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Your reply to mine up to this point seemed pretty straightforward. My issue is not with replicating a patented object for personal use. Usually I would just buy it, because it would generally cost me more in some respect to make it for myself,  

 

Man B, "the man who copies," in building Machine B, is no less supporting his life by his own effort and by the guidance of his own mind than the innovator is. And if Man B cannot dispose of the product of his effort--which is Machine B--then his rights have been violated, and his very life has been assaulted.

And now I would like to note a couple of additional things about our example.

We did not specify any specific time frame between the machine's innovation and the second man copying it, or whether it is within or outside of any given assigned length of patent. Which is just as well: all of that kind of detail seems to me to be arbitrary anyway. But I think that "the act of copying" is the same, with respect to morality, in year 19 following the innovation and year 21. Which is to say that it is always moral to apply what you know to create material wealth, for the betterment of your own life, notwithstanding who else might have done something similar first, or when, or where.

And since it seems to be an important point that the innovator has put in more effort than anyone subsequent (i.e. "trials and tribulations"), I think it important to observe that this is not necessarily so. A genius might quickly and (relatively) effortlessly come up with some process, or here, some machine, whereas another man might struggle for a long amount of time trying to understand and replicate the same; the man who copies may well endure greater "trials and tribulations," in trying to wring his fortune from the earth. But this is just as well. I don't believe that property is, or ought to be, awarded on the basis of suffering, or the amount of effort, per se. But that a person performs the effort necessary for the creation of material wealth is what entitles him to the use/ownership of that resultant material wealth. For you, the effort (mental or physical) involved in creating some instance of material wealth may be small, while for me to do the same thing it might be large, or vice versa, but what matters is that we are both entitled to the fruit of our effort regardless.

You mention a genius might quickly and (relatively) effortlessly come up with some process. It jogs my mind about looking thru Ayn Rand's journals and comparing earlier works to the later ones, where you see the seeds of many of her ideas germinating early on, and how they matured over time. When I come up with an idea in design, it is usually the ability to see a particular solution based on past years of having been immersed in the practice.

As to the rest of what you wrote here, I'll have to work on understanding the moral aspect of it better for now.

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No, we want them because property is created by men. And the men who create it are entitled to it.

I don't know where I've been talking about "trade." It flummoxes me to see these replies to what I've said that... do not appear to speak to what I've written. Or maybe they do in some sidling fashion

First of all, I write this just having read your "obnoxiously long anecdote," so I wanted to remark that I quite enjoyed it, and certainly I find it interesting as a commentary on copying. Thanks for

So knowing is OK, but profiting from knowing is taboo? 

Neither, it's not about knowing... it's about creating and production (the virtue of productivity). Why is it that in so many IP discussions I need to -repeatedly- say IP isn't about just having an idea? It gets annoying.

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The absence of  patent system doesn't guarantee a loss any more than the presence of one guarantees a full recovery of the time and expense of bringing a new product to market. The only thing accomplished is to establish restitution in advance of any actual crime.

Suppose a patented item is reverse engineered to produce a competing product.  Who will determine if the competitor out sells the originator?  Won't the reward still follow the better product??  Isn't that what we want to see happen???

In my line of work, I look at how things are made all the time. Producing a competing product does not necessarily entail patent infringement. In fact, it tends to produce more patents. (My name is included on one of them.) In this sense, patents help find ways to improve on a product, in order not to infringe on a patent, bringing yet another (sometimes patent-able) innovation to the market place.

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Correct, it's about a right to the implementation of an idea.  I thought that was what I was addressing, but fair enough as this was addressed to the other DA, it's likely he'll offer a better response than I :blush:

Er... maybe, maybe not.

