Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 229.
This is my appearance on the Ernie Hancock “Declare your Independence” show for Nov. 3, hours 2 and 3. There is a “debate”—more of a discussion really—with libertarian-ish gun-rights author Alan Korwin in the first segment.
Some of Ernie’s shownotes are pasted below.
Media Type: Audio • Time: 48:48 Mins and Secs
Media Type: Audio • Time: 136:0 Mins and Secs
Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock strives to create an understanding of the Philosophy of Liberty. Understanding is far more important than agreement — that will come in its own time.
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Media Type: Audio • Time: 48:48 Mins and Secs
Hour 2 – Stephan Kinsella (Intellectual Property Attorney) and Alan Korwin (Author; GunLaws.Com) discuss intellectual property and copyright issues
Hour 3 – Stephan Kinsella on intellectual property rights
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November 3rd, 2017
Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock
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Media Type: Audio • Time: 136:0 Mins and Secs
Stephan Kinsella (Intellectual Property Attorney) and Alan Korwin (Author; GunLaws.Com) discuss intellectual property and copyright issues
STPEHAN KINSELLA BIO – Stephan Kinsella is Founder and Executive Editor of Libertarian Papers, Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), a member of the Editorial Board of Reason Papers, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Molinari Review, a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Peace, Prosperity & Freedom (Australia), a member of the Advisory Board of the Lexington Books series Capitalist Thought: Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, a member of the Advisory Council of the Government Wast and Over-regulation Council of the Our America Initiative (2014—), and legal advisor to LBRY (2015—). A registered patent attorney and former adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, Stephan has published numerous articles and books on IP law, international law, and the application of libertarian principles to legal topics. He received an LL.M. in international business law from King’s College London, a JD from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU, and BSEE and MSEE degrees from LSU. • email@example.com
ALAN KORWIN BIO – Alan Korwin wrote his first book, The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide, in 1989. It is now in its 26th edition with about 250,000 copies in print. He went on to write or co-write nine more books on gun laws, including state guides for California, Florida, Texasand Virginia, and the unabridged federal guides Gun Laws of America and Supreme Court Gun Cases. His 11th book, which debuted in 2008, is The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed!, and his 12th, After You Shoot, is about the deadly loophole in self-defense law. He recently completed Your First Gun, for people new to gun ownership, and for gun owners to give to their gunless friends.
With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in America. His website, GunLaws.com, features a free National Directory to every gun law in the country and more than 300 books and DVDs for gun owners and the freedom movement. Alan’s blog, PageNine.org, is carried by scores of paper and online outlets. Wild rumors about his outrageous political-parody band, The Cartridge Family, could not be confirmed at press time.
TOPICS DISCUSSED OR REFERENCED…
by STEPHAN KINSELLA on FEBRUARY 7, 2012
This is a truly amazing talk about copyright. And waaaay back in 2006! Truly amazing. From Karl Fogel at QuestionCopyright.org. What is truly impressive is how prescient Fogel is, and how he comes at this not from a libertarian angle but still gets it right on every major theme, and without being anti-free market.
[See also Fogel’s article The Surprising History of Copyright and The Promise of a Post-Copyright World.]
See also other interviews, videos, and talks on QuestionCopyright’s Speakers Bureau page, including:
“History of Copyright and Information Ownership” Talk by Karl Fogel at the Stanford University Library; about 90 minutes, with Q&A.
by Karl Fogel
Ernie Hancock Show: IP Debate with Alan Korwin (Nov. 3, 2017)
M: And now, live, from the studios of Freedoms Phoenix, Ernest Hancock.
M: Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it! I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here, not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 100 years we have fought these machines, and after a century of war, I remember that which matters most: We are still here! Tonight, let us make them remember. We are not afraid!
ERNEST HANCOCK: No fear, no fear, no fear, no fear here on Declare Your Independence with me, Ernest Hancock, here in Phoenix, Arizona from the b-e-a-utiful studios freedoms with an S, freedomsphoenix.com. All right, we’ll do better next time. All right, we have Stephan Kinsella on, and it’s stephankinsella.com, S-T-E-P-H-A-N, K-I-N-S-E-L-L-A, Stephan Kinsella. Now, years ago, we spent quite a few hours with him on the show when it first really started becoming a big thing, and Stephan’s out there kicking ass on this intellectual property thing.
Well, it’s getting to where, yeah, the patents and inventions and fraud. How do you build an idea on an idea of whose idea and kind of in this new technology of an idea, and now we patent it, and so only we can do the idea. And anybody else that does the idea, whether we do it or not, you’re not allowed to do it? And I’m going, that sucks. I hate that. Now, then we get into copyright, which is another intellectual property claim. If wrote it down on a piece of paper first and I did the song, then it’s mine, and you’re not allowed because you’re not.
Well, this is—brings up the Pirate Party. I mean, heck, in Europe when they were doing all this, that was all about online privacy and freedom, and I can do whatever and Pirate Bay this and going to be pirate and pirate. Pirateswithoutborders.com—that’s us, man. We’re going to go pirate. I need pirate currency. I need pirate communications. I need pirate—oh, I’m sorry. You can’t do that one. That’s protected by—and we got some government agent with a shiny badge and a gun and says you can’t do that because you can’t. This guy said. And I’m going, I’m tired of looking to see what I can and can’t do. I go to the blue pages and what government agency for to give me permission to something, or if I got an idea, can I even publish it if somebody ever thought of it, and you can’t—nope. The bottom of all shoes that are red belong to this company, and you’re not allowed to do it. I mean, I’m just—I hate this crap.
So what we’re going to do today, a good friend of mine is an acquaintance. Alan Korwin is an author here in the Valley, and he generally does a lot of—he writes a lot of books. It’s been dozens, a bunch, and he does a lot on the second amendment. Now, he is—wrote a lot of very powerful books that have had an influence in the space, certainly on second amendment issues. And it goes to the Supreme Court. He gets invited. He gets to sit there and play journalist, and you guys make the arguments about whether or not to write a book about it.
So his whole thing is like, that’s my books. If somebody starts taking pieces of my books out, even the state of Arizona, and start using it, and they’re for a service of a little pamphlet. He’ll go, hey, that’s—you didn’t give me credit. I’d go, that’s mine, mine, mine, my words. Well, he gave a presentation at a discussion group that I do just this last month. And it was obvious to me that he was doing research and had read some of Stephan Kinsella’s work because he came back—well, damn libertarians say this and that, but I think—I go, you know, you want to duke it out. We’ll just get Stephan on, and you can come on for an hour. Now, he’s going to go on from the bottom of this hour to the bottom of the next hour.
The way the schedule works is 7:30 to 8:30 here in the mid of the show. And then we got Stephan for a whole two hours. Well, this is what I want. This battle, when Alan comes on, he has an opinion, and a lot of people share this opinion. Now, some people change their opinion as getting more freedom-oriented, but he thinks that whatever is in his head, and gosh darnit, if he wrote it down, it’s freaking his and protected by the government man. So I’m going—so that’s the battle we’re going to have.
Now, Stephan has published numerous articles and books on intellectual property law, international law, and the application of libertarian principles to legal topics. He received an LLM in international business law from King’s College London, a JD from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU, and BSCE and MSCE degrees from LSU, and he’s been published and on the council of and director and all over the world. I mean, his opinion means something to a lot of people. Stephan, how far off am I? Is there something else you want to add to that?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, that’s perfect.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Go Tigers!
ERNEST HANCOCK: All right. This is what we’re going to do today. My thing is that it was obvious to Alan, in preparation for his presentation, came across a lot of stuff that he did not anticipate, and I guarantee a bunch of it was you. And he reads it, and he’s like—and you could see that he had a cognitive dissonance as he was talking in his head, so he wants to carve out intellectual property for copyright. He doesn’t want to talk about the patents and inventions and all this other stuff that I think is—well, nothing will get invented if you don’t. And I go, BS. That’s what’s stopping a lot of innovation. I’m so sick of this control thing on our brains. So now, with copyright, define for the audience what we’re going to be talking about. What’s the difference in copyright?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Me? You want me to do this?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Please.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, hello?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yes, yes, please.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So a patent is a grant the government gives to inventors, that is, inventors of inventions, and an invention is like a practical, useful machine or process that has some practical result or practical application like a mousetrap or a computer or carburetor or a software program. Copyright is a type of grant given by the government to authors of created works, and examples of that would be a novel, a painting, a movie, a song. And they are—they last much longer than patents. Patents expire after about 17 years. Copyright expires after over 100 years in most cases because it’s the life of the author plus 70 more years.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, when did that change? That was not the way it used to be, was it?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No. Something called the Founders Copyright with the copyright at the beginning of the republic. The Constitution was ratified in 1789, and within a year or two, the Congress had enacted both a copyright and patent statute. And the terms for both were about 14 years originally, and that was based upon, believe it or not, the term of an apprentice, which was seven years. The idea was you should get two apprentice terms because your apprentice is going to learn your secrets, so you need at least a two-apprentice-term monopoly on these ideas. And the patent term hasn’t changed very much, but the copyright term has slowly expanded over the decades. Basically, every time Mickey Mouse…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Exactly. I was just thinking—I go, Mickey Mouse—they’re going—Disney is kind of—and they’re going, nope, forever and always. Well, we got—Walt Disney died—I don’t know—decades ago. We’re coming up—maybe in my lifetime, all of a sudden, it’s going to be 70 years after his death. Does Mickey Mouse go open source then?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think one of the most recent ones was the Sonny Bono—you know, Sonny and Cher. Sonny Bono was a Republican congressman, the one that was too stupid to wear a helmet and hit himself on a tree and got killed. But before he died, he gave us the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act I think in the ‘80s, and that added 20 more years onto the term. And it actually retroactively covered some things that had already gone public domain, but they got put back into the copyright sphere.
ERNEST HANCOCK: What? Give me an example.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I can’t remember an example, but there were court cases challenging it, and the people challenging it lost it, so the works still—and now what we’re doing is, because our term is 20 years longer than most other countries, now we’re trying to force these other countries to add 20 more years like in the TPP, that thing that Trump killed, and in bilateral trade agreements and other trade agreements. So we use these trade agreements to push our version of IP onto the rest of the world. I call it a type of IP imperialism. And this is one of the worst things about these trade agreements. IP has nothing to do with trade. That’s the local property rights of a country. It shouldn’t even be part of the trade agreement.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay. Now, this is a really good example. You go to China. You’re in Shenzhen, which is on the mainland across from Hong Kong. They have—I don’t know—tens of millions of people, and it’s just a bustling thing. And copyright—you shouldn’t be copying. That would be bad in this agreement, and that would be bad. And you go to this five-story building, and it’s all full of DVDs of all that Hollywood just released, and bite me. Now what? So I’m—they go, see, they’re cutting in, and I’m going, yeah. Well, now it’s streaming. I got my Kodi, and I just go watch whatever I want. What are you going to do about that? Somebody’s got to die! They’ve got to die. How are we going to do this? But what should be done? That’s what we’re going to be talking about. How should it be? We’ll be right back.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Pirates, pirates, pirates. Go to pirateswithoutborders.com, and one of the big things that we’re really emphasizing—we have the First Letter of Captain Marque, the Second Letter of Captain Marque as in marque and reprisal. And reprisal is kind of the trinity to the neo-character kind of thing. Well, reprisal, the first letter, reprisal, is going to be antiwar. We’re working on this weekend, and within the next week or so we’ll publish the Third Letter of Captain Marque, which will be on communication, which will include copyrights and so on because our whole point is whatever you’re going to do, it can’t have the Crown deciding this and changing the goalposts and doing this kind of crap all the time.
So in our—you go to pirateswithoutborders.com, and you’ll see these letters there, and some of them are read by—you may know the Bad Quaker, Ben Stone. He does a really good job doing Arrrizona Pirates. So this copyright thing is a big part of the communication category. That’s why it’s timely that we do this because starting this weekend we’re going to finalize the letter.
Now, I’m looking at—it’s really moot. It’s getting to the point with streaming and MP3s or files just going around that. You’re going to have to come up with another fun, new mechanism and sell lunchboxes or something because the way this is working, it’s done. So then what do they say? Well, movies won’t get made if we don’t have—and you’ll never get the movie made, and there won’t be—one, you’re confusing me with someone that cares. And two, there’s a whole bunch of other ways to do it, and that was what I—have you ever heard of the movie, Iron Sky? You ever seen that, Stephan?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I did, yes.
ERNEST HANCOCK: That—do you know how that was made and funded?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If I recall, it was crowdsourced.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Right. Now, these guys said, screw your distribution. We’re not going to put it in the theaters. Yeah, bite me. We’re going to do the crowdsourced, funded of—now, Iron Sky 2: The Coming Race is coming with Hitler on his T-Rex.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, it’s crazy.
ERNEST HANCOCK: So I’m going, yay. So I funded—I think I paid 40, 50 bucks or something to get the hat, the t-shirt, and a Blue-ray one of these days or something. So I go, yes, well, these get funded totally differently. Well, they don’t like that. The studios want to have control. Well, now we got Sony or China comes in and buys up all the intellectual we got, and now we can just make whatever we want, or we can try. See, I don’t understand what the big aversion is other than it’s like monopolies trying to use government protection to eliminate competition.
