9 votes

Update: Robert Wenzel - Stephan Kinsella IP Debate - April 1, 5pm ET

Update: Here is the link to the interview. And here is the YouTube:


http://youtu.be/cNZujsBZMBQ

My debate with Stephan Kinsella over intellectual property is tomorrow. The debate will be posted here at EPJ and by Kinsella at his site, at 5:00 PM ET on April 1.

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2013/04/debate-on.html



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Dear Bob,

Please take the time to learn the definition of 'straw man'.

And, then, promise to never show up at a gunfight with a q-tip again.

Bob doesn't understand....

that unlike physical objects, ideas can be in rightful full possession of multiple people simultaneously.

We can't both rightfully fully possess the same chair at the same time, but we both can have the same idea.

'Copying Is Not Theft'

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

What an incredibly pointless debate.

What on earth is the point of a libertarian/ancap debating another libertarian/ancap and then prancing around like a child afterword? Perhaps Wenzel should stop wasting time preaching to the choir and instead publicly debate the well-known statists who actually want to destroy our freedoms.

There are larger issues than IP facing our world today. Here are two men who probably agree on 99.9% of the issues, yet they're wasting their time arguing about that .1% and then acting like they're smarter for it. Pathetic.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.

www.simplefactsplainarguments.com

Please share

Do you possess the list of acceptable debate topics?

Yes

They include Musselman's versus Motts applesauce

and

Reptilians versus Illuminati.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.

www.simplefactsplainarguments.com

whew

I'm safe.

My God...

Bob Wenzel has reached new levels of childish petulance.

I love his site, but he is an ass.

He really goes off the rails around 30 minutes in.

Here's a few gems:

"I'm gonna destroy you Stefan"

"You are a sloppy writer."

"You are a sloppy writer an you don't know what the hell you are talking about."

Your thinking is so bad, it is so sloppy, it needs to be destroyed, that's what I'm gonna do to you."

Who thinks this is a valid way to debate people?

This is how children behave!

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

Yeah, that's Wenzel lol

You can tell by reading his blog long enough. That's the way the guy is imo.

feel the same..need to take shower after listening to it in full

Initially, I was neutral. And I do 'get' that Wenzel's heavy accent, slightly accusatory interview style, ie. vs. Rand, Molyneux, et al, can be a turn off. But after listening to the whole interview, I truly cannot believe how intellectually childish he is! It was like watching O' Reilly press someone with non-sequiturs for 2+ hrs!

First of all, he could not define what IP, or at least his own understanding of it, what it is, can be, or even should be.

He couldn't parse rivalry/competition vs. scarcity.

He couldn't parse Rothbard's description of mousetrap (a patent) erroneously described in general as a "copyright." Nor his "perpetuity" in context of the discussion.

I LOVE Murray N. Rothbard! But even so, for one to be correct about IP, or discuss a new way forward, there is no galactic dictate that we MUST adhere to the Church/Synagogue of Rothbard for one to press forth in intellectually challenging, amending, or evolving the notion of IP: Wenzel's whole argument was based on the fact that Kinsella 'seemed' to be 'denigrating' Wenzel's understanding of what Murray said about IP, not what the definition of IP is or is not, or why Kinsella believes it goes against private property.

I was initially kinda ticked off that, indeed, as far as childish name-calling goes, Kinsella never denied initiating calling Wenzel "a weasel, a clown," etc. And he CLEARLY evaded admitting that for the 1st 10minutes. And resorted to instead of admitting calling Wenzel a "weasel" he tried revisionism and proceeded to put it in the context of "oh I thought you would've weaseled out of the debate," which is even more obnoxious as that statement assumes that Wenzel lacks the intellectual capacity to debate him on merits of IP, and is assuming someone wouldn't debate him, without ever inviting the would be debate opponent to a debate, to begin with.

That said, beyond the spat over personal ego, emotional sensitivity of being called names, on the meat, merit and content of the IP discussion itself, Kinsella cleaned his clock.

