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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

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:

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.

I would have to say, given this, that the mental labor of Man A made it possible. Prior to Machine A being built, Man B would have had to originate it on his own. Had Machine A already existed, it is still possible that Man B could have built Machine B without knowledge of its existence. I couldn't take this scenario to be a moral breech

So if Man B is aware of Machine A, and uses his superficial knowledge of it to build Machine B (presuming he doesn't have access to the blueprints, or Machine A itself to take apart and reverse engineer) He's still using his mind to come up with how it was done. (Consider the Einstein quote about trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch.) The question that is being raised here then becomes when does it become akin to theft, where commercialization becomes akin to fencing stolen goods?

When I think of trying build it for myself, it is a closed watch mechanism that I had in mind. As indicated earlier, buying something that is already being manufactured is usually cheaper for me, perhaps because of this reason. Even in design/engineering, the prototypes are much more expensive to build than the automatized version the prototypes help us to evaluate.

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

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.

Hmm. patent infringement usually keeps an eye on what is being produced and sold, often with the patent holder having to be the one to report that their patent is being infringed on. A patent holder is much more likely to notice an infringement on a store shelf, than one or two knocked off in back ally garages.

Is the Machine B, built in this case, a closed watch replica, or reverse engineered version of Machine A? Is one ok and the other theft of the property right entailed? Or could intellectual property simply be a myth that arose in the 1600's that got enshrined into law, where LFC need withdraw its claw when it comes to the recognition of individual rights, and how it relates to the products of the mind concretized by translating into material form?.

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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

Another neglected aspect here:

Since intellectual property rights cannot be exercised in perpetuity, the question of their time limit is an enormously complex issue. If they were restricted to the originator's life-span, it would destroy their value by making long-term contractual agreements impossible: if an inventor died a month after his invention were placed on the market, it could ruin the manufacturer who may have invested a fortune in its production. Under such conditions, investors would be unable to take a long-range risk; the more revolutionary or important an invention, the less would be its chance of finding financial backers. Therefore, the law has to define a period of time which would protect the rights and interests of all those involved.

Given the complexity that arises in reality, something DonAthos indicated earlier in this thread about taking into consideration every contingency. This is a contingency that helps to grease the proverbial wheels of progress, 

It's not just about Man A/Machine A, Man B/Machine B.

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12 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I would have to say, given this, that the mental labor of Man A made it possible. Prior to Machine A being built, Man B would have had to originate it on his own.

I can agree (allowing for exceptions such as "independent invention") that "the mental labor of Man A made it possible" for this specific existent, Machine B, to exist. Also, the mental and physical labor of Man B made it possible; without Man B's efforts, which are again both mental and physical, there may (or may not) be machines other than Machine B, but there would not exist Machine B.

Yet we must trouble to ask ourselves which man, between Man A and Man B, has the right to Machine B. Why? Because both Man A and Man B may wish to use Machine B in some mutually exclusive fashion. (This is perhaps clearer in the example of the banana, where it is roughly understood that a banana may only be consumed by one man; we can imagine scenarios, perhaps, where people share the usage of a machine without much conflict. But let us say that for whatever reason this is not so: Machine B may only be put to the requisite use by one man to the exclusion of all others.)

I believe that the right to Machine B goes to Man B, who is the person who did that which was necessary, in reality, and both in terms of mental and physical labor, to bring Machine B into existence (qua material wealth). He must have the right to dispose of his efforts, for the sustenance of his own life. The opposing view (which I believe is consistent with "Patents and Copyrights"), which would account the right to Machine B to Man A, because "the mental labor of Man A made it possible," not only conflicts with this general conception of the nature and purpose of "property right," but it glosses over the fact I've identified above that Man B's mental (and in this case, physical) labor were equally necessary to make Machine B possible, if not moreso.

Indeed, if "making a thing possible" were generally recognized as a claim to property, we might find ourselves with all sorts of complications for property rights. My child will one day create property, create wealth, yet how much of it would be possible if not for me? Or what share might her teachers claim? This sort of approach, I believe, was in part reflected in the much-derided "you didn't build that" campaign a few years back. But isn't that precisely what we're telling Man B with respect to Machine B, if we award some right to Machine B to Man A on the basis of Man A's having "made it possible"? Aren't we saying, in effect, that "he didn't build it," when in reality, he did?