(Psst... don't get it twisted. You're "the other DA"! ;) )

Yes, but the value is not the medium, it's the song. You will own the medium if you buy it. Except, most songs only exist now as data, i.e. infinitely copyable. The pattern of bits is what people want. That pattern of bits is a song. In other words, IP is data ownership. Call it data property if you want. If you own IP, you own the means of production, since the data pattern is how you end up with a song - as soon as you implement the pattern, the song exists. It's not enough to have the materials, such as a computer or a vinyl record. The rest of the material is the data, the non-scarce part!

I honestly don't know how to respond better than everything I've already said on this topic. I don't see that you've understood what I've been trying to communicate, and I'm sorry if that's my fault. Maybe I'll think of a better way to express myself later...
 

Your reply to mine up to this point seemed pretty straightforward.

I'm glad to hear it. It is always among my chief goals to express myself in a clear and straightforward fashion (though I know I don't always hit that mark).

My issue is not with replicating a patented object for personal use.

Then you and I might not have as much at issue. Perhaps there are still points of departure between us (in fact, I'm certain of it), but if we agree on this then I believe that is substantial accord, and a potentially valuable common ground from which to further develop and probe these ideas.

Usually I would just buy it, because it would generally cost me more in some respect to make it for myself,

Yes, absolutely. I think this is generally true.

You mention a genius might quickly and (relatively) effortlessly come up with some process. It jogs my mind about looking thru Ayn Rand's journals and comparing earlier works to the later ones, where you see the seeds of many of her ideas germinating early on, and how they matured over time. When I come up with an idea in design, it is usually the ability to see a particular solution based on past years of having been immersed in the practice.

I introduced the concept of "genius" in order to quickly make a point, but I hope not to get too embroiled in it, and partly out of my own ignorance on the subject. Regarding how a particular "genius" might be informed or developed or shaped by past experience, I absolutely agree. I have often thought about how my own "intelligence" is, in the main, a wealth of practice in asking myself particular questions of the things I experience.

I'm not quite certain how I may account for a Mozart, say, but then I'm not sure anyone has either.

As to the rest of what you wrote here, I'll have to work on understanding the moral aspect of it better for now.

Absolutely. I'm always happy to discuss my thoughts to the extent I'm able.

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I introduced the concept of "genius" in order to quickly make a point, but I hope not to get too embroiled in it, and partly out of my own ignorance on the subject. Regarding how a particular "genius" might be informed or developed or shaped by past experience, I absolutely agree. I have often thought about how my own "intelligence" is, in the main, a wealth of practice in asking myself particular questions of the things I experience.

I'm not quite certain how I may account for a Mozart, say, but then I'm not sure anyone has either.

Absolutely. I'm always happy to discuss my thoughts to the extent I'm able.

In her First Philosophic Journal, Miss Rand wrote:

Some day I'll find out whether I'm an unusual specimen of humanity in that my instincts and reason are so inseparably one, with the reason ruling the instincts. Am I unusual or merely normal and healthy? Am I trying to impose my own peculiarities as a philosophical system? Am I unusually intelligent or merely unusually honest? I think this last. Unless—honesty is also a form of superior intelligence.

Mozart, and perhaps Rand, would be closer in line with borderline concepts. The first task would be to clearly establish the areas that are on either side of the borderline. Then the anomalies should be easier to work with.  (I take some exception to the earlier more questionable usage of the term "instinct" in this May 16, 1934 excerpt, as she toots her own horn here.)

Edited by dream_weaver
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Er... maybe, maybe not.

(Psst... don't get it twisted. You're "the other DA"! ;) )

...

As you were here first, and in the spirit of IP, I shall henceforth refer to you as the original DA. I will also credit you with, what I consider to be, two of the strongest arguments against IP:

"Would you like the power to tell other people that they may not learn from your example and craft spears of their own, to benefit their own lives? I disagree that you have any right to such a power."

"I don't believe that property is, or ought to be, awarded on the basis of suffering, or the amount of effort, per se. But that a person performs the effort necessary for the creation of material wealth is what entitles him to the use/ownership of that resultant material wealth."

