Comment: I posted this on Wenzel's blog

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I posted this on Wenzel's blog

Let me know what you think:

Here is another way IP could be enforced under private law. Kinsella keeps harping on the fact that property rights can only be assigned to rivalrous goods and that information is not rivalrous because it can be copied by another without preventing consumption by the original person. I disagree, but, for the sake of argument, let's assume he is right.

Well, what if we make a certain piece of information rivalrous? The pro-IP crowd admits that some information is rivalrous, such as bitcoins. Consumption of a bitcoin by one person prevents consumption of the bitcoin by another. I keep thinking about Strangerous Thought's Fallacy # 4, where he compares copying of IP to counterfeiting by inflating a currency.

Here is what I have in mind. Simply bind a particular copy of the information to physical property. Here is an example. Let's say I want to sell an e-book for $30. I will use dollars for simplicity, but in practice it could be some non-fiat currency. I sell the book for $31, and make the e-book copy a certificate of deposit for $1. Verification of the certificate could be based on a digital fingerprint of the e-book, which could include a copy number worked into the fingerprint, so that multiple copies of the e-book could be issued, each copy for a different $1 deposited by a different purchaser.

Now the purchaser can use the e-book to get his $1 back, he can sell the e-book to someone else, but he can't copy it. Copying the e-book would result in two certificates of deposit for the same $1, which would be tantamount to counterfeiting or fraud. Thus, the e-book becomes, in a sense, money.

Other examples include making the copy a share to the stock of a company, or making the copy into another type of financial instrument tied to some physical property.

I welcome comments and criticisms.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson