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"I swear, by my life as a merchant and my love of capitalism, that I will never trade for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to trade for mine." ~ Galt's Oath, paraphrased

The origin of IP as expressed by the Dutch proverb, "live and let live" (by the product of your labor) and adopted by Merchant and Common Law, was primarily a voluntary concession of how one ought to behave in a free market.  Artisans ought to be allowed a trading preference for bringing something new (original) to the marketplace, and so they were (for a time, but not forever), the concession being voluntary by the practice of patronage.

Today's IP goes well beyond that by regulating patronage in a manner similar to the regulation of charity.  Both forms of social interactions still exist, but in diminished form by the regulatory transformation of an ought to an imperative.  Most today have become so accustomed to the imperative of IP that they immediately denounce any alternative practice as a theft of property, seldom questioning what actual property has been stolen.

The Innovator enters today's "free" market, presumed to soon be a victim of theft and sheltered against the potential of crime.  You must shelter him, you must allow his future partnership in every transaction you make, and you must never actually "own" anything you purchase from him except as how he permits you to use it.

You must live your life as a trader for his sake, or you must not trade in his marketplace.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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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

I wanted to throw something into the discussion and maybe more articulated people can explain if I'm off in my thinking.

The discussion seems to be growing into two sides: scarcity vs thoughts + action make property. I see the same point brought up from the scarcity side about copying not depriving someone of what they have. Ie: If I make a spear and you make a copy, well I still have a spear. But what about the concept of money?

A 20 dollar bill is sort of like intellectual property. It's just a piece of paper, but it's what it represents and brings to the table. I realize that money today is really just backed by the good graces of government, but humor me for a minute.

A 20 dollar bill is a piece of paper with ink of it. It's probably worth a fraction of a cent in tangible (scarce) material. Just as a music artist puts their music on a tangible (scarce) CD worth probably a fraction of a cent. It's the scarce material that is really just the medium in which to transfer or trade intellectual property. This is why people end up buying a musicians album CD rather than a blank CD. The value is not the CD.

I can make copies of 20 dollar bills. The making of these copies doesn't deprive you of the 20 dollar bills in your wallet, or bank account or your employers bank account. But I think we can all agree that this action does take something from people that hold cash.

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Absolutely, but I think we should look into it further. Fraud is being dishonest. What about it is being concealed? Well, it's a copy. No one wants a copy, but why don't we want a copy of money? The answer doesn't lie in the material or scarcity. For the sake of argument, let's assume that it's a perfect copy. The same paper, inks being used. The same processing and plates. It's a perfect copy and the same as the real thing, therefore it is the real thing. Yet, everyone recognizes that this is a tangible loss for cash.

If we looked at insulin, we know that the body produces it and they can also make a synthetic version in a lab. As far as I'm aware, synthetic insulin is identical right down to the last molecule. Synthetic insulin is a perfect copy of (real) body produced insulin. Therefore synthetic insulin is real insulin.

A diabetic doesn't care whether they get synthetic insulin or get it pumped out of someone else's body. It's real insulin, so who cares? Why does it matter for money? Why don't people say "who cares" when it comes to a perfect copied piece of money? There's something intangible about it. In particular, somewhat of a pegged value to it.

Obviously paper money isn't intellectual property, but I think it shares a lot more characteristics with IP compared to tangible property like a spear.

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Absolutely, but I think we should look into it further. Fraud is being dishonest. What about it is being concealed? Well, it's a copy. No one wants a copy, but why don't we want a copy of money? The answer doesn't lie in the material or scarcity. For the sake of argument, let's assume that it's a perfect copy. The same paper, inks being used. The same processing and plates. It's a perfect copy and the same as the real thing, therefore it is the real thing. Yet, everyone recognizes that this is a tangible loss for cash.

