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The fallacies of intellectual communism, a compilation

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Stranger Posted: Fri, Jan 22 2010 6:34 PM

Author's note: I am compiling in this thread a list of all the fallacies invoked against intellectual property rights. I would greatly appreciate if one of the authoritative members of forum involved in the Mises Institute were to promote this to a full Mises.org story, thus confirming the institute's dedication to honest intellectual debate in the tradition of the Austrian school of economics, however I would like to debate this for a few days in the forum in order that we may be able to discover a few additional fallacies I may have omitted. I will therefore be making some edits to this post for some time.

It has been a recent fashion by some libertarians to denounce the legitimacy of intellectual property rights on the free market. They believe and promote the idea that all information should be owned in common by all men, and that no man should exclusively profit from any information. This makes them, by any honest definition of the term, intellectual communists.

Most anti-IP arguments stem from confusion over the nature of information and its physical manifestation, which is why property in information gets bundled with property in ideas. Some libertarians, whose opposition to IP comes from a communistic sensibility to the production of information, when not actively promoting communistic models of information production, make liberal use of the confusion between information and ideas to promote the abolition of IP entirely and thus destroy their competition. This is particularly obscene due to the fact that the industrial wealth of the United States in the late 20th century has been grown precisely thanks to the capitalist industries that produce information, most notably the publishing, media, film and software industries, which have produced some of America's most illustrious corporate champions and continue to be one of America's most cherished exports all over the world, spreading goodwill for Americans where the export of bombs and wars have spread hatred.

The trend towards de-industrialization and the expansion of the service industries goes through the expansion of the information-producing industries, both by making production more automated and by offering valuable consumer information goods, and the future wealth of civilization is therefore inextricably bound to the protection of intellectual property rights.

It is my intent here to go through each one of the fallacies of intellectual communists, from the most common to the most bizarre, to show that intellectual property is fully rooted in the physical nature of the universe and derives from property rights in materially scarce goods produced in the free market, as well as making the case for the nefarious intentions of the opponents of intellectual property rights.

Fallacy 1: Intellectual property is bad due to patents

This is by far the most common fallacy, as espoused by such legal professionals as Stephan Kinsella. This argument goes as follows: because patents are monopolies, all forms of intellectual property must be abolished.

One does not need to reflect for long to realize the fallacy in this argument. We have known since Rothbard's Man, Economy and State the difference between patents and copyrights. Simply put, copyrights originate with a producer, while patents originate with the state. One must "apply for" patent protection in order to be granted it, but one does not need to apply for copyright protection to receive it, one only needs to seek protection with the state when a copyright is violated, much as is the case when any other form of market-created property is violated. This makes a copyrighted intellectual property a product of the free market, as it is created by a producer of information for the benefit of consumers.

In the case of patents, the patent is created by the state (you may even say for the state), and may be granted or refused at the will of the state. Additionally, if one were to independently arrive at an idea and apply for a patent for this idea, it may be the case that an existing patent on this idea already exists. Not only does this mean that this act of independent production will be refused protection, it will also be banned, and of course the whole process of searching and checking patents against each other will require the state to consume substantial resources to enforce its patents. This means that the creator must also suffer the burden of the costs of applying for patents in order to be protected (while in the case of copyrights he faces no cost to declare such a right), and may abstain from producing an invention due to the risk of it already being patented. Obviously such a system makes no economic sense.

It is for this reason that Rothbard argued that patents are illegitimate precisely to the extent that they go beyond the copyright. All forms of intellectual property must thus be judged on their origin, whether they are created by a private producer or whether they are created by a state. Except for patents, all are created by producers and are therefore legitimate on the free market.

Fallacy 2: Information is not scarce

Ideas can be communicated orally following their formulation in the mind, but useful information can only be produced while working with media, can only be inscribed and communicated through media, and can only be enjoyed and consumed through a media. Often they must be recorded from the physical world using sophisticated instruments to transform physical patterns from one aspect to another, recordable one. This physicality makes information essentially indistinguishable from media. Information can only exist if media takes a specific physical shape. For example, if one wants a recording of actors riding along a mountain range, one must send physical actors to this mountain range and record their physical presence with cameras writing on film or on digital memory, a process that requires a substantial capital investment. The uniqueness of such an event is self-evident, and even if another producer of information were to hire the same actors to ride along the same mountain range and film them with the same equipment, the resulting stream of information would still be completely different in physical structure. This makes information a good that is inevitably bound to a physical structure, which are scarce, therefore a tangible good. Any existence of an identical copy of this information stream is physically connected to this original recording through acts of communication with the producer's property, and it is impossible for it to be a result of an independent act of creation.

In fact, one can determine whether or not an intellectual property is legitimate based on the nature of the information; when the information is unique and will never re-occur in the lifetime of the universe, then it is scarce and comes only from one original source. If the information is not unique and can re-occur again and again, then it is not scarce and can be considered super-abundant, as it would be in the Garden of Eden. For super-abundant information, no conflict can possibly arise, as no labor is ever spent in its production. For information that is unique and specific, the scarcity of this information will grant the one who possesses it a productive advantage, and many others will attempt to obtain this information. Because it is unique, the only way to obtain it is by either contracting with the original producer, or by violating this producer's physical property. This is why there is a market for information in the first place, and this is why counterfeiters seek to obtain this information in order to produce copies. Were the information not scarce, there would be no need at all to engage in copying! (In comparison with patents for ideas, one never sees internet pirates redistributing patented ideas, as these have no scarcity and no value.)