 

12 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Had Machine A already existed, it is still possible that Man B could have built Machine B without knowledge of its existence. I couldn't take this scenario to be a moral breech

No, certainly not. Far from "a moral breech" what is such "independent invention" if not an unquestionable demonstration of Objectivist virtue? Yet we can recognize that, insofar as our current IP system would not recognize the rights of Man B to Machine B in such a case, but rip the fruits of Man B's labor away from him, this is an injustice. Also, too, Ayn Rand's arguments in "Patents and Copyrights," which specifically address the case of independent invention, only say to Man B: tough luck. (So much for his "trials and tribulations"!)

 

13 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

So if Man B is aware of Machine A, and uses his superficial knowledge of it to build Machine B (presuming he doesn't have access to the blueprints, or Machine A itself to take apart and reverse engineer) He's still using his mind to come up with how it was done. (Consider the Einstein quote about trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch.) The question that is being raised here then becomes when does it become akin to theft, where commercialization becomes akin to fencing stolen goods?

I think that, before we search for a line at which we say that it is "akin to theft," we must ask whether there is any such line at all.

I believe that we recognize theft (and the initiation of the use of force more generally) through the harm/damage it causes. Were it not for the damage that theft causes (to the sustenance of one's life, or to one's flourishing), we should not see it as a problem. This is clear in the case of material wealth, accounting to the fact that one person's use of material wealth may be mutually exclusive from that of others. If you build Machine A and I take it from you, and destroy it, then you may no longer use Machine A. This has clearly harmed you.

If I build Machine B, however (let us say that I build it in my basement, and you are not aware of its existence), then I would say that you are not harmed (or if you are, I would ask for the demonstration of that harm). And indeed, in the exercise of individual rights, we should not expect to see individuals harming one another, or "conflicts of interest." You may grow your wealth, and create property, according to your labors, with that being no threat against me or mine, and I may do likewise. My flourishing (even if I should bring Machine B into the marketplace) should be no threat against you.*

And if we're questioning Man B's right to Machine B on account of the "mindfulness" required to construct Machine B, then I think we're looking in the wrong place. Whether this is a "closed watch" scenario, or he's following directions like an IKEA instruction manual, he is acting mindfully. There may be a difference in the degree of mental effort necessary to do one versus the other, true, but all conscious human activity is sufficiently mindful as to result in property. The sandstone on the beach that I absently put in my pocket is no less mine than the rocket I invent and fashion to take me to Mars.

___________________________

* Or if we do regard it as a kind of threat/harm, bringing Machine B into the marketplace due to the competition it represents against potential sales of Machine A, then we should recognize it as equally "threatening/harmful" to bring to market any other item (including a superior invention) that reduces the chances of Machine A selling (which is to say, to convince some other person that it is in his interest to trade for Machine A per Man A's terms). This line of thinking would lead us to conclude that the invention of the light bulb was an assault against the candle makers, though I doubt that any Objectivist worthy of the appellation would allow for that.

Interactions in the marketplace are based upon the principles of trade, of reason and mutual consent, and if someone should wish to trade for Machine B as opposed to Machine A, that's their right. This fact should pose no threat to either Man A or Man B, or you or me.

13 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

When I think of trying build it for myself, it is a closed watch mechanism that I had in mind. As indicated earlier, buying something that is already being manufactured is usually cheaper for me, perhaps because of this reason. Even in design/engineering, the prototypes are much more expensive to build than the automatized version the prototypes help us to evaluate.

I think it will generally be true that it is cheaper to buy something already manufactured, and specialization is an important economic force. Consider that "the car," as such, is not IP. (If it ever was, then by at least most schools of thought, Spooner apparently excepted, it is no longer.) You could conceivably get automobile blueprints, follow them, create wealth--which would be your property, despite your recourse to blueprints--take them to market, and compete so ferociously that the current auto companies would all be driven out of business, their investments in the future turned to ash.

Yet the current auto companies persist, and occasionally flourish (and sometimes fail), despite this seeming threat.

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What is the essence in all of this? It is fairly clear and straightforward in dealing with property outside the scope of IP. The man who tends his farm, owns his harvest. The man who builds a business, owns the product he produces.

