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The death throes of pro-IP libertarianism


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#1 Gen. Jack T. Ripper

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:14 PM

http://mises.org/daily/4601

A nice history of the problem, with links to enough reading material on it to keep you occupied for months.
"I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one's opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us." -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"When we hear of some new attempt to explain reasoning or language or choice naturalistically, we ought to react as if we were told that someone had squared the circle or proved the square root of two to be rational: only the mildest curiosity is in order - how well has the fallacy been concealed?" -P.T. Geach

"You'll keep killing each other until only one remains, the strongest among you. A thousand years from now a dimwitted human barbarian will climb to the top of a pile of bones, sit down, and proclaim, 'I win!'" -Iorveth

#2 BigJohnny

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:10 PM

Yeah, I like that article. I think it's spot-on.

But I wonder if we'll ever get to see such notions catch on with the public. I saw this on the daily show yesterday:
http://www.thedailys...0/william-rosen

And remembered the discussions on this board of IP. Mostly because it seems like the point made, and then taken for granted, is that of course we're "modern people" now because of IP. And I found it so frustrating that they almost hit the mark. They say that "once people owned their invention" that's when we really started to move forward. But own their invention to what end? To make a profit! So it's not IP itself, but the fact that for the first time people can invent things and make a profit off of it.

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#3 Jormungandr

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:19 PM

The only think I find defensible on IP stuff is trademarks.

After all, if you make good cars and some moron starts making crappy cars under your brand name, your reputation is
shattered because some moron tried to make himself a profit off YOUR reputation as a manufacturer.

Some dishonest competitor might do so deliberately just to destroy your business through deception. No fault of your own, and slander and sabotage ain't actually competition.

I think trademarks are OK, though they should be reformed (they're abused all the time). I'm at a loss about how to implement them in a free market, but I guess voluntary compliance and/or boycotting violators (they get to buy NO supplies from compliant manufactrers) might be the trick.

Edited by Jormungandr, 28 July 2010 - 06:22 PM.

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#4 Gen. Jack T. Ripper

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:27 PM

I see, first of all, little reason to think that we're 'moving forward' all that much faster than other great civilizations did. There's a reason why people think space aliens built the Pyramids - and not just the Pyramids, but a whole host of other amazing things. It's not a very good reason, mind you, but the fact goes to show that the past was not universally so backward as we like to think. Second, what advancement there is seems to me wholly attributable to capital accumulation. Accumulate enough labor-saving trinkets and techniques and...eventually you have the leisure to work on more specialized problems.

regarding trademarks: Enforceable, yes - but by whom? The injured party isn't the trademark holder, but a defrauded client - and of course there's an injured party if and only if the client is, in fact, defrauded. If I buy a fake Rolex knowing it's a fake Rolex, why is that anyone else's problem?
"I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one's opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us." -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"When we hear of some new attempt to explain reasoning or language or choice naturalistically, we ought to react as if we were told that someone had squared the circle or proved the square root of two to be rational: only the mildest curiosity is in order - how well has the fallacy been concealed?" -P.T. Geach

"You'll keep killing each other until only one remains, the strongest among you. A thousand years from now a dimwitted human barbarian will climb to the top of a pile of bones, sit down, and proclaim, 'I win!'" -Iorveth

#5 Bezukhov

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:29 PM

The only think I find defensible on IP stuff is trademarks.

After all, if you make good cars and some moron starts making crappy cars under your brand name, your reputation is
shattered because some moron tried to make himself a profit off YOUR reputation as a manufacturer.

Some dishonest competitor might do so deliberately just to destroy your business through deception. No fault of your own, and slander and sabotage ain't actually competition.

I think trademarks are OK, though they should be reformed (they're abused all the time). I'm at a loss about how to implement them in a free market, but I guess voluntary compliance and/or boycotting violators (they get to buy NO supplies from compliant manufactrers) might be the trick.



Manufacuring goods under someone else's trademark is the same as plagiarism. A despicable act.
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#6 GuyTallman

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:34 PM

The only think I find defensible on IP stuff is trademarks.

After all, if you make good cars and some moron starts making crappy cars under your brand name, your reputation is
shattered because some moron tried to make himself a profit off YOUR reputation as a manufacturer.

Some dishonest competitor might do so deliberately just to destroy your business through deception. No fault of your own, and slander and sabotage ain't actually competition.

I think trademarks are OK, though they should be reformed (they're abused all the time). I'm at a loss about how to implement them in a free market, but I guess voluntary compliance and/or boycotting violators (they get to buy NO supplies from compliant manufactrers) might be the trick.


I think at that point it strays from IP into fraud. Something we can all agree on. If you intentionally mislead someone in a transaction, making them believe that they have purchased one thing, only to give them another, you are a thief.