Wenzel almost had me with his "Drudge Traffic Formula" example. But lost me completely when he couldn't answer the reality of lack of a formula's scarcity and originality: his formula WOULD have to be based on previous and similar formulae as all algorithms are based on mathematical and functional construct based on known variables, or unknown extrapolated variable related to the sphere of a given problem to solve; ALL formulas are evolutions of previous ones, as one can only solve a 'problem' if the veracity of the existence of A problem's existence must first be acknowledged, and previous attempts MUST have been made to resolve that said problem with previous paradigm/status quo before moving on to attempt to resolve it, with a 'new' solution.

If they agree that for a patent to be a patent, even in the current paradigm, that something MUST BE "scarce," the fact your solution maybe considered a "novel" one, but not wholly original, and the fact that anyone observant watching it can copy/reverse engineer and come up with even a SIMILAR solution to call it their own, themselves, ironically makes it not 'scarce.'

If Wenzel could have described his own case for patent/IP to be protected (by the State!) at least with that intellectual rational, he'd have a point. But all he could do is quote Rothbard in and out of context, as if reciting a previously known author/intellectual no matter how highly regarded automatically makes reality, definition, and truth go away.

And, Wenzel repeatedly used the erroneous example of lending car to a friend, and then having that friend come around and claiming it as his as a violation of IP, even though he knows now he's talking patented item (A physical car) and violation of what was an initially voluntary contractual arrangement (letting the friend use it with the understanding it will be returned).

Gotta say, after listening to it all, I'd say Kinsella's initial unfair a-priori childish name-calling is somewhat fitting; Wenzel frankly lived up to the ridicule.

It was so sad listening to Wenzel lose it, after having read the speech he made to the NY Fed. that utterly destroyed the central bankers on their own turf.

Yikes. Hope they make up, at the next Mises conference. Or suppose we'd get to see the not so NAP Austrian on Austrian fisticuffs.o(

Predictions in due Time...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGDisyWkIBM

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." - Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul

at first, I felt the same way

However, after listening to it again, reading Kinsella's book, seeing the follow up posts by Wenzel, and reading Cwik's critique of Kinsella (here: http://mises.org/journals/scholar/cwik3.pdf), I think Wenzel is on to something and that Rothbard is correct.

I am preparing a post that criticizes Kinsella's view, which will hopefully be up in the next couple of days.

BTW, Rothbard did not confuse patent and copyright with the mousetrap example. What Rothbard was saying is that the concept of copyright could also be applied to inventions, by adding a restrictive covenant to the sale of the invention that prevents the buyer from copying the invention.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Re: Rothbard,

BTW, Rothbard did not confuse patent and copyright with the mousetrap example. What Rothbard was saying is that the concept of copyright could also be applied to inventions, by adding a restrictive covenant to the sale of the invention that prevents the buyer from copying the invention.

um, that's exactly what I was referring to (at least in my mind, as I was replying/typing. LOL!):

He couldn't parse Rothbard's description of mousetrap (a patent) erroneously described in general as a "copyright." Nor his "perpetuity" in context of the discussion.

I was simply assuming for anyone who listened to the entire 'debate' in full, the fact that I was referring to the "the concept of copyright could also be applied to inventions, by adding a restrictive covenant to the sale of the invention that prevents the buyer from copying the invention"-portion of the discussion on the contractual context would be clear, whether one agrees with that point or not. So, didn't feel the need to elaborate.

The original intent and purpose of the debate was to explore what IP is, what the definition of it was, is, or should/should not be, practical application, principled vs. consequentialist view, direction to move forth from a non-statist protectorate, and possibly moving forward toward a more voluntaryist POV.

NOT, whether what Rothbard or Mises said or did not say what IP should or should not be taken as an immutable gospel, aside from a contextual reference point.

Plus, Kinsella plainly stated that he disagreed with Rothbard, in the manner, description and the particular interpretation of that copyright/patent/IP/covenant stipulations/post-usage Wenzel was putting forth.

I don't have a dog in the fight, aside from the fact that purely from a observer's POV, Wenzel should not be debating Kinsella, a professional patent lawyer, if Wenzel couldn't even define what HIS own understanding of what IP is, for his debate opponent to agree or rebut.

Attempting to cite-off 16pts of disagreements with your opponent is NOT what anyone with an ounce of intellectual pedigree would call a "definition," of the focal point of the debate over the very topic and definition of the concept (Intellectual Property) that you are purporting to argue for.

