Home > Uncategorized > Rethinking "Rethinking IP", or, if we step away from statism, will societies not find ways to protect ideas?

Rethinking "Rethinking IP", or, if we step away from statism, will societies not find ways to protect ideas?

Stephan Kinsella has another post up at the Mises Daily on “Rethinking IP“; while I share Stephan’s mission of ending state-sponsored IP – which has morphed into gross corporate-statist corruption, oppression and profound waste – as usual Stephan’s aggressive approach has generated as much heat as light in the comments section.

Rather than reaching a shared understanding of how damaging IP has become (there are real frightening aspects to the current situation) and putting heads together as to whether private alternatives are acceptable or likely or already exist, we have proponents and opponents of IP largely arguing past each other; one seems to assume that IF there IS a “principled” basis for IP, then a state role must be accepted, while the other seems to assume that IF there is NO “principled” basis for STATE-CREATED IP, then all IP is theft, so that those who produce useful or appreciated ideas, technologies, music, art and literature will go unrewarded.

How sad that even libertarians forget the role of private efforts and of communities in protecting valued resources and productivity!

I left the following comment (in moderation as a result of my immoderate use of links):

TokyoTom February 16, 2011 at 4:16 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Stephan, in your eagerness to find a strong “principled” basis to reject IP, you ignore the fact that, like physical substances/resources that we find valuable and worth protecting (which protection our society acknowledges as appropriate via the term “property”), many ideas are valuable, take time to develop and may be worth defending.

Just as people and societies would protect physical property in the absence of a state, so too are they likely to try to protect some ideas, via concepts akin to present-day IP law. If we get rid of IP law, we will not get rid of IP — we will simply push it further into the non-state realm, where private institutions and mores (that’s mine! stealing is evil!) that protect valuable ideas will surely bloom.

It seems to me that many libertarians who disagree with you about the concept of IP can be convinced that the current statist IP regime is corrupt and should be abandoned.

Accordingly, isn’t there ample room for common cause in building opposition to statist IP, and for enlisting help in constructing and understanding free-market alternatives?

Or must every victory be a Pyrrhic one?



PS: For other readers, I’ve gathered some of my previous related comments here:






Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.