If we looked at insulin, we know that the body produces it and they can also make a synthetic version in a lab. As far as I'm aware, synthetic insulin is identical right down to the last molecule. Synthetic insulin is a perfect copy of (real) body produced insulin. Therefore synthetic insulin is real insulin.

A diabetic doesn't care whether they get synthetic insulin or get it pumped out of someone else's body. It's real insulin, so who cares? Why does it matter for money? Why don't people say "who cares" when it comes to a perfect copied piece of money? There's something intangible about it. In particular, somewhat of a pegged value to it.

Obviously paper money isn't intellectual property, but I think it shares a lot more characteristics with IP compared to tangible property like a spear.

I suspect that this is the sort of thing that is likelier to confuse rather than enlighten the subject. At least it is for me, and at this point in the thread; if necessary, we can discuss money more in depth later. But very briefly...

Money is a stand-in (mostly) for the material wealth man creates. I create a spear and then trade it in to a bank, or similar, which stores it in exchange for a "spear token," which represents the spear. One spear token for one spear. There are several reasons to prefer a spear token for a spear when dealing in trade, but the important part is that a spear token is, at heart, a promise that somewhere exists a spear for which the spear token stands as proxy. Ideally, you would be able to redeem your spear token at the bank for the spear, should you choose. The spear token is money, which is a proxy for actual wealth, which is the spear.

If I were to copy a spear token and treat it as money without also having a spear in a bank somewhere, it would be fraudulent, because one could not redeem that spear token for a spear, which is the thing that (theoretically) gives the spear token its value in the first place. It would be like selling a person a "car" which is really just a chassis, with nothing under the hood.

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To me the anti IP  argument usually boils down to the physical ability to make "copies" and equating the practical with the moral.

This is much further than I typically like to boil down such a complex topic, but my anti-IP argument (there is not only one argument anti-IP) is that making "copies" is both a physical and mental ability--the very same ability that allows anyone to make property--and it asserts that learning from others, and using that learning in the service of one's own life, is not only practical, but absolutely moral.

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This is much further than I typically like to boil down such a complex topic, but my anti-IP argument (there is not only one argument anti-IP) is that making "copies" is both a physical and mental ability--the very same ability that allows anyone to make property--and it asserts that learning from others, and using that learning in the service of one's own life, is not only practical, but absolutely moral.

I would add that preventing someone, via the threat of violence, from using what he has learned in the service of his own life is absolutely immoral.

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I would add that preventing someone, via the threat of violence, from using what he has learned in the service of his own life is absolutely immoral.

hyperbole 

IP , at least how I understand the principles involved, is not about granting special protections "in the marketplace" as much as trying to develope a system that recognizes and protects rights to property " in the marketplace". As stated it is a very complex topic and trying to keep or identify the proper context proves to be difficult.

How could suing over patent infringements be tantamount to the threat of violence? It's akin to saying that filing a police report about a burglary is an act of vigilante justice.

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How could suing over patent infringements be tantamount to the threat of violence? It's akin to saying that filing a police report about a burglary is an act of vigilante justice.

That's called begging the question, my friend. What constitutes a threat of violence depends on what rights people do, in fact, have; the very point which is under contention.

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IP , at least how I understand the principles involved, is not about granting special protections "in the marketplace" as much as trying to develope a system that recognizes and protects rights to property " in the marketplace". As stated it is a very complex topic and trying to keep or identify the proper context proves to be difficult.

How could suing over patent infringements be tantamount to the threat of violence? It's akin to saying that filing a police report about a burglary is an act of vigilante justice.

Comparing an IP lawsuit to filing a report of burglary is begging the question.  You have not established that any property has been taken.  The originator still has full use of his property.  No fraud is committed, no coercion used.  So there is nothing present that can be compared to a burglary.

As for saying that a lawsuit has nothing to do with a threat of violence, of course it does.  What entity enforces court decisions?  A police force.   The word force isn’t used for nothing.   The police stand ready to use guns, brute force, etc.  against people.  In other words, the threat of violence.  That’s the nature of a police force.  The only question is the justification for the threat of violence, not whether the threat of violence exists.  You have not shown why that threat of violence is justified against someone using what he has learned to further his own life, because you have not shown that he has taken anything.

