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Intellectual Property: A Thought Experiment

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Fraud is generally thought of, by both Objectivists and Libertarians, as an initiation of the use of force. The reason is clear: Examples of fraud will always reduce to a case of someone being forcefully deprived of their rightful property (usually their money).

 

1) An example would be: homeowner contracts with roofer. Roofer does the work. Homeowner doesn't pay. Where is the force? The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep roofer's money in homeowner's pocket so retaliatory force is justified to remove roofer's money from homeowner's pocket. It is Roofer's money because Roofer complied with the contract by doing the work.

 

2) Prize committee awards money to Deep Thinker for his anti-IP writing. Shallow thinker claims to be Deep Thinker and collects the money. The fraud is identity fraud. The money is the property of the committee or of the person they choose to award it to. The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep the Committee's money in Shallow Thinker's pocket, so retaliatory force is justified to remove it from his pocket since he has no title (no claim) to it.

 

Everyone is convinced by Deep Thinker and all IP law is eliminated.

 

3) Deep Thinker then writes a book and on the title page says: I am authorizing only InkblotPrinting to publish my book, so if you care about me, you will only buy copies from them. Signed, Deep Thinker.

 

The firm of SmudgePrint copies the book and puts the same message on the title page, merely changing it to read SmudgePrint instead of InkblotPrinting. They are stopped by force for identity fraud. The jury points out that it is fraud to publish a statement by Deep Thinker that Deep Thinker did not make, since consumers are tricked into buying an unauthorized book when they had only agreed to buy an authorized book. The money remains the consumer's property until he receives an authorized copy.

 

SmudgePrint tries again by shipping copies claiming to be printed by InkblotPrinting. Again they are stopped by force for identity fraud.

 

DiscountBooks copies the book and sells at a reduced price, but their copy has no authorizing statement by Deep Thinker. Most people won't buy it since they prefer to see the author rewarded for his work and so they usually don't buy books without an authorizing statement. Most booksellers won't retail such books.

 

SlumBooks changes a few words and copies the book and credits it to a Shallow Thinker. Some copies are sold, but it is known that Deep Thinker's book hit the market first, and most people arrive at the opinion that both SlumBooks and Shallow Thinker are disreputable plagiarists. They become known for their ShallowSales.

 

Objectivists and various other mercantilists complain that all the guns they bought to enforce IP law are rusting and they demand compensation. They are ignored. Thousands of IP lawyers go hungry.

 

 

Edited by howardofski
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Moving on... (He said she said doesn't help anything and I want to keep this on topic. Post in that other thread if you find it necessary.) I'm using this thought experiment to ask specific question

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"The men who originate ideas and realize them in physical products do not deserve to decide how they are to be introduced and sold to other men, ie. the rest of society. Any man who can grasp any idea deserves to use it however he wants, even if he did not think it up himself, and even if he could not have thought of it himself."

 

I could sign on to the above if it did not include a subtle shift away from my position.  If you originate an idea, you most certainly do deserve to decide how it is introduced to others.  But this entire thread has to do with what you deserve AFTER you have introduced your idea to others.  The anti-IP position is that no one owes you anything unless they contracted for it in advance.  So If you want to rewrite that statement, I'll be happy to sign it. 

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Objectivists and various other mercantilists complain that all the guns they bought to enforce IP law are rusting and they demand compensation. They are ignored. Thousands of IP lawyers go hungry.

 

Please stop with the hyperbole, or at least psychologizing to presume there is some ulterior motive to pro-IP. Clearly if IP is invalid, then it is initiation of force. The thread is about what's in the OP, so  try to stick to that. Same with other posts. The little story you wrote to illustrate a point? That's basically what the OP is about. That's what the thread is discussing, so it's insufficient for a reply.

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Please stop with the hyperbole, or at least psychologizing to presume there is some ulterior motive to pro-IP. Clearly if IP is invalid, then it is initiation of force. The thread is about what's in the OP, so  try to stick to that. Same with other posts. The little story you wrote to illustrate a point? That's basically what the OP is about. That's what the thread is discussing, so it's insufficient for a reply.

Let's see.  My little story is basically what the OP is about, so I should try to stick to what the OP is about?  Got it.  I'll continue to do my best.

 

P.S. The quote of my post included no hyperbole or psychologizing about motives that I can see, but then I'm not an Objective moderator, am I?

