Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Intellectual Property and the Composer

rated by 0 users
This post has 35 Replies | 7 Followers

Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890
JackSkylark Posted: Sat, Jan 24 2009 12:01 PM

I am a musician and a composer. I develop, over the course of eight years, a new musical composition. Under IP, I would be protected for what I would surely consider theft. But, without IP, once shown in public, the score could easily be copied and sold at a much lower rate than I could afford (since I would have to factor in the cost of eight years of time while anyone with a copy would not).

I chose this because its specific nature (and because I am in somewhat of the same position). Given this scenario, should it be legaly wrong for someone to copy, pass off as their own, or "pirate" - what I created? Or, should it be perfectly legal? Of course, the consumer benefits in the short run - they get a cheaper product (in this case it could be free) - but are there long term consequences to not having some protection for very specific ideas?

Another scenario could be, right when Rothbard unveils "Man, Economy, and State" - Joe down the lane copies it (maybe even puts his name on it) and sells it way below Rothbard would have. Doesn't this discourage the development of ideas that can't be hidden once they are released?

  • | Post Points: 90
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Oh wow.  Have you read anything on this subject at Mises.org yet?

It's all been covered many times, and while it's probably good to refresh the topic now and again, this has been debated a LOT lately.

What is legal, and what is right, are two different things.  It's illegal to smoke pot, it is not wrong to smoke pot.

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/5881.aspx

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/5541.aspx

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/4050.aspx

http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/4971.aspx

http://mises.org/story/3298

 

And check the Mises blog recently, there have been loads of entries on IP

http://blog.mises.org/blog/

 

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

Oh yes, I've read it. But that doesn't mean I fully agree. I understand completely the economic consequences of IP, and so as a value free statement the consumer is in a position of less material wealth with IP than without. But in a vaue system, I can not find some cause for not having legal interference in very specific cases of IP.

I am much more concerned with the long term effects on not having any IP. In the realm of the arts much, much work is gone into developing a creation... and without IP there will be no benefit in spending time on developing anything, since it will then be sold as if it were a non-scarce good in a competitve market (compared to it not exitisting prior to the concept). Thus, without ownership in music or in literature, as a process of development there will be a dying off of the art. None of this is an economic argument, but rather a value and cultural inquiry.

  • | Post Points: 65
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

The renaissance did not occur due to IP.

I think it is mythology that without IP, creation will stop.  There are literally millions of people who blog their photos, their poems, their thoughts, their plans and opinions daily without any regard for IP, or controlling distribution.

The people most concerned (IMHO) about IP, are the producers who seem to be short on ideas of how to capitalize on a world without IP fascism.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,985
Points 90,430

JackSkylark:
But, without IP, once shown in public, the score could easily be copied and sold at a much lower rate than I could afford (since I would have to factor in the cost of eight years of time while anyone with a copy would not).

Don't show it in public then, it's that simple.

JackSkylark:
Another scenario could be, right when Rothbard unveils "Man, Economy, and State" - Joe down the lane copies it (maybe even puts his name on it) and sells it way below Rothbard would have. Doesn't this discourage the development of ideas that can't be hidden once they are released?

If Joe were to sell it in his name he'd be defrauding his customers. Otherwise he'd have to put it in Rothbard's name. I'm sure if Rothbard endorsed one version most people would be likely to buy that one instead of Joe's copy. Once again, Rothbard should have been more careful.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 353
Points 5,400
nhaag replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 12:56 PM

JackSkylark:
I am much more concerned with the long term effects on not having any IP. In the realm of the arts much, much work is gone into developing a creation... and without IP there will be no benefit in spending time on developing anything, since it will then be sold as if it were a non-scarce good in a competitve market (compared to it not exitisting prior to the concept). Thus, without ownership in music or in literature, as a process of development there will be a dying off of the art. None of this is an economic argument, but rather a value and cultural inquiry.

You mean everything from Bach, Bethoven, Haendel ... you name them all, not to forget Mozart wouldn't have been created if they where not tightly protected by the rigid IP laws in former times?

Thank god they had the protection of their IP or they would have had no incentive to create.

