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KOL079 | “Federalist Society IP Debate (Ohio State)” (2011)

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Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 079.

This is from March 3, 2011: “IP Debate: John Templeton Foundation’s Big Questions Debate series on Intellectual Property and Wealth Creation,” The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Student Chapter of The Federalist Society (Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University, Columbus OH).

This debate was part of the “John Templeton Foundation’s Big Questions Debate series on Intellectual Property and Wealth Creation”; I debated patent attorney and adjunct IP law professor Steve Grant, who represented the pro-IP side.

A video was taken with a videocamera, but it was not direct mic’d so the quality is only so-so. The podcast version here is from my iPhone recording, which I often make during speeches as a backup, in case of low quality of the official version. My iPhone version is better quality, for my own remarks, than the audio from the camera (the audio file from  the camera’s recording is here). Professor Grant did his best, but didn’t have a solid argument for IP other than the standard “I think we should reform IP but not get rid of it.”

My opening speech is about 15 minutes and has decent audio quality, and is a summary of a hard-hitting version of the basic libertarian case against IP law (here is the powerpoint presentation I used; embedded version below). Grant’s speech is audible but I was not very close to him; but his conventional and unsystematic, more empiricist and positivist than libertarian and principled remarks will be of only mild interest to libertarians. For my 10 or so minute rebuttal to him, I left my iPhone at the table but it’s still audible; for the Q&A period, it was in front of me so it’s decent again for that part.

My host was Aman Sharma, a very staunch libertarian law student and head of the student chapter of the Federalist Society. When I was involved with the Federalist Society (lawyers chapters) in Philadelphia and Houston they were populated with mainly Newt Gingrich loving neocons; good to see some Austro-libertarians infiltrating their ranks. Sharma told me “I had a lot of fellow students approach me after the event with questions showing a new-found interest in the Mises/Austrian worldview.” That is cool and gratifying.

While in Ohio, I met my friend Jacob Huebert and other local libertarians/Federalist Society people—including Katelyn Horn and Maurice Thompson, of the 1851 Center, for dinner at Barrio Tapas. A fun trip, and great people.

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  • Stephen Davis September 15, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Your “opponent” in this debate said almost nothing of substance. He simply made bald assertions that we need an IP system and spewed the typical “reasonable” and unprincipled lines such as “Are there issues with the system? Yes. But should we abolish it? No. We’re better off with it than without it. All of the cool countries have one.” No arguments, no evidence. Thanks for putting up with these types of “debates” and spreading the right ideas.

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