And I’m—but against what? So Alan wants to really focus on the concept: Should there be intellectual property? Can it be enforced? My thing is that, look, you can’t enforce it anyway, so what’s the difference? But he goes, no. You’ve got to have it, should, and they’re taking from me, and they should stop, and now let’s quit it. And I’m—so that’s what we’re having a discussion about. Now, when we come back, I want to keep going on the history of it and how it keeps expanding for Disney and what damage that does. We’re coming right back.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: We’re not live now? Okay, got it.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, no, no, we’re coming right back.
And we’re going into the ring of fire! This is a big issue with a lot of people. They’re like oh, you can’t—oh, it’s one of the last things to hold onto, and they’ll go, hey, man. The Constitution says—it says—it says copyright. Right there, it said the word copyright. We’ve got to have one. Yeah, it keeps getting higher, but the problem is that it’s always changing. You have this copyright concept of I get it, and you’re not allowed, and I get to make the money from them.
Okay, then it’s out there for everybody, and they keep changing it. The Congress keeps changing it because you’ve got people with these interests, big industries like the MPAA. They’re always on YouTube. I do that right there. I put it and they go, oh, you’re flagged. You’re not—so screw them. I don’t do it there because this is always this IP stuff. They’re always wanting to—ah, I heard five seconds of Led Zeppelin, man. You’re gigged. I’m going, no. So this—copyright, give me the concept that you think intellectual property as far as copyright is, should be handled. What’s been its history, Stephan? Edu-ma-cate us.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, sure. So this started with the printing press. Before the printing press, books had to be hand-copied by scribes, and this was done under the auspices of the church and the king, the Crown. So they could control which books were going to be published. When the printing press came out—you know about the Gutenberg printing press—then the monopoly was under threat. So what the government did, say, in England was they had this thing called the Stationers Company, so it’s like an officially chartered company. I think it lasted about 150 years or so. And it had the monopoly on which books could be printed. But then when its charter expired…
ERNEST HANCOCK: What do you mean a monopoly? You mean you couldn’t print another book unless you went—it was a royal, We Are the Printer Guys, and you’re not allowed?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah. There was one company that had a monopoly on printing, and you had to go through them, and they were under the control of the church and the Crown. Okay, and so and there are…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Of course they were.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So if you’re an author of a book, you need to go through them, and you need to watch what you say. Otherwise, your book won’t be published.
ERNEST HANCOCK: So Martin Luther didn’t get to have them print his Bible.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, okay. So after the Stationers Company—their monopoly fell, and Martin Luther I guess was Germany, so I’m talking about England here. The history in Europe is somewhat similar, but the rough history which led to our Constitution was that, in 1709, by then you had a publishing industry that had built up around this—the printing press and the Stationers Guild, Stationers Company. And so when the charter was going to expire, they lobbied the parliament to enact something called the Statute of Anne in 1709. And that basically was like one of the first modern copyrights.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, now when did this start? This is 1709 that they do an extension, but when did the first charter by the king they lay hands on, they get to be the only publisher? When did that happen?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I think the Stationers Company started maybe 150 years before, right around the time of the printing press.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Man, as soon as—okay, so as soon as there was the printing press, as soon as there was a fax machine, as soon as there was email, as soon as there was the web, there’s government sitting there saying who can and can’t something.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, and there’s a great article on this by Karl Fogel from questioncopyright.org. It’s on his site, and I have a link to it on my site, CFSIF.org, Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom. It’s on the Resources page. But in any case…
ERNEST HANCOCK: I’m sorry. I’m writing this down; Karl Fogel. It’s C-A-R-L, F-O-G-L-E?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think it’s C, yes, Carl [Karl] Fogel, F-O-G-E-L, and I’ve got his article link. He’s a great guy.
ERNEST HANCOCK: And what’s the name of the article? I’m going to have Donna put it up right now.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think it’s called—it’s—I forgot the name. It’s something like The Surprising Origins or History of Copyright, something like that. But it’s—his website is questioncopyright.org. But if you go to my site, C4SIF.org/resources, I’ve got that article linked right there.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, Donna is getting that up in the second hour right now. We want to—they’re going to learn-ify, so we have it for everybody. Okay, continue. I apologize.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And in the commercial, I can send you the link if you don’t mind. But in any case, in the Statute of Anne, the copyright was given to authors instead of to the publishers. But it reverted right back to the publishers because of the way the publishing industry worked, which is why we’ve had—up until fairly recently, you’ve had this gatekeeper role of the publishers. And the same system with the studios in Hollywood and with the music industry. You’ve had basically artists who have been beholden to the gatekeepers, the publishing industry, which is reliant upon copyright for their business model. And, of course, they take most of the profits for most artists. So up until recently, we’ve had this copyright system.
Now, in the US, when the Constitution was drafted in 1787, ratified two years later by 11 states, not 13 as most people erroneously believe, it had a clause saying that Congress shall have the power to protect the works of artists and inventors for their works, for a limited period of time. So they were sort of giving a nod to the Statute of Anne of 1709, and they were also giving—basing it upon the Statute of Monopolies of 1623, which was the origin of modern patent law in England. And notice, they called it Statute of Monopolies, so they admitted that patents were monopoly grants by the government.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Well, that was a little badge they got to wear on their chest, man. The king granted you get monopoly of I’m better than you. I mean, that’s exactly what this thing is.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, or you’re the only guy that can sell buttons in this area, or you’re the only guy that can sell—export sheepskin, and then if anyone else—or you’re the only one who can sell playing cards. And so then you would have goons of the Crown bust into a pirate’s shop who was selling unmarked cards or unstamped cards and arrest these people. They would put people to death in France if they sold a button or something that wasn’t approved by the guilds. It was crazy. It’s complete protectionism, completely antithetical to free markets and private property rights.
Okay, so basically, the copyright statute was enacted, and we had 14-year terms. I think it could be doubled. It could be extended one time so up to 28 years. But you had to register it. That was a big difference between then and our modern system. You had to register it. You had to actually go to the office and apply. So the benefit of that was the was the presumption was something wasn’t copyrighted unless it was actually on the registry books of the Library of Congress. You follow me?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So at least you could tell whether a book was copyrighted and who owned the copyright. So you would know who to go to for permission.
ERNEST HANCOCK: There was a form.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: In the late 1800s, there was something called the Berne Convention agreed to by most of the European nations, and America resisted that for almost 100 years because it did what we call abolishing formalities. The formality would be registering it and putting a copyright notice on it. So what that means is when we finally acceded in the 1980s to the Berne Convention—so we’re part of it now too—this means that copyright now is automatic. As soon as you write something down on a piece of paper, you have a copyright in it. You don’t have to make it public. You don’t have to put a copyright notice on it. You don’t have to file a registration for it. So you can’t copyright something anymore. Everything you do is copyrighted basically.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, now let me inject here. This was something that Alan did at his presentation. He gave everybody a pen and a piece of paper. Fold it in half. Okay, now, here’s the front cover of your book. Write on there the title of your book and buy whatever, and then open it up and put the table of contents. You do it. He goes, there you go. You’re just copyrighted. You wrote it down. You got copyright. You got a sanction of the king because you just did it and kind of don’t you feel good about in the copyright. And I’m going, so it’s automatic, and it does—so am I feeling better now? I wrote it down. It’s out there, and somebody can steal my freaking great new title of whatever, and I don’t care. So we’re going to talk about the mechanism.
That’s—sorry. I just want to get to the end there. The—that’s what he did, exactly what you’re talking about, and he wanted to emphasize that, that it was automatic, and I’m going…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: He’s correct. He is correct.
ERNEST HANCOCK: … so? Yeah, so? [laughter]
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s a bad thing. It’s a horrible thing.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I’m going, yeah, I’ll write it down. Now you can’t have that title because I already got that title, and I wrote it here with a witness that signed it. I got that title. And I’m going, that is—I’m—when you’re dealing with anybody, I mean, two people, but I mean, certainly billions of people, I’m—there is no original idea. I mean, that’s pretty—it’s just who does it first.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: The problem with the automatic is it gives rise to this orphan works problem where there’s millions of books out there, and we don’t really know who owns the copyright because they didn’t have to register them. And the authors are dead or long gone, and no one knows who to contact, and so people are afraid to publish these out-of-print books because some heir might show up and sue you. But you don’t know who to contact ahead of time, so it’s…
ERNEST HANCOCK: You know, there was a—in the beginning of the Lovelution, I remember, so it had to be ’07/’08 or something. There was a guy in New York, a libertarian, that that’s what he did. He had a publishing company that anything that was in the public domain or old works or whatever, he was just printing them, making them available, putting them in nice binding of whatever the hell. And he was just selling them. He’s like…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah. And people do that now with books that Google Print has liberated because if they’re old enough and you know that they’re out of copyright, okay, so if it’s more than, say, X years old and you know that it’s out of copyright. But for books that were published—let’s say a book that was published in 1940 or 1920 that’s still under copyright but you don’t know who to contact to get permission, people are afraid to publish those, or they do it taking a risk of being sued.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, well, what about Dr. Zhivago or something, these old books? I don’t know if they’re old enough yet. But I mean, just some of these old classics, Frankenstein or something, can I print a gazillion copies of that and put my logo on it and sell it?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If it’s out of copyright, you could. But you have to—there’s all these copyright sherpas or calculators online. You could—you enter in the publishing date and a couple of other facts, and it will tell you whether it’s still under copyright because there was lots of these transitional regimes, and it’s hard to keep track of exactly when.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, now what am I looking—if I put Frankenstein…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What you would do—well, yeah. First, you’d look up when Frankenstein was published, so you just need the publication date. And then you would look up copyright term calculator. Google that. You’ll find a couple, and you could just enter the information in, and it will tell you whether it’s in the public domain or not.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, now what am I looking for? I was looking at the date. It was 1851 or something. That was a long time ago.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, so look at the copyright date and/or the publication date.
ERNEST HANCOCK: What was that site you said? It was copyright what?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I would just Google “copyright term calculator.”
ERNEST HANCOCK: Copyright term calculator. Okay, are you getting Alan?
ALAN KORWIN: Hey.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Hey, Alan. Hold on a second. We’re in a break. We’re getting right to it. Okay, copyright term calculator, blah, blah, blah. Go to try now. I go here.
ALAN KORWIN: I can year you, Ernie. Can you hear me?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, I got you. Just hold on. We’re setting something up. They’ve got a copyright calculator.
ALAN KORWIN: I can see a static picture of Stephan.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, you’re good.
ALAN KORWIN: Stephan, can you see me or hear me?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let’s see here. I’m actually not looking at the…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, he’s not…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I do see you. I don’t have my video on. I didn’t think I was supposed to put my video on.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, you don’t have to. It doesn’t matter. I got…
ALAN KORWIN: Go ahead. Put it on. Let’s see each other.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I thought it might be a bandwidth problem, but no, I’m here.
ALAN KORWIN: Oh, there we go. I’m using the microphone in my machine. That’s how I usually do Skype. Is that okay?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah. It’s a little echoey, but see, we got graphics here also. Take a look at the screen. You can see there’s graphics, everybody, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. See, this probably gives more information as you guys are talking. So we can do the video a little bit, but let’s go ahead and we’ll…
ALAN KORWIN: Nice to make your acquaintance, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You too, Alan.
ALAN KORWIN: I’ve read some of your work. Have you read any of mine?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I didn’t hear your last name, to be honest. Sorry.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Korwin.
ALAN KORWIN: [indiscernible_00:27:24]
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What is it?
ALAN KORWIN: Korwin.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, we’re back. We’ve been yacking, and it’s come back, and this is what we’ve been doing. Alan Korwin is on with us. Let me go ahead and give you a quick intro of Alan. He’s a full-time writer whose three-decade background includes working business, legal, news, entertainment industries. Mr. Korwin wrote the business plan to raise $5 million in venture capital and launched in the in-flight catalogue, SkyMall.
He did a publicity campaign for Pulitzer Prize cartoonist, Steve Benson in his fourth book, Where Do You Draw the Line? Invited twice to US Supreme Court to observe oral argument in second amendment gun right cases, which was a book that was well-received. And he’s written ten of his 14 books on that subject, and is among the leading national experts in that field on gun rights.
Now—and then he goes on. He does a bunch of other stuff, and Alan Korwin, a good friend that’s here in the Valley, but definitely—he’s got to lean in more and more and more and more, and then all of a sudden, he starts saying he’s libertarian. But he’s got this copyright thing going on. So we’re looking at this, and one thing that we’re looking at is the copyright calculator.
Now, I’m going, where is this limit? Well, if I look at Frankenstein, and it’s published back in—I think it was 1850—I don’t know—the 1800s. It was early in the 1800s. And then, all of a sudden, how many years have to go by before I can just take all that and print it and do it and sell the book, put a pirate face on it? I mean, I can do whatever. Well, it keeps changing. Well, in the Constitution, it has the word copyright. Man, Alan will tell you all about it. So, Alan, go ahead and do your introduction and what your position is, and then we’ll get into it with Stephan.
ALAN KORWIN: Well, thank you, Ernie, and it’s always a pleasure to be with you; Stephan, a real honor to be with you and maybe explore this issue. When I was asked to do a presentation on this, I’ve been a copyright practitioner for decades, and I was actually surprised to find that libertarians were vigorous defenders of private property rights, which I think is the correct position to take, are mixed about whether intellectual property is real, whether it deserves protection, whether copyright is real. That actually shocked me, the idea that anybody can question whether copyright is real, whether authors own their works.