I would propose you read this book Against Intellectual Monopol

In the begining there was nothing, and it exploded.

Terry Pratchett (on the big bang theory)

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 350
Points 5,405
kiba replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 1:11 PM

JackSkylark:

Oh yes, I've read it. But that doesn't mean I fully agree. I understand completely the economic consequences of IP, and so as a value free statement the consumer is in a position of less material wealth with IP than without. But in a vaue system, I can not find some cause for not having legal interference in very specific cases of IP.

I am much more concerned with the long term effects on not having any IP. In the realm of the arts much, much work is gone into developing a creation... and without IP there will be no benefit in spending time on developing anything, since it will then be sold as if it were a non-scarce good in a competitve market (compared to it not exitisting prior to the concept). Thus, without ownership in music or in literature, as a process of development there will be a dying off of the art. None of this is an economic argument, but rather a value and cultural inquiry.

It just mean that you are a terrible entrepreneur. You overestimated the risk and ignoring how filesharing will expand your market and opportunity.

Plus classical musicans already figured it out.

http://libregamewiki.org - The world's only encyclopedia on free(as in freedom) gaming.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

On that point you are wrong. I would argue that the emergance of copyright and short term patents in effect led to the rising status of the artists in the late gothic period and early Renaissance. There was huge application for copyright in the early 1500's. Italy held many 12 year privilegio for literature and most of the large scale art works. Michelangelo's Florence Pieta' held copyright too, so in fact the renaissance did flourish (either in spite of or with) under copyright.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

nhaag:

You mean everything from Bach, Bethoven, Haendel ... you name them all, not to forget Mozart wouldn't have been created if they where not tightly protected by the rigid IP laws in former times?

Without IP, I would argue that alot of Beethoven would not have been writen, or at least silenced till his death. Since once he would spend 2 years on a symphony, some upstart would copy it and then be able to sell it off without any of the development cost to Beethoven.

To make myself clear, I do not support the current IP rule, but I don't call for IP's complete abolishment. I am in favor of very short term copyright privileges.

  • | Post Points: 35
Not Ranked
Posts 350
Points 5,405
kiba replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 1:33 PM

JackSkylark:

To make myself clear, I do not support the current IP rule, but I don't call for IP's complete abolishment. I am in favor of very short term copyright privileges.

Than you support proping up artists who suck at entrepreneurship. Beside, copyright is completely unneccesary when you keep hearing about examples of artists incorporating and accounting for infinte goods into their business models.

 

For starter, I just got 50 bucks job from a fan to make a graphical engine for a game. If the author put such restrictive license on the source code, I wouldn't even have this job in the first place. Thinks about the job that were not created, resource not allocated, etc when you proposed copyright privilleges.

 

NOTES: Everybody have to start somewhere. 50 bucks might seem a small amount of money to you but it is an invaluable step to advancing my career.

http://libregamewiki.org - The world's only encyclopedia on free(as in freedom) gaming.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 350
Points 5,405
kiba replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 1:38 PM

JackSkylark:
Since once he would spend 2 years on a symphony, some upstart would copy it and then be able to sell it off without any of the development cost to Beethoven.

To make myself clear, I do not support the current IP rule, but I don't call for IP's complete abolishment. I am in favor of very short term copyright privileges.

I called BS on this. For the original innovator, the development cost is alway high yet firms like RedHat continues to thrive.

 

However it also make me questions your statement that you did indeed read all of this. Did you lie?

http://libregamewiki.org - The world's only encyclopedia on free(as in freedom) gaming.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 480
Points 9,370
Moderator

If you are looking for a libertarian solution to intellectual "property" in a non-libertarian world, you will never find it.  There is nothing inherently wrong with forcibly forbidding people from copying your work.  The only thing that would be wrong would be to socialize the costs as is currently done with statist copyright laws. 

 

In a consistently libertarian society, to prevent people from copying your work, you are going to have to pay for that protection just like you are going to have to pay for any other protection.  So, you will have to become a customer of a defense agency that fights copyright violations.  People who copy your work will likely be customers of defense agencies that do not respect copyright.  Both of your premiums will reflect your preferences.  Both of those firms will have likely pre-arranged contracts which stipulate how disputes will be handled. 

