinsella tried to insinuate. When Mises said that that socialism would mean starvation for many and impoverishment for more – his critique was not “objectivist.” He was only applying logic and economic theory – the same objections that can be raised against a model in which copyright contracts are not enforceable.

    I am still waiting for any argument that will prove that enforceable copyright contracts would be impossible or unlikely in a perfectly free market.

  • Published: December 16, 2006 12:39 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • What poor Sasha can’t seem to grasp is this. Imposing penalties on a party to a contract for breaching it by “leaking” is one thing. Permitting either of the parties to pursue a *thief* (say, of a copy of a book) is one thing.But to emulate copyright you *must* be able to penalize *innocent* third parties who are not parties to the contract. If you do not have this, you will not have any version of copyright. It is not enough to say that the buyer is liable if he leaks the information. It is not enough to penalize those who *steal* the book (from seller/author, or buyer).Take this case. An author’s manuscript shows up on the Internet one day. It’s impossible to trace who did it. Under copyright law, people may still be prohibited from selling copies of this book; even of reading it, in theory; and of making new “derivative works” based, say, on the novel’s plot. Under a contract regime, the third parties can do whatever they want with the information they have. It is utterly irrelevant that the author might be able to find some negligent person who should not have leaked it. His main concern is the public,not the person who leaked.
  • Published: December 16, 2006 2:36 PM

  • Peter
  • If we agree that I will fine you $50 if you trespass against my property – that is not an “infinite” claim. It is a conditional property transfer that can be prevented at any time – by you not trespassing. But if you satisfy the conditions that generate this $50 claim – that money becomes my property and there is nothing anyone can do about the outcome of this free-market contract.That’s an entirely different argument. If you let me read your manuscript, and someone else reads it over my shoulder, possibly without my knowledge, and then publishes it, your theory is that I should be liable to you for all of the published copies, no? Doesn’t the amount I “owe” you depend on how many copies he sells? Or would your contract just say “if it leaks I get $50”? I’m pretty sure you mean the former, hence “infinite (really: unbounded) damages”. It’s not at all the same thing as the (also nonsensical) “trespass and pay me $50” “contract”, since at least that one doesn’t make me pay you if someone else trespasses on your land!Why are you ignoring my explanation in the same paragraph? I said: […]

    I’m not ignoring it. I just can’t see the difference between the publisher not wanting to pay a lot of money up front for a manuscript he can’t be certain of profiting from (which is always the case, BTW, copyright or no!), and the publisher not wanting to agree to a contract which has him paying out a probably even larger amount in the event that he doesn’t make a profit. Or rather, I can see a difference, but the former seems vastly preferable to me; I can’t see why you think any publisher would prefer the latter!

  • Published: December 16, 2006 6:26 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • “Poor” (I guess that’s how we’re gonna call each other) Stephan,As I repeated hundreds of times by now, copyright contracts would only apply to sides in that contract. As far as third parties go – the buyer would try to recover these damages from that party in cases of theft. As far as your example with the Internet goes – there are three things to consider:
    – There are many ways in which you can trace who posts what online
    – Even if we cannot trace copyright violator – the situation is still the responsibility of the person who neglected the author’s property and allowed this to happen. I’m not sensitive to absent-mindedness and it is not a valid excuse for contract violations (otherwise, everyone would use that excuse and all contracts would be meaningless).
    – The situation with unknown copyright violators is far from perfect with today’s system and privatized copyright would not be any less efficient. But that concern is minor compared to disastrous effects that copyright violations could have on creators in the marketplace.—————————————-

    Peter,

    Just as number of trespasses is finite – so is the amount of damages that can be caused by copyright violations. The example in which I would fine you $50 for each trespass you make was not “nonsensical.” Since you sign a contract by which you are responsible for my item – any trespass that occurs will be your responsibility. Resulting damages are not “infinite” as you claimed – and it really does not matter whether you committed a violation or you let someone else do it (if we excuse people from third party violations – all contracts would be meaningless and you could always find someone to violate them for you). If you are innocent in this matter – you will settle your damages with the guilty side.

