There are No Good Arguments for Intellectual Property: Redux

by Stephan Kinsella on September 27, 2010

in Intellectual Property

My contention in “There are No Good Arguments for Intellectual Property” has been shored up with the latest weak attempt, by “AssassinatorGirl,” who “doesn’t own a table,” in her video Kinsella Fails On Intellectual Property Arguments. She (a) agrees with my critique on utilitarianism and (b) agrees with my critique of the state, leaving her with only (c) an inept contract-based argument, which she fumbles around after admitting she doesn’t know all those legal terms. Ummmmmm…

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Morgenstern September 27, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I think the major confusion about IP is the confusion between property rights and the right to extract value. (the second not actually existing, Hoppe had a very nice essay about that a little bit ago)
What is interesting is that this non-existent right to extract value also colors peoples’ ideas about political-economy in general. If you look you can see it spilling over (sometimes in the inverse) into various Keynesian schemes to have “capitalism without all those pesky peons who demand their right to own what they own”. Neo-classical economists tend to be particularly bad about this sometimes.

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Crosbie Fitch September 28, 2010 at 8:35 am

Good point. Extracting value is certainly the eternal struggle and goal of the unscrupulous, and if they could inveigle it as a right they would – before that they must lobby for its granting as a privilege, then to corrupt the language of ‘granted right’ into just ‘right’ qua (natural) right.

The pinnacle of value extraction is simply to claim a direct levy for value presumed extracted (as if a state collecting tax in exchange for receipt of state provided services). However, the levy is not even an exchange as understood by a tax. It’s simply a theft – on the pretext of being compensation for a monopoly lost (the reclamation of liberty stolen). So an ISP levy for file sharing is simply theft from the people enforced by the state. In exchange for enjoying the cultural liberty they were born with the people have to pay a fine. If corporations could have orgasms they’d have to dig moats about their ramparts. A state granted monopoly must at least have the fig-leaf of product, but a levy, now that just needs a few formalities and the immortal corporation can retire into eternal prosperity – perpetual revenue at zero cost.

The draconian enforcement of copyright should be recognised as haggling, demonstrating to the state just how high the compensating levy should be, when the camel’s back breaks – as everyone knows it will. The state won’t be shy to split the levy (compulsory license fee + tax).

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Crosbie Fitch September 28, 2010 at 5:12 am

Any argument for intellectual work to be considered as property must be rooted in the power one has by nature, not in the power one desires, the power one can con another into believing in (rights alienating contract), nor the power that is granted by the state (removed from all others).

The natural right to privacy, to exclude others from one’s private spaces and possessions therein, is the only power naturally available to the individual that can form a basis for IP. Thus, only the intellectual work within this space can be considered the intellectual property of the respective individual – and consequently any works therein removed/communicated/copied outside it without their permission.

That is at least the basis of a good argument for intellectual property.

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Stephan Kinsella September 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

Crosbie: No. This is not IP, it’s just the right to do things in private and keep things private, given control over your body and resources. It’s got nothing to do with IP.

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Crosbie Fitch September 28, 2010 at 8:14 am

Whereas you say “private things”, and I say “natural intellectual property”, at least it seems you would not be too offended by law that secured the authors’s (natural) exclusive right to their writings – instead of the abominable instruments of injustice, copyright and patent, that should rightly offend everyone.

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Stephan Kinsella September 28, 2010 at 9:16 am

I don’t know what you mean, a law that secures their exclusive right to their writings. The law should protect property rights–in people’s bodies, homes, other scarce resources they justly acquire. That is all the law should do. Why you insist on referring to this as “natural intellectual property” is a mystery.

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Beefcake the Mighty September 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

This girl is one seriously stupid bitch.

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Matt C September 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm

This woman hurts my brain. How many times does she say something along the lines of “is this really that hard to undestand?!?!”

Hint for others: if you find yourself frustrated by how stupid SK appears to be, consider the possibility that you might misunderstand his point.

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