What is not as clear and straightforward, and makes IP possible, is in the aftermath when Man A invents Machine A, If Man B breaks in and steals Machine A, it is generally accepted that is wrong. This principle is applied and adhered to with regard to physical things. Why wouldn't the same principle apply to the conceptual world? When Man A invents Machine A, and puts the invention under the protection of IP by submitting the material evidence of it first, why does ownership of the idea that made it possible become a morally grey area?

What is granted in principle to the material world about theft being wrong is being denied to the conceptual realm that made it possible. Is this one of the ways that the mind is placed under attack in the battle of the philosophers? If property rights are not recognized and upheld at its inception in conceptual form, can its material counterpart remain unscathed?

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22 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

What is the essence in all of this?

Speaking as far as "friendship" (or whatever analogue) exists online, and even between "adversaries" in debate (when the beneficial role of such a relationship is properly understood), it may be that you need some time to properly digest the arguments I've presented.

Or perhaps not. I don't know. But I do know that the arguments that I make today come at the tail end of much thought and argumentation over several years. The "me" of ten years ago, or even three years ago, would not have understood this such as I do today, and I likely could not have convinced him of much in the space of a single thread.

We may have exhausted our ability to meaningfully explore this issue between us, at present. That said, I'll (most likely) be around if/when there are new questions to be discussed (or old questions to be revisited). In the meantime, thank you for your willingness to explore (what I believe to be) difficult issues.

22 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

It is fairly clear and straightforward in dealing with property outside the scope of IP. The man who tends his farm, owns his harvest. The man who builds a business, owns the product he produces.

What is not as clear and straightforward, and makes IP possible, is in the aftermath when Man A invents Machine A, If Man B breaks in and steals Machine A, it is generally accepted that is wrong. This principle is applied and adhered to with regard to physical things. Why wouldn't the same principle apply to the conceptual world?

Because the physical world and conceptual world are meaningfully different with respect to "property": what property is, why man requires it, and how he brings it into existence.

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When Man A invents Machine A, and puts the invention under the protection of IP by submitting the material evidence of it first, why does ownership of the idea that made it possible become a morally grey area?

What is granted in principle to the material world about theft being wrong is being denied to the conceptual realm that made it possible.

As has been stated many times in this thread, ideas are nonscarce.  Use of them cannot deprive anyone else of their use.  That is the difference you refuse to acknowledge.

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 The only harm relevant to Man A in  use of his Machine A as a service to his life by the trade he can garner in the market for Machine A is Machine B, or more rightly labelled, Machine Ab. 
To say that Man B can take Man A's idea then incorporate and manufacture it into a machine and leave Man A  still in possesson of his idea for the Machine A due to the 'copyableness' of ideas, may be true. But it is also true that when B brings the Machine Ab to market it becomes a harm/threat in the form of competition to the trade of Machine A, as would any Machine Ax.
It would seem the only way for Man A to protect himself from such threat would be to not bring Machine(s) A to market because so doing would allow B(and C, D ect.) to take and incorporate his idea and use it against his use of the idea as a service to his life in the trade of his Machine. Without protection of his property in his marketable idea, what other than recreation or curiousity would make it worthwhile to create innovation? 
What harm has come to Man B if IP requires that Man B pay A for use of A's idea incorporated into anything B brings to market? or C or D ect? Is it that the gift of innovation was supposed to given freely by A to all comers, because without A's idea B or anyone else would be able to garner no trade in Machine Ax , without A there is no Machine A let alone an Ab, Ac or Ad. The copiers are not being punished , harmed or being put at any disadvantage by having to pay for use of A's property on A's terms any more than if they were paying him rent for use of his beach house.
Anti- IP certainly seems to want to have the view for free.(and the towels)

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1 hour ago, tadmjones said:

 The only harm relevant to Man A in  use of his Machine A as a service to his life by the trade he can garner in the market for Machine A is Machine B, or more rightly labelled, Machine Ab. 
To say that Man B can take Man A's idea then incorporate and manufacture it into a machine and leave Man A  still in possesson of his idea for the Machine A due to the 'copyableness' of ideas, may be true. But it is also true that when B brings the Machine Ab to market it becomes a harm/threat in the form of competition to the trade of Machine A, as would any Machine Ax.