I read your paper on intellectual property, and I’d like to ask you some questions about it, help clarify it, and maybe help me understand it better. There is no doubt in my mind, at least at the moment, that copyright is real, that it’s protectable. It’s a bundle of rights.
I own them as the creator. I heard Ernie mention that I had the people at this presentation create a copyright of their own, start a book right there in the room. They all started a book, and they own it by the fact that they created it. Of the three types of property, realty, which is land and what’s on it, personalty, or chattel, moveable, personal property, and a variety of names, but intellectual property, which is a bundle of things, or what I call mentality, things you create in your mind.
These are all very real. They’re all entitled to protection. They all have value. They can all be bought or sold. And apparently, you don’t feel that intellectual—or clarify it for me. Intellectual property is real. You can buy it, sell it, own it, trade it, license it, do things with it, and the idea that people can steal it and that’s okay, I don’t get it. If somebody takes my song, performs it somewhere, makes a million dollars, and that’s their money, not mine, or there isn’t some division of the money they got from my property, maybe you can help me understand why that’s okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Sure.
ALAN KORWIN: Most of the world accepts that copyright is real, that my right to copy it rests with me, and that I can license it or sell it or let them use it, but if they use it without me, there’s an injustice in that. And I’m not talking about the law, per se.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, let go ahead and respond before we run out of this segment. Go ahead, Stephan. Give him what for.
ALAN KORWIN: Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me make a couple of fairly short assertions, and then you can respond when we have—maybe after. First of all, the Constitution does not mention the word copyright. It says to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing, for a limited time, to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries. Okay, so that’s what gives Congress the authorization. I wouldn’t deny copyright is real. It is a real law that exists because Congress has enacted a copyright statute, which is rooted back in the Statute of Anne from 1709 or ’10, as we mentioned earlier, which is rooted in the prior monopolization of the printing press and the scribes by the government and by the church.
So the question for me is not whether it’s real. I agree that it exists and that you can get copyrights in a book. I think you’re wrong to say—to use the word steal just as a legal matter because, even under the current law, if you copy someone’s book, it is not stealing. It’s considered copyright infringement, and there are damages payable, but it is not stealing. Even the Supreme Court has recognized this. It’s not stealing, and it’s not taking because if I copy what you wrote, you still have what you wrote, so I’m not taking something from you.
You could say I’m taking your customers, or I’m taking money that you could have made, but that’s a different issue. So stealing is actually just legally the wrong word. And also, as a legal geek, technical matter, you’re wrong to say there are three types of property—immoveable or realty and personalty or movables and then this other category. As a legal matter, copyright is classified as an incorporeal or an intangible moveable because the way the division between moveable and immoveable works is that everything that’s not immoveable is moveable. That’s just the way it works. So if it’s land, it’s immoveable, or if something incorporated into the land, everything else is moveable. So if you’re going to call copyright a property right, it is actually moveable, which makes no sense I know, which gets to the problem with the idea of property in ideas. To call an idea moveable makes no sense anyway.
ALAN KORWIN: So let’s start with the first one. I can trace copyright back to 560 A.D.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yes.
ALAN KORWIN: The legal history is 1400 years old. The Statute of Anne in 1709 is the western civilization statute, but it goes back to the church and recognition that an author owns the author’s work. So the legal history is quite old.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s actually about 1000 years older than that, Alan. In about 400-500 B.C., there was a Greek city-state, Cerberus, or something like that. And they had a cooking competition, and whoever won would get a monopoly on their recipes for a year, so I mean, the idea is pretty old.
ALAN KORWIN: So when we’re done, let’s stay in communication. You’ll send me that. It goes back to the Torah, and a member of Chabad gave me a book called Copyright in Jewish Law, which was an inch and a half thick, and went through the religious scribes and what they found, and it was fascinating. But the Torah is filled with when you can copy and when you can’t and when you are taking—doing a taking of somebody else’s work. So the age of it doesn’t just trace back to the first law, and some of the laws are out of whack. I think we’ll agree on that. But the principle that you hold…
ERNEST HANCOCK: You agree that laws are out of whack, that there is a law—that they’ve even got a law, in the Crown of the law? Is that what you’re saying, Alan?
ALAN KORWIN: Ernie, I know your distaste for law and government. That’s famous.
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, this is my point. I want to make sure—I’m going to let you guys go, but I want to make sure that my opinion gets in there is that if I have an idea or I’m writing something or I’m doing—I’m not looking for a blue pages or an index or a list to go check to see if somebody else thought of it first. When my ideas on built on 15 gazillion, and somebody after me is going to copyright something they got from me, or hell, they do it. They do bumper stickers and so on.
I am not—as a practical matter, I don’t even see how this can be enforceable in the digital age now. I mean, it’s not. So let’s go ahead and—I know your opinion, Alan, but I want to—this is fascinating, the history that you guys are going through. I just have—the fact that there’s a history, and a bunch of kings and potentates and democracies and governments and all this with shiny badges and guns said so doesn’t mean squat to me. I don’t care. I want to get down to the principle of should it or even can it. So when we come back, you guys go to the livestream. It’s on freedomsphoenix.com. Top right, you can get the audio livestream during the live show. And if you go to the—on the left with the video streaming, you get the break conversation, which will be in the archive, but you’ll get that talk. Listen to it live right now.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I’m sorry. What?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I was just trying to talk to Alan. I was just wondering if he could see the text window in the Skype here.
ALAN KORWIN: All I see is the audio track.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Oh, well, here. I can—well, if I do this, and…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If you’re in Skype, you can click on that little…
ERNEST HANCOCK: If you click on that little chat thing at the top right, it has a word bubble. You do that, and you’ll be able to see the…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If I can find that link, I can send you guys a couple of links.
ALAN KORWIN: Please do, but I’m not going to distract and see it. Are you getting a strong moray pattern off my shirt?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Not bad. You’re okay.
ALAN KORWIN: Okay because…
ERNEST HANCOCK: It’s more echoey on your audio than anything.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You don’t have a microphone, like earbuds or something you can…
ALAN KORWIN: I do but not a place to plug it in on this machine, and in the past, this has worked fine. I’ll get a little closer.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s audible.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It sounds like you’re in a bathroom.
ALAN KORWIN: Send me your email, would you, Stephan?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Sure. Yeah, I’ll do that.
ALAN KORWIN: And then, when we’re done, I’ll send you mine, but I’ve got to be out of here really quick. We have opened so many topics. There’s no way we’ll be able to cover this all.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Well, no. We’re going to focus on the copyright and the right: should, could—it doesn’t matter to me because it’s going to get to the point where it’s irrelevant. It’s moot. But should? Where does this—you’re saying it needs to be protected. All right, here we’re coming back. Here we go.
M: At LRN.FM.
M: Freedom’s the answer. What’s the question? You’re listening to Ernest Hancock.
ERNEST HANCOCK: And we’re right back with Stephan Kinsella and Alan Korwin talking about—the history and all this is fascinating, but it all comes down to one thing for me. My thing is that, yeah, that’s all very interesting, what kings and governments all said about what they can do and who it gets the monopoly of and the grant of the charter of you’re allowed to print this and you’re not, and you can’t think and share. And I’m like, none of your freaking business. I don’t care. My thing is you don’t want me to know it, and you don’t want me to build on the idea.
You don’t want me to write about it. Then don’t freaking tell me because I’m not going to sit there and take a butterknife to my brain and try and carve something out of what I can or can’t use and how. And I’m not doing it, not, not, not. And technology is getting to the point that it’s moot anyway, but to have the conversation to talk about how it evolved, and it keeps changing. Disney’s Mickey Mouse is going to copyrighted forever, which means other stuff is going to be done too because they got the pressure to go to Congress and get them to pass something of I get Mickey Mouse. So I’m going—all right, go ahead. Go, Alan. Go do your thing.
ALAN KORWIN: Ernie, let me address this. Your distaste for government and rules is famous, and I understand that. So let me address this, and I might be a little sarcastic, but you know me. Let me address this in terms you can understand, and maybe Stephan can help us clear it all up. You’re concerned about who invented it first and that the words are always there, and I used two examples before. I’ll use them again. Johnny B. Good by Chuck Berry—he invented it first. Nobody invented it before him, and nobody is going to invent it after him. It’s unique. And Michelle by the Beatles—they invented it, nobody before them, nobody after them. It’s unique. It’s theirs. We all love it. We enjoy it.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I thought it was Michael Jackson’s now, but anyway.
ALAN KORWIN: Okay, because it can be sold. It is a piece of property. Do we agree that those two songs are pieces of property and that they have value…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No.
ALAN KORWIN: Let me finish. Do we agree that they’re pieces of property and that you can own them, sell them? People are willing to spend money to get them, and they have to spend the money somewhere to buy them.
ERNEST HANCOCK: If they’re in an album, if you’re talking about the actual book itself, if you’re talking about the CD, if you’re talking about the means of transfer of—I got my goodies and I hold it, yes. But the actual…
ALAN KORWIN: Let me clarify.
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, you’ve got to clarify.
ALAN KORWIN: Let me clarify it. Now, I play the song, but we’ll use Chuck Berry. When he invented, out of thin air, something that didn’t exist, not atoms in the universe but a piece of mentality, a song, he created it. It would be fraud to say—how can I put this so you’ll get it?
ERNEST HANCOCK: That somebody else made it?
ALAN KORWIN: Johnny B. Good by Ernie Hancock. That would be fraud. Do we agree?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, it wouldn’t. No, I disagree with that, actually.
ALAN KORWIN: It wouldn’t be fraud to say…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Let Stephan go ahead and respond. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me just have a couple of things where I would clarify. First of all, Johnny B. Good was invented by Marty McFly. If you remember Back to the Future, there was a time loop so…
ALAN KORWIN: You’re being silly. Let’s be serious.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m just joking. I’m just joking.
ALAN KORWIN: Try and be serious…
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, no, let him respond. Alan, let Stephan respond. Go ahead, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s just a joke. It’s just a joke. Look, Ernie and I—I think Ernie and I are not against rules or law. We’re just against the state. Whether we’re against government or not depends upon how you define government. If you mean that the governing institutions of law and order, I’m not against that. I’m just an anarchist, so I’m against the state, so if you’re precise with your terms. But we’re not against law.
ALAN KORWIN: I addressed that to Ernie, not you, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I think we feel similarly on that.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Stephan and I are—when he says something that I don’t agree with, I’ll say. Go ahead, Stephan.
ALAN KORWIN: Try and address what I said, and we’ll get somewhere.
ERNEST HANCOCK: He’s going. If you’ll let him, he’ll do it. Stephan, go.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What I’m saying is we disagree with particular rules, particular laws that are unjust. It is true you can sell a copyright, and some people want to buy it given that they exist. But it’s also true that in the days of slavery, human beings were chattel property, and they could be sold. So just because the legal system, pushed on us by the state, can have rules that allow things to be treated like property doesn’t mean that that’s just, so the question is justice.
Now, you also said earlier that it’s—the Constitution and our law recognizes copyright as property. I actually don’t think that’s correct. I think that copyright and patent were recognized as monopoly grants, privileges, granted by the state, and they were called property as a sort of propaganda term to defend against criticisms by free-market economists in the 1800s. Okay. A property right doesn’t expire after an arbitrary period of years, Alan. If you own your grandfather’s watch or his car, or you own a home, you can own it potentially forever; pass it on to your children. Patents expire in 17 or so years. Copyrights expire after 100 or so years. How can that be a property right if it just expires? So it’s obviously just a social…
ALAN KORWIN: No, I’m not going to participate in this. This is what libertarians do that make them ineffective in politics. I asked you a specific question about one thing, and like libertarians I deal with, you’re now talking about patents, watches, law, the Constitution.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I guarantee Stephan will answer your question—ask the question, Alan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m happy to answer any particular question.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Ask the—don’t make a speech. Make a particular question so he can answer it. Go.
ALAN KORWIN: Is Johnny B. Good a piece of property?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I would say under today’s legal system, it is classified as property, yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s just.
ALAN KORWIN: Fair enough. Who owns that original piece of property when it was created?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, it depends upon whether it was a work-for-hire. So some corporation or human being owns it. Either the author, or if it’s a work-for-hire, it would be the employer, which usually is a corporation, or it could be someone that he contractually assigned the right to later, which would probably be a corporation yet again. So I don’t know. According to—I don’t know who owns it. But someone owns it.
ALAN KORWIN: We know the conditions of its creation.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t.
ALAN KORWIN: I do. He wrote it in the privacy of a room. It was not a work-for-hire. He was not under contract. I know what work-for-hire is. It’s a change of subject.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It means you have to—I’m not changing the subject. You asked me a question. I’m…
ALAN KORWIN: Who owned—when Chuck Berry wrote Johnny B. Good in the privacy of a room as a song, who owned it?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If he was employed by a company to write songs, then the employer would own it. The fact they…
ALAN KORWIN: But he was not.
ERNEST HANCOCK: All right, I’m pushing the button so I can have a statement here. When you say who owns it, based on what? The current law. Well, who owns the slave? Well, the man says you do. Just because you have this ownership and I’ve got to paper from the Crown and I got guns that’s going to enforce this contract or this seal of—bill of sale of I’ve got this slave, that doesn’t mean squat to a libertarian. You are correct, Alan. Not a damn thing. It is a moral thing. Can I have an idea and express it without looking for who had the idea?
