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Carrikature
02-20-2014, 06:36 AM
I've lifted this from another thread in an area where I'm not allowed to post.


It depends on your broader view of intellectual property in general, with it being wrong if you accept the existence of intellectual property and it being acceptable if you deny it. I actually avoid downloading free music when the artist doesn't want me to (I'm also a vinyl junkie) but don't see anything wrong with it as I reject IP.


I have a hard time accepting this reasoning. Regardless of what one thinks of IP (I reject it as a legitimate concept as well) it is still a fact that downloading copyrighted music is illegal in most countries, personal opinion notwithstanding. I would assert that as long as copyright laws do not go against any teaching of the Bible we as Christians have no right to disregard them, even if we'd reject the concept on which they are based as illegitimate. :shrug:




Is Intellectual Property (IP) a legitimate concept? Why or why not?

Zymologist
02-20-2014, 07:02 AM
This is a very interesting question, and one that I haven't yet answered for myself.

:popcorn:

KingsGambit
02-20-2014, 07:08 AM
I believe it is, though I am not versed in all the philosophical jargon that would be necessary to productively participate in this conversation. :smile: But in brief, I base this on the principle that people have the right to benefit from the fruits of their labor.

Paprika
02-20-2014, 07:19 AM
Say a mathematician is the first to prove some important theorem and publish it. Is the proof his property?

Ben Zwycky
02-20-2014, 07:40 AM
In effect, yes, since every subsequent researcher needs to provide the proper citation whenever they refer to his proof, or be acccused of plagiarism.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 07:44 AM
I intend to continue to investigate. I thought I'd put up my first blush to establish a record.


It seems there is a necessary distinction between intellectual and physical. It seems nonsensical to think one could ever contain the spread of ideas (generally speaking). Scientific studies, mathematical theorems and the like are ideas. Even if some sort of economic gain could result from the use of these studies/theorems, the idea itself is a separate, neutral entity. Further, the media of transmittance is not relevant. Physical property, by and large, seems to be a tangible product either naturally occurring or resulting from physical labor of some sort. The intent of such labor in nearly all cases would be profit of some sort.

Based on these two separate concepts, I think it's safe to say that ideas themselves are free to all, while the physical productions are owned solely by the producer. That could mean that music itself is free for all, but that physical productions of the music (including digital media) is and should be under the producer's control. I'll use this as my starting point.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 07:47 AM
Say a mathematician is the first to prove some important theorem and publish it. Is the proof his property?

I think it stands to reason that a mathematician could legitimately withhold said information with the intent to profit from its use. Insofar as the idea is his and his alone, he's allowed to do so. The caveat is two-fold: 1) ideas of this nature may occur first to one individual, but such individuals are merely the first not the only; and 2) The majority of mathematicians and scientists willingly publish their theorems and studies with the intent to further all knowledge and therefore inherently give up any claim to property on said publications.

Cow Poke
02-20-2014, 08:08 AM
I have been particularly frustrated with software licensing.

At one point, many years ago, we actually bought WordPerfect instead of Word, because WordPerfect only allowed required us to have a copy for each work station, whereas Microsoft Word required us to have licenses for each work station AND a license for the server.

Borland (Quattro Pro, and many other fine products) pioneered the "like a book" license. You could have their software on as many computers as you used, as long as you used it "like a book".... if I have it on my home computer, my work computer, and my laptop - as long as I only use one at a time, it was allowable.

Cerebrum123
02-20-2014, 08:34 AM
I have been particularly frustrated with software licensing.

At one point, many years ago, we actually bought WordPerfect instead of Word, because WordPerfect only allowed required us to have a copy for each work station, whereas Microsoft Word required us to have licenses for each work station AND a license for the server.

Borland (Quattro Pro, and many other fine products) pioneered the "like a book" license. You could have their software on as many computers as you used, as long as you used it "like a book".... if I have it on my home computer, my work computer, and my laptop - as long as I only use one at a time, it was allowable.

They do that with video games too(PC games seem to be the exception). Especially consoles and handhelds. There are a lot of games out there that I would love to play, but they are either nearly extinct physically(driving up the price massively), or they were never officially translated into English. Then there are a few where the company has gone out of business(I own several games that fall into that category). I wish that they would just change the laws regarding the older games and ROMS, especially since it's untrue that the old cartridges will last long enough to not need a backup copy.

Paprika
02-20-2014, 08:50 AM
Some of my thoughts:

Current IP rules confer three types of benefit to the owner.

Firstly, control over using the idea for economic benefit (eg. patenting). Secondly, control of the distribution of the work (eg. copyright of creative works). Thirdly, credit for being the originator of the owner (eg citation for using others' ideas in academia).

Cow Poke
02-20-2014, 08:51 AM
They do that with video games too(PC games seem to be the exception). Especially consoles and handhelds. There are a lot of games out there that I would love to play, but they are either nearly extinct physically(driving up the price massively), or they were never officially translated into English. Then there are a few where the company has gone out of business(I own several games that fall into that category). I wish that they would just change the laws regarding the older games and ROMS, especially since it's untrue that the old cartridges will last long enough to not need a backup copy.

It would seem that a company going out of business is an abandonment of the protection. :shrug:

Cerebrum123
02-20-2014, 08:52 AM
It would seem that a company going out of business is an abandonment of the protection. :shrug:

But what if they passed the rights on to someone else? How would a person even check?

Teallaura
02-20-2014, 08:54 AM
FYI: it's not the idea that is owned - it's the rights to profit from that unique work. Someone spending the time and effort to produce a novel or a symphony score has the right to profit from their labor. For a period of time, they have exclusive right (this varies between patent and copyright) to profit from that work. The individual can license the use of their work or retain full rights and produce whatever form themselves. They may elect to not produce at all nor allow anyone else to do so (rare but it happens) - doesn't matter, they own the right to profit - or not.

Software falls into the same catagory - it's Bob's business if he wants to sit on his copyright until the software is too old for any use. The problem their is how software is licensed - normally, that would go to the publisher/gallery/et al and not to the individual users. Licensing to individuals for use is profitable but has the problem of ending up with things that can't be used as businesses are unwilling or unable to make renewal a possibility. If you ask me, that's the one the consumers need to deal with by putting pressure on companies rather than trying to rewrite the law (law doesn't deal well with things that really haven't been fully vetted - hence tons of useless regulation).

Teallaura
02-20-2014, 08:56 AM
Here ya go, Cere:

http://www.copyright.gov/records/

Teallaura
02-20-2014, 09:00 AM
It would seem that a company going out of business is an abandonment of the protection. :shrug: No, no, no, no, no and NO!!!!!!

A business can go out of business for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the copyright protection or the product. The copyright holder has every right to take his/her copyright elsewhere or (if owned by the business) to sell or even retain the rights pending reorganization.

Abandonment is hard as heck to show and isn't really much of an issue with copyright (trademark has more issues with this).

Cow Poke
02-20-2014, 09:03 AM
No, no, no, no, no and NO!!!!!!

A business can go out of business for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the copyright protection or the product. The copyright holder has every right to take his/her copyright elsewhere or (if owned by the business) to sell or even retain the rights pending reorganization.

Abandonment is hard as heck to show and isn't really much of an issue with copyright (trademark has more issues with this).

Well, it no longer seems that a company going out of business is an abandonment of the protection. :shrug:

Sparko
02-20-2014, 09:23 AM
This post is an original work and the Intellectual property of Sparko the Pirate. I hold all rights to this post. Including the right for you to store it in ANY medium other than on theologyweb. That includes your memory. So please, do NOT read this post and store it in your brain or I will be forced to sue you for everything you own. Thank you.

Cerebrum123
02-20-2014, 09:24 AM
Here ya go, Cere:

http://www.copyright.gov/records/

I typed one game that I do own, and nothing came up. One that I don't, but want to, and nothing came up. All kinds of stuff showed up for games still being marketed, but really old. If nothing comes up, does that mean it's abandoned?

robrecht
02-20-2014, 09:48 AM
This post is an original work and the Intellectual property of Sparko the Pirate. I hold all rights to this post. Including the right for you to store it in ANY medium other than on theologyweb. That includes your memory. So please, do NOT read this post and store it in your brain or I will be forced to sue you for everything you own. Thank you. No worries!

Outis
02-20-2014, 09:52 AM
Is Intellectual Property (IP) a legitimate concept? Why or why not?

It depends on what you mean by "legitimate."

IP is a concept that we, through our legislators, have defined and included in the law. It has no tangible facet ... but then, neither do "rights" have a tangible facet, and we have defined and included these into the law as well.

robrecht
02-20-2014, 09:58 AM
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Epoetker
02-20-2014, 10:05 AM
I have been a piratey guy in the past, then Steam came along and reduced my motivation and action on this part to near-zero. So the best thing, it seems, is that IP is owned by people interested in profiting from the IP but also recognizing of the relative money people will pay for it, and the relative ownership level expected after paying for it.

Nevertheless, this thread needs the wisdom of Erik Naggum:
(http://www.loper-os.org/?p=165)


A business can go out of business for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the copyright protection or the product.

Most of them of the "ulterior motive" variety:


companies that go bankrupt are a danger to healthy competition. They are able to make their creditors and shareholders pay for their losses and bad management and then to start anew with assets that they essentially got for free, quite unlike the competition that has not gone bankrupt, who have to pay full price for their assets, but quite similar to how their customers have wanted their products, for too little money.

A law making a bankrupt company's IPs and other assets immediate public property of the guvment auctioneer would heavily reduce, or at least mitigate, these shenanigans, and force intelligent business decisions, mergers, arbitration, organized closures, and acquisitions at earlier times.

As far as free software/abandonware/other stuff goes:


The whole idea that anything can be so “shared” as to have no value in itself is not a problem if the rest of the world ensures that nobody _is_ starving or needing money. For young people who have parents who pay for them or student grants or loans and basically have yet to figure out that it costs a hell of a lot of money to live in a highly advanced society, this is not such a bad idea. Grow up, graduate, marry, start a family, buy a house, have an accident, get seriously ill for a while, or a number of other very expensive things people actually do all the time, and the value of your work starts to get very real and concrete to you, at which point giving away things to be “nice” to some “community” which turns out not to be “nice” _enough_ in return that you will actually stay alive, is no longer an option.

All of this “code sharing” is an economic surplus phenomenon. It works only when none of the people involved in it are in any form of need. As soon as the need arises, a lot of people discover that it has cost them real money to work for the community and they reap very little benefit from it, because they are sharing value-less services and getting value out of something that people take for granted is hard to impossible. This is unfortunately even more true when employees are considered “free” while consultants are not, so buying the supposed “services” from people who know the source code is not an _exercised_ option.

Just because it is nice to get things for free does not mean it is a good idea to organize anything based on removing the value of those things, but until people _need_ that value, getting stuff for free is _so_ nice that looking to the future is something most people simply will not do, and those who refuse think about will also refuse to listen to those who have. Thus they will continue to deplete the value of software to the point where nobody _wants_ to pay for any software, be it of a particular kind or in general. Software development tools are already considered to be give-aways by some people, threatening commercial vendors and those who would like to make money providing software tools to developers.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 11:38 AM
I have been particularly frustrated with software licensing.

At one point, many years ago, we actually bought WordPerfect instead of Word, because WordPerfect only allowed required us to have a copy for each work station, whereas Microsoft Word required us to have licenses for each work station AND a license for the server.

Borland (Quattro Pro, and many other fine products) pioneered the "like a book" license. You could have their software on as many computers as you used, as long as you used it "like a book".... if I have it on my home computer, my work computer, and my laptop - as long as I only use one at a time, it was allowable.

This sounds like an issue consumers need to address, similar to what Teal mentioned. I'd say the same thing for games. The issue is that you don't like how it's applied, but does that invalidate the concept behind it? Are there certain methods for application that should be valid while others aren't?

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 11:42 AM
It depends on what you mean by "legitimate."

IP is a concept that we, through our legislators, have defined and included in the law. It has no tangible facet ... but then, neither do "rights" have a tangible facet, and we have defined and included these into the law as well.

That it's been legislated holds little merit for me. I think the concept of 'rights', while fundamentally useful, has burgeoned into a morass of nonsense. So, in answer to your question, I'm going to go with "conforming to recognized principles". My intent here is to establish those principles and use that as a baseline from which to extrapolate realistic applications.

Outis
02-20-2014, 12:17 PM
That it's been legislated holds little merit for me. I think the concept of 'rights', while fundamentally useful, has burgeoned into a morass of nonsense. So, in answer to your question, I'm going to go with "conforming to recognized principles". My intent here is to establish those principles and use that as a baseline from which to extrapolate realistic applications.

My question would, then, be "recognized" by whom?

Are you looking for a justification that you personally can agree with? One that society as a whole (or, at least, the majority of society in our modern republics) can agree with? A legal basis? A philosophical basis?

I'm honestly not certain where you're headed, or what you're looking for.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 12:23 PM
My question would, then, be "recognized" by whom?

Any person making a claim would, I hope, be able to state the principles they are using for that claim. That's what I'm interested in discussing.



Are you looking for a justification that you personally can agree with? One that society as a whole (or, at least, the majority of society in our modern republics) can agree with? A legal basis? A philosophical basis?

I'm honestly not certain where you're headed, or what you're looking for.

I'm looking for a philosophical basis, hence the thread's location in this particular forum. What I (or anyone) can or can't agree with isn't terribly important.

Cow Poke
02-20-2014, 12:27 PM
Copyright

By posting on TheologyWeb you agree to give us a perpetual* royalty free license to host and retain the material you own and post to our site...

In the event, however, of a cataclysmic crash, we relinquish said license. :wink:


*the extent of perpetuality may vary

Sparko
02-20-2014, 12:49 PM
I think the licensing contracts that you "automagically" agree to when you get software or movies or music is just ridiculous. When the RIAA and lawyers get involved they have to "earn" their keep so they make things so restrictive and convoluted they basically could probably arrest you for just buying the media.

I think if you buy software or a movie or music you should be able to use it in anyway you want for personal use. Rip a CD to MP3, copy your blueray to your harddrive, make backups, use software on all of your devices instead of having to buy something multiple times. After all, you paid for it. As long as you are not giving it to someone else, or selling it, what difference does it make how you store it or make backups of a disc?