 

So, if somebody copies your work, you will call up your agency and let them know.  Your agent will call up the other person's agent and the two will settle the dispute -- as they would settle any other dispute. 

 

 

 

 

 

nhaag:
You mean everything from Bach, Bethoven, Haendel ... you name them all, not to forget Mozart wouldn't have been created if they where not tightly protected by the rigid IP laws in former times?

Thank god they had the protection of their IP or they would have had no incentive to create.

That is a deceptive argument.  Bach, Beethoven and Handel may not have registered copyrights of their work but they did not need to.  They were all beneficiaries of the state and the state controlled the market in a manner which made copyrighting their work unnecessary but yet still made it impossible for imposters to copy their music. 

 

 

 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

Charles Anthony:

 

In a consistently libertarian society, to prevent people from copying your work, you are going to have to pay for that protection just like you are going to have to pay for any other protection.  So, you will have to become a customer of a defense agency that fights copyright violations.  People who copy your work will likely be customers of defense agencies that do not respect copyright.  Both of your premiums will reflect your preferences.  Both of those firms will have likely pre-arranged contracts which stipulate how disputes will be handled. 

 

This is what I'm trying to solve here and exactly that kind of answer I am trying to obtain.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,739
Points 60,635
Marko replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 1:54 PM

JackSkylark:


I am much more concerned with the long term effects on not having any IP. In the realm of the arts much, much work is gone into developing a creation... and without IP there will be no benefit in spending time on developing anything, since it will then be sold as if it were a non-scarce good in a competitve market (compared to it not exitisting prior to the concept). Thus, without ownership in music or in literature, as a process of development there will be a dying off of the art. None of this is an economic argument, but rather a value and cultural inquiry.

There needs to be no benefit to develop anything. Truly creative people will create art because they recognise it as their calling, not to get rich off it anyways. If anything it will ridd us of alot of charlatans. Tolstoy would stil write without IP, as would Dostoyevski. And the less Terry Goodkinds the better.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

kiba:

However it also make me questions your statement that you did indeed read all of this. Did you lie?

I am trying to figure out what you mean here? My scenario on someone stealing Beethoven's composition is a fabrication in order to simulate a point, I thought that was obviously clear.

Or, do you mean my earlier example of copyright during the Renaissance? Most of that comes from the book "Prints and privilegio in sixteenth century venice" by Christopher Witcombe. Another good reference is "Author's Due" By Lowenstein.

So now that I have made the extent of my copyright history full knowledge, maybe you can tell me why did you ask if I lied?

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

Marko:

There needs to be no benefit to develop anything. Truly creative people will create art because they recognise it as their calling, not to get rich off it anyways. If anything it will ridd us of alot of charlatans. Tolstoy would stil write without IP, as would Dostoyevski. And the less Terry Goodkinds the better.  

Wonderful post, and I wrote expecting this response. In fact, do not know how to answer it. I know I would not remove myself from music even if  there was no money in it. So, I can consede to the point on the "calling of the artist" could act as a mechanism for weeding out the charlatans. 

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 350
Points 5,405
kiba replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 4:08 PM

JackSkylark:

kiba:

However it also make me questions your statement that you did indeed read all of this. Did you lie?

I am trying to figure out what you mean here? My scenario on someone stealing Beethoven's composition is a fabrication in order to simulate a point, I thought that was obviously clear.

Or, do you mean my earlier example of copyright during the Renaissance? Most of that comes from the book "Prints and privilegio in sixteenth century venice" by Christopher Witcombe. Another good reference is "Author's Due" By Lowenstein.

So now that I have made the extent of my copyright history full knowledge, maybe you can tell me why did you ask if I lied?

Did you read the various IP on mises did you not or even my post? If so, than you lack reading comperhension. I pointed out that it is a business model problem.

 

Your point was already refuted thousand of times, and thousand more times on other various sites, books, and discussions.

http://libregamewiki.org - The world's only encyclopedia on free(as in freedom) gaming.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 20
Points 490
kefka888 replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 4:24 PM

Also, don't forget that certain composers are famous for "copying" music that was off limits. Mainly Mozart, who is considered one of the most talented composers to ever live.

