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Man's mind and body (insofar as it is sensible to speak of them separately) must conspire to produce material values, and our understanding of resultant property must not pretend as though reality works otherwise, when it does not.

Indeed.

If the mind, alone, were capable of creating value, then someone with a fully capable mind and a fully paralyzed body could build a house.

Each specific, actual value on Earth (actual meaning physical, as opposed to the potential values which one pursues) is the product of both mind and body- because neither can function without the other.

 

In Atlas Shrugged, after the looters capture Galt, Ferris threatens to do unspeakable things to random strangers unless Galt complies- to which he says something along the lines of: "Tell the bastard to look in the mirror, and then to answer me if he truly thinks that my moral stature is subject to his actions."

Nobody's actions can morally impact you except your own.

Is this pertinent to property rights?

Obviously, other people's actions affect you- if someone turns hostile wilderness into a tidy suburb with white picket fences, you can no longer go to the same places you could legally go before (unless you buy a house).  So other people's property affects your actions at least in some form.

The question then becomes: is physical space (real estate) analogous to mental space; the contents of YOUR OWN MIND?

 

I've been struggling with that question for a while, now, but I think I may have something.

The mind/body dichotomy is a false one; both are integral parts of any human being and neither can be considered without the context of the other.  So. . .

 

Let's say Hypothetical (his friends call him H) was out for a leisurely stroll one night, jaywalking while listening to his iPod, when he was hit by a bus and gruesomely dismembered.

He wakes up in the hospital several hours later, with all of his limbs and vital organs intact, and is greeted by Dr. Floyd who informs him that both of his legs were removed by the bus and had to be reattached.  Dr. Floyd then proceeds to inform him that he, personally, performed the surgery, and were it not for his actions H would no longer have any legs; Floyd is the de facto cause of H's legs.

He calmly notifies him that his legs are Dr. Floyd's property and will be used however he dictates, or they will be removed by officers of the law.

 

Hypothetical now finds himself unable to traverse physical space except by someone else's leave.

 

Does this correlate to the concept of IP?  If so, IS THIS MORAL?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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I remember addressing those points . What in my replies do you find inadequate? I'll address them one more time: Straw man. Here's what's really at the heart of IP:http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/

It is very important to realize that the action of filing for or declaring a copyright or a patent is NOT a declaration that one cannot think about the ideas behind the products nor can prevent you fr

Oh, that's fine! If you mean that you weren't attempting to make an actual argument, I'll agree, and then we can say that it was "unsubstantiated assertion" or something, rather than "begging the ques

Does this correlate to the concept of IP?  If so, IS THIS MORAL?

If that happened, Floyd would be taken to court and probably lose - H was given the prosthetic legs without any agreement. And even then, IP is about the production of things like prosthetics, not about being able to use those prosthetics when one acquires the actual prosthetic. In fact, prosthetics I can assure you are patented frequently, so your hypothetical isn't a hypothetical at all - it actually happens.  The only difference you presented is that H got his legs when he was asleep/unconscious, typically making a person not culpable for any legal consideration. You are assuming basically in your hypothetical that law is taken as an absolute and no one is ever taken to court. IP first has to do with property, but then we can discuss the legal concerns.

Edited by Eiuol
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DonAthos in #150

Is it the case that coming to have this nut, stick, or diamond, was wholly a matter of "mind, will, or spirit," and that alone? A man may spy something and desire it -- he may will it all he wants -- but his ownership of the same utterly depends on his ability and labor in taking possession of it, physically.

Man's mind and body (insofar as it is sensible to speak of them separately) must conspire to produce material values, and our understanding of resultant property must not pretend as though reality works otherwise, when it does not. It is the man who picks up the stick, notwithstanding all those who might will it without making the successful effort to pick it up in fact, who owns it in fact.

 

 

I have yet to read the entire essay, but the 'physicality' argument here used ,I think, does not take into account the fact that seeing the nut is also an instance of physicality. While I agree the pickerupper is the owner, the picking up of is not the sole physical act invovled.

 

In my imagined LFC, IP protection is only applicable in a 'commercial' sense and then only to specific ideas, not ideas as such.

 

An inventor conceives an idea for a widget or a process, which can be objectively recognised as other than a restatement of the 'natural' physical 'laws'( not a discovery), he is then said to own that idea as it has been proven he is the originator of it.

 

In the Spooner sense of wealth the creation and description of it may satisfify his wants as owner.

 

In the context of a division of labor society, he may also want to trade his property for value, and any trade of his property should be protected as well as all of his 'other' rights, that enjoy protection(and for the same fundamental reasons) eg his right to speech, association , life ect.

 

If the only way to violate individual rights is the initiation of force, how can his ownership or free trade of it be violated?

 

I would suggest two ways, first that any material values he receives from trade of his idea be stolen, or second that others could appropriate his ideas without his prior permission and trade in the marketplace without benefit to him, the results to the originator are the same both monetarily and morally.

Edited by tadmjones
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I agree that this expresses the pro-IP viewpoint where novels are concerned. Though it typically goes further -- though you may or may not agree with any particular aspect. Novels are not accounted alone a "specific sequence of words," but a story which could be expressed in other media, like film. And further, similar stories might be considered "derivative" and thus also IP violations, despite being a different sequence of words concerning different characters or what-have-you. As an example of how complex this might sometimes be (if you agree that the example I'm about to provide is sufficiently "complex"), there is the interesting case of the famous film Nosferatu, over which I've attempted (and thus far failed) to raise discussion. You may read about it here.

 

I guess no one else finds this case interesting or worth discussing? I do. So I'm going to take a moment to quickly say some of the reasons why, in case that spurs anyone else to seize on the issues involved as a jumping off point for further discussion or reflection.

It's interesting in the first place because it's real -- it happened (like cat exercise, and possibly like anti-Kant, though those haven't generated much discussion either...). In the second, it concerns a novel, which seemingly everyone in the thread finds to be the most compelling example of possible IP (or at least, I find it to be the most compelling example). And third, both novel and film are famous, and have contributed to the culture within which I expect that most of us were raised.

I'll trust that the reader has followed the link and read the article. Here are some of the items that jump out at me:

1) Bram Stoker was dead already. So, if we are entertaining the idea that IP somehow only applies to the specific mind of the author, or that it is not generally transferable, then it seems that we should already have run afoul of it.

2) While Dracula is certainly a specific story, and Nosferatu an adaptation of it, it seems as though both Stoker and the film's producer were also independently inspired by similar preexisting legends. How much "value" did Stoker "steal" from others in creating Dracula in the first place? And to the extent that Nosferatu was drawing on the same kinds of preexisting material, do we thus have a "copy of Dracula"? Or a retelling of legends that nobody (apparently) owns?

3) The story of the movie was changed specifically to avoid liability for copyright infringement -- to make it sufficiently different from Dracula -- in changing characters and plot events. They failed to accomplish this, presumably from not being able to know beforehand what would prove sufficient, or what the law specifically required. I think this speaks to how IP routinely fails to live up to the standards we have set for "objective law."

4) Different countries applied copyright differently in this case. Nosferatu ultimately survived because the United States did not recognize Stoker as having any IP protection at all, essentially due to clerical error. Given IP, I can't but find that we must regard this as immoral and an unfortunate happenstance; the copy of the film that was smuggled to the United States should have been returned to the country where judgement had originally been assessed. It should have been destroyed completely.

5) And yet, apart from the destruction triggered by the copyright verdict itself (resulting in bankruptcy and etc. for the film's producer) it seems as though "things" were generally made better by this (immoral) act of preservation, in that Nosferatu came to be considered a cinematic classic, there was a renewed interest in Dracula (though admittedly due, at least in part, to the furor over the court case itself), and the beginnings of an entire "vampire genre" in the movies.