Outis
02-20-2014, 12:51 PM
I'm looking for a philosophical basis

To my mind, you're asking a second floor question, but doing so without building the first floor. :wink:

I would hazard that such a basis would depend on the foundations the argument started from. Such foundations would touch on existantial, epistemic, and metaphysical issues, and I would further hazard that until those primary issues are settled (at least, to the mind of the enquirer--in this case, you), you would not be able to establish an acceptable answer to this question.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 01:01 PM
To my mind, you're asking a second floor question, but doing so without building the first floor. :wink:

I would hazard that such a basis would depend on the foundations the argument started from. Such foundations would touch on existantial, epistemic, and metaphysical issues, and I would further hazard that until those primary issues are settled (at least, to the mind of the enquirer--in this case, you), you would not be able to establish an acceptable answer to this question.

I have no interest in the first floor for the purposes of this thread. Those foundations are more or less settled in my mind. I don't expect there to be any such thing as 'acceptable'. I'm just asking people to provide foundations and principles.

Outis
02-20-2014, 01:08 PM
I have no interest in the first floor for the purposes of this thread.

Carrikature, I don't think you can answer this question without delving into "first floor" issues, at least, not with any logic or connection to the foundational assumptions. "First floor" issues must be examined, else the "second floor" results are inconsistent at best, utterly incoherent at worst.

I'm not chiding you, or anything of the sort: I just don't think it can be done at all without the intervening steps.

Joel
02-20-2014, 01:36 PM
I think IP is not a legitimate concept.

The book Against Intellectual Property, freely available online here: http://mises.org/document/3582 I think makes a solid philosophical case against IP. The main idea is that IP is fundamentally different, and in conflict with, tangible property rights. Thus they cannot be just two different, coexisting kinds of property. The whole reason for property rights is that tangible goods are rivalrous (one person using a hammer means other people can't use it at the same time). If all goods were non-rivalrous that would be great. It would eliminate the conflict-of-interests that motivates theft, and the idea of property would be unnecessary. But ideas are not rivalrous (some ancient person may get the idea of a hammer from seeing someone else have and use one, and can then use the idea to make their own, without stealing the other person's use of his original hammer). Tangible goods are inherently rivalrous, but IP law artificially creates rivalry where there was none. It grants a monopoly to produce a particular good(s). Which also has the effect of curtailing other people's use of their own tangible property. In the extreme case of all ideas being "owned", you would not be able to do any action that uses any idea that someone else had thought of before (without permission), making human action virtually impossible.

If IP were actually a natural property right, it should have no arbitrary expiration date. It should be perpetual, bequeathed to heirs forever. Someone should have a monopoly on the production of fire. Someone should have a monopoly on the production of wheels. Someone should have a monopoly on the production of levers. Etc. Then for you to make fire or a lever, etc. with your own tangible property would be illegal.


It seems that the only argument for IP put forth in this thread so far is the argument that people have the right to profit from their labor. E.g. Teallaura says,

FYI: it's not the idea that is owned - it's the rights to profit from that unique work.
But that's not how the law works. The law does not guarantee any profit. It only grants a temporary exclusive monopoly on producing a particular thing (or derivative thing) in tangible form. And from what I understand, it's illegal for someone else to produce an illegal copy (or derivative work), even if they just dump it to the bottom of the ocean.

Moreover, no kind of property rights ever grant the right to a profit. There's never a guarantee of profit from your property or the fruit of your labor. You might work hard producing a large quantity of a tangible good that no one wants to buy. Or you might come up with a good idea, but someone else comes up with a better one making your idea obsolete, so you make no profit. So this is not an argument for IP.

But you do have the right to the fruit of your labor. That is, if you come up with the idea of the hammer, and you make one, you have the right to the hammer you made. And if someone else sees you and decides that's a good idea and makes his own hammer, then he owns the hammer he made. You don't have the right to beat him up (or lock him in a cage, or take his hammer or other tangible property, etc.) for doing so.


One other point:
At one point in the thread, I also saw the confusion between copying and plagiarism. They are not the same thing. Making and selling a copy of a Dickens novel as a Dickens novel is one thing. Making the copy and replacing Dickens' name with my own (claiming that I wrote it) is a different thing. The former is perfectly fine, while the latter is lying (fraud?).

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 02:10 PM
Carrikature, I don't think you can answer this question without delving into "first floor" issues, at least, not with any logic or connection to the foundational assumptions. "First floor" issues must be examined, else the "second floor" results are inconsistent at best, utterly incoherent at worst.

I'm not chiding you, or anything of the sort: I just don't think it can be done at all without the intervening steps.

If that's your stance, no one is forcing you to participate. I'm not about to start creating a universe just so I can bake a pie.

Outis
02-20-2014, 02:12 PM
If that's your stance, no one is forcing you to participate.

Oh, it's not a case of "forcing me to participate." The topic is to me a fascinating one, and I'm interested in people's thought processes.


I'm not about to start creating a universe just so I can bake a pie.

:lol: Now, that is a delightful turn of phrase. May I steal it for future reference?

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 02:13 PM
Joel, rather than quoting your entire post, I pose a question. What happens when intangible, non-rivalrous ideas (R&D) are used specifically for rivalrous production (medication)? Part of the copyright concept, so far as I know, is designed to protect those entities that pour resources into new discoveries.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 02:18 PM
Oh, it's not a case of "forcing me to participate." The topic is to me a fascinating one, and I'm interested in people's thought processes.

My thought process is that one must first be presented with a knot before one can begin to untangle it.



:lol: Now, that is a delightful turn of phrase. May I steal it for future reference?

It's not mine. It's a misquote of Carl Sagan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ssV79Qi7mM).

Joel
02-20-2014, 03:58 PM
Joel, rather than quoting your entire post, I pose a question. What happens when intangible, non-rivalrous ideas (R&D) are used specifically for rivalrous production (medication)? Part of the copyright concept, so far as I know, is designed to protect those entities that pour resources into new discoveries.
Ideas (i.e. non-rivalrous) are always used in the production of rivalrous goods. This is in line with the argument that artificial restrictions (by granting monopolies) is actually a violation of regular property rights: the right of free persons to engage in production using their own property. IP is not some new kind of property in addition to (alongside of) the concept of tangible property. The two are in conflict.

As for special protections for those who invest in R&D, all production requires speculative investment, and there is never a right to a return on your investment. Thus the person arguing for IP would have to justify why making particular kinds of investments would grant the investor additional rights that investors in general do not have.

But I'm not sure that argument is ever made. The defense of IP typically ends up dropping any kind of notion of it being a natural right on the level of property rights, and instead it really boils down to a utilitarian argument: that IP laws provide incentive to increased innovation, and that (therefore?) the central planners should grant and impose monopolies for the purpose of diverting more resources toward R&D (or creation of new books, songs, etc).

[edited to add]
That is the argument given in the U.S. Constitution. It is intended to be a subsidy to Science and the practical arts.
[/edited to add]

There are a number problems with this utilitarian argument:

By defending IP on mere utilitarian grounds, the arguer has abandoned the concept of IP as property (and property rights), and thus is no longer arguing for the validity of the concept of intellectual property. (And thus seems to be not a good argument for the thread topic.) They are simply arguing that the free market should be curtailed by force because otherwise people would spend an insufficient amount of resources on R&D.
It's not at all clear what determines a sufficient amount of R&D. Who is to say the number of books written without copyright is "insufficient"?
Diverting additional resources toward R&D means diverting them away from whatever uses to which free people would have put those resources otherwise. It's not obvious that that is necessarily a utilitarian improvement. (Perhaps those other uses were more urgently valued.)
It's not at all clear that IP laws result in a net increase of innovation. There are ways in which IP laws impede and dis-incentivise innovation, and if anything, the historical evidence tends to indicate that there is as much or more innovation and creative works in the absence of IP laws. (e.g., for a mountain of evidence see Against Intellectual Monopoly (http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm) with a whole chapter devoted to the pharmaceutical industry)
Even if it were a utilitarian improvement, that doesn't tell us whether forcing that upon people is morally acceptable.

Carrikature
02-20-2014, 06:06 PM
I am going to mull over this post before replying in full. I wanted to point out a quick issue I see.



Ideas (i.e. non-rivalrous) are always used in the production of rivalrous goods.

The existence of open source anything seems to make this statement false as long as you're claiming 'always'. I would grant 'most of the time'.

Teallaura
02-21-2014, 09:57 AM
Well, it no longer seems that a company going out of business is an abandonment of the protection. :shrug:

If a company goes out of business do you then have the right to move into their building? Of course not - being in business has nothing to do with owning something. That corporate entity still owns the building even if it doesn't conduct business anymore. Same thing with intellectual property.

Only once a corporate entity has NO ONE who can lay claim to ownership (stock. partner, et al) of the business such that no human being has rights to corporate entity (full or partial) does the idea of abandonment come in (technically, it's not abandonment - it's unowned property). Then and only then can an effort be made to transfer ownership to someone or something that can actually act on it.

Law - it's not just for breakfast anymore! :wink:


Cere: Let me get back to you - I'd have to do some research I just don't have time for today.

Outis
02-21-2014, 10:03 AM
OK, I've given the idea some thought.

We have (through our legislators) accepted and codified into law that an individual who comes up with a potentially profitable idea should have the right to at least attempt to make a profit on that idea. However, as they stand, the laws are somewhat fuzzy, maybe even somewhat contradictory, on what forms of protection an idea can receive.

* If you have a physical medium of your idea (print, sound recording, video recording, software or hardware that implement the idea), you have the sole rights to attempt to make a profit from the physical medium, _and_ from the idea itself, for a certain period of time. Within certain restrictions, no one is allowed to make copies of your recording and sell them or give them away without your permission (copyright). More to the point, no one is allowed to copy the idea in and of itself and sell their version without some very specific restrictions. For music, I can cover a song provided I pay the mechanical licensing fees. For video or print, I have to purchase a license to print or make copies of the video for distribution. For technology, no one is allowed to implement that technology without your permission (which, again, usually involves licensing fees).
* This has made a lot of people rich, but has seemingly benefited more copyright and patent lawyers than it has inventors, creative artists, or anyone else who has the ideas.
* Generally, people don't like copyright and patent lawyers (or layers in general).

I think the idea of IP is, or was, a good one. But I also think it's been horribly distorted in execution.

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 10:03 AM
If a company goes out of business do you then have the right to move into their building?

When I said...
Well, it no longer seems that a company going out of business is an abandonment of the protection. :shrug:

...it was a reversal of my previous statement. Indicating a reversal on my part. A change of opinion. A change of mind. But feel free to continue to argue the point. :wink:

Teallaura
02-21-2014, 10:10 AM
Er, Joel - you stated that 'isn't how it works' then proceed to describing the law working just exactly as I had explained. The right to profit isn't a guarantee to profit - it's a guarantee no one else can legally poach your work so that you can attempt to profit from it unhendered by competition to sell/produce/etc your own work. (Competition from similar works being perfectly fair.)

Aside comment (not addressed to anyone in particular): the silliest thing to me is the 'anti-establishment' crowd pushing for a reduction in IP. An established, well funded business can produce/sell an item far more efficiently than a lone individual. Getting rid of IP rights insures a nightmare of corporations poaching work from each other, individuals and other nationalities - meaning the little guy will get stomped and likely stop publishing anything until he/she can finance the business side. Instead of freeing intellectual work, it will stifle it as few other things ever have.

Carry: I do actually intend to eventually address the actual topic... Sowwy...

Teallaura
02-21-2014, 10:11 AM
...it was a reversal of my previous statement. Indicating a reversal on my part. A change of opinion. A change of mind. But feel free to continue to argue the point. :wink:

I realized that but it sounded like you didn't believe it should be the case, so I was explaining the rationale...


:blush: Oopsie...

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 10:19 AM
I realized that but it sounded like you didn't believe it should be the case, so I was explaining the rationale...


:blush: Oopsie...

I should have been more clearerer. :shrug:

Cerebrum123
02-21-2014, 10:39 AM
Cere: Let me get back to you - I'd have to do some research I just don't have time for today.

No problem. Sometimes I tend to miss answers in threads. Maybe send me a PM when/if you do find out. :teeth:

Joel
02-21-2014, 11:34 AM
Ideas (i.e. non-rivalrous) are always used in the production of rivalrous goods.

The existence of open source anything seems to make this statement false as long as you're claiming 'always'. I would grant 'most of the time'.
At minimum the production of a rivalrous good necessarily makes use of the idea of the product, and it makes use of the idea of the process--the 'recipe' for combining the various factors of production to produce the product.

I don't see how open source affects what I've said.



We have (through our legislators) accepted and codified into law that an individual who comes up with a potentially profitable idea should have the right to at least attempt to make a profit on that idea.

They have that right even in the absence of IP laws. The difference of IP laws is that it grants them force legally used to stop any competition. So to justify IP, one needs to justify why certain producers have a right that producers do not normally have, to have their competition stopped by force.


Er, Joel - you stated that 'isn't how it works' then proceed to describing the law working just exactly as I had explained. The right to profit isn't a guarantee to profit - it's a guarantee no one else can legally poach your work so that you can attempt to profit from it unhendered by competition to sell/produce/etc your own work. (Competition from similar works being perfectly fair.)

Okay, I misunderstood your use of terms. Fair enough. We both agree that it's a grant of monopoly privilege ("unhindered by competition").



Aside comment (not addressed to anyone in particular): the silliest thing to me is the 'anti-establishment' crowd pushing for a reduction in IP. An established, well funded business can produce/sell an item far more efficiently than a lone individual. Getting rid of IP rights insures a nightmare of corporations poaching work from each other, individuals and other nationalities - meaning the little guy will get stomped and likely stop publishing anything until he/she can finance the business side. Instead of freeing intellectual work, it will stifle it as few other things ever have.

IP laws have primarily benefited big corporations. They tend to 'own' the IP. E.g., publishers generally require small-time creators to transfer their rights to the publisher as a condition for publication. Without IP similar arrangements can still be made, by the small-time creator keeping his work secret until publication, and selling to a publisher the opportunity of being the first to publish it (which is a huge advantage).

Small-time creators generally have an obscurity problem, not a 'piracy' problem. 'Piracy' generally arises for works that are already popular and known to have high demand because it has already sold lots of copies.