    – With enforceable copyright contracts, the publisher knows that if he chooses the right product he may make a profit. His success depends on his understanding of market demand (like today). The publisher will accept the copyright contract with the author – if he is not dishonest and has no intention of violating it. He is also aware that the copyright contracts will also protect him, when he creates them with his customers (retailers).
    – Without copyright protection the publisher knows for fact that he will make little or no profit. He knows that the supply of his product can be enormous (prices approaching and reaching zero) – so it would not make any sense for him to pay anything significantly higher than zero to the author. Read Aristotle.

    If you don’t see any difference between the two abovementioned scenarios, you have bigger troubles than simple misunderstanding of economics.

  • Published: December 17, 2006 1:10 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha, “As I repeated hundreds of times by now, copyright contracts would only apply to sides in that contract.”I do not think you comprehend that this means not only a rejection of modern copyright law, and also adopting the very consequences you attack other anti-IP types for (because without third parties being bound, copyright law collapses), but also it means you are now disagreeing with Rothbard, who did maintain that third parties could be bound.Apply your “labor,” use your “energy,” and consult wiht your aura, to figure out what you really think now, Sasha.
  • Published: December 18, 2006 12:14 AM

  • Fred Mann
  • Sasha writes:”If we agree that I will fine you $50 if you trespass against my property – that is not an “infinite” claim. It is a conditional property transfer that can be prevented at any time – by you not trespassing. But if you satisfy the conditions that generate this $50 claim – that money becomes my property and there is nothing anyone can do about the outcome of this free-market contract.”First off, I don’t think this can be called a “contract”, since there is no exchange specified. In a contract, the two parties each expect to benefit from the successful completion of the terms of the contract. In the above example, I can’t see what the potential trespasser stands to gain by NOT trespassing. Why would the potential trespasser (or anyone) sign this “contract”? Basically, it looks like I’d be signing up to be an unpaid security guard who gets fined if he falls asleep at the switch.

    Anyway, what you are describing above is a trespass, which is *already* a violation of the law. It is an invasion of private property. There is no need to make anti-trespass contracts with your neighbors or the local population. Of course, the key here is that there is an invasion of private *property*. If you want IP protection, you have to show that ideas are scarce and can thus qualify as *property* (which you can never do), or make the utilitarian/consequentialist argument for violating private property “just this once” … “in the name of ensuring a sufficient volume of books exceeding x number of pages” , for example. This is also a bad idea, and unneccessary, as I briefly described in my earlier post to Sam.

    With regards to your copyright scheme in which we can’t trace the leaker … what’s to prevent the AUTHOR from leaking his own manuscript, and thus collecting the leak fee himself? This way, he could be guaranteed to make some money on the manuscript, even if the publisher would have ultimately rejected it. He could also potentially still make large gains if it’s a runaway smash hit, depending on the terms of the contract (i.e. if the publisher(s) is held responsible to some degree for every copy). This is win win for the author. Literally any crappy manuscript (even 50 pages of nonsense) could earn *at least* a leak fee — possibly even from multiple publishers!! Hmmm….

    In a sense, your trespass analogy is valid. In both cases, some (idiotic) party is signing up to be an unpaid security guard. One is guarding land, the other is guarding manuscripts.

    I could go on, but it’s very late, and I probably shouldn’t be typing.

    But you really need to think more about Kinsella’s point regarding the actions of innocent/unrelated third parties … (the key to copyright).

  • Published: December 18, 2006 3:56 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,I explained why third party is not bound – but the system would not collapse – because third party trespassers would still owe damages to the side in contract (I also explained why third parties would be discouraged to keep lost items and to put them into commercial use). This is completely consistent with Rothbard’s faith in copyright contract… I only elaborated that position further, using the logic.I know that the simple and logically impeccable truth about contractual copyrights destroys the obvious raison d’etre on mises.org blog of at least one person. I don’t expect that this person will have the courage to admit that he is wrong and to apologize for his baseless arrogance and rudeness. However, I know that this person recognizes that in all this time, he was unable to find a single logical lapse or a problem with contractual copyright. That is enough for me – it is satisfying to know that he is well aware of how inferior he was in this discussion, in spite of his mental defense mechanisms.

    —-

    Fred,

    It was to late for typing. Read what I wrote to Stephan: there is not “third-party” controversy when it comes to copyright contracts.

    You stated that contracts are not necessary to prevent trespassing, which is true. But if we have specific terms of use, that is a contract by definition. Copyright requires specific terms of use in order to specify what use of some product is permitted – and to prevent “third party” excuses for violations… There is nothing wrong with that.

