September 13, 2013
In this inaugural edition of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, host Marc Clair interviews libertarian legal scholar Stephan Kinsella about the concept of intellectual property and the libertarian framework.
Finally! The long-anticipated Lions of Liberty Podcast has arrived! In this first episode, I spoke with Stephan Kinsella regarding the subject of intellectual property within the libertarian framework. Kinsella is the author of Against Intellectual Property, and is one of the best-known voices in the libertarian community against the concept of intellectual property.
I found the conversation with Kinsella very interesting and I feel it will be helpful not only for those trying to sort out a stance on intellectual property, but also for those new to libertarian ideas in sorting out some of the finer details of a libertarian framework. Before launching into tirades about “private property” and “contracts”, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the definitions of these terms.
I first came to the IP debate through the “debate” between Kinsella and Robert Wenzel on the issue, which served more as car-crash entertainment than an intellectual study. But it did peak my interest in an area I had honestly not given much thought to before. After reading his book and speaking further with him on the issue, I find it difficult to present a case in favor of intellectual property, at least as we know the concept today.
The biggest problem I see with intellectual property is that it attempts to bind third parties, not privy to any sort of contract, and prohibit them from using their own property in a way they see fit. I tend to agree with Kinsella’s view that intellectual property is nothing more than the State’s granting of a monopoly on an idea or a pattern of ideas.
The biggest difference between Kinsella and myself is that I may see a private society, sans the State, as coming up with more ways to protect their works through contracts and/or user agreements, but ultimately that can only go so far. Any differences we may have on just how far private arrangements to protect the work of artists may go are largely moot. When it comes to forming a libertarian position on a subject, we should not be asking “how will this work?” but “what is right?”
Your feedback is welcome and encouraged! This is my first attempt at conducting an interview or producing a podcast, so I promise I won’t be offended. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have some interesting guests planned for future shows, so stay tuned!