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Against Monopoly

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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.


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Copyright is very sticky!

Often we opponents of socialistic, legislatively-created, utilitarian-based, property-redistributing, artificial, arbitrary, inconsistent, irrational, innovation-hampering, monopolistic, anti-competitive, and wealth-destroying intellectual property laws are accused of hypocrisy when we "copyright" our articles and books.

I've pointed out to such people innumerable times, to little avail, that copyright is a noun, not a verb--that you don't "copyright" something--you have a copyright in your original works of authorship as soon as you write them, automatically, courtesy of federal law. No copyright notice is required. No copyright registration is required. You have the right, whether you like it or not.

Well, then, why don't you just "make it public domain," some then, a bit unreflectively, retort. The problem is, there is no clear and good way to do this.

If you use a Creative Commons license, you are actually employing the copyright the state grants you--you are putting conditions or limitations on what others may do with your works. Even if you use the least restrictive type, "Attribution," you are requiring others to do something to avoid being liable for copyright infringement.

Now, some have tried to find ways to let you abandon your copyright, or "dedicate" it to "the public." Creative Commons has a proposed "Public Domain Dedication", but: (a) it doesn't seem easy, at least for the typical user; and (b) there appear to be doubts as to whether it would work--and until it's clear that it does, it's worse than a CC license, since publishers would be afraid to rely on it. It is possible that a type of estoppel would apply, preventing the "dedicator" from complaining if someone else relied on his "dedication" to his detriment; but there is "a quirk of U.S. copyright law which grants the author of a work the right to cancel 'the exclusive or nonexclusive grant of a transfer or license of copyright or of any right under a copyright" thirty-five years later, unless the work was originally a work for hire.'" So sayeth Wikipedia; and it outlines other deficiencies of the "public domain dedication."

Creative Commons seems to recognize the potential problems with their attempt to set up a "public domain dedication"-- first, they say, "Please note that the Public Domain Dedication may not be valid outside of the United States." Well, that's no good. We do live in a global, um, world. Last time I checked, the Internet was available even outside America! Second, I had to google their site to even find it--it's not even listed in their Licenses page, or in their FAQ. They provide this method with disclaimers and no guarantees, and they bury it on their site. Hmm, tells you something.

So, what's a libertarian to do? I tend to think the CC 3.0 Attribution license is the most libertarian--it only requires you to say who wrote it--but most people would do this anyway, so that's not a huge imposition. The "non-commercial" ones prevent people from using it "for profit"--this is still a use of copyright to force people not to publish. And the "Attribution Share Alike" seeks to use one's copyright threat to force others to use this license too.

(For example, suppose you have a deal with a publisher, and you want to use a CC share-alike licensed work in your book. But the publisher you are using refuses to grant a "share alike" license. So now, you can't use the CC licensed work. I.e., if you publish your paper with a CC attribution license, the other guy can use it in his book. But if you do a share alike one, he can't. He's prevented by your copyright assertion threat.)

The d*mned government imposes this right on us and does not even provide an easy way to opt out of it or get rid of it. Ridiculous.

***

Update: In my comments to Roderick Long's post Steal This Journal!, I noted:

Roderick, If I'm not mistaken, "copyleft" is similar to the Creative Commons "share alike" license. Libertarian Papers, however, uses the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. After thinking about this, it seems to me that the "Attribution" license is more libertarian than "Share-Alike" (or copyleft).

Now the new "CCO", or "No Rights Reserved," attempt to make one's work "public domain" seems the most libertarian of all, but its efficacy looks doubtful to me, and it's still embryonic as far as I can tell.

In response to Charles Johnson's (Rad Geek) suggestion that Attribution-Share-Alike (a "viral" type of copyright license, a.k.a. "copyleft") might be preferable or acceptable from a libertarian perspective, I replied:

Rad, I see the argument, but I think the best policy is just to free it up. It's a bit too paternalistic, rude, untrusting, to force others to do it like you do, to assume they'll "abuse" their power. And, it might stop the work from being re-published. We want our libertarian ideas spread far and wide. I want an editor of a book considering reprinting one of our pieces to see no obstacles. A "viral share-alike" provision could be. Let ideas be free.