Fallacy 3: Information is more efficiently produced in common

This is one argument that intellectual communists advance that may not be fallacious as it explicitly states their intention. Unfortunately it is gravely mistaken. It is usually expressed by a special class of information producers, computer geeks adept of the "open source" software movement. Open source software is a collection of software platforms licensed under agreements that require those who utilize it to share their changes (in this sense, also benefitting from market-produced intellectual property rights that limit some forms of use). Its weakness is that the only producers who create this software are those who produce software for themselves. It is the same as an autarkic economic production process, only the low cost of copying information makes it possible for every autarkic producer to leverage the efforts of previous such autarkic producer. What it means, in essence, is that all open source software is produced to suit the needs of the producers, not the consumers. Those who do not have the skill of software production do not enjoy the benefits of this software. It is an explicit rejection of the division of labor and capitalism.

There does not exist mass-market open source software products which have overtaken their superior counterpart produced by capitalist software industries in market share. In fact, when Apple decided to rebuild their Operating System software on an open-source foundation, it had to reject the most popular platform Linux in favor of the less commonplace BSD due to the BSD license explicitly allowing for the privatisation of the investment Apple made in the mass-market viability of its platform. For this reason, the Apple OS is a testament to the limits of the open-source software model, not to its triumph.

Some intellectual communists recognize the non-viability of the open-source business model, but claim that the negative aspects can be mitigated by employing alternative business models, such as consumer support. This ignores the fact that capitalist producers have already made the choice not to employ such models despite being free to do so, which must mean that they recognize them as not being in the interests of their consumers and their own. In the case of consumer support, the relationship between consumer and producer remains fundamentally altered - the software producer is no longer rewarded for producing reliable, easy-to-use software, but for guiding the consumer through the complications of the software. It is therefore in the industry's interest to make complicated software, which turns out to be the case for all open source software platforms.

In non-software information industry, intellectual communism is even less viable, and often amounts to little more than sophisticated beggaring. In all cases, it means a capitalist production of information (a large enterprise taking on all the risks of an investment in information and paying its collaborators in advance of the product being taken to market) being impossible and thus reducing the welfare of all producers of information in the structure of production. Because the communist alternative is already available on the free market, and because the producers of information overwhelmingly opt not to make use of it, it can only mean that communist production of information is less productive and less efficient. This is also true of all other general communist models of production, hence it is no surprise to an economist.

Intellectual communism is nothing more than a crude death-wish for the entire capitalist information industries of the world, much like land communism is a death-wish for all food-consuming humans. Some intellectual communists, who have opted to make use of the communistic production models despite their drawbacks, would greatly benefit from the death of those industries, as they are their main competitor. Their arguments should therefore be considered highly suspicious.

Fallacy 4: Nothing is taken away by copying

This is an inflationist argument similar to those who promote inflation as a source of unlimited wealth. The original inflationist argument concerning money is as follows: because the media on which money is inscribed, paper, costs almost nothing to reproduce, then society can print money until unlimited prosperity has been achieved. Today it is no longer debated whether counterfeiting is a criminal act, and counterfeiting has been a monopoly of the state only for the fact that people who use money are unable to outlaw it entirely. As Mises famously argued, money is valuable only to the extent that it is strictly limited in supply. Its scarcity is its tangible value, and producing money that fulfills this role is one of the most fundamentally beneficial economic acts that the capitalist banking system has achieved. It has been obvious to Austrian economics since Mises' seminal treatise on money that counterfeiting money, both through fractional reserve lending or crude money-printing, is an economically destructive act that takes away from the producers of wealth, those who have created the original money and those who have entered into contractual relations with those creators to obtain a part of this money, and gives to the destroyers of wealth, the counterfeiters. By thus rewarding destruction and punishing production, de-civilization is promoted.

A counterfeit copy of intellectual property achieves exactly the same result. It gives the counterfeiter a productive advantage by multiplying his instances of the scarce information, while reducing the productive advantage of the producer of the information and of those who have entered into contractual relations with him to obtain part of the scarce information. Inflation is promoted, production is punished.

Some in reply claim that money can only enjoy property protection to the extent that it is a claim on scarce metal specie. However, it is not the specie that money consumers demand, but the more efficient productivity of the money-substitute itself. Undermining this productivity is an attack on their property rights regardless of the state of the stock of specie. A similar fallacy states that the counterfeiter is only guilty of fraud towards the purchaser of his product because he misrepresented himself, and the original owner of the counterfeit good is unaffected. This is a grave error, as much capital is invested in the production of goodwill by capitalist enterprise. The existence and propagation of counterfeit products of lower quality directly destroy the confidence of consumers in the products of this enterprise, and make all accumulated goodwill worthless. In the case of money, it may get to the point where there is no longer trust in the authenticity of any media, and the money is simply rejected as a medium of exchange. The entire investment made into the good by the original producer is thus made worthless, in essence expropriated and consumed, by the counterfeiter.

Fallacy 5: Why admit limited copyrights of some tens of years instead of zero years, an arbitrary distinction?

The state corrupts property laws in many ways, for example requiring property owners to give up a large part of their estate upon death, or requiring them to register the ownership of real estate at a municipal office. This violation of the property right by the state does not make the underlying right invalid.

Under a pure free market, information producers could determine themselves what the extent of their copyright is, going as far as perpetuity. That is their right and what is necessary for them to engage in a capitalist risk of producing scarce information.

Fallacy 6: Copyright cannot stop piracy

This fallacy states that piracy is ubiquitous and therefore intellectual property rights are invalid.

A pirate is not a capitalist producer of information and therefore his ability to damage the property of the capitalist producer is strictly limited by scale. Because they operate in a black market, pirate copies of information are generally of lower quality and carry a higher risk than authentic copies. This means that in many cases the cost of pursuing justice from these pirates, due to their large number and underground distribution, is higher than the benefit from eliminating their piracy. However, this is subject to the law of marginal utility, and there is a point where an act of piracy is so large as to immediately deserve a response by the intellectual property owner.

