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Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 216.
I was a guest recently on Isaac Morehouse’s podcast, “Why Intellectual Property Sucks, with Stephan Kinsella” (Oct. 10, 2016), discussing intellectual property and related issues. Isaac’s description below:
Is intellectual property law the foundation of an innovative society? Or a racket set up to protect entrenched businesses from competition? Stephan Kinsella joins the show this week to break down intellectual property law.
Stephan is a practicing patent attorney, a libertarian writer and speaker, Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), and Founding and Executive Editor of Libertarian Papers.
He is one of the clearest and most compelling thinkers on intellectual property law.
We cover the historical context of IP law, the modern day consequences of copyright and patent monopolies, the flaws in common arguments for intellectual property laws, and more.
Covered in this episode:
- How did Stephan become interested in intellectual property?
- His intellectual evolution on the topic of intellectual property
- What are copyright, patent, trademarks, and trade secrets?
- Where did the concept of intellectual property come from?
- Which IP laws are the most harmful?
- Fraud vs. Trademarks
- Libertarian perspectives on IP
- John Locke’s errors on property that affect us today
- Why Innovation is stronger without IP (fashion, food, football)
- Problems with trade secret law
- Copyright law that existed under common law
- Why IP is wrong from a deontological and consequentialist point of view
- How would J.K. Rowling make a living without IP?
- How to be principled about IP as an entrepreneur while not harming your company
- How I Changed My Mind on Intellectual Property by Isaac Morehouse
- Against Intellectual Property by Stephan Kinsella (free)
- Do business without IP by Stephan Kinsella
- Episode 14: Harris Kenny on 3D Printing and a World Without Intellectual Property
- C4SIF.org (Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom)
- Ayn Rand on IP
- Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David Levine (Free version)
- The Case Against Patents by Michele Boldrin and David Levine
If you are a fan of the show, make sure to leave a review on iTunes.
All episodes of the Isaac Morehouse Podcast are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.
Stephan, I saw this in my YouTube suggestions, and thought it was pretty interesting: https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=D5RquYqs4zs
This guy made a 3D printed puzzle toy that was copied and mass produced by a Chinese company. Even though he firmly believes in IP, instead of wasting his money in court (his puzzle has only ever sold a single unit through his Shapeways page), he took actions very similar to your hypothetical JK Rowling movie deal example which you often use. It’s almost as if no reasonable, well-intentioned “little guy” would actually benefit from these ridiculous laws that are supposedly put in place to help them. Go figure.
Great interview. Thanks especially for the English history part about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Monopolies
As usual, I’m itching for us to agree on better logic against fraud. You said at one point,
“Fraud is theft. It is theft by trick”
This is circular logic or question begging. Question: “Is fraud theft?” Answer: “Yes, fraud is theft by trick.” The answer here begs the question. We know that fraud is trickery. But that wasn’t the question. It is the same way that patent/copyright supporters say “An idea is property. It is intellectual property” — which thinking libertarians, particularly thanks to Wendy and you, reject. I think we need a better argument for why fraud is indeed theft. Cheers.
There is a tort in the common law known as “theft by trick.” I’m simply asserting that I believe fraud can be a type of theft, in particular, it is theft by trick. It’s not a complete argument in and of itself, it’s more of a description. I’ve tried to argue elsewhere why I think fraud (or some types of it) can be a species of theft. E.g. https://mises.org/blog/fraud-restitution-and-retaliation-libertarian-approach and https://web.archive.org/web/20120920041033/http://archive.mises.org/5327/ and https://web.archive.org/web/20140214105729/http://archive.mises.org/9367/fraud-restitution-and-retaliation-the-libertarian-approach/ and https://mises.org/blog/problem-fraud-fraud-threat-and-contract-breach-types-aggression.
I don’t think the reasoning is circular. The argument is that the essence of theft is using someone’s property without their consent. This is what happens in fraud, when the seller of a good places conditions on its transfer to the buyer. If the buyer deceptively, knowingly violates these conditions, then he is not in fact in legitimate possession of the good, and he is aware of this, so he does not have “real” consent of the buyer. It’s akin to the notion of “informed consent” for medical procedures. If you consent to surgery then when the doctor cuts you open it is not battery; it is consented to. But the consent has to be “informed”–if the doctor doesn’t give you enough true information to make the decision then the patient can later say it was not informed consent, etc.