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So would you say that one should be, and should have been, when it was published, allowed to copy "Atlas Shrugged" and sell it at a discount? Do you think it would have been right, after 14 years of hard work, for Ayn Rand to have been made destitute because someone else was allowed to steal the fruits of her labor? Who would have been sacrificed for what in this instance?

I would put the person who answered yes to the first two questions in the same category of animal as the man who would steal the money from my bank account via the internet. They would be an evil looting mooching dog, not worthy of rational discussion.

Of course to be consistent you would have to answer yes, just as howardofski has.

Hi Marc.

I'm going to try to answer your question. I'll ask for your patience upfront, because I'd like to answer it as fully as I can (and you'll have noticed that I can be quite "full" in my answers). I also want to stipulate that my primary interest is not in being "consistent," even with my earlier statements. If there are inconsistencies between how I answer you here, and my position overall, so be it -- that'll point out where I need to do some more thinking. But anyways, I don't care about maintaining "consistency" for its own sake, or for "winning" some conversation -- I only care about getting to the truth, regardless of where I've started, or how much crow I might have to eat afterwards.

 

So would you say that one should be, and should have been, when it was published, allowed to copy "Atlas Shrugged" and sell it at a discount?

In another thread on this same subject, I conceded that I find the case of a novel (or similar artwork) to be the strongest case for IP. There is something very emotionally compelling (at minimum) about the idea, though I want to be careful about how much my emotions influence my thinking on the matter.

Now... the post that you're responding to (though not the portion you've chosen to quote) introduces an example of one farmer copying another, for the purpose of improving his own land. I posit there that this is not an example of destruction and not an example of the initiation of the use of physical force. So whether or not I wind up agreeing with you, that there's something about copying and selling a freshly published novel that requires some sort of protection -- and even if I ultimately concede that this is "Intellectual Property" -- I still would not believe that my own example qualifies as the same sort of thing. And so I would still find the Objectivist theory of IP wrong, or at least as I understand it, because I believe that it would group together the just use of force (in protecting Atlas Shrugged) and the unjust use of force (in prohibiting the farmer from learning from his observation, and improving his own lot without causing anyone else harm).

Even if there's *something* correct about IP, I'm afraid that I will want a theory of IP that discriminates properly between those things that are actually the initiation of the use of force, and those that are not. I do not believe that Rand's theory in Patents and Copyrights achieves that, again, even if there's "something correct about IP." And furthermore I will want an objective implementation of that theory, if I am to agree with any proposed IP law, and I don't yet see any basis for an objective implementation (though that is, perhaps, an altogether separate conversation).

Are we agreed on all of this so far? Or do you believe that my farmer is also a parasitical villain, in improving his own lot? (Because I'd love to see my own examples addressed from time to time, as I answer everyone else's in their turn.)

Now let me step a foot closer to answering your question. :)

I want to be clear, especially as it pertains to novels, that my opinions on IP do not have to do with voluntary licensing agreements or contracts that may serve many of the same practical purposes. I know of at least one other member here (and I want to say FeatherFall, though I could be mistaken) who has said that a "copyright" in the sense of an agreement that you enter into, when you purchase a book, not to make any copies of it, is legitimate.

I agree with that. It's not copyright in the sense of IP that I've been discussing, but yes, a condition of the sale of a copy of Atlas Shrugged could very well be that no copies may be made. I'd be perfectly happy with that.

(I should note, to help draw the distinction between this -- "copyright" as a common group of contractual agreements, versus copyright as IP -- that I could make such a stipulation to any buyer of any of the books I have on my own bookshelf as a condition of sale, not to make any copies of them. It's not a special right accounted to an innovator, but just a normal aspect of voluntary trade.)

Beyond such a "copyright," let's briefly imagine what a marketplace for novels might be like in a world without IP (cue dramatic music). If it were the case that authors knew, prior to publication, that upon publication their work would (in a sense) be to the winds, well... wouldn't that change the terms upon which authors would be willing to publish their work in the first place? I mean, I honestly don't know. I don't know how the economics would work out, or how the market would shift/adjust/change. Just as when I discuss matters like "ending social security," and someone asks me whether this would mean that seniors would start dying by the score, what I really believe is that the market would adjust in the end, so that we would still find ways of achieving what we find of value, but I don't know that I can describe the specifics of it.

