defending the right to innovate
Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.
Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.
For the folks in the Washington DC area: next Monday, November 10th, the Cato Institute will be hosting a presentation of the book by David K. Levine and myself, Against Intellectual Monopoly.
I will be presenting the book, and Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D., Founder and president, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, will debate it. To be moderated by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
The event takes place at 12:00 p.m. and it is followed by a luncheon. Please go here to register.
Actually more like an hour. You can find Michele and I talking with David Levine (yes, we David Levine's have taken over the world) on his radio show Hearsay Culture about our book here and here. It was a lot of fun, and I would have liked it even if our interviewer hadn't appropriated my name.
via Aleh Tsyvinski
Sergei Guriev and I (together) and Konstantin Sonin (also from the New Economic School) write a bi-weekly column in Russian business daily Vedomosti (jointly published by the Wall Street Journal and FT).
This is the translation of Konstantin's article that Babelfish and I came up with:
There are economic questions, on which, it would seem, agreement between scientists is long established. Until recently these firm truths included the need for patents and copyrights. And here matters rested until the book by the economists of Washington University in Saint Louis Michele Boldrin and David Levine in which they reexamine patents and copyrights. They assert that intellectual property is not necessary: that the inventor or the author can profit even in its absence. Moreover the gain to society as a whole from eliminating it - including the users, who will pay less, and other producers - will be significant.
Michele's and my book
is now out...sort of. You can order it on Amazon except it appears to be temporarily out of stock. I guess that is a good thing. They have links to a few copies from other sellers. Or the publisher Cambridge University Press although they say it isn't available to August. But we know it exists, we've seen, sold and even signed a few copies. The free online version is available here
Here is the official blurb:
"Intellectual property" - patents and copyrights - have become controversial. We witness teenagers being sued for "pirating" music - and we observe AIDS patients in Africa dying due to lack of ability to pay for drugs that are high priced to satisfy patent holders. Are patents and copyrights essential to thriving creation and innovation - do we need them so that we all may enjoy fine music and good health? Across time and space the resounding answer is: No. So-called intellectual property is in fact an "intellectual monopoly" that hinders rather than helps the competitive free market regime that has delivered wealth and innovation to our doorsteps. This book has broad coverage of both copyrights and patents and is designed for a general audience, focusing on simple examples. The authors conclude that the only sensible policy to follow is to eliminate the patents and copyright systems as they currently exist.
Citizens United, a Washington District of Crime outfit, sent a "cease-and-desist" letter to Citizens United Not Timid trying to intimidate it and to get it to stop using Citizens United in its name. Its letter contains a not-so-vailed threat of legal action.
Michael D. Becker, the lawyer for Citizens United Not Timid, responded with this cutting-edge analysis of their complaint. Mr. Becker would no doubt disavow this, but the letter speaks not only for itself, but for all victims of trade mark bullies.
These links can be found at its website.
David Rosen mentions the group in this article.
Thanks to Mark Brady for the scoop and the links.
Rereading N. Stephan Kinsella's paper "Against Intellectual Property", it occurs to me that strictly speaking a patent is not a monopoly, but instead is an exclusionary device that legally prohibits anyone, even an independent inventor, from copying a patented invention, method, or process. It gives the inventor, in cahoots with the State of course, the right to exclude others from inventing the patented object. A patent does not give an inventor the right to produce his own invention, although he can do so as a consequence of the natural right he has in his property, which includes his body (self-ownership) and his legally owned materials he would use to produce it. Of course, the effect is the same as a monopoly, because he is the only person who can legally produce the ideal object that is the subject of the patent.
For an example of the contradiction of this law, see Kinsella, pp. 4-5, n. 12. Then call your Congressman/MP, etc. and tell him/her that "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
Peter Finch, the only actor ever to win a posthumous Oscar award for Best Actor, would be proud.
Here is the 1998 exchange between the thuggish--there is no other word to describe it--Anti-Defamation League and the Anarchist Anti-Defamation League.
This is the laugh line from the ADL's general counsel:
In fact, it appears to us that you may have selected a name so similar to our name in an effort to draw upon the good will and national success that people associate with the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE.
Anyone who knows anything about anarchism (which obviously the writer of the quoted words doesn't) knows that anarchists stand opposed to the statism of the ADL, including the Progress Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and all enabling legislation, both state and federal, as well as court decisions, such as those cited in the ADL's e-mail, that allow this sort of thuggery to stand.
As for the alleged good will and national success of the ADL, that is irrelevant to the AADL's using the designation "Anti-Defamation" in its name, which it has a natural right to do.
"Is Intellectual Property the Key to Success?" by Jeffrey Tucker is posted at the Ludwig von Mises Institute website. A sample:
Merchants are free to attempt to create artificial scarcity, and that is what happens when a company keeps it codes private or photographers put watermarks on their images online. Proprietary and "open-source" products can live and prosper side-by-side, as we learn from any drug store that offers both branded and generic goods inches apart on the shelves.
I'm leaving for Europe shortly, so don't have time for a long post, but there is a lot of news, so I'm going to put up a few links - check Slashdot, they are following these stories
Peer Patent Review: Looks like the voluntary patent peer review is underway for real. You may recall I've had some skepticism of this, but now we will see.
Secondary Copyright: I think this is a good thing: a court has given publishers that buy material from freelancers more control over the content, allowing them to use the material electronically without separate royalty payments. But I just looked at it briefly.
Maybe some of our readers can fill us in on what is going on with some of these developments.
Most Recent Comments
The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry
at 05/08/2015 08:35 AM by Dan Dobkin
Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace
at 04/10/2015 10:44 AM by Stephan Kinsella
The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default
at 04/10/2015 10:34 AM by Stephan Kinsella
Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without
at 01/08/2015 08:58 PM by Sheogorath
Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do
at 11/17/2014 04:48 AM by David K. Levine
Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous
at 10/29/2014 10:49 AM by Alexander Baker
Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.
at 09/20/2014 03:19 PM by Alexander Baker
WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:
at 06/28/2014 10:03 AM by Doris
WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,
at 06/28/2014 10:00 AM by Doris
What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic
at 05/05/2014 01:03 PM by Sheogorath
Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the
at 04/07/2014 04:47 AM by Dan McCracken
Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples
at 01/13/2014 06:13 AM by Anonymous
Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be
at 11/28/2013 05:03 PM by Stephanie Smith
at 11/28/2013 09:23 AM by Anonymous
at 11/28/2013 09:22 AM by Anonymous
Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you
at 11/24/2013 10:48 AM by SpaceCorp Technologies
at 11/20/2013 03:18 PM by Anonymous
Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since
at 11/02/2013 08:09 PM by Anonymous
Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? I wondered about TFP, because I had heard that TFP was increasing. Apparently, it depends on who
at 11/02/2013 08:08 PM by Anonymous
Music without copyright I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will
at 09/23/2013 07:46 AM by audience response software