Congress changes IP laws now and then, and it is clear that their changes are designed to benefit big corporations. E.g., the "Mickey Mouse Curve" retroactively extending copyright terms perpetually for the benefit of firms like Disney. This can hardly be thought to promote the creation of future works.

But I'm not really making an anti-corporation argument. This revolves around the utilitarian argument and the problems I pointed out about that.

Outis
02-21-2014, 11:59 AM
So to justify IP, one needs to justify why certain producers have a right that producers do not normally have, to have their competition stopped by force.

If I have a quantity of wheat, you do not have the right to come into my barn, take a wagonload of my wheat, and sell it for your own profit without asking my permission.

The concept is the same with IP. If I have an idea, you do not have the right to reverse engineer my work and implement my idea without my permission.

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 12:13 PM
If I have a quantity of wheat, you do not have the right to come into my barn, take a wagonload of my wheat, and sell it for your own profit without asking my permission.

You also have, I would imagine, a quantity of air in your barn. While I can not go IN your barn and take it, I can eventually have as much as I like when it drifts my way. :smile:

Outis
02-21-2014, 12:19 PM
You also have, I would imagine, a quantity of air in your barn. While I can not go IN your barn and take it, I can eventually have as much as I like when it drifts my way. :smile:

I suppose I could, but even if I found a way for air in my barn to be marketable, getting it to market might be difficult. :hehe:

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 12:23 PM
I suppose I could, but even if I found a way for air in my barn to be marketable, getting it to market might be difficult. :hehe:

Well, if you WANTED it to be marketable, you could come up with some creative marketing ploy .. .like.. um... pet rocks? :smile:

Seriously, the bottom line is that it's WAY harder to regulate ownership of something on the Internetzweb than it is tangible property stored within the confines of your own barn. :shrug:

Outis
02-21-2014, 12:28 PM
Well, if you WANTED it to be marketable, you could come up with some creative marketing ploy .. .like.. um... pet rocks? :smile:

Pet Rocks! Now each one has its own balloon full of Barn Air (TM) !


Seriously, the bottom line is that it's WAY harder to regulate ownership of something on the Internetzweb than it is tangible property stored within the confines of your own barn. :shrug:

Yeah, it is much more difficult. But difficulty of enforcement is entirely a secondary concern. The primary concern is this: does ownership of a non-depletable resource apply in the same way that it applies to a depletable resource? After all, if you take a wagonload of wheat out of my barn, I'm short one wagonload. If you download my software ... what am I missing?

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 12:39 PM
Pet Rocks! Now each one has its own balloon full of Barn Air (TM) !

... two great minds on the same train....


Yeah, it is much more difficult. But difficulty of enforcement is entirely a secondary concern. The primary concern is this: does ownership of a non-depletable resource apply in the same way that it applies to a depletable resource? After all, if you take a wagonload of wheat out of my barn, I'm short one wagonload. If you download my software ... what am I missing?

OK, so are you referring to the work of the mind of the person who initiated the story, song, research, or other intellectual property? Obviously not, because if it weren't "unique" or somehow "different", it wouldn't be as desirable.

So, you're referring to, probably, the massive downloading of copies of the original work. Let's get back to the ground floor :smile: -- should the originator have a reasonable expectation of being rewarded for his work? If so, how much?

Outis
02-21-2014, 12:46 PM
... two great minds on the same train....

I dunno if either of our minds qualify as "great." Come to think of it, I'm not sure they qualify as "minds." :hehe:


OK, so are you referring to the work of the mind of the person who initiated the story, song, research, or other intellectual property? Obviously not, because if it weren't "unique" or somehow "different", it wouldn't be as desirable.

So, you're referring to, probably, the massive downloading of copies of the original work. Let's get back to the ground floor :smile: -- should the originator have a reasonable expectation of being rewarded for his work? If so, how much?

It seems fair to me that he, or she, or they should have reasonable expectation of being rewarded for the work. It seems grossly unfair to me that they would be denied such. But as for how that works out in practice .... :shrug:

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 12:52 PM
I dunno if either of our minds qualify as "great." Come to think of it, I'm not sure they qualify as "minds." :hehe:

Well, there's that :thumb:


It seems fair to me that he, or she, or they should have reasonable expectation of being rewarded for the work.

I would be surprised if you did not agree.


It seems grossly unfair to me that they would be denied such. But as for how that works out in practice .... :shrug:

Such is e-commerce! Again, technology outpaces legislation.

But I think you have answered the question in the title of the thread in the affirmative, yes?

Sparko
02-21-2014, 12:55 PM
Well, if you WANTED it to be marketable, you could come up with some creative marketing ploy .. .like.. um... pet rocks? :smile:

Seriously, the bottom line is that it's WAY harder to regulate ownership of something on the Internetzweb than it is tangible property stored within the confines of your own barn. :shrug:



Bottled AIR: Chinese multimillionaire sells EIGHT MILLION 80-cent cans of fresh air in TEN DAYS as pollution levels climb to record highs

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2271690/Bottled-AIR-Chinese-multimillionaire-sells-EIGHT-MILLION-cans-fresh-air-TEN-DAYS-pollution-levels-climb-record-high.html#ixzz2tza3N3xE
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Cerebrum123
02-21-2014, 01:24 PM
Bottled AIR: Chinese multimillionaire sells EIGHT MILLION 80-cent cans of fresh air in TEN DAYS as pollution levels climb to record highs

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2271690/Bottled-AIR-Chinese-multimillionaire-sells-EIGHT-MILLION-cans-fresh-air-TEN-DAYS-pollution-levels-climb-record-high.html#ixzz2tza3N3xE
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lKVHBguZOBY

Carrikature
02-21-2014, 01:47 PM
At minimum the production of a rivalrous good necessarily makes use of the idea of the product, and it makes use of the idea of the process--the 'recipe' for combining the various factors of production to produce the product.

I don't see how open source affects what I've said.

Ideas, being non-rivalrous, can be used to produce other ideas, which are non-rivalrous. Ideas can be used to produce goods which are freely disseminated and such goods are thus non-rivalrous. The very process by which the goods are produced can be disseminated and so be non-rivlarous. That's open source in a nutshell. If your stance revolves around rivalry, you have to show that all goods are always rivalrous in nature. I think open source serves as a counter-example.



If I have an idea, you do not have the right to reverse engineer my work and implement my idea without my permission.

The usage of 'right' aside, I'm not sure how you can expect to ever stop somebody. Simply declaring it not allowed won't work very well. I realize that implementation is somewhat separate, but I think we can use concepts of implementation to shed light on various aspects.

Teallaura
02-21-2014, 01:57 PM
Enforcement - in this case usually civil. Sure, Bob can reverse engineer Out's gizmo - but Out can make it extremely painful in the pocketbook if he does. Bob can be required to forfeit all profit from the gizmo in addition to fines, penalties and a license fee. If Bob is extremely determined, he might manage to keep out of court (living in Jamaica helps) or fend off the lawsuit - but honestly, the license would be cheaper than a lawyer. Does it happen, sure; but the fact that Out has standing to take the matter to civil court is very likely to give Bob pause - and as a result, it isn't common. Like I said, cheaper to buy a license than pay the legal fees.

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 02:01 PM
Enforcement - in this case usually civil. Sure, Bob can reverse engineer Out's gizmo - but Out can make it extremely painful in the pocketbook if he does. Bob can be required to forfeit all profit from the gizmo in addition to fines, penalties and a license fee. If Bob is extremely determined, he might manage to keep out of court (living in Jamaica helps) or fend off the lawsuit - but honestly, the license would be cheaper than a lawyer. Does it happen, sure; but the fact that Out has standing to take the matter to civil court is very likely to give Bob pause - and as a result, it isn't common. Like I said, cheaper to buy a license than pay the legal fees.

The manufacture of a gizmo isn't quite the same as intellectual property such as songs, literary writings, research, reports..... When Bob reverse engenieers the gizmo, he's not selling (presumably) the intellectual property, but more gizmos.

Darth Executor
02-21-2014, 02:50 PM
If you download my software ... what am I missing?

The same thing a slave is missing when working for someone else without consent.

Teallaura
02-21-2014, 03:06 PM
The manufacture of a gizmo isn't quite the same as intellectual property such as songs, literary writings, research, reports..... When Bob reverse engenieers the gizmo, he's not selling (presumably) the intellectual property, but more gizmos.

The principle for patents (which is what Out referenced) is identical to copyright in that the right to profit from said invention is what is being protected. In this case, Bob does violate the intellectual property rights in the sense that it's the engineering that makes the gizmo profitable. Without that intellectual property, Bob is just making paperweights.

Outis
02-21-2014, 03:11 PM
The usage of 'right' aside, I'm not sure how you can expect to ever stop somebody. Simply declaring it not allowed won't work very well.

You won't stop _everybody_. But the majority of people will still follow the law, even if they don't necessarily agree with all aspects of it. Heck, even Prohibition/the Volstead act had an negative impact on consumption and production. While the gangsters who ran and sold illegal booze got really rich, and supply was available, demand did drop.


I realize that implementation is somewhat separate, but I think we can use concepts of implementation to shed light on various aspects.

It can be, but theory and implementation are two separate critters ... and in a lot of ways, implementation is actually easier to figure out. :hehe:

Outis
02-21-2014, 03:13 PM
But I think you have answered the question in the title of the thread in the affirmative, yes?

Tentatively. It seems unfair to me that a songwriter or movie producer does not get paid for a pirated work ... but I can't put that feeling into a coherent, rational argument. So far, I've got some ideas, but my arguments go both ways, and my mind just isn't made up on the topic.

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 03:36 PM
Tentatively. It seems unfair to me that a songwriter or movie producer does not get paid for a pirated work ... but I can't put that feeling into a coherent, rational argument. So far, I've got some ideas, but my arguments go both ways, and my mind just isn't made up on the topic.

Me too. Though I lean toward "if you take something that is not offered freely (many artists do that) and avoid paying the stated cost, you're cheating".

Outis
02-21-2014, 03:56 PM
Me too. Though I lean toward "if you take something that is not offered freely (many artists do that) and avoid paying the stated cost, you're cheating".

Yeah, but then people who just want to get stuff for free say "But it's not stealing, so there." :shrug: I wonder if there IS a solution.

Cow Poke
02-21-2014, 04:01 PM
Yeah, but then people who just want to get stuff for free say "But it's not stealing, so there." :shrug: I wonder if there IS a solution.

Education. Then those who are dishonest will steal, but will know they're stealing. :smile:

Joel
02-21-2014, 06:11 PM
If I have a quantity of wheat, you do not have the right to come into my barn, take a wagonload of my wheat, and sell it for your own profit without asking my permission.

The concept is the same with IP. If I have an idea, you do not have the right to reverse engineer my work and implement my idea without my permission.
I think I explained earlier why they are not the same (and are actually in conflict with each other).
You yourself point out a significant difference between someone depriving you of your wheat vs someone seeing what you do and thinking "That's a good idea; I'm going to do that too."



Let's get back to the ground floor :smile: -- should the originator have a reasonable expectation of being rewarded for his work? If so, how much?
These questions don't make much sense for any kind of property. Someone could produce a bunch of grain. We would not say that it is up to central planners to decide how much he should be rewarded for his work. The only reasonable answer to that question is: however much he and other people agree to exchange with him for it. And he may decide not to exchange it at all. Or he may not be able to find buyers for it all.

If he has any reasonable expectation of getting anything for it in exchange with others (which is not the same thing as reward for his work), it would be based on his own predictions of future demand.


Me too. Though I lean toward "if you take something that is not offered freely (many artists do that) and avoid paying the stated cost, you're cheating".
First of all, when you use an idea that you learn, you are not taking anything. They still have the idea (and they still have their physical instantiations of it). Copying/imitating is not theft.

Secondly, as I've pointed out before, what this issue really amounts to is someone claiming to have a right to a monopoly (and have competitors stopped by force, including competitors giving it away for free). That is also best I can make of your "not offered freely". After all, some people are selling copies of Dickens' Great Expectations, while others give copies away for free. Surely you aren't saying it's wrong to get it from project gutenberg online? Some people sell water while in other cases it is given away for free. Surely your concern arises only if someone is offering for sale and they claim to have a right to a monopoly on its production. But why would some producers have a right to such a monopoly while other producers do not?

Sparko
02-22-2014, 09:53 AM
IP isn't about protecting ideas themselves, but specific expressions of those ideas. You might have an idea about a book, but until you write that book, it isn't protected. Not only that but the specific expression is protected, not the underlying idea. Others can take the premise and basic plot of your book and write their own book on the topic. The same with songs, or software. And the IP has to be original, not something that is in common usage already. You can copyright a particular font, but not the alphabet.

Cow Poke
02-22-2014, 10:34 AM
IP isn't about protecting ideas themselves, but specific expressions of those ideas. You might have an idea about a book, but until you write that book, it isn't protected. Not only that but the specific expression is protected, not the underlying idea. Others can take the premise and basic plot of your book and write their own book on the topic. The same with songs, or software. And the IP has to be original, not something that is in common usage already. You can copyright a particular font, but not the alphabet.

This reminds me -- when you have an idea, and you're going to do something with it, type it up and email it to yourself, AND print a copy and snail mail it to yourself, certified mail. When you get it, don't open -- it's "proof" that you had the idea prior to whatever date/time the letter / email was mailed.

Teallaura
02-22-2014, 03:48 PM
Yeah, but in practice that's more useful in patent law.

Sparko
02-23-2014, 09:37 AM
What I completely disagree with is such things as letting someone patent a gene or gene sequence just by discovering it. The Gene is not something they made, it has existed for probably millions of years. They just found it. Patenting part of a living being, especially a human, is just wrong.

Carrikature
02-23-2014, 06:35 PM
What I completely disagree with is such things as letting someone patent a gene or gene sequence just by discovering it. The Gene is not something they made, it has existed for probably millions of years. They just found it. Patenting part of a living being, especially a human, is just wrong.

FWIW, this practice has been overturned to some extent. The line is generally "naturally occurring", and it's recently been declared to include fragments. It is possible to create artificial sequences, though, and those are within the realm of patents.

Teallaura
02-24-2014, 08:33 AM
^ What Carry said.

