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:


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.


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How do you suppose policing

How do you suppose policing the world for IP violations would be free? If you agree that people will require being paid to do such a job, and machines would cost money to purchase, and travel will cost money, then you must agree that policing the world for IP violations will cost money. If it is going to cost money, then that money needs to come from somewhere i.e. a tax of one form or another.

Therefore, it is not me who cannot imagine a solution, it is I who realizes that to do what you would want to do -police the world to protect IP- is going to cost money, and lots of it -as it currently does today.

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

I like your strawman. The 'bad laws' are the reason that we have corporations trying to patent everything; why not, they're not paying for the policing of it. Without the subsidizing of the cost of IP protection -via the tax code, we wouldn't even be having IP discussions, because the companies sure as hell aren't going to want to pay for trying to police the world to protect their IP. So yes, the current IP discussions are a direct result of the Tax law which essentially allows companies to have their property protected worldwide for free; what -IP intensive- company wouldn't support that?

This is a market distortion. If Apple had to pay for the IP protection of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, those devices would cost a hell of a lot more than they currently do, while Apple would be taking less of a profit on the devices sold. However, the people who cannot afford to purchase an Apple product, or those who just don't want an Apple product, wouldn't be subsidizing the cost of protecting Apple Products; therefore leaving the cost burden of IP protection where it rightfully belongs, and that is, at the feet of the owner of the IP and the customers who purchase said products.


I used the term, 'conflate', before I read your response. Hopefully I did not break any IP laws.

oh, wait ..... The post, to which you responded, used the word.

You may get sued.

i'd like to listen to this

pretty obvious to me that you can't own information.

you can possess it. you can try to keep others from getting it.

but once something is out there, and you have the cognitive or technological skills to possess it yourself - then inherently it is what it is.

there is no final authority on ownership of information, therefore it's a man-made construction of the mind to believe you can own it.

OF course you can own

Of course you can own information. Do you believe in self-ownership? What if I told you that your thoughts are just so much information... Since you can't own information, then you obviously don't own your thoughts so you then don't own You.

If you don't support IP, you can't support self-ownership either since all you really are is information.

You can keep it

in your head.

Once it is outside of your brain, you have shared it with the world.

smoke weed every day?

Then by your analogy - Information only owns itself

then there is no contradiction


Yes, the mind is living

Yes, the mind is living information. Living in the sense that it is self-modifiable.

hear, hear

hear, hear

- Grow Mushrooms at Home


I'm very interested in Wenzel's take as he's one of the few Pro-IP libertarians I know of. He's also a hardcore Rothbardian libertarian, so I imagine his view does not involve the State as enforcer.

Any libertarians looking to understand or refine their position on IP should definitely tune into this one!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I'm a libertarian anarchist

I'm a libertarian anarchist who supports IP. There are others contrary to what Kinsella tells himself.


Do you have any other resources that present the pro-IP libertarian side well?

I haven't had a chance to listen to the interview...but other than abortion, IP has probably been the most difficult issue for me to craft a clear position on so far.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

MarcMadness- Might sound


Might sound strange, but I just wanted to say that I appreciate your humble acknowledgment of not knowing it all, and your genuine intellectual curiosity about opposing views.

So often, people on here - including myself - are so reflexively entrenched in preconceived notions that they never bother to undertake the task of inquiring about, let alone truly understanding, an opposing viewpoint.

Your comment serves for me as a refreshing reminder that popping one's collar is not nearly as productive as picking another's brain.

So, genuinely, thanks.

Unfortunately, I couldn't

Unfortunately, I couldn't make it past 40 mins. Too much arguing and not enough debate.

Regarding pro-IP arguments, here are some...

Herbert Spencer -


Lysander Spooner -


Frederic Bastiat (in French but Google translator does a decent job) -



Ayn Rand
Robert Nozick

Kinsella would have us believe that these people were just plain idiots. Uh, yeah.

Another argument that I haven't seen is that to be anti-IP is also to be against self-ownership. If you consider that your thoughts are just information, then should you be allowed to "own" yourself if you can't own IP? I don't think this argument would have been apparent prior to the Information Age.

I've read Kinsella and have

I've read Kinsella and have found his thoughts on IP appealing. I continue to be open to persuasion on the subject, which is why I was looking forward to this "debate". What a colossal embarrassment it turned out to be.

Agree or disagree with Kinsella, at least he has a thorough knowledge of the subject matter as it is, and the ability to construct an argument as to how he thinks it should be. RW, on the other hand, is lacking in both.

It sounds like the "debate" would have been more productive had you stood in RW's stead.

Unfortunately, they both have

Unfortunately, they both have too much personal animosity towards each other that it just completely derailed the debate. They attacked each other and not the topic.

But I don't like debates. They're almost always a waste of time with everyone deciding that the guy they backed going in was the winner. In a debate, there has to be a winner and a loser with both sides irrationally intractable.

I prefer a dialectic to debate. But given RW and Kinsella seem to hate each other so much, a dialectic probably couldn't happen with them either.

It was pretty disappointing.


That guy's constant Rand bashing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I find him rather annoying.