joefromchicago
 
  6  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:22 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:

Why should copyright infringement be illegal?

The question is, why shouldn't it be?

I could understand it if you believed, like Proudhon, that all property is theft, but you clearly don't hold that position. Indeed, you approve of trespassing laws, and they merely protect the use of property.

So you're not anti-property, you're just anti-copyright -- and I'm having a difficult time seeing why you draw the line there. It appears, as best as I can tell, that you don't like intangible property. You're OK with telling people to stay off your lawn or keeping their mitts off your stuff, but it's the stuff you can't see that causes you some difficulties. It's like, if you can't touch it you can't own it. Is that your bottom line?
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:32 pm
@Night Ripper,
The core of Kinsella's case against intellectual property seems to be on pages 19-22:

Quote:
Let us take a step back and look afresh at the idea of property rights. Libertarians believe in property rights in tangible goods (resources). Why? What is it about tangible goods that makes them subjects for property rights? Why are tangible goods property?
A little reflection will show that it is these goods’ scarcity—the fact that there can be conflict over these goods by multiple human actors. The very possibility of conflict over a resource renders it scarce, giving rise to the need for ethical rules to govern its use. Thus, the fundamental social and ethical function of property rights is to prevent interpersonal conflict over scarce resources. [...]

ideas are not scarce. If I invent a technique for harvesting cotton, your harvesting cotton in this way would not take away the technique from me. I still have my technique (as well as my cotton). Your use does not exclude my use; we could both use my technique to harvest cotton. There is no economic scarcity, and no possibility of conflict over the use of a scarce resource. Thus, there is no need for exclusivity.
Similarly, if you copy a book I have written, I still have the original (tangible) book, and I also still “have” the pattern of words that constitute the book. Thus, authored works are not scarce in the same sense that a piece of land or a car are scarce. If you take my car, I no longer have it. But if you “take” a book-pattern and use it to make your own physical book, I still have my own copy. The same holds true for inventions and, indeed, for any “pattern” or information one generates or has. As Thomas Jefferson—himself an inventor, as well as the first Patent Examiner in the U.S.—wrote, “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.”62 Since use of another’s idea does not deprive him of its use, no conflict over its use is possible; ideas, therefore, are not candidates for property rights.

The trouble with this argument is that it only applies to inventions, music, texts, etc., that have already been produced. Once you consider the disincentive to produce them that an abolition of intellectual property rights would bring, intellectual assets are scarce, and the factual premise of Kinsella's case collapses.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:37 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
It's like, if you can't touch it you can't own it. Is that your bottom line?

It seems to be part of bottom line for the intellectual authority he cites---the other (and as I read it, more important) part being that intellectual property isn't economically scarce.

Speaking of authorities: I am not citing Ayn Rand because she is an intellectual authority to me. I'm citing her because, based on her general outlook on property and government, she ought to be an intellectual authority to Night Ripper. I'm just playing along with that general outlook as a courtesy---it is not my general outlook.
Pepijn Sweep
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 02:13 am
@Thomas,
I know...

Copyright turn us into visitors of a museum. Can you say you sat on the steps of the Acropolis, thought to take the gold of Delphi or watch your M8 thouch the but of a Kouros cq. Adonis ? Mr. Green Cool I swam in a lake on Mount Olymbus. I am spoiled & lazy but not a basterd, thank U very macho.
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  0  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:16 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
The trouble with this argument is that it only applies to inventions, music, texts, etc., that have already been produced. Once you consider the disincentive to produce them that an abolition of intellectual property rights would bring, intellectual assets are scarce, and the factual premise of Kinsella's case collapses.


Nice try but that's not what is meant by the claim that ideas are not scarce. It's not about the count of the total number of ideas but the amount of any particular idea in demand in comparison to the amount of that idea available. If you actually read the passage you quoted it should be quite clear.

If I take your plow, there's one less plow. It's scarce. If I take your idea for a plow, you keep the idea. It's not scarce.
Night Ripper
 
  0  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 08:20 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
So you're not anti-property, you're just anti-copyright -- and I'm having a difficult time seeing why you draw the line there. It appears, as best as I can tell, that you don't like intangible property. You're OK with telling people to stay off your lawn or keeping their mitts off your stuff, but it's the stuff you can't see that causes you some difficulties. It's like, if you can't touch it you can't own it. Is that your bottom line?


My bottom line is that intellectual property isn't compatible with the principles of libertarianism.

Property rights are based on scarcity. If we lived in a world where we had an unlimited to supply of everything then property rights would be meaningless. We could all have a mansion and a luxury car. Since that can't happen we have to work in some kind of system where property is owned.

Ideas aren't scarce. Yes, even if there were only one idea because we could still copy that idea an unlimited number of times.