Piracy is not significant enough to make capitalism in information impossible, however, were to it to be protected by law, it would immediately unleash capitalists against each other. Because of their greater productivity and reputation, the capitalists would be able to engage in counterfeiting at an unimaginable scale. The sub-marginal acts of piracy would become unlimited, and the entire value of the capital stock of each capitalist information industry would be wiped out.

Much like one can tolerate the occasional trespass of children on one's property, while employing the full force of the law against much larger and significant acts of trespass (such as parking one's car on the neighbor's lawn), tolerating some piracy is not a renunciation of property rights. In fact, that information producers must tolerate piracy is evidence of the state's violation of their property right, as the state by its monopoly on property protection increases the costs of protection of their rights.

Fallacy 7: A counterfeiter is not breaking a contract and is not bound by copyright limitations

One obviously does not need a contractual relation with a property owner in order to be a violator of his property. A thief is not bound by contract to respect the property of the owner of the automobile he is driving away in. He is bound by the law to do so, and will be punished for his violation. The role of the contract in intellectual property is precisely the reverse, it grants the right to the consumer to access the property of the producer, and thus makes their limited use of the information lawful.

Fallacy 8: Intellectual property derives from the labor theory of value and is refuted by marginal value theory

If an argument along these lines can be made, it is that intellectual property is derived from the labor theory of property, which argues that an act of production should be protected and rewarded by private ownership. This has nothing to say about the value of what has been produced, it may well turn out to be worthless, and this risk is the very thing that makes capitalist production of information essential.

When a capitalist information industry undertakes to create specific information, it must do so with the expectation that it will be able to sell the information at a profit, and thus calculate the optimal supply of this information based on marginal revenue, from which it must subtract the costs that will be incurred during production. If it should fail, the capitalist will have to exit the information production industry. All of these prices are the result of marginal value, and thus marginal value theory is a foundation for intellectual property rights.

Supposing that it were impossible for the information producer to control the supply of information, then the value of any capitalist investment in information would be zero, and no such production would ever be risked, to the detriment of information consumers.

Fallacy 9: Copyright prevents the creation of new or derivative information

From the fact that copyright is a market-created property right, it is no different from any other property right. One may transform any un-owned natural material to create a scarce good, but one may not transform an owned natural material to create a scarce good that one must then appropriate. In fact, if one opts to transform someone else's farm into an arboretum, then the legitimate owner of the farm would have the right to claim full ownership of the arboretum since it was produced from his property.

In order to create and own derivatives of any form of property, one must have an agreement with the original appropriator to secure this ownership.

Fallacy 10: Information is property, but only if it is self-protected

A particularly bizarre form of fallacy, this states that producers of information have the right to deny access to information only as long as they do not release it from their private networks, and must ensure the secrecy by hiring sufficient security. Obviously this fallacy recognizes the legitimacy of owning information, and also recognizes the scarcity of this information. However, the proponents of this fallacy claim that the moment the information is shared on a media that is sold to the public, it becomes public property. This is like claiming that selling tickets to a concert is a permanent invitation to occupy the amphitheatre! What this amounts to is that creating limited property rights is unlawful, and we would also have to reject any contractual relation that limits what one may do with an acquired property, such as a contract that binds the title of a house to a membership in a neighbourhood association. There is no valid reason to reject such contracts, as they originate from the free market and are recognized as beneficial by both producers and consumers.

Fallacy 11: Consumers of information are being ripped off repeatedly

This fallacy claims that consumers are unaware that the media they repeatedly purchase at specialty stores is limited in rights, despite the declaration of copyright being explicitly inscribed on the product they are purchasing, and that they have not entered into an agreement with the intellectual property owner that limits their copy rights. However this does not entitle the consumers to appropriate the information for themselves, if in fact they have not reached a contractual agreement with the intellectual property owner. The intellectual property owner has not conceded any of his rights because consumers are confused about their purchase. All it entitles them to do is to return the media and perhaps claim a refund, and of course we would expect those cheated consumers never to again make the mistake of purchasing limited-rights media.

Since consumers continue to purchase and consume limited-rights media in enormous quantities, then we can only assume that they do agree with the limitations of the goods they are purchasing and are aware that these limitations are to their benefit as consumers of information in the free market.

Fallacy 12: We cannot know that all instances of media have been protected by copyright, therefore counterfeiters are presumed innocent

As stated before, in order for someone to legitimately come into possession of scarce information, he must first have a contractual relation with the producer of this information. Therefore, if someone is accused of breaking a copyright, he must demonstrate and provide a witness to the fact that his contractual relation to the intellectual property owner was not limited by copyright. If he cannot demonstrate any contractual relation having been concluded, he is necessarily a violator of property.

Fallacy 13: We might miraculously be able to independently produce identical information, therefore counterfeiters are presumed innocent

This is an argument from miracle, and obviously does not enter a rational discourse on the legality of intellectual property, as a counterfeiter would have to provide evidence of a miracle in order to escape an accusation of counterfeiting unique information, just as a thief who uses the excuse of a miraculous possession of a car identical to the one coincidentally robbed from a property owner would have to prove the miracle to get away.

Fallacy 14: Third world countries do not enforce IP laws

Whatever this has to do with the legitimacy and economic benefit of IP is unclear. Third world countries are guilty of many violations of property, which is why they remain third world countries instead of becoming advanced industrial civilizations with capitalist enterprise. They would greatly benefit from adopting IP laws, as they could develop their own information producing industries for export, engaging in the global division of labor and benefiting greatly from their new wealth.

 

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Stranger:

It has been a recent fashion by some libertarians to denounce the legitimacy of intellectual property rights on the free market. They believe and promote the idea that all information should be owned in common by all men, and that no man should exclusively profit from any information. This makes them, by any honest definition of the term, intellectual communists.

Who on this forum has done this?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Esuric replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 7:19 PM

Daniel Muffinburg:
Who on this forum has done this?