The vatican decreed that the piece Miserere mei Deus was not to be copied or removed from the Vatican on pain of excommunication. In effect, the Church banned its performance anywhere in the world except within the Sistine Chapel.

So this certain piece remained in the chapel until a certian 12 year old boy visited the Sistine chapel one day to hear the performance of this piece. When Mozart returned home he sat down and copied the whole piece from memory. After hearing the peice a second time (this time with his manuscript in hand) he sucessfully fully copied the piece. Of course the Mozart family, being devout catholics would not publish the work for risk of being excommunicated. What the young mozart did do however was give a copy to an english man who then published the work. Of course some of this is speculation but it is a story that is taught in music classes. Now, can anyone say that the release of this work to the public was a bad thing? Is Mozart evil for copying the work? No I would say being able to look at the score and look at the genious of the work is helpful to many more people who are studying music. It also enabled people who would never be able to visit the vatican to hear it performed. Mozart never made much money off of any of his composisitons, he might make a little off of a commission but he made most of his money from his performances of his works. That is still where musicians make the majority of their money. The publishers sell the compositions but it is the name they put on the composition that sells the piece.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

kiba:

Did you read the various IP on mises did you not or even my post? If so, than you lack reading comperhension. I pointed out that it is a business model problem.

 

Your point was already refuted thousand of times, and thousand more times on other various sites, books, and discussions.

Yes, I have read everything posted here and I am a regular reader of this site. And, no, I do not think that asking a question or soliciting information is a lack of "reading comprehension". In fact, I would hope you don't take everything as truth immediately. This is an issue with me because I am personally in the business.

You may call it a failed business model but I would like to have ownership over what I make. Working eight years to develop a piece of music and then getting a market price of 0$ because it suddenly becomes an infinite good, forces me either to starve or give up music. So if I seem a bit thick, forgive me.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

kiba:

Beside, copyright is completely unneccesary when you keep hearing about examples of artists incorporating and accounting for infinte goods into their business models.

the main product in a "infinite good business model" is not the infinite good. Instead, the acutal good sold is either advertising or some other good. And in relation to the music industry, music then is only an commercial for "a new brand of cereal" (how degrading). This means that music can not succeed on its own since there is no cost in making or distributing (except of course to the composer) and no barrier to entry.

On a side note: I'm really off today (at home with the flu), so I will probably come around tomorrow and see the error of my ways.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 350
Points 5,405
kiba replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 5:10 PM

JackSkylark:

 

Yes, I have read everything posted here and I am a regular reader of this site. And, no, I do not think that asking a question or soliciting information is a lack of "reading comprehension". In fact, I would hope you don't take everything as truth immediately. This is an issue with me because I am personally in the business.

Your questions appears to be ignorant of the materials that this site has posted, especially since it is already answered in various way.

Did you read my link on classical musicans? That should get you started on finding a suitable business model for your needs.

You may call it a failed business model but I would like to have ownership over what I make. Working eight years to develop a piece of music and then getting a market price of 0$ because it suddenly becomes an infinite good, forces me either to starve or give up music. So if I seem a bit thick, forgive me.

So sad, too bad. You sucks. Either find a way to make your activity profitable or do something else.

http://libregamewiki.org - The world's only encyclopedia on free(as in freedom) gaming.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

kiba:

Did you read my link on classical musicans? That should get you started on finding a suitable business model for your needs.

Yes, I did read that link. Giving away a free sample (primarily when you are already established within the music world) is a form of advertising, so as to sell other works to a larger audience (who were introduced through the free offer). The business model presented in that link you gave relies totally on IP in order to work.

But enough of that, I want to ask another question and offer another scenario. I was reading "Against Intellectual Property", since I have not yet read it and it was mentioned as an answer. In general (and I mentioned this before) I agree with every word, untill I get to the part about "reserved rights" (pg. 47). Kinsella argues that, unlike with tangible property, I am unable to reserve rights on an idea, since he finds that "something is amiss". But to this he gives very little actual arguement. Should I not be able to sell the partial rights of my musical composition while keeping the "right to copy", as he puts it. No one has even suggested that we should do away with conditional ownership, because of this why could I not have some sort of "end-user license agreement" which would contractionally oblige someone not to copy?  

