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Re: [OT] Intelectual Property Law

On Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:11:07 -0500
John Hasler <jhasler@newsguy.com> wrote:

> I wrote:
> > If you don't want those to whom you sell copies of your work to make
> > additional copies induce them to sign a contract in which they agree
> > not to do so.
> Celejar writes:
> > But property rights are treated as fundamental, even (especially!) in
> > libertarian thought.
> And copies are property.  Absent a contract in which I agreed not to do
> so, why should I not be able to create additional copies of copies which
> are my property?  Why should the state create a monopoly in the creation
> of copies and punish me for doing as I see fit with my property?
> > I don't need a contract with you to prevent you from stealing my
> > property, and intellectual property law, IIUC, stipulates that IP is
> > treated somewhat (although certainly not entirely) like tangible
> > property.
> But IP _isn't_ at all like tangible property.  It is a bundle of
> intangible rights created by the state.  If I steal your K&R first

Natural law-esque "inalienable rights" notwithstanding, _all_ property
rights are creations of the state. I understand that ordinary property
rights are rooted in tangible objects, while IP rights aren't, but it
is by no means self-evident to me that that's a critical difference.

> edition you are deprived of the use of it and therefore injured.  If I
> make an additional copy of of my copy of the book Prentice-Hall is
> deprived of nothing and injured in no way.  Nonetheless, they have (and
> will retain for more than 100 years) the right to get a court to force
> me to pay them substantial "damages" should I do so.  How is this sort
> of state-mandated monopoly, explicitly intended to prevent competition,
> compatible with libertarian values?

Injury to someone else is not the sine-qua-non for the prohibition of
something. If I want to trespass on your property when you aren't using
it and I'll be sure to cause no damage, do you have the right to stop

And I don't agree with the common formulations that IP law creates
"monopolies" and "prevents competition". You are perfectly free to
create your own work and compete with me for the same audiences and
dollars; the only thing you can't do is copy _my_ work.


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