And in the spirit of a free exchange of ideas, I intend to run with them at every oppertunity until a more presuasive rebuttal can be forwarded. Also, kudos to Robert for introducing a new bent on a familiar topic.

Until someone can identify a right to monopoly that flows from a fundamental right to life, I'll consider the practice of IP better aligned with the mixed market we have than the truely free market we ought to have.

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As you were here first, and in the spirit of IP, I shall henceforth refer to you as the original DA. I will also credit you with, what I consider to be, two of the strongest arguments against IP:

"Would you like the power to tell other people that they may not learn from your example and craft spears of their own, to benefit their own lives? I disagree that you have any right to such a power."

"I don't believe that property is, or ought to be, awarded on the basis of suffering, or the amount of effort, per se. But that a person performs the effort necessary for the creation of material wealth is what entitles him to the use/ownership of that resultant material wealth."

And in the spirit of a free exchange of ideas, I intend to run with them at every oppertunity until a more presuasive rebuttal can be forwarded. Also, kudos to Robert for introducing a new bent on a familiar topic.

Until someone can identify a right to monopoly that flows from a fundamental right to life, I'll consider the practice of IP better aligned with the mixed market we have than the truely free market we ought to have.

Well stated, and thank you for the kudos.

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Whose life is it?

Egoism is not challenged by recognizing everyone has a right to life.  Obviously my life is mine to do with as I will, and yours is up to you to determine for yourself.  The moment we begin placing demands on each other, in terms of performance, is the moment we begin to drift away from the inherent power to own your own life.

Patronage (which is what IP pretends to secure), i.e., respect for talent, cannot be coerced without contradicting the Trader Principle.  An honest trader doesn't need the artificial protection of IP.  He recognizes thieves exist, yet prefers the interaction with those for whom such a protection is irrelevant.  Consider the complex characters in Atlas Shrugged... did ANY of the protagonists require IP to interact with each other?

Given my Dutch heritage, I'd truly like to think the ancient merchants got it right, that, "leven en laten leven" implies an obligation to allow artisans an exclusive right to benefit from products of innovation they bring to the marketplace, "for a time, but not forever to avoid the dangers of monopoly" (from memory of my reading of Lex Mercatoria), but monopoly remains a danger, and like "a little poison", compromises the health of any system.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Regarding the role of IP in Atlas Shrugged, what was one of the roles of Reardon Metal again? Why did the State Science Institute need the Gift Certificate to procure it, rather than just a metallurgical analysis? When Boyle went to fabricate it after the Gift Certificate was put into play, what role did Ragnar play in targeting his mills from sea?

Also the motor found in the ruins of the Twentieth Century Motor factor qualifies as another example.

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Do these examples show that IP was required for the protagonists to respect each others property, or that IP prevented theft by their antagonists? And I love that you're using Ragnar, a pirate, to defend IP now.

"Got competition? Take the gold and sink 'em!  That's the Pirate Code, rrrRRRrrr matey"  :devil:

Edit:  There's a better example of the spirit of IP presented in the novel, and significant in that is a voluntary concession that doesn't require the use of force.

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Mozart, and perhaps Rand, would be closer in line with borderline concepts. The first task would be to clearly establish the areas that are on either side of the borderline. Then the anomalies should be easier to work with.  (I take some exception to the earlier more questionable usage of the term "instinct" in this May 16, 1934 excerpt, as she toots her own horn here.)

I'm not comfortable enough with the concept of "borderline concepts" to know how to use it to approach "genius," Mozart or Rand. I think that our use of "genius," in itself (that is, when we're not sloppy with the usage) implies some "anomalous" character--genius is something out of the norm, after all, which is how we recognize it--but that's about as far as I can take it, at present.

But let's not rest on our laurels and allow ourselves to go too far astray from the main topic. If we are (howsoever temporarily) agreed about the morality of "copying" for the sake of individual use, and given that I am taking the position anti-IP (and more specifically anti- Rand's arguments in "Patents and Copyrights," for there are a myriad of IP theories out there, and I'm sure I'm not even aware of all of them), then what would be your next bone of contention with my position?