I think you and I would agree that Atlas Shrugged would be a tremendous value in any society. I think that there would be a ton of money to be made on it. I think that since Rand would control Atlas Shrugged's entry into the marketplace, and since she would perhaps need to make that the point at which she receives her just recompense, that she would command something quite a bit greater than what we'd normally expect at present.

Further, in an earlier post in this thread, I'd briefly mentioned my own attitude when it comes to YouTube videos:

 

When I have a choice between watching some original YouTube content on the channel of the person who has created that content versus someone else who has simply uploaded a duplicate of the very same footage, I watch on the original channel.

Now... when I imagine myself presented with the possibility of buying two copies of Atlas Shrugged -- one that is published by Ayn Rand (or the equivalent thereof; the one whereby she stands to profit, personally) and one that is not, though at a discount...? I buy Rand's copy every time. Because I want to personally reward her, insofar as I was able.

I imagine that many other people would act likewise, and especially those drawn to purchase Atlas Shrugged in the first place.

Here's the answer you've been waiting for.

So, with all that said (and all of which I consider important context to fully understand my answer), the answer to your question is: yes.

Assuming that Rand has not required some sort of licensing/"copyright" agreement of those who've purchased her novel, and assuming that these are the terms of the marketplace so that Rand has had the opportunity to deal on those terms (and with the features of that marketplace that have arisen to better reward the value she provides, which I cannot specify, but which I believe would arise in some fashion), and despite my questioning whether there would be a market for such a thing (and knowing that I would not be a part of that market), I do believe that a person should be able to make a copy of a book and sell it, at a discount, or even give it away.

 

Do you think it would have been right, after 14 years of hard work, for Ayn Rand to have been made destitute because someone else was allowed to steal the fruits of her labor? Who would have been sacrificed for what in this instance?

With my (full) answer considered, I hope you'll understand that I don't consider making such a copy "theft" or a "sacrifice." If Rand knew the conditions going in, after all, I doubt that she'd allow herself to be "sacrificed" in any manner at all. And if she wished to prevent such "theft," I expect that she would insist on "copyright" protections to that effect. (If, however, we are discussing the situation of those authors who were reliant upon IP protection getting caught up in a legal change... well... that's a far thornier issue. But I also find it thorny, discussing what would happen to those seniors who were raised to depend on social security, while the market adjusts. I don't know if I have good answers to those sorts of questions.)

Let me also say that I think that there's sometimes a difference between what I consider "right" and what is (or ought to be) legal. For instance, I could propose a scenario where a man isn't allowed to dine in a restaurant due to racial discrimination. That isn't right. It's not just. But it ought to be legal.

And I'm not saying that these are equivalent examples at all. I'm only trying to draw a distinction between these important concepts, to clarify my thoughts on the situation. If I were a publisher, and if I thought I had the opportunity to publish Atlas Shrugged at a discount, siphoning sales away from Ayn Rand, but I judged that to be an immoral action, I would not do it.

If we're talking about "what did Ayn Rand deserve," I'll tell you that I think she deserved all of the fame and wealth that she got, and far more besides. She deserved more people who understood her. She deserved better friends (and, perhaps, better enemies). She deserved to see her ideas change the world, far more than they did. She deserved a legacy wherein she is respected as perhaps the greatest philosopher the world has seen. I'm glad that Rand lived comfortably, but if I'm speaking honestly, I don't know that she received nearly what she deserved, or what was right, or her due, or what her incredible body of work ought to have purchased.

In arguing for what I believe is right, according to my best use of reason, I hope that I continue to "give Ayn Rand what she deserves," even though I recognize that I disagree with her specific conclusion(s) on this issue.

 

I would put the person who answered yes to the first two questions in the same category of animal as the man who would steal the money from my bank account via the internet. They would be an evil looting mooching dog, not worthy of rational discussion.

Of course to be consistent you would have to answer yes, just as howardofski has.

In previewing this for publication, I've taken note that another moderator has hidden your original post. I suspect that has to do with the reference to my possibly being "an evil looting mooching dog, not worthy of rational discussion."

I respect that decision -- this thread is in dire need of greater civility -- but I'm going to preserve the quote of that post for this reply, for context. I don't know whether you'll continue to find me worthy of rational discussion, but I'll continue to try to be an honest and rational man, and to speak honestly, the consequences (and anyone else's opinion of me) be damned.