Competition is the nature of LFC.  The potential for A to make less money because of the presence of Ax in the market is not a justification for the prohibition of Ax.  To advocate such prohibition is to be opposed to LFC.

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It would seem the only way for Man A to protect himself from such threat would be to not bring Machine(s) A to market because so doing would allow B(and C, D ect.) to take and incorporate his idea and use it against his use of the idea as a service to his life in the trade of his Machine. Without protection of his property in his marketable idea, what other than recreation or curiousity would make it worthwhile to create innovation?

That is not the only way.  A can simply implement the idea better than his competitors, outcompeting them.  Again, this is the nature of LFC.  This is not "mere theory".  It's exactly what happened with the steam engine.  When his patent expired, Watt made more money by emphasizing quality over his competitors.  Also, the fact is that innovation thrived in the biotech and software industries prior to patents being imposed on them, and did NOT increase after they were.  This refutes the claim that IP is "needed" for innovation.

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What harm has come to Man B if IP requires that Man B pay A for use of A's idea incorporated into anything B brings to market? or C or D ect?

Because it is theft.  A is taking the property of the others by force, at the point of a gun.  If you take what is in my wallet, I cannot use that money.  This is fundamentally different from using an idea gained via peaceful means, because ideas are not scarce. 

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The copiers are not being punished , harmed or being put at any disadvantage by having to pay for use of A's property on A's terms any more than if they were paying him rent for use of his beach house.

  A’s beach house is a scarce good.  That makes it completely different from an idea, which is nonscarce.

 

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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

We may have exhausted our ability to meaningfully explore this issue between us, at present. That said, I'll (most likely) be around if/when there are new questions to be discussed (or old questions to be revisited). In the meantime, thank you for your willingness to explore (what I believe to be) difficult issues.

Thanks DA. I think I've gained a bit more insight on the Patent and Copyright article. While I initially was in agreement with you on fabricating a patented device for personal use, I have my doubts on it after reading the contrast you drew in your earlier post.

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2 hours ago, tadmjones said:

 Or could it just be that I happen to find Rand's materials more persuasive?

More persuasive with respect to what?  AFAIK, Rand never addressed the nonscarcity argument.  I don't think it was even raised in her time.  So you can't say her argument against it is more persuasive.  You would have to show why that argument is invalid with your own reasoning.

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31 minutes ago, Robert Romero said:

More persuasive with respect to what?  AFAIK, Rand never addressed the nonscarcity argument.  I don't think it was even raised in her time.  So you can't say her argument against it is more persuasive.  You would have to show why that argument is invalid with your own reasoning.

I have to presume that was directed toward my reply, and not credited to something tadmjones said.

More persuasive to me with respect to her position on IP.

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26 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

I have to presume that was directed toward my reply, and not credited to something tadmjones said.

More persuasive to me with respect to her position on IP.

Sorry about the wrong quote attribute.  The system software behaves strangely.    I wasn't asking about your support of Rand's position on IP.  I was asking about your response to the nonscarcity argument, which Rand never addressed, because it wasn't raised in her time.

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21 minutes ago, Robert Romero said:

...to the nonscarcity argument, which Rand never addressed, because it wasn't raised in her time.

Then how do you explain Spooner addressing it in 1855?

You're right that Rand didn't address it in her article, but it's possible she was not the most informed on the topic. We should not make the same mistake in assuming it wasn't raised at all.

Here he argued that property has its basis not in scarcity or tangiblility of an object, but in man's production. In order to undermine that, you would in effect have to undermine property itself.

Compare this to Rand's article and we can see some similarities. Spooner, however, arrives at his conclusions by very methodical arguments and considers various objections, and in general had a far less dogmatic tone in his work, I think it forms a far superior defense of IP on a libertarian basis.

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8 minutes ago, 2046 said:

Then how do you explain Spooner addressing it in 1855?

You're right that Rand didn't address it in her article, but it's possible she was not the most informed on the topic. We should not make the same mistake in assuming it wasn't raised at all.

Here he argued that property has its basis not in scarcity or tangiblility of an object, but in man's production. In order to undermine that, you would in effect have to undermine property itself.