As you were here first, and in the spirit of IP, I shall henceforth refer to you as the original DA.

Excellent. I should also like a cut of whatever money you make on your OO posts. :)

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Egoism is also not challenged by identification of objective facts. The acts of identifiying and recognizing discrete, unique and concrete entities are products of rational thought. If I build a house there is no reason to suppose I could force you to use it and charge you a fee for it. But every common sense expectation that if I allow you access to its use that I would not be prohibited from charging a price. Nor would it be considered  that simply becasue my house exists, you have a right to its use. The fact my house exists is no threat to your ability to build a house and use it as you see fit: rent it out, live in it or simply give it away, heck my house in no way interferes with your ability to build as many houses as you can or want. 
Does the idea that a LFC society would recognize my ' house monopoly rights' and incorporate a legal sytem that works to protect and provide a mechanism for settling grievances and possible compensation for any infringement of my 'monopoly' , mean that that monopoly was created or granted to me by the legal system ? Or is it a recognition of rights I possess, notwithstanding the system? I don't think 'monopoly' is actually the best term to describe the rights in property I hold in regard my house(an actual house), let alone what rights it may be termed  I ' have' in acting to precur any potential houses.
An invention , song, or novel are identifiable discrete entities , no? In the largest picture , an  LFC society would be an 'artifical' and to whatever degree or more or less arbitrary construct. With a foremest emphasise on being grounded in and founded on moral principles, yes?
So when the commitee meeting is called to draw up the one bestest LFC handbook, I 'm going to propose the legal recognition of the right of the inventor to 1% , in perpituity or death whichever comes first, of the gross sales of his/her legally validiated patented widget, and lets say 97% of gross sales for the copyright holders of novels and songs for 8 years and 1% thereafter in perpituity or death of the first generation of the holders of those rights.

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Do these examples show that IP was required for the protagonists to respect each others property, or that IP prevented theft by their antagonists? And I love that you're using Ragnar, a pirate, to defend IP now.

"Got competition? Take the gold and sink 'em!  That's the Pirate Code, rrrRRRrrr matey"  :devil:

Edit:  There's a better example of the spirit of IP presented in the novel, and significant in that is a voluntary concession that doesn't require the use of force.

The pirate was quite fitting. If you consider her use of "inverted morality", Ragnar, as such, was an inverse role.

There was no force in conjunction with the motor. Galt left it there because it belonged to the company. By the time Dagney found it, the factory was abandoned.

I'm scratching my head for what you might be referring to as a better example.

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I'm not comfortable enough with the concept of "borderline concepts" to know how to use it to approach "genius," Mozart or Rand. I think that our use of "genius," in itself (that is, when we're not sloppy with the usage) implies some "anomalous" character--genius is something out of the norm, after all, which is how we recognize it--but that's about as far as I can take it, at present.

But let's not rest on our laurels and allow ourselves to go too far astray from the main topic. If we are (howsoever temporarily) agreed about the morality of "copying" for the sake of individual use, and given that I am taking the position anti-IP (and more specifically anti- Rand's arguments in "Patents and Copyrights," for there are a myriad of IP theories out there, and I'm sure I'm not even aware of all of them), then what would be your next bone of contention with my position?

I don't see where you may have weighed in on the idea of private contractual agreement, that the OP was more amiable to. Does the author or inventor has the right to establish the terms of the sale or lease of his product?

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I don't see where you may have weighed in on the idea of private contractual agreement, that the OP was more amiable to. Does the author or inventor has the right to establish the terms of the sale or lease of his product?

Absolutely. In fact, I might go a touch further than the OP on this score (though he could clarify his stance, or challenge me, if/where necessary).