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Despite my better judgment, I'm going to jump back into this post.

 

My first contribution had to do with copyrights - something which I deal with on a day to day basis, and am reasonably familiar with and, in fact, profit from. (And other than copyrights, I only touched briefly on Trademarks).  In my ever to be humble opinion, a large problem with this post is that people tend to just discuss "IP" without specifying whether the IP in question is Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Trade Dress etc.  The "hypotheticals" are exactly that - way too hypothetical - and of no real value to the discussion.

 

Despite the misgivings that many of us share about the intrusive nature of the State in our day-to-day lives, this does not mean that every law that is on the books is bad.  IP laws developed for a reason, and it behooves us to understand their role before we just categorically branding them as "evil" and cast them aside.

 

The following is from Rand's Lexicon, and the underlines are mine:

 

An idea as such cannot be protected until it has been given a material form. An invention has to be embodied in a physical model before it can be patented; a story has to be written or printed. 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.

 

How this translates to every day life is that if someone were to steal the unpublished manuscript of Atlas Shrugged, and sell it to a publisher, it is accepted by everyone on this forum that Rand would have the right to restitution for the theft, but WITOUT COPYRIGHT LAWS the only monetary compensation she could recoup would be the market value of the paper.  Without copyright laws, the value of the story has no protection.  The same is true for Architecture.  Drawings and Specifications can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, but copies only $100 dollars. 

 

Taken to it's illogical extreme, imagine if someone were to go into a museum and deface a historical painting.  Sure, you could demand restitution for the destruction of property, but being true to the anti-IP mentality, the only thing the criminal would have to compensate the museum for is the cost of the frame, canvas and paint.

 

We live in a complex society, and ideas of ownership, value and property cannot just easily be reduced to material costs.  In fact, the value of materials is itself an issue equally as complex as IP.  We are not concrete-bound animals.  Value is conceptual, and should be treated as such. 

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But Jaskn, if you did not believe in your OWN right to act on other people's ideas then you never would have posted that.

I was speaking as broadly as possible, because that's what howardofski is attacking -- the broadest idea that people don't deserve the product of their mental effort. There's no point in going to the next step and talking about how to apply this in society if you don't agree on that first, most basic idea.

 

Of course, existing patent law already deals with those particulars. It acknowledges that a single person doesn't think of all uses, implications, applications for a given idea by requiring those things to be specified in the patent. It acknowledges that the protection against economic loss should be linked and limited to the individual's life who thought up the idea by limiting the time the patent is valid. In essence, patent law is a system that works fairly well at allowing individuals to more precisely use their ideas to support their existence.

 

Maybe the system could be improved, and we could debate that. But at this point in this thread, people are undermining entirely the notion of having a system like this at all. They are saying that ideas should be considered valuable, but the value is "in the valuer," not the creator. They acknowledge the way in which men learn while denying the way in which they create.

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New Buddha,

 

 

[Anti-IP debaters] are saying that ideas should be considered valuable, but the value is "in the valuer," not the creator.

 

Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  You can value an idea as you choose.  Others will value it as they choose.  Passing value judgments is the responsibility of every mind.

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Taken to it's illogical extreme, imagine if someone were to go into a museum and deface a historical painting.  Sure, you could demand restitution for the destruction of property, but being true to the anti-IP mentality, the only thing the criminal would have to compensate the museum for is the cost of the frame, canvas and paint.

 

The cost of the frame, canvas and paint might be millions of dollars if it was a Vermeer.  If you are suggesting that the anti-IP position is that the value of the art is irrelevant, then you are failing to understand the position.

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The anti-IP debaters , at least in this discussion have relied on physicality as a determining factor. Ownership can not be applied to design and the recognition that design is incorporated into the implementation of physical objects, the ownership can only apply to the the physical objects themselves. IP infringement is not theft because the owner will still own the idea, ie still have the idea 'in his head' whether or not others have it in theirs simultaneously and when they implement the content of the idea to make a product or service and trade that thing , no loss of ownership has occured to the creator of the idea , because he still has the idea. The position rests on the idea of physicality.

