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Remaining Principled with 3D Printing

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Why would I create something new if I wasn't going to benifit from it? Would plant a farm is someone will take it?  Why write a book if someone just takes it?  Why think if I cannot act on what I think?

 

Your question is not answered because the context of political thinking never gets to it. 

 

Force destroys value, and the mind worse of all.  A free mind can think than act on it's judgement.  A mind that can think but has no value in acting is simply a floating conciousness with no purpose.  A ghost.  A body that needs others to think for them to fill the void where the mind should be is a zombie.  There is probably a good link between the popularity of zombie films and the disolving of propoerty rights for reasons like this - People what to act but without the reason.   

 

A right is a right to act, but it is a right to act on your judgement.  You can't put a block in between and expect a mind to think but not benifit from it's actions.   What do I loose?  The life that should have been mine - That is what I loose.

In the example we are discussing, there has been no mention of force.  No one is proposing that you not benefit from your actions, nor that your farm be stolen.  The question here is what have you lost if someone imitates you?  That simple question assumes nothing about stealing your farm or forcing anything on you, let alone taking the life that should have been yours. 

 

If you have an idea and implement it, what's the problem?  If I imitate you and implement the same idea, how have you lost the life you should have had?

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Why would I create something new if I wasn't going to benifit from it? Would plant a farm is someone will take it?  Why write a book if someone just takes it?  Why think if I cannot act on what I think?

 

...

 

Force destroys value, and the mind worse of all.

 

 

If you plant a farm and someone takes it, that is force. Also you end up with less value than you had, and the aggressor ends up with more. (zero sum)

 

If you write a book and I copy it, there is no force. I end up with more value. But you don't necessarily end up with less value, I might hypothetically have bought it or now. (non zero sum)

 

I don't advocate piracy, I just wanted to point out that there is no force in the book example, and no value (that has been materialized) is destroyed.

 

Regarding the argument that it would disincentivize inventors if we get rid of IP laws; why should I need government's ability to use force, to innovate? Is that the only/best option I'd have, to protect my interests?

 

I've read what Ayn Rand said/wrote about the subject of IP, and I understand she was clearly supportive of it. But times have changed. A lot. We have a mature open software movement, an offshoot of that an open hardware movement which shouldn't be ignored. When Ayn Rand said those things there were no consumer 3D printers, there was no Internet, no Wikipedia. Like it or not, we're living in quite a different world now.

 

Shouldn't we discuss the core principles? And not the current status quo, current law, or what Ayn Rand said on this particular subject. Perhaps she'd have changed her position by now. But I believe the core principles of objectivism would still hold true. I'm not convinced IP, as we have it today is a good thing anymore. I'd be totally convinced if someone pointed out the mistake in my reasoning. I still haven't got an answer to my o-ring question.

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If you have an idea and implement it, what's the problem?  If I imitate you and implement the same idea, how have you lost the life you should have had?

 

(I'm playing the devil's advocate here.)

 

I imitated you and now I am competing with you. Since we don't have IP laws, you don't have the monopoly. You could have sold M more units and you could have made more money. But now I'm making that money and since that money must come from somewhere, I am practically reaching out to your pocket and snatching the money that would have been there.

 

Wait a minute! How can you be sure I am actually imitating you? How do you know that I didn't use my reasoning and arrived at the same conclusion?

 

PS: I expect you to throw your hands in the air and give up soon, so I can steal the remainder of your profits.

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Time, money, resources are not lost to you if I imitate you.  If I benefit from your idea, how is it that you lose?  Can you name what you used to have, that you no longer have - what you used to own, that has now been taken from you?

If I copy your idea, the products you would have sold will never be realized. You have lost those future sales.

Surely you can see that thought requires effort. At minimum, you can acknowledge that using someone's idea is a shortcut to mental effort for your... and it's possible you would have never thought the idea up at all without the effort made by the other person.

Obviously you can't prevent someone from thinking. So, if he sees your idea, he can't be blamed for processing the information in his own mind. Also, you can't claim credit for any ideas he gets resulting from the new knowledge of your idea. So, IP needs to be very specific, supporting your right to benefit from your own idea, but not preventing others from moving beyond that with their own ideas.

Basically, all human value is derived from an effort of thought, from an individual, and IP is an attempt to protect the value created by someone when his idea has not yet taken the form of physical things.

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As I said, all manmade value comes from ideas. From this it can be deduced that *something* will be lost to you, some value not realized, if someone uses your idea. Your very question is assuming the premise that ideas have value which can be lost.

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As I said, all manmade value comes from ideas.

 

I agree.

 

 

From this it can be deduced that *something* will be lost to you, some value not realized, if someone uses your idea.

 
No. If I buy a lottery ticket, there's an unrealized value in it, I might be a millionaire. Can I make claims on that?
 
