As a followup to various posts (The L. Neil Smith – FreeTalkLive Copyright Dispute (archived comments); Recent Blogposts on The Libertarian Standard and Mises Blog; Russell Madden’s “The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism”; Replies to Neil Schulman and Neil Smith re IP; see also Jeff Tucker, L. Neil Smith on IP), I see Smith has posted another article, “The Medium and the Message,” that touches on IP.
In this piece, he again states that IP is valid but without offering any justification. He explicitly compares IP abolitionists to those who want to tax and regulate and censor the Internet: after describing these nefarious types, he turns to IP opponents, describing us as an “equally deadly threat to freedom of expression”. Yes, he literally said that. We are simply envy-filled socialists: “Like the socialists they are, most of them appear to envy and hate the creators of intellectual property, and relish a future they imagine in which it’s impossible to earn a living by writing.” We are not libertarians; we are thieves: “Opponents of intellectual property rights are nothing more than thieves, and, no matter what they may claim, neither are they libertarians.”
But he provides no argument at all for the proposition that IP is a legitimate type of property. He just calls it theft. And he says, “There can be, of course, no moral distinction between physical and intellectual property …..” The “of course” apparently is supposed to do all the work here.