  • | Post Points: 50
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 20
Points 490
kefka888 replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 6:41 PM

You can make money the way, historically, all musicians have made money:performances and commisions.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 5,255
Points 80,815
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

FWIW, I think such agreements are perfectly fine. So long as you understand they cannot replicate current IP models.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 7,105
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

JackSkylark:
No one has even suggested that we should do away with conditional ownership, because of this why could I not have some sort of "end-user license agreement" which would contractionally oblige someone not to copy?  

but consider if a whole lot of excellent competing product is out there without 'protection/ you might find people positively avoid your work so they cant be guilty of copying it by accident (absentmindedly get confused about what product they can copy and what they cant).

if they find enough good stuff to listen to without legal hassles......

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 20
Points 490
kefka888 replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 7:03 PM

JackSkylark:

But enough of that, I want to ask another question and offer another scenario. I was reading "Against Intellectual Property", since I have not yet read it and it was mentioned as an answer. In general (and I mentioned this before) I agree with every word, untill I get to the part about "reserved rights" (pg. 47). Kinsella argues that, unlike with tangible property, I am unable to reserve rights on an idea, since he finds that "something is amiss". But to this he gives very little actual arguement. Should I not be able to sell the partial rights of my musical composition while keeping the "right to copy", as he puts it. No one has even suggested that we should do away with conditional ownership, because of this why could I not have some sort of "end-user license agreement" which would contractionally oblige someone not to copy?  

I think you are confusing Intellectual Property with Copyright. If I create something and copyright it. The buyer forms a contract with the seller that they will not copy it. For instance: I buy a painting of Mickey Mouse and it is copyrighted by the painter. I agree that I will not copy this painting. However, if I decide to paint my own unique Mickey Mouse painting I would not be in breach of the contract.

Intellectual property, on the other hand, claims that an Idea is unique and that a certain person or corporation is the only person who can use or profit from that idea. For instance: After I paint this Mickey Mouse painting I decide to copyright and sell it. After selling a couple paintings I am contacted by the "intellectual property owner of Mickey Mouse." They tell me that I must stop selling my Mickey Mouse painting or I will be sued because I do not own the "idea" of Mickey Mouse.

Look at calculus for instance: Leibniz and Newton both came up with calculus independently of one another. Their notation was different but the idea was the same. Ideas are not unique and can be reached by any person. As the saying goes.. Anyone can have an idea, It's what you DO with the idea that counts.

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 444
Points 7,395

People are always appealing to art because they know they can get easy agreement.  Who would argue against art?  no one that doesn't want to look like an uncultured slob surely.  Stop relying on children, art, and raw fear to back up your anti-libertarian assertions.  It is intellectually dishonest.

Let's change that original post to an invention that you worked on for eight years.  Who is going to copy an unsuccessful product?  If your product is a success then it doesn't matter if people copy it, you've already made some money and you don't have a right to monopoly status so that you can artificially increase the time span that you derive revenue from it.   "But then people will only make things that they can turn a profit on!" you complain.  Let's change the term "turn a profit" which is obviously loaded to "that people will want".  "People will only make things that other people want" you complain....this isn't much of a complaint.  If you want to make things that other people don't want feel free.  Just support it with your own money instead of expecting public funds that were stolen at gunpoint to be used to support it.

  • | Post Points: 35
Not Ranked
Posts 244
Points 4,890

nazgulnarsil:

People are always appealing to art because they know they can get easy agreement.  Who would argue against art?  no one that doesn't want to look like an uncultured slob surely.  Stop relying on children, art, and raw fear to back up your anti-libertarian assertions.  It is intellectually dishonest.