 

howardofski in #276 gave

1) An example would be: homeowner contracts with roofer. Roofer does the work. Homeowner doesn't pay. Where is the force? The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep roofer's money in homeowner's pocket so retaliatory force is justified to remove roofer's money from homeowner's pocket. It is Roofer's money because Roofer complied with the contract by doing the work.

 

Basing infringement of rights involved in trade on physicality and possession of physical objects alone, unless the contract stipulates specific bills(identifable by serial number? or a specific item 'the gold bar known as..') what does the roofer not have that the homeowner did have ?

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The anti-IP debaters , at least in this discussion have relied on physicality as a determining factor. Ownership can not be applied to design and the recognition that design is incorporated into the implementation of physical objects, the ownership can only apply to the the physical objects themselves. IP infringement is not theft because the owner will still own the idea, ie still have the idea 'in his head' whether or not others have it in theirs simultaneously and when they implement the content of the idea to make a product or service and trade that thing , no loss of ownership has occured to the creator of the idea , because he still has the idea. The position rests on the idea of physicality.

 

howardofski in #276 gave

1) An example would be: homeowner contracts with roofer. Roofer does the work. Homeowner doesn't pay. Where is the force? The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep roofer's money in homeowner's pocket so retaliatory force is justified to remove roofer's money from homeowner's pocket. It is Roofer's money because Roofer complied with the contract by doing the work.

 

Basing infringement of rights involved in trade on physicality and possession of physical objects alone, unless the contract stipulates specific bills(identifable by serial number? or a specific item 'the gold bar known as..') what does the roofer not have that the homeowner did have ?

Your first paragraph above is correct, so long as it is understood that design may very well be why an object is valued - no one is saying that design is irrelevant or without value, merely that it cannot be owned in the abstract.  Only the physical objects that incorporate the design are ownable.

 

Your third paragraph seems to take my point too literally.  I did not mean that some specific coins or bills were Roofer's property.  I merely meant Roofer, by doing the work, became the rightful owner of some amount of money (which he is being deprived of by Homeowner), but money is fungible, and I wasn't intending to say otherwise.

Edited by howardofski
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Taken to it's illogical extreme, imagine if someone were to go into a museum and deface a historical painting. Sure, you could demand restitution for the destruction of property, but being true to the anti-IP mentality, the only thing the criminal would have to compensate the museum for is the cost of the frame, canvas and paint.

Not to nitpick, but a painting (or a single CD or one copy of a novel) falls under conventional property perfectly well; there's no reason to make it an exclusive matter of materials.

So a painting could be valued as more than its constituent parts, just as a house or a car does.

The hypothetical about the Atlas Shrugged manuscript is accurate. Although it should be treated as more than the ink and paper alone, it cannot be valued as every potential novel it could ever produce (which is the essence of IP).

---

I actually agree that value is a conceptual matter and should be treated accordingly. To legally treat it as intrinsic would produce something far worse than what I'm arguing against.

My only contention is whether concepts themselves (however valuable they are) can be owned, unless they are "owned" by every mind which holds them.

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Jaskn:

To "own" an idea is to own every action of every human being, which depends on it; that nobody has the right to USE your idea without your permission.

If this is proper for ideas then it must be proper for ideas; all ideas.

You (and I include many others in this) have said that whoever invents some new object or technique has the right to dispose of it, BECAUSE they were the ones whose effort created it.

But this reasoning holds equally true for every other sort of idea in existence.

If so then who owns the concept of IP and whom does this discussion rob?

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If you agree that you have the right, not only to think, but to ACT on your thoughts, then we already agree.

If not then you contradict yourself by saying so.

That is what I mean, when I say that you cannot advocate IP without self-contradiction.

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what does the roofer not have that the homeowner did have ?

The money which became rightfully his when he performed the contractually stipulated actions.

Physical property is all which can be owned; even Rand stated this in her reasoning for IP.

The problem is not that ideas are not physical; neither are contracts. If this was your point then it is correct.

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The problem is in denying a causal connection between one person's mind and their actions (which IP does by asserting the causal relationship between an innovator and every single product they enable).

If you are not responsible for your own ideas, even those ideas which were formed by reading Ayn Rand, then you are responsible for nothing whatsoever.

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That is what makes this issue so important. Ownership, consent, guilt and innocence; all of it rises or falls on "responsibility".

And if you are not responsible for your own mind then you cannot be responsible for your own thoughts, words or actions; you cannot own anything at all or give any consent.