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Ideas are not scarce. Scarcity, however, is not what gives an idea value. In a world where the ideas of Descartes, Hegel, Kant and Hume circulate like so much debased currency, the ideas of Aristotle, Aquinas and Ayn have generally been withdrawn from general circulation. Gresham's law observes that bad money drives out good. One of the things that make this possible is monetary ignorance. As a debased currency gains its foothold, the good money is withdrawn from circulation and hoarded.

As has been indicated in several threads on this forum, "[t]he subject of patents and copyrights is intellectual property." Over and beyond this:

[a] scientific or philosophical discovery, which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of reality not previously known, cannot be the exclusive property of the discoverer because: (a) he did not create it, and (b) if he cares to make his discovery public, claiming it to be true, he cannot demand that men continue to pursue or practice falsehoods except by his permission.

Intellectual property was not discovered by Miss Rand, but she did a fair amount of work in clarifying and articulating it as to make it available to those who struggle to grasp the philosophic principle involved. The concretization she offered to help shed insight on it was provided via Hank Reardon with regard to Reardon Metal in Atlas Shrugged.

Now she does not own the idea of intellectual property. In fact, with regard to copyright, she extols the  Great Britain's Copyright Act of 1911 as the most rational solution she had encountered. She did own the material form in which she presented her position on it as quoted, in parts, here. From the earlier quote, the converse of the latter part would be true as well. She cannot demand that men begin to embrace and fully endorse her elucidations on the matter. And even before the converse could be put into practice, it would require that an individuals that choose to do so first actually grasp for themselves that it is indeed a fact of reality.

There is, as I understand, a converse to Gresham's Law—good money drives out the bad—but as long as bad monies are insisted upon as being the defacto unit of exchange, the hoarders of good money are under no obligation to exchange it for its debased alternative(s).

Today, patents are the special target of the collectivists' attacks—directly and indirectly, through such issues as the proposed abolition of trademarks, brand names, [surplus of ideas] etc. While the so-called "conservatives" look at those attacks indifferently or, at times, approvingly, the collectivists seem to realize that patents are the heart and core of property rights, and that once they are destroyed, the destruction of all other rights will follow automatically, as a brief postscript.

And in closing with her closing remarks from CUI-11, Patents and Copyrights:

Those who observe the spectacle of the progressive collapse of patents—the spectacle of mediocrity scrambling to cash-in on the achievements of genius—and who understand its implications, will understand why in the closing paragraphs of Chapter VII, Part II of Atlas Shrugged, one of the guiltiest men is the passenger who said: "Why should Rearden be the only one permitted to manufacture Rearden Metal?"

 

Edited by dream_weaver
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Ideas are not scarce.

Pardon me, DW, if I've missed something important, but this latest post seems largely to reiterate the long-conceded (or actually, never in dispute) point that Ayn Rand was in favor of IP. I had been hoping, however, for further thoughtful engagement on the arguments I've thus far laid out, and the replies I've made to you. I know that these arguments of mine stand directly opposed to Rand's, which is a fearsome prospect indeed, but I count on those I converse with to be willing to confront ideas fearlessly.

As to the idea that ideas are not scarce, we agree. They are not.

She cannot demand that men begin to embrace and fully endorse her elucidations on the matter. And even before the converse could be put into practice, it would require that an individuals that choose to do so first actually grasp for themselves that it is indeed a fact of reality.

If, indeed, it is a fact of reality. I am not convinced of that. In light of the arguments I've presented, and the common ground that we seem to have discovered, if temporarily (i.e. that it is moral to "copy" an invention for personal use), which I believe does stand directly opposed to Rand's arguments for IP, I am forced to ask: do you yet consider yourself fully convinced of Rand's arguments for IP? If so, how can you square that with the seeming agreement we've managed to find between ourselves?