I don’t care. Now, is it—you’re going, is there a legal framework? Does it go back to the Bible? Yep, I can show you, and Stephan Kinsella is a freaking expert on this. He can show you nit and tittle of every little thing that it does, and it keeps changing. My property right in stuff doesn’t change. Either it’s mine or it’s not. Intellectual property is built on [indiscernible_00:47:31]. No, I don’t recognize your law, Alan. I don’t. It doesn’t mean anything to me. You’ve got to come up with a better idea. For you to say, well, who owns it, well, Stephan is going, well, I guess under that current system, the king says, which don’t mean crap to me.
ALAN KORWIN: I’m not referring to law. I’m referring in principle.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh, oh, so—okay…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Then that’s a whole different thing.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I was confused. If you’re asking under a libertarian—under a private law society, in a libertarian legal order, are you asking me who would own the song?
ALAN KORWIN: I’m trying to get down to root principles of nature that, if I create something in the privacy of my mind, like a song, and I’m using Chuck Berry who is a simple guy, writing a simple song we all know. He creates it…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, I got it.
ALAN KORWIN: … in his mind. And then I want to get to the next issue, which is, is it a bundle of rights? Are there many things in a right…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I got it. I got it.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, let him answer.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I got it. So let me—so when you asked me earlier whether it’s a piece of property, I thought you were asking a positive-law question about how it’s treated under today’s legal system.
ALAN KORWIN: I already said I am not looking at the statutes and the laws because they’re messed up.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I understand. But when you asked that question, I thought you were changing, so I misunderstood you. If you’re asking me as a libertarian under natural law, natural property rights systems, no. The answer is clearly no. A song is not a piece of property because it’s not a scarce resource. It’s a pattern of information. A song cannot be owned by anyone. It doesn’t have an owner. It’s not property. So that would be my answer to that.
ALAN KORWIN: You brought up scarcity, so let me address scarcity.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, we’re going—see, that’s why we needed two hours with Alan and Stephan, but we get an hour. Let’s go bisect it by the break here, but when we come back, we’re going to get right to it. You guys—we’ll take a break. I’ll go to the bathroom, chill, take a hit, whatever it takes, smoke and toke. And then, we’ll come back and hit it because this is good, good. I knew this would be great, and we’re going to have a lot of fun with it. But come back at 6 after, guys, and we’ll do the newsbreak, and then we’re going to hit it hard when we come back. Alan Korwin, gunlaws.com. Stephan Kinsella, S-T-E-P-H-A-N, K-I-N-S-E-L-L-A dot com, Stephan Kinsella. We’ll be right back.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, we’ll be back at 6 after. I’ll come in just a little bit before that. I’ll take a break, be right back.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, we’re getting ready to go. Go ahead and tilt your camera down a little, Stephan. I’m missing you here. There you go.
M: And now, live, from the studios of Freedoms Phoenix, Ernest Hancock.
M: Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us, but if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here, not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 100 years we have fought these machines, and after a century of war, I remember that which matters most—we are still here! Tonight, let us make them remember. We are not afraid!
ERNST HANCOCK: Yeah. Unafeared, unafeared, unafeared, unafeared here on Declare Your Independence. Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on. We’ve got Alan Korwin at gunlaws.com, and we have Stephan Kinsella, Stephan, P-H-A-N, Stephan Kinsella, K-I-N-S-E-L-L-A dot com. And this is what we’re talking about. We’re trying to focus it on copyright. Is it protected property? Well, I did a show on—when was this? It was November—it was October 20, so just a couple weeks ago. We had Matt Smith on. Now, we know Matt Smith. He [indiscernible_00:57:07]. He’s an entrepreneur, a gazillionaire, does great and wonderful and everything. And what did he do? He created a thing. It’s called Royalty Exchange. Now, these are songs that have a revenue stream. A lot of these, they got Eminem and all his stuff out there and so on, and they’re trading the revenue that’s created from these songs, and they go, you know what?
These have value, and they put up, and they’re offered as pieces of this, a royalty exchange in that. I want to buy and sell in this and kind of—and it makes me money. Well, you can sell it for future revenue that’s going to happen. It’s all based—and he’s a hardcore anarchist-libertarian type, but he knows where to make him some money. Now, he’s not necessarily supportive of the concept, but that won’t stop him from making money on it. And I’m going, okay, well, a good libertarian can make money off copyright, peace out. And you go listen to that show, and we had a really good conversation. But is it real property? Well, just like Stephan and Alan will agree that there’s the Crown out there going, yeah, I say it is.
So my whole thing—I don’t feel that any intellectual property and certainly copyright is a permission slip in my brain that I need to go and get sanction from the government on something that’s an idea. You don’t want me to have this idea, and if you don’t want me to propagate it, don’t tell me. I’ve got a perfect example. My son’s in-laws, they have this great salsa recipe. I mean, I’m like, oh hell no. I need to have this. And they go, well, I guess it’s a family secret, but I guess we can give it. I go, no, don’t tell me because as soon as you tell me, it goes in a cookbook to everybody, and it’s mine.
If you don’t want me to know, don’t tell me. So they didn’t, but they gave me a bunch of salsa. Well, that’s your protection right there. Don’t tell me. Keep it secret. But if you think you’re going to publish it and somebody else isn’t going to do it, that’s just dumb. It’s going to happen anyway. So now we’re into the real conversation where I think it’s very interesting is do you have a property right in an idea? Well, I don’t think so, but that’s what we’re discussing. Okay, I’ll let you go, Alan, first because I know you’re on the edge of your seat, man. Go.
ALAN KORWIN: Ernie, once again, I’m not going to talk to you about recipes or change the subject. If we’re going to get anywhere, we’ve got to focus, and we’re going to stay with songs because they’re discreet, and they’re easy. It’s dead center on copyright, and I’m going to go back to where we were.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, so I want to tell a story about Alan. This is what Alan did. At this meeting, he sang a song…
ALAN KORWIN: You just said I’ll…
ERNEST HANCOCK: He sang a song: I’m Just a Cat. It was an awesome song, and I can see that’s catchy, man. That’s going to hit the internet, and you shouldn’t have sang it, man. If I had a recording, I would have posted it up on YouTube right away. If I’d known you’d do that again, boom. I’m putting it up, and it’s gone. Now what?
ALAN KORWIN: Okay, thank you, Ernie. I appreciate that. That gets back to theft, but that’s another subject, and I’m trying to stay focused and get somewhere. Once—I’m going to put this out there. One of the reasons libertarians—I sometimes call loser-tarians—and they don’t get anywhere politically, which I’d…
ERNEST HANCOCK: More than sometimes.
ALAN KORWIN: … like to see. Let me speak. Look, I think libertarians hold a key to the safety of this nation, which I would like to see happen because the nation is going down the tubes. And the principles that libertarians hold could save America and freedom, which I hold very dear. But if they keep changing the subject, can’t stay focused, have principles which lead to absurd conclusions, they have to refocus and get their brains screwed on. So you talk about salsa. I’m going to stay with copyright and a song. I used Chuck Berry as an example because we all know it.
So Stephan brought up scarcity. I want to address scarcity because, out of all the literature I read, you don’t understand scarcity, at least you, Ernie. I won’t address Stephan, let him answer. When a hit song comes out, it is the most scarce thing on the face of the planet. I was at Arista Records when they found out that Eric Carmen’s song, All By Myself, was going to number one, the entire building was ecstatic. There was nothing more scarce than a hit song or a New York Times best-selling book. Gold and silver and diamonds come out of the earth constantly. But a hit song copyright, a hit book is scarce beyond anything, immeasurable, and of value beyond calculation. That is scarcity of the third type of property.
Now, we haven’t completely agreed that all three types of property exist, at least Stephan and I. I believe there’s three types. Copyright is the third, and it is actually the biggest, most important super type of property with all sorts of almost magical properties to it. And it is scarce beyond gold and diamonds. Stephan, tell me why copyrights aren’t scarce. Chuck Berry’s song, immeasurably valuable, generated millions of dollars.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, see how you’re conflating valuable with scarcity and you’ve got…
ALAN KORWIN: No, just scarcity, just scarcity. There’s nothing else like it before or since. It is unique.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, uniqueness is not what scarcity is about, and I think that, in political—we’re having some kind of weird audio feedback.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It will clear up. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay. So in political legal terms, scarcity refers to something that in economics is called rivalrousness. Maybe we should use that word instead because it keeps leading to confusion and to people talking past each other. We don’t mean something that’s unique or even lack of abundance. Scarcity is a rivalrousness, is a particular quality of a resource on the Earth where two or more people can have a conflict over the use of that thing. Okay, so this gets back to Austrian economics and the way we classify human action.
ALAN KORWIN: Can you define rivalrousness? I don’t know have a definition.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Rivalry means it’s a quality of a good, which means that one person’s use excludes anyone else’s use of it. So it’s something where there could be conflict over it. So, for example, if you and I wanted to use a kitchen or a pot to make a…
ALAN KORWIN: No, no, no. Use Johnny B. Good. Don’t go to a physical good.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No. Let him express himself, Alan.
ALAN KORWIN: [indiscernible_01:03:48] Stay with the song.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, what I’m going to explain is that the song is information, and so information is one aspect of human action. Material scarce goods or rivalrous resources, means of action, are another part of human action. We need to employ these things to act to get things done, but we need information to guide our choices and our decisions. The information is not scarce. It’s not a rivalrous thing, and the reason I say it’s not rivalrous is because you and I could both sing the song, Johnny B. Good, at the same time in our own houses without conflict with each other. But we can’t use the same guitar. Do you understand that distinction?
ALAN KORWIN: I certainly do, but two companies can’t get the same song at the same time.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Sure they can.
ALAN KORWIN: From Chuck Berry.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Sure they could. Why couldn’t they?
ALAN KORWIN: If he chose to walk—well, because there are rights to the property.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, that’s circular then. You’re making a circular argument then.
ALAN KORWIN: I don’t believe I am.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, you’re trying to argue the way it should be, not what the rights—I mean, so you can’t say that the rights—the rights—I mean, that’s a positive law thing. So if we’re going to talk about what the rights should be, we need to distinguish between the way the law is and the way the law should be.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, we’re going to go straight into break with this. We’re going to go straight into the break. Go to the archive, or certainly you can go to the live feed on freedomsphoenix.com. And we’re going to talk about it during the break and continue this train of thought because we’re going to lose Alan at the bottom of the hour, so I want to make sure we take advantage of all the seconds that we’ve got available on this issue.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I need to step out for two minutes, guys, three minutes.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, go ahead.
ALAN KORWIN: Cut the audio feed.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Ernie, you’re going to jail. You did Johnny B. Good without permission, so that means he didn’t get a cut, and you’re not allowed. Never mind.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay. Go, Alan and Stephan, go. And this is the one thing I’m so looking forward to a decentralized internet that I can do whatever the heck I want and have a video and it goes up, and everybody can suck it because that is what’s going to happen. And all of these—and you’re seeing it happen now. For whatever reason or excuse, here comes the man, and they—ah, and we shut you down, and you’re not allowed. And I’m going, you know what? It’s going to get to the point very soon that it’s not going to matter. It’s moot.
You can sit there and whine and complain and bitch all you want. It’s called Napster. I mean, this is—and this is what has got Alan worked up, man. He’s like, damn. I mean, it’s just everybody can steal everything from you and steal. Well, we’re going, steal? It’s not steal. You get to have it. You get to use it. So I’m just—that’s what the discussion is, and we’re getting down to the history of where copyright comes from, and it’s always from the collective of those that—the Crown grants and you’re allowed and you’re not, and kind of—that’s bad to begin with from my opinion. So all right, I’ll let you go first, Stephan. Go and respond.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, by the way, Alan, if copyright was enforced strictly enough, we wouldn’t have been able to play that song just now.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I know. That’s why I played it. Hellfire missile is on its way.
ALAN KORWIN: That’s not true.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why not?
ALAN KORWIN: Well, copyright is actually enforced privately. But when you go into a club and they’re playing music, ASCAP and BMI monitor that, collect royalties from the club so they can play music. It’s done in a statistical way. And I get a check every time they play one of my songs. I get a small check. The Beatles and Chuck Berry get a big check because their music is played more and more places, and it’s a private company. When mechanicals are made, physical copies, the Harry Fox Agency, a private company, monitors that, collects royalties, and distributes them statistically.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Sounds like a lot of paperwork.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But you missed my point.
ALAN KORWIN: Well, it is.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You missed my point.
ALAN KORWIN: It’s a lot of money. There’s a lot of places that collect a lot of it, and they distribute it. Sorry it’s paperwork, Ernie, but if it’s your music, you want to get paid.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, but you think Ernie should actually be penalized right now for what he just did?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Hell yeah.
ALAN KORWIN: He wasn’t penalized. He pays for use of property.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So when I get a tax bill, it’s not a penalty. It’s just what you have to pay for…
ALAN KORWIN: You’re changing the subject again to taxes. I’m talking about paying for use of a person’s property. It’s like rent. I own it. You use it. I charge you through my agent, and I get paid. It’s fair. It’s libertarian. Look, I only have a few minutes left, so let me bring up a couple of points.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Wait. I thought it was my turn.