Another problem with intellectual property is that it stakes a claim on property I already own. I own my pen and paper yet if I right a Harry Potter novel on it. I've broken a law. That's a limit on how I can use my own property.
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 09:05 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:
Property rights are based on scarcity. If we lived in a world where we had an unlimited to supply of everything then property rights would be meaningless. We could all have a mansion and a luxury car. Since that can't happen we have to work in some kind of system where property is owned.

It may very well be true that property rights are based on scarcity, but there's natural scarcity and there's artificial scarcity. If I write a novel but only make a single copy and allow no one to make copies of it, and I charge people to read my single copy, then I've created a scarce commodity, even though it's still only intellectual property that I'm protecting. I could make an unlimited supply of those copies, but I choose not to. There's nothing making it scarce except my own desire to make it scarce. Does that mean that the law should protect the intellectual property I have in my novel just because I've made it scarce?

There's really no reason to think that intellectual property is somehow "common" to everyone or that it is not -- potentially -- a scarce commodity. Indeed, the only reason that intellectual property isn't an artificially scarce commodity is because it is protected by intellectual property laws. Take away those laws and you'd probably end up with some kind of artificial scarcity. To suggest, then, that intellectual property is, by its very nature, plentiful, or that there is an unlimited supply of intellectual property out there, is to ignore the framework of laws that makes it advantageous to the creators of that intellectual property to make it available in a seemingly unlimited supply in the first place.

Night Ripper wrote:
Ideas aren't scarce. Yes, even if there were only one idea because we could still copy that idea an unlimited number of times.

It's true that ideas aren't scarce, but then it's also true that ideas can't be copyrighted. It's the expression of the idea that's subject to copyright, not the idea itself.

Night Ripper wrote:
Another problem with intellectual property is that it stakes a claim on property I already own. I own my pen and paper yet if I right a Harry Potter novel on it. I've broken a law. That's a limit on how I can use my own property.

There are all sorts of limits on how you can use your property right now. If you use your paper to print counterfeit currency, you could also be in trouble with the law, and it really doesn't matter that it's your paper. Would you argue that the counterfeiting laws are just as unjustifiable as the copyright laws?
stevecook172001
 
  -3  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 09:26 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I really don't understand. What did I say that was all so bad?

You didn't. Someone is obviously behaving like and arehole
0 Replies
 
Night Ripper
 
  0  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 09:31 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
If I write a novel but only make a single copy and allow no one to make copies of it, and I charge people to read my single copy, then I've created a scarce commodity, even though it's still only intellectual property that I'm protecting. I could make an unlimited supply of those copies, but I choose not to. There's nothing making it scarce except my own desire to make it scarce. Does that mean that the law should protect the intellectual property I have in my novel just because I've made it scarce?


If you keep it locked in your basement and don't let anyone read it then it is scarce. However, intellectual property laws would be irrelevant. Someone would have to break into your basement to get to it or steal it from you. In either case it's trespassing or theft of the paper it's written on.

As soon as you let a single person read it then it's no longer scarce. That person is free to write down, from memory, every word of that novel.

joefromchicago wrote:
To suggest, then, that intellectual property is, by its very nature, plentiful, or that there is an unlimited supply of intellectual property out there, is to ignore the framework of laws that makes it advantageous to the creators of that intellectual property to make it available in a seemingly unlimited supply in the first place.


That's nonsense. The novel existed long before copyright laws. If your argument were true then Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales, Robinson Crusoe and hundreds of other great works of literature shouldn't exist. Yet, they do exist.

Night Ripper wrote:
There are all sorts of limits on how you can use your property right now. If you use your paper to print counterfeit currency, you could also be in trouble with the law, and it really doesn't matter that it's your paper. Would you argue that the counterfeiting laws are just as unjustifiable as the copyright laws?


The mere printing of counterfeit money shouldn't be illegal but trying to pass it off as genuine money is a form of fraud. It's no different than if I were to pass off a can of brown sugar water as Pepsi.
Night Ripper
 
  0  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 09:52 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
To suggest, then, that intellectual property is, by its very nature, plentiful, or that there is an unlimited supply of intellectual property out there, is to ignore the framework of laws that makes it advantageous to the creators of that intellectual property to make it available in a seemingly unlimited supply in the first place.


You're also making the same mistake that Thomas made. What is meant by the claim that intellectual property isn't scarce, isn't that there are millions of novels. There could be only one novel and it still wouldn't be scarce because an infinite number of copies could be made.

Compare that to real property such as a car. It doesn't matter if there is one car or a million cars, they are still scarce because there isn't an unlimited number of them.
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:24 am
@Night Ripper,
Night wrote:
Nice try but that's not what is meant by the claim that ideas are not scarce. It's not about the count of the total number of ideas but the amount of any particular idea in demand in comparison to the amount of that idea available.

