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KOL217 | Intellectual Property is the Bastard Child of the Gatekeepers


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 217.

This is Episode 14 of the MusicPreneur podcast, “Intellectual Property is the Bastard Child of the Gatekeepers,” run by host James Newcomb. I appeared on his previous podcast, Outside the Music Box, a while back. This one is a fresh, stand-alone discussion where I lay out the case against IP fairly methodically. MusicPreneur shownotes below. See also my A Selection of my Best Articles and Speeches on IP.

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Listen to this episode
  • Intellectual Property is the Bastard Child of the Gatekeepers (Ep. 14)


You’re probably going to disagree with what is said in this episode. In fact, it could very well make you angry. But, as Bob Dylan said, “The times, they are a changin’.”

It’s an issue that I’ve wrestled with over the years and have finally come to the conclusion that Intellectual Property (IP) is detrimental to progress and innovation. While on the surface it appears to protect the rights of content creators to profit from their content, the reality is that the only people who really profit are the “gate keepers” and those who hang out near “the gates”.

I’ve tried to take a “back door” approach with this issue before, thinking that people would somehow be persuaded to see my point of view without actually telling them my point of view. Not surprisingly, the results of that approach weren’t encouraging.

I’ve decided to just come right out and say it.

Intellectual Property is Horrible

The fact of the matter is that just about every way of thinking that was considered set in stone a short time ago is suddenly up for debate once again.

What are the origins of IP? How did it become de facto conventional knowledge in modern society? Is it really the only legalized monopoly in existence?

Enter my guest for this episode, Stephan Kinsella. He’s been a patent attorney in Houston, TX for nearly 30 years. He’s the author of Against Intellectual Property as well as a pamphlet titled, Doing Business Without Intellectual Property. 

In this discussion, we discuss why intellectual property (IP) is a hindrance to progress and innovation for musicians, and how MusicPreneur’s can navigate the oftentimes confusing waters of IP.

  • IP is not compatible with traditional view of property.
    • World of scarcity – one person can use at a time
  • Austrian Economics
    • Mises: Human Action
    • Act: Human has conception of where he is, what future is coming, anticipates what future is coming. Makes necessary changes…
    • Informed by your knowledge of what’s possible; tools at your disposal.
      • Involves employment of scarce resources
      • Guided by knowledge
  • Impossible to have monopoly in an idea.
    • IP Law enforces law with use of force.
    • Another form of redistribution of wealth.
  • 2 Rules in Acquiring Property
    • First person to start using it – Homesteading; original appropriation
    • Purchase materials in a legitimate exchange
  • How IP came about
    • Printing press was a threat to established order
    • Statute of Monopolies
    • Statute of Anne created copyright
  • Practical Application – How can musicians maximize exposure while protecting artistic integrity?
    • Don’t have to have a copyright. Don’t have to register/enforce
    • Creative Commons
    • Don’t sign rights away to a studio
    • SK self-publishing next book
      • Liberty and freedom available now that hasn’t existed
    • Profit is an unnatural thing – breeds competitors.
    • Entrepreneurs need to be aware of how business models can be copied. Some are not viable.
  • What does the next 10 years hold?
    • Nothing will change with the entrenched interests. However, it will be more and more easy to get around them. It will “force the establishment to act like entrepreneurs.”

I think that’s a good thing!

What did you think of this episode? What questions, concerns came to your mind while listening? Send me a line and let’s chat about it!

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