Sparko
02-24-2014, 08:41 AM
^ What Carry said.

um yeah. That is why I said "discovered" not "invented" :ahem:

Carrikature
02-24-2014, 08:57 AM
um yeah. That is why I said "discovered" not "invented" :ahem:

I did notice that, and I tried to respond to that specifically. Honestly, I think the 'naturally occurring' might be a good framework for IP in general. Knowledge about the world, regardless of discipline, should be classified as naturally occurring and therefore free to all. That would encompass development of the physical laws of the universe, mathematical equations, archaeological finds, etc.

Sparko
02-24-2014, 09:16 AM
I did notice that, and I tried to respond to that specifically. Honestly, I think the 'naturally occurring' might be a good framework for IP in general. Knowledge about the world, regardless of discipline, should be classified as naturally occurring and therefore free to all. That would encompass development of the physical laws of the universe, mathematical equations, archaeological finds, etc.

I disagree. Creativity and learning is an intellectual pursuit. It is not "naturally occurring" - You don't come up with the theory of relativity by osmosis.

I think people should get credit for discovering something like the gene that causes green eyes or something, but they shouldn't have exclusive rights to that gene so that somehow "own" the gene itself. If they come up with a way to change the gene to create blue eyes, for instance, then they should have the IP rights for that process though because it is something done creatively with their discovery.

The reason governments give out patents and copyrights is to foster creativity and captitalism. If no matter what you invented or created you had no rights to it and anyone could just take what you did and resell it, or use it for themselves, then you basically end up with a society where there is no incentive for creativity. It is the same problem of capitalism vs socialism/welfare. If the government takes all the benefits away from those who work and gives it to everyone equally in some sort of welfare state, then you end up with nobody working and everyone sitting around waiting for their government paycheck.

Omniskeptical
02-24-2014, 09:20 AM
I don't know if anyone thinks this. But if a company allows you to invent something, the patent should go to the syndicate or company that gave you the equipment. Since you have used their resources, and expensive equipment to make it. The engineer and scientific labors of a company should always be patented by the company.

Sparko
02-24-2014, 11:09 AM
I don't know if anyone thinks this. But if a company allows you to invent something, the patent should go to the syndicate or company that gave you the equipment. Since you have used their resources, and expensive equipment to make it. The engineer and scientific labors of a company should always be patented by the company.

It depends on the employment contract they have with their employer. Some places do as you say above, others will share the patents or profits from the invention.

Carrikature
02-24-2014, 11:24 AM
I disagree. Creativity and learning is an intellectual pursuit. It is not "naturally occurring" - You don't come up with the theory of relativity by osmosis.

Let's not conflate creativity and learning. While learning and discovering things about the world certainly can require creativity, it's still in relation to things that already exist. Physical laws don't have to be stated to be in effect.



I think people should get credit for discovering something like the gene that causes green eyes or something, but they shouldn't have exclusive rights to that gene so that somehow "own" the gene itself. If they come up with a way to change the gene to create blue eyes, for instance, then they should have the IP rights for that process though because it is something done creatively with their discovery.

People do get credit for their discoveries, though, nor would I suggest changing that. However, your example of the process for changing a gene is a place where discovery meets innovation. The underlying principles are free to all. The specific application is not. If you can come up with a different application that is more efficient or cheaper than someone else's, more power to you.



The reason governments give out patents and copyrights is to foster creativity and captitalism. If no matter what you invented or created you had no rights to it and anyone could just take what you did and resell it, or use it for themselves, then you basically end up with a society where there is no incentive for creativity. It is the same problem of capitalism vs socialism/welfare. If the government takes all the benefits away from those who work and gives it to everyone equally in some sort of welfare state, then you end up with nobody working and everyone sitting around waiting for their government paycheck.

This is basically a false dichotomy, but more importantly it ignores the applications of creativity that exist. It's one thing to say that patents and copyrights should be granted for those who create some object. It's another to say that patents and copyrights should be granted to those who discover something about the world around us. In point of fact, creativity is still fostered for the latter even without patents and copyrights because universities use those things to attract students.

In point of fact, the current use of copyrights and patents can actually stifle creativity and capitalism by allowing the wealthy to purchase said patents and render them inoperable, thus eliminating their potential competition.

Joel
02-24-2014, 11:44 AM
The reason governments give out patents and copyrights is to foster creativity and captitalism. If no matter what you invented or created you had no rights to it and anyone could just take what you did and resell it, or use it for themselves, then you basically end up with a society where there is no incentive for creativity. It is the same problem of capitalism vs socialism/welfare. If the government takes all the benefits away from those who work and gives it to everyone equally in some sort of welfare state, then you end up with nobody working and everyone sitting around waiting for their government paycheck.
First I'd object to the "had no rights to it" language. It's not the case that absence of IP laws would mean he "had no rights to it". It would only mean he doesn't have a monopoly/exclusive right. He would still have every right to use his invention/creation.

Then, as I've pointed out earlier in the thread, there are ways in which IP laws hinder or prevent further creativity/innovation. E.g., with IP laws, firms holding IP have reduced incentive to stay one step ahead of the competition, because they can rest on their monopoly right to prior inventions. Often derivative works by competitors are illegal, thus legally halting innnovation (which in practice is nearly always derivative). IP laws have also resulted in vast amounts of resources wasted on legal issues. A vast amount of R&D investment is also wasted on redundant research to come up with substitutions just to get around patents held by others, but having no added economic value.

So it cannot be concluded a priori which way these conflicting incentives will lean on the whole (whether IP laws will incentivize a net increase or a net decrease of creativity/innovation). And there is a mountain of empirical evidence that creativity/innovation is actually greater where there is lesser or no IP laws! (e.g. see Against Intellectual Monopoly (http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm))


Also your argument regarding capitalism vs a total welfare state doesn't apply the same in both cases because tangible goods are rivalrous goods, while ideas are non-rivalrous. If you grow a bushel of wheat and the government takes it away (to dole out as it wishes), then you are deprived of the use of your wheat. If, on the other hand you invent the hammer, and other people see you and think that's a good idea and make their own hammers, that does not deprive you of your own ability to hammer.

Sparko
02-24-2014, 11:53 AM
You are deprived from profiting from your idea of a hammer because everyone just makes their own instead of buying them from you. You should be able to benefit from coming up with the idea to use a hammer and nail to hold two pieces of wood together to make a building stronger, for example. If someone comes up with a better way then they should be able to profit from their idea. Say they invent a screwdriver and screws instead. And someone else invents riveting. Each idea's expressions should be protected to allow the creator to benefit most from their hard work in coming up with the concept.

Now a lot of our IP laws have gone way overboard, and should be retooled. But the basic idea (no pun intended) of IP is a good one.

Joel
02-24-2014, 11:57 AM
Joel, rather than quoting your entire post, I pose a question. What happens when intangible, non-rivalrous ideas (R&D) are used specifically for rivalrous production (medication)? Part of the copyright concept, so far as I know, is designed to protect those entities that pour resources into new discoveries.

Ideas (i.e. non-rivalrous) are always used in the production of rivalrous goods.

The existence of open source anything seems to make this statement false as long as you're claiming 'always'. I would grant 'most of the time'.

At minimum the production of a rivalrous good necessarily makes use of the idea of the product, and it makes use of the idea of the process--the 'recipe' for combining the various factors of production to produce the product.

I don't see how open source affects what I've said.

Ideas, being non-rivalrous, can be used to produce other ideas, which are non-rivalrous. Ideas can be used to produce goods which are freely disseminated and such goods are thus non-rivalrous. The very process by which the goods are produced can be disseminated and so be non-rivlarous. That's open source in a nutshell. If your stance revolves around rivalry, you have to show that all goods are always rivalrous in nature. I think open source serves as a counter-example.

At some point you shifted the line of discussion from talking about the production of rivalrous goods to the production of non-rivalrous goods.

Of course not all goods are rivalrous. I was the one who brought up the distinction in the first place.
I also don't see what problem you are seeing. Yes, ideas are also used in the production of other ideas. So?

Oh wait, I maybe see the confusion. In my first quoted reply here I said, "Ideas (i.e. non-rivalrous) are always used in the production of rivalrous goods." I just noticed that this is perhaps ambiguous. Perhaps you thought this meant that the production of rivalrous goods is the only use of ideas. Rather, I meant every production of rivalrous goods uses ideas. Does that clear things up?

Carrikature
02-24-2014, 12:22 PM
At some point you shifted the line of discussion from talking about the production of rivalrous goods to the production of non-rivalrous goods.

Of course not all goods are rivalrous. I was the one who brought up the distinction in the first place.
I also don't see what problem you are seeing. Yes, ideas are also used in the production of other ideas. So?

Oh wait, I maybe see the confusion. In my first quoted reply here I said, "Ideas (i.e. non-rivalrous) are always used in the production of rivalrous goods." I just noticed that this is perhaps ambiguous. Perhaps you thought this meant that the production of rivalrous goods is the only use of ideas. Rather, I meant every production of rivalrous goods uses ideas. Does that clear things up?

That's what I thought you were claiming, yes.

Joel
02-24-2014, 12:23 PM
You are deprived from profiting from your idea of a hammer because everyone just makes their own instead of buying them from you. You should be able to benefit from coming up with the idea to use a hammer and nail to hold two pieces of wood together to make a building stronger, for example. If someone comes up with a better way then they should be able to profit from their idea. Say they invent a screwdriver and screws instead. And someone else invents riveting. Each idea's expressions should be protected to allow the creator to benefit most from their hard work in coming up with the concept.

Now a lot of our IP laws have gone way overboard, and should be retooled. But the basic idea (no pun intended) of IP is a good one.

This shifts the argument away from the argument of IP being property. No property right includes the right to a profit or the right to have one's competition stopped by force. The right to your bushel of grain means your right to personal use of your grain (e.g., to eat it, feed it to your cow). Thus the corresponding property right (if any) for an idea is your right to personal use of it. Thus I don't see how your line of argument here defends the validity of the concept of intellectual property.

Secondly, you aren't deprived of profiting. Yes, your opportunity to profit may decrease due to competition, but that is true of all production and all market activity. It is true of property rights in general. You'd need to justify why some entrepreneurs have a right to a monopoly while entrepreneurs normally do not. (e.g., the farmer producing grain does hard work too but has no right to have his competition stopped by force)

Note also your opportunity to profit may decrease due to lots of things: e.g. changing consumer desires, changes in other things that affect consumer desire for your product, changes in supply lines and their prices, changes in complementary goods and their prices, other changes in technology. Singling out competition as a factor seems arbitrary.

If IP were really a kind of property, we should take it to its logical conclusion, and there should be nothing but monopolies in the market. You shouldn't be able to legally do anything that makes use of anything that someone else has already thought of before. But that would grind human action (including innovation) to a halt.

Darth Executor
02-24-2014, 02:13 PM
This shifts the argument away from the argument of IP being property. No property right includes the right to a profit or the right to have one's competition stopped by force. The right to your bushel of grain means your right to personal use of your grain (e.g., to eat it, feed it to your cow). Thus the corresponding property right (if any) for an idea is your right to personal use of it. Thus I don't see how your line of argument here defends the validity of the concept of intellectual property.

Secondly, you aren't deprived of profiting. Yes, your opportunity to profit may decrease due to competition, but that is true of all production and all market activity. It is true of property rights in general. You'd need to justify why some entrepreneurs have a right to a monopoly while entrepreneurs normally do not. (e.g., the farmer producing grain does hard work too but has no right to have his competition stopped by force)

Note also your opportunity to profit may decrease due to lots of things: e.g. changing consumer desires, changes in other things that affect consumer desire for your product, changes in supply lines and their prices, changes in complementary goods and their prices, other changes in technology. Singling out competition as a factor seems arbitrary.

If IP were really a kind of property, we should take it to its logical conclusion, and there should be nothing but monopolies in the market. You shouldn't be able to legally do anything that makes use of anything that someone else has already thought of before. But that would grind human action (including innovation) to a halt.

Your entire argument can be applied with equal validity to all property.

Joel
02-24-2014, 02:34 PM
Your entire argument can be applied with equal validity to all property.
:huh: Explain?

Darth Executor
02-24-2014, 02:47 PM
:huh: Explain?

Sure.


Secondly, you aren't deprived of profiting. Yes, your opportunity to profit may decrease due to competition, but that is true of all production and all market activity. It is true of property rights in general. You'd need to justify why some entrepreneurs have a right to a monopoly while entrepreneurs normally do not. (e.g., the farmer producing grain does hard work too but has no right to have his competition stopped by force)

This is not actually true. The farmer has competitors who may seek to invade his lands and take his crops by force stopped by the law. The reason why we allow this intrusion is because we generally recognize that the farmer does productive work whereas the invader is a parasite. This is the same rationale for intellectual property. A man who writes a book has produced something useful. A publisher who copies said book and overwhelms the otherwise marketing clueless writer with copies of his own is a parasite. Like the conqueror he has a skill, but his skill does not contribute to creation, only theft.


Note also your opportunity to profit may decrease due to lots of things: e.g. changing consumer desires, changes in other things that affect consumer desire for your product, changes in supply lines and their prices, changes in complementary goods and their prices, other changes in technology. Singling out competition as a factor seems arbitrary.

Opportunity to profit might also decrease due to losing products to natural disasters, or thieves, but we still protect private property from thieves and robbers. There's a difference between losing profit due to circumstances and losing them due to malice or parasitism.

Joel
02-24-2014, 07:03 PM
Secondly, you aren't deprived of profiting. Yes, your opportunity to profit may decrease due to competition, but that is true of all production and all market activity. It is true of property rights in general. You'd need to justify why some entrepreneurs have a right to a monopoly while entrepreneurs normally do not. (e.g., the farmer producing grain does hard work too but has no right to have his competition stopped by force)

This is not actually true. The farmer has competitors who may seek to invade his lands and take his crops by force stopped by the law.

I was talking about market competition. The farmer doesn't have the right to stop other farmers from growing and selling their own grain (i.e., exercising their property rights).



The reason why we allow this intrusion is because we generally recognize that the farmer does productive work whereas the invader is a parasite. This is the same rationale for intellectual property. A man who writes a book has produced something useful. A publisher who copies said book and overwhelms the otherwise marketing clueless writer with copies of his own is a parasite. Like the conqueror he has a skill, but his skill does not contribute to creation, only theft.