    Fred said:
    First off, I don’t think this can be called a “contract”, since there is no exchange specified.

    Oh, really? When you purchase my item for only certain, allowed uses – you don’t call this exchange??? You think that free-market exchange cannot include provisions that would specify damages in cases of violations??? That is completely wrong (look at the professional soccer example that I provided). Both side benefit from the market exchange of a copyrighted item (or exchange would not take place) – but this exchange would specify what commercial use of this product is not permitted – and you agree that this use (along with any products of this use) will belong to the author.

    Remember that contracts, including market exchanges, may specify some benefit (consideration) to one side – in case that certain conditions specified in contractual exchange occur. You can take a lottery winner (exchange of money for a ticket) as an example or any kind of contract. By the way, Unlike Hoppe, Stephan Kinsella does not believe that you own your entire physical body (which includes energy and its output). If you insist that contracts must be exchanges of something – you imply that we own our labor, because we have labor contracts. Try explaining that to Stephan.

    Fred also saidWith regards to your copyright scheme in which we can’t trace the leaker … what’s to prevent the AUTHOR from leaking his own manuscript, and thus collecting the leak fee himself?

    What???? “Leaking his own manuscript”???? You can’t be serious!

    You didn’t understand the problem with copyright violations at all. Author tries to sell his work to someone. But if copyright protection did not exist – the price of the final good (book) will approach and reach zero (supply can be enormous, because there is no restriction in unauthorized reproduction). Who in the right mind would pay large sum of money for a manuscript or a book – if he knows that prices will collapse, because buyers can make as many copies as they can – without paying him a penny?

    Plus you mention some “leak fee”. Hold on! Now you advocate contractual fees in cases of violations in terms of use (copyright)???? You are very confused.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 10:17 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha, “I explained why third party is not bound – but the system would not collapse – because third party trespassers would still owe damages to the side in contract (I also explained why third parties would be discouraged to keep lost items and to put them into commercial use). This is completely consistent with Rothbard’s faith in copyright contract… I only elaborated that position further, using the logic.”This makes no sense. The danger to publishers and authors is not trespassers. It is innocent third parties who somehow learn of the information pattern–people who are not contractually bound, and who are not trespassers either, so that there is no action against them. If you are trying to say that such third parties are not bound, but that anything resembling copyright could still be maintained, you are just utterly confused. If you think that there are no such third parties–that they are all contractually bound, or some type of “trespasser,” again, you are totally confused.The only thing that prevents me from writing and selling a novel about the further adventures of Luke Skywalker is copyright law–this is a “derivative work” of George Lucas’s copyrighted story. Without copyright law there is nothing to stop me from writing this. I never signed an agreement with Lucas nor did I steal the information.

    If you are only advocating legal measures directed at contracting parties, and actual trespassers, then this is compatible with libertarianism, but it denudes copyright law. Moreover, please note this is incompabible with Rothbard: he thought the third party could be bound even though he was not a trespasser or a party to any contract.

    So make up your mind please.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 11:01 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,I never said that third parties are contractually bound by terms of use – and by repeating this nonsense you don’t contradict anything I said. I explained why Rothbard’s position can be defended and how third parties would pay for damages caused copyright violations. Third party is not responsible for a breach of contracts – but for causing tort.Read more carefully. I covered “innocent finders of copyrighted materials” in my earlier comment:

    ————————–

    “If the state was abolished and private copyright contract were taking place, the importance of not neglecting the author’s work (book for example) would become so great that people would report their lost items as stolen. As you know, in private copyright contracts any copyright violation must be compensated to the author by the other side in contract – and that person (who lost the book) would have a case against the third party thief (“finder”) who caused the damages. Bearing that in mind, people would naturally hesitate before they just take and keep someone else’s lost property (which is likely to be reported as stolen) – and knowing that they could be responsible for large damages, it would make no sense for them to engage in gross copyright violation.

    Therefore, private contracts would provide strong safeguards against copyright violations and they would save private property rights and incentives for creators.”

