THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 582, August 8, 2010
"You knew I would"
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A libertarian solution to IP
The argument that intellectual property is a creation of government and that, since it cannot exist in the absence of government it is therefore theft is one of those arguments that is facially plausible, but deeply flawed. There IS in fact a non-governmental means for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights and we've all been dealing with it for years now. I refer of course, to the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA), which we all routinely ignore every time we install a program.
When you go out to Walmart and buy a copy of a computer program or game, you are actually only purchasing the right to USE the program or game on ONE machine. The program itself, along with the CD and any supporting documentation remain the property of the company that you're "buying" it from. Don't believe me? Go look. I'll wait. See?
The same thing can be done with books, of course. Or a novel design for a rifle. Or anything else. And for those who will immediately scream that it's not fair well, you're under no obligation to enter into the contract. You're more than free to do without it. Because now, it's no longer a matter of government enforcing a "right", it's a matter of honoring the contract YOU entered into voluntarily. And enforcement of contracts is something that there always has to be a provision for, albeit not necessarily a government one. My EULA would probably state that any dispute would be settled by appeal to my wife. Don't like it? Don't buy it.
In "On Plagiarism", Richard Bartucci asks,
"Had anybody ever before developed an idea of what might happen in the closed ecology of a spaceship when an apparently harmless and goll-durn cute ingratiating extraterrestrial species got taken aboard as pets and then proved to be not only omnivorous and parthenogenetic but also fecund to a degree that might beggar the imagination? Only Heinlein."
Not only Heinlein, but most every 18th century sea-faring writer who dealt with rats.
Or any Australian who used to think rabbits were cute and harmless.
How about Moties, those little watchmakers who, unless one voids one's ship to vacuum once in a while, will take the ship apart?
L. Neil does a very good job of avoiding the problem with his membranes which prevent what is on one side getting on the other without permission. I find myself hoping they get invented sooner rather than later on a near daily basis.
Neale. Revolutions are not started in voting booths. They are defused there.
In all the fooforaw over Arizona's SB 1070 attention has been diverted from two topics. The first is that Congress is dragging its feet on reforming immigration policy, which is what led to SB 1070 in the first place. Now if you respond to this that the only real reform is total repeal of all existing immigration quota and work permit requirements I won't argue. I will even argue that the only purpose of the existing law is to create an underclass of exploited and underpaid workers whose ability to stick up for their rights is limited because they lack official permission to be in the US. While Conservatives try to prove how tough they are and determined to protect American life, property and national security Liberals attempt to demonstrate their compassion (especially at someone else's expense). Both are doing an excellent job of failing to secure anybody's rights, property or security. Instead they are encouraging anger, fear, bigotry and hatred and engaging in cheap demagoguery at the expense of America's citizenry and those aliens residing in the US whether or not their papers are in order.
These people (and I use the term as Robert E. Lee used it to describe Yankees during the War of Northern Aggression ) need to have their feet held to the fire to resolve this unconstitutional and unjust situation.
The second thing that sneaked in under the radar is that Arizona has gone over to Constitutional (aka Vermont) carry. That is, assuming you are not legally disallowed (to include carry in certain restricted areas) from carrying weapons or otherwise engaged in criminal activity at the time, you may legally carry any firearm openly or concealed on your person. While there remains a sufficiency of ifs, ors, and buts to delight the soul of a shyster looking for work it's till a huge improvement on the laws in 47 other states, DC and the US's territories and possessions.
Undoubtedly the attention to SB 1070 will divert people's attention from Arizona's new gun law as long as that state's violent crime rate stays steady or continues to decline. But rest assured that if someone so much as pulls out a pistol to shoot a rabid dog that was about to bite a kid some liberal hoplophobe will deliberately misunderstand and misstate the situation as a pretext to denounce the citizens of Arizona and all supporters of the right to keep and bear arms as a pack of irresponsible bloodthirsty yahoos (pronounced yay-hooz to get the full affect of their comments).
Jesus (pronounced Jee-zuz, Heh-sus or even Hay-soos, I'm not picky) give me patience with these idiots (or idjits if you prefer). Meanwhile the attention of the American public has quite skillfully been manipulated by our misleaders and their whores (referring to mercenary and not sexual proclivities) in the press.
All the recent debate and discussion over "intellectual property" made me decide to put my money (or lack thereof) where my beliefs lie. All my books, such as they are, are now available for free download. Check them out and find the links at
Sure, it would be nice to make money from the effort of writing, but I can't reconcile seeking the state's protection with my rejection of the legitimacy of the state and all its coercive actions; even when they might benefit me personally. However, as always, I still try to respect the wishes of all creators of imaginative content, while not demanding they do the same for me.
Read any high school US History text. The Progressive movement of the Mauve Era is depicted as a non radical, pragmatic alternative /successor to the Populist movement. I will neither defend or criticize the Mauve Era Progressives. I merely note that they get all sorts of good press.
By the beginning of the Twentyfirst Century American liberals had succeeded in giving themselves a bad name. At that time they renamed themselves Progressives. As far as I can tell they are flogging the same agenda, or an even more radical agenda, than the one that peaked out in 1994. The American left's leadership will continue to call itself Progressive instead of socialist or liberal trying to ride on Teddy Roosevelt's coat tails. Interestingly everyone else calls them liberals, even many people who support their agenda.
Apparently the left's leaders have lost the ability to recognize when they aren't fooling anyone.
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