Compare this to Rand's article and we can see some similarities. Spooner, however, arrives at his conclusions by very methodical arguments and considers various objections, and in general had a far less dogmatic tone in his work, I think it forms a far superior defense of IP on a libertarian basis.

I stand corrected that no one ever addressed it before.  But my point stands--that simply referring to Rand doesn't answer it, because she never addressed it.

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4 hours ago, Robert Romero said:

Competition is the nature of LFC.  The potential for A to make less money because of the presence of Ax in the market is not a justification for the prohibition of Ax.  To advocate such prohibition is to be opposed to LFC.

That is not the only way.  A can simply implement the idea better than his competitors, outcompeting them.  Again, this is the nature of LFC.  This is not "mere theory".  It's exactly what happened with the steam engine.  When his patent expired, Watt made more money by emphasizing quality over his competitors.  Also, the fact is that innovation thrived in the biotech and software industries prior to patents being imposed on them, and did NOT increase after they were.  This refutes the claim that IP is "needed" for innovation.

Because it is theft.  A is taking the property of the others by force, at the point of a gun.  If you take what is in my wallet, I cannot use that money.  This is fundamentally different from using an idea gained via peaceful means, because ideas are not scarce. 

  A’s beach house is a scarce good.  That makes it completely different from an idea, which is nonscarce.

 

I believe private property is more fundamental to the nature of LFC and competition a consequence of trade/markets between/among owners of property.

A's idea and its implementation via Machine A are as unique and concrete as his beach house, they are equally scare. 

If B paying A for use of A's idea is theft, then A withholding his idea would be a punishable act committed by A on B and the rest of humanity?

 

My understanding of Watt's patent for the steam condenser is that he improved on an existing technology , applied and received a patent for the improvement and began selling and installing his machines. His customers eventually began withholding payments after others infringed on the patent and began selling and constructing similar machines calling the validity of the patent into question. He sued and the court found for Watt, though his "competitors" were not forced at gun point to reimburse stolen or misappropriated royalties the disputes were settled through arbitration between the parties involved. It also seems efficiencies and improvements to his designs came from Watt not wanting to participate in partnerships or co-license agreements eg sun and planet gearing, so innovation sparked by purposeful non infringement.

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34 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

I believe private property is more fundamental to the nature of LFC and competition a consequence of trade/markets between/among owners of property.

A's idea and its implementation via Machine A are as unique and concrete as his beach house, they are equally scare. 

If B paying A for use of A's idea is theft, then A withholding his idea would be a punishable act committed by A on B and the rest of humanity?

An inherent characteristic of LFC is free market entry.  Laws that prohibit market entry by competitors are fundamentally anti LFC.

Uniqueness has nothing to do with the loss of use of something if someone else uses it.  That's the crucial distinction between the beach house and an idea.   A can't use his beach house if B is using it.  If B could make a copy of A's beach house simply by having knowledge of it, then B could use the copy without infringing on A's use of his beach house.  The same applies to ideas.

Why would A need to be punished for withholding his idea?  He's no under obligation to share it.  However, once the idea is in other people's minds, he cannot take the property of others simply because others use the idea.   An analogy would be someone with an oxygen cylinder.  The owner of the cylinder is under no obligation to share the cylinder with anyone.  However, if the cylinder leaks, and the oxygen escapes into the atmosphere, it would be absurd for him to demand that no one in the vicinity use "his" oxygen.

Your statement that disputes were settled via “arbitration” sidesteps the fact that Watt’s competitors were forced to respond to the court orders.  Such orders are enforced by the threat of violence.  So yes, the competitors were indeed forced to deal with Watt at the point of a gun.

The fact is that Watt made more money, steam engines improved, and they became more available after his patent expired.  It defies reason to say that was a bad thing.

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32 minutes ago, Robert Romero said:

An inherent characteristic of LFC is free market entry.  Laws that prohibit market entry by competitors are fundamentally anti LFC.

Uniqueness has nothing to do with the loss of use of something if someone else uses it.  That's the crucial distinction between the beach house and an idea.   A can't use his beach house if B is using it.  If B could make a copy of A's beach house simply by having knowledge of it, then B could use the copy without infringing on A's use of his beach house.  The same applies to ideas.