Let's change that original post to an invention that you worked on for eight years.  Who is going to copy an unsuccessful product?  If your product is a success then it doesn't matter if people copy it, you've already made some money and you don't have a right to monopoly status so that you can artificially increase the time span that you derive revenue from it.   "But then people will only make things that they can turn a profit on!" you complain.  Let's change the term "turn a profit" which is obviously loaded to "that people will want".  "People will only make things that other people want" you complain....this isn't much of a complaint.  If you want to make things that other people don't want feel free.  Just support it with your own money instead of expecting public funds that were stolen at gunpoint to be used to support it.

 

I chose art since that’s my business and thus what I naturally think of. There was no hidden meaning in my choosing so, I had thought I had made that quite clear. Also, you misunderstood me; I do not defend total monopoly on broad "idea" but on the narrow product itself under general contract or "reserved rights". I'm sure you've seen plenty of people selling copies of brand new recordings for a quarter. There is obviously nothing wrong with reinvention, which I would call the "idea", but the owner and user of media purchased is under (usually it is printed on the disc or in the liner notes) contractional obligation not to copy. My reason for setting up this question was to determine the libertarianism of "reserved rights" in relation to, for instance, music.

Also, I do not know who your post was directed towards, and if it was for me then you have set up a straw man as I never called for taxation. Spouting beginning libertarian catchphrases and calling questions and hypothetical inquiry "anti-libertarian assertions", puts you on a huge disadvantage in presenting your argument. 

My pretense is a libertarian system of courts. Now, of course, this sets up a huge discussion on law without legislation and competitive courts, which would naturally include some public presentiment (or demand for law). But, for the sake of argument, we simplify this by calling for a libertarian legal code.  As a restatement, my question is “are “reserved rights” compatible with a libertarian legal code?”  (I am satisfied with alot of the previous responses) 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 444
Points 7,395

JackSkylark:
I never called for taxation.

right but it seems you believe in copyright, something tax dollars are used to enforce.

copyright is supposed to be a contract between the seller and the buyer that the buyer will not reproduce the work he is being sold.  This would be fine if the copyright system wasn't horribly flawed.

 

 

 

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 350
Points 5,405
kiba replied on Sat, Jan 24 2009 11:10 PM

nazgulnarsil:

JackSkylark:
I never called for taxation.

right but it seems you believe in copyright, something tax dollars are used to enforce.

copyright is supposed to be a contract between the seller and the buyer that the buyer will not reproduce the work he is being sold.  This would be fine if the copyright system wasn't horribly flawed.

While such contracts are probably permissable in a libertarian society, I predict such contracts would not outcompete with more competitive offering. Bad business models are the kind that substract values from a good or services.

In other words, such contract would be self-defeating in the long run.

http://libregamewiki.org - The world's only encyclopedia on free(as in freedom) gaming.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 444
Points 7,395

It's not really enforceable.  What happens when the person who bougt the thing shows it to their friend?  do they make their friend sign a contract?  do you sue them for showing it to their friend?

So few would bother to enter into such a contract.  People who demand such contracts would probably be laughed out of the market.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

nazgulnarsil:

It's not really enforceable.  What happens when the person who bougt the thing shows it to their friend?  do they make their friend sign a contract?  do you sue them for showing it to their friend?

So few would bother to enter into such a contract.  People who demand such contracts would probably be laughed out of the market.

We had this discussion a while ago with Max Liberty and Peter Wellington.  Yes, people can and probably should use contracts.  No, contracts cannot create an effective monopoly where the property is not scarce.

Imagine the problem of one more degree of separation. While showing your invention to your friend, his wife/sister sees it.

People assume folks will line up to sign a piece of paper because it's thrilling and will make them feel important.  But imagine that the wife/sister sees the value in the product, and when presented after the revelation of the product with a contract to maintain discretion, now that knowledge has value and demands something in exchange (which seems entirely reasonable).

The great problem of IP goes even one step further.  One can produce an idea in seclusion, keeping it secret.  But he's totally screwed when someone else, solves the same problem with a similar or different solution.  And how can one be a criminal, for inventing a good, after another?  Well, the state can do these crazy things, but no rational understanding of the circumstances would allow it.