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Ideas are not scarce.

Glad you agree.

Scarcity, however, is not what gives an idea value.

The point is not that lack of scarcity causes ideas to have no value, or why they have value.  Of course they do.  The point is that a lack of scarcity means the use of an idea cannot deprive anyone else of the use of it.  It therefore becomes meaningless to say that anything has been taken from anyone by its use.

 In a world where the ideas of Descartes, Hegel, Kant and Hume circulate like so much debased currency, the ideas of Aristotle, Aquinas and Ayn have generally been withdrawn from general circulation. Gresham's law observes that bad money drives out good. One of the things that make this possible is monetary ignorance. As a debased currency gains its foothold, the good money is withdrawn from circulation and hoarded.

Bandying about labels such as Hegelian or Kantian does not address the point.  A label is not an argument.  Enemies of Rand use this illegitimate tactic against her, labeling her a Nietzschean without addressing what she actually said.  There is a certain irony in quoting Gresham’s Law (which comes into play when several types of money have a conversion ratio specified by legal tender laws different from their market price), because very much the same thing happens when patent laws are in force.  In the free market, Jonathan Hornblower’s improved steam engine would have been more valuable than James Watt’s engine.  But the patent laws didn’t allow that.  Instead, improvements were forced out of the market, and weren’t allowed to occur until the patent expired.

Today, patents are the special target of the collectivists' attacks.

This is, if you’ll pardon the expression, a patently false implication.  I am an advocate of LFC, not a collectivist, and every opponent of IP I have read is explicitly and militantly an advocate of LFC.  At least one explicitly calls himself an Objectivist.   It is an oxymoron to call someone a collectivist advocate of the free market,  ie LFC.

Those who observe the spectacle of the progressive collapse of patents—the spectacle of mediocrity scrambling to cash-in on the achievements of genius—and who understand its implications, will understand why in the closing paragraphs of Chapter VII, Part II of Atlas Shrugged, one of the guiltiest men is the passenger who said: "Why should Rearden be the only one permitted to manufacture Rearden Metal?"

I have cited a research paper that demonstrates that it is patent laws that preserve mediocrity, inhibit innovation, reduce efficiency, reward stagnant firms, and punish innovative ones.  That is hardly the way to reward the achievements of genius.   My response to the last question is, “Why should Rearden be the only one permitted to serve his own life by applying what he has learned?”

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Ideas are not scarce. Scarcity, however, is not what gives an idea value.

Well sure. But that doesn't mean that only valuation makes something property. Air (in everyday context) is valuable, but is not property because it is not scarce. Valuable means goal-directedness in this context. It is used for a purpose.

Carl Menger talked about what makes an object an economic good, sounding very Randian, had to satisfy a need (be valued) and man had to have knowledge of this fact (man had to exercise his reason over causal connections) and it had to be scarce.

It seems like one side is saying man's value production makes something property, and the other is trying to say no, it is scarcity that makes something property, but it is really both.

Once air becomes scarce (say underwater, in a scuba tank) then it becomes an object of property. But the surface of the sun is as scarce as real estate on the earth. However since man cannot use it for any ends, it cannot be considered property.

So what does that mean? I don't know, but I think we should have the right foundations here.

And I don't see how Rand did "a fair amount of work" on the philosophy of IP. She wrote one, exactly one, non-rigorous article that does not tie the work into current or past theory, answer arguments from other philosophers, and is a rather muddled and uncharacteristically vague jumble of assertions unbacked by any thoroughgoing argument. It is really one of her worse essays, unfortunately. 

In fact her charge that progressives are attacking patents is strange, as they have historically not even been all that opposed to patents and copyrights. Exactly which ones? What are their arguments? How influential are they? We don't know!