In short, it seems to me (though I could certainly not be seeing everything in play) that the world was made richer through the production of Nosferatu, and that nobody was diminished in their wealth or property. And indeed, that's typically how production, wealth and property work. We do not make others poorer by making ourselves richer. Rather, the effect of copyright enforcement seems to work here against production, against an increase in wealth (not only to those who produced Nosferatu, but the Stoker estate itself), and against the livelihoods of the actual people involved. It involved literal acts of destruction which call to my mind Hazlett's "fallacy of the broken window," in supposing that it is somehow a boon to burn copies of a film, and so destroy all of the labor that went into that film. And it was only relieved in this case by the fact that IP, and the justice rendered in its name, was not carried out to completion; that there was a loophole, which I guess I am supposed to find "unfortunate," but in reality, I find it anything but.

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Having identified what I believe to be the central flaws to Spooner's case for IP, I'd like to touch on a few other thoughts that had occurred to me while reading:
 
* It's rather funny that, once Spooner has performed his great equivocation -- surreptitiously transforming one's "ownership" of the specific and personal ideas one holds (as the happiness one has in his own heart) into ownership of those concepts generally, as they exist anywhere and everywhere -- he then holds that to deny IP is to deny ownership and property generally.  I think that I've observed him doing this in at least two ways (and I was reminded of Eiuol's position in reading these arguments, though I cannot say for certain whether the comparison is apt).
 
1) In the first place, the equivocation is simply performed in reverse.  Having leapt from "owning" one's own ideas to owning those same ideas generally, he equates a denial of owning those same ideas generally to a denial of owning one's own ideas.  Of course, comparing this to the analogies that Spooner himself introduces to explain his ideas initially, this is the equivalent of saying that, if a man cannot own "happiness" generally (meaning: the happiness that other people feel), then he cannot own the happiness in his own breast.  If a man cannot own sunshine, everywhere, then he cannot own the sunshine that warms his own skin.
 
2) He asserts that... well, I'll let the man speak for himself here.  (And note all of the italics and the tonal pitch of the rhetoric; this is important to Spooner, and it is important to him that you regard disagreement on this point as preposterous.)
 

But what must settle, absolutely and forever, this question of the right of property in incorporeal things, is this- that the right of property itself is an incorporeality. The right of property is a mere incorporeal right of dominion, or control, over a thing. It is neither tangible by the hand, nor visible by the eye. It is a mere abstraction, existing only in contemplation of the mind. Yet this incorporeal right of dominion or control over a thing, is itself a subject of property- of ownership; one that is continually bought and sold in the market, independently of possession of the thing to which it relates.

To make this point clear to the unprofessional reader. There are two kinds of property, which pertain to every corporeal thing that is owned. One is the right of property, or ownership, in the thing owned - that is, the right of dominion or control over the thing. The other is the possession of the thing owned. These two kinds of property are the only kinds of property, that any man can have in any corporeal thing. Yet these two kinds of property can exist, and often do exist, separately from each other.

[Going on for quite some time...]

To conclude. The right of property being incorporeal, and being itself a subject of property, it demonstrates that the right of property may attach to still other incorporeal things; for it would be plainly absurd to say, that there could be an incorporeal right of property to a corporeal thing, but could be no incorporeal right of property to an incorporeal thing. Clearly an incorporeal right of property could attach to an incorporeal thing- a thing of its own nature- as easily as to a corporeal thing, a thing of a different nature from its own. The attachment of this incorporeal right of property, to a corporeal thing, is not a phenomenon visible by the eye, nor tangible by the hand. It is perceptible only by the mind. And the mind can as easily perceive the same attachment to an incorporeal thing, as to a corporeal one.

It will now be taken for granted, that this point is established, namely, that on principles of natural law, incorporeal things are subjects of property. If that point be established, it is self-evident that ideas are naturally subjects of property; that their incorporeality is no objection whatever to their being owned as property.

 

Okay.

I find a lot of confusion in this, but as Spooner considers his point forcefully and inescapably made, we should take it slow...

i) In the first place, he says that "[the] right of property is a mere incorporeal right of dominion, or control, over a thing." And yes, "property" and "right" are themselves abstract.

ii) Then: "There are two kinds of property, which pertain to every corporeal thing that is owned. One is the right of property, or ownership, in the thing owned - that is, the right of dominion or control over the thing. The other is the possession of the thing owned."

This is not true. Possession is not a "kind of property," with having a "right" to a thing being "the other kind." The right to property, as Spooner himself has just observed, is an "incorporeal right of dominion, or control, over a thing." The "thing" is the property, and the right to that property is that "right of dominion"; there are no other kinds.

"Possession," being another abstract consideration of an item, is -- as he observes -- independent of whether something is likewise "property." We may possess something that is not our property, or not possess something that is. But property is not a question of "right versus possession": "Oh! we both own this thing -- me by possession, you by right!" Right and possession are separate considerations, and that which one has a right to is one's property, independent of possession.

iii) So why sew such confusion? To what end? It is to draw this conclusion: "Yet this incorporeal right of dominion or control over a thing, is itself a subject of property- of ownership; one that is continually bought and sold in the market, independently of possession of the thing to which it relates."

See the slight of hand? (Though in the real essay, 'ii' and 'iii' are presented in reverse order, making it slightly harder to track.) After dividing property into "right" and "possession," Spooner asserts that what is "owned," therefore, is not the material (for we may construe that "owning" it in that way is to have possession of it), but the abstract "right" of ownership. Thus we may own an abstraction.

In short order, then, we have gone from asserting that the right to property is the "right of dominion, or control, over a thing" to saying that it is both such a right, and possession of a thing, and this "right" is actually itself ownership of... a right, which is not a thing in this sense, but, uh... Argh it is so quickly garbled. We need a concrete.

Picture a watch. Joe's watch. Murray steals Joe's watch. We would say that the watch is Joe's, though Murray has possession of it. But now Spooner finds this to be two species of "property," where Joe's claim is not that he "owns the watch," per se (which would be "possession," which is the way that Murray currently "owns" the watch) but that he owns the right to own the watch.

It is again true that "right" and "property" are abstract, but contra Spooner here, it does not follow that the objects of property are also abstract. And rather, we know that they are not where Joe and Murray are concerned: Joe does not own his ownership (!) in some sort of recursive ouroboros, but he owns the watch; the thing. Murray owns nothing.

Anyways, once Spooner has drawn these stultifying lines, he is free to assert that the denial of "intellectual property" is the denial of material property rights as well, apart from the "ownership of possession," for if you cannot be said to "own the right to own" a thing, where that right is itself abstract, then how can you ever get to the ownership of that thing? Ha! It's another Achilles and the Tortoise!

But ownership of a thing, a watch, an apple, a pebble, etc. -- while abstract -- does not itself rely upon "ownership" of an earlier abstraction. Not everything that a person has is "owned." A man has a right to life, and a right to property, but -- while he may sell any given piece of property -- he may not sell his right to life, as such, or his right to property. He certainly has these rights, accounting to his nature, but he does not "own" them.

* So now we see the subtle problems we court in granting Spooner that a person may "own" his feelings, and etc., as I did for simplicity in my initial response to his argument. And on that subject, we must wonder: if a man owns his happiness, then shouldn't any actions a man takes that demonstrably work to render a man unhappy be counted a destruction of property? For Spooner says:

 

Happiness itself is wealth. It is the highest wealth. It is the ultimate wealth, which it is the object of all other wealth to procure.