Update: See Doubts Raised About Legal Soundness of GPL2

(Cross-posted at Mises Blog.)


Comments

1. CC is in the process of upgrading the Pub Dom Dedication to CC0:

http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CCZero

although this is still not functional.

2. Why CC-by 2.5, not 3.0?

Same issue in France: there's no certified way to put anything in the public domain.
Wealth destroying?

http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/trends/2008/0308/03regact.cfm

14 Mar 2008

Education and innovation contributed more to income growth at the state level than other potential factors, according to research conducted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Educational attainment, for example, increased a state's average per capita personal incomes relative to other states by 8 percent, but innovation measured by patents per capita boosts personal income nearly 20 percent. Given the importance of innovation to economic performance, we investigate patenting activity in the Fourth District and compare District trends with those across the nation.

I have just written something and have included this as the copyright page. Couldn't think of what else to do, sorry, I am simply seditious, I cannot and will not accept Intellectual Property law.

Copyright Notice

Rock Stars, and myself, agree

that any kids listening to what

the Rock Stars say should be in jail.

.

The Rock Stars believe that the kids should pay them

for listening to what they say

and that if the kids listen

to what they say without paying

then the kids should be sanctioned.

The only real sanction that we have

is jail.

And any law without sanction is no law at all.

.

Me, I believe that any kids

that listen to anything said

by anyone who threatens

to jail them for listening to what they say

is too stupid to be on the streets

and should be locked up for their own safety

.

Please Copy & Distribute Freely

Lonnie's back and up to his old tricks again, and he wrote: "Wealth destroying?"

Yes, wealth destroying.

"innovation measured by patents per capita boosts personal income nearly 20 percent"

Error #1: assuming that patents per capita measures innovation. Perhaps it does not, and the increased income is caused by some other factor, such as the improved ability to extort money from others without having to work for it that patents are known to confer.

Error #2: even if patents per capita *does* measure innovation, it does not provide any evidence for the claim that patents *cause* innovation. Indeed, one ordinarily invents something and *then* patents it, so it IS clear that innovation causes patents, and the latter causal relationship suffices to explain any correlation between innovation and patents per capita, without the need for the reverse causal relationship to also hold. So, such a correlation furnishes no evidence for your hypothesis (that patents cause innovation), seeing as it may be predicted regardless of whether your hypothesis is true or false.

Beeswax:

Error #1: assuming that patents per capita measures innovation. Perhaps it does not, and the increased income is caused by some other factor, such as the improved ability to extort money from others without having to work for it that patents are known to confer.

Here is an interesting thing. You claim that the study is in error, but other than an unsupported hypothesis, you offered zero proof. Ergo, it is not an error. You can challenge the validity of the study, pending your offer of proof.

Error #2: even if patents per capita *does* measure innovation, it does not provide any evidence for the claim that patents *cause* innovation.

I fail to see where this claim was made anywhere in the paragraph I submitted above. Ergo, there is no error here either. Making stuff up again?

"Here is an interesting thing. You claim that the study is in error, but other than an unsupported hypothesis, you offered zero proof."

I proved that the conclusion does not follow from the premises -- i.e., that one of your arguments was flawed. It is true that this did not prove your conclusion false. It just proved it still-unsupported-by-facts.

It is ironic that your response is to turn right around and accuse me of the same thing.

"Ergo, it is not an error. You can challenge the validity of the study, pending your offer of proof."

I didn't challenge the validity of the study; I challenged your claim that the study results, *if* true, proved an assertion of yours. Indeed, they do not. Your assertion does not follow necessarily from the truth of the study results.

""Error #2: even if patents per capita *does* measure innovation, it does not provide any evidence for the claim that patents *cause* innovation."