First, copying is not theft. Their essential difference has been simply and excellently argued in song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4


"Stealing a thing leaves one less left; copying it makes one thing more."

"If I copy yours you have it too, One for me, one for you"

"If I steal your bicycle you have to take the bus.
But if I just copy it, there's one for each of us."

If copying is ever immoral, it is for some reason other than being theft.

Second, you suggest here that it is analogous to theft in that it is parasitical. But, of course, it can't be in the same way as theft, as I just pointed out. Copying, rather than diminishing your goods, is a productive act, producing more of something, and thus is not wholly parasitical.

If we are going to say it is parasitical, it is only in part, and only in the sense of standing on the shoulders of giants. Innovation and creativity too is virtually always derivative and thus parasitical in the same sense. So I don't think you can take your condemnation of parasitism in this sense to its logical conclusion.

Market activity is also generally "parasitical" in this same sense. Those businessmen who become first-movers--the first to see and supply an under-supplied market will tend to make the largest profits, but others will quickly see the first movers, get the idea, and jump in too. Far from being a negative thing, this process (of copying good ideas) helps mankind by speeding up market corrections and more quickly meet unmet demand. Market competition is primarily a competition among ideas, where the best ideas become the most used and the less "fit" ideas fall by the wayside. The free copying and trying of ideas speeds this process of progress. If all ideas conferred monopolies, then progress and human action would grind to a halt. There would be virtually insurmountable barriers to entry on everything.

Agriculture was an invention. Under your theory, there would be a monopoly on cultivating grain. Nobody else would have been able to try out that new invention (and thus perhaps improve it), because that would be parasitical. Mankind would have never made it out of the stone age. But even if others copying the idea/innovation of agriculture is parasitical in this restricted sense, the widespread copying of the idea agriculture is a great benefit to mankind, greatly increasing the supply of food, and spurring new agricultural innovations. The reason monopolies are looked down on is that they achieve monopoly prices by restricting their production/output, thus providing a smaller supply to mankind than would occur if competition were permitted.

For another (modern) example, Bill Gates once pointed out that if software patents (which exist today) had existed from the beginnings of software, the software industry would have been frozen in a complete standstill and would still be so today.



Opportunity to profit might also decrease due to losing products to natural disasters, or thieves, but we still protect private property from thieves and robbers. There's a difference between losing profit due to circumstances and losing them due to malice or parasitism.
I see your point. But this "parasitism" is regular market competition. So I think unless you are going to take it to the logical conclusion of eliminating all market competition, then I'd say market competition (and changes in that) fall into the category of market "circumstances", and not that of injustice. After all, in the case of "normal" property, e.g. the person growing grain, producers don't have the right to have market competition stopped.

Sparko
02-25-2014, 05:38 AM
So I should be able to just copy US currency, that way I am just making more money and nobody gets hurt?

Carrikature
02-25-2014, 11:02 AM
Just a quick qualifying note that I'm still very much on the fence regarding this issue. Thanks to all for their continued input.



So I should be able to just copy US currency, that way I am just making more money and nobody gets hurt?

This is an interesting question that I could take two ways. What is harm, in the context of this thread? If, by producing money, you are reducing its value for all people, is that considered harm? If, by increasing competition, you reduce profit, is that considered harm? If, by increasing competition, you make a given object more widely available, is that considered harm?




On a side note, I think I'm becoming somewhat of a limited capitalist, though I'm honestly not sure that's a real term...

GioD
02-25-2014, 01:27 PM
In effect, yes, since every subsequent researcher needs to provide the proper citation whenever they refer to his proof, or be acccused of plagiarism.

I'm not sure if the wrongness of plagiarism requires IP to be real. One could say it is wrong because it is a form of lying or disrespect or as a matter of honor, or that it is a construct - though not an immoral one, to be clear - of certain institutions (such as academic ones) that isn't based on a real concept but is practiced for the better functioning of that system or out of honor.

Carrikature
02-25-2014, 01:47 PM
I'm not sure if the wrongness of plagiarism requires IP to be real. One could say it is wrong because it is a form of lying or disrespect or as a matter of honor, or that it is a construct - though not an immoral one, to be clear - of certain institutions (such as academic ones) that isn't based on a real concept but is practiced for the better functioning of that system or out of honor.

If nothing else, it would seem that proper citations further the goals of reproducibility and transparency.

Joel
02-25-2014, 05:08 PM
So I should be able to just copy US currency, that way I am just making more money and nobody gets hurt?
That's an example similar to plagiarism--fraud. (Nobody would accept your copy as genuine if you were honest and said you copied it. The wrong arises when you try to deceive people into thinking it's a copy that was printed by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.) Nobody is defending fraud or plagiarism. That's different from the issue of copyright or patents.

For an additional example, there is a moral difference between (1) making a copy of a Rolex and selling it with the full disclosure that it's a copy you made, vs (2) selling it on the fraudulent claim/assumption that it was made by Rolex. I don't have a problem with the former, but no one is defending the latter.

Sparko
02-26-2014, 08:06 AM
That's an example similar to plagiarism--fraud. (Nobody would accept your copy as genuine if you were honest and said you copied it. The wrong arises when you try to deceive people into thinking it's a copy that was printed by the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.) Nobody is defending fraud or plagiarism. That's different from the issue of copyright or patents.

For an additional example, there is a moral difference between (1) making a copy of a Rolex and selling it with the full disclosure that it's a copy you made, vs (2) selling it on the fraudulent claim/assumption that it was made by Rolex. I don't have a problem with the former, but no one is defending the latter.

so if I make a copy of a special hammer you designed and sold it, then that is not similar to fraud or plagiarism? Or a software program you spent two years designing and programming? Or a song you wrote?

GioD
02-26-2014, 08:13 AM
so if I make a copy of a special hammer you designed and sold it, then that is not similar to fraud or plagiarism? Or a software program you spent two years designing and programming? Or a song you wrote?

I think it would depend on if you claimed it was the same as his product or not. If you assert or suggest (via logos for instance) that your copy is by a certain designer or brand when you made it, that would be fraud.

Sparko
02-26-2014, 08:48 AM
I think it would depend on if you claimed it was the same as his product or not. If you assert or suggest (via logos for instance) that your copy is by a certain designer or brand when you made it, that would be fraud. Why? copying someone's logo or artwork would fall under the same rule as copying the hammer itself, right? Why would it be OK to make the exact same hammer and sell it to someone, or a book, but not say, a logo or piece of art? Isn't the hammer a piece of art too?

Darth Xena
02-26-2014, 09:49 AM
I suspect most people arguing for complete denial of IP are not artists themselves. I give away my work but wouldn't do it if I had no choice but to do so. I Aam not the slave of the common good. Screw that.

Carrikature
02-26-2014, 11:11 AM
I suspect most people arguing for complete denial of IP are not artists themselves. I give away my work but wouldn't do it if I had no choice but to do so. I Aam not the slave of the common good. Screw that.

Possible. Some of us create simply because we enjoy it. Remuneration or the common good isn't a factor.

GioD
02-26-2014, 11:18 AM
Why? copying someone's logo or artwork would fall under the same rule as copying the hammer itself, right? Why would it be OK to make the exact same hammer and sell it to someone, or a book, but not say, a logo or piece of art? Isn't the hammer a piece of art too?

Perhaps I was ambiguous. The problem is not copying a logo itself but doing it with the intent to deceive people that a product by you is by somebody else. That is a form of fraud and goes beyond IP.

Sparko
02-26-2014, 11:24 AM
Perhaps I was ambiguous. The problem is not copying a logo itself but doing it with the intent to deceive people that a product by you is by somebody else. That is a form of fraud and goes beyond IP. why? If I copy the coca-cola logo and use it myself to sell the cola I copied from coca-cola, then I am selling real coca-cola, right? And if intellectual property should not exist, then the people who invented coca-cola have no right to their logo or their product in the first place. If IP should not exist there is no such thing as fraud or plagiarism because the person who first made the item or process or song, or logo or whatever has no exclusive right to what they created.

Joel
02-26-2014, 12:32 PM
so if I make a copy of a special hammer you designed and sold it, then that is not similar to fraud or plagiarism? Or a software program you spent two years designing and programming? Or a song you wrote?
Correct, they are different things. Making and selling copies of Dickens' Great Expectations is one thing. Scrubbing out Dickens' name and replacing it with your own (claiming that you wrote Great Expectations or, say, claiming that a signature you forged was signed by Dickens' hand) is another.

Or another example: It is one thing to make an imitation of the Mona Lisa. It is another thing to pass it off as having been painted by da Vinci's own hand. The former is okay. The latter is illegal (fraud).


Why? copying someone's logo or artwork would fall under the same rule as copying the hammer itself, right? Why would it be OK to make the exact same hammer and sell it to someone, or a book, but not say, a logo or piece of art? Isn't the hammer a piece of art too?
It would depend on whether you are using deception to make the sale. Copying a logo is one thing. Using a logo to make it appear as if your hammer (or cola) were made by some reputable manufacturer (and not correcting buyers' resulting misconception) is another.

Again, going back to the idea of counterfeiting, a counterfeit in the immoral sense is not just a copy, it is "an imitation intended to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively." (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/counterfeit?s=t)

Also note that even under existing law, trademark is a different thing from copyright or patents. You are conflating these different things.

To say that Dickens' heir does not have an exclusive right to produce copies of Great Expectations is one thing. To say that it's okay to make false or deceptive claims about the copies you make would be a different thing.


I suspect most people arguing for complete denial of IP are not artists themselves. I give away my work but wouldn't do it if I had no choice but to do so. I Aam not the slave of the common good. Screw that.
I'm a software engineer. I arguably benefit from copyright laws.

And my arguments against IP do not require anyone to give away their work, and are not really based on serving the "common good".

Sparko
02-26-2014, 12:53 PM
Correct, they are different things. Making and selling copies of Dickens' Great Expectations is one thing. Scrubbing out Dickens' name and replacing it with your own (claiming that you wrote Great Expectations or, say, claiming that a signature you forged was signed by Dickens' hand) is another.

Or another example: It is one thing to make an imitation of the Mona Lisa. It is another thing to pass it off as having been painted by da Vinci's own hand. The former is okay. The latter is illegal (fraud).


It would depend on whether you are using deception to make the sale. Copying a logo is one thing. Using a logo to make it appear as if your hammer (or cola) were made by some reputable manufacturer (and not correcting buyers' resulting misconception) is another.

Again, going back to the idea of counterfeiting, a counterfeit in the immoral sense is not just a copy, it is "an imitation intended to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively." (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/counterfeit?s=t)

Also note that even under existing law, trademark is a different thing from copyright or patents. You are conflating these different things.

To say that Dickens' heir does not have an exclusive right to produce copies of Great Expectations is one thing. To say that it's okay to make false or deceptive claims about the copies you make would be a different thing.


I'm a software engineer. I arguably benefit from copyright laws.

And my arguments against IP do not require anyone to give away their work, and are not really based on serving the "common good".

deception would imply that the creator has some sort of intellectual property rights. For example, something in the public domain can be used in any way you want. You could erase a person's name, put your own name on it and sell it yourself. No problem because the creator has no rights. No deception.


also you seem to be slipping from your original stance that it is NOT OK to copy a tangable object because it is non-rivalrous, but it is OK to copy ideas because they are infinitely copyable. Now you seem to say that it is NOT OK to copy an idea but it is OK to copy a hammer because I still have the hammer.

The value of something depends the scarcity/desirability of it, right? If someone is allowed to just copy whatever they want, whether it is an idea, a book, song, or hammer, then the value of that thing goes down. In a world where nobody needed money, that would be fine, but here in the real world people need to earn a living. Some people do that by making tangibles that nobody else has a right to, others do it by creating intangibles that nobody has a right too. If nobody had the right to profit from their labor, whether labor is tangible or intangible then all these copies will devalue the item and seriously impact the living the creator or manufacturer can make on their own goods. I am not talking competition here. To me it is straight out theft. If someone wants to come up with a competing but different concept, song, or widget, then that is healthy competition. But why should I write the perfect love song if everyone just copies it for free? I will end up without any profit at all. Same with a widget. How can I sell my widget if anyone can just make their own for free?

GioD
02-26-2014, 01:05 PM
why? If I copy the coca-cola logo and use it myself to sell the cola I copied from coca-cola, then I am selling real coca-cola, right? And if intellectual property should not exist, then the people who invented coca-cola have no right to their logo or their product in the first place. If IP should not exist there is no such thing as fraud or plagiarism because the person who first made the item or process or song, or logo or whatever has no exclusive right to what they created.

Fraud is immoral because it violates the buyer's real property rights - he is spending his money for something that he was told is something else. Even if the formula and packaging are identical to coke's, if you are claiming it is made by coke when it is in fact not that is fraud and is immoral because of the buyer's real property rights, not coke's IP rights. I wasn't asserting coke had a right to its logo but that it would be immoral to use the logo to deceive people into thinking something that isn't coke is. Also, I have already given multiple non-IP grounds for the wrongness of plagiarism.

Sparko
02-26-2014, 01:28 PM
Fraud is immoral because it violates the buyer's real property rights - he is spending his money for something that he was told is something else. Even if the formula and packaging are identical to coke's, if you are claiming it is made by coke when it is in fact not that is fraud and is immoral because of the buyer's real property rights, not coke's IP rights. I wasn't asserting coke had a right to its logo but that it would be immoral to use the logo to deceive people into thinking something that isn't coke is. Also, I have already given multiple non-IP grounds for the wrongness of plagiarism.

so that would be the same with copying anything then. Whether a hammer or a song. You are selling something that looks like something someone else created, and you are making money off of their work and property rights. It's all a form of deception.

and in a world where the creator had no rights to their creation, nobody would expect that a can of coke was actually made by coke. They would assume someone copied it, or they would just copy it themselves. Nobody would care who first created coke. So it would not be deception in such a world.

GioD
02-26-2014, 02:34 PM
so that would be the same with copying anything then. Whether a hammer or a song. You are selling something that looks like something someone else created, and you are making money off of their work and property rights. It's all a form of deception.