Predictions in due Time...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGDisyWkIBM

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." - Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul

here is my write-up

http://www.dailypaul.com/280705/intellectual-property-as-usu...

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

here's mine:

http://www.dailypaul.com/comment/3026576

Predictions in due Time...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGDisyWkIBM

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." - Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul

Don't know much about Wenzel

...maybe he is a cool guy but he came off as a hurt ego, arguing a smarter guy. I Googled Stephan and found some great videos though.

Wow, I don't really know Bob Wenzel

But just by listening to this, I can just assume that he is one of the stupidest people I've ever heard. Those were some Bill O'Reilly type debate tactics.

He refused to answer regarding what his position on IP was; he could not even give a definition of IP. This was extremely disappointing. Kinsella wanted a debate and Wenzel wanted to give a lecture like some sleazy politician. Pathetic...

I was disappointed they were so emotional

You guys wasted 75% of the time insulting each other.

To me it could have been cleared up simply. Does Wenzel believe IP is justification for a state?

If he thinks it could be done with private contracts, and I suspect he does, then I don't think even Kinsella would disagree.

I think however the question is more general. Property is property by virtue of ownership. I had this argument with Dr Block, where he argued that things were property (unless they were superabundant).

I argued that things were not property unless they were owned, superabundant or not. Whether something is owned depends on whether it worth the cost to the owner to assert and maintain ownership. If it's not worth it to me to do so, it's highly unlibertarian to insist that the thing is still my property.

The example is a pond which is communally fished. You can have property in the commons, even if not superabundant, merely because it's not worth it to anyone to assert ownership.

I don't see IP as different in kind. It's just that the cost of maintaining ownership is much much higher and, in a statist society, there is temptation to socialize the cost onto your fellow man.

That's the part that's wrong.

If ITUNES can keep their IP secure, with encryption or some DMA they force a customer to use as a condition of use, then fine.

However if they fail, do NOT ask me to fund putting someone in a cage because you failed to do so.

If they fail then the IP in question is superabundant. Do not try to socialize onto me the cost of turning a now superabundant resource into a scarce one!

Kinsella makes a reference to "the hobbit"

Go to 14:30 and he will ask the other guy "do you know what is in my left pocket?"

Few understand here

that the true heir of von Mises is George Reisman, not Rothbard. Since historically Libertarians were stuck with Rothbard, they inherited the carzy anarchism streak and non-agression principle as a sole cognitive tool regardless of contect. Ignoring Ayn Rand (George Reisman embraced both Mises and Ayn Rand) resulted in Libertarian movement being weak on reason and high on emotions, on average, as soon as it steps outside Mises.

Far from it. The reason the

Far from it.

The reason the Rothbard branch has taken off is because it's coherent.

The question any minarchist has to answer is whence the justification for ethical asymmetry. How can it be permissible for one man to do something another man cannot? All statist, ie collectivist, philosophies wind up being apologia for that question, whether divine right or majority rule or the common good as decided by the party, of course.

If you believe in government by the people, the people cannot delegate any right or power they do not have individually.

Rand and Mises, wonderful as they were, and rightly despising collectivism, yet were themselves collectivists, because they could not bring themselves to fully deny ethical asymmetry required even for a minimal state, which is to say, their philosophies were based on fundamental immorality.

Even Rothbard envisioned some universal libertarian law that would somehow be accepted by nearly all, even if he would have them be administered by private courts.

The body of knowledge supporting a free society is large and grows every day. The question isn't whether it would work, if you do question that you haven't been reading, and you've never been camping

The valid question is whether it's feasible or possible to achieve with all of the world indoctrinated into evil. But if the bad guys don't manage to shut down the internet, I think it is possible, perhaps inevitable, given time.

What you statists need to answer is, why so afraid? Why is it so important not to even allow some small geographic area to be free? If you're so sure it wouldn't work, surely statism will be vindicated and freedom will fail.

Summary of the debate here

http://www.dailypaul.com/280355/a-review-of-the-kinsella-wen...