    Posted by Sasha Radeta at December 15, 2006 11:57 PM

    ——————————

    In other words, if I agreed that my purchased copy will not use for commercial purposes – I will be the only person responsible in case of such violation. Knowing this, I would never allow anyone strange to access my book without a contract protecting me against potential violation. I would also report any lost item as stolen (making any third party liable in case he/she decides to keep someone else’s property and cause damages to me by creating unauthorized copies). Knowing what kind of damages could occur, “third party finder” would be deterred from such action.

    Remember – I am only advocating legal measures directed at contractual parties – and third party trespassers. My position stems from private property rights and libertarian non-aggression principle (if you agree that you purchase only some personal uses of a product – and you acknowledge that commercial use belongs to the author – even without more specifics any profits and products from the commercial use would belong to the author). Third party involvement is the issue of tort – not of the contract law – and I clearly demonstrated how they would be averted from causing damages to the side in contract.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 12:33 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha,

    I never said that third parties are contractually bound by terms of use – and by repeating this nonsense you don’t contradict anything I said. I explained why Rothbard’s position can be defended and how third parties would pay for damages caused copyright violations. Third party is not responsible for a breach of contracts – but for causing tort.

    I am aware of the plot of Star Wars; if I write a novel called “Kinsella’s continuing adventures of Han Solo,” or produce a musical called “Kinsella’s Star Wars: The Musical,” are you saying this is a tort?

    Remember – I am only advocating legal measures directed at contractual parties – and third party trespassers.

    unlike Rothbard, I guess. I have no idea what you belive now, Sasha, except that you think we own our labor, as if it’s some substance that emanates from our bodies; you think that your knowledge of E=mc^2 gives you some special scientistic insight into ethical and political theorizing. Weird.

     

  • Published: December 18, 2006 1:08 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,We can talk about a free market scenario: If someone else had a contract with Lucas – contract that explicitly prohibited the copying of some of its content – than any violation of these terms will result in damages that must be paid to the author. If this violation was committed by a third-party trespasser – this would constitute a tort.My position explains why Rothbard was essentially correct and why third party trespassers would pay damages caused by actions that violate someone else’s terms of use (based on tort – not on breach of contract).

    The fact that you deny physics, like some medieval religious fanatic, has nothing to do with this topic. It only shows that you do not care about scientific truth or logic.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 3:29 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha,

    We can talk about a free market scenario: If someone else had a contract with Lucas – contract that explicitly prohibited the copying of some of its content – than any violation of these terms will result in damages that must be paid to the author. If this violation was committed by a third-party trespasser – this would constitute a tort.

    That is not the issue or the problem. The problem is any copyright regime evaporates if third parties are free to use original works, so long as they are not parties to a contract or trespassers.

    The fact is there are many people in the world today who know what Mickey Mouse looks like, the general story behind Star Wars, what the Elton John Candle in the Wind lyrics are and song sounds like; Hey Jude’s melody and lyrics.

    Now, if these innocent third parties use the knowledge in their heads–to duplicate the work, or perform it, or make derivative works based on it–under copyright law they can be sued. But there is no basis under which they are liable under a free society–or so I content.

    Do you agree, or not, Sasha? Are these people committing “trespass,” or not? If you say yes–you are both wrong, and question-begging; if you say no, you have admitting an exception that utterly destroys copyright law or its contractual emulation. Which is it? Why do you keep evading and changeing the subject?

    My position explains why Rothbard was essentially correct and why third party trespassers would pay damages caused by actions that violate someone else’s terms of use (based on tort – not on breach of contract).

    Rothbard said that the third party is liable not because he is a trespasser but because he didn’t have title to the information he obtained, which mistakenly assumes information has a title.

    The fact that you deny physics, like some medieval religious fanatic, has nothing to do with this topic. It only shows that you do not care about scientific truth or logic.

    Of course I don’t deny physics; I just deny scientism.

