The Last Gasp of Copyright Dies Within Me


Samarami's picture

Eric, this was a good submission. I'm glad you put it up on the board. Wendy's essay has been out for a few days (I ran across it on Rational Review); but not until tonight did I spend time with it -- and the comments. Be prepared to spend an hour on the comments.

I've never (or not until I began to ponder it as a free individual) been an advocate of "IP". I mean, you own yourself including your intellect, and that is what makes you you. And yet we have our share of scoffers -- those who insist I am not and can never be free until I join some "movement" to make everybody else free also.

But can you "register" your ideas somewhere (legitimately -- most of us start out by agreeing that the abstraction called "the state" is not a legitimate entity), with the stipulation that anybody who plagiarizes is subject to penalties? If so, who and how are those "rights" enforced?

I think many of us get into the "what ifs" because we've always lived in what I'll call a "legal community" -- where one must use caution at all times to avoid being the victim of frivolous but costly legal entanglements. Even the rendering of aid at the scene of an accident could likely result in our being accused at a later date of having worsened the injury and causing medical expense, etc etc.

We at STR spend a lot of time speculating and debating the "what ifs" of true liberty and freedom. That's because none of us has indeed lived within a framework of true liberty and freedom. We've always been "under the white man's gun" so to speak.

Our detractors constantly accuse us of being "utopian", and not willing to see the evil that lurks around every corner. I perceive "IP" (intellectual property) debates as being one of the hinge pins that give rise to the realization that under true liberty we will inherently depend upon most of those we encounter in our lives to be honest. Those of us who choose dishonesty will suffer consequences long before having to appear before free-market arbitrators or "judges". Our dishonesty will be dealt with by the marketplace -- folks we want to depend upon to deal squarely with us will inherently turn their backs.

Wendy brought up interesting points and stirred up some compelling controversy.


Samarami's picture

I meant to comment that I personally try to link to or at least refer to the originator(s) of the ideas and thoughts upon which I write -- realizing, of course, that there is hardly a word or a phrase in my entire vocabulary that didn't come to me from someone. And I think most of you folks adhere to that policy also.

I don't write for remuneration, and if I did I would certainly get specific permission before I incorporated something you wrote into my work. As it is I often quote Jim, Mark, and many others -- some dead and gone. In each case I try to link to their particular article, or if I can't find a link at least mention where I got the quotation if I have that information. And I perceive that in a "totally free society" even more folks would voluntarily adhere to that principle than do today "in an unfree world".

As mentioned above, the marketplace will find you out if you are a plagiarizer, and you will pay an emotional price. You will also pay a real price when more people recognize you for a fraud and refuse to listen to your music or read your copy.

Rules and laws only serve to to solidify questionable practices.

Is that a "utopian" mindset?


Eric Field's picture

Sam, I was collecting my articles for the upcoming week and realized that I never responded to your comments.   I apologize for the delay.

I find the issue of IP to be rather daunting.  I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the history, current circumstances, and theoretical criticisms of IP.   Until a few months ago I would describe my perspective on IP as one of rational ignorance; I accepted that this was an important area of human liberty, but I didn’t have a coherent understanding of the topic.  Time is the biggest restraint on learning new information, and IP wasn’t a topic that I wanted to devote my limited time to studying. 

I began examining the topic of IP following the announcement that Ron Paul’s office had sued the owners of  I had an intuitive dissatisfaction with Dr. Paul’s actions, but I could not articulate a reason as to why his actions were unacceptable.  To the extent that I am informed on the topic, I accept Kinsella’s criticisms as presented in ‘Against Intellectual Property’.  I accept Kinsella’s conclusion that IP is an artificial, state-imposed institution that would not come about absent government intervention. 

To respond to your second comment, I don’t think that your perspective is at all utopian.  I agree with you that in a free (or freed, or completely free, or whatever the new appropriate terminology is supposed to be) society there would be market pressures that would discourage fraud.  Stephan Kinsella notes that existent IP laws don’t even deal with the issue of fraud.  The current market treatment of fraud is probably closer to what you envision as an ideal than most people would assume.

Samarami's picture

Eric, I appreciate the apology, but since I'm a truck driver it is often a week or more between computer sessions and my delays are often lengthy. This is my 3rd week off work, and I suspect not a few on this and a couple other boards will be glad to see me hit the road again.
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We can only speculate upon how a totally free market will deal with fraud, negligence and outright criminal acts. Most of us at STR agree that those psychotics who make up the abstraction we know as The State are the subtle and not-so-subtle creators of the very threats to their "citizens" that they make a show of solving. But I can't be so naive as to think there will be no thefts, robberies, rapes and other violent crimes against people or property. And there will be fraud.

I have no way of knowing what means a free society will come up with to deal with those instances, but I have faith they will be dealt with appropriately once political authority is quashed. Anarchy is not "chaos". Chaos is the output of monopoly government. I do not believe free individuals will be found shooting at shadows, creating "collateral damage" by ricochet. That is the manifestation of the white man's wars.

Keep up the good work, and be free.