Practically everyone...

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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Esuric:

Daniel Muffinburg:
Who on this forum has done this?

Practically everyone...

Examples, please.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Esuric replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 7:28 PM

Daniel Muffinburg:
Examples, please.

I'm not going to go look for threads on intellectual property and quote people. If you're that interested, then do the research yourself. I believe there was a blog a few weeks ago on the front page which dealt with this very same topic.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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Esuric:

Daniel Muffinburg:
Examples, please.

I'm not going to go look for threads on intellectual property and quote people. If you're that interested, then do the research yourself. I believe there was a blog a few weeks ago on the front page which dealt with this very same topic.

No one here is going to force you to support your claim, and since you won't support it, then I will simply ignore it.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Esuric replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 7:37 PM

Daniel Muffinburg:
No one here is going to force you to support your claim, and since you won't support it, then I will simply ignore it.

Okay.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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The IP debate just shows me that property rights and the NAP are nothing but gray areas, with any one person defining their own subjective borders to what is just and what is not just in a world of "property rights." To me, the solution is simple: eliminate the state, let the market handle it, and then we can talk about it. Since the state currently exists, I will consider the current statist system in regard to IP to be completely illegitimate. As for whether I think it's moral or not, that is my own preference and ultimately inconsequential.

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Daniel Muffinburg:
Who on this forum has done this?

Most people who comment on Kinsella's blog posts on mises.org are anti-IP. I've seen quite a few people on the forums take an anti-IP stance myself. I'm a fence-sitter on this one, though I tend to lean towards anti-IP.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 8:39 PM

There are more assertions(Claimed as self evident) and misrepresentation of the anti-IP arguments here than there is actually relevant information. If I feel up to it I'll post a summarized counter-argument this weekend.

The most fallacious misrepresentation of Strangers argument however is his claim that anti-IP libertarian's are intellectual communists. He fails to take into consideration that we are instead advocates of mass production and cheap consumer goods. He words it quiet well in the following. 

Stranger:
 For super-abundant information, no conflict can possibly arise, as no labor is ever spent in its production.

This is the crux of the Ant-IP argument. Stranger despises the fact that IP reproduced at an infinite volume of precise quality at near zero cost. The conflict though is when the producer feels he has an in-alienable right to some arbitrary return on his idea, regardless of how efficiently he produces it or even if he produced in accordance with consumer demand. The argument here is that the producer is sovereign, not the consumer. It has nothing to do with communism, public ownership. Stranger fails to recognize reproductive factors of IP. Whether Stranger likes it or not IP is not scarce, regardless of how it was produced originally it can easily be re-manufactured at a fraction of a penny and potentially without limit to volume.

Considering the scarcity issue I think it does make that some folk may think that anti-ip advocates are advocating for a communistic model. But IP is no more scarce than oxygen, however we do not argue that oxygen is publicly owned. Oxygen is owned and expended just as IP is. In the midst of super-abundance the clear lines of ownership becomes vague, as seen with oxygen. I cannot claim all the oxygen molecules on my property as mine for example, without sounding ridiculous. How will I enforce my neighbors not to consume the oxygen that originated from my tree's?

Pro IP advocates can pretend that IP is scarce but as memory manufactures expand their ability at producing larger storage capacities so will  Intellectual Property itself in parallel also exponentially grow abundant, even super-abundant. Stranger can argue that IP is scarce but such an argument goes against the laws of physics as Harddrive manufacturers and general memory manufacturers exponentially produce larger storage capacities to hold greater amounts of IP. IP is only as scarce as the amount of terabytes/petabytes/Exabyte/Zettabyte/Yottabyte available in supply. The larger it gets the less scarce IP becomes.

Stranger points out that much of IP is created from a unique and specific situation which required large amounts of capital. I know Stranger works in the IP industry, software engineer? He must also know that such an argument is absolutely NOT the case. Nearly all IP(Nearly all tangible and intangible things) is built from previous information, not just IP but nearly all things are produced from previous things. Not only does this apply to software but it equaly applies to music, and other outlets of pop-culture. Hence the terms, remix, mashups, ect....

Stranger  would rather support a production process that ultimately renders an expensive , limited in supply, product to the consumer, rather than employ a free-market solution to mass production. The truth is the computer world has done a miraculous thing by making data storage break the boundaries of scarcity. Rather than embrace a very large step into a sci-fi future Stranger would rather we step archaically

 backwards to impose artificial scarcities on all forms of information. That cost however ultimately is paid for by the consumer, we are all poorer in that regard. 

For the record it needs to be clear that the argument that Anti-IP advocates are communist is entirely fallacious. A conflation of two themes and is completely non-sequitur. If Stranger wants people to take this discussion seriously he will remove making such an illogical claim. He misrepresents us by saying we argue in favor of of everyone deserving the ownership of ideas. We do not, people must employ ideas into productive use. Those who do so most efficiently and please consumers the greatest become the winners, whether it was their idea originally or not. This is a very BIG difference that Stranger likes to ignore when he mentions Intellectual communism. He prefers to lace his argument with ad homonenim. This will only make the response more painful and unecessarily longer, I'd prefer it if he stuck to the points at hand and left the logical fallacies behind so we could effeciently hack away at the various discrepencies at hand.

If he was a bit more open, and honest, with his position he may find that many anti-IP advocates would agree with him on many items, and he to them. That a large bulk of this argument ends up semantical is the primary reason why so many IP/Anti-Ip discussions end up being circular. As such it becomes confusing and conflates various relevant points due to people being dishonest and skirting around the actual issues at hand.

I'll try and write a full response on Sunday.

demosthenes:
To me, the solution is simple: eliminate the state, let the market handle it, and then we can talk about it. Since the state currently exists, I will consider the current statist system in regard to IP to be completely illegitimate.