If someone steals your idea and profits from that, how can you claim that if he didn't do that, you would have made that profit? Perhaps you would, perhaps you wouldn't. A market crash, new product/competitor, personal issues, etc.. are factors that would affect it.
 
If I open a bakery, isn't there an idea behind it? I might have thought that a bakery in this particular street would be very profitable. Can I claim that I lost something if another bakery is opening nearby? If not how is this different? Was my idea a lesser kind? 
 
 

Your very question is assuming the premise that ideas have value which can be lost.

 

Does an idea have value if you don't ever act upon it?

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Time, money, resources are not lost to you if I imitate you.  If I benefit from your idea, how is it that you lose?  Can you name what you used to have, that you no longer have - what you used to own, that has now been taken from you?

You lose full and complete control of your creation's realization - the same as what happens if someone rides your bike when you're asleep, does not damage your bike, then returns it before you wake up. The point here is that property is complete control by your own choice, and if you don't have total control by right, your property doesn't serve its function as a requirement for life. Other people have a claim to property if it is not under total control by you. IP just pertains to less concrete requirements, but is still a need in the same sense. Making money, fidelity of the creation, benefiting from your creation, these are all what property provides. Note that I imply realization is required for IP to be valid. IP may often be a contract as licensing, but a legal contract is not needed for say, writing a novel. 

 

Essentially, tangible loss is not an argument to invalidate IP. It actually would invalidate all property if you stick with it to the end.

Edited by Eiuol
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What contract are you referring to?  If I imitate you, I have not breached a contract unless I signed a contract in advance. 

 

 

Not all forms of imitation are violations of boilerplate IP contracts. For instance, imitation for the purpose of satire is widely recognized by advocates of IP as destroying none of the original work's value. But imitating me to the point of impersonation - and then selling a work or service based on my reputation (personal capital) - is most definitely a violation of the rights of your buyer. It's usually a violation of my rights as well. But that's branding, and what I was talking about is copyright.

Copyright is a pretty direct portmanteau of "the right to copy" or something similar. Through contract, you're giving a publisher access to your manuscript under the condition that he only prints so many copies, gives you a percentage of sales, doesn't sell your manuscript to another publisher, etc. The contract obligates the him to, prior to purchase, inform a buyer of the author's conditions of use. That's what a copyright is. Don't think you have to sign something to enter into a contract.

Consider Muhuk's example:

 

If you write a book and I copy it, there is no force. I end up with more value. But you don't necessarily end up with less value, I might hypothetically have bought it or no[t]. (non zero sum)

 

The force is in ignoring the copyright, which is a clear statement of the author's and publisher's conditions of sale. If you copy a copyrighted book, you are in violation of an implicit contract. If your friend allows you to copy his copyrighted book, you are abetting his violation of the contract into which he entered when he bought the book.

Edited by FeatherFall
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Consider Muhuk's example:

 

The force is in ignoring the copyright, which is a clear statement of the author's and publisher's conditions of sale. If you copy a copyrighted book, you are in violation of an implicit contract. If your friend allows you to copy his copyrighted book, you are abetting his violation of the contract into which he entered when he bought the book.

 

 

You are absolutely right that there is a breach of an implicit contract. But I still don't see the application of force. In other words I don't see how the mere act of copying the book affected the author's life.

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Does an inheritance tax effect the life of the deceased?

 

Lost revenue. Do you think you have a right to sleep in my bed, so long as you wash the sheets?

 

Lost renevue: I responded this in #57.

 

Bed: beds, sheets and bikes have identities. Do ideas have identities?

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What contract are you referring to?  If I imitate you, I have not breached a contract unless I signed a contract in advance. 

 

A thief hasn't signed any contract either but he still can't just take your property.  Land deeds and titles to automobiles are implied contracts that you didn't sign.  Incidentally, imitation as such isn't the target of the prohibition.  Literal copying is and copying of the actual work of art, not just some idea floating around in someone's head.  If I whistle an original tune and you imitate me, no one will think this is a copyright violation.  Even if I obtain a copyright of that original as recorded, your imitation of it will not violate the terms.  If you perform or copy and distribute my work for compensation without my permission, then you have violated the copyright.  

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The debate here is about whether ideas can be property.  To continue assuming what is being questioned and then compare ideas to farms and bicycles in order to explain what stealing is, misses the debate entirely.

 

To argue that when I imitate you I am causing you to lose sales, is to argue that you own those sales in the first place.  But you do not own those sales or those customers or their choice to buy from you or me.

 

Insisting that since you were the first to think of an idea, you "deserve" those customers is a specious argument.  You will never "deserve" other people or their money (except where voluntarily contracted for).

 

Your life is filled with the benefits of the thinking of other people, which you received for free.  That is one of the wonders of being human.  We learn from others and humanity progresses.  Referring to learning as "stealing" so as to excuse the desire to get rich by means of a coercive monopoly is not rational or moral.  You have the right to keep your great new idea secret, but once you make it public, you do not have the right to pull a gun and claim to own an idea which is now in the minds of others.