I fail to see where this claim was made anywhere in the paragraph I submitted above. Ergo, there is no error here either. Making stuff up again?"

No, I'm just moving ahead to your primary claims made elsewhere on this site, that patents cause innovation. I showed that a) Even if the study results are valid, they don't prove that patents per capita works as a measure of innovation; and b) even if patents per capita do measure innovation, that doesn't prove that patents cause innovation.

In both cases, you have fallen victim to a variation of the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Indeed, in both cases you've confused a correlation with causation. In the first case, increased income is correlated with patents, and you presume that patents are the cause. Of course, patents may be an effect instead (more money = more to spend on patent attorneys instead of putting bread on the table) or there may be a third, common cause. Furthermore, the presumption that this also reflects innovation is simply a non-sequitur.

In the second case, increased innovation (the questionable conclusion of your first argument) is correlated with grants of patents, and you presume that patents are the cause. Again, patents may be the effect (more innovations to patent, so more patents) or there may be a third, common cause.

I'd brush up on your logic skills if I were you, before posting comments here again. Otherwise I'm likely to rip you a new one and demolish your Play Doh arguments every single time. :)

"Here is an interesting thing. You claim that the study is in error, but other than an unsupported hypothesis, you offered zero proof."

I proved that the conclusion does not follow from the premises -- i.e., that one of your arguments was flawed.

You suggested an alternative explanation of the observed facts, without evidence or support. Now, go to the next step and provide support.

Ergo, it is not an error. You can challenge the validity of the study, pending your offer of proof.

I didn't challenge the validity of the study; I challenged your claim that the study results, *if* true, proved an assertion of yours. Indeed, they do not. Your assertion does not follow necessarily from the truth of the study results.

Just the opposite. The statement that was made was something along the lines that patents were wealth-destroying. I provided a study where the authors claimed that patents increased the wealth of their statement. I made no claims about the study other than letting the study speak for itself. Any other statements are inferences you made.

Error #2: even if patents per capita *does* measure innovation, it does not provide any evidence for the claim that patents *cause* innovation.

I fail to see where this claim was made anywhere in the paragraph I submitted above. Ergo, there is no error here either. Making stuff up again?"

No, I'm just moving ahead to your primary claims made elsewhere on this site, that patents cause innovation. I showed that a) Even if the study results are valid, they don't prove that patents per capita works as a measure of innovation; and b) even if patents per capita do measure innovation, that doesn't prove that patents cause innovation.

I would like you to show me even once where I said "patents cause innovation."

In both cases, you have fallen victim to a variation of the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Indeed, in both cases you've confused a correlation with causation. In the first case, increased income is correlated with patents, and you presume that patents are the cause. Of course, patents may be an effect instead (more money = more to spend on patent attorneys instead of putting bread on the table) or there may be a third, common cause. Furthermore, the presumption that this also reflects innovation is simply a non-sequitur.

In the second case, increased innovation (the questionable conclusion of your first argument) is correlated with grants of patents, and you presume that patents are the cause. Again, patents may be the effect (more innovations to patent, so more patents) or there may be a third, common cause.

I presumed nothing. I merely cited the reference and let it speak for itself. Any other conclusions you made are in your own mind.

I'd brush up on your logic skills if I were you, before posting comments here again. Otherwise I'm likely to rip you a new one and demolish your Play Doh arguments every single time.

I recommend you brush up on your comprehension skills, otherwise you will continue to make up statements I made when I actually next to nothing. The ONLY thing I said was "Wealth destroying?" From these two words you have generated arguments and responses. Totally amazing.

Lonnie: F@&! off. Your long diatribes full of nonsense and personal attacks are unwelcome here. I thought you'd learned that lesson. But you seem to be back to your old, bad habits.

""I proved that the conclusion does not follow from the premises -- i.e., that one of your arguments was flawed."

You suggested an alternative explanation of the observed facts, without evidence or support. Now, go to the next step and provide support."

