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David Friedman on Intellectual Property

David Friedman, a physicist by training who styles himself a legal expert and economics expert (though never practicing law and not an Austrian), and a soi-disant libertarian and anarchist even though he has no settled view on intellectual property, on IP:

Law’s Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters, chapter 11, “Clouds and Barbed Wire: The Economics of Intellectual Property.”

This is what apparently passes as “libertarian” reasoning by the physicist:

“It follows that if I write a book, copyright it, and collect royalties, the royalties I collect provide a conservative measure of the value I have produced. It is a conservative measure because, despite the best efforts of my publisher, some readers end up getting the book for less than they would be willing to pay for it. I can ignore the effect of my copyright on the opportunities available to other writers. They lose nothing through not being permitted to write my book, since they wouldn’t have written it anyway.”

This is a good example of the point some have made of arguments that are so bad or flawed that to debunk them would require a response 10 times or more as long as the original. It would be exhausting.

See also Anthony Wile, “David D. Friedman on his Famous Father, Anarcho-Capitalism and Free-Market Solutions,” The Daily Bell (April 08, 2012):

Daily Bell: Where do you stand on copyright? Does intellectual property exist?

David D. Friedman: I think there are good arguments on both sides of that question.

See also references and links in KOL377 | No Way Jose Ep. 140: David Friedman Debate Prep: Deontology vs. Consequentialism, Utilitarianism, Natural Rights, Argumentation Ethics, Intellectual Property; also David Friedman on the “Problem” of PiracyDavid Friedman on CopyrightDavid Friedman: Current Experiments in Self Publishing.

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