 

Also, you will not be able to prove that you thought up the idea or that you thought it up first.  All you will ever prove is that you got to the government gunslingers first, so you win the prize of a coercive monopoly.

Edited by howardofski
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Also, you will not be able to prove that you thought up the idea or that you thought it up first. All you will ever prove is that you got to the government gunslingers first, so you win the prize of a coercive monopoly.

Since mind reading isn't possible, if we are to assume IP is legitimate, some system needs to be adhered to that comes as close as possible to recognizing the originator of a new idea. So, the argument of no proof isn't valid. The proof is the filing of the patent.

Are the "government gunslingers" proper in their enforcement of your "monopoly" on your own body? That's essentially your argument against IP. What if I want to use your body for some purpose of my own? Why am I not allowed? What makes something "property" at all?

To argue that when I imitate you I am causing you to lose sales, is to argue that you own those sales in the first place. But you do not own those sales or those customers or their choice to buy from you or me.

Insisting that since you were the first to think of an idea, you "deserve" those customers is a specious argument. You will never "deserve" other people or their money (except where voluntarily contracted for).

You don't own anything but the your idea and the use thereof, if you wish to go through the trouble of utilizing a system set up to protect that ownership. Nobody is arguing that you own other people, or their decisions, or whatever. I mentioned sales as an example of real losses a person can realize due to the copying of an idea -- which was in response to your question of how it will negatively affect someone to have their idea copied.
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Since mind reading isn't possible, if we are to assume IP is legitimate, some system needs to be adhered to that comes as close as possible to recognizing the originator of a new idea. So, the argument of no proof isn't valid. The proof is the filing of the patent.

 

Isn't this circular logic? Let's not assume IP is legitimate, then we won't need a system or proof or mind reading.

 

 

Are the "government gunslingers" proper in their enforcement of your "monopoly" on your own body? That's essentially your argument against IP. What if I want to use your body for some purpose of my own? Why am I not allowed? What makes something "property" at all?

 
Physical objects are made out of atoms, therefore they are limited resources. If you use someone else's body for your own purposes, that person cannot use his body at the same time. Therefore he'd be at a loss. But you and I and everybody else in the world can successfully use the idea of multiplication simultaneously. I feel bad for having to write this paragraph. Can you please stop equating conceptual things to physical things?
 
 

You don't own anything but the your idea and the use thereof, if you wish to go through the trouble of utilizing a system set up to protect that ownership. Nobody is arguing that you own other people, or their decisions, or whatever. I mentioned sales as an example of real losses a person can realize due to the copying of an idea -- which was in response to your question of how it will negatively affect someone to have their idea copied.

 
 
Except that it's not a real loss. See #57 & #65.
 
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A bike has an identity, do ideas have identity?

My second post: The implementation of an idea, not of an idea.

 

Think of a book, where the author would own the story he or she wrote, since it was written down and created. Having the idea is different than creation. All instances of the story are owned by the author; what matters about a story is the story, not the book it is contained in. You own the book and its pages but not the story, which is a different entity.

 

I still don't understand why "loss" matters anyway. It doesn't matter for stealing bikes or stealing stories. My bike comparison is to show that if you made identical arguments for even bikes, you'd be arguing against all property. All property is about control however a person wants, not whether they use their property rationally!

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Physical objects are made out of atoms, therefore they are limited resources. If you use someone else's body for your own purposes, that person cannot use his body at the same time. Therefore he'd be at a loss. But you and I and everybody else in the world can successfully use the idea of multiplication simultaneously. I feel bad for having to write this paragraph. Can you please stop equating conceptual things to physical things?

Multiplication is not ownable because it is not an idea that can be implemented as a physical representation. Lots of things can be used by two people at once. A couch, a game console, a tandem bike, reading the same page of an opened book, sharing from a pack of gum...

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Multiplication is not ownable because it is not an idea that can be implemented as a physical representation.

 

How come printing a story counts as an implementation but writing down equations don't?

 

 

Lots of things can be used by two people at once. A couch, a game console, a tandem bike, reading the same page of an opened book, sharing from a pack of gum...

 

I think you are missing the point here. There would be one couch, if I take yours, you will no longer have it.

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Let's not assume IP is legitimate, then we won't need a system or proof or mind reading.

The point was that proof is not a legitimate argument against IP, because, as we see today, a legal system of patent filing takes care of that.

Except that it's not a real loss.

Ever heard of Rearden Metal?

Physical objects are made out of atoms, therefore they are limited resources. If you use someone else's body for your own purposes, that person cannot use his body at the same time. Therefore he'd be at a loss. But you and I and everybody else in the world can successfully use the idea of multiplication simultaneously. I feel bad for having to write this paragraph. Can you please stop equating conceptual things to physical things?