... and that amount is zero if this "particular idea in demand" has never been developed and published in the first place. When there are no intellectual property rights, the prospective inventor may not have an incentive to develop and publish them in the first place.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:25 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:
If you keep it locked in your basement and don't let anyone read it then it is scarce. However, intellectual property laws would be irrelevant. Someone would have to break into your basement to get to it or steal it from you. In either case it's trespassing or theft of the paper it's written on.

But if someone broke into my basement and stole my novel, they wouldn't be stealing it for the paper it's printed on. They'd be stealing it because of the expressions that I have put on the paper. Likewise, the damage that I've suffered isn't the cost of the paper, it's the value that I could receive for those expressions in the open market. Given that the value of the novel is the expressions contained therein, not the paper, shouldn't the law recognize that fact by protecting those expressions?

Night Ripper wrote:
As soon as you let a single person read it then it's no longer scarce. That person is free to write down, from memory, every word of that novel.

If they can, but then it is the rare person indeed who could memorize an entire novel in one sitting. Such persons, no doubt, would soon become known in the literary community and would be banned from reading one-of-a-kind novels, in much the same way that known card-counters are banned from Las Vegas casinos.

Night Ripper wrote:
That's nonsense. The novel existed long before copyright laws. If your argument were true then Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales, Robinson Crusoe and hundreds of other great works of literature shouldn't exist. Yet, they do exist.

That's true, but then that assumes that all of the people who wanted to write novels in the past did so. We'll never know how many great novels weren't written in the past because there were limited economic benefits. We do know, however, that more works of literature were written after copyright laws went into effect (like, e.g., Robinson Crusoe, which was published nine years after the first copyright act was passed). Whether that's causation or merely correlation I'll leave to your imagination.

Night Ripper wrote:
The mere printing of counterfeit money shouldn't be illegal but trying to pass it off as genuine money is a form of fraud. It's no different than if I were to pass off a can of brown sugar water as Pepsi.

I don't understand. You complain that copyright laws infringe on your right to use your property as you like, but you have no problem with fraud laws that prevent you from using your property as you like. Where do you draw the line?
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:29 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:
You're also making the same mistake that Thomas made. What is meant by the claim that intellectual property isn't scarce, isn't that there are millions of novels. There could be only one novel and it still wouldn't be scarce because an infinite number of copies could be made.

Why does that make a difference? An infinite number of copies could be made only if the creator allows an infinite number of copies to be made. If the creator doesn't, then it's a scarce commodity. Or are you suggesting that the law should protect commodities that are naturally scarce but it shouldn't protect commodities that are only artificially scarce?
Night Ripper
 
  0  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:37 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
But if someone broke into my basement and stole my novel, they wouldn't be stealing it for the paper it's printed on. They'd be stealing it because of the expressions that I have put on the paper.


The motivation behind a crime is irrelevant as long as there was a motive.

joefromchicago wrote:
Likewise, the damage that I've suffered isn't the cost of the paper, it's the value that I could receive for those expressions in the open market. Given that the value of the novel is the expressions contained therein, not the paper, shouldn't the law recognize that fact by protecting those expressions?


The value on the open market makes it worthless since it can be copied freely. The only value is in the original, because it's the original, which is what you rightfully own.

joefromchicago wrote:
If they can, but then it is the rare person indeed who could memorize an entire novel in one sitting. Such persons, no doubt, would soon become known in the literary community and would be banned from reading one-of-a-kind novels, in much the same way that known card-counters are banned from Las Vegas casinos.


Right, and then instead of 1 person memorizing the entire thing you have 1,000 people memorizing part of it.

joefromchicago wrote:
We'll never know how many great novels weren't written in the past because there were limited economic benefits.


So what? Are you saying that even though we had Bach, Vivaldi, da Vinci, etc that we could have had more so therefore we need to take liberty away from people? That's greed beyond comprehension.

joefromchicago wrote:
We do know, however, that more works of literature were written after copyright laws went into effect (like, e.g., Robinson Crusoe, which was published nine years after the first copyright act was passed).


Wow, you found one mistake. I'm sorry for that. I guess that means that the Greek epics, countless thousands of books, paintings, songs, architecture, machine designs, all came to exist about 300 years ago, right around the time copyright was invented?

joefromchicago wrote:
I don't understand. You complain that copyright laws infringe on your right to use your property as you like, but you have no problem with fraud laws that prevent you from using your property as you like. Where do you draw the line?


Again, the prohibition isn't on using your property. It's on fraud. How is that so complicated? If I tell you I'm the King of France and therefore I need all your money, that's still fraud and has nothing to do with how I use my property.

