Against Intellectual Property

This will raise the ire of some libertarians, but I can see no merit in arguments that a copy of the product of one’s mental effort is “property.”

Suppose I make a clay pot. Assuming that the clay was mine, and the tools were mine or were legitimately in my hands, and I had no prior commitment to produce the pot for others, that pot is mine.

If a replicator then makes an exact duplicate, the pot belongs to whoever owns the replicator, just as a copy machine produces copies of paper documents. So-called IP laws seek to claim property in copies and even sort-of-vaguely-like “copies” of the arrangement of bits, blobs of ink, or physical stuff. If taken to extreme, you would owe royalties to the first creators of every word you utter, in perpetuity.

There’s a lot to be said on this topic. Recommended reading list:

The Case Against Intellectual Property

Against Intellectual Property 

The Case Against Patents

2 thoughts on “Against Intellectual Property”

  1. Though I agree with the article, I am the devils advocate. If the product of my labor is of great value, and I produce it to a buyer for cheep, because he knows that another person will just mass produce it if they find it, then of what value is it for me to produce in the first place?

    To lengthen the question, I create a device that cures liberalism. Wait… that isn’t a good example, because its implementation would have to be a violation of NAP for it to be effective. Ok, radiation poisoning for terminal patients. I can either sell it as a substantially massive price, and wave my middle finger at the people who cannot afford it, knowing that anyone who could afford it was probably going to massively exploit this new thing in his hands, or sell it for such a cheep price that I would never truly profit from it, because showing a profit would encourage others to make their own versions in direct competition.

    For those of us who are sane, the answer is in the question. The free market will set the price, and the price of the machine should be at the highest the first buyer could afford, knowing that as competition arises the price will drop, and the wealthy may be served first, but eventually the price may get down to where the poorest can just pay for treatment at the cost of a cup of coffee (Assuming that government stays out of this).

    But in reality, a long hearing of the process of the free market application and progression from you would be great, when it comes to this scenario. Feel free to just post a link to a book, if someone else has covered this in more clarity or detail than you might.

    No I didn’t follow the links, it is 9:33 PM, and I am tired and lazy. 😁


    1. Well, I won’t make a lengthy answer to somebody who doesn’t take the time to read the links, so here’s a quicky: it’s not as easy to replicate technology as all that. There’s a first-mover advantage, so your hypothetical scenario falls flat. It’s helpful to ask “has history answered my question already?” before getting too fanciful with one’s hypotheticals.

      Liked by 1 person

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