Many more libertarians and classical liberal theorists of the 19th and early 20th century were themselves traditionally either skeptical or downright against patents and copyrights as artificial monopoly privilege conferred by governments. A notable exception being Lysander Spooner (and he isn't even acknowledged by Rand, even though it seems quite possible she got some inspiration from his arguments), who thought that IP should be valid in perpetuity, a claim which Rand is opposed to, and once again one of those uncharacteristically unsupported claims in the essay. 

Anyone interested in libertarian views of IP should check out Spooner:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2243

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Pardon me, DW, if I've missed something important, but this latest post seems largely to reiterate the long-conceded (or actually, never in dispute) point that Ayn Rand was in favor of IP. I had been hoping, however, for further thoughtful engagement on the arguments I've thus far laid out, and the replies I've made to you. I know that these arguments of mine stand directly opposed to Rand's, which is a fearsome prospect indeed, but I count on those I converse with to be willing to confront ideas fearlessly.

As to the idea that ideas are not scarce, we agree. They are not.

If, indeed, it is a fact of reality. I am not convinced of that. In light of the arguments I've presented, and the common ground that we seem to have discovered, if temporarily (i.e. that it is moral to "copy" an invention for personal use), which I believe does stand directly opposed to Rand's arguments for IP, I am forced to ask: do you yet consider yourself fully convinced of Rand's arguments for IP? If so, how can you square that with the seeming agreement we've managed to find between ourselves?

Her argument is against commercial reproduction as presented from the same article:

The patent or copyright notice on a physical object represents a public statement of the conditions on which the inventor or author is willing to sell his product: for the purchaser's use, but not for commercial reproduction.

I didn't think we were in conflict on this point. As I indicated, fabricating something for one's own personal use I do not find in conflict with this particular evaluation of hers.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Her argument is against commercial reproduction as presented from the same article:

The patent or copyright notice on a physical object represents a public statement of the conditions on which the inventor or author is willing to sell his product: for the purchaser's use, but not for commercial reproduction.

 

What if a buyer doesn't engage in commercial reproduction, but simply gives away copies?  After all, he's not profiting monetarily.  I emphasize this point because of the phrase "scrambling to cash-in on the achievements of genius".

Edited by Robert Romero
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11 hours ago, 2046 said:

Well sure. But that doesn't mean that only valuation makes something property. Air (in everyday context) is valuable, but is not property because it is not scarce. Valuable means goal-directedness in this context. It is used for a purpose.

Carl Menger talked about what makes an object an economic good, sounding very Randian, had to satisfy a need (be valued) and man had to have knowledge of this fact (man had to exercise his reason over causal connections) and it had to be scarce.

It seems like one side is saying man's value production makes something property, and the other is trying to say no, it is scarcity that makes something property, but it is really both.

Once air becomes scarce (say underwater, in a scuba tank) then it becomes an object of property. But the surface of the sun is as scarce as real estate on the earth. However since man cannot use it for any ends, it cannot be considered property.

So what does that mean? I don't know, but I think we should have the right foundations here.

And I don't see how Rand did "a fair amount of work" on the philosophy of IP. She wrote one, exactly one, non-rigorous article that does not tie the work into current or past theory, answer arguments from other philosophers, and is a rather muddled and uncharacteristically vague jumble of assertions unbacked by any thoroughgoing argument. It is really one of her worse essays, unfortunately. 

In fact her charge that progressives are attacking patents is strange, as they have historically not even been all that opposed to patents and copyrights. Exactly which ones? What are their arguments? How influential are they? We don't know!

Many more libertarians and classical liberal theorists of the 19th and early 20th century were themselves traditionally either skeptical or downright against patents and copyrights as artificial monopoly privilege conferred by governments. A notable exception being Lysander Spooner (and he isn't even acknowledged by Rand, even though it seems quite possible she got some inspiration from his arguments), who thought that IP should be valid in perpetuity, a claim which Rand is opposed to, and once again one of those uncharacteristically unsupported claims in the essay. 