The point isn't who can copy what idea, how extensively, how easily. The point is that all property is a reflection of a person's need to use things to advance his life, and that the way he figures out how to use things is with ideas. "Conceptual things" are what makes the "physical things" valuable in the first place, ie. what makes them property.
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In the example we are discussing, there has been no mention of force.  No one is proposing that you not benefit from your actions, nor that your farm be stolen.  The question here is what have you lost if someone imitates you?  That simple question assumes nothing about stealing your farm or forcing anything on you, let alone taking the life that should have been yours. 

 

If you have an idea and implement it, what's the problem?  If I imitate you and implement the same idea, how have you lost the life you should have had?

 

Imitation is a nice way to soften the observation but in truth it is a false comparison.   If you were imitating me you would be mimicking my voice, style, etc. like an impersonator.  What your suggesting it taking my ideas and using it yourself. 

 

If I have an idea and you take it what is the problem?  Let’s say I spend 10 years outside of my work developing a better system of farming and think “wow, the money I make on this will make it worthwhile!  I spent 10 years of my life but I’ll pay off my farm, put the kids through school, plan an early retirement and make up the time to my wife!”  Then this doesn’t happen since I cannot sell it since everyone has a so-called right to my idea. 

 

Which means they have the right to the ten years of my life.  Which means I just wasted 10 years of my life. 

 

What is the NOT the problem with that?  Looting is more than taking money, it is taking the time and ideas that give money value. 

 

Which is what the real purpose is – To take value instead of earn it.

 

At that point you might as well join the looters and open up the redistributive welfare state along with the brain drain that goes with it since no one in his right mind is going to spend his life developing ideas that he is expected to sacrifice to the public. 

 

My idea is my idea.

 

I have an idea then I act on an idea to further my life in some form or fashion.  The only way you can disconnect the two is to force yourself between the two so I’m acting for your benefit, not mine.  The Law is no longer protecting my ability to act for myself, but forcing me to act for you. 

 

There is a political system that says ownership is public but it isn’t Capitalism. 

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If you plant a farm and someone takes it, that is force. Also you end up with less value than you had, and the aggressor ends up with more. (zero sum)

 

If you write a book and I copy it, there is no force. I end up with more value. But you don't necessarily end up with less value, I might hypothetically have bought it or now. (non zero sum)

 

I don't advocate piracy, I just wanted to point out that there is no force in the book example, and no value (that has been materialized) is destroyed.

 

Regarding the argument that it would disincentivize inventors if we get rid of IP laws; why should I need government's ability to use force, to innovate? Is that the only/best option I'd have, to protect my interests?

 

I've read what Ayn Rand said/wrote about the subject of IP, and I understand she was clearly supportive of it. But times have changed. A lot. We have a mature open software movement, an offshoot of that an open hardware movement which shouldn't be ignored. When Ayn Rand said those things there were no consumer 3D printers, there was no Internet, no Wikipedia. Like it or not, we're living in quite a different world now.

 

Shouldn't we discuss the core principles? And not the current status quo, current law, or what Ayn Rand said on this particular subject. Perhaps she'd have changed her position by now. But I believe the core principles of objectivism would still hold true. I'm not convinced IP, as we have it today is a good thing anymore. I'd be totally convinced if someone pointed out the mistake in my reasoning. I still haven't got an answer to my o-ring question.

 

I was working up an answer but realized I was just copying my post above in a different way.  I'll refer you to my last post and we can go from there if you like. 

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howardovski

 

 

Since a central question is whether, on principle, ideas can form the foundation of a property right in an Objectivist society, let's first validate property rights in a concrete context:

 

 

You and your village live 10 miles from the lake, you find a coconut in the untamed unowned forest, hike to the lake and fill it with water, and journey back to the village.   From the time you find the coconut to the time you go back to the village, at various times you place it on the ground next to you to do something else.  sometimes it has water in it sometimes it does not. It's final resting place is on a table of a veranda of a popular and trusted member of the village. 

 

What is the status, to be given to the material object, the coconut and/or the water, as a property right during the process?  And Why? 

 

Suppose someone were following you silently the entire time and at one point, when you put the coconut down he took it.   Perhaps he took the whole thing, or perhaps he drank the water.  Is this a violation of a property right?  Is there a time when this would not be a violation of a property right?

 

There are no contracts here... what is the principle by which you can say a right has arisen in regard to the material object and WHY?  What is the principle which dictates property rights are created.... Is it simply because it is a material object?

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 Can you please stop equating conceptual things to physical things?

No, they won't stop that because it is the whole secret to the pro-IP argument.  It is to pretend that ideas, like material things, can be owned, and then to pretend that customers can also be owned.

 

Without those two errors, the whole IP argument collapses.

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