Rothbard is inventing rights here. Imagine if going back in history the inventor of the wheel had patented it. Now Grog, seeing Groc's wheel copies it. Should Grog have had the the right to use violence against Groc to stop him from using the wheel? Also say Groc never wanted to sell his idea at all, he just wanted to keep others from using it? Imagine the stifling affect this would have had?
The fact is it takes TREMENDOUS resources to protect IP. I'm talking about the tremendous resources that only a massive government can provide. By definition, that massive government will also curtail all other kinds of individual rights.
IP is not property, Rothbard is wrong here. If you have an apple and I have an apple and we each give each other an apple, we both still have one apple. If I have an idea and you have an idea and we each give each our idea, we now each have two ideas. The advantage simply comes from being the originator, or first to market. IP simply breeds massive corporations who stifle innovation instead of thousands of smaller companies all collectively putting their collective power into building a better product.
Thomas Jefferson is the one who actually gets it right well before Rothbard's contradictory fumbles of logic:
"It has been pretended by some, (and in England especially,) that inventors have a natural and exclusive right to their inventions, and not merely for their own lives, but inheritable to their heirs. But while it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from nature at all, it would be singular to admit a natural and even an hereditary right to inventors. 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. 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.
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.
–Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson, 13 August 1813
"In reality, the Constitution itself is incapable of achieving what we would like in limiting government power, no matter how well written."
~ Ron Paul, End the Fed
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