Don't bother listening. It is entertaining for the first 15 minutes or so, but impossible to listen to after that. It is cringeworthy.

allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

I agree with RMS

The term "Intellectual Property" is misleading. Copyright is copyright. Trademark is trademark. Patent is patent. You can't generalize about them in any meaningful way.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html

Sure you can and I do. IP is

Sure you can and I do. IP is a product of the mind that has value when manifested by some physical representation of it. That's IP which in our world we call patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Property is an abstraction by definition. It can be whatever we want it to be as inscribed in law. Humans were property at one time. Animals are property today. "Property" is a device used for the sake of creating a more civil and just society. And IP fulfills that purpose too.

Did you read the link?

You can say that copyright, trademark, and patent are all artificial constructs of property, and that they are all intangible, but that's about it.

You can't have meaningful discussion about the purpose, goals, or policy in such abstract terms. The term "Intellectual Property" only serves to obfuscate and confuse.

Anyone who wants meaningful discussion should reject the term and discuss the three distinct issues at hand.

Oh, yeah! Bring on the down

Oh, yeah! Bring on the down votes! Must be against civil and just societies... who wouldn't? Gotta luv DP! ;)

I like Jefferson's position, as usual

I am constantly surprised at how supportive everyone is of IP (even libertarians), even though you can't write a basic application today without accidentally violating some IP.

"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

I swear sometimes I think he had a crystal ball.

I believe that society is harmed if people can own ideas. Try to hide your ideas from observation if you want to own them. Otherwise there can be no reasonable protection.

- Grow Mushrooms at Home
http://subfarms.com

And btw, the letter Jefferson

And btw, the letter Jefferson wrote to McPherson was in the midst of a legal dispute in which Jefferson was somehow entangled. The quote you selected is taken out of context.

TJ was not attacking IP but rather qualifying it. He was lamenting that the law could be better - not that he was against IP.

From the same letter:

"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."

http://www.temple.edu/lawschool/dpost/mcphersonletter.html

Then you'll be happy to know

Then you'll be happy to know that TJ was the father of patent law in the US, the first patent examiner and even proposed to Madison that IP should be protected by constitutional amendment in the BoR.

He wrote in a letter to B. Vaughan 1790 -

"An act of Congress authorising the issuing patents for new discoveries has given a spring to invention beyond my conception. Being an instrument in granting the patents, I am acquainted with their discoveries. Many of them indeed are trifling, but there are some of great consequence which have been proved by practice, and others which if they stand the same proof will produce great effect."

Does that now make you a supporter of IP? If anything, we can say that TJ was ambivalent on IP.

You do realize that the

You do realize that the letter sited of Jefferson's in which he condemned IP is dated 23 years after the letter, of his, which you sited; right?

Also, back then the FBI, and Secret Service didn't police the world protecting IP. For one, those two organizations didn't even exist at the time; but the owners of the IP policed it themselves and the IP (patent, copy-write, etc) was to be used in court to identify who created it and when. Now it costs millions of dollars protecting IP, which the companies who own the IP aren't even paying for because they are able to lower their tax burden via the 80k pages of tax law. So, we the average ordinary individuals who pay our taxes are the ones paying for the protection of GE's Patents since GE pays 0% taxes, and we pay for the policing and protecting of Apple's patents since Apple only pays 1.46% taxes.

Sure, I don't believe in taxes at all, but one cannot police the world over IP without having taxes; and if some one should directly pay for that service it should be those who's IP is being protected. This would cause those products to raise in price and those companies would have to decide what was actually important so they could reduce cost.

One cannot subsidize the negative costs of behaviour and simultaneously suggest that it is a worth-wile practice, while condemning the very same practice for ever other type of item, situation, or scenario. If one believes in subsidize negative costs for one area then why only that one particular area and not other areas?

As far as I know, TJ never

As far as I know, TJ never repudiated or expressed any regret over his role in establishing patent law in the US. Are you?

And don't conflate bad laws with the principle of IP. The government makes us use money. Does that mean money is bad?

"...but one cannot police the world over IP without having taxes..." Maybe. Maybe not. Fallacy of incredulity. Because you can't imagine a solution, there must not be one, right? Wrong.

Conflate much?

"The government makes us use money. Does that mean money is bad?"

The government forces us to use a fiat currency. A fiat currency is 'bad'.