Why would A need to be punished for withholding his idea?  He's no under obligation to share it.  However, once the idea is in other people's minds, he cannot take the property of others simply because others use the idea.   An analogy would be someone with an oxygen cylinder.  The owner of the cylinder is under no obligation to share the cylinder with anyone.  However, if the cylinder leaks, and the oxygen escapes into the atmosphere, it would be absurd for him to demand that no one in the vicinity use "his" oxygen.

Your statement that disputes were settled via “arbitration” sidesteps the fact that Watt’s competitors were forced to respond to the court orders.  Such orders are enforced by the threat of violence.  So yes, the competitors were indeed forced to deal with Watt at the point of a gun.

The fact is that Watt made more money, steam engines improved, and they became more available after his patent expired.  It defies reason to say that was a bad thing.

Watt made more money post 1800 , and you claim the cause was the expiration of the patent? Nothing to do with the capital accumulation and therefore more capital available in the aggregate to provide more customers,for his machines, the growth of the industrial revolution wasn't a link in the causal chain? You know the one that grew leaps and bounds from the efficiencies gained from improved steam engines? You have claimed innovations in the biotech industries haven't grown since the 'impositions' of IP to that industry, have they slowed because of it ? Not that I believe IP validity rests on an utilitarian premise, just questioning your logic and analogies.

 

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29 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

Watt made more money post 1800 , and you claim the cause was the expiration of the patent? Nothing to do with the capital accumulation and therefore more capital available in the aggregate to provide more customers,for his machines, the growth of the industrial revolution wasn't a link in the causal chain? You know the one that grew leaps and bounds from the efficiencies gained from improved steam engines? You have claimed innovations in the biotech industries haven't grown since the 'impositions' of IP to that industry, have they slowed because of it ? Not that I believe IP validity rests on an utilitarian premise, just questioning your logic and analogies.

The fact is that steam engines improved very little during the period when the Watt patent was in effect.  Once it expired, efficiency and production exploded.   The causal link is obvious.  People were free to innovate without being inhibited by a patent.  They were also free to produce when they were no longer told they couldn’t.   The almost sixfold increase in engine production was hardly due solely to Watt having increased capital.

I have shown evidence that the biotech and software industries were very innovative prior to the introduction of patents, and that the introduction of them did nothing to spur innovation.  This demolishes the argument that patents are “needed” for innovation to take place.

I’ll also repeat my previous citation of a research paper which found this:

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the political economy of government-operated patent systems indicates that such systems are susceptible to pressures that cause the ill effects of patents to grow over time. The political economy pressures tend to benefit those who own patents and are in a good position to lobby for stronger patent protection, but disadvantage current and future innovators as well as ultimate consumers. This explains why the political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones.

And this:

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If we look at patent litigation in practice—and as predicted by theories of first-mover competition (Boldrin and Levine 2004, among others)—it takes place when innovation is low. When an industry matures, innovation is no longer encouraged; instead, it is blocked by the ever-increasing appeal to patent protection on part of the insiders.

This demonstrates that patents not only are NOT needed for innovation, they actually discourage it.  The kind of deontological perspective that says "I don't care if things are better without IP, I still support it" seems more Kantian than Objectivist to me.

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Robert, you cited Galt's speech elsewhere on this forum. Here are a couple of more excerpts to take into consideration.

[T]he man who produces an idea in any field of rational endeavor—the man who discovers new knowledge—is the permanent benefactor of humanity. Material products can't be shared, they belong to some ultimate consumer; it is only the value of an idea that can be shared with unlimited numbers of men, making all sharers richer at no one's sacrifice or loss, raising the productive capacity of whatever labor they perform. It is the value of his own time that the strong of the intellect transfers to the weak, letting them work on the jobs he discovered, while devoting his time to further discoveries.

It is only the value of an idea that can be shared with unlimited numbers of men, making all sharers richer at no one's sacrifice or loss. What is being shared? As stated, it is the value of his own time to come up with the idea considered of value. Earlier in the same speech:

"The source of property rights is the law of causality. All property and all forms of wealth are produced by man's mind and labor. As you cannot have effects without causes, so you cannot have wealth without its source: without intelligence. You cannot force intelligence to work: those who're able to think, will not work under compulsion; those who will, won't produce much more than the price of the whip needed to keep them enslaved. You cannot obtain the products of a mind except on the owner's terms, by trade and by volitional consent.