     

     

  • Published: December 18, 2006 3:37 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • Sasha, the “leak fee” I mentioned relates to one of the possible solutions in your copyright scenario. If the ideas are leaked, then the damages will either take the form of a flat fee (“leak fee”) or a fee in proportion to the copies that resulted from the leak. This is in no way an endorsement of your scheme or an acknowledgement of its feasibility. (Is “Person” writing under a pseudonym now?)
    Of course, if the damages are to be assessed by taking into account the total number of copies that resulted, how is this going to be measured? Who will track the number of “bootlegged” copies? And how long should we wait before taking said tally?
    With respect to the author leaking his own work…
    it *seems* like you are saying that if any unauthorized copies start appearing on the market, then *someone* is liable for damages. But you also said that it is possible that the origin of the unauthorized copies may be impossible to trace. So how do we avoid the situation where the author himself starts leaking his work in order to collect these fees (assuming he can’t be identified as the leaker)? Certainly these fees could be enormous. Why is this so hard to understand?
    It also seems like your system would make a book/manuscript a dangerous thing to own… or at least it would make ownership of a book a much greater responsibility (i.e. burden). Do I have to hide my books if I have a party?
    It doesn’t seem like you’re following me at all. Maybe it’s my fault. I don’t really have time to figure it out right now.
    You may want to systematically lay out the scenario (including contract wording and specific parties involved, implied contracts, etc.) where you effectively simulate the effects of today’s copyright laws in a free market.
  • Published: December 18, 2006 3:41 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,Imagine that you purchased my book on basic economics. If our copyright contract is violated by some third party who committed trespassing – than their actions will result in tort. You will be entitled to damages that they cause. Do you agree or not?In case that you loose your book, an innocent finder would be aware of the danger that this item is reported as stolen. That “finder” would be deterred from any action that would result in serious damages.

    Your Mickey Mouse example just demonstrates your lack of focus (to say it nicely). I already explained that authors who intend to use their works in mass media, bombarding the public with free access to their images and music works – could not make a copyright contracts with these media outlets. Media would not purchase and publicize these images and works of music if they were held responsible for any reproduction of those works. However, in order to make their program more popular and to make money on commercials, media would pay large sums of money for quality copyright-free content.

    But this situation does not apply to those authors that do not want to use mass-media as the mean of promoting something else (like concerts or TV commercials)… The book authors, for example, depend on copyright protection for their economic survival – and they absolutely have a right to formulate copyright contracts that would protect them. These contracts would exist and hold in a free market.

    —-

    Of course that you deny physics, not scientism. The science of physics defines what our physical body (that we own) is consisted of – but you choose to contradict this.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 4:00 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Fred,You make me laugh. Your “leak fee” is nothing but a copyright that I propose (just fuzzy and with less details). You are just unprepared to admit that you concede to my argument: that the author has a private property RIGHT to sign a contract which would prevent unauthorized use of his product.As far as your “unknown violators” objection goes, they exist today. If we abolish government’s monopoly in copyright protection, we can only expect more efficiency in finding these violators, not less.
  • Published: December 18, 2006 4:07 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    Imagine that you purchased my book on basic economics. If our copyright contract is violated by some third party who committed trespassing – than their actions will result in tort. You will be entitled to damages that they cause. Do you agree or not?

    No, because this is confused. How does a third party violate our contract? He is not a party to it.

    Anyway this is utterly irrelevant. The danger is NOT some third party who commits trespass. It is the innocent third party who uses information he has come into possession of without committing trespass.

    For example, you may be able to find an MP3 file on the Internet of the Beatles Hey Jude song. Or of the latest popular novel. Or of a textbook. If you listen to that song, or read that book file, you are technically committing a copyright violation. Now, under your little theory, do these actions amount to “trespass”? If you say no, you are basically opposed to any copyright regime, even one constructed out of “contract,” since you are rejecting Rothbard’s view that you can bind third parties. If you say yes, you are question begging (plus wrong).

    Before I explain in detail why you are wrong, you must choose and explain what your view is.

    In case that you loose your book, an innocent finder would be aware of the danger that this item is reported as stolen. That “finder” would be deterred from any action that would result in serious damages.

    This makes no sense at all. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

    Your Mickey Mouse example just demonstrates your lack of focus (to say it nicely). I already explained that authors who intend to use their works in mass media, bombarding the public with free access to their images and music works – could not make a copyright contracts with these media outlets.

    I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about any author at all–of a song, novel, software, movie… if some innocent third party acquires this information-pattern without committing trespass, the author is screwed b/c he has no cause of action against the third party “pirate,” other than copyright law (which is invalid).

    But this situation does not apply to those authors that do not want to use mass-media as the mean of promoting something else (like concerts or TV commercials)… The book authors, for example, depend on copyright protection for their economic survival – and they absolutely have a right to formulate copyright contracts that would protect them. These contracts would exist and hold in a free market.