No, the issue isn't violating the creator's property rights, but the consumer's.


and in a world where the creator had no rights to their creation, nobody would expect that a can of coke was actually made by coke. They would assume someone copied it, or they would just copy it themselves. Nobody would care who first created coke. So it would not be deception in such a world.

Falsely claiming a product was created at the coca-cola plant when in fact it wasn't - even if it was the exact same formula - would still qualify as fraud. That wouldn't be OK just because IP doesn't exist for the reasons I've outlined above.

Darth Xena
02-26-2014, 03:30 PM
Possible. Some of us create simply because we enjoy it. Remuneration or the common good isn't a factor.

That doesn't mean that everyone has to do it merely for that. As I said, everything I do is free and under creative commons, but that is MY choice, and I would be pissed if someone took my work and sold it. I don't expect my choices to be everyone's choices.

and common good has been the bulk of the argument here.

And frankly to me, it devalue and disparages the value of the mind. So… only physical things should have rights protected and be valuable, which the most important things, the expressions of the mind do not. I do not think I would like to live in such societal values.

Darth Xena
02-26-2014, 03:32 PM
And my arguments against IP do not require anyone to give away their work, and are not really based on serving the "common good".

That first part is just…. dumb. Of course you are. You just are arguing that other people should do it for them. And yes, the majority of your arguments are based on the common good… I leave that for the reader to decide, I don't have time to go back and quote each statement that would and go.. common good….. common good…. common good.

Joel
02-26-2014, 05:05 PM
deception would imply that the creator has some sort of intellectual property rights. For example, something in the public domain can be used in any way you want. You could erase a person's name, put your own name on it and sell it yourself. No problem because the creator has no rights. No deception.

Doing something with the intent to cause people believe a falsehood (e.g., deceive people into thinking you wrote the novel) is deception. Property rights has nothing to do with the question of whether it is deception.

Furthermore, nobody is arguing for a license to do anything whatsoever. Absence of IP (such as in the public domain) does not, for example, permit you to use a copy of Great Expectations that you made to club someone to death. In the absence of IP, laws against things like murder, theft, and fraud still apply.



also you seem to be slipping from your original stance that it is NOT OK to copy a tangable object because it is non-rivalrous, but it is OK to copy ideas because they are infinitely copyable. Now you seem to say that it is NOT OK to copy an idea but it is OK to copy a hammer because I still have the hammer.

You misunderstand my stance. Since the beginning I have maintained that it is okay to copy a tangible object. What property rights imply is that it's wrong to take someone else's rivalrous good. That's theft, and is not the same as copying it. "If I take your bicycle you have to take the bus. But if I just copy it, there's one for each of us." So I never said what you are claiming I said. Rather I argued that there are property rights in tangible goods because they are rivalrous, and that there is not property in ideas because they are non-rivalrous.

If you wanted to introduce a discussion (that I never did) distinguishing between coping tangible objects and copying ideas, we would first need to define some terms. Such as what exactly is meant by copying an idea, and whether/how that is different from instantiating an idea in physical form and whether/how that is different from copying a physical object. We could explore that discussion if you think it will help.



The value of something depends the scarcity/desirability of it, right? If someone is allowed to just copy whatever they want, whether it is an idea, a book, song, or hammer, then the value of that thing goes down. In a world where nobody needed money, that would be fine, but here in the real world people need to earn a living.

To be specific, you are talking about value in exchange (market value). On the other hand, the underlying "use value" of a hammer--its value in its ability to drive and pull nails--is unaffected by the existence of other hammers.

Now you seem to think that it's a bad thing for the market value of things to fall. On the contrary, that is the result of increased prosperity from economic growth and increased supply/availability of goods: things in general become more affordable.



If nobody had the right to profit from their labor, whether labor is tangible or intangible then all these copies will devalue the item and seriously impact the living the creator or manufacturer can make on their own goods. I am not talking competition here. To me it is straight out theft. If someone wants to come up with a competing but different concept, song, or widget, then that is healthy competition. But why should I write the perfect love song if everyone just copies it for free? I will end up without any profit at all. Same with a widget. How can I sell my widget if anyone can just make their own for free?
As I've said, nobody, even with regular (tangible) property rights has a right to a profit. All they have is the right to offer their goods in exchange. And everyone has that right even in the absence of IP laws. So that doesn't work as an argument from tangible property to intellectual property. Even with tangible property, people can copy it and make more and compete. For example, I can grow apples, you can buy one of my apples, and then you can take the seeds and plant your own apple trees and so essentially produce copies of my apples and engage in competition with me. This is true in general with regular (tangible) property. Direct market competition always involves copying. (And how, then, can anyone stay in business in the face of competition, according to your reasoning?) And, as I've argued, copying and theft are different things.

So you'd need to explain why some competition is "theft" and some is not, or else you need to take it to the logical conclusion that nobody may ever do anything that involves any idea that anyone else has thought of before. Which would effectively halt all human action.


Finally, as I've pointed out before, the argument that people would not be creative/innovative in the absence of IP (or that profits would be impossible) is refuted by the empirical evidence. There is a mountain of evidence that in times and places and industries where IP has been weaker or non-existent, innovation has, if anything, been greater, and works are still created (and is profitable). For just one example of how that can work, it turns out that first-mover advantage is huge, and in the absence of IP the author of a book, for example, can sell to a publisher the exclusive opportunity to be the only day-one publisher of the book. This advantage is valuable to the publisher. This does not require IP, only secrecy.
For another famous example, consider the formula for Coca-Cola. The company has never sought IP protection for its formula, which would require making the formula public knowledge. Instead, the company has relied entirely on keeping its formula secret.



in a world where the creator had no rights to their creation, nobody would expect that a can of coke was actually made by coke. They would assume someone copied it, or they would just copy it themselves. Nobody would care who first created coke. So it would not be deception in such a world.
Old paintings, for example, are in the public domain (no one holds IP rights). But there still sometimes occurs fraud when someone tries to make and sell a counterfeit (claiming that it's an original). Fraud certainly exists in the public domain. And there can still occur expectations that something came from a particular source. We could come up with lots of examples of fraud/plagiarism regarding public domain works: e.g., a person might try to take a lesser-known medieval text and try to convince people that he wrote it last year. (It's plagiarism, regardless whether anyone holds an exclusive copyright.)

It's also not guaranteed that nobody cares who first created something. Most people, for example, prefer to go to a musical concert to hear performances by the band/artist who created the work, than to go to a concert by a cover band, even if the cover band can play the songs just as well. (even if they don't think the cover band is immoral for being a cover band.) Likewise for attending a reading of a work by an author (as compared to some random guy reading the same work).
For tangible goods, people sometimes will buy from one producer over another because they trust them more, even if the products are the same. Why is Miracle Whip more expensive than generic brand that tastes virtually the same?
There are many cases where people prefer things from a particular source.

But in the restricted case you are trying to describe, where the buyer knows or honestly doesn't care that you made it (rather than made by Coke), then I'd say you did not commit fraud.

Joel
02-26-2014, 06:09 PM
And frankly to me, it devalue and disparages the value of the mind. So… only physical things should have rights protected and be valuable, which the most important things, the expressions of the mind do not. I do not think I would like to live in such societal values.

I certainly hope I have not done that. The mind is the most important factor in the production of all tangible goods too. The product of the mind has benefited mankind with the wheel and the lever and metallurgy and philosophy, and on and on. Though this great benefit to mankind in general is not the basis for my argument against IP.

My argument is not based assigning relative values to ideas or material objects. Rather, the point is that in an imaginary world where all goods were non-rivalrous like ideas, the idea of property rights would never have even occurred to human beings. The idea of exchange and markets for goods would not have occurred to anyone either. Because there would be no conflict arising in the use of goods. Every good would be usable by everyone at the same time with no one's use impeding another's.

It is in the case of rivalrous goods that conflict over goods arises, because everyone can't use it at the same time. Some people's use of a good hampers or prevents other peoples' use of it. That is what gives rise to the moral issue--of who may use a good and so prevent other people from using it. By reasoning upon that moral question men can and have discerned the moral principles of Justice--involving property rights.

So my moral argument is not that tangible goods are more valuable than ideas, but rather it is based on nature of tangible goods being rivalrous. It is not an improvement, but an unfortunate thing that those goods are rivalrous. If anything, tangible goods are inferior to the products of the mind, with respect to this attribute, on which my argument is based.


That first part is just…. dumb. Of course you are. You just are arguing that other people should do it for them.

Are you saying that you meant other people giving away copies for free?

What I meant is simply what I said: that absence of of IP doesn't require anyone to give away their work. The originator of an idea doesn't have to give away copies for free. They don't have to make or sell any copies either. The originator can even keep an idea secret, so nobody else has a copy in their brain. Or, if they want, they can pass it to others under a non-disclosure agreement contract, keeping it secret. They don't have to publish it (i.e., make it public). (As in the case of Coca-Cola relying on secrecy and not on patent.)

Publishing is giving away an idea in the sense of making it public, placing copies of the idea in the minds of the public. (Though, of course, not giving it away in the sense of the idea leaving your own mind.)



And yes, the majority of your arguments are based on the common good… I leave that for the reader to decide, I don't have time to go back and quote each statement that would and go.. common good….. common good…. common good.
What I'm saying is that my central argument against IP is based on a defense of individual property rights, and not based on an appeal that you should work for the common good.

I have responded to some pro-IP arguments based on the common good, and so those responses in part also discussed the common good to show why the argument fails on its own grounds. In the case of the outright utilitarian argument, I argued that it fails on its own grounds, but then I explicitly stated that that was not the basis of my argument against IP. It is true that I have not always made it clear when I'm making a rebuttal to such a utilitarian argument but that that is not my positive argument for my position. I guess I'll have to try to be more careful about that.

Sparko
02-27-2014, 06:27 AM
No, the issue isn't violating the creator's property rights, but the consumer's.



Falsely claiming a product was created at the coca-cola plant when in fact it wasn't - even if it was the exact same formula - would still qualify as fraud. That wouldn't be OK just because IP doesn't exist for the reasons I've outlined above.

That makes no sense. If I make a can of coke, that is exactly the same as coke, with their logo, exactly where am I lying? I don't say "this coke was made at the coke plant" as if anyone would care anyway. If they got their coke, and it was real coke, and the creator has no right to it, then I could just as easily claim they are lying and saying that their coke was made by me. Nobody would care.

But what is telling is that even though you claim there should be no intellectual property rights (or any rights to tangible items either it appears) you actually DO recognize that the creator has some right that copycat's don't have and you keep arguing for those rights, claiming it is deception for others to use their creation.

I think your own arguments put the kibosh on whether IP rights should exist or not. Even you believe they do when it comes right down to it.

Carrikature
02-27-2014, 06:45 AM
That doesn't mean that everyone has to do it merely for that. As I said, everything I do is free and under creative commons, but that is MY choice, and I would be pissed if someone took my work and sold it. I don't expect my choices to be everyone's choices.

I never said that everyone has to do it for that reason (enjoyment). I simply presented a scenario wherein artists themselves may still not promote IP, and I did so as an artist (author) who is as yet undecided on the matter. Someone could certainly take my work and try to sell it, but that would be very easily countered.



and common good has been the bulk of the argument here.

This part is taking what I said out of context. Of course common good is a factor in the general discussion. In the part you quoted, I was referring specifically to why some people do what they do. Remuneration and common good are not factors for me when it comes to creating.



And frankly to me, it devalue and disparages the value of the mind. So… only physical things should have rights protected and be valuable, which the most important things, the expressions of the mind do not. I do not think I would like to live in such societal values.

I can't agree, but then I very strongly distinguish between those things a government enforces versus those things a society values. Too many people argue that all values must be enforced in some way (see marriage), but I find that nonsensical. Indeed, I find it especially humorous when coming from those that purport to desire a smaller government. I've certainly no interest in devaluing or disparaging the mind. I'm just not convinced that IP actually prevents either from happening, especially in cases where patents are purchased and sat on to prevent competition. If you want to show valuation of minds, one of the worst things you can do is bury their output under paperwork until they never see the light of day.

GioD
02-27-2014, 06:56 AM
That makes no sense. If I make a can of coke, that is exactly the same as coke, with their logo, exactly where am I lying? I don't say "this coke was made at the coke plant" as if anyone would care anyway. If they got their coke, and it was real coke, and the creator has no right to it, then I could just as easily claim they are lying and saying that their coke was made by me. Nobody would care.

But what is telling is that even though you claim there should be no intellectual property rights (or any rights to tangible items either it appears) you actually DO recognize that the creator has some right that copycat's don't have and you keep arguing for those rights, claiming it is deception for others to use their creation.

I think your own arguments put the kibosh on whether IP rights should exist or not. Even you believe they do when it comes right down to it.

Again, using the logo is only wrong if you are using it with the intent to deceive the consumer. Neither of us live in a world without IP laws so neither of us can say if the consumer would actually care, but if not that would only support the anti-IP view here more. I'm not attacking real property rights, I'm not sure where you got that from, but I'm not saying the creator has IP rights the copier doesn't but that it is wrong for completely non-IP reasons for the copycat to deceive the consumer into believing that he is a certain manufacturer of the product when in fact he is not. It's not the creator's right to claim to be the creator because of intellectual property, it's the creator's right to claim to be the creator because if anybody else did so it would be fraud.

Carrikature
02-27-2014, 07:04 AM
If you wanted to introduce a discussion (that I never did) distinguishing between coping tangible objects and copying ideas, we would first need to define some terms. Such as what exactly is meant by copying an idea, and whether/how that is different from instantiating an idea in physical form and whether/how that is different from copying a physical object. We could explore that discussion if you think it will help.

I certainly think this is a worthwhile aspect to introduce, and I think it might help clear up some of the current discussion.



That makes no sense. If I make a can of coke, that is exactly the same as coke, with their logo, exactly where am I lying? I don't say "this coke was made at the coke plant" as if anyone would care anyway. If they got their coke, and it was real coke, and the creator has no right to it, then I could just as easily claim they are lying and saying that their coke was made by me. Nobody would care.

I think you're wrong on two points here. While it's true that you're not explicitly saying "this coke was made at the coke plant," that statement is implied in the packaging/logo/drink that goes into a can of coke. That is, after all, the entire point of logos and labeling. In essence, the application of a logo is visual representation that "I made this".