I do not take orders from you.

I proved that your logic does not prove what you think it proves. I did, indeed, not prove that your conclusion was false. I just showed that you did not actually provide any evidence that it wasn't.

""I didn't challenge the validity of the study; I challenged your claim that the study results, *if* true, proved an assertion of yours. Indeed, they do not. Your assertion does not follow necessarily from the truth of the study results."

Just the opposite."

No, not the opposite, either.

You don't get it, do you? Your argument failed to actually say anything about its conclusion. It didn't prove it, but it didn't disprove it either.

""I'm just moving ahead to your primary claims made elsewhere on this site, that patents cause innovation. I showed that a) Even if the study results are valid, they don't prove that patents per capita works as a measure of innovation; and b) even if patents per capita do measure innovation, that doesn't prove that patents cause innovation."

I would like you to show me even once where I said "patents cause innovation."

All over this site in your bordering-on-spammy volumes of comment-writing! Indeed, it was your whole basis for justifying the continued existence of this liberty-destroying, property-rights-violating perversion of the law.

""In both cases, you have fallen victim to a variation of the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Indeed, in both cases you've confused a correlation with causation. In the first case, increased income is correlated with patents, and you presume that patents are the cause. Of course, patents may be an effect instead (more money = more to spend on patent attorneys instead of putting bread on the table) or there may be a third, common cause. Furthermore, the presumption that this also reflects innovation is simply a non-sequitur.

In the second case, increased innovation (the questionable conclusion of your first argument) is correlated with grants of patents, and you presume that patents are the cause. Again, patents may be the effect (more innovations to patent, so more patents) or there may be a third, common cause."

[insults deleted]"

All you can say in response to that is some stupid, petty namecalling? Publicly questioning my mental health? Well, there's a name for that too: "argumentum ad hominem".

""I'd brush up on your logic skills if I were you, before posting comments here again. Otherwise I'm likely to rip you a new one and demolish your Play Doh arguments every single time."

[insults deleted]"

Calling me a moron is, of course, also an "argumentum ad hominem" fallacy. You have failed once again to prove any of these: * Patents create wealth * Patents cause innovation * A correlation between patenting and GDP growth indicates a causal relationship either way.

Indeed, I maintain my belief that: * Patents cause nothing but misery, except to sometimes enrich their individual holders at society's expense; * Patents stifle innovation; and * Any correlation between patenting and GDP growth is either spurious, or indicates GDP growth causes patenting as there's more money to spend on patent attorneys instead of on getting useful work done.

Beeswax, my personal stalker:

Is there something you have offered as a fact here, or are you up to your old ad hominem attacks again? I am unable to see that you have offered anything in the way of evidence for anything.

Lonnie, our pet troll, wrote:

"Beeswax, my [insult deleted]"

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

"Is there something you have offered as a fact here"

Yes. And if you get yourself some new reading glasses, perhaps you'll finally be able to see it for yourself.

"or are you up to your [false accusation deleted]?"

Obviously not. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

"I am unable to see that you have offered anything in the way of evidence for anything."

Come back here once you have those new reading glasses and then reread the thread. Then hopefully you'll be able to see it.

Beeswax:

Everything I said about you is true, and you in fact did not offer one single fact, including stating that what I said about you was not true, when it is obvious that you follow me around from web site to web site. Appears to be stalking behavior to me and the psychologist I consulted.

Our resident troll wrote:

"Everything I said about you is true"

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

"and ... in fact [calls me a liar]"

You're the only liar here.

"when it is obvious that you follow me around from web site to web site."

Actually, I was here first, AND at Techdirt first. A quick Google search scoped to this site will corroborate this. I don't post comments much at Techdirt, though, but I have been reading it for over two years now. You only started posting your inflammatory and largely-bogus comments within the past year.

"Appears to be [insults and implied threat deleted]

No, you're the crazy one.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I don't respond well to threats.


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