 

And:

 

All the wealth, that has before been described - that is, all the things, intellectual, moral, emotional, or material, that can contribute to, or constitute, the happiness or well-being of man; and that can be possessed by one man, and not at the same the by another, is right fully a subject of property- that is, of individual ownership, control, dominion, use, and enjoyment.

[...]

All a mans enjoyments, all his feelings, all his happiness, are his property.

 

And:

 

Health is incorporeal. Strength is incorporeal. So also the senses, or faculties, of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and feeling are incorporeal. A person might lose them all without the loss of any corporeal substance. Yet they are all valuable possessions, and subjects of property. To impair or destroy them, through carelessness or design, is an injury to be compensated by damages, or punished as a crime.

[...]

Beauty is incorporeal. Yet it is a subject of property. [...] And to impair or destroy such beauty, is acknowledged by all to be a wrong, to be compensated in damages,- or a crime, to he visited with penalties.

Life itself is incorporeal. Yet it is property; and to take it from its owner is usually reckoned the highest crime that can be committed against him.

 

Well then! The next time I receive a stupid reply on this forum that causes me any unhappiness, that being a destruction of my "highest wealth" and my property, that person should expect to compensate me for damages (and maybe go to jail)! ;)

* In answering another anticipated objection to his argument, Spooner (as Rand) downplays the mental labor involved in understanding an idea (thus, for the purpose of their claims, denying "Person B" any natural claim to the "property" of the ideas in his own mind), regarding it as a process where one man plants an idea into another man's mind. Consider this:

 

A thought never flies. It goes only as it is carried by man. It never escapes beyond the power of men; but is always wholly under their control; having no existence, nor habitation, except in their minds.

[...]

[A thought] originates in the mind of a single individual. It can leave his mind only in obedience to his will.

[...]

When a thought does go beyond the mind of its original possessor, it goes only to such minds as he wills to have it go to. And it can then leave their minds only in obedience to their wills; and can go only to such minds as they choose to deposit it with.

 

Is this really how it works? So a given thought (speaking conceptually, taking Spooner's equivocation for what it is) cannot be arrived at independently by two separate minds? And what is more, but if I gain some insight/thought through a process of my observation of another man or his actions (i.e. I learn to sharpen pencils by watching someone else sharpen them), it is necessarily the case that this thought "left the mind" of the original pencil sharpener, "in obedience to his will," and then "went" to my mind, specifically again according to his will?

And what is more, I did nothing in this process? Own nothing, for I've made no effort, performed no labor? I'm just the recipient of largesse? (Or possibly I'm on the hook for remuneration? Or maybe I'm a criminal?)

***

Well, anyways, those are a few more thoughts, though not all that I've had, and I'm not even all the way through the essay. Like I say, a further examination of any of these topics, or any other, is fine, should anyone wish to join me in it. Absent that, I probably won't return to Spooner of myself, though anyone who purports to defend IP should certainly read deeply; he appears to make every claim subsequently made, anticipating Rand, Mossoff, and everybody here, and moving even further in those same directions.

Perhaps y'all owe his estate some recompense, copycats. :P

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4) Different countries applied copyright differently in this case. Nosferatu ultimately survived because the United States did not recognize Stoker as having any IP protection at all, essentially due to clerical error. Given IP, I can't but find that we must regard this as immoral and an unfortunate happenstance; the copy of the film that was smuggled to the United States should have been returned to the country where judgement had originally been assessed. It should have been destroyed completely.

This is unjust, but it's not an argument about the nature of IP. US copyright law was notoriously abused by Edison for example. In one example, Tesla held the patent for radio, but likely through Edison's and Carnegie's manipulations, was able to get the patent given to the Italian radio pioneer, Marconi. Tesla lost the patent, was screwed out of a lot of money because the US courts arbitrarily favored Edison. I wouldn't call that the truth of IP, but what happens when law is abused to favor whoever is the highest bidder. You seem to keep arguing against a form of IP no one here agrees with, and anyone saying they support IP implicitly supports bad forms of law. It's like citing feudalism as an example of how property controls one's life and freedom. I can get to that cat exercise thing, but all I really have to say about it is that for one, it's wayyyyyy too generalized, making it impossible to define who is a violator. IP is not usually like that, nor should it be - I know of plenty of examples where the limits are clear and well-defined (to come in that big post - exciting, I know!)

 

Relevant:

http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/ll_whoradio.html

 

For the record, based on your quotes of Spooner, I think he starts out fine, but continues in the wrong way. He really does look to make a dichotomy out of material and immaterial.

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This is unjust, but it's not an argument about the nature of IP.

 

Two things.

1) I've said this to you before (and it appears I have to say it again :) ), but not everything I discuss in relation to IP is "an argument about the nature of IP." Not every paragraph of every post is meant to be a microcosm of my entire stance.  Some aspects of a discussion of IP application may pertain to the wider topic, and others not.

My argument about the nature of IP? I've linked back to it several times, and restated and developed it in various ways over the course of the thread, and it basically never draws any comment or discussion. Instead we wait until I'm discussing something like Nosferatu, for instance, and then you come in to say, "oh... you just think this application of IP is spotty, that's all! Well sure, but bad applications happen even under good laws; it's not to do with the nature of IP..."

But for the eighty-billionth time (or maybe that's a slight exaggeration -- I haven't gone back to count), that's not what's going on here. That's not my case against IP.

 

Here's my case.

2) When you say that "this is unjust," what are you talking about? Are you talking about the fact that Nosferatu was nearly destroyed completely, and its backers were driven out of business and into bankruptcy? Or that it was unjust that it managed to survive at all? Because I would imagine, given IP, that we must conclude that Nosferatu ought to have been stamped out entirely (given that the preferable option -- preventing its very existence in the first place -- was no longer possible).

After all, it was a derivative work (which cannot be gainsaid), and the judge in the case found that it violated copyright, and that it should therefore be destroyed.

Is that the injustice to which you refer? Or do you find that ruling unjust? And if so, on what grounds?

 

You seem to keep arguing against a form of IP no one here agrees with, and anyone saying they support IP implicitly supports bad forms of law.

 

Nope. I'm responding to 1) actual arguments for IP, and 2) actual applications of IP. Those are the things to which my arguments are addressed, including (importantly, given the context of this discussion) Ayn Rand's views on IP as given in "Patents and Copyrights."

You yourself might believe in a form of IP that isn't directly addressed by any one or more of my arguments, but I have strong reason to believe that your personal view of IP is idiosyncratic. While it may or may not share things in common with Rand, Mossoff, Spooner, Thomas, tad, or anyone else, it does not appear to be the same "intellectual property" that they talk about, and it is certainly not the same IP that we have established in current American law.

I keep waiting for you to develop a case of your own, but absent that, I cannot speak to your views specifically. I can only respond to such actual views as are present and intelligible, and if no two people share the same precise idea of "intellectual property" (and I'm near to concluding that this is also the case), then I think that is deeply meaningful.

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US copyright law was notoriously abused by Edison for example. In one example, Tesla held the patent for radio, but likely through Edison's and Carnegie's manipulations, was able to get the patent given to the Italian radio pioneer, Marconi. Tesla lost the patent, was screwed out of a lot of money because the US courts arbitrarily favored Edison. I wouldn't call that the truth of IP, but what happens when law is abused to favor whoever is the highest bidder.

 

Relevant:

http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/ll_whoradio.html

 

On Tesla -- and I know you've wanted to introduce this example before -- I don't know that I have a lot to say, or that there is a lot I could say with any confidence. There appears to be a lot of background material, for one, that is only briefly touched on by the PBS write-up (which itself seems to be taking a 'pro-Tesla' POV, for whatever that's worth). For instance, here is Wikipedia on the "invention of the radio." There appear at first blush to be a lot of cooks preparing that particular broth.