Solid point. The state itself does not have the resources to enforce these absurdities. Private firms do not either, so they try to get the state to do so, but since the state is incapable of adequately enforcing IP laws you have the situation that we have today. No one respects IP laws at an individual level. The structure of production in the absence of the state would be radically different in regards to the production of IP.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 8:43 PM

krazy kaju:

Daniel Muffinburg:
Who on this forum has done this?

Most people who comment on Kinsella's blog posts on mises.org are anti-IP. I've seen quite a few people on the forums take an anti-IP stance myself.

Daniel is referring to Strangers comment where he alleges that Libertarian's agree to breaking various contracts, be they IP contracts.

The argument should be that if IP is entirely un-enforcable and done away with would the structure of production change, and would such contracts even exist in the first place, Furthermore are they even legitimate contracts. For example, does a college professor have a right to royalties of me employing the information I've obtained from him.

On a free market if a college professor had students sign such a contract he may find quickly that students stopped signing up for his class. In a state run system where all college professors practice this and are protected by the state, the students have no other option.

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AJ replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 8:48 PM

Stranger:
Ideas can be communicated orally following their formulation in the mind, but useful information can only be produced while working with media, can only be inscribed and communicated through media, and can only be enjoyed and consumed through a media.

Reaching.

Stranger:
Often they must be recorded from the physical world using sophisticated instruments to transform physical patterns from one aspect to another, recordable one.

Hints of LTV.

Stranger:
This physicality makes information essentially indistinguishable from media.

Fallacy of composition. Apparently you came close to realizing this yourself because you inserted "essentially."

Stranger:
For example, if one wants a recording of actors riding along a mountain range, one must send physical actors to this mountain range and record their physical presence with cameras writing on film or on digital memory, a process that requires a substantial capital investment.

Screams of LTV.

Stranger:
This makes information a good that is inevitably bound to a physical structure, which are scarce, therefore a tangible good.

Ever heard of radio?

Stranger:
Any existence of an identical copy of this information stream is physically connected to this original recording through acts of communication with the producer's property...

Photographing over someone's shoulder as they're reading in the park is fine then?

It's also conspicuous that you chose the word "communication" (two-way) instead of just "(one-way) transmission." This word choice sets up the implied false dichotomy in the latter half of the sentence:

Stranger:
...and it is impossible for it to be a result of an independent act of creation.

The options were not only 1 and 2, but crucially also 3:

1. Have the producer consent to transmitting the data from his property to yours.

2. Try to create the data independently.

3. Record the data when (if) it arrives on your recording device.

Stranger:
Were the information not scarce, there would be no need at all to engage in copying!

First of all, fallacy of composition: the information is not the delivery vehicle for that information. Secondly, you're conflating "information" with "access to information." Whenever information is freely accessible without trespassing - as when photographing someone reading a book - it is not scarce.

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Stranger replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:03 PM

filc:
Considering the scarcity issue I think it does make that some folk may think that anti-ip advocates are advocating for a communistic model. But IP is no more scarce than oxygen, however we do not argue that oxygen is publicly owned.

Oxygen is publicly owned.

filc:
Stranger  would rather support a production process that ultimately renders an expensive , limited in supply, product to the consumer, rather than employ a free-market solution to mass production.

Fallacy 3

filc:
Pro IP advocates can pretend that IP is scarce but as memory manufactures expand their ability at producing larger storage capacities so will  Intellectual Property itself in parallel also exponentially grow abundant, even super-abundant.

Fallacy 2

filc:
Nearly all IP(Nearly all tangible and intangible things) is built from previous information, not just IP but nearly all things are produced from previous things. Not only does this apply to software but it equaly applies to music, and other outlets of pop-culture. Hence the terms, remix, mashups, ect....

Fallacy 9

filc:

Rather than embrace a very large step into a sci-fi future Stranger would rather we step archaically

 backwards to impose artificial scarcities on all forms of information.

Fallacy 1

filc:
This will only make the response more painful and unecessarily longer, I'd prefer it if he stuck to the points at hand and left the logical fallacies behind so we could effeciently hack away at the various discrepencies at hand.

This is just an empty threat and is not an argument.

filc:
Solid point. The state itself does not have the resources to enforce these absurdities. Private firms do not either, so they try to get the state to do so, but since the state is incapable of adequately enforcing IP laws you have the situation that we have today.

Fallacy 1. Private producers take full means to protect their intellectual property rights. The state only becomes involved in case of a conflict that must be ruled over.

filc:
The structure of production in the absence of the state would be radically different in regards to the production of IP.

You spend considerable effort to attempt to prove that you are not a communist, and conclude your post with an argument that is straight out of the playbook of classical communists, that it is impossible to imagine what the structure of production in a communist society would be and that therefore any attempt to do as such is futile.

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Stranger replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:09 PM

 

 

AJ:
Hints of LTV.
AJ:
Screams of LTV.

Fallacy 8

AJ:
Ever heard of radio?

Fallacy 2. Radio is scarce.

AJ:

Photographing over someone's shoulder as they're reading in the park is fine then?

AJ:

3. Record the data when (if) it arrives on your recording device.

Fallacy 7.

AJ:
First of all, fallacy of composition: the information is not the delivery vehicle for that information.

This is a crime against the English language.

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Stranger replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:11 PM

filc:
On a free market if a college professor had students sign such a contract he may find quickly that students stopped signing up for his class. In a state run system where all college professors practice this and are protected by the state, the students have no other option.

Fallacy 11.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:24 PM

Stranger:
Oxygen is publicly owned.

So does that make you an oxygen communist?

Stranger:
Fallacy 2

Stranger:
Fallacy 9

Stranger:
Fallacy 1

wtf does my comment have to do with patents? lolol

Stranger:
Fallacy 1. Private producers take full means to protect their intellectual property rights.