#7 mrblump

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 04:11 AM

regarding trademarks: Enforceable, yes - but by whom? The injured party isn't the trademark holder, but a defrauded client - and of course there's an injured party if and only if the client is, in fact, defrauded. If I buy a fake Rolex knowing it's a fake Rolex, why is that anyone else's problem?


Buyer beware. If you pay 5 dollars for a pair of Nike's, chances are you are not buying Nike's. The concept that an idea or a thought can become property never made any sense to me. Owning the book or the paper in which i wrote the words down upon is one thing but you cannot own concepts, theory's and design's.
Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
~Adolph Hitler

#8 Jormungandr

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:45 AM

If no genuine attempt is made to deceive the customer into thinking they're buying the genuine product, it wouldn't be actionable. You're entitled to sell knockoff Rolex's. You're NOT entitled to sell them AS genuine.

Both the customer (who is defrauded) and the trademark holder (whose identity and reputation are compromised by a fraudulent third party) should have recourse to action.
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#9 Gen. Jack T. Ripper

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:08 AM

...how can a trademark holder, or anyone else, for that matter, have a right to a reputation? You can't have a right to have other people think about you in a certain way - or if you can, we all need to rethink '1984'.
"I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one's opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us." -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"When we hear of some new attempt to explain reasoning or language or choice naturalistically, we ought to react as if we were told that someone had squared the circle or proved the square root of two to be rational: only the mildest curiosity is in order - how well has the fallacy been concealed?" -P.T. Geach

"You'll keep killing each other until only one remains, the strongest among you. A thousand years from now a dimwitted human barbarian will climb to the top of a pile of bones, sit down, and proclaim, 'I win!'" -Iorveth

#10 Jormungandr

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:23 AM

I was thinking more along the line of: I've got a right to NOT having my identity usurped by some lowlife. My identity in business (and thus my business reputation) is also mine.

I can fuck it up, but others can't.

Edited by Jormungandr, 29 July 2010 - 07:24 AM.

Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.

#11 Gen. Jack T. Ripper

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 08:25 AM

Your 'identity' is yours? What do you mean by 'identity'? And, again, how can 'your' reputation be yours? 'Your' reputation is, in fact, other people's opinions about you, held in their own heads. We call a reputation 'yours', but unless you're willing to say that you have a right to have other people like you whether they want to or not, you must agree that the second person possessive there is just a linguistic convention, not an accurate description of the world.
"I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one's opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us." -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"When we hear of some new attempt to explain reasoning or language or choice naturalistically, we ought to react as if we were told that someone had squared the circle or proved the square root of two to be rational: only the mildest curiosity is in order - how well has the fallacy been concealed?" -P.T. Geach

"You'll keep killing each other until only one remains, the strongest among you. A thousand years from now a dimwitted human barbarian will climb to the top of a pile of bones, sit down, and proclaim, 'I win!'" -Iorveth

#12 Jormungandr

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:19 AM

So someone has the full right to simply pretend he's you and conduct business under that fraudulent pretense and get away with it?

(In this case we're speaking about a business identity)

Edited by Jormungandr, 29 July 2010 - 10:19 AM.

Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.

#13 mrblump

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:00 AM

So someone has the full right to simply pretend he's you and conduct business under that fraudulent pretense and get away with it?

(In this case we're speaking about a business identity)


What is "you"? Do you mean he has a licence with his picture and my name on it? If someone use's your information as there own when committing a crime like theft or murder then clearly that is an issue. But you need to separate the true crime from the perceived crime.

Made me think of this guy. I think all our girlfriend's and wife's wish he would "steal" our identity's.
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Edited by mrblump, 29 July 2010 - 11:05 AM.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
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#14 Gen. Jack T. Ripper

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:09 AM

That rather depends on what you mean by 'pretend he's you' and 'fraudulent pretense'. Selling fake Rolexes to people who are perfectly aware they're fake Rolexes hurts nobody - not Rolex and not the buyers, no matter how much Rolex would like you to think otherwise. In that case, yes, I very much think the seller should 'get away with it'. Selling fake Rolexes to people and pretending they're real Rolexes hurts the buyers, but not Rolex. In that case, Rolex should mind its own business and the defrauded buyers should get satisfaction. Pretending to be a duly authorized agent of the Rolex company and handi-vaccing the company's bank accounts hurts Rolex. In only one of the aforementioned cases does Rolex suffer the slightest injury.
"I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one's opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us." -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"When we hear of some new attempt to explain reasoning or language or choice naturalistically, we ought to react as if we were told that someone had squared the circle or proved the square root of two to be rational: only the mildest curiosity is in order - how well has the fallacy been concealed?" -P.T. Geach

"You'll keep killing each other until only one remains, the strongest among you. A thousand years from now a dimwitted human barbarian will climb to the top of a pile of bones, sit down, and proclaim, 'I win!'" -Iorveth




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