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Patents and Copyrights: Why they matter. What they mean for the freedom movement.

There is a long running thread on the Daily Paul that has been attacking the idea of intellectual property.

Why?

Since the answer seems somewhat opaque, perhaps we should look to some of the giants behind the philosophy that drives us to search for freedom, liberty and unbridled capitalism.

First up... Ayn Rand.

"Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind." —Ayn Rand, 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal'

"What the patent and copyright laws acknowledge is the paramount role of mental effort in the production of material values; these laws protect the mind’s contribution in its purest form: the origination of an idea. The subject of patents and copyrights is intellectual property.

An idea as such cannot be protected until it has been given a material form. An invention has to be embodied in a physical model before it can be patented; a story has to be written or printed. But what the patent or copyright protects is not the physical object as such, but the idea which it embodies. By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence." —Ayn Rand, 'Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal'

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/patents_and_copyrights.html

Let us look also to the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, without whose works of genius we might not have the rationale and poetry to rely on as the foundation of our country and our individual rights:

"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."
—Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson, Monticello, August 13, 1813

And in the Constitution:

"The Congress shall have Power To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"
—U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8

http://rack1.ul.cs.cmu.edu/jefferson/

Finally, let us look to Ron Paul, the man whose very name graces this web site, and responses stemming from his campaign of 2008. Ron apparently takes issue with patents that discourage innovation (and who doesn't), but he still supports patent protection for inventors and businesses:

(First quotation)
"People complain about taxes being the main hindrance of innovation, but when someone creates a new product, be it an iPhone or a Blackberry, they aren't looking out for the tax man. The main hindrance to American technological innovation is a patent system that rewards people for sitting on ideas and punishes those who create new products.

It has become an accepted fact that when you create something new, you will likely have to pay companies that had nothing whatsoever to do with your invention, just because they filed a patent while never intending to actually produce or sell anything."

(Second quotation)
"Patents have a role to play in encouraging innovation. While I do not have a plan for patent reform yet, I would want to work with Congress to make sure that the US patent system encourages and rewards innovation. Making sure the patent system is fair to small business and entrepreneurs, rewards the actual inventors of a product, and does not tilt the playing field to large corporations will be a priority in my administration's approach to patent law."

http://interviews.slashdot.org/story/08/02/05/1511225/Ron-Pa...

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why is this thread still going?is it a year old?

Maybe it should be tossed in OFF TOPIC with 9/11.

Because IP is a massive gaping hole in anarchist logic.

The reason that IP is such a big issue around here, is that anarcho-capitalists cannot explain how society would function without patent rights. Intellectual property essentially cuts the ground from under their position, and they are struggling to explain it away.

Every single argument they have regarding the "evils" of intellectual property come from philosophical reasoning, and not from economic or logical reasoning.

Since they cannot explain how patent rights can be enforced in a stateless society, some of them are actually taking the ridiculous position that stealing someones hard work without accreditation or consent is moral in this case.

Challenge everything and the path will be clear.

If you sold it to me...

I can't steal it.

There's some logic for you.

Also, since we're arguing against patent rights in the first place there is absolutely no burden for us to "explain how patent rights can be enforced in a stateless society."

Silly pants.

NOTE: I am not advocating violence in any way. The content of the post is for intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical discussion. FEDS, please don't come to my house.

And if you didn't pay for it?

And if you didn't pay for it?

Also, you might be arguing against intellectual property rights, I'm not. IP rights are no different from other property rights, but kids who have grown up knowing only a world where digital theft is commonplace and accepted among a certain demographic still have problems seeing or understanding this.

Anarcho-capitalists support IP.

Read some Murray Rothbard. FAKE anarcho-capitalists don't. They don't support patent though, just copyright and apply copyright to inventions rather than patents.

You've been ZAMPED!!!!!!!

Zamp -- You are generalizing and simplifying Rothbard

He was against Patents -- clearly (all patents).

He was in favor of "some" copyrights -- but not (all).