And they are welcome to. And when their means fail tough. That doesn't mean they have a divine right to extract wealth of people when their means fail.

Stranger your fallacies/assertions are what is at question. We are debating them. You cannot respond with "Fallacy XYZ" when you have yet to prove that it is a fallacy int he first place. What you have provided is assertions. 

This is how it works.

  1. You provide assertions.
  2. We provide ours.
  3. We debate the differences. (IN DETAIL)

What you do instead is this.

  1. Provide assertions
  2. We provide ours
  3. You repeat your original assertions ignoring ours entirely

You understand why you cannot be taken seriously when you don't even take your own argument seriously enough to defend yourself. Every single one of your responses to me can be considerd a form of circular reasoning, since your responses assume that your fallacies are legit, ignoring the fact that your fallacies are what are being scrutinized in the first place.

Stranger:
You spend considerable effort to attempt to prove that you are not a communist, and conclude your post with an argument that is straight out of the playbook of classical communists, that it is impossible to imagine what the structure of production in a communist society would be and that therefore any attempt to do as such is futile.

Thanks Mr oxygen communist.

On second though I'll not send a formal response on Sunday. I'd rather not waste my precious time as this thread has already gone down the poop shoot like the rest of your previous IP threads. Why would I waste time giving you a thoughtful answer when I know I'll only be arguing with a troll? Stranger, I thought you were making an honest attempt at defending your stance. Most of your previous posts are borderline trollish, and repetitive at best. I see that it didn't take long for you to jump right back on your old bandwagon.

I have no desire to have a debate with someone being intellectually dishonest. When you want to really have a discussion let me know.

 

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Stranger replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:26 PM

filc:
You understand why you cannot be taken seriously when you don't even take your own argument seriously enough to defend yourself. Every single one of your responses to me can be considerd a form of circular reasoning, since your responses assume that your fallacies are legit, ignoring the fact that your fallacies are what are being scrutinized in the first place.

Actually what you did was provide a response to a refutation of fallacy with a different fallacy that is refuted further down the page. Since I've pre-emptively refuted this other fallacy, there is no need for me to repeat myself.

filc:
So does that make you an oxygen communist?

Oxygen is superabundant. No conflicts have ever arisen over oxygen.

filc:
On second though I'll not send a formal response on Sunday. I'd rather not waste my precious time as this thread has already gone down the poop shoot like the rest of your previous IP threads.

I'll take my four star rating over your suspicious opinion.

P.S. This is the first thread about IP that I write.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:28 PM

Fallacy A: Strangers fallacies are debunked.

Stranger:

filc:
On a free market if a college professor had students sign such a contract he may find quickly that students stopped signing up for his class. In a state run system where all college professors practice this and are protected by the state, the students have no other option.

Fallacy 11.

Fallacy A

 

Stranger:
Fallacy 2

Fallacy A

Stranger:
Fallacy 3

Fallacy A

Stranger:
Fallacy 9

Fallacy A

Stranger:
Fallacy 1

Fallacy A

Stranger:
Fallacy 1.

Fallacy A

 

Ooh look. This game is easier than I thought. I can play this game to.

Let us know when you want to talk honestly. Good job at destroying your own thread.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:30 PM

Stranger:
Oxygen is superabundant. No conflicts have ever arisen over oxygen.

But if there was positive law protection oxygen there would be. Smile

You have yet to prove that IP is scarce. What you have provided is the production of so me IP can be scarce, but not that IP is scarce in general. Likewise the production of some oxygen can be scarce. All it means is the inefficient producers are doing it wrong.

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Stranger replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:33 PM

filc:

But if there was positive law protection oxygen there would be. Smile

You have yet to prove that IP is scarce. What you have provided is the production of so me IP can be scarce, but not that IP is scarce in general. Likewise the production of some oxygen can be scarce. All it means is the inefficient producers are doing it wrong.

Fallacy 2. Oxygen, like ideas, has no value.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:34 PM

Stranger:
Actually what you did was provide a response to a refutation of fallacy with a different fallacy that is refuted further down the page. Since I've pre-emptively refuted this other fallacy, there is no need for me to repeat myself.

Asserting something as a fallacy doesn;t make it so. The sky is blue is a fallacy. That doesn't mean its true. You have to actually explain why. Something you have yet to do.

Stranger:
Oxygen is superabundant. No conflicts have ever arisen over oxygen.

There would be conflicts if positive law stipulated so. 

Stranger:
P.S. This is the first thread about IP that I write.

Do you really want me to go back and start linking all of the threads you've responded to that spiraled out of control into IP. Based on the trollish nonesense your performing right now?

I even have one thrad where you state specifically "This thread was always about IP". YOu may not have started it but you most definitely participated and contributed to the nonesense. If anyone here has been responsible at instigating non-productive IP arguments here it has most certainly been you.

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filc replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:35 PM

Stranger:
Fallacy 2. Oxygen, like ideas, has no value.

Fallacy A: Strangers fallacies are debunked.

Filc:

But if there was positive law protection oxygen there would be. Smile

You have yet to prove that IP is scarce. What you have provided is the production of so me IP can be scarce, but not that IP is scarce in general. Likewise the production of some oxygen can be scarce. All it means is the inefficient producers are doing it wrong.

Hmm read harder. I didn't say Idea. Here we go again, employing your same old tactics. Try again.

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Hard Rain replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:38 PM

Don't do it, filc!!

"I don't believe in ghosts, sermons, or stories about money" - Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.
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Stranger replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 9:41 PM

filc:

 

Asserting something as a fallacy doesn;t make it so. The sky is blue is a fallacy. That doesn't mean its true. You have to actually explain why. Something you have yet to do.

A is not A

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AJ replied on Fri, Jan 22 2010 11:39 PM

Stranger:

AJ:

Photographing over someone's shoulder as they're reading in the park is fine then?