I also don't think you should be allowed to murder someone with a hammer just because you own the hammer. Is that yet another limit on how you can use your property or is it a prohibition on murder?
Night Ripper
 
  0  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:39 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Why does that make a difference? An infinite number of copies could be made only if the creator allows an infinite number of copies to be made. If the creator doesn't, then it's a scarce commodity. Or are you suggesting that the law should protect commodities that are naturally scarce but it shouldn't protect commodities that are only artificially scarce?


I've already covered this. If you keep it locked in your basement it's scarce but intellectual property laws are irrelevant. As soon as it's exposed to another person they can copy it all they like. There's no such thing as allowing a single copy because allowing a single copy allows for unlimited copies.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:40 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:
If you keep it locked in your basement it's scarce but intellectual property laws are irrelevant.

What if he never wrote it in the first place, but could write it if there was a sufficiently great incentive?
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:45 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Night Ripper wrote:
If you keep it locked in your basement it's scarce but intellectual property laws are irrelevant.

What if he never wrote it in the first place, but could write it if there was a sufficiently great incentive?


Good artists love what they do and do it because they love it. If he's only doing it for the money then he's probably not that good anyway and nothing of value would be lost.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:56 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:
The motivation behind a crime is irrelevant as long as there was a motive.

That's not exactly true. There aren't, after all, a lot of organized gangs of paper thieves out there. If I create a novel that is only worth stealing because it's a novel, then why shouldn't the law protect it as a novel rather than as a bundle of paper? The law, after all, recognizes the distinction between stealing things of little value and stealing things of great value. You'll spend more time in jail if you steal a million dollars than if you steal one dollar. So why shouldn't the law recognize the difference in value between a bunch of blank paper and a bunch of paper with a novel written on it?

Night Ripper wrote:
The value on the open market makes it worthless since it can be copied freely. The only value is in the original, because it's the original, which is what you rightfully own.

Only if I make it freely available for copying, and I've already said that I wouldn't do that. Once again, you're assuming that I, as the novelist, would act in the same manner absent copyright laws as I would in the presence of those laws. I can't imagine why I would.

Night Ripper wrote:
Right, and then instead of 1 person memorizing the entire thing you have 1,000 people memorizing part of it.

I'm willing to take that risk.

Night Ripper wrote:
So what? Are you saying that even though we had Bach, Vivaldi, da Vinci, etc that we could have had more so therefore we need to take liberty away from people? That's greed beyond comprehension.

What "liberty?" The liberty to take intellectual property for free? That's begging the question.

Night Ripper wrote:
Wow, you found one mistake.

Well, at least one.

Night Ripper wrote:
I'm sorry for that. I guess that means that the Greek epics, countless thousands of books, paintings, songs, architecture, machine designs, all came to exist about 300 years ago, right around the time copyright was invented?

No, my point is that you can't know how many works weren't created because there wasn't any copyright protection. You can, however, estimate how many great works of art are being produced right now that are being placed by their creators immediately into the public domain.

Night Ripper wrote:
Again, the prohibition isn't on using your property. It's on fraud. How is that so complicated? If I tell you I'm the King of France and therefore I need all your money, that's still fraud and has nothing to do with how I use my property.

So if I stole your novel and passed it off as my own, that would be a crime, but stealing your novel in the first place wouldn't? Why are you so willing to protect the purchaser but not the creator?
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:57 am
Quote:
The Alchemist (Portuguese: O Alquimista) is an allegorical novel by Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. It has been hailed as a modern classic.[1][2] The Alchemist was originally written in Portuguese and has since been translated into 56 languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.[3] It has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history.[4]

Paulo Coelho is a strong advocate of spreading his books through peer-to-peer file sharing networks. He put his own books on file-sharing networks like BitTorrent, and noted that The Alchemist received a boost in sales due to this.[12] He stated that "I do think that when a reader has the possibility to read some chapters, he or she can always decide to buy the book later."[12] Currently, chapters from The Alchemist can be found on Google Books and Coelho's agency Sant Jordi Associoados.[13][14] Entire copies of his books, including translations, can also be found on Pirate Coelho, a blog off Coelho's main blog.[15]


Here's a real artist that wrote a modern classic and actually gets it.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 10:58 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper wrote:
I've already covered this. If you keep it locked in your basement it's scarce but intellectual property laws are irrelevant. As soon as it's exposed to another person they can copy it all they like. There's no such thing as allowing a single copy because allowing a single copy allows for unlimited copies.

But your entire view of property is based upon its scarcity. As you said: "Property rights are based on scarcity." So if I keep my novel artificially scarce, then shouldn't I have a property interest in the novel -- apart from the paper it's printed on?
 

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