His posiiton is inconsistent in the latter, in regard to a free-society, because it gives "Gov't" not the individual the right to decide "which" copyrights are to be protected.

Reduce the question to this: "How can you have a states-rule society like RP wants and have ever expanding IP Reach?"

Pro-IP people want Centralized IP Rights -- They are against States-Rights to Decide on this matter -- we are no where near (obviously) consumer-rule (Mises' Consumer-Sovereignty).

Beyond that Pro-IP want International IP Rights -- How is this "small gov't" -- how does this lead to a free-society?

Present evidence for your claim that Rothbard

was only in favor of "some" copyrights. He even said copyright should be extended to inventions to take the place of patents: "Part of the patent protection now obtained by an inventor could be achieved on the free market by a type of "copyright" protection. Thus, inventors must now mark their machines as being patented. The mark puts the buyer on notice that the invention is patented and that they cannot sell that article. But the same could be done to extend the copyright system, and without patent. In the purely free market, the inventor could mark his machine copyright, and then anyone who buys the machine buys it on the condition that he will not
reproduce and sell such a machine for profit." ccs.in/lacs/7patents_copyrights.pdf

And your claim that he gives the government the right to decide what copyrights are protected is false. It's natural right.

In regard to your questions about States versus Federal Government, it doesn't apply. Intellectual property is a natural right, whether states or the federal government protect that natural right or whether no one protects it.

You've been ZAMPED!!!!!!!

Zamp: You refuted nothing

I agree with you on what Rothbard said save that he did not create a list of what's in and what's not in; meaning there's interpirtations to be made.

Question #1 -- which you did not answer is "who decides?"

Who decides under Corporatism, Capitalism, or Free-Market?

Question #2 -- do IP Laws increase the size of Central Authority (and international) or does it Decrease?

Rothbard wanted the courts to be privatized (in all matters) do you agree to that?

If that is true than how (without a central decider) would IP Rights get universal agree-ance? Rothbard never argued for a Supreme Court (not State or Central). Is it not possible then that some courts would rule differently -- also, in a free-society we would have to agree on which court to use, otherwise we might suspect the other of bribery or favor-trading, correct?

In a Rothbardian Free-Society how do you get me into court -- if you say private security force then know that I have private security force too -- ooops.

I don't care what Rothbard supported

If he had a rationale to justify government control of the use of conceptual abstractions, cite his argument, and let's discuss it.

Why don't you care...

what Rothbard supported? I worship and idolize no man. Not even my "hero" Jefferson. And even though I disagree with Rothbard on many things I respect him and care about trying to understand his opinions.

.
~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

We don't have to explain how patent rights would be protected

in a stateless society, our argument is that they ARE NOT RIGHTS, but fiat privileges.

Do you believe in natural rights

or not? If a person builds a car, does the fact that he labored built make that his private property? That is, is it a natural right that he may use force to stop anyone that tries to use his car?

You've been ZAMPED!!!!!!!

By nature, ideas can be used by an infinite number of people

at the same exact time.

By nature matter and space cannot, this is why it is an injustice to take a mans car AWAY from him, because then he cannot use it.

It is not an injustice to admire a mans mind and imitate it, because he still has his mind, and his ideas.

YOU don't understand natural rights.

You don't understand natural private property rights.

It is the right to prevent others from using what you created. It doesn't have to involve taking away. It has to do with using, whether taking away or using directly in front of you or allowing you to use at the same time.

An unlimited number of people using your invention only doesn't deprive you of use if you consent to that. If you don't consent and other people use your invention, then you're being deprived of the use of your invention, because you want to be the only one that uses it. Not allowing others of using your invention IS A USE. Property rights are about being the absolute ruler over the product of your labor. If you are using my property against my consent, even though I may use it at the same time, you're denying me rule over myself and the product of my labor.

You've been ZAMPED!!!!!!!

Wrong

You don't even know what rights or property even are, let alone understand them.

