Against Monopoly

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.


Spanish Manifesto in Defense of Fundamental Rights on the Internet

Rebellion in the Red: Manifesto (google translation) notes Spanish legislation allowing the suspension of Internet service to users "to safeguard the rights of intellectual property" has caused a huge backlash. Journalists, bloggers, users, professionals and Internet developers have put forth a statement "In defense of fundamental rights on the Internet", which includes:
1. Copyright can not be above the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to privacy, security, the presumption of innocence, to effective judicial protection and freedom of expression.
People are beginning to recognize the growing conflict between individual rights and "intellectual property"--and, if forced to choose, are choosing real, individual rights over IP. Hopefully it won't stop here.

(HT to Keith Krauland for the link)

[Mises cross-post; SK cross-post]


Yes, there is an obvious conflict to anyone who takes the trouble to look.

It's between an individual's natural rights and the privileges that suspend them for the benefit of industry.

Roll on the day when people recognise that copyright is the suspension of the individual's natural right to copy, and therefore fundamentally unethical.

However, let's not get carried away. The natural right to copy does not supersede the natural right to privacy.


What does the natural right to copy something have to do with the right to privacy, which doesn't exist outside the figment of the imagination of the 1962 SCOTUS (that's the Supreme Court of the United States, a monopoly outfit if ever there were one)? How does Smith's right to copy an article of his own property, for example, conflict with Jones's "right to privacy," whatever that is, as long as he doesn't do it on Jones's property without Jones's permission? In the past you have argued against the right to copy someone else's "intellectual proplerty" (as you call it) without the latter's permission (you would call him an "owner" of the "IP").

Why not just recognize that everyone has an absolute natural right to copy their own property as long as they don't violate the property rights of someone else in doing so, say by using the latter's equipment or doing it on his property without permission? Their own property consists of all physical things they have gained through trade or have received as a gift.

Bill, some people have the strange idea they have a right to a copy of the source code to software I write, even though it remains in my private domain.

I'm just cautioning people who've recently undergone the epiphany of realising they have a natural right to copy, that this doesn't constitute a license to copy others' private works, nor exploit and reproduce copies obtained through burglary or other invasions of privacy.

And remember, I'm referring to natural law, not legislation. If the latter then I'd be defending copyright's suspension of the right to copy.

Stop arguing when you mean the same thing.

There is a universal right to copy one's own property which comes with the right to control one's own property. Copyright is an artificial monopoly, with the purpose of getting more money to authors and inventors. It prevents you from exercising this particular aspect of your natural rights to your property, which is the reason we're even talking about a separate "right to copy" in the first place.

This right to copy is nothing more than the right to copy your own property, and obviously doesn't constitute a right to copy other people's property. If you want to copy something you don't own, you have to buy it (or ask for it) first. This doesn't change whether copyright exists or not.

Bill, some people have the strange idea they have a right to a copy of the source code to software I write, even though it remains in my private domain.

Crosbie, if a person can legally acquire a copy of software you own, presumably he or she has a right to reverse engineer it. The natural right to copy does imply the right to copy a legally obtained copy of a copy of someone else's property--which might itself be a copy. The latter's property has not been violated in any way. Enough copies there for you?


Kid, you know that I have to defend privacy and natural IP from IP nihilists as much as I have to defend liberty from IP monopolists.

Bill, I agree (and what happened to your quoting skills?).


"Kid, you know that I have to defend privacy and natural IP from IP nihilists as much as I have to defend liberty from IP monopolists. "

You continue your nonsense. Nobody can understand what you mean by natural IP because you are totally incoherent.

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