I agree that based on the little I know of Tesla, mostly through pop culture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ1Mz7kGVf0, that he appears to have been "screwed over" with regularity. And that's awful and upsetting and seems starkly unjust, as a hardworking genius (and from what I can tell, Tesla seems to have had both of those qualities more than just about anyone) ought to find success. But what I don't yet know, and I would have to be far better informed to begin to draw conclusions about, is just what role IP played in Tesla's fortunes, and in what ways it worked for him, and in which ways against. I know that he had a vast multitude of patents, creating some of the technologies fundamental for the greatest advances in the 20th Century, and I know that he died in debt, and etc., seemingly bested by those whose interest and talents lay in working the patent system and financial system to crush competitors.

Reading over the PBS material, I'll note that Marconi was awarded patents in England... and it's sometimes a little vague as to how IP works across borders, or how it ought to work (absent any objective demonstration as to how IP ought to be implemented generally). While there were conflicts found in the US Patent Office between Tesla and Marconi's inventions up to a point, if Marconi carried his work through (on the basis of patents granted by foreign governments for the component elements) sufficiently such that he arrived at a "new invention," like the radio, then doesn't he have a good claim to that invention as being his?

The articles speculations as to the ulterior motives of the US Patent Office and Supreme Court and etc., in making the decisions that they did, I think must be regarded as speculation until there is good reason for finding otherwise. I doubt (though perhaps I'm wrong) that the Opinion of the Court states that they were deciding as they did to avoid a lawsuit against the US Government. And while I don't plan on tracking down that Opinion to wade through their reasoning, and the arguments, and re-decide the case on my own (if there is even any objective way of doing so, and I don't take that for granted), I think that their stated reasons must at first be taken at face value, absent some good reason to look for something else.

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If that happened, Floyd would be taken to court and probably lose - H was given the prosthetic legs without any agreement.

That was the point.  When someone patents an idea they need nobody else's consent; it's assumed that the idea is theirs just as if it were a physical object.

 

The point I was trying to get at was that ideas exist ONLY in human minds and so, when you claim ownership of an idea, you're claiming to own somebody else's mind.

No, you don't declare that they can't think- only that they can't act on their thoughts without your permission.  This had been confusing me; hence the Hypothetical. . .

 

The doctor didn't claim to own H; only his legs by virtue of having created them.

We could take it further- what if Dr. Floyd told him that he could stand and go wherever he pleased, whenever he pleased, so long as he paid him $1 for every step he took?

What if he commanded him to dance a jig on cue, to entertain guests at any of the Doctor's potential social undertakings?

 

If this is immoral when applied to someone's body, why is it moral if applied to their mind?  What is the distinction?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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2) While Dracula is certainly a specific story, and Nosferatu an adaptation of it, it seems as though both Stoker and the film's producer were also independently inspired by similar preexisting legends. How much "value" did Stoker "steal" from others in creating Dracula in the first place? And to the extent that Nosferatu was drawing on the same kinds of preexisting material, do we thus have a "copy of Dracula"? Or a retelling of legends that nobody (apparently) owns?

3) The story of the movie was changed specifically to avoid liability for copyright infringement -- to make it sufficiently different from Dracula -- in changing characters and plot events. They failed to accomplish this, presumably from not being able to know beforehand what would prove sufficient, or what the law specifically required. I think this speaks to how IP routinely fails to live up to the standards we have set for "objective law."

5) And yet, apart from the destruction triggered by the copyright verdict itself (resulting in bankruptcy and etc. for the film's producer) it seems as though "things" were generally made better by this (immoral) act of preservation, in that Nosferatu came to be considered a cinematic classic, there was a renewed interest in Dracula (though admittedly due, at least in part, to the furor over the court case itself), and the beginnings of an entire "vampire genre" in the movies.

2.  Having read the book and seen the movie, I would find it a monstrous stretch of the imagination to say that the latter wasn't based on the former.  It was patently obvious (pun intended).

That said, how much was based on preexisting folklore?  I have no idea.

3.  Yes and you're absolutely right. . . But I really do think they could've tried slightly harder.

5.  Twilight.  :mellow:

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2.  Having read the book and seen the movie, I would find it a monstrous stretch of the imagination to say that the latter wasn't based on the former.  It was patently obvious (pun intended).

 

Absolutely -- that is not in contention.

 

3.  Yes and you're absolutely right. . . But I really do think they could've tried slightly harder.

 

I'm sure that they wished that they had. Or maybe reserved some part of their budget for bribery (if they didn't).

 

5.  Twilight.  :mellow:

 

LOL! All right, you've got me there... :P

Though, on the other hand, I would submit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (TV not film.)

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The Case Restated
 
For sometime, I've been casting around looking for another way of stating my essential case.  For it seems that, despite all of my efforts of communicating that case, I have not yet done a very effective job.  This, then, represents another go:
 
Imagine two men: Heathcliff and Garfield.  Heathcliff invents and builds the first instance of the "mechanical pencil sharpener."  One day, Heathcliff is walking down the street, sharpening pencils, and Garfield observes him from across the way.  Garfield thinks this is brilliant, and immediately sets to work to 1) understand how such a thing might be possible and 2) build a pencil sharpener of his very own, that he might also sharpen pencils so efficiently.
 
So now we have two men and two pencil sharpeners, the latter of which we will dub Pencil Sharpener A (being the one constructed by Heathcliff) and Pencil Sharpener B (constructed by Garfield).
 
The question before us is: who owns these pencil sharpeners?
 
I contend that Ayn Rand has outlined two different approaches to such property that result in contradictory answers to this very question.
 
Here is her first argument:

 

Any material element or resource which, in order to become of use or value to men, requires the application of human knowledge and effort, should be private property—by the right of those who apply the knowledge and effort.

 

By this reasoning, we answer the question in the following way:

Pencil Sharpener A, being developed of some material element or resource and requiring human knowledge and effort to become of its particular use or value (in that it is now a pencil sharpener), is private property. And this is so by the right of Heathcliff, being the man who has applied the knowledge and effort to create this property. Pencil Sharpener A belongs to Heathcliff.

Pencil Sharpener B, being developed of some material element or resource and requiring human knowledge and effort to become of its particular use or value (in that it is now a pencil sharpener), is private property. And this is so by the right of Garfield, being the man who has applied the knowledge and effort to create this property. Pencil Sharpener B belongs to Garfield.

However, upon writing "Patents and Copyrights," and in the name of "intellectual property," Ayn Rand made a case that results in a second, contradictory answer to the very same question. Here is her second argument:

 

But what the patent or copyright protects is not the physical object as such, but the idea which it embodies. By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence.

 

By this fresh reasoning, we now answer the same question in the following, dissimilar way:

Pencil Sharpener A, being the first embodiment of the idea of "the pencil sharpener," as such, was brought into existence by the mind of Heathcliff. Since the value of Pencil Sharpener A was thus created by Heathcliff, whose idea is rightly protected by law, Pencil Sharpener A belongs to Heathcliff.

Pencil Sharpener B, being an unauthorized reproduction of Pencil Sharpener A, does not belong to Garfield. For it was not the physical labor of copying, as performed by Garfield, that provides the source of Pencil Sharpener B's value, but the originator of the idea of "the pencil sharpener." Pencil Sharpener B, being the second embodiment of the idea of "the pencil sharpener," as such, was brought into existence by the mind of Heathcliff. Since the value of Pencil Sharpener B was thus created by Heathcliff, whose idea is rightly protected by law, Pencil Sharpener B belongs to Heathcliff.