AJ:

3. Record the data when (if) it arrives on your recording device.

Fallacy 7.

Here is your Fallacy 7 (Counterfeiting):

"One obviously does not need a contractual relation with a property owner in order to be a violator of his property. A thief is not bound by contract to respect the property of the owner of the automobile he is driving away in. He is bound by the law to do so, and will be punished for his violation. The role of the contract in intellectual property is precisely the reverse, it grants the right to the consumer to access the property of the producer, and thus makes their limited use of the information lawful."

Nothing more than handwaving. Calling copying counterfeiting doesn't magically make it a crime. Don't assert, demonstrate.

Stranger:

AJ:
First of all, fallacy of composition: the information is not the delivery vehicle for that information.

This is a crime against the English language.

Others can be the judge of that. It's fully transparent that you say that merely because you have a vested interest in the idea that information is more than patterns.

Stranger:

AJ:
Ever heard of radio?

Fallacy 2. Radio is scarce.

The spectrum may be, but the waves are not.

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Sage replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 12:45 AM

Stranger:

Good post, but you don't seem to address the most fundamental argument against IP: that IP is slavery. See here, here, and here.

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scineram replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 7:53 AM

Stranger:
Because they operate in a black market, pirate copies of information are generally of lower quality and carry a higher risk than authentic copies.

aXXo and eztv never disappoint.

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Stranger replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 9:27 AM

Sage:

Stranger:

Good post, but you don't seem to address the most fundamental argument against IP: that IP is slavery. See here, here, and here.

I've yet to see anyone make such an absurd claim.

Scanned through the last one quickly and spotted fallacy 1, fallacy 4 and fallacy 6. e: Also fallacy 3.

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Stranger replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 9:35 AM

scineram:

Stranger:
Because they operate in a black market, pirate copies of information are generally of lower quality and carry a higher risk than authentic copies.

aXXo and eztv never disappoint.

To the ordinary consumer of IP, these terms are meaningless. That is testament to their clandestinity.

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DBratton replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 9:54 AM

AJ:
The spectrum may be, but the waves are not.

Actually the spectrum is not scarce. Refer to the Archimedes Principle: For any two real numbers there are infinitely many real numbers between them.

Now substitute frequency for real number and you can see that it is only the capabilities of technological mechanisms for exploiting the spectrum which are limited.

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z1235 replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 10:14 AM

Stranger:
Author's note: I am compiling in this thread a list of all the fallacies invoked against intellectual property rights.

Stranger, great work!

Z.

 

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One does not need to reflect for long to realize the fallacy in this argument. We have known since Rothbard's Man, Economy and State the difference between patents and copyrights. Simply put, copyrights originate with a producer, while patents originate with the state. One must "apply for" patent protection in order to be granted it, but one does not need to apply for copyright protection to receive it, one only needs to seek protection with the state when a copyright is violated, much as is the case when any other form of market-created property is violated. This makes a copyrighted intellectual property a product of the free market, as it is created by a producer of information for the benefit of consumers.
Am I violating your rights right now in some way by block quoting you without asking?

What I am understanding in section 1 is that everyone has a right for a copyright on their work as soon as it is created. What happens when two people independently create similar ideas?

deas can be communicated orally following their formulation in the mind, but useful information can only be produced while working with media, can only be inscribed and communicated through media, and can only be enjoyed and consumed through a media. Often they must be recorded from the physical world using sophisticated instruments to transform physical patterns from one aspect to another, recordable one. This physicality makes information essentially indistinguishable from media. Information can only exist if media takes a specific physical shape. For example, if one wants a recording of actors riding along a mountain range, one must send physical actors to this mountain range and record their physical presence with cameras writing on film or on digital memory, a process that requires a substantial capital investment. The uniqueness of such an event is self-evident, and even if another producer of information were to hire the same actors to ride along the same mountain range and film them with the same equipment, the resulting stream of information would still be completely different in physical structure. This makes information a good that is inevitably bound to a physical structure, which are scarce, therefore a tangible good. Any existence of an identical copy of this information stream is physically connected to this original recording through acts of communication with the producer's property, and it is impossible for it to be a result of an independent act of creation.

In fact, one can determine whether or not an intellectual property is legitimate based on the nature of the information; when the information is unique and will never re-occur in the lifetime of the universe, then it is scarce and comes only from one original source. If the information is not unique and can re-occur again and again, then it is not scarce and can be considered super-abundant, as it would be in the Garden of Eden. For super-abundant information, no conflict can possibly arise, as no labor is ever spent in its production. For information that is unique and specific, the scarcity of this information will grant the one who possesses it a productive advantage, and many others will attempt to obtain this information. Because it is unique, the only way to obtain it is by either contracting with the original producer, or by violating this producer's physical property. This is why there is a market for information in the first place, and this is why counterfeiters seek to obtain this information in order to produce copies. Were the information not scarce, there would be no need at all to engage in copying! (In comparison with patents for ideas, one never sees internet pirates redistributing patented ideas, as these have no scarcity and no value.)

 

I really don't need physical media to have valuable intellectual nonproperty. If I make up a song and sing it do I have a right to coerce anyone who sings a similar song, is influenced by it in some way, or builds on it?

How do you tell if information meets the criteria you made up to be scarce?

 

What it means, in essence, is that all open source software is produced to suit the needs of the producers, not the consumers. Those who do not have the skill of software production do not enjoy the benefits of this software. It is an explicit rejection of the division of labor and capitalism.
Yes the beneficiaries are often the producers themselves. You are trying to tell me it is bad because they are not selling it and they are their own primary customers?