"Man is a being of self-made soul" or else he is a slave, point-blank.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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"...to own every action..." Every action? Or just the specific actions which would lead to the specific duplicating of the specific manifestation of the specific idea for the specific person? IP laws today already function like this.

Nobody owns the concept "IP," but they may own a scholarly work which explains the reasoning behind IP. Your question assumes more about IP reasoning and laws than anyone argues. IP has the element of actual implementation and application. It is simply a more refined step up from the reasoning behind all property, in the specific context of a society. It recognizes that the value of trade is derived from the thinking work of men, and that it is possible for men who did not do the thinking to suck dry the marketable value from the man who did do the thinking. Laws prevent men from "using the property" of his own body from taking your lawn mower from your yard. Why is this kind of law OK? The men are not permitted to use their property in the way they want to -- taking the lawn mower home!

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Nobody owns the concept "IP," but they may own a scholarly work which explains the reasoning behind IP. Your question assumes more about IP reasoning and laws than anyone argues.

It is true that nobody has ever said what I am arguing against.

I also have a Communist friend who can't stand being told that he hates the human mind (starting with his own). He's never said anything of the sort- only that thinking and wanting are evil.

Now, for your lawnmower analogy, that's all fine and dandy. It's my mind but if other people's thoughts enter it, they aren't mine. So if I see someone building some novel type of piano then I have no right to use that idea; it belongs to them.

Let's run with that. How did you learn to speak English?

Because if you're serious then you should convey your thoughts with concepts that you did not 'parasitically' steal from your parents.

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I know you have a better mind than that, so I will respond to anything PRINCIPLED you have to say.

This means either considering my point or rejecting it in your own language.

Live long and prosper.

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howardofski in #276 gave

 

An example would be: homeowner contracts with roofer. Roofer does the work. Homeowner doesn't pay. Where is the force? The amount of force is small, but it is enough to keep roofer's money in homeowner's pocket so retaliatory force is justified to remove roofer's money from homeowner's pocket. It is Roofer's money because Roofer complied with the contract by doing the work.

 

As an aside:

 

Under our current laws, the Roofer would be allowed to file a Mechanic's Lien against the property and would actually acquire a security interest in the physical property. It would be legally recorded to the tile and not removed until payment was made.  If the property were sold, the lien would accompany it.  Been there, done that...

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That was a bizarre post.

I guess my reply is, again:

IP is for specific, original ideas and applications. It's ironic to use human observation and learning as the argument against IP, when that is the very reason IP is necessary. Humans can learn something easily once it is observed in action. If that wasn't possible, there would be no reason to have IP laws protecting the original idea of the original thinker.

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That was a bizarre post.

I guess my reply is, again:

IP is for specific, original ideas and applications. It's ironic to use human observation and learning as the argument against IP, when that is the very reason IP is necessary. Humans can learn something easily once it is observed in action. If that wasn't possible, there would be no reason to have IP laws protecting the original idea of the original thinker.

It is bizarre to claim that thinkers need or deserve protection from people who might learn by observation.

Edited by howardofski
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It is bizarre to claim that thinkers need or deserve protection from people who might learn by observation.

Says you.

I know you also say that the originator of an idea doesn't lose marketable value when someone else takes and markets his idea instead.

Anything can be said, really.

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Let's run with that. How did you learn to speak English?

Because if you're serious then you should convey your thoughts with concepts that you did not 'parasitically' steal from your parents.

 

This is literally irrelevant - you're fighting windmills. IP isn't about learning concepts, it's about using specific kinds of concepts in specific way with a physical implementation like blueprints. It's not ANY idea whatever. If there is an implication that IP wants to put all concepts under ownership, then point it out. I don't see how that is possible if a valid IP position requires the physical implementation. Another thing to do is show a paradox.

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If there is an implication that IP wants to put all concepts under ownership, then point it out. I don't see how that is possible if a valid IP position requires the physical implementation.

I agree with Rand's justification of regular property rights; the fact that they come from the actions of someone.

To say that Franz owns Wolfgang's piano means that Franz built the piano, INSTEAD OF Wolfgang.

Why in Galt's name doesn't this apply to any other action Franz could be said to cause???

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If Wolfgang goes through all of the motions of building Franz's piano, without the proper materials, then what?

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