ALAN KORWIN: You’ll be able to discuss them when I’m not here. Is that okay? I think we agreed that if I write a song and you say you wrote it, that’s fraud so…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, actually, I disagreed with that.
ALAN KORWIN: Okay, well, I’ll make my position, and I won’t be here in a couple of minutes because I have a meeting downtown. I believe if I write a song and you say you wrote it, you’re cheating. It’s fraud. It’s a form of theft.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s dishonesty. It’s not fraud.
ALAN KORWIN: Well, okay, it’s dishonesty.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Well, let him define that real quick so you can continue the conversation. Stephan, it’s not fraud if I take one of his books, publish it, and put my name on it and say I did it. Okay, why is that not fraud?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It could be fraud. It’s not necessarily fraud, but it’s rarely fraud. Go ahead. I don’t want to interrupt Alan’s scarce time that he has left.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Go.
ALAN KORWIN: Okay. So like Ernie said, I wrote a book. Ernie copies it, puts it out on the market, and says, by Ernie Hancock. It’s a lie, it’s fraud, and it’s theft in my opinion. If he makes money on it, let’s say there’s a million-dollar market for this book, and he makes a half a million dollars. I’ve been harmed a half a million dollars’ worth, and I can only make a half a million dollars because he has sucked that money out of the market. I’ve been harmed. That’s bad. And these rights.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s not bad. I disagree with you. It’s not bad.
ALAN KORWIN: I understand you don’t agree, and you’ll be able to respond without me here to defend myself, and you and I will talk online or offline afterwards. Where are you based?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, first of all, I’m in Houston, but I’m happy to have you stay on longer if you want. You can stay on the whole time I’m on, so it’s not—I’m not trying to…
ALAN KORWIN: I’m a chairman of a meeting. I’ve got a lot of people coming. I’ve got to be there. I’m sorry.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not shutting the microphone off. You’re welcome to stay as long as you want as far as I’m concerned.
ALAN KORWIN: Thank you, but you understand I have other obligations, and I’m not that libertarian.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Go ahead and finish.
ALAN KORWIN: That’s fraud, and I’ve covered theft. If the market has a certain size, you suck money out because people want to hear my song, and they hear you play it, you’re entitled to the performance royalty. If Glenn Campbell plays my song, he should get the performance royalty, and I should get the royalty as the creator of the song that everybody wants to come and hear.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I thought you were said you were talking about principles. Now, you’re going back to the current legal system.
ALAN KORWIN: I don’t believe I am. There’s natural rights. So copyright is a bundle rights, and they’re natural and inherent in the creation, in the mentality that I invented this song like Chuck Berry invented his. I invented mine. It’s more real property than dirt or physical goods. Those require atoms that already exist. The Chuck Berry song involves something that never existed before or after. It’s only because Chuck Berry lived that this effloresced. It’s a creation.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I totally agree with you on that. I totally agree with you on that, by the way. I totally agree.
ALAN KORWIN: Good, good, so…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But creation is not a source of ownership. Creation is a source of wealth, not of ownership. That’s the distinction that you don’t understand.
ALAN KORWIN: Fair enough. Like Bitcoin, Bitcoin isn’t actually real. It’s a concept that we accept and agree to, and it’s digits on a wire, and it has value. So songs are—have enormous value. The music industry is worth billions. It’s based on songs, and the laws that govern it need some improvement. I have no problem with law as a principle, and that goes on. Let me touch on monopoly briefly. I have only a few minutes left. I own my house in a monopoly sort of way. It’s mine. You can’t just walk in. I can actually defend it with lethal force. And I own my songs and my books in a monopoly sort of way. They are mine. They are not yours. Law recognizes that, and those can be defended with the government as an intermediary. Police can come and help me defend my house.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What about your kids and your wife? Do you own them?
ALAN KORWIN: No, of course not, not that way.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But you can’t just use a preposition like it’s my song. Therefore, I own it.
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, this is one thing you complained that Stephan is off the beaten path. Oh, I don’t want to talk about that, but you keep doing the same thing, Alan. You keep trying to equate copyright with some kind of physical property thing.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, plus he used the word invent. You said you invent a song. Invention is a patent law concept, so now you…
ALAN KORWIN: Okay, I used…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: … you see why I brought patent law in because these things are related.
ALAN KORWIN: I used the word imprecisely out of speed and the short time we have. I created the song. It’s an invention of my mind. It’s a creation of my mind. I’ll be more precise with language, and as a writer of legal texts, I usually am very precise, but because of time. It’s a creation of my mind, and as such, it has certain unique properties. And as Ernie has pointed out and libertarians have pointed out to me, if somebody takes it, I still have it. That’s an almost magical property of this kind of property. There’s the music. We’re out of time. Stephan, I wish we had more time to go through this. It’s fascinating.
You’re right on some parts. Libertarians like Ernie and perhaps yourself miss the boat on some issues. Copyright is real. It’s property. It’s a bundle of rights. It’s a principle. It’s worth a fortune. It’s the most scarce property. Libertarians like to steal it, apparently, because it’s easy to do. It’s hard to be caught. They want it. They don’t want to pay for it. They feel once they hear it, now it’s theirs. That is completely false. It’s dishonorable. The Torah says a person who does that is a sordid person. Now, that’s just one philosophical perspective, but you could go perform it, say this is my song. I can’t even know you’re doing it, but it’s a sordid thing to do, and that’s the nature of the game. So there. I wish I had more time, and we could go…
ERNEST HANCOCK: We do too. I’m glad we got to do this, Alan, and you got to express yourself. I think you did as good a job as you could when you did your presentation and now, but I just—I knew this would be interesting because it gets down to the basics of what I think is—should the government be able to tell me what I can and can’t do with what’s in my brain. And that’s a bad slope to go sliding down.
ALAN KORWIN: Ernie, you can do what you want when it’s in your brain. When you take it out of your brain and give it to other people for large amounts of money, some of that money is mine, and you could do it with my permission.
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, that’s another thing. When you go like this, you say…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You don’t own the money.
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, you’re going like—you’re making all this money, and it should be mine. Hell, then you go make it. I mean, what made me different than…
ALAN KORWIN: No, no, no, no. We split the money under contract.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No. You know, I go and perform something or reconstitute the idea or do or change it, not change it, sing it better. I could put up here Johnny B. Good by freaking McFly, and I’m just going—so I understand your point, and we’ll go ahead, and you’re right, and we’re going to try not to beat you up too much while you’re not here, but…
ALAN KORWIN: Ernie, go ahead and perform it. I want you to perform it. We’ll go 50/50, maybe 60/40, have a great time.
ERNEST HANCOCK: All right, all right. Thanks Alan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Nice meeting you.
ALAN KORWIN: I love ya.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Bye.
ALAN KORWIN: You be good. Save the world. I think libertarians can save the world, but you’ve got to do it right.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Of course. There’s a central plan for freedom according to Alan.
ALAN KORWIN: Take care, my friend.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Bye, Alan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Ernie, when are we coming back on because I’ve got to step out for two minutes. Is that okay?
ERNEST HANCOCK: It’s 31:20, and we come back at 33. Go.
McFly, Johnny B. Good. That’s copyright violation.
That’s McFly, Johnny B. Good. He’s still not allowed. Well, in the timeline, he invented it. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. All right, so let’s go ahead and give it what for, Stephan. Comments, and this is common. This is—Alan has always been—he likes to kind of—he gets closer and closer, and he sees libertarianism as take—I’ve known him for 20+ years. And kind of—his evolution is going, except on this one thing because he’s an author and a songwriter. And he wants it to be—and he uses all kind of mental gymnastics to justify because some king did it back in the day, and they had the printing press.
So we loser-tarians, damnit, we’re doing it that freedom thing, and it applies to this particular point in law, and he’s like, man, if you guys ever want to be successful and not loser-tarians, you need to get with the program. Well, express yourself. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, let’s get back on the loser-tarian thing. I mean, I agree with him. There’s lots of loser-tarians out there, but he—I think—when I say it, it has a different meaning than what he says. I think he’s talking about our lack of success. Now, I don’t really blame libertarians for our lack of success. Libertarians are…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Success in what? I feel successful. I’ve got my head on straight.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And that’s another thing, personal success or success in politics, political activism? He thinks that we’re off the track by advocating this whacky idea. I’ll give you a personal anecdote. One of my best friends, Jeff Tucker at Mises when I published some of these early anti-IP things, right at the dawn of the internet when people weren’t thinking about it. He read it, and he thought I was crazy. He said, why the hell is he writing all this about patent and copyright? And, but then he kept—it nagged him, and he kept reading it. He became a total convert like hundreds of thousands of other people have over the years.
I’ve talked to them. “You’ve changed my mind.” But because this piracy issue, the internet became more of an issue. I personally actually believe that the IP issue—the copyright issue and the patent issue—are two of the biggest state problems that we have. They are up there with the drug war, war, taxation, public education, and the federal reserve, and in a way, they’re worse than almost all of those because they’re more insidious. At least most people sense there’s something wrong with war. They know that taxes are something we have to do, but it’s bad to do it too much. They know that war kills people. Ideally, private education would be better, etc. But patent and copyright fly under the banner of private property rights, and so people say, well, that’s a type of—that’s part of capitalism.
So it’s more insidious, and the idea spreads so much. I personally believe that the patent system imposes trillions of dollars of economic, direct material cost on the human race every year because of the way it suppresses innovation. And the copyright system is a danger in a worse sense because it lasts so much longer, and it imperils freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and internet freedom. In the name of copyright, we are taking down websites. We have these six-strikes-and-you’re-out rules.
We have people being threatened not to put up hyperlinks on the internet and not copying other texts. This is stifling human freedom and human speech. So for this guy to say that we’re just making a big deal about nothing is absolutely absurd. And I personally believe that copyright is the biggest threat to human freedom almost ever. However, luckily, we have piracy. We have encryption. We have torrenting. We have the ability for once to just make an end-run around this horrible, statist, fascist system., so that’s a good thing. The fact that people can copy information with impunity almost if they’re technically smart is a good thing.
So this guy—it’s nice that he has a liberal spirit. It’s nice that he wants to make money selling his novels or his books. But that doesn’t mean he should favor a fascist—a literally fascist, thought-controlling system, and I’m glad that his books and my books and anyone else’s books can be pirated easily and that the copyright system has withered into a shell of its former self. I’m glad. That’s a positive movement in the direction of human freedom.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I’m with you, brother, but he will continue to make the argument that the brain neurons firing of I created and wrote down on a piece of paper and making the point that it was automatically copyrighted doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m going, okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So his main mistake—so he keeps saying he wants to talk about what the law should be, but every one of his arguments points to existing statutory law like this idea about the ASCAP system and dividing rights up this way and that way. So and then when you say that, well, we’re against the current system, he gets upset. I’m not advocating that, whatever. So he’s confused. He thinks this is naturally a part of capitalism. It’s part of his livelihood. I think he’s actually wrong. You can make money without being part of a government, monopolistic, privileged licensing scheme. You don’t have to do it that way. We could have other ways of doing things.
ERNEST HANCOCK: You know, this is one thing that you had an impact—I’ve got to tell you this story. I don’t even know. You probably don’t even remember. What happened when this first started going, I think it was ’09/’10 we had you on the first time, in ’09/’10. And somebody called in, man. They were on it. It was Scott Bieser from Big Head Press. He does Quantum Vibe. He does some graphic novels. He’s an illustrator. He did a lot of our covers for Freedoms Phoenix. And he called in, and he goes, no—he was making these arguments. It’s mine, mine, mine. Years later, a couple years later, I see him at PorcFest, and I go, so how’s that copyright thing working out? He’s kind of changed his tune. He’s going—I’m sorry?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I know. Scott and I are friends. I think he’s here in Houston, and I met him at PorcFest as well, and I think he has toned down his opposition to copyright.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Oh, but he went all Alan Korwin on you in the beginning. So what do you think his realization was? I think a lot of it has to do when you kind of open it up and people share, and it gets—his revenue goes up. His notoriety goes up. This is one thing when we do Aaron Russo’s America: Freedom to Fascism. He was all pissed off I made 150,000 copies of that during the Lovelution. And we compilated with a bunch of other stuff in there. And he goes—and I go, I’m on the show. You can go listen to it. I go, Aaron, sue me. There’s nothing you can do about it. What are you going to do? Later, he got—sorry, just a second.
Later, he made a bunch of money because it got notoriety. Well, then he goes on the air, and he says, all right, Ernie. Just don’t—please don’t do the director’s cut. So he was—because of us not doing—listening to him, he became more wealthy or at least made more money with it. So I’m going, look. This concept, these guys are starting to come this way, what do you think is the biggest change or realization that they have that they start taking on your position?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, for libertarians, I think they are searching their souls, and they finally start seeing that they can’t—they say, I don’t support this or this or this or this from the copyright guys. And I think they also realize that it’s futile because there is piracy out there, so they realize they have to come up with a different business model. I think maybe one thing we could do is, hey, let’s promote Alan’s works. I’m going to go buy some of his works now because he seems like an interesting guy, and I’ve heard about him now because of this. Maybe on your show we could say go investigate his website. Look at Alan Korwin’s works. And he’ll sell more. I have no problem…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Merchandising, where the real money is made.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, merchandise. So I just think he is blinding himself to the danger and the horror of copyright because he thinks it’s in his self-interest. I personally think copyright is actually not in the self-interest of most people or most companies. It’s in the interest of a very narrow, large corporation subset of America. The pharmaceutical—I mean, and patent and copyright—pharmaceutical industry, Hollywood, the music industry. And these three or four industries have lobbied the US government to twist the arms of other countries around the world all of the favor of [indiscernible_01:27:14].
