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.
At a recent Foundation for Economic Education seminar, a debate over intellectual "property" broke out spontaneously among Ivan Pongracic (second from right), Paul Cwik (second from left), and me (left).
Good work Sheldon. I enjoyed this.
[Comment at 06/15/2009 12:26 PM by David K. Levine]
Sheldon, there is no doubt that in just 10 short minutes you completely dominated. Pongracic and Cwik adopted the amazingly naive and un-nuanced standard viewpoint (as Cwik did in his presentation at the 2008 Austrian Scholars Conference, on the IP panel on which I was a discussant; Cwik's argument was incredible weak (as several audience members noted to me), as the IP argument has to be).
[Comment at 06/15/2009 10:18 PM by Stephan Kinsella]
BTW, Cwik's working paper, "Is There Room for Intellectual Property Rights in Austrian Economics?", is available here.
[Comment at 06/16/2009 05:53 AM by Stephan Kinsella]
Interesting. I did not think Sheldon dominated at all. Some humorous comments. When Sheldon said he was not getting royalties, the response asked whether it was because he was not selling any (touche).
The Shakespeare example is a bit twisted. Yes, there was no copyright, but Shakespeare made his money from performance of the plays and from part ownership of the Globe theater. I doubt many people could even read in that era. Otherwise, Shakespeare might have had to be a farmer or store keeper and those works would never have been written. In any case, Shakespeare did not want his works published and was unhappy when inscrupulous publishers printed unauthorized copies of his works.
The question is how we expect, e.g., Tom Clancy or Stephen King, to duplicate what Shakespeare did? Should Clancy be performing plays of "Red Storm Rising" and have part ownership of a theater to do that in? Copyright enables things that would likely otherwise be difficult or impossible. Of course, books would still continue to be published without copyright, but the question is to what extent - which we will likely never know in our lifetime.
I also notice that Sheldon's best argument was something along the line that truth and the majority are not necessarily the same thing. That may well be true, but in order to overturn copyright (or any other intellectual property) will require a majority of people to say that copyright is no longer in the best interest of society. That has yet to happen.
[Comment at 06/16/2009 11:33 AM by Lonnie E. Holder]
Lonnie E. Holder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition
The fact that we have copyright now is no evidence in favour of copyright.
[Comment at 06/17/2009 02:03 PM by Kid]
Just because we did not have copyright centuries ago is no evidence that it should be eliminated.
[Comment at 06/18/2009 04:04 PM by Lonnie E. Holder]
That we got on fine without it, combined with the fact that it impedes liberty, is.
[Comment at 07/17/2009 06:03 PM by Nobody Nowhere]
It is not true that "we got on fine without it." In fact, part of the reason that copyright was enacted after the printing press was created was that we had problems with unfettered, but inaccurate copying, of books and documents. By restricting printing to one licensed entity, accuracy and quality were improved.
As for "impedes liberty," if you mean "impedes ability to copy the works of others," that is true. However, that was a decision that was made by your fellow voters. If you want it changed, the appropriate action is to work to change the laws, not violate them.
[Comment at 07/20/2009 05:29 AM by Anonymous]
So Lonnie is now becoming too cowardly to sign his name to his posts.
Of course, he's given away by his logic-free post that is chock full of ad hominems. Right off the bat he calls me a liar, and then erects some straw man claim that copyright was actually about accuracy or some such nonsense totally unsupported by the historical documents and evidence.
He closes with another ad hominem, this time borderline libelous, implying without evidence that I infringe copyrights. In fact, what I do is exactly what he says I should do, "work to change the laws", but when I do so he attacks me for it.
What he lacks in logical rigor he more than makes up for in hypocrisy.
[Comment at 07/26/2009 07:09 PM by Nobody Nowhere]
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