Episode 23: Patents and Paywalls: How IP Stifles Scientific Innovation: Stephan Kinsella
February 11, 2018
The accepted wisdom tells us that intellectual property (IP) laws encourage innovation. Without legal protection for their discoveries, scientists would have no incentive to conduct research and we would lose out on “…life-changing and life-saving new treatments that bring hope to doctors, patients, and patients’ families worldwide. “
That’s a nice story, but my guest today says this seemingly self-evident truth is entirely incorrect. Far from fostering innovation in the sciences, patent attorney and legal scholar Stephan Kinesella argues that intellectual property hampers competition and thus stifles the discovery of new medicines and other technologies. Every year businesses waste millions of dollars in court defending their patents and divert resources away from research and development. This perverse system keeps smaller companies from out-competing established firms and severely limits consumer choice throughout the economy.
Moreover, copyright protections allow major publishers to lock original scientific research behind paywalls and charge obscene prices to anyone who wants to access the content, even though much of the work is financed by taxpayers. Paradoxically, then, IP laws have allowed giant corporations and federal bureaucracies to tightly restrict the production and distribution of scientific knowledge.
Listen in as Stephan and I discuss how this broken system came to be and what we can do to replace it.
Monday morning phone call, from Mar. 14, 2016, talking nonsense, obsessing over trivia, such as the possible connections between and real meanings of the expressions “money talks, bullshit walks” and “walk the walk, talk the talk”. And the problem with the expression “all he cares about is money.” And Jeff’s idea for an article. And Praeger University and Dennis Praeger. How Millennials can improve their self-esteem by working. I make fun of college students who have time to have a marijuana source (in the 80s). Facebook Live videos versus Google Hangouts. Tucker’s hot tub and whether he should put lavender into it, and if he got caught he could pretend it was already there, that some guy named “Big Jim” had done it, and if they didn’t believe him we could have a trial about it. Typical meandering, silly, rambling nonsense. This was one of our morning talks, and this time I tried to record it over my iphone using the “record call” option of the “Recorder” app.
At Libertopia 2012, I delivered a 45-minute talk , “Intellectual Nonsense: Fallacious Arguments for IP,” the slides for which are below. I spoke for 45 minutes—well, 40, then the last 5 were taken up by a question from J. Neil Schulman—but only covered the first 25 slides. For more details, see Part 1, at KOL236 | Intellectual Nonsense: Fallacious Arguments for IP (Libertopia 2012).
This podcast is Part 2, covering most of the remaining 41 issues.
At Libertopia 2012, I delivered a 45-minute talk , “Intellectual Nonsense: Fallacious Arguments for IP,” the slides for which are below. I spoke for 45 minutes—well, 40, then the last 5 were taken up by a question from J. Neil Schulman—but only covered the first 25 slides. I covered most of the remaining 41 in a separate recording, Part 2: KOL237.
This is a short video produced by the Federalist Society, featuring me and IP law professor Kristen Osenga (I had met Osenga previously, as a co-panelist at an IP panel at NYU School of Law in 2011). I was pleasantly surprised that the Federalist Society was willing to give the anti-IP side a voice—more on this below. To produce this video, Osenga and I each spoke separately, before a green screen, in studios in our own cities, for about 30 minutes. The editing that boiled this down to about 5 minutes total was superbly done.
Why does the government protect patents, copyrights, and trademarks? Should it? Kristen Osenga and Stephan Kinsella explore the concept of intellectual property and debate its effect on society as a whole.
Kristen Osenga, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, and Stephan Kinsella, author of Against Intellectual Property, explore the concept of intellectual property and debate its effect on society as a whole.
This is a debate on IP between me and a noted Bitcoin expert, Dr. Craig Wright, hosted and moderated by the Vin Armani show.
I was in London to attend the inaugural 2018 meeting of Mises UK and to hang with my boys Lee Iglody, Jeff Barr, Doug French, and Hans Hoppe, and had challenged Wright to a debate during a few twitter run-ins (still on-going); I accepted and since I happened to be in London, Wright set it up and we did it at a local studio, with Armani moderating from Vegas.
Further comments appear on my Facebook post and also on the Youtube post (below).
Another great legal scholar, and friend of mine, LSU Law Professor Robert Pascal, has passed away. I previously commented on the death of my friend, LSU Law Professor Saúl Litvinoff, a giant of civil law scholarship who died in 2010. I never even knew Saúl while I was at LSU law school, but I became close friends with him shortly after my graduation in 1991, and maintained correspondence with him until his death in 2010 (he was one of the three professors who wrote recommendation letters for me to apply to the University of London’s PhD in Laws programme, the others being Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Randy Barnett).1
And another Louisiana legal titan, A.N. ‘Thanassi’ Yiannopoulos, died last year at age 88. I never met Yiannopouls at all, but we corresponded in the years before his death in 2017 about some civil law matters. He was friends with my friend Gregory Rome, a young Louisiana lawyer who co-authored Louisiana Civil Law Dictionary with me in 2011. [click to continue…]