ERNEST HANCOCK: When we come back—this is a TPP thing. It’s just like this Transpacific Partnership of whatever. Yeah, we’ll sign here as long as China starts respecting our version of copyright and 70 years plus of—100 years plus of—200 years plus of Mickey Mouse. And they go, we’re China. We don’t give a crap. We’ve got half the world’s population. They’re all Mickey Mouse’d up. And you don’t get any, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.
You know, that’s one outlet for you, Stephan. This is—pirateswithoutborders.com, this weekend, we’re working on communication, and I want to include a reference to copyright because, obviously, pirate this and pirate that, and we’re all pirates, and we get pirated up. So my thing is, I’m going, all right. We had—Paul Rosenberg was instrumental in a lot of the phrasing and some of the paragraphs and so on in our first letter of Captain Marque.
So what I’m hoping that you’ll do is that you’ll go ahead and go, you know what? I can have a couple of paragraphs, something to say about—the Third Letter of Captain Marque is about communication and copyright because if you go to pirateswithoutborders.com and you read the first and second letter, you’ll go, ah, I see where they’re going. And I’m hoping that you’ll participate and give us—because we’re going to be formulating this over the next week. If you can give us some kind—on communication and the ability to—not the Crown say what I can and can’t say or how, that will get included in that letter. Are you willing to help us?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Sure, absolutely.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Let’s do it. We’re putting it together this weekend or early next week. So some great pirate, argghhh, the Crown this and the Crown that, and pirates know that—and suck it. So if you can do that, I’ll include it. We’ll word it in such a way and get your approval on it, and boom. We’re done.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, you know who else is really good on this is—who else is really good. Have you ever heard of Rick Falkvinge?
ERNEST HANCOCK: No. You mean Falkaneer, the pirate guy in Europe?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I’ve had him on. We’re all over it. When we start—this is what happened. I’ll tell you real quick. We had—about a year ago, it was October, I think. The headline was, the Pirate Party don’t mean nothing. They only got 16% of parliament in Iceland. And I go, what? I’m going, 16%. Let’s—here it comes. The Lovelution, at the same time you had the Pirate Party, then the Lovelution starts, and they kind of overlap across the Atlantic, and we had kind of the same thing. Well, Rick, he wants to use politics and pirating this issue and then kind of have some political influence.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yes, I know.
ERNEST HANCOCK: But parliamentary positions in Europe is different than this 50-plus-1-percent kind of crap here in America. So I’m not sure how it’s going to work. So when we started the pirate thing, it was on that inspiration. Arizona Pirate Party instead of a political thing, and then we were waiting. That was a placeholder to come up with a name. So the name, Pirates Without Borders—boom. That’s it, man, rock and roll.
So you’ll see on the right side all these different categories like communication and energy and transportation. We’re looking for the decentralization of everything. Communication is first. That’s what you hear. We’re talking about cryptocurrencies need to—I can need pirate money, so I don’t need a permission slip. Well, when we do communication, this includes intellectual property stuff, and this is where the pirate party thing comes in. And whatever contribution you have to that would be cool. All right, here, we’re coming back.
M: And now, live, from the studios of Freedoms Phoenix, Ernest Hancock.
ERNEST HANCOCK: And we’re right back. Stephan Kinsella, man, we’re just yacking it. This is what I want to make sure that we—that Pirates Without Borders, Captain Marque, the Third Letter of Captain Marque is going to be on communication. We’re working on it now. If Stephan Kinsella—we’re had a lot of people participate and help with the writing, and we kind of pirate it up and then make sure that’s what they wanted to say. So any influence that Stephan can have in this to where we can make it clear the base principle of what we are advocating as good pirates. You think you can come up with something for us, Stephan?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Ay.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Ay! Arrrizona Pirates. Okay, so go ahead and what do you think you would want to emphasize to pirate-oriented in that way? And you mentioned Rick Falkvinge there from the Pirate Party in Europe. That’s kind of—raising his head here in America. And what reference to him you were going to make?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh yeah, I think he’s at falkvinge.net actually, and he is very solid. I think he is an early Bitcoin investor, so if I’m not mistaken, he has some heft behind himself. And he’s always been very solid on this whole issue. I don’t know that he’s a hardcore libertarian, but he seems like one to me from his natural sort of piracy.
ERNEST HANCOCK: He’s pretty good. He votes, but nobody’s perfect.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, my wife made me vote last time too, I will say.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I went with my wife, Donna. She had to vote for Dr. Paul in the ’08 election in the primary. And she goes in, and I go, all right, I’ll go with you, but I ain’t doing it, and man, what a mess that was. I’m going, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think in the ’08, I took my son, young son, and I went there to show him what it’s like, and he went into the booth with me, and I cast a blank ballot. That’s an option here in Texas, and so I voted by saying blank ballot. I’m not voting for anyone.
ERNEST HANCOCK: You know what I did? I printed up a piece of paper. I put my voter ID on it, and it said I vote for Ron Paul, big letters on a parchment paper, 8 ½ by 11, signed it, went in, checked in, handed it to them, and walked out. And as I’m walking out, they go, it won’t count. I’m like, it kind of wouldn’t the other way either. It’s just—I counted with me. Peace out, and left, and I felt a lot better. I’m going, look, man. I’m not playing in your system. So give me kind of the—if you’re going to do a paragraph and you want to make a principled statement for pirates, give me kind of a summary of what it would be.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh my God. I can do it. How much time do we have?
ERNEST HANCOCK: We got about six minutes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, okay. So to understand the problem with intellectual property, and then thus to understand what’s—why there’s nothing wrong with so-called piracy, you have to understand what our basic property rights case is. And then you’ll understand where IP fits. So let me give a condensed, condensed argument. I’m not going to argue for libertarianism, but I’m going to just describe what libertarians believe.
What we believe in essence, we call it the nonaggression principle, voluntarism. Those are just shorthand words for the type of property rights that we believe in, okay, the particular property rights system that we believe in, which I believe is just a more consistent, streamlined version of what is behind all western, modern civilization because, to succeed, we have to have respected property rights to a certain degree.
So the view is this. We live in a world where we can have conflict with each other. Most of us are somewhat social beings. We have some empathy for each other. We want to live together. We want to prosper in our lives. We want to use things without being molested. We also want our neighbors, our family members to do well too, so we have a certain social consciousness or mentality. And because of this, we realize there’s a possibility of conflict. That is, someone can want to use my body without my permission, or they might want to use a resource that I’m using. These are the means of action that Mises talked about.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Sounds like taxes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, yes. A tax means they want to take some of my property, and they say they own it now. So the question is, whenever there’s a dispute, we need to have a mechanism or a property rules system that says who owns it, and the property rights that…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Tilt your camera down a little bit, will you, please? There you go. Thank you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I didn’t know we were video, but okay, fine. The property rules that we libertarians believe in is basically the classical liberal or Lockian system, which is applied very consistently, which is two or three very simple rules. Whenever there’s a dispute over who owns a resource—okay, the body is special. The body is owned by the person himself. Okay, so we don’t believe in slavery. That’s simple. But for all other things, the question is who owns it. And we answer that by asking who had it first. That’s called Lockian homesteading or original appropriation. Who had the thing first? He has a better claim than other people. Number two, did an owner contractually transfer it to someone else, like contract? In which case that person has a better claim than even the original owner because it was given to him.
And then number three, restitution or rectification for crimes or torts—if you hurt someone, you owe them recompense. You owe them compensation. So you might owe them something for your property to pay them back. But other than those three rules, that’s all you need. And then the legal system works out the fine details. So that’s the basics of what property rights are. Property rights are rules for saying who owns a contested or contestable resource, which we call scarce resources by which we mean rivalrous, things that there could be conflict over.
Okay, so that’s the basics of what libertarianism is for. Now, when someone says intellectual property, what they mean is that some third party is granted a right by the state that lets them come in and control your property. They can tell you, you can’t use your body in this way. You can’t use your house in this way. You can’t use your printing press in this way. You can’t use your factory in this way to make a certain widget. Now, they don’t have that right because the other people are the owners of those things.
So IP rights are basically the infringement of property rights because it takes away the control, the control rights that are already owned by people. And this idea is so pernicious and so insidious, it could spread and spread and spread. It’s patent law. It’s copyright law. It’s boat hull designs. It’s a semiconductor mask work protection act. It’s database rights. It’s moral rights. It’s trade secrets. It’s trademark law. It’s even defamation law, the idea that you have a right to your reputation. It’s all these rules that expand and expand and expand. You have the fashion industry wanting it too now. You have the other industries wanting this. You have the newspaper industry wanting a right to headlines. They don’t want to be scooped even by headlines on Drudge or whatever.
So this idea is pernicious. It’s insidious. It’s anti-capitalist. The fundamental thing we have to recognize is that learning is good. Information is good. It’s good if more people have information. It’s good if people copy each other and learn from each other. It’s good if they compete with each other. That’s what competition is about. You don’t have a right to your customers. You don’t have a right to your future profits. You don’t have a right to the money that would be in your pocket if you didn’t have competition.
So ultimately, patent and copyright are about suppressing the free market, about restricting competition, and being protectionist, and we’re against protectionism, and about suppressing thought and speech. You should be able to make whatever video you want, use whatever song you want, and the idea is that you’re not stealing when you use something public. The thing is that, if someone comes up with an idea and they make it public, then they are releasing it to the public. If they don’t want other people to learn or emulate them or to know what they’re doing, they should keep their ideas to themselves. But if they open their mouths and they give information to people, they have no right whatsoever to expect people not to use that information in whatever way they want—for profit, for creativity, whatever.
ERNEST HANCOCK: I’m with you. My thing is that Alan has always been—for years, he’s more Republican. It’s a gun thing, and the libertarians that keep making kind of—then it’s all kind of, well, we libertarians. He starts going—he sees the advantage of claiming to be a libertarian except on this copyright thing, you dumb libertarian, loser-tarians. If you change this, then you’ll be successful because this is what it hinges on, and you’re weight, and you need to get the pedophiles in Hollywood to support you. I mean, you know…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But you notice that he didn’t want to defend patent. Even he senses something’s wrong with the patent system.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah. No, no, no, and a lot of it was in—I’m sure in the research that he was doing in preparation. In his presentation, I could just hear a whole bunch of Stephan Kinsella, man. It was just, yeah, well, they say and do. But it’s different on copyright, which is why he wanted to focus on it. But he would say that, and then at the same time, he would go, well, in my property and this and that, and he would keep trying to use law, the king, the church, property rights to validate his position on intellectual property. And I’m going, you know, we’re pretty clear on this. You don’t want it to be propagated or explained or shared or taken or used. Then don’t tell me. Don’t sit there and try. I got to take a spoon to my brain and try and carve out where I got what. You’re standing on the shoulders of a whole bunch of stuff, and I don’t want to be limited. I refuse to. And technology is free in me. The technological advances are kind of making this all moot, Stephan?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think yes, and that’s a good thing.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, me too, me too. Any parting thought? Oh, give out your webpage, where you want people to go to get all things Stephan Kinsella.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: On this issue, C4SIF.org, C4SIF.org.
ERNEST HANCOCK: C4SIF.org. All right, Donna, make sure you get that into the—Donna’s putting it up there, and you can just click on it and go learn everything Stephan Kinsella. There we go. Thank you, Stephan. That was fun.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, it was fun.
ERNEST HANCOCK: This is what you’re up against. This is what I hear all the time. This was—and it’s not good enough to say, look, man. How do I build on which part of and kind of—no. I’m not—I don’t recognize some king’s grant of monopoly of an idea. No, I’m not doing it. Well, then you’re—and it just goes from there. And I’m glad you’re there because without you being able to help us with this thought process, I don’t know where else to go because you’ve been kind of the touchstone for this for a long time. Do you get a lot of these opportunities to speak and explain yourself?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I do. I mean, it’s like with libertarianism, right? You find yourself hearing the same old arguments from newbies that you’ve heard refuted 1000 times, and it gets a little bit frustrating and tedious to have to redo it over and over and over and over and over again. And I don’t mind doing it over and over again, but you kind of wish that people that wanted to bear their balls in public would at least do a little homework first. And they almost never do because they ask questions that have been debunked so many times.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Finish your thought. Donna, email me Alan’s email, and I’m going to forward from Stephan here to him. The—this is—there is—we’re going to be doing other events, speaking events and stuff here, and I might focus on this a little bit. I’ll let you know because I’d like this to get out a little bit. I think it’s good information that people should know.
And it’s just—it’s a concept that’s going—but I’m looking at it’s always what’s in somebody’s own self-interest.
A good friend of mine—he’s just—he’s a big movie buff, man. He’s like, movies won’t get made unless you have this copyright of whatever. And then there will be something comes out, and I’m like, eh, I wouldn’t go to the movie to see it, or maybe I’d watch it just in the privacy of my own home. And Kodi stream it, and that just pisses him off. He goes, you should—I go, yeah. It doesn’t bother me one bit.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, and they’ll say something like this. They’ll say, you libertarians just want things for free. And actually, that’s not what motivates me because I have plenty of money, and I could buy movies, and I do it. But what’s wrong with wanting something for free, like that’s a bad thing? But same thing with this white privilege stuff. It’s like—I say, wait a second. I’m working so my kid has privilege. I want my kid to have privilege. I thought privilege was something you aspire to. When did having privilege become a bad thing?