Second, I think people very much do care. Coca-Cola cares. A person thinking they are drinking coke only to find out they are not might care. With coke, they may not. With another product, say infant car seats, they most certainly would. People buy the product based on expected quality. Even if the item you produce is identical in all ways, there is no expectation of quality from your product. That's a pretty significant difference.

Sparko
02-27-2014, 07:27 AM
Again, using the logo is only wrong if you are using it with the intent to deceive the consumer. Neither of us live in a world without IP laws so neither of us can say if the consumer would actually care, but if not that would only support the anti-IP view here more. I'm not attacking real property rights, I'm not sure where you got that from, but I'm not saying the creator has IP rights the copier doesn't but that it is wrong for completely non-IP reasons for the copycat to deceive the consumer into believing that he is a certain manufacturer of the product when in fact he is not. It's not the creator's right to claim to be the creator because of intellectual property, it's the creator's right to claim to be the creator because if anybody else did so it would be fraud.

Since I never said anything about trying to deceive anyone, I can only assume this is a red herring that you are using to avoid the issue.

To me the creator has rights to his creation. Whether that creation is a hammer, a song, or a formula for a soft drink. Without his idea and expression of it, the creation would not even exist to be copied. I also believe that a person has a right to try to benefit from their labor, whether that labor is building a unique item, or writing a unique song. If anyone can just take that labor and use it for themselves without compensation to the creator, then that is basically slavery. If I build a widget that nobody has ever thought of before, and you have more money than me and can make 1 million widgets where I can only make 100, you basically stole my labor and my widget and turned me into a slave. Sure I still have my 100 widgets, but where I might have been able to sell each one for a nice profit, you flooding the market with 1 million widgets cuts the price of MY creation down to just pennies and my 100 widgets are essentially worthless. I created something and you benefited from me.

The next time I come up with a widget, why even bother making it? I know it will just be stolen by you and cut me out of making a living on it. So I won't make any more widgets. I will either just sit on my butt, or steal someone else's widgets. Pretty soon you have a world where nobody is making anything new. They just want to leech off of everyone else's ideas. And nobody creates anything.

It is basically socialism, not libertarianism at all. The whole society just falls apart in a type of welfare state, where nothing gets done.

I don't want to live in such a world. And the only reason you do is because you want "free stuff" that you don't have to invent or pay for. That is real theft and deception. Darth E is correct, we have IP laws to protect us from parasites.

Don't be a parasite.

Sparko
02-27-2014, 07:32 AM
I think you're wrong on two points here. While it's true that you're not explicitly saying "this coke was made at the coke plant," that statement is implied in the packaging/logo/drink that goes into a can of coke. That is, after all, the entire point of logos and labeling. In essence, the application of a logo is visual representation that "I made this".

Second, I think people very much do care. Coca-Cola cares. A person thinking they are drinking coke only to find out they are not might care. With coke, they may not. With another product, say infant car seats, they most certainly would. People buy the product based on expected quality. Even if the item you produce is identical in all ways, there is no expectation of quality from your product. That's a pretty significant difference.

That is kind of my point. Whether it is a can of coke, or a book, or a song, if I copy and sell it, I am basically implying that it is the original item. That is why I think a society without IP would be essentially a society of thieves and frauds. GioD seems to recognize that on some level, but thinks it is OK for car seats, or songs, but not using a logo. go figure.

Carrikature
02-27-2014, 10:21 AM
That is kind of my point. Whether it is a can of coke, or a book, or a song, if I copy and sell it, I am basically implying that it is the original item. That is why I think a society without IP would be essentially a society of thieves and frauds. GioD seems to recognize that on some level, but thinks it is OK for car seats, or songs, but not using a logo. go figure.

It's entirely possible to copy something and not represent it as the original item. It's the difference between citation and plagiarism. I expect something like this is fairly application specific, though.

Joel
02-27-2014, 11:23 AM
Since I never said anything about trying to deceive anyone, I can only assume this is a red herring that you are using to avoid the issue.

To me the creator has rights to his creation. Whether that creation is a hammer, a song, or a formula for a soft drink. Without his idea and expression of it, the creation would not even exist to be copied. I also believe that a person has a right to try to benefit from their labor, whether that labor is building a unique item, or writing a unique song. If anyone can just take that labor and use it for themselves without compensation to the creator, then that is basically slavery. If I build a widget that nobody has ever thought of before, and you have more money than me and can make 1 million widgets where I can only make 100, you basically stole my labor and my widget and turned me into a slave. Sure I still have my 100 widgets, but where I might have been able to sell each one for a nice profit, you flooding the market with 1 million widgets cuts the price of MY creation down to just pennies and my 100 widgets are essentially worthless. I created something and you benefited from me.

The next time I come up with a widget, why even bother making it? I know it will just be stolen by you and cut me out of making a living on it. So I won't make any more widgets. I will either just sit on my butt, or steal someone else's widgets. Pretty soon you have a world where nobody is making anything new. They just want to leech off of everyone else's ideas. And nobody creates anything.

I've addressed all these points above (e.g. post 108).

While waiting for a response, I'll throw out another example of creative works and profit in the absence of IP. Existing IP laws only cover certain creations/ideas and not absolutely everything. For example:


"For historical and practical reasons, neither fashion design nor design at large (architecture, furniture, lighting, [automobiles, bridges], and so forth) are effectively protected by patents and copyrights...t is quite clear from everyday experience that in design imitation is as widespread and common as sand in the Sahara desert....Still, the original innovators keep innovating, and keep becoming richer."
[I]Against Intellectual Monopoly, chapter 4 "Innovation Without Patents" http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/ip.ch.4.m1004.pdf


And empirical evidence indicates that imposing patents in this area would reduce the rate of innovation.



I don't want to live in such a world. And the only reason you do is because you want "free stuff" that you don't have to invent or pay for. That is real theft and deception. Darth E is correct, we have IP laws to protect us from parasites.

Don't be a parasite.
I don't know about GioD, but that's not at all my argument, and as I said, I'm a software engineer who arguably benefits from copyright laws. (Though I'd argue that software engineers themselves are made worse off by the existence of software patents.) You are using the "appeal to motive" fallacy there (a kind of ad hominem).

By the way, if you want to avoid being a parasite (as you are using the term), you'd better not ever use fire or wheels or levers or ceramics or carpentry, or masonry, or any other known kind of construction, or any known tool, or soap, or leather, or glue, or metals, or glass, or ink, or paper, or written language, or rope/wine/string/yarn, or cloth or any textiles, or containers, or agriculture, or cooking, or maps or navigation, or automobiles, or domesticated animals, or plumbing, or other artificial methods of diverting or directing water, or telephones or telegraphs, or any electronics, or medicine, or weapons, or bookbinding, or.... After all, using any of those things is "basically slavery".

Then, without using anything anyone has ever thought of before, how well will you do with inventing, making, and selling your widgets?

Sparko
02-27-2014, 11:42 AM
Joel you have completely lost it.

How would USING other people's inventions be basically slavery? If I use a hammer, the person who made the hammer has been paid for it. If I use a telephone, I am paying to use that telephone, to the carrier, the manufacturer of the phone, on down the line. If someone uses your company's software, your company is paid for that use.

However if instead of buying my phone (or leasing it) I had a magic box that could duplicate it, then I would not pay for the phone. The inventor would get no compensation, and would have an impossible time selling any phones since anyone could just make their own copy. The same with your software, except in that case, unless you put security on it, I can indeed copy it. If it were legal to do so, and everyone did it, then you could not make any money on creating it. Sure you still have your copy, but so what? It's worthless to you as a way to make a living.

Joel
02-27-2014, 11:48 AM
If you wanted to introduce a discussion (that I never did) distinguishing between coping tangible objects and copying ideas, we would first need to define some terms. Such as what exactly is meant by copying an idea, and whether/how that is different from instantiating an idea in physical form and whether/how that is different from copying a physical object. We could explore that discussion if you think it will help.

I certainly think this is a worthwhile aspect to introduce, and I think it might help clear up some of the current discussion.

Okay. I'm not sure how we want to define terms, but we might start by describing and distinguishing between different kinds of things:


There's the existence of an idea in someone's mind. It can be replicated by communicating it to others, so that it exists in the minds of others too. An idea being in one person's mind does not impede other people from contemplating the same idea.
In addition to the above (getting an idea by someone voluntarily communicating it to you) one could also get an idea by trespassing onto someone else's property (like a spy) or by torture or future technology probing someone's mind. These kinds of things are violations of "normal" property/personal rights.
We could also consider what it would mean to literally take an idea from someone (i.e., deprive them of it). This might involve using future technology to wipe a specific memory from someone's brain. Or hitting them on the head or the like. This too would be violations of "normal" rights.
Then there's instantiation of an idea in a physical form. E.g., going from the idea of a wheel to fabricating a physical wheel. The physical object is then "normal" property and ownership of it can be transferred as normal. And taking the physical object is theft.
Then copying the physical wheel is arguable the same thing as (4.): it's using the same idea of the wheel and fabricating a new physical instantiation of it.


How's that? Anything else that should be included?

Joel
02-27-2014, 01:25 PM
Joel you have completely lost it.

How would USING other people's inventions be basically slavery? If I use a hammer, the person who made the hammer has been paid for it. If I use a telephone, I am paying to use that telephone, to the carrier, the manufacturer of the phone, on down the line. If someone uses your company's software, your company is paid for that use.

I wasn't clear enough. I'll clarify.
You were talking about someone making more of the widgets you invented. He is using your invention (the idea of the widgets) to make the widgets. That's the kind of use I was talking about. You said this is "basically slavery". By the same reasoning, it is equally unjust for you to make a wheel (likewise for you to make a lever or make soap or use already existing technological ideas in building a shelter or in the process of inventing or manufacturing your widgets, etc.)

You would also need to say it is equally immoral for me to do those things too. And then you would need to conclude that if I did make a wheel (or any of those things) it is immoral for you purchase such 'bootleg' items from me and use them yourself.


One might even argue that even with what you were thinking of here (e.g., buying a wheel from the guy who invented the wheel), any subsequent use you make of that wheel involves the idea of that particular use. To take your argument to the logical conclusion, you'd also be unable to morally use the wheel you purchased in any way that anyone else thought of first, unless you first explicitly obtained a license to use it in that manner.



The inventor would get no compensation, and would have an impossible time selling any phones since anyone could just make their own copy. The same with your software, except in that case, unless you put security on it, I can indeed copy it. If it were legal to do so, and everyone did it, then you could not make any money on creating it. Sure you still have your copy, but so what? It's worthless to you as a way to make a living.
I've provided arguments and various examples of how profit is possible in the absence of copyright and patents. I don't think you've responded to any of it, but just keep repeating your claim.

I can keep giving more examples too. The 9/11 Commission Report, like all government documents, was never under copyright. Yet one firm made a bundle selling copies because they were given the opportunity to be the first to publish it. That doesn't require copyright. An advantage can sometimes also be had by being able to say that one's copies are authorized by the originator.

Darth Xena
02-27-2014, 01:35 PM
Since I never said anything about trying to deceive anyone, I can only assume this is a red herring that you are using to avoid the issue.

To me the creator has rights to his creation. Whether that creation is a hammer, a song, or a formula for a soft drink. Without his idea and expression of it, the creation would not even exist to be copied. I also believe that a person has a right to try to benefit from their labor, whether that labor is building a unique item, or writing a unique song. If anyone can just take that labor and use it for themselves without compensation to the creator, then that is basically slavery. If I build a widget that nobody has ever thought of before, and you have more money than me and can make 1 million widgets where I can only make 100, you basically stole my labor and my widget and turned me into a slave. Sure I still have my 100 widgets, but where I might have been able to sell each one for a nice profit, you flooding the market with 1 million widgets cuts the price of MY creation down to just pennies and my 100 widgets are essentially worthless. I created something and you benefited from me.

The next time I come up with a widget, why even bother making it? I know it will just be stolen by you and cut me out of making a living on it. So I won't make any more widgets. I will either just sit on my butt, or steal someone else's widgets. Pretty soon you have a world where nobody is making anything new. They just want to leech off of everyone else's ideas. And nobody creates anything.

It is basically socialism, not libertarianism at all. The whole society just falls apart in a type of welfare state, where nothing gets done.

I don't want to live in such a world. And the only reason you do is because you want "free stuff" that you don't have to invent or pay for. That is real theft and deception. Darth E is correct, we have IP laws to protect us from parasites.

Don't be a parasite.

A most excellent post. I didn't want to use the s-word though I thought it. You weren't so reticent.

GioD
02-27-2014, 01:51 PM
Since I never said anything about trying to deceive anyone, I can only assume this is a red herring that you are using to avoid the issue.

I am bringing the issue of deception into this because there is a difference between IP violations strictly speaking and fraud. You have been conflating between the two and I am trying to explain why that is not appropriate. If you wish to move on, please by all means do so.


To me the creator has rights to his creation. Whether that creation is a hammer, a song, or a formula for a soft drink. Without his idea and expression of it, the creation would not even exist to be copied. I also believe that a person has a right to try to benefit from their labor, whether that labor is building a unique item, or writing a unique song. If anyone can just take that labor and use it for themselves without compensation to the creator, then that is basically slavery. If I build a widget that nobody has ever thought of before, and you have more money than me and can make 1 million widgets where I can only make 100, you basically stole my labor and my widget and turned me into a slave. Sure I still have my 100 widgets, but where I might have been able to sell each one for a nice profit, you flooding the market with 1 million widgets cuts the price of MY creation down to just pennies and my 100 widgets are essentially worthless. I created something and you benefited from me.

The next time I come up with a widget, why even bother making it? I know it will just be stolen by you and cut me out of making a living on it. So I won't make any more widgets. I will either just sit on my butt, or steal someone else's widgets. Pretty soon you have a world where nobody is making anything new. They just want to leech off of everyone else's ideas. And nobody creates anything.


This is a dandy illustration but in the real world it is and would be much more nuanced. First of all, as Joel points out where does this leave innovation on your product? If the person who took your idea implemented it of higher quality, or slightly changed it but nevertheless improved it, would he be stealing it? Would not competition of different manufacturers of the same idea lead to lower prices, better quality and faster improvements? It's not like the resources aren't scarce anymore. Second, what if the reason the person who took your idea succeeds is precisely because he has more resources and better quality than you? If you made a drug for HIV would you not be happy if it can get to more people in a purer state? Alternatively, what if your 100 copies are of superior quality? It is not unimaginable that a small but committed or even large crowd would ultimately choose your product over the other guy's if it were higher quality. Of course, there are countless other nuances and alternatives to the example you gave I see no reason to assume the worst here.


