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KOL184 | Intellectual Property is the Root of All Evil (PorcFest 2015)


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 184.

Last month I attended PorcFest 2015 and delivered this talk on intellectual property. Video version below (followed by a lower quality version shot by James Cox).

I also participated in a debate on anarchy and participated in a couple of radio shows (Ernie Hancock’s Freedom Phoenix and Free Talk Live). James Cox shot some other videos as well, which are up on his channel; a few of these are also embedded below.

Porcfest 2015: The Root of All Evil (official PorcFest version)

Lecture: Intellectual Property is the Root of All Evil: Porcfest 2015 (James Cox version)


Stephan Kinsella – Intellectual Property: The Root of All Evil

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In this talk, Kinsella explains that the most evil state policies and institutions include war, taxation, state provided education, central banking, the drug war — and intellectual property, or IP, namely patent and copyright law. In the modern age, IP’s importance, and the damage it causes, have increased. Patent originated in protectionism and mercantilism, while copyright originated in censorship. In this modern age of high tech, globalization and international trade, the economic cost of patent law and its detrimental effect on innovation has gotten many times worse. Copyright limits the freedom to learn and communicate and threatens to undermine freedom on the Internet, one of the most important tools to fight against the state.

Kinsella, a practicing patent attorney, argues that IP is in a sense the most insidious of the major state institutions. War, taxation, the drug war, and other state laws and institutions are obviously illiberal and rights violations. However, patent and copyright law fly under the banner of intellectual “property” rights, confusing even many anti-state libertarians, who normally support property rights. Kinsella argues that IP rights are based on a fallacious understanding of rights—namely, confusions in Locke’s ‘labor theory of property’—and that this error pervades and corrupts much modern thinking about the role of law and property rights and the state. The damage caused and the threat posed by IP is greater than most people realize; it is growing; and the intellectual error behind it must be exposed.


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Stephan Kinsella

Executive Editor, Libertarian Papers
Stephan Kinsella is a practicing patent attorney and a libertarian writer and speaker. He Founder and Executive Editor of Libertarian Papers, Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF). A former adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, he has published numerous articles and books on IP law, international law, and the application of libertarian principles to legal topics, including Against Intellectual Property… Read More →

Friday June 26, 2015 5:00pm – 5:45pm

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • S. Bauer August 2, 2015, 6:50 pm


    An aside: In 2010 you solicited sources distinguishing legal and logical positivism. I stumbled on an excellent article re: same by one Stephen W. Ball (1993) titled “Facts, Values, and Interpretation in Law: …”

    It probes that distinction quite well.

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