I hold that these conclusions are contradictory, and that the arguments that demand these contradictory conclusions are likewise contradictory. I further hold that we have every reason to prefer the first argument to the second, for the following reason(s):

The second argument (i.e. "intellectual property") relies upon a mind-body split. It is not the case that a "mind," of itself, brings property into existence -- and thus, a "mind," of itself, has no "property right." Property, properly conceived, concerns only "material values." That is to say, only "material values" may be property, as Rand demonstrates here:

 

[The right to property is] the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

 

And the production of material values requires both mental and physical labor, as shown here:

 

Just as man can’t exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one’s rights into reality—to think, to work and to keep the results—which means: the right of property.

 

Thus we are wrong to discount such physical labor as "copying," or to divorce the property that results from such physical labor from the man who has performed it. We are also wrong to suppose that Garfield's labor is solely "physical" as opposed to "mental," for such strictly "physical labor" is impossible. In both cases, Heathcliff and Garfield have each performed mental and physical labor, together. In both cases, their labors have resulted in some material value, which is property. And in both cases, it is right that each instance of property belongs to the man who has performed the labor required to bring that property into existence, that man "being the man who has applied the knowledge and effort to create this property."


Thoughts?

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DonAthos in #163

Thus we are wrong to discount such physical labor as "copying," or to divorce the property that results from such physical labor from the man who has performed it. We are also wrong to suppose that Garfield's labor is solely "physical" as opposed to "mental," for such strictly "physical labor" is impossible. In both cases, Heathcliff and Garfield have each performed mental and physical labor, together. In both cases, their labors have resulted in some material value, which is property. And in both cases, it is right that each instance of property belongs to the man who has performed the labor required to bring that property into existence, that man "being the man who has applied the knowledge and effort to create this property."


Thoughts?

 

 

 

Absent a context that includes trade and a division of labor society, I would stipulate that H&G rightfully own their sharpeners and each is free to do whatever they please with those specific physical objects, however they came to be.

My question is , should the principles of IP be developed or judged, in a context that fails to recognise what a civilised society is ?
 

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Absent a context that includes trade and a division of labor society, I would stipulate that H&G rightfully own their sharpeners and each is free to do whatever they please with those specific physical objects, however they came to be.

My question is , should the principles of IP be developed or judged, in a context that fails to recognise what a civilised society is ?

 

In answer to your question: no.

But trade and division of labor could be implemented with nothing but contractual obligations and voluntary participation.  IP is not voluntary for anyone except the inventor and is something entirely different.

Don't get me wrong; nobody hurts anyone by inventing something.  But nobody hurts anyone by inventing something. . . Or building something.

 

And that which doesn't violate individual rights has no place being illegal.

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In answer to your question: no.

But trade and division of labor could be implemented with nothing but contractual obligations and voluntary participation.  IP is not voluntary for anyone except the inventor and is something entirely different.

Don't get me wrong; nobody hurts anyone by inventing something.  But nobody hurts anyone by inventing something. . . Or building something.

 

And that which doesn't violate individual rights has no place being illegal.

There may be a distinction we are failing to appropriate, all social conventions are artificial, the adjunct of society brings with it certain considerations or connotations , I guess my question is... should those auxillaries be recognised or considered? I believe some thought should be given to the existence of these auxillaries and any corrollaries they may imply.

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In answer to your question: no.

But trade and division of labor could be implemented with nothing but contractual obligations and voluntary participation.  IP is not voluntary for anyone except the inventor and is something entirely different.

Don't get me wrong; nobody hurts anyone by inventing something.  But nobody hurts anyone by inventing something. . . Or building something.

 

And that which doesn't violate individual rights has no place being illegal.

 

Good answer.

I'd like to stress that trade and division of labor must be implemented with nothing but contractual obligations and voluntary participation, if we want to achieve (as tad does) a "civilized society," for as Rand writes:

 

The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships—thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement.

 

 

There may be a distinction we are failing to appropriate, all social conventions are artificial, the adjunct of society brings with it certain considerations or connotations , I guess my question is... should those auxillaries be recognised or considered? I believe some thought should be given to the existence of these auxillaries and any corrollaries they may imply.

 

This entire thread is an example of giving some thought to the existence of those "auxiliaries and corollaries," if I understand your meaning (though I honestly may not).

In discussing "social conventions," or Politics more generally, we are looking to ascertain what is necessary and proper for governance, based on the nature of man. To uphold rights, we strive to eliminate force from human affairs. Ultimately we must therefore decide whether, in building a pencil sharpener, Garfield is initiating the use of physical force against Heathcliff.

If he is, then Garfield must be physically stopped from building that pencil sharpener, and punished if he builds it.

If he is not, then any law or theory of law that would stop Garfield from building that pencil sharpener (or that would punish him for building it) is improper, is itself an initiation of the use of force, and has no place in LFC, in Objectivism, or among free men.

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The Case Restated

 

For sometime, I've been casting around looking for another way of stating my essential case.  For it seems that, despite all of my efforts of communicating that case, I have not yet done a very effective job.  This, then, represents another go:

 

Imagine two men: Heathcliff and Garfield.  Heathcliff invents and builds the first instance of the "mechanical pencil sharpener."  One day, Heathcliff is walking down the street, sharpening pencils, and Garfield observes him from across the way.  Garfield thinks this is brilliant, and immediately sets to work to 1) understand how such a thing might be possible and 2) build a pencil sharpener of his very own, that he might also sharpen pencils so efficiently.

 

So now we have two men and two pencil sharpeners, the latter of which we will dub Pencil Sharpener A (being the one constructed by Heathcliff) and Pencil Sharpener B (constructed by Garfield).

 

The question before us is: who owns these pencil sharpeners?

 

I contend that Ayn Rand has outlined two different approaches to such property that result in contradictory answers to this very question.

 

Here is her first argument:

 

 

By this reasoning, we answer the question in the following way:

Pencil Sharpener A, being developed of some material element or resource and requiring human knowledge and effort to become of its particular use or value (in that it is now a pencil sharpener), is private property. And this is so by the right of Heathcliff, being the man who has applied the knowledge and effort to create this property. Pencil Sharpener A belongs to Heathcliff.

Pencil Sharpener B, being developed of some material element or resource and requiring human knowledge and effort to become of its particular use or value (in that it is now a pencil sharpener), is private property. And this is so by the right of Garfield, being the man who has applied the knowledge and effort to create this property. Pencil Sharpener B belongs to Garfield.

However, upon writing "Patents and Copyrights," and in the name of "intellectual property," Ayn Rand made a case that results in a second, contradictory answer to the very same question. Here is her second argument:

 

 

By this fresh reasoning, we now answer the same question in the following, dissimilar way:

Pencil Sharpener A, being the first embodiment of the idea of "the pencil sharpener," as such, was brought into existence by the mind of Heathcliff. Since the value of Pencil Sharpener A was thus created by Heathcliff, whose idea is rightly protected by law, Pencil Sharpener A belongs to Heathcliff.

Pencil Sharpener B, being an unauthorized reproduction of Pencil Sharpener A, does not belong to Garfield. For it was not the physical labor of copying, as performed by Garfield, that provides the source of Pencil Sharpener B's value, but the originator of the idea of "the pencil sharpener." Pencil Sharpener B, being the second embodiment of the idea of "the pencil sharpener," as such, was brought into existence by the mind of Heathcliff. Since the value of Pencil Sharpener B was thus created by Heathcliff, whose idea is rightly protected by law, Pencil Sharpener B belongs to Heathcliff.

