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June 20, 2011

A Defense of Intellectual Property part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:08 PM

I’ll keep talking about this until I run out of things to say. The first post was largely about copyrights. This post is more about IP laws in general. Future topics will include patents, trademarks, trade secrets, bloated IP laws v. the fundamental concept of IP, and game theory as related to IP works.

For now, let me talk about the second clause of the statement from the following blog post comment: “Even if you were to concede that economic benefits flow from IP protections (and I would argue that, empirically, they do not), it is indefensible as imposed by government onto a society that has not freely chosen it.” (And here’s the blog link again http://solutionproblem.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/an-intellectual-property-troll-loses-in-court/)

Society chose IP laws – getting rid of IP laws at this point without substitution of a general libertarian framework or additional IP protections would crush the economy and be unfair to those who have built a life around IP work. IP laws are a fundamental part of the Constitution. Consider the many many many inventions that would remain trade secrets instead of patents if no protection was available. In seventeen years, patents expire. Now I am not ruling out getting rid of ridiculous IP laws or that the market can’t find a solution, but I do know that many corporations would collapse instantaneously if patent rights were revoked. Maybe you want to see all healthcare corporations, mechanical defense manufacturers, electronic companies, and every other physical producer of anything fail overnight, but I think the system is too tied to patent laws to ever be rid of them without rewriting the Constitution.

So what if we replaced it with a libertarian system completely devoid of copyright? It would work like this: a record company sells a CD; a person buys the CD; person uploads the CD to the internet; record company carpetbombs any user, uploader, downloader, hoster, or third party application provider with a DoS attack (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack); record company buys out all third party application providers, internet providers, and distribution avenues. I’m pretty fine with that, but DoS attacks are illegal right now.

Anyway, this is not a completely well thought out argument, but it’s not difficult to see all the issues that could come from cutting off IP laws in general.

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