Don't think about apples! I command you not to think about apples! Why are you thinking about apples when I have commanded you not to think about apples! Your still doing it! How dare you continue to think about apples right in front of me when I expressly told you not to! You are doing it to spite me aren't you? Who put you up to this? Who made you think about apples! What is their name? Where do they live! Tell me who they are so that I may report them to the ministry of patent !!!

What's this? Now you are getting hungry for an apple? Don't you touch that physical apple that belongs to you! I thought of apples first! They are mine, mine, mine! I wanted to be the only one who thought to eat an apple!!!

IT'S NOT FAIR!!!! I WANT MY GOVERNMENT!!!

Gotta go, I will explain better later, but for now just reflect on this little tale.

Prove that you're the originator of the idea of an apple,

and prove that I copied your idea rather then getting the idea of an apple from someone else or from seeing an apple. First do no harm. Only penalize people when there is no reasonable doubt that they stole the idea from someone.

Secondly, memory often isn't voluntary, so you couldn't justly punish someone for remembering some idea you made known anyway. If someone does choose to remember your idea when they could have willed to forget it, you still have to be able to prove that that's what went on in their mind.

So, you see, what you think is a problem with natural law is actually just a problem determining whether natural law was violated and what to do about it.

You've been ZAMPED!!!!!!!

You don't get the point of my skit.

Whoever discloses information, is responsible for it's being given away. When one gives information away it is no longer exclusively in their knowledge, because of what THEY did, it is THEIR fault that the idea is public. IP monopoly law persecutes the wrong person, it seeks to control the person who peacefully received information that the discloser chose to give away.

Exclusive right to conceptual abstractions is surrendered upon disclosure, BY NATURE! Jefferson points this out in his famous letter to Isaac McPherson:

"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."

It is the responsibility of the one that disclosed the information to find a way to out manuever/out flank the market, before nature takes it's course and the information is widely in use.

IP monopoly law is against natural law and Jefferson points this out repeatedly in his famous letter to Isaac McPherson:

"It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may
exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of
it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his
taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without
lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property."

He then goes on to point out that things get complicated, and people are going to object, when you deviate from natural law, and enact manmade laws not based on the laws of nature. He's saying that even though natural law is against it, society can still ignore this and do it anyway, but nations that have not were just as innovative as england that had. He even calls IP monopoly law an embarrassment. It was an embarrassment to copy England by enacting monopoly law, because it is the abandonment of sound natural law principles, and violation of natural rights, for the perceived "benefit of society":

"Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody. Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce
more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices. Considering the exclusive right to
invention as given not of natural right, but for the benefit of society, I know well the difficulty of drawing a line between the things which are worth to the public the embarrassment of an exclusive patent, and those which are not. As a member of the patent board for several years, while the law
authorized a board to grant or refuse patents, I saw with what slow progress a system of general rules could be matured."

When it comes to IP monopoly law, as much as I love Ron, he is not a philosopher, and he is CERTAINLY NOT A JEFFERSONIAN on this issue, there is NO evidence that Paul has given any serious thought to the matter, he most likely just figured that as congressman he would just accept that if the constitution grants the privilege, he would run with it.

Jefferson clearly supported property rights

"It is agreed by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no individual has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land, for instance. By an universal law, indeed, whatever, whether fixed or movable, belongs to all men equally and in common, is the property for the moment of him who occupies it; but when he relinquishes the occupation, the property goes with it. Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society."

Take a moment to consider that last sentence:

"Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society."

He defends property rights as part of society's progress!

Further, he states:

"Considering the exclusive right to invention as given not of natural right, but for the benefit of society, I know well the difficulty of drawing a line between the things which are worth to the public the embarrassment of an exclusive patent, and those which are not. As a member of the patent board for several years, while the law authorized a board to grant or refuse patents, I saw with what slow progress a system of general rules could be matured.

He disliked the system, even considered exclusive patents an "embarrassment", but could not avoid negating his own personal distaste in favor of property, and by extension patent, rights.