ERNEST HANCOCK: You know, it’s what we’re up against, and I think what is—it all comes down to just what’s practical. Well, I remember a scene from a social network. They were talking about the beginnings of Facebook and so on, and Justin Timberlake played the character of the guy that did Napster or something. And then they go, oh, well, see. You got shut down. He goes, yeah, are you buying stock in Tower Records anymore? Probably not. It just makes all these things moot. It doesn’t matter. Well, they’re going to China, and they’re pirating every freaking thing and kind of—well, you’re—we need intellectual property.
We need a trade agreement so you won’t do that anymore and kind of—it’s a culture thing, and what happens when Chinese start getting all libertarianized and understand the concept of it’s not, and probably they already have that culture anyway. You’re trying to control what I can make in my own machine and sell? Screw you. And you call yourself capitalist?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me ask you. Do you want to do another hour? Because I mean, I don’t—what is your plan for your next hour?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Well, no. My show is over. It goes 6 to 9 Arizona. It’s 9 to noon, so we’re at the end of the show, so we can keep talking if you’ve got time.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh, so I missed your first hour. Okay. No, no. No, no. I thought I—I remember I could only do two.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, if you want—well, if you’ve got something to share, go, man. Go ahead and—I’d love to hear how this battle is going. Tell me about the battle on the front—on the internet because I’m not paying attention. I don’t care. I’m like, yeah, whatever. Technology makes it moot anyway. You guys can whine all you want. So—but they’re trying to change laws and prosecute and extend, extend, extend and pretend that they’re doing good. And how is the battle going from your perspective?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I think that the influence of the IP—I don’t know what you want to call it. There must be a term we could come up with to call the big American industries that are heavily dependent upon IP—pharmaceuticals, Hollywood, and music and software to a degree. Software, though, is split between the protectionist side and the open-source side. But—so a very narrow segment of American life has dominated the Congress, and because of America’s hegemony over the rest of the world, has dominated the world’s IP systems. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, and it’s a never-ending battle. They sneak this stuff into every fucking law and treaty they can think of. On the other hand, as I said, there is an increasing awareness by younger people, like what the hell? What’s wrong with cutting and pasting and mixing and all this kind of stuff?
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, it gets so bad that government is their own worst enemy. It gets to a point to where you have pirate parties spring up and screw all y’all.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yes, sort of like Trump. I mean, Trump I think is not great obviously, but he’s a phenomenon that arose in response to a lot of excesses of the left and the social justice warriors. People are sick are being told that they’re abominables or what is that? A basket of deplorables or whatever. And to my mind, most—a lot of the people that voted for Trump are natural Democrat voters, blue-collar types.
They would vote for a nice, conservative, redistributionist Democrat party, but the Democrats are so fucking stupid that they just can’t help but bash the rubes, make— act condescending to them, talk about abortion and transgender rights all the time and prefixes and pronouns. And they alienate their natural voters, which I’m glad they do because it means that the Democrats are going to have a delay when they finally assume total power. But I find something is similar with the other phenomenon too. I mean, what do you think about it?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Specifically about what?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, this—well, Trump versus Democrats.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, let me give you my spiel. When Trump came down the escalator—this is what, June, July of ’15. When he came down, a gentleman, a friend of mine here, Dr. Phranq Tamburri. He goes, man, don’t be a hater, but I want to come on the show every Thursday, and we’re going to do the Trump report. We have been doing every Thursday for at least two to five hours, and we’ll go long, every Thursday for over two years that the Trump report.
Now, he was a Ron Paul-supporting Republican of Ron Paul. Well, what happens is—and he ran as a libertarian doing different stuff. So he’s libertarianized. But his parents—his father and his uncles have a high-rise steel construction business, building high-rises in Philadelphia, so they’re on the same Christmas card list or whatever. So when he’s around the family dinner table or Thanksgiving or something, he’s surrounded by Trumps. He read his book. He knows, and he goes, look, you’re going to—let me tell you what’s going to happen. He made a big-dollar bet, and he’s going to win.
Well, everything that he’s been saying has been right. We do debate parties here since ’07. I mean, we’ve done dozens and dozens of them, every debate. Holy crap. How many is there going to be? So when we’re here and we do it and the Trump thing was going on, we’re like, they’re interested because—to see what Rand did. And all of a sudden, you could see what was going to happen. They are so pissed off that he’s tweeting and bypassing their control grid of whatever. He just goes straight to the people, a fireside chat, and I get to say what I want.
Well, what were the common thing—statements by a lot of the activists? Well, they’re going, God, the Democrats hate him. Hell, the Republicans hate him. The media hates him. He’s my guy. And it was nothing other than that. He was a representative of this anti-establishment thing, as much as a billionaire can be anti-establishment. But it was just this feeling of we’re just pissed off, mad as hell, and screw all y’all. And it wasn’t so much a support for Trump, I think, and sure as hell libertarians for the wall. But then you got guys like Walter Block out there. Libertarians for Trump. And that just pissed everybody off. Now, you see where you got the [indiscernible_01:51:15] and all—and Reason and LP and the national chair, Nick Sarwark, lives here. We’ve had him on the show quite a bit. Well, when they started going after Mises and Tom Woods and Murphy and Ron Paul and Jeff Deist and Lew Rockwell and so on.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And me. Sarwarck went after me because I didn’t sign that stupid petition.
ERNEST HANCOCK: See, I’m going, yeah, this petition. I’m going, it was an appeal to the left. It was this Weld thing. It was that, we’re going to get support from, and we hate Trump, and somebody promised us money or something. And I’m going, you guys are so far off. And I did the show, and I had Tom Woods, Bob Murphy, Nick Sarwark, and Ron Paul on talking about this issue, and it just…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Not together, right?
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, separately, within a week. So what happened is that Nick—I think they found out that he went into a buzz saw more than what they anticipated. So the New Orleans Convention, a whole bunch of Mises guys, they go, all right. You guys want to rock? You want to play? Let’s go play. And the reason they were attacking you guys is I see that this intellectual—exactly what Alan is talking about, this thought process that we have that applies to everything consistently, what property really is and what the proper role of government is, if there even was one.
And the reason this is Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock is because the Declaration made it very clear. The only purpose of government is defense of individual rights, or you all are to abolish. I’m like, I’m hip to that. The thing is, is that these guys see you and this thought process as a threat. There is no way that they can consolidate the youth in the future around the idea of we rule you better when you got the ideas of Ron Paul et al and Woods and you and all these guys. They’re just, we’ve got to go after them. We’ve got to call them racists, and they didn’t sign the paper of whatever the hell. Well, they overplayed their hand, and they played right into this social justice thing, and they didn’t realize it. And I’m going, you guys are so stupid. I’ve seen this over and over, this attack on this, and they don’t realize the buzz saw they went into. Your opinion.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I totally agree with you. I think that—I think it backfired on them. I think—and they’re in a bubble a little bit like these Democrat people in the bubble cities—San Francisco, New York, whatever. I’ve never met someone who voted for Bush. I don’t know how he won, or with Trump or whatever. It’s like—because you’re not in reality. Look, I don’t need some nobody, anonymous person to twist my arm to come out and declare that I’m against fascism when I’m already obviously against fascism and especially when the message is so convoluted and riddled with little SJW kind of things.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Bake the cake. Bake the cake. We got—a libertarian, got to force them to bake the cake. We had a party, a pool party here. Nick is over with his family. He’s up against the wall in the shallow end, and everybody is surrounded him. Man, they’re just beating up on him, and he’s doing the mental gymnastics of an attorney and appealing to the left. We got to make the baker bake the cake for the gay couple because you’ve got to bake the cake because you’re out in the public. Bake the cake. And I’m going, this is an issue? That libertarians—you go, what? How the hell is that even—they’re just appealing to something. It’s—they’re just mental gymnastics to get some benefit.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think they’re kissing ass, and you know what? I understand the pressure to do that for some people. I personally believe, in life, you should live a life where you try to achieve a position where you can have integrity and do what you believe in. So I’ve done that. I’ve achieved a life where I can say whatever the fuck I want. And if I piss off someone, I don’t care because I don’t need them, and even if I lose all my fans and audience, so be it. So I think it’s good to be independent, and I try to do that. And I’m not going to kiss ass and run around and kiss ass to people that I don’t even respect as much as myself. I mean, I’m not going to assign a declaration that has a bunch of people that sign it that I think are ass-kissing compromisers. And I don’t even know who the author is, and I don’t know if he could change the words.
ERNEST HANCOCK: You know, I think it was kind of the Center for—CAS, Center for a—whatever it was and…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I know who did it. It was Jason Lee [indiscernible_01:55:47] who’s a friend of mine. He wrote it. I know that now, but it was anonymous at first, and fine.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It was an appeal—well, I’ll tell you what it came from. In my opinion, when Bill Weld became the VP, I was at the New—I mean, the Orlando—shit, where the hell was it? Anyway, the last LP convention—Orlando. That’s where it was, in Orlando. I’m there, and I’m just having fun, a fly on the wall, and I get my vote and get to have my say and whatever, and say it. I’m a—I won’t stab you in the back. He wouldn’t say that. Will you stab us in the back? He goes, I’m a card-carrying member of a lifetime card-carrier, and I’m going, you didn’t say it. Say it. Say it. Say it.
And Nick came out and saved him, and the thing is, I talked to Bill Weld, and I know Gary Johnson fairly well. And we were supportive of his efforts, even did fundraisers for him just to give him a voice. But the thing is, is that you’re going to have a flat tax, and we got to have these kind of—and bake the cake, and we’re going to—and then here comes Bill Weld. And I’m going, they were trying to appeal to this council on foreign [indiscernible_01:56:52] something or whatever the hell they’re trying to do is what Alan is saying.
He would be very happy with these if he thought it would give him more votes, if he thought—your mother-in-law would have more respect for you, you know, that kind of stuff. And I’m going, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s a principle thing. The market will determine. The people will eventually come out—they are. That’s what’s scaring the establishment. They’re freaking out, and you and Woods and Murphy and Deist and Lew and Ron represent this Rothbardian thing, and that was the beginning salvo. They were going, yeah, you’re just a Rothbardian, and I remember them calling me a Rothbardian in the mid ‘90s. I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. They were calling me a racial slur or something. I go read them, and I go, yeah, what he said.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Did you see the bruhaha about the helicopter?
ERNEST HANCOCK: No.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh man, you missed it so…
ERNEST HANCOCK: Oh gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh, this was hilarious. It’s all over Twitter and Facebook and everything. And so about, what, three or four weeks ago, the Mises Institute had their 35th anniversary event in New York City, which I went to, and I brought my wife for the first time. She’s met my crazy libertarian friends, etc. So I wanted her to meet Hoppe basically and Guido Hülsmann. So anyway…
ERNEST HANCOCK: What should I look up to find anything?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh, just go to Mises.org and go to Events. You’ll see the 35th—oh, oh, if you want to see this event? I’ll send you a couple links, but look up Michael Malice, Hoppe, helicopter. That’s probably your key words, Michael Malice, Hoppe, helicopter. It was hilarious.
ERNEST HANCOCK: All right, tell me about it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You know how there’s this meme about Pinochet and the helicopter, dropping his enemies out of a helicopter or something?
ERNEST HANCOCK: Oh, okay, yeah.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So—because Hans-Hermann Hoppe has this sort of forced—no, physical removal meme that’s surrounded him about getting—ejecting people from your community. They’re not basically libertarians, something like that. So that became the Hoppe dropping-people-out-of-helicopters meme. Now, he didn’t have anything to do with it. It was just these crazy people on the internet.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Now, I’ve got a picture here of him and you, and he’s holding a helicopter.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, so—yes, and so when I was in New York City three or four weeks ago for the Mises event, I was at a reception, and Michael Malice, who I’d been friends with but I’d never met in person, walked up to me, and we were giggling and laughing. We took some pictures together, and he told me he had just given Hans Hoppe a toy helicopter as a gift, and he sent me the picture. It was hilarious. So he gave Hans a helicopter. It’s a joke, right? And I posted it, but I was with Hans later at a bar having drinks that night, and I said, hey, what’s this about the helicopter? And so he pulled it out of his pocket, and we took a picture, and I posted it, and all hell broke loose because, oh, Kinsella, you’re condoning political violence against your enemies. It’s like, Jesus-fucking-Christ, don’t you lefties have any sense of humor? It’s like, well, I don’t think that the Holocaust is a laughing matter. It’s like, well, it’s not about the Holocaust.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, no, no, no. I’ll tell what’s going on. I had Woods on, and I said, you need to talk to Ron about this stuff, the history. I don’t think you guys realize what you’re up against. This is a campaign. I can feel it coming. This is something that’s going to manifest itself in New Orleans. I’m like, everybody get your ticket to leave on Tuesday because I could see them changing—I’m sorry?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What’s happening in New Orleans?