And if an author chose to use, by an understood reference (such as this book is published in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law), a previously written contract rather than clutter the beginning of his novel with 200 pages or more of legalese?

I think "copyright" as a commonly understood reference is fine, and one of the actual, legitimate conveniences a government can provide. :)
 

And if a product formed from Reardon Metal was sold to you with an express contract by Hank Reardon that you will not have it metallurgically analyzed for its chemical composition, would that hold the same weight to you as a book with an express contract not to copy it to re-sell?

Yes, absolutely.

I don't see why not.  A contract is a contract. 

OTOH, suppose the buyer then sells or gives a sample of Rearden metal to a third party.  That person is under no contract not to analyze it.

Unless the original sale contract contains terms for resale.

********

I will only add that these same provisions are available to everyone who contracts, not simply the inventor of X product. I don't know why I would particularly, but if I owned a hunk of Rearden metal, free from condition, I could (offer to) sell it to you with the proviso that you not analyze it.

Oh. Also, there is no "term of patent" involved here. Rearden's great-great-great-grandchildren could still be selling Rearden metal with the contractual stipulation that the metal not be analyzed. With "IP" reduced to actual, individual rights, there is no supposed need to turn anything over to "the public domain."

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Egoism is also not challenged by identification of objective facts. The acts of identifiying and recognizing discrete, unique and concrete entities are products of rational thought. If I build a house there is no reason to suppose I could force you to use it and charge you a fee for it. But every common sense expectation that if I allow you access to its use that I would not be prohibited from charging a price.

The analogy of use of a house to use of an idea is a false one, since use of an idea does not prevent the originator from using it.  This is very different from tangible property such as a house.

Nor would it be considered  that simply becasue my house exists, you have a right to its use. 

Copying it would not be using it, just as copying a bagel would not be eating it.  If I have the ability to make a copy of your house, leaving your house intact, then it’s certainly common sense that I can use the copy.

Does the idea that a LFC society would recognize my ' house monopoly rights' and incorporate a legal sytem that works to protect and provide a mechanism for settling grievances and possible compensation for any infringement of my 'monopoly' , mean that that monopoly was created or granted to me by the legal system ?

 You have no monopoly rights to copies that leave intact your ability to use your property.

An invention , song, or novel are identifiable discrete entities , no?

Discrete yes.  Also infinitely copyable.  Copying means they are still usable by the originator.

I'm going to propose the legal recognition of the right of the inventor to 1% , in perpituity or death whichever comes first, of the gross sales of his/her legally validiated patented widget, and lets say 97% of gross sales for the copyright holders of novels and songs for 8 years and 1% thereafter in perpituity or death of the first generation of the holders of those rights.

You’re proposing  a tax.  All proponents of LFC and Objectivism recognize taxation as theft.  No proponent of LFC  or Objectivism believes theft is justified.    Your proposal clearly goes against this statement:  “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”  Clearly, those who you are proposing to tax are not just being asked, but being told under threat of violence, to live for another man.

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Of course, not everything is acquired via a sale.  What if the buyer just leaves a sample out for people to take?  Then, of course, there are accidents.  A sample could fall off a vehicle.  It's hard to imagine a contract for every contingency.

You're right: it is hard to imagine a contract, or a law, for every contingency (just as it would be laborious to try to address ourselves to every conceivable one here). But I imagine that, over time, most of these sorts of things would be dealt with/incorporated into whatever standard contract language and property law, probably just as IP law has evolved over time. The key difference, imo, is not whether "ideas spread" more slowly or more quickly, but that we move from a system of coercive monopolies by governmental fiat to one of authentic individual rights and voluntary agreement. After that, let the chips fall as they may.

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You are forced to trade for his sake without agreeing to terms, and your belief that I ought to ask permission prior to profiting from his gift of knowledge is immoral because it places a responsibility on me for his actions; again, to behave in a certain manner for his sake.  IP is essentially a hostile takeover of my ability to operate as a free agent in the marketplace.

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