Anyone interested in libertarian views of IP should check out Spooner:

http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2243

Rand may have only written one article summarizing her take on patents and copyright, but it is hardly non-rigorous. Many of her ideas have to be unpacked to be understood. Unpacking ideas, translating an abstract idea into its actual practical meaning is an ability that has been hampered by an education by the same kind of people who advocate man's destruction for the sake of man's destruction.

As to patents being attacked, that is precisely what is taking place through much of this thread. In this case it is being attacked using the very concept it portends to defend: ideas. First equivocate the value of an idea with economic scarcity, Use this in conjunction with the fact that ideas can be grasped by anyone without diminishing the value of the idea. Combine that with the rejection that an idea can be property in the sense of intellectual property. Feed all of this back into property rights and individual rights, that a man in entitled to the fruits of his physical labor by his hands, This is being used to try to get around what she identified in CUI:

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.

 

 

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

As to patents being attacked, that is precisely what is taking place through much of this thread. In this case it is being attacked using the very concept it portends to defend: ideas. First equivocate the value of an idea with economic scarcity

This is a false premise (as Rand would say, you need to check it).  Reasoning based on it is faulty.  The fact that ideas are nonscarce is not a statement about how valuable they are or the source of their value.   The point, which you have been unable to refute, is that there can be no loss of use of something that is nonscarce (you have agreed that ideas are nonscarce).  This fact is true regardless of its value, regardless of whether it‘s a design for a better mousetrap (relatively low value) or a cure for cancer (extremely high value).  Do you really think the guys making their own spears after seeing someone else invent one don't think the idea of a spear is valuable?

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Use this in conjunction with the fact that ideas can be grasped by anyone without diminishing the value of the idea.

Grasping an idea does indeed do nothing to diminish its value.  In fact, the grasping of it by someone else opens the door to its value being enhanced by him.  It makes no sense to object to such enhancement. 

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Combine that with the rejection that an idea can be property in the sense of intellectual property.

You haven’t explained why anyone needs to worry about owning something that is nonscarce, since he cannot be deprived of its use.

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 Feed all of this back into property rights and individual rights, that a man in entitled to the fruits of his physical labor by his hands,

A man cannot be deprived of the fruits of his labor if those fruits are nonscarce.  They are still there for him to use.

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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

The anti IP argument position does not contradict this.  As previously stated, use of a nonscarce idea does not deny the source or degree of its value in any way whatsoever.    However, once it is known by others, its value is independent of the originator.

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thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence.

The mind that brings an idea into existence still has full possession of it and full use of it regardless of the use of it by others, since it is nonscarce.  It has not been lost by that mind.

Edited by Robert Romero
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17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Her argument is against commercial reproduction as presented from the same article:

The patent or copyright notice on a physical object represents a public statement of the conditions on which the inventor or author is willing to sell his product: for the purchaser's use, but not for commercial reproduction.

I didn't think we were in conflict on this point. As I indicated, fabricating something for one's own personal use I do not find in conflict with this particular evaluation of hers.

All right, so there are two cases I'd like to try to engage with you on. First of all, we should discuss whether or not Rand's arguments are in conflict with fabricating something for personal use. Then we should consider "commercial reproduction."

In another post, later in this same thread, you quote Rand saying:

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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.

We may need to come back to this quote again later. But here, let's just apply the thrust of this argument to the case of fabricating an item for personal use, which, to follow our original discussion on the topic will remain Machine B. I have argued before that the creation of Machine B accounts to the application of both mental and physical labor, and, as Man B is the man who has applied this labor in the creation of Machine B, it is his property by right.

Per Rand's reasoning here, however, what is "the source of Machine B's value"? Is it the mental and physical labor of Man B, who built it? Or is it the mental labor of Man A--the "originator of the idea"--though he may not have touched Machine B, or even been aware of its existence?