The products of a mind cannot be obtained except on the owner's terms, by trade and by volitional consent.

So what is the value of his time to come up with the idea? Does the owner need to independently contractually set the terms for sharing the product of his mind, or can it be delegated to government to objectively identify (not withstanding the state of current government practice)  the terms by drawing up patent laws?, or is the value of his time free to feed upon by side-skirting that honesty consists of refusing to know that one is stealing?

Edited by dream_weaver
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4 hours ago, 2046 said:

Then how do you explain Spooner addressing it in 1855?

You're right that Rand didn't address it in her article, but it's possible she was not the most informed on the topic. We should not make the same mistake in assuming it wasn't raised at all.

Here he argued that property has its basis not in scarcity or tangiblility of an object, but in man's production. In order to undermine that, you would in effect have to undermine property itself.

Compare this to Rand's article and we can see some similarities. Spooner, however, arrives at his conclusions by very methodical arguments and considers various objections, and in general had a far less dogmatic tone in his work, I think it forms a far superior defense of IP on a libertarian basis.

On another thread addressing patents and copyrights, this poster thinks she must have known of Spooner. A search of the research CD does not return any results for "Spooner".

I'll have to add his paper on my Kindle to get to.

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1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

It is only the value of an idea that can be shared with unlimited numbers of men, making all sharers richer at no one's sacrifice or loss.

The originator determines the value of an idea to himself.  He does not determine its value to others.  Each man decides for himself how valuable something is. The originator is only sharing the idea, not the value.

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 What is being shared? As stated, it is the value of his own time to come up with the idea considered of value.

Labor and time have no value; only the product of that time and labor has value.  I could have spent lots of time laboring to be as good at basketball as Michael Jordan, or as good a pianist as Vladimir Horowitz.  It would have produced nothing of value.  I could have (and did) produce something else of value with my labor and time.  When your supervisor asks you to produce a report, you don’t tell him later “I worked hard x number of hours”.  You tell him “here’s the report”.  The Roosevelt administration ignored this principle when it paid farmers to destroy crops, when it paid artists to do nothing productive.

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You cannot obtain the products of a mind except on the owner's terms, by trade and by volitional consent.

The products of a mind cannot be obtained except on the owner's terms, by trade and by volitional consent.

This is not true.  I used the earlier example of the first guy to build a log cabin.   Do his neighbors need  his consent to obtain the idea of a log cabin by peacefully observing him?  Of course not.   What’s he going to do, forcibly blindfold them and plug their ears before he starts?  No advocate of individual rights would tolerate such a thing.  The same thing applies to steam engines, biotech, software, etc. ad infinitum.  Galt's speech says intelligence cannot be forced to work.  IP says intelligence can be forced NOT to work. Once people have an idea in their minds, who is one man to tell them what they can do on their own property, with their own time, with their own labor?  He already HAS the product of his labor and time, to do with as he wishes.  He is free to share that product on his terms, by trade and by volitional consent.  However, he has NO property right to the value of his idea.   As I said, each man determines for himself how valuable something is.  The value cannot be dictated by anyone, including the creator. 

Edited by Robert Romero
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@Dream Weaver

I think she must have knew of him, I forget which other context she seemed to have some similarities. I think maybe the character Austen Heller from the Fountainhead was supposed to be loosely based off him? Unless I'm confusing him with someone else. Can anyone confirm from Rand's library if any of his books are in the list?

Edited by 2046
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Here is my response to the question of intellectual property:  If you want me to respect your right to a pursuit of property, respect mine.

The final arbiter of the value of any product in a free market is the individual who agrees to buy it, because it is only to him that the product has any value.  The delivery of a new product, or an existing one, doesn't alter that fact that value is determined by the individual who is willing to purchase it;  no buyer = no commercial value.

When you introduce a new product to the marketplace, you have effectively increased the knowledge of every participant in that marketplace, i.e., you have given a free sample of what you have to offer.  If you give me a dollar, I am not obligated to return it to you.  If you give me an idea, I am not obligated to pay you for it.  I am only obligated to perform according to what we have agreed to in advance of any transfer of property, intellectual or otherwise.

That is the meaning and practice of a free market.  Enter at your own risk.

 

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