ERNEST HANCOCK: It’s the Libertarian National Convention that—the election—whatever the hell. So they’re going to be doing chair, and they’re going to be new LNCs, and it’s in New Orleans this July or whatever. And I go, they’re trying to change bylaws, and so I can see it. I get up and I said, look. I just want you to know what they’re doing. They’re changing this so that on Monday, after everybody goes home on Sunday, they’re going to F you, man. You’re screwed. If you guys don’t go, you better get your return ticket on Tuesday because here it comes. And the reason is because they see the anarchist, the voluntarists, are starting to invade back into the party. And I’ve been doing this—I ran for national chair four times just to bring attention to this. I’m going, look. You guys need to understand what they’re doing.
And this is—they see you and this philosophy as a threat, and everybody wants to control the kingmaker. They want to control the LP. They have the local and national—this philosophy of this Rothbardian, leave-me-alonist kind of thing is infecting too many minds. And this internet deal, they’ve got to deal with it and make you all racist, and you didn’t sign you’re not a Nazi. And I’m going, I’m libertarian. Of course I’m not a Nazi. Shut up. Let them keep yapping. I’ll bring them on the show, go ahead and tell me all about it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, so I hear you, and I just—look. I’m not a member of the LP. I’ve never been a member of the LP. I did run for office one time on their ticket, but I’m not a member of it. And I’m supportive, but I don’t think they’re synonymous with libertarianism, and I think that most LP members, especially the hardcore ones, they tend not to be that good libertarians. They’re into their little microcosm of power and their petty crap, and they’re usually minarchists or mini-statists.
So they’re not—I have—they’re not theorists. I have—it’s just not my interest. I’m interested in people that have insights into Austrian economics or into modern politics from a radical perspective or who make a change, and I just don’t think the LP is that. I don’t blame them for that. It’s not their fault that we have [indiscernible_02:02:22].
ERNEST HANCOCK: You know what we call the LP. We always call it the liberty nexus, and it was like—one guy put it really well, Drew Phillips from Bitcoin, Not Bombs. He goes, you know what the LP conventions are like? It’s like the high school dance. It’s where you go to find out where the real party is.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, that’s fine.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It’s just a lot of these people—we’ve made all these networks, and the party—the libertarian philosophy is much bigger than the LP to the point that it’s gotten out of their control. When people think libertarian, they don’t think Libertarian Party. They might think Ron Paul Revolution or voluntarist or somebody they know or something. But the LP is so far from what it originally set up to be, and they keep trying to change it all the time. They’re just—I think they pissed off so many real libertarians by attacking you guys. I’m going, I don’t think you guys know what—the hornet’s nest you—you better be busing a whole shitload of people into New Orleans.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, this—okay, this guy, Sarwark, I mean, to just launch an attack on—I mean, Tom Woods is very, very popular, very principled, very hard-working, very well-known in the movement as being a principled, radical libertarian. For Sarwark to attack him out of the blue for nothing—it’s just bizarre.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Stupid.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And then to—he attacked me. Look, I was getting pressure from people behind the scenes. Sign this petition. And I just said, I’m not going to sign it, and I just did a Facebook post explaining why I’m not signing it. I mean—and of course, then the haters start. Oh, I guess you’re a Nazi or whatever. It’s like if that’s all you guys have left, you’ve lost.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It was a troll campaign.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You’ve lost.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It was an appeal to the left if we get some—promise some money, and I told Nick on the air. I’m going, Nick, you can buy the Libertarian Party for a well-placed $10,000, and $100,000 you rule all the states and count them too. And I’m going, you guys are cheap hoes. If you’re going to be a hoe, be an expensive hoe. I mean, you know, quit being hoes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, it’s interesting. But look, Ernie, my—I like to—I’m trying to finish my book on libertarian legal theory. I like theory. I like libertarian principles. I like philosophical and legal theoretic reasoning about things, Austrian economics. The other—and then I think that in your life it’s a different issue. You live your life. You try to succeed. You do what you are passionate about, what you’re good at, and you take care of your family and your friends, and you have a good career.
But life is a mixture of these things. I don’t think libertarianism is everything. I would never have been—I would never—it would never appeal to me, the idea that, hey, come move to New Hampshire. You can live around a bunch of libertarians. I mean, what’s that mean? I’m going to live around a bunch of people who are going to not pay their rent and try to couch surf all the time? I mean, not to be critical. I understand we’re a marginal movement, but there’s nothing especially attractive about living around a bunch of libertarians. I would like society to be more libertarian in general.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Well, isn’t that happening? Don’t you feel that we’re…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I do think it’s happening. I think there’s a soft libertarian uprising.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Culture. It’s all about—I tell you; this is my focus and why we’re doing the Pirates Without Borders thing. I really am encouraged by the you participating in that. Don’t forget, and I need—if you’ve got just a paragraph, some concept you want to make sure gets in, read the first and second letters, and you’ll see how it’s formatted and how it’s going.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Send it to me. I’ll take a look.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Just go to pirateswithoutborders.com. You can do it right now, and you can see the first and second letters, and it’s also—Ben Stone, the Bad Quaker, read it. He’s the voice on it. So this is—and Paul Rosenberg was really instrumental in some of the concepts in there too.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I thought Ben had kind of retired for health reasons.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, he’s not doing a lot, but he’s definitely all in on this. I mean, he’s—this gets him all motivated. So we’re having fun. The—my whole point on that was to promote the decentralization of everything. If you look on the right, it says Build a Ship. We’re going to—that will be a fun project.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, I see the website now.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It’s communication, energy, decentralization of everything. So I’m looking no central authority, no permission-asking. You read the first and second letter, you’ll get it. The point is that promotion of this decentralization of everything is just an opinion. See, everybody thinks that, well, if I don’t get the sanction of some shiny badge with a fine hat and available gun and a clipboard, then it ain’t so. I don’t give a crap with them. I’m a pirate, man. I’m against all flags. And that’s what we found out was a pirate. It wasn’t so much that you’re raping and pillaging or anything. It was if you were not recognized by any—you didn’t recognize a flag. Well, all the states and crowns and everybody comes and says, oh, you’re a pirate because you’re against all flags, and I’m going, yep.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: There’s something like that with wearing a uniform during a war.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, you represent a side. Well, see, the thing is they don’t have a problem with privateers or a letter of marque. They go, that’s why it’s Marque, Captain Marque. It’s the letter of Captain Marque because what the Crown does is says here. You have a permission slip from me to go rape and pillage the Spanish galleon, and I get a cut. You’re good. But if you go, no, I don’t want to have nothing to do with all y’all, oh hell no. You’re not allowed to do that. So the promotion of the decentralization of everything is just an opinion. This is where the culture comes in.
If you get everybody just saying, you know, I think this should, and I don’t like that, all of a sudden, you get Trump’s elected. And my point is that it’s just an opinion, and that’s where you and Mises and Rothbard and all these guys come in is that opinion is infectious, and it has a tried-and-true, stayed, this-is-constant way of thinking. And that’s what Ron Paul represented. When these young people go back and look at his previous writings, they go, well, hell, he’s been saying this for freaking ever. I go, yeah, this is what this is about. That’s why you have to be attacked. You guys represent the seed kernel of this idea springing in the minds of everybody.
And I saw it happen during the Lovelution. I would go to PorcFest, and you see these guys on their Kindle download a bunch of Mises, Rothbard, and reading, and they’re all up on the kind of well-read, and they’ve got an opinion. And I’m going, damn, they’re not going to be able to compete with that. This is—and then them to even try was just stupid and an act of—somebody either paid them or desperation or something. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking, but here it comes. You’re muted. I can’t hear you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: All right, sorry.
ERNEST HANCOCK: There you go.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m back now. Anyway, I can’t see you, by the way. Can you flip yourself on?
ERNEST HANCOCK: I can do that. How about that?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: There you are.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Okay, there you go.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Anyway, I’ve got to go in a second, but look. What can you say? I just—I mean, did it hurt the Sarwark guy? It seemed to me that it did, but I hear people on the other side. When you get to the point where you’re calling people fascist or Nazi when they’re basically libertarian—now, I’m not an alt-right fan. I don’t like those guys. They are weird, and I don’t like racism, but there’s nothing wrong with conceptually distinguishing between racism and libertarianism. They’re different things, right?
I mean, opposition to racism and opposition to tyranny. Okay, so we’re libertarians. That means we’re in favor of private property rights and people getting along together. We tend to be cosmopolitan and modernist. I’m not a racist by any sensible definition, and I don’t like racists. But I don’t like calling everything racist.
ERNEST HANCOCK: No, and it’s—they’re…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Because then you lose the power of the words. It’s like calling everything rape.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It was…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If a guy kisses a girl, it’s rape.
ERNEST HANCOCK: This was a technique. They wanted to seed the internet with this—it’s a campaign. I can see it going. It’s going to—I’m going, it is so neon-freaking obvious to an activist like me, have been through this so many times. They’re just seeding the conversation out there. It’s kind of—I had Nick on, and I go, this sounds like the racist Ron Paul papers everybody was talking about. Yes, exactly, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe is one of the worst of them. I mean, he was there rattling off everybody. And anyone that they—you know, like—they go, Tom Woods had the Nazi what’s-his-face, Chris Cantrell on.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris Cantwell.
ERNEST HANCOCK: He had Cantrell on, and I go—pardon me?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris Cantwell.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Yeah, yeah, Cantwell. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Cantwell. He had Cantwell on, and I go, yeah, so did I. I just let him talk. I’m going, yep, okay [indiscernible_02:10:59]. I go, so what? Well, he was not—he didn’t beat him up enough or something. I go, shut up. This is—and it’s just like with this intellectual thing. They’re trying to shut down debate. They’re going to have you painted as a fascist before you even started because there’s something else a-comin’, and money I get because it was not a philosophical argument. And it was not to their advantage, so somebody paid. There was some influence. Somebody influenced something. Here it comes.
So I can feel it. They’re coming into New Orleans, and we’re going to sit there and have some fun. Either way it comes out, I don’t care. And so we’re going to learn something. I go, you guys get it now. Do you see? You see how many they bust in? If they got the plan and they’re going to take over and change and do, well, you got the witness, sit. Peace out. We’re out of here. Or they change it, and we get more anarchists because I’ve seen on the LNC, it was about 30 to 40-something percent of them were the voluntarist, hardcore kind of people going they didn’t see the invasion coming.
So I’m—now what? Well, Nick—he would be—if he got elected national chair this time, it would be the first time national chair has gone the same guy three times in a row. Well, I’m going, do I need to run, or is there somebody else? Well, a bunch of the Mises kids, when I was at the Aspen Institute for the Nexus Earth Conference where a bunch of the guys were Judge Napolitano and Ron Paul.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Hey, I’d support you.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Well, you know—well, I’m hoping not. I don’t need to fit. I don’t care, but I’m going to go there and have some fun. The thing is, is I’m hoping these guys come up with someone that cares more and they’re hardcore, but if not, I—sign me up. Let’s do a debate, but…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, to me, hardcore is one thing. I can understand having a somewhat incrementalist approach. That might be the best tactic. But you’ve got to be honest and principled, and you can’t attack people that—in a very harmful way based on [indiscernible_02:12:55].
ERNEST HANCOCK: Nazis.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, don’t call people…
ERNEST HANCOCK: You didn’t sign it, Nazi. You didn’t sign it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Don’t call them racist or Nazis or fascists without really good evidence. Don’t do that.
ERNEST HANCOCK: It’s already blown up in their face. It’s way too much. I don’t think they really realized what they were up against, and they keep underestimating this philosophy. They keep underestimating the ideas of Rothbard and Ron Paul and you and Woods and all. I mean, they keep missing it. They don’t get it. And I’ve seen—because they’re looking at it from just a database or how much money you got to raise or the various different groups and students for whatever. They’ll go to some popular liberty-on-the-rocks meetup, and they go, we need one guy. We need somebody in charge. Okay, here’s a bunch of money, and this has happened. It’s like a technique. They come in with some money. They give it to them, and they say, there’s one guy, and we get to have a table at your next there meetings or whatever.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Right, right.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Then they take all the database and get everybody, and once they got the email, the money pulls, the thing falls, and it’s not organic, and it wasn’t spontaneous order anymore because we call it Steiger’s Law. Whenever you create an organization around a movement or a concept or an idea, sooner or later the organization—every time, not most of the time—every time the organization becomes more important than the reason you created it. And that is what they are doing. They’re trying to support this entity, or they can bleed off on or use, or it’s a block of votes they can go and lobby with or something.
And I’m going, that is not what libertarians are about, and it’s gotten big enough and influential enough, and the contact has gone from our first emails in ’93 when we started finding out a bunch of legislation and concepts being down to every municipality across the planet. And we’re going, ah, we’re up against a philosophy, and they, them, those won’t leave us alone. When you have enough people understand that and get the education from the things that you’re talking about and be able to incorporate this into an opinion, they’re going away. And it’s so neon-obvious, but they’re desperate. They’re desperate to get some little in into this libertarian movement, and the easiest way, cheapest way is the Libertarian Party. But they don’t realize how small that is in the scope of everything.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah.
ERNEST HANCOCK: In my opinion.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: All right, well, look, my brother. I’ve got to go, but good talking to you. Thanks for having me on, and if you want to do something else some other time, we can do it.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Constantly. I’m going to bug the living crap out of you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: All right, man.
ERNEST HANCOCK: All right, hey. Thanks, Stephan, for coming on, man. It was awesome.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Keep up the good work.
ERNEST HANCOCK: Thank you. You too, brother. Bye.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Bye.