I argue that the latter is consistent with her arguments above. Quite aside from the purpose of Man B's creating Machine B, whether "personal" or "commercial," let us allow that Machine B is "an unauthorized reproduction," and as it is using the value created by Man A, per these arguments, this may not be done without his consent. Thus, in allowing reproduction for personal use, we have abrogated "the property right of a mind to that which it has brought into existence" by recognizing the property right of a man to that which he has brought into existence.

If there is some principled distinction here to be made between personal use and commercial use, with respect to this argument, I don't see where it comes from.

Now let us assume that we were correct in our original, tentative agreement, that reproduction for "personal use" is moral (which I maintain entails rejecting the very arguments Rand has made above). What are we then to make of an argument that reproduction for commercial use is not?

If we agree that Man B in making Machine B has created material wealth, and owns property, it is worth asking (or reminding ourselves) as to the nature of "property." What does it mean to own something? Doesn't ownership entail the right of use and disposal? Couldn't Man B, insofar as he "owns" Machine B, opt to destroy it? Alter it? Use it as a coffee table?

Couldn't he give it away? Couldn't he trade it to a friend for some other item? Couldn't he sell it?

As individuals, we have the right to contract and to associate freely with one another. When we remove force from our dealings, we are called upon to live as producers, and insofar as we participate in "society," to live as traders. Ultimately "society" is just a collection of individuals, and any rights to be found in or among a society or any group is really just the rights of the individuals which comprise that group.

So it is with "the market," and with "commerce," which truly, when laws are just, are just the aggregate of individuals making agreements with one another and trading their property of their own free will.

To say that I may create "property," but that I may not trade it, appears to me to be a contradiction and an abrogation of property rights. And I see nothing in the nature of "trade" or "commerce" to consider these uses of such property immoral, or to cast them as an initiation of the use of force (apart perhaps from some lingering cultural baggage which holds it moral to give something away, but immoral to sell it, because money is somehow corrupting). If I build Machine B, creating wealth, creating property, and I trade or sell it for my own benefit, I have profited from my labors, living just as a producer and a trader ought. I have not hurt anyone (no, not even the innovator of the machine). And thus I see no just call for prohibiting me from so doing.

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54 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

If we agree that Man B in making Machine B has created material wealth, and owns property, it is worth asking (or reminding ourselves) as to the nature of "property." What does it mean to own something? Doesn't ownership entail the right of use and disposal? Couldn't Man B, insofar as he "owns" Machine B, opt to destroy it? Alter it? Use it as a coffee table?

Couldn't he give it away? Couldn't he trade it to a friend for some other item? Couldn't he sell it?

As individuals, we have the right to contract and to associate freely with one another. When we remove force from our dealings, we are called upon to live as producers, and insofar as we participate in "society," to live as traders. Ultimately "society" is just a collection of individuals, and any rights to be found in or among a society or any group is really just the rights of the individuals which comprise that group.

So it is with "the market," and with "commerce," which truly, when laws are just, are just the aggregate of individuals making agreements with one another and trading their property of their own free will.

To say that I may create "property," but that I may not trade it, appears to me to be a contradiction and an abrogation of property rights. And I see nothing in the nature of "trade" or "commerce" to consider these uses of such property immoral, or to cast them as an initiation of the use of force (apart perhaps from some lingering cultural baggage which holds it moral to give something away, but immoral to sell it, because money is somehow corrupting). If I build Machine B, creating wealth, creating property, and I trade or sell it for my own benefit, I have profited from my labors, living just as a producer and a trader ought. I have not hurt anyone (no, not even the innovator of the machine). And thus I see no just call for prohibiting me from so doing.

I agree with this.  What I find interesting is the attitude that copying is ok as long as the copier doesn’t make money from it.  The implied attitude that there’s something base and immoral about making money from a copy (as opposed to the more “pure” motive of personal use) is one that I would expect to come from the anti capitalists, not proponents of LFC.

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