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.


Against Intellectual Monopoly: The Book, Movie No Doubt To Follow Soon

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.


The interesting question is: how did you find a publisher suicidal enough to publish this thing, which is (especially as it's 100% true) damaging to their own business model? :)
Congratulations to Michele and David for publishing a landmark book in the history of economic thought and related fields. I can't wait to read the reviews.

While it's true that the book advocates a position directly opposed to one pillar of the publishing industry's current business model, keep in mind one key lesson of the book: that in a free market (i.e., one without I"P"), a thousand publishing flowers would bloom and a new publishing business model (or models) would emerge. The I"P" industries, which are privileged by intellectual monopoly, would otherwise compete and innovate with methods consistent with free exchange and the rule of law, as Michele and David argue.

Their book joins a distinguished predecessor Steal This Idea, by AM blogger Michael Perelman.

We are only at the dawn of a new awakening to the possibilities of a world without intellectual monopoly. Let's raise a toast to the authors of Against Intellectual Monopoly--and invite everyone, including those on the other side, to join us.

Which of the following three approaches to its own copyright has the book taken?

1) Ignore it - the state suspends the public's liberty, not the authors 2) Disavow it - dedicate the work to the 'public domain' 3) Neutralise it - Use a copyleft license

The online version seems to have taken the first.

I'm curious to know what approach the printed version has taken.

Excellent! I'll be buying a copy. I haven't read the most recent version available online yet but enjoyed an earlier draft.

I hope you will share some sales figures to hold up as an example of how free stuff can still make money. :-)

Sadly the print version of the book has a traditional copyright. It's not easy to get a publisher to agree to anything else, we focused on getting them to agree to keeping the online version available.

I don't think the academic publishers like Cambridge University Press have that much to fear if copyright is abolished. The big changes would be in the market for textbooks - we wouldn't have the insanely expensive identical textbooks with the name of every famous person on them that we have now. But for the types of smaller scale academic books published by University presses it isn't as if they need to or are able to spend a lot of effort enforcing copyright.

So, you went with prestige, despite the hypocrisy of copyright on a book arguing against it, rather than publish via a few less prestigious publishers who would be prepared to provide a copyleft license within the book.

You know that it's going to be one of the first light bulbs that people have when they read this book - to quickly check whether the book has an undiluted copyright. They will be disappointed that the book doesn't exhibit the courage of its convictions.

Do you at least have a frontispiece apologising for the book's reproduction monopoly?

I wonder what proportion of reviewers spot this anomaly? I also wonder whether those who point it out have similar conclusions as to the book's merit.

Could someone print out a version of the PDF via http://www.lulu.com - without infringing copyright?

I hope the publishing deal with CUP wasn't exclusive.

I prefer rascality to hypocriscy...
Any book pusblished in the United States in automatically copyrighted under the copyright law. Copyright is a form of slavery, under which certain actions of non-copyright holders are proscribed (e.g., making copies of books).

Just as under chattel slavery, a baby born of a slave was automatically a slave under the law of slavery, so too a non-copyright holder is a slave to an author and copyright holder who begats a book, under the law of copyright, to the extent he can't perform certain actions with his own property.

Anyone opposed to slavery should be against copyright. He who says copyright also says slavery in the same breath.

Throwing the Book Against Intellectual Monopoly is a comment I was starting here, but which turned into a blog post.
Most excellent!
I prefer rascality to hypocrisy...

So do I. I will not be buying a copy, nor encourage anyone to do so.

Interesting to observe that David K. Levine is the first to be recognised by Wikipedia as a notable copyright abolitionist.
Crosbie Fitch: I actually added that.
Pity there isn't a heading for unnotable copyright abolitionists eh?

Then again, at least I won't be the one with an army of pitchfork wielding would-be J K Rowlings, Paul McCartneys, and Bill Gates at my front door...

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