Comment: This is Such an Interesting Topic

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This is Such an Interesting Topic

I am not a devote Libertarian because there are a number of principles espoused that I don't fully understand and or currently support. I claim ignorance on my part.

One of the beliefs is that copyrights and patents are an impediment to free markets. We are told by followers of Libertarian philosophy that ideas are not real property and therefore not subject to the concept of theft. Some of my fellow DP patrons who have posted on this topic believe that duplicating an idea created by another person without permission is not depriving the creator of the idea; that such an act spurs innovation and enhances the exploration of better ideas cloned from the original. I find this concept on its face hard to accept.

Here is my reasoning.

If a person invents something, he or she does so with the intention to profit from it. Yes, there are individuals who are altruistic and create ideas to share with the world and have no desire to receive a benefit from its creation other than the adulation of society. But this instance is the exception not the norm.

The process of creative thought is one of the many natural rights we are born with into this life. For example, an engineer in some industry (e.g., science, medicine, liberal arts, etc.) uses the application of knowledge and training to observe, question, theorize and suggest solutions to the real-world needs of society. Those suggestions or ideas, are fostered by their curiosity to: build machines to do simple or complex work, to cure disease, to entertain, etc. Since our minds are not connected together as in a matrix hive, their idea belongs to them alone. If they freely choose to share it with the world, that is their right to do so. But if they desire to keep the idea secret onto themselves until such time in the future, that is their right as well.

In order for the creator’s idea to maturate, mental energy must be expended to shape the idea into a workable solution. They must raise capital for development. They must build a prototype or working copy and test or critique it rigorously. Initially, the engineer will most always experience multiple episodes of failure during evolution of the idea which translates into a loss of money. Undaunted, he or she continues to pursue the idea because of their strong belief in themselves and the potential it offers to the free market.

Now along comes a second person and by whatever means, becomes aware of the engineer’s idea. The question becomes, does this person have the right to copy the engineer’s cumulative work, create a variation of it and benefit from that modification?

The Libertarian answer is yes, they should have that right because the original idea is intangible property and thoughts or ideas have no value. But ideas do have value to the creator and no one has the right to tell another person what is valuable and what is not. If an idea is in a stage of development whose end is to become tangible property, then what right does another person have to take it? To copy or duplicate is to take and to do so without permission from the originator of the idea and without some sort of remuneration for the effort already put forth is theft.

In my opinion that is wrong and the originator has the right to sue for tort in civil court.