 

Thoughts?

Whoa, what? I have thoughts, but only bad ones.

 

I don't think Ayn Rand, or any other libertarian advocate of IP would have, as far as your example goes, made such a jump as Heathcliff invents a pencil sharpener to Heathcliff owning 'the idea of "the pencil sharpener"' and being able to restrict other people from making pencil sharpeners in general. For if you don't want to be accused of knocking down straw men, then isn't all the pro-IP case saying is that Heathcliff invented a specific type of pencil sharpener, and as far as the IP goes, he owns that particular pattern of pencil sharpener (which he invented.) Garfield owns the kind of pencil sharpener he invented, and so forth. If you're saying they both invented the same kind, well many theories allow for independent discovery. Either way, your conclusions (Healthcliff owns sharpener B, Garfield must be punished, etc.) aren't warranted here.

 

 The second argument (i.e. "intellectual property") relies upon a mind-body split. It is not the case that a "mind," of itself, brings property into existence -- and thus, a "mind," of itself, has no "property right." Property, properly conceived, concerns only "material values." That is to say, only "material values" may be property, as Rand demonstrates here:

I know you've said this several times, but I'm not getting how this involves a mind-body split (or why I should care.) If we wanted to incorporate a theory of property that respects both mental and physical labor, then shouldn't it include IP?

 

You said property, properly conceived, concerns only material (tangible) things, but you only assert this. We know you think that, but what reason do we have to think it is the case? Rand demonstrated it where? You don't demonstrate an assertion by posting a quote of another person making the same assertion, that hardly counts as "demonstrating" something.

 

Thus we are wrong to discount such physical labor as "copying," or to divorce the property that results from such physical labor from the man who has performed it. We are also wrong to suppose that Garfield's labor is solely "physical" as opposed to "mental," for such strictly "physical labor" is impossible. In both cases, Heathcliff and Garfield have each performed mental and physical labor, together.

But this doesn't get us anywhere. Consider the following: A man uses a screwdriver to steal a car. I can reproduce the same quote you did, and then say "thus it is wrong to discount such physical [and mental] labor as 'carjacking,' or to divorce the property that results from such physical [and mental] labor from the man who has performed it." I can do all kinds labor and it may or may not be just. Any property arrangement will limit (discount?) what labor I am permitted to justly do, and "divorce" (seriously, can we stop using that word?) somebody from it, so that observation hardly answers the question of whether or not any kind of IP is justified.

 

Can I request that you state your case in syllogistic form: major, minor to conclusion? Somehow I fear this has gotten wildly off-track.

Edited by 2046
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I don't think Ayn Rand, or any other libertarian advocate of IP would have, as far as your example goes, made such a jump as Heathcliff invents a pencil sharpener to Heathcliff owning 'the idea of "the pencil sharpener"' and being able to restrict other people from making pencil sharpeners in general.

 

And yet I have attempted to make the case that Rand's argument leads to that very conclusion in this example, with specific reference to her writing. So you don't think she would have come to such a conclusion, but I do, and I think I have the stronger case presently.

Further, if you look at earlier posts, perhaps you will find my quoting Rand where she indicates that "the wheel" at one point would have had an IP owner. If she thinks that "the wheel" could have had an owner, then I don't see "the pencil sharpener" as being all that out-of-the-box.

 

For if you don't want to be accused of knocking down straw men...

 

You're free to accuse me of whatever you'd like, whether you take the time to understand my position beforehand or not. It won't affect the truth of things.

 

...then isn't all the pro-IP case saying...

 

There is not one singular "pro-IP case," though every IP advocate seems to believe that there is, and that it is their own case, even as they all disagree with one another as to what constitutes that case, and subsequently disagree on application.

For instance, perhaps you have been following along with Eiuol's arguments? He is also promoting a "pro-IP case," but I'd bet that it is not your "pro-IP case."

 

...is that Heathcliff invented a specific type of pencil sharpener, and as far as the IP goes, he owns that particular pattern of pencil sharpener (which he invented.) Garfield owns the kind of pencil sharpener he invented, and so forth.

 

I don't find this relevant to my scenario.

 

If you're saying they both invented the same kind...

 

I'm not saying that. I don't yet have any objective reason that I can see to draw distinctions between whether someone can own "the pencil sharpener," or only some smaller subset of that idea. To me it is equally nonsensical, and equally beholden to the central question of whether ideas can be owned at all.

But if they both have to have built "the same kind of pencil sharpener" (whatever that actually means, and however we would implement that in reality) for my scenario to explore the issue that I intend to explore with it, then that's fine. Sure, let it be "the same kind of pencil sharpener" for those who think that matters.

 

...well many theories allow for independent discovery.

 

But Rand's does not, and that's rather the theory I'm addressing. Besides, I had specified that Garfield had witnessed Heathcliff's pencil sharpener in action, and so I am not certain that everyone's understanding of "independent discovery" would apply here in any event.

 

I know you've said this several times, but I'm not getting how this involves a mind-body split (or why I should care.)

 

The way Rand's argument involves a mind-body split is by asserting that "mental labor" creates the value of property, and brings it "into existence," as opposed to "the physical labor of copying." In reality, when we create material values (i.e. property), we must perform mental and physical labor together, and both are equally necessary.

That said, I'm not here to make you care about that. Many people embrace such notions; that isn't my concern here, though I take it for granted that those I'm discussing this with will reject such a mind-body split. Just as if Rand had sourced IP in God, I would be satisfied in establishing that fact to therefore deny her case for IP, given this thread and this forum. I would not then consider it my duty to then disprove God, to complete my case.

The reason I care is because I believe that basing a theory of intellectual property on notions that are factually incorrect is bound to result in a flawed theory. Identifying the nature of this error helps me to understand the origin of the contradictions I find between Rand's writings on IP and elsewhere, on the subjects of rights, property, force, and etc.

 

If we wanted to incorporate a theory of property that respects both mental and physical labor, then shouldn't it include IP?

 

Rand's theory of property (as opposed to her theory of IP as expressed in "Patents and Copyrights") respects both mental and physical labor, observing that they are both required to produce material values, and that these material values are therefore property by the right of those who have applied the mental and physical labor thus required.

But I do not believe that we should have a theory of property that treats mental and physical labor as separate things resulting in separate products, as Rand does when writing about IP.

 

You said property, properly conceived, concerns only material (tangible) things, but you only assert this. We know you think that, but what reason do we have to think it is the case? Rand demonstrated it where? You don't demonstrate an assertion by posting a quote of another person making the same assertion, that hardly counts as "demonstrating" something.

 

Let me say initially that in the post to which you're responding, I'm demonstrating a contradiction between Rand's writings. I'm not trying to re-argue "Man's Rights" for her, and it is enough for me to show that she intends property to concern only material values (against which I find her essay on IP contradictory).

But okay, here is where I believe I initially tried to "demonstrate" why property concerns material values:

 

IP is contended to be a "right" among life, liberty, and etc. So let's start with rights.

From "Man's Rights":

 

Okay. So we have "right to life" as the source of rights, and "right to property" as their implementation. Regarding "property," Rand says that a man must have the right to "the product of his effort," for that is the requirement of survival.

And this makes sense, does it not? If you grow corn, but that corn is taken from you, you cannot eat it. In other words, you will starve. Having a "right to life" is meaningless if you do not likewise have the right to 1) grow corn and 2) eat the corn that you grow. You must have those "property rights," for if we grant you the "right to life" but deny you those means that are necessary to live, you will necessarily die.