Fallacy 7: A counterfeiter is not breaking a contract and is not bound by copyright limitations

One obviously does not need a contractual relation with a property owner in order to be a violator of his property. A thief is not bound by contract to respect the property of the owner of the automobile he is driving away in. He is bound by the law to do so, and will be punished for his violation. The role of the contract in intellectual property is precisely the reverse, it grants the right to the consumer to access the property of the producer, and thus makes their limited use of the information lawful.

How exactly is someone who violates a copy right a "counterfeiter"? If one rock band uses a riff from another band's song in their song have they counterfeited? If I block quote mises am I counterfeiting? If I run my own world of warcraft servers possibly with some minor changes am I counterfeiting? Does it matter if I credit Blizzard for originally creating the program? Does it matter if warcraft is a complete ripoff of Dungons and Dragons which is a complete ripoff of Lord of the Rings.

 

Supposing that it were impossible for the information producer to control the supply of information, then the value of any capitalist investment in information would be zero, and no such production would ever be risked, to the detriment of information consumers.

No one is saying you should not be able to control your information. You just don't have a right for people to go to you when they have cheaper alternatives.

 

This is an argument from miracle, and obviously does not enter a rational discourse on the legality of intellectual property, as a counterfeiter would have to provide evidence of a miracle in order to escape an accusation of counterfeiting unique information, just as a thief who uses the excuse of a miraculous possession of a car identical to the one coincidentally robbed from a property owner would have to prove the miracle to get away.

Uh this happens all the time. Newton and some other guy both invented calculus simultaneously. Newton was an IP nazi and went after the other guy (whose calculus was actually better and more streamlined) and ruined his carreer.

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Stranger replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 12:09 PM

Taras Smereka:

Am I violating your rights right now in some way by block quoting you without asking?

What I am understanding in section 1 is that everyone has a right for a copyright on their work as soon as it is created.

A copyrighted media is created by a producer of information, and is then sold to the market, much like one creates property in concert tickets and sells them to the market. If I don't explicitly create this copyright, then my creation of information on the servers of the Mises Institute is not restrictive. I am giving away the information, which is also my right.

Taras Smereka:

What happens when two people independently create similar ideas?

Taras Smereka:

I really don't need physical media to have valuable intellectual nonproperty. If I make up a song and sing it do I have a right to coerce anyone who sings a similar song, is influenced by it in some way, or builds on it?

How do you tell if information meets the criteria you made up to be scarce?

Fallacy 2.

Taras Smereka:
Yes the beneficiaries are often the producers themselves. You are trying to tell me it is bad because they are not selling it and they are their own primary customers?

I am saying that it is inferior economically as it is a rejection of specialization under the division of labor.

Taras Smereka:
How exactly is someone who violates a copy right a "counterfeiter"? If one rock band uses a riff from another band's song in their song have they counterfeited? If I block quote mises am I counterfeiting? If I run my own world of warcraft servers possibly with some minor changes am I counterfeiting? Does it matter if I credit Blizzard for originally creating the program? Does it matter if warcraft is a complete ripoff of Dungons and Dragons which is a complete ripoff of Lord of the Rings.

Fallacy 1, 4, 9.

Taras Smereka:
No one is saying you should not be able to control your information. You just don't have a right for people to go to you when they have cheaper alternatives.

Fallacy 2, 3, 4, 9.

Taras Smereka:

Uh this happens all the time. Newton and some other guy both invented calculus simultaneously. Newton was an IP nazi and went after the other guy (whose calculus was actually better and more streamlined) and ruined his carreer.

Fallacy 1.

 

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Sage replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 12:16 PM

Stranger:
I've yet to see anyone make such an absurd claim.

Scanned through the last one quickly and spotted fallacy 1, fallacy 4 and fallacy 6. e: Also fallacy 3.

Okay, but what about the slavery argument?

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Stranger replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 12:18 PM

Sage:

Stranger:
I've yet to see anyone make such an absurd claim.

Scanned through the last one quickly and spotted fallacy 1, fallacy 4 and fallacy 6. e: Also fallacy 3.

Okay, but what about the slavery argument?

It's an obfuscation of the meaning of the word slavery itself.

Slavery is exclusive control over another man's labor on the market.

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Sage replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 12:21 PM

Well, until you actually address the argument, your compilation here is incomplete.

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Stranger replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 12:22 PM

Sage:

Well, until you actually address the argument, your compilation here is incomplete.

There is no argument. They are redefining slavery to claim that IP is slavery. A is not A.

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filc replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 1:09 PM

Xtranger:
Assertion 1. The sky is Red.

 

OthergGuy:
Actually it's blue.

Xtranger:
Assertion 1.

OthergGuy:
 No the sun rays pass through the atmosphere whcih give it a blue haze, unless your color blind. 

Xtranger:
Assertion 1.

 

OthergGuy:
 Um.. you should probably get your eyes checked, thats not reality.

Xtranger:
Assertion 1. The skys is red.

OthergGuy:
 No thats whats beign debated, you have to prove it

Xtranger:
Assertion 1.

OthergGuy:
 Wtf?

Xtranger:
Assertion 1.

OtherGuy:
Your mom goes the college

Xtranger:
Fallacy A: Makign asserting that the sky is blue.

OtherGuy:
Ok I give, you have yet to prove anything other than that you like repeating yourself.

Xtranger:
Assertion 1.

 

1. Begging the question.

2. Argumentum ad nauseum

Why are you all wasting your time with a troll?

Hard Rain:
Don't do it, filc!!

Indeed! i fell right into it. The ole bait n switch.

Adult Stranger posted, than child Stranger followed through. I'm just glad I didn't waste my time writing a formal response.

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I was asking for clarification, but this is obviously a troll thread so nevermind.

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Juan replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 1:36 PM
Did Stranger address the little problem that his fictitious IP conflicts with libertarian property rights ? Not that he would be bothered since he's a socialist/conservative who believes that we live in a 'capitalist' paradise where privilege is free-enterprise and black is white.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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