 

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 11,343
Points 194,945
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

nazgulnarsil:
Let's change that original post to an invention that you worked on for eight years.  Who is going to copy an unsuccessful product?

Most people who argue for IP still haven't completely bought into, or understand the subjective theory of value.  Because all else aside, if they did understand the subjective theory of value, then they would understand that determining losses (reparations) from IP leakage would be nearly impossible.  Not every good has value, and sans monopoly no creator dictates the value of his product in a vacuum.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 81
Points 1,695

Just because there aren't IP laws doesn't mean there aren't ways of protecting your work, ways that are compatible with libertarian principles.  Charles Anthony touched on a very direct way earlier in the thread, but you have even more options.

When you write a book, develop a piece of software, or compose music, *you* have it.  No one else knows about it until *you choose* to reveal it.  That's really important because it gives you the chance to come up with a business model to profit from it.

Imagine you lived during a time when the printing press started being used to print books, and there's only one being operated within 100 miles of you.  You write up a proposal (a contract) for the owner of the printing press.  You agree to pay for 500 copies of your book, on the condition that he does not print any unauthorized copies for 2 years (you'd probably pay a premium for this).  If he doesn't agree, he loses your business.  If he agrees, he's just entered into a binding contract, one where you can collect damages if breached.  You can enter a similar contract with the town bookstore.  Now copycats have to deal with the difficulty and expense of copying and marketing the book through alternate means.  If you wanted to take it further, you could even include some usage terms with your book before the reader broke the seal (whether readers would buy a book like that or it would hold up in court or if that would even decrease copying, who knows, just another possibility).

In the realm of music, think of the ways in which people obtain it (the ways you don't like).  Contract with those sources, those who are part of that process.  Make it worth their while financially.  This can be difficult in situations where you're a small player in the market, but if enough people/companies have that same need, you can come together and make it happen.  It really comes down to what you want to pay to protect your work vs. what people are willing to pay or avoid in order to obtain it.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 3,739
Points 60,635
Marko replied on Mon, Jan 26 2009 5:54 AM

PeterWellington:

Just because there aren't IP laws doesn't mean there aren't ways of protecting your work, ways that are compatible with libertarian principles.  Charles Anthony touched on a very direct way earlier in the thread, but you have even more options.

When you write a book, develop a piece of software, or compose music, *you* have it.  No one else knows about it until *you choose* to reveal it.  That's really important because it gives you the chance to come up with a business model to profit from it.

Imagine you lived during a time when the printing press started being used to print books, and there's only one being operated within 100 miles of you.  You write up a proposal (a contract) for the owner of the printing press.  You agree to pay for 500 copies of your book, on the condition that he does not print any unauthorized copies for 2 years (you'd probably pay a premium for this).  If he doesn't agree, he loses your business.  If he agrees, he's just entered into a binding contract, one where you can collect damages if breached.  You can enter a similar contract with the town bookstore.  Now copycats have to deal with the difficulty and expense of copying and marketing the book through alternate means.  If you wanted to take it further, you could even include some usage terms with your book before the reader broke the seal (whether readers would buy a book like that or it would hold up in court or if that would even decrease copying, who knows, just another possibility).

In the realm of music, think of the ways in which people obtain it (the ways you don't like).  Contract with those sources, those who are part of that process.  Make it worth their while financially.  This can be difficult in situations where you're a small player in the market, but if enough people/companies have that same need, you can come together and make it happen.  It really comes down to what you want to pay to protect your work vs. what people are willing to pay or avoid in order to obtain it.

Or more realisticaly, you would write a book and if it was a hit then you would earn by touring from one Q&A session and lecture on your work to another. Provided your work was high quality and your fee wasn`t excessive you would be in great demand.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,985
Points 90,430

PeterWellington:
In the realm of music, think of the ways in which people obtain it (the ways you don't like).  Contract with those sources, those who are part of that process.  Make it worth their while financially.  This can be difficult in situations where you're a small player in the market, but if enough people/companies have that same need, you can come together and make it happen.  It really comes down to what you want to pay to protect your work vs. what people are willing to pay or avoid in order to obtain it.

DRM works wonderfully.

Actually I don't think it would be necessary (