On property rights, Rand continues:

So, having a "right to life" is not a guarantee that you will own any corn, despite needing it to survive. You may well have these rights and starve nonetheless. But the "right to property" stipulates that if you earn corn (more to come on this), it is yours by right (and thus will not be taken from you by force). Further, "owning corn" means having a right to action(s) (and the "consequences of producing or earning that object"), meaning that it entails destroying the corn, selling it, eating it, bronzing it and putting it on the wall, or etc. We cannot detach one's "ownership" of the corn and one's right to these actions, for this is what we mean by ownership, and by property.

So here we are, presumably agreed with Thomas (and others) who contend that man has a right to "the product of his effort." But what precisely is "the product of his effort"? Still on property rights, Rand continues:

It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.

Notice again the use of "material." When Rand speaks of "[translating] one's rights into reality," she is talking about the act of growing corn, having it, eating it. Thus "property rights" concern material values, and these alone. And here is also an insight into our earlier question: how does one "earn" corn to begin with?

It is a two-step process: 1) one must think; 2) one must work. And then one has "results" (i.e. corn) which, per property, are his by right.

Both of these steps are required to have these "results," which are material value, are wealth, and are property, and cannot exist without them. You cannot have any corn without the thought and planning required to produce it, but neither can you have any corn without the physical labor entailed in growing it. Both are required. And what then?

From "The Property Status of the Airwaves":

Any material element or resource which, in order to become of use or value to men, requires the application of human knowledge and effort, should be private property—by the right of those who apply the knowledge and effort.

Here we are again: "human knowledge and effort." "One must think" and "one must work." To what end? "Any material element or resource."

This is the source of private property, and we understand it together with the need for private property: to translate one's right to life into action, where one has a material body that needs to eat corn; the right to life means having the right to earn the corn that one needs, through one's thought and labor, and, when one has earned that corn, one has the right to the consequences of having earned that corn, which is the right of action. That is, one may eat one's corn.

 

If I can attempt to summarize the above, I would say that property concerns "material values" because property is the translation of one's "right to life" into the material world, out of the recognition that one must have the right to produce and make use of material values in order for the "right to life" to have any meaning.  As that is the justification and meaning of "property" and "property rights," non-material values are not included.

 

 

But this doesn't get us anywhere. Consider the following: A man uses a screwdriver to steal a car. I can reproduce the same quote you did, and then say "thus it is wrong to discount such physical [and mental] labor as 'carjacking,' or to divorce the property that results from such physical [and mental] labor from the man who has performed it." I can do all kinds labor and it may or may not be just. Any property arrangement will limit (discount?) what labor I am permitted to justly do, and "divorce" (seriously, can we stop using that word?) somebody from it, so that observation hardly answers the question of whether or not any kind of IP is justified.

 

Well, in the first place, the quote of mine which you've selected here is mainly about not treating mental and physical labor separately (the mind-body split stuff you don't care about), not about establishing the justice of either of their actions, so... I'm not certain that your response is quite on point.

But otherwise, I think I agree? I mean, yes, if we're talking about carjacking and not building a pencil sharpener, I would join you in opposition. For myself, I consider "building a pencil sharpener" to be a kind of "production," and I don't feel as though it maps very well onto a theft like carjacking. Though if we supposed that Garfield had stolen the materials, maybe that would be a better analogy? But I'd just call that theft anyways, whether he used them to build a pencil sharpener or not.

Of course, if one simply asserts that using an idea in this manner -- having seen it demonstrated elsewhere first -- is, itself, "theft," then I guess it is (and we're probably all thieves, hundreds of times over)... And maybe one could say that I'm equally begging the question in the other direction? Except that this is a conclusion that I've reached on the strength of the arguments that I've provided in the post and thread; it's not meant to be taken all on its own, as you have here.

On the word "divorce"? I think I'll continue to use the words that suit my intentions, as best as I can judge, but thank you for your friendly suggestion.

 

Can I request that you state your case in syllogistic form: major, minor to conclusion? Somehow I fear this has gotten wildly off-track.

 

I consider my case made and made again (and again). You're welcome to disagree in any event, but, just as with my diction, I think I'll go ahead and continue to express myself structurally how I think best.

You are, of course, welcome to express your own viewpoints in the manner of your choosing.

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Whoa, what? I have thoughts, but only bad ones.

 

I sympathize.

And actually, on reflection, I suspect that essentially nothing I've said to you in response is going to ultimately matter. I've had these kinds of conversations too often, and this particular conversation too long, to expect anything different at this point. After all, it's not like my position has changed from when you were initially dubious or confused till now; I'm only switching around my sentences and growing increasingly frustrated.

But it just occurred to me that there is perhaps a novel way out, based on something you had said:

 

If you're saying they both invented the same kind, well many theories allow for independent discovery. Either way, your conclusions (Healthcliff owns sharpener B, Garfield must be punished, etc.) aren't warranted here.

 

So yes. Let's take this ball and run with it!

Let's say that "I believe in IP." Yay! We all agree now, and we can all relax! Sweet, sweet agreement! But...

...my theory allows for independent discovery. Which is okay, right?! The only other minor, teensy-weensy item that I'd add is that: it is all "independent discovery." Every idea in every mind.

Ideas are not planted in the brain by some outside force (like the will of the innovator, per Spooner), but a man only comes to an idea through a self-generated, volitional process. To me it is immaterial what he has focused upon to arrive at this idea, how quickly, how slowly, with what ease or difficulty, or how many other people have beaten him to it. If a man comes to the idea of "pencil sharpener," then he has done so "independently" in every way that I believe matters, and that is truly his idea. The pencil sharpener he builds thereafter is his, too.

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Ideas are not planted in the brain by some outside force (like the will of the innovator, per Spooner), but a man only comes to an idea through a self-generated, volitional process.

And IP isn't about ideas *as such*. We've been over that.

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It's relevant because the context here is specific kinds of inventions/IP as opposed to the invention/IP in general. If it's not relevant, then it is context-dropping.

Come again? :)

I see you using the term "context-dropping" there... but... do you know what that term means? Because your application here suggests that perhaps you do not. Or, perhaps, your post is meant as comedy -- that would be tremendous, if true! Allow me to explain.

"The context here" -- as the quote you're responding to says -- is "my scenario." As in, the scenario I've constructed. So my statement is a claim that -- with context considered, that context that I've personally created (so I should know) -- 2046's specification about "types of pencil sharpeners" doesn't really matter. It doesn't help me to get at the question I'm asking, the information I'm after; it matters to my scenario as much as the color of Garfield's hair.

But not only that, I thereafter immediately explain precisely why this is the case:

 

I don't yet have any objective reason that I can see to draw distinctions between whether someone can own "the pencil sharpener," or only some smaller subset of that idea. To me it is equally nonsensical, and equally beholden to the central question of whether ideas can be owned at all.

 

And then, because I'm sincere in that this distinction does not matter to my scenario, I concede that it may be as 2046 needs it to be to deal with my scenario as I had intended it:

 

But if they both have to have built "the same kind of pencil sharpener" (whatever that actually means, and however we would implement that in reality) for my scenario to explore the issue that I intend to explore with it, then that's fine. Sure, let it be "the same kind of pencil sharpener" for those who think that matters.

 

So, I am not dropping any context here. I am keeping the context firmly in mind. But! In order to now accuse me of "context-dropping," you must drop the context of all of the above. You must pretend that my scenario is constructed according to your specifications and not my own. You must pretend not to have noticed my explanation as to why this particular criterion 2046 has introduced does not matter to my scenario. And then you must pretend as though I had not conceded this inessential point for the purpose of moving the conversation forward.

