Patents and Copyrights: Why they matter. What they mean for the freedom movement.Submitted by Velveeta Underground on Sun, 07/24/2011 - 00:58
There is a long running thread on the Daily Paul that has been attacking the idea of intellectual property.
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'
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
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:
"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."
"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."