It is basically socialism, not libertarianism at all. The whole society just falls apart in a type of welfare state, where nothing gets done.


:ahem: Because it's not like you still need capital and labor to produce the invention and for countless inventions people won't want or be able to make it themselves making a market still present for the goods.


I don't want to live in such a world. And the only reason you do is because you want "free stuff" that you don't have to invent or pay for. That is real theft and deception. Darth E is correct, we have IP laws to protect us from parasites.

Don't be a parasite.

Personal attacks and psychologizing have no place here. In my post that was quoted at the beginning of this thread I explicitly stated that although I reject IP I do follow the law (and have incentive to - vinyl records - another example showing that the issue is more nuanced than your paragraphs above make it out to be), and I probably would in general if not in whole continue to do so if IP were repealed. I am, however, against the restrictions on individuals, businesses, and economies IP creates and find the concept to be unfounded from a philosophical standpoint.

Carrikature
02-27-2014, 04:40 PM
I am, however, against the restrictions on individuals, businesses, and economies IP creates and find the concept to be unfounded from a philosophical standpoint.

Would you mind fleshing this out?



Sparko, I'm curious where you draw the line on IP, and perhaps property rights in general. Is there a statute of limitations on private access? Is there a minimum to how much someone else can modify your idea before they're allowed to call it their own?

Sparko
02-28-2014, 05:21 AM
This is a dandy illustration but in the real world it is and would be much more nuanced. First of all, as Joel points out where does this leave innovation on your product? If the person who took your idea implemented it of higher quality, or slightly changed it but nevertheless improved it, would he be stealing it?
We do that now. But you have to reverse engineer a product and not merely copy it first.


Would not competition of different manufacturers of the same idea lead to lower prices, better quality and faster improvements? It's not like the resources aren't scarce anymore.
Not in your world. because anyone can just copy the improvement and you will not be able to make profit on your improved invention. Your IP free world would only work in a society that had no need for money, basically the Star Trek universe with replicators.


Second, what if the reason the person who took your idea succeeds is precisely because he has more resources and better quality than you? If you made a drug for HIV would you not be happy if it can get to more people in a purer state? Alternatively, what if your 100 copies are of superior quality? It is not unimaginable that a small but committed or even large crowd would ultimately choose your product over the other guy's if it were higher quality. Of course, there are countless other nuances and alternatives to the example you gave I see no reason to assume the worst here.
There is nothing stopping someone from making something and giving it away now if they want. You don't HAVE to enforce your IP. Or you could keep your rights and allow people to copy it, but only under certain conditions (perhaps to prevent someone from misusing your invention) - in an IP free world there is no such choice or protection.





:ahem: Because it's not like you still need capital and labor to produce the invention and for countless inventions people won't want or be able to make it themselves making a market still present for the goods.

:ahem: yourself. If nobody can make any money selling their inventions, then they cannot afford to hire labor and banks will not lend them capital to throw away on something that can't sell. The entire economy would collapse.




Personal attacks and psychologizing have no place here. In my post that was quoted at the beginning of this thread I explicitly stated that although I reject IP I do follow the law (and have incentive to - vinyl records - another example showing that the issue is more nuanced than your paragraphs above make it out to be), and I probably would in general if not in whole continue to do so if IP were repealed. I am, however, against the restrictions on individuals, businesses, and economies IP creates and find the concept to be unfounded from a philosophical standpoint.

I completely agree that our system of IP needs overhauling and is misused on many levels. This is generally the fault of greedy lawyers. An example would be making copies of movies and music that you paid for in one format (blueray or CD for example) and wanting to rip it to a digital format to store on another device (like your computer or phone). As long as you have paid for the item already and only want to use it for personal use, there should be no restrictions on making backups or other format copies. To add such idiotic restrictions is pure greed. But what we have is better than NO IP rights at all.

Sparko
02-28-2014, 05:35 AM
Would you mind fleshing this out?



Sparko, I'm curious where you draw the line on IP, and perhaps property rights in general. Is there a statute of limitations on private access? Is there a minimum to how much someone else can modify your idea before they're allowed to call it their own?

I don't think you should be able to have protection on an IDEA, just a specific implementation of it. Using our hammer example, I can come up with the concept of joining two pieces of wood together by using a stick of metal and a bludgeoning device but I have no exclusive right to that idea. If I invent a device that uses that concept, then I have the rights to that product. But not other implementations. Someone else might come up with using a rock to hit a nail. or someone else might invent a screwdriver and screws, or a pneumatic punch to drive the nails. They each have rights to their own invention. As far as modifying an existing design, it would depend on the complexity of the design. If they had to use my invention to create theirs, then they should have to pay me a royalty (example would be creating a color TV if I invented a black and white one. The basic design and function would be based on my invention and design and they could not create their color tv unless they first knew exactly how my TV worked and used that as a starting point, complete with circuits). If it is something they can just reverse-engineer without stealing my design (like looking at a hammer and then saying "hey, lets add a claw to the other end to put the nails out") then more power to them. If the people who invented the color TV did not have to know anything about my black and white TV and just replicated the function on their own using their own design and circuits, then I would have no rights in the new invention because merely the idea of watching pictures broadcast to a receiver is not patentable.

Joel
02-28-2014, 11:44 AM
Not in your world. because anyone can just copy the improvement and you will not be able to make profit on your improved invention.

You keep making this claim, but it's just not true, as I keep pointing out.
And continue to give more reasons and examples. Here's some more:

It turns out in the real world that "first-mover advantage" is huge. The person inventing the widget (or the improvement) has a huge advantage from being initially the only one to know the idea. I understand that this advantage is known and studied theoretically in game theory. Being the first one with the new product on sale is very profitable. It takes time and money for the competition to reverse engineer the product. And efforts at reverse engineering and copying are typically taken only on those products that are known to be successful and profitable (by virtue of their having already sold a lot and been profitable). The first mover naturally has a short-term monopoly, even without a legal monopoly. And then the first mover is also more experienced than those who follow. The first mover gets the first chance to gain reputation and consumer loyalty. And the businessman who keeps innovating, without IP, can stay one step ahead of the competition and keep out-competing them.

Here's another way: The person who discovers the improved widget and knows that it will make the old widget obsolete could short-sell the old widget and then simply release the plans for the improved widget to the public.

Here's another way: The person who discovers the improved widget can go to the maker of the original widget (or some other manufacturer) and sell them the opportunity to be the first-mover making the improved widgets. (This is useful for the inventor who doesn't have the resources to be the first mover himself.)

And there is lots of empirical evidence that there is a significant first-mover advantage in pharmaceuticals, motion pictures, books, music, etc. Studies of firms have also shown that only a minority of innovative businessmen think IP protections are helpful, and that they much more value secrecy, being the first mover, and sales of complementary goods.



If nobody can make any money selling their inventions, then they cannot afford to hire labor and banks will not lend them capital to throw away on something that can't sell. The entire economy would collapse.

This doesn't make any sense. Like saying that nobody drives in city X because there's too much traffic.
Or more directly, it's like saying nobody will grow grain because nobody can make any money selling it because everybody does (or because anyone can). Anybody can grow grain, yet labor and capital is in fact invested (profitably) in growing grain. The economy did not collapse because of the widespread copying of the ideas and innovations of agriculture. Quite the opposite.

Sparko
02-28-2014, 11:53 AM
You keep making this claim, but it's just not true, as I keep pointing out.
And continue to give more reasons and examples. Here's some more:

It turns out in the real world that "first-mover advantage" is huge. The person inventing the widget (or the improvement) has a huge advantage from being initially the only one to know the idea. I understand that this advantage is known and studied theoretically in game theory. Being the first one with the new product on sale is very profitable. It takes time and money for the competition to reverse engineer the product. And efforts at reverse engineering and copying are typically taken only on those products that are known to be successful and profitable (by virtue of their having already sold a lot and been profitable). The first mover naturally has a short-term monopoly, even without a legal monopoly. And then the first mover is also more experienced than those who follow. The first mover gets the first chance to gain reputation and consumer loyalty. And the businessman who keeps innovating, without IP, can stay one step ahead of the competition and keep out-competing them.

Here's another way: The person who discovers the improved widget and knows that it will make the old widget obsolete could short-sell the old widget and then simply release the plans for the improved widget to the public. Why would the public buy the widget? They could just copy it.


Here's another way: The person who discovers the improved widget can go to the maker of the original widget (or some other manufacturer) and sell them the opportunity to be the first-mover making the improved widgets. (This is useful for the inventor who doesn't have the resources to be the first mover himself.)Again, why would the original inventor pay the new guy if he can just copy it for free?




This doesn't make any sense. Like saying that nobody drives in city X because there's too much traffic.
Or more directly, it's like saying nobody will grow grain because nobody can make any money selling it because everybody does (or because anyone can). Anybody can grow grain, yet labor and capital is in fact invested (profitably) in growing grain. The economy did not collapse because of the widespread copying of the ideas and innovations of agriculture. Quite the opposite.
Grain is a commodity used in the production of goods. The value is in the quantity available to supply the material for those goods. Yet each of those goods are protected by the rights of the people who create the snack cakes, flour, etc.

GioD
03-01-2014, 09:14 AM
We do that now. But you have to reverse engineer a product and not merely copy it first.

From what I know of patent law (which I admit is not a lot) there are ways currently patents are used to restrict innovation as well as direct copying, but they may be rarer than I think and maybe moderate reform (see below) would work better in the end.


Not in your world. because anyone can just copy the improvement and you will not be able to make profit on your improved invention. Your IP free world would only work in a society that had no need for money, basically the Star Trek universe with replicators.

:ahem: yourself. If nobody can make any money selling their inventions, then they cannot afford to hire labor and banks will not lend them capital to throw away on something that can't sell. The entire economy would collapse.


The improvements I described went beyond IP and required a certain amount of investment in terms of capital, management and labor. The fact of the matter is, even it the ideas are free to copy not everyone will do so because they can only invest their time and money in so many things and getting the item pre-made would be superior - a market for the goods would still exist. Ancient farmers and fishermen didn't patent their methods or inventions but there was still a market for their goods, because even with the know-how and tools free to be copied not everyone wanted to invest their time doing their own farming and fishing. As for quality, not every company would have the money or time to make it all of the same quality, so a broad range of types would become available.


I completely agree that our system of IP needs overhauling and is misused on many levels. This is generally the fault of greedy lawyers. An example would be making copies of movies and music that you paid for in one format (blueray or CD for example) and wanting to rip it to a digital format to store on another device (like your computer or phone). As long as you have paid for the item already and only want to use it for personal use, there should be no restrictions on making backups or other format copies. To add such idiotic restrictions is pure greed. But what we have is better than NO IP rights at all.

Maybe you're right. Although I reject the philosophical foundations for ANY IP, perhaps from a purely pragmatic or economic POV moderate change in the system (or gradual abolishment of IP) is superior. I'll have to mull over the practical side of it more.

GioD
03-01-2014, 09:25 AM
Would you mind fleshing this out?

Basically I think current IP law does not allow competition between businesses to fully apply (at least for a period of time) and therefore businesses cannot compete freely on many new inventions and one who makes or would make the best quality product for the lowest price cannot rise to the top as one would expect in truly free conditions. Correspondingly I believe this raises the price without maximizing quality for the product in a manner that harms consumers, while the lowered degree of competition does not allow the economy to grow as fully as possible over the invention. I am also against the penalties individuals can suffer by pirating digital media, although I do not personally do this or think it is a wise idea.

Joel
03-03-2014, 12:13 PM
Why would the public buy the widget? They could just copy it.

Why would anyone buy grain, since they can just copy it, by growing it themselves?
Both the grain and the widget require capital investment, know-how, resources, labor, time, etc. to copy (i.e., produce). People don't produce everything for themselves because they see the added value of division of labor.

You may then say, okay, that's true for manufactured goods, but what about things that are easily and quickly copied by anyone, like an mp3?
Yes, there is a difference there, and because of that I think it is easier to argue against patents than to argue against copyright (in the scope of the utilitarian argument).
However, even there we find that lots of people still do purchase books, music, movies, etc, even though people can find these things for free online. I remember seeing a study even showing that those whose illegal music collections are the largest are also the people who purchase the most music. I've read about evidence that small-time publishers sell more books if they also make their works available for free online than otherwise (the latter tend to remain in obscurity).

Note also that lots of people place a value on getting the book/game/music early. People pre-order. This again is the first-mover advantage. Sure, someone can wait until it is widely available online (which may not happen for less successful works), but people can similarly wait until the product on the shelf drops in price, which drop always seems to happen (or get cheaper used, or for rent). But people do pay extra to get it earlier (otherwise sellers wouldn't price high at first and then drop price later). Movies also capture more first-mover advantage by first showing in theaters.



Again, why would the original inventor pay the new guy if he can just copy it for free?

Besides the point that he can't produce widgets with zero cost, in this example the producer is paying the inventor primarily for his silence--to not go tell all the other producers. So that the first-mover advantage is bigger.

Depending on the nature of the innovation the inventor may be able to keep the secret a secret from the producer, and thus the producer pays the inventor to reveal the secret to the producer. But in that particular case I mainly had in mind the idea of the producer paying for silence.



Grain is a commodity used in the production of goods. The value is in the quantity available to supply the material for those goods. Yet each of those goods are protected by the rights of the people who create the snack cakes, flour, etc.
My argument didn't depend on whether the good is a consumer good or only a factor of production of other goods (i.e. "captial good").
If you think it does matter, we could use a different example, say, loaves of bread, which anyone is free to make, yet people still invest resources in making bread. (Anyone can make flour too.) But it doesn't matter whether the good is a consumer good or capital good. In both cases people in fact still invest in producing things in the face of unhampered competition.

It's also not the case that "each of those goods" is under IP. I'd say a small proportion of goods are under patents or copyright. Even those snack cakes you mention I doubt are usually patented. Most name-brand food products in the store also have a virtually identical 'generic' version.