That's remarkable and very funny! If this was meant as humor, I heartily approve.

 

And IP isn't about ideas *as such*. We've been over that.

 

Well that certainly answers my question -- you're trying to be funny. And succeeding!

For... I can hardly believe that, so soon after talking about "context," you'd otherwise respond to me in this manner with a statement so thoroughly uninformed by relevant context.

When you say that "IP isn't about..." do you mean that I'm wrong to say that "ideas are not planted in the brain"? Do you think I'm wrong to attribute such a notion to Spooner? Do you think Spooner wasn't talking about "intellectual property" in his very lengthy essay on... intellectual property?

Or, no, that's right, I know. You're talking about your own, personal views on IP. But you don't speak for everyone on the subject, Eiuol. You don't speak for Spooner, or for Rand, or, so far as I can tell, for anyone other than yourself. And truly, you don't even speak for yourself very clearly in that I still don't know your case for IP. You continue to participate here without setting out your own positive case, leaving me to infer it from comments like these. And when I do attempt to draw such inferences, you are utterly silent in response, neither confirming nor denying anything. I guess that leaves you free to claim "that's not what I'm talking about," no matter how I try to respond? Instead of troubling yourself to move goalposts, you've decided it would be easier to never erect a set in the first place! Very funny. :)

And when you say "we've been over that," what precisely is that supposed to mean? Do you mean that you've voiced an objection to something that I believe is true about IP (that it is "idea property" by Rand's arguments) and believe to have demonstrated several times... but you continue to disagree with me on that point so... you think I should act as though you're right and I'm wrong? I ought not continue to discuss these matters as though I believe in... what I believe in? I should accept your framing as true, even if I'm unconvinced that you're right, so that... what? You're more comfortable with the words I choose?

I mean, I get it: you don't think IP is about owning ideas. But I continue to think you're wrong on that point (at least when it comes to Rand's claims, if not your own). So maybe "we've been over that" and you believe that you have somehow "won" that point? But I still think you're wrong, and I still prefer my arguments to yours, so I'm probably going to continue to argue my case in terms of the things I believe to be true about intellectual property, even if that doesn't square with your personal understanding. You will have to argue your own case, if you ever get around to doing that. Does that make sense?

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Well, the people arguing for IP here aren't arguing for what you call IP. I tell you it's about embodied ideas, not ideas as such, then you say that it's just my version, and continue to argue against strawmen. Even then, the discussion is about the concept of IP, not about a particular theory of IP. Indeed, my version may be different than Tad's, for example, but Tad and I both believe that the concept is valid and good.

I've said in simple terms that IP is about production of specific material values, and allowing the creator or inventor to have full control over how those methods may be used. Property in general is about maintaining and using what one needs for flourishing, as embodied in the world. It is also of a defined, reasonable limit, and monopolistic in the sense that one (some?) person (people?) has complete control over a piece of property. I do not think anyone here has disagreed with that, and it's really a basic framework of the concept. If I haven't said it before, I have now.

Here is a link with a post I like a lot, in terms of supporting IP. I point you to 8, 12, and 13 for arguments you have made. By the way, I agree with the characterization of anti-IP as (implicit) intellectual communism.

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/13692.aspx

A useful point to pique anyone's interest:

"When a capitalist information industry undertakes to create specific information, it must do so with the expectation that it will be able to sell the information at a profit, and thus calculate the optimal supply of this information based on marginal revenue, from which it must subtract the costs that will be incurred during production. If it should fail, the capitalist will have to exit the information production industry. All of these prices are the result of marginal value, and thus marginal value theory is a foundation for intellectual property rights."

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Well, the people arguing for IP here aren't arguing for what you call IP.

 

Yes, but I'm arguing against Rand's ideas specifically. Maybe you're right that nobody here is advocating Rand's ideas on the subject, which would be remarkable, but that's still the case I'm making.

 

I tell you it's about embodied ideas, not ideas as such, then you say that it's just my version, and continue to argue against strawmen.

 

You also tell me that IP exists as long as a person is alive, that it is vital to the scenario you described about pianos, for instance, and that it cannot be transferred. I am not required to accept what you "tell me," only what you prove, and so far as I'm concerned, you have proven very little about your claims. I think in each case I've actually shown you to be mistaken, so I don't have a great deal of trust in your further ideas on IP. It's as though you were trying to tell me all you know about the moon and started out with, "well, it's made of green cheese, for one." It leaves me somewhat dubious that you understand the subject of which you purport to speak.

And the "strawmen" I'm dealing with include the actual written claims of Rand, Mossoff, Spooner, and others, and if you review my posts, you'll find that I typically quote them and discuss their arguments in some detail. The fact that you don't agree with their specific ideas does not mean that I'm working against a "strawman" when I respond to their specific ideas.

 

Even then, the discussion is about the concept of IP, not about a particular theory of IP. Indeed, my version may be different than Tad's, for example, but Tad and I both believe that the concept is valid and good.

 

If you don't have the same theory of IP, Eiuol, then you don't share the same concept. This is akin to the idea that an Objectivist and a Dictator may not have the same "theory of selfishness," but they both argue for the "same concept" in that they both find "selfishness" valid and good. Yet when they take action according to their beliefs, we quickly find that what the Dictator had in mind with "selfishness" is quite different than what the Objectivist had in mind.

And please, for yourself, note how many examples of IP have been raised (not just plucked from the aether, but real life examples as well) where you've disagreed with them as expressing what you think of, when you think of IP. You consider yourself "pro-IP," and presumably so does the person who approved the "cat exercise patent," and yet, I think it is clear that you and he are thinking of two different things. Two different concepts sharing the same name.

 

I've said in simple terms that IP is about production of specific material values...

 

No, that's not what IP is. Property is about the production of specific material values.

 

...and allowing the creator or inventor to have full control over how those methods may be used.

 

Right!  This!  And then the question is not whether we "allow" the creator or inventor any such thing, but does the creator or inventor have any right to such control (which is, to be clear, a control over what other people may do, though in their own homes and working with their own material property, for their own benefit)? This isn't some afterthought, it is the entire matter, and it is the very thing that needs to be examined and proven (though you have thus far avoided all efforts to do so, time and again).

 

Property in general is about maintaining and using what one needs for flourishing, as embodied in the world. It is also of a defined, reasonable limit, and monopolistic in the sense that one (some?) person (people?) has complete control over a piece of property.

 

Monopoly over a specific piece of property? Yes. That's not only proper of property, but necessary for property to have meaning. But monopoly over a "method," as you've indicated just above? No.  That is the very thing against which I am arguing.

 

Here is a link with a post I like a lot, in terms of supporting IP. I point you to 8, 12, and 13 for arguments you have made.

 

Nope. I'm done with this game. I'm not going to be following links any more, responding to off-site essays, only to then be accused of arguing against "strawmen" because the people in this thread did not author those essays. You want to make an argument? Use your own words and make it, if you can.

 

By the way, I agree with the characterization of anti-IP as (implicit) intellectual communism.

 

Of course you do, in keeping with your misunderstanding of the subject. You did, too, when I inferred as much and called you out on it some time ago, despite your subsequent denial:

 

Sergei builds the piano, then Franz tells him that it needs to be sold. Today, Sergei feels indignant, frustrated that this whole time, he owns the pianos he built with his hands. Ever since reading Das Kapital, he's been this way.

 

Yes. That's right. I'm a Marxist, Eiuol, well-spotted.

 

And no, I don't think you're a Marxist. I think of you as Franz, and Sergei is the communist.

 

I am only left to wonder whether you were being deceptive unknowingly or on purpose.

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