    Your mental abilities must be limited here; you simply do not seem to understnad that real copyight protection requires third parties to be bound; and that they are NOT bound by a bilateral contract between author and customer.

    Of course that you deny physics, not scientism. The science of physics defines what our physical body (that we own) is consisted of – but you choose to contradict this.

    I never denied this at all. From the ethical point of view it is utterly irrelevant what our bodies are “really” made of; that they are rivalrous resources is all that matters. Whatever they are, the question is: who owns a given body or other scarce resource?

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 18, 2006 4:11 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,Your mental abilities prevent you from understanding that your copyright obligations can be violated by some third party’s action (trespass). I will not hold that third party responsible – but you. If I excuse you for some third party’s involvement – then no contract could ever be enforceable (people would always violate contracts using third parties as an excuse).So in case that “innocent finder” finds MY book and than decides to reproduce it – you would be responsible to pay me for the value of these unauthorized copies. In turn, you could claim that this third party stole this party stole this book from you – and you would sue that part person for damages this theft caused you (tort). To use Rothbardian argument – you would argue that the book and its information did not belong to that person.

    —-

    Regarding your denial of physics – it clearly relevant to know what physical body is consisted of – if you claim your ownership. As far as issue of scarcity goes, you demonstrated that you have no idea what economic definition of scarcity is – and why both software and labor are scarce.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 4:34 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha,

    Your mental abilities prevent you from understanding that your copyright
    obligations can be violated by some third party’s action (trespass). I will not hold that third party responsible – but you.

    If you are trying to say that the buyer/licensee can be liable if he is too careless and does something that permits the idea or information to get into the public domain–fine. I admitted this from the get-go. BUt holding me responsible is not enough. You just don’t get it: you don’t appreciate *why* copyright law is today NOT aimed only at the second party who leaks–but at the general public who uses. And Rothbard clearly said the third party is liable; you seem to be very confused on just what you believe.

    If I excuse you for some third party’s involvement – then no contract could ever be enforceable (people would always violate contracts using third parties as an excuse).

    We are not talking about excusing the second party–to the contract. We are talking about wehther third parties are themselves liable. They are not, per se. Your referring to the third party’s actions as trespass shows your utter confusion and inability to understand why begging the question is not legitimate and what it means to set forth a coherent argument or position. You are all over the map and inventing your views as you go along. Mine have been developed and formed over years, and not a thing you have said has caused me to budge in the slightest, since you are just blathering things I’ve heard many times and long ago debunked.

    So in case that “innocent finder” finds MY book and than decides to reproduce it – you would be responsible to pay me for the value of these unauthorized copies. In turn, you could claim that this third party stole this party stole this book from you – and you would sue that part person for damages this theft caused you (tort).

    Why is it a tort to find a book and use it?

    To use Rothbardian argument – you would argue that the book and its information did not belong to that person.

    Er., right, and as I have expalined, there is no property right in the information.

    Regarding your denial of physics – it clearly relevant to know what physical body is consisted of – if you claim your ownership.

    When A and B both desire to control or use a given scarce resource, the only question is which of them has a better claim. It is not relevant what the thing is “really” made of–that it is scarce is sufficient. Sasha, you are nothing but a confused pest, so I am done with you. Keep your remaining posts civil or you’re outta here.

     

     

     

     

  • Published: December 18, 2006 4:52 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,You referred to my mental abilities as limited – so I responded in the same way to you. Why are you now threatening me with a ban? Will you be “outta here” if you keep using these unprovoked insults, like calling me a “pest” in your last paragraph?I will keep my posts civil and I will use you as my reference.

    —–

    Your “third party” argument against contractual copyright failed. The fact that you were developing your position in yeas can only contribute to your frustration. You fail to realize that my argument is very consistent:

    As you admitted, if some third party (outside of contract) causes your breach of contract – you will hold that person liable. You can claim that the book (for example) did not belong to that person and that this person stole it. Knowing how difficult it would be to claim that you “accidentally found” the item reported as stolen – any “finder” would be foolish to commercially use that item.

    —-

    Your statement that it “does not matter” what your property is really made of makes absolutely no sense – simply because our body is consisted of scarce resources. Our body’s organs are scarce and economically valuable, as well as our labor.

  • Published: December 18, 2006 5:19 PM

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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.