WOW! A WRONG ARGUMENT! I'M PROUD OF YOU MY CHEESY MAN!

A wrong argument is better than none at all!

Jefferson was saying that strictly by nature, and by his accepted definition, property was yours while you were using it, but the moment you left it, it ceased to be your property, but social law could declare that you could walk away from your house and expect it to still be yours when you returned. Jefferson believed in the traditional Lockeian theory of appropriation, that resources could be taken as property from the unowned state of nature, by ones mixing their physical labour with the physical material (homesteading). He also believed that continued use was required to avoid abandonment. This position of John Locke's is what he was referring to when he said "those who have seriously considered the subject."

John Locke also put a limitation on homesteading appropriation, called the "Lockeian provisio." He believed that you could only homestead "enough as good" as was left for everybody else.

Jefferson believed in the ancient, primitive, Lockeian, theory of original appropriation. Most all people, especially libertarians, especially capitalist libertarians have rejected Locke's provisio, and the idea that as soon as you left it, you surrendered your property rights. Modern libertarians for the most part believe in "no-provisio Lockeian," or another name for it "neo- Lockeian" appropriation, which is a slight evolution and perfection of the theory that states that mixing your labour with unowned matter does not make it inherently yours, it makes it yours in the sense that you were first to incorporate that matter into the project that is your life. The debate in modern appropriation theory is over how long one must cease using property before it can be logically seen as abandoned, and how one would determine if it has been.

This ALL deals with MATTER, NOT CONCEPTUAL ABSTRACTIONS, OR THE EXCLUSIVE USE/CONTROL OF "THEM".

NO, I repeat >NO< property appropriation theory I ever heard of has proposed a justification for exclusive control of conceptual abstractions. That is why Jefferson wrote this letter in the first place!

The ENTIRE letter is Jefferson ripping on, and ridiculing the notion of such monopolies, in an attempt to educate Isaac McPherson, this is why there was no term "IP" in use at the time, and why Jefferson called these monopolies an EMBARRASSMENT!!!

This is why it is SO hilarious to watch you try and use, of ALL THINGS, this letter to justify these monopolies.

It speaks volumes, to the stunningly incredible depths of your zealously and boldly displayed ignorance.

No single person in the history of thought, has FAILED as dynamically as you have over last few months.

It has been tantamount to watching a perpetual Hindenburg disaster, in slow motion.

Thou hast destroyed thyself! May God have mercy on your ignorant soul.

Still waiting for someone to submit a rebuttal to this comment.

It's sad that I invest effort into educating you guys, with a thorough explanation of appropriation theory as far as it applies to intellectual monopoly privilege, and all you guys do is ignore it, deny the facts, and just say I'm wrong.

Well tell me where this comment is wrong, cut and paste where I said something false.

LOL!

Agora is a hoot... LMAO!... and once again missing the mark.

Saying I am a "hoot"

and "missing the mark" is not rational argumentation. Your really bad at that.

And Agora keeps misspelling "you're"

But that's perfectly alright. LOL!

I know the difference

between your and you're. I still make typos. But at least I understand that this usage "your way" doesn't mean that the "way" is the intellectual property of the person who prefers that "way." But you believe that when one has a patent on a conceptual abstraction, "your idea" means the idea is somehow property! LOL!

Too bad Thomas Jefferson did not write his famous letter to Velveeta Underground instead of Isaac McPherson, I think you need it a lot more than he did! LOL!

There is no victim.

If one, as Jefferson said "divulges" or discloses an idea, that is their fault, because THEY did it.

This is elementary cause and affect.

Who is WE?

LOL!

Now Agora tries to create the illusion there are masses of people who support his theft-as-philosophy.

I don't have time to teach

I don't have time to teach you reading comprehension, your just too dumb. From this point on I'm only responding to your comments if they are rational arguments to the validity of patent, copyright, or trademark law.

So...

You won't be responding any more?

NOTE: I am not advocating violence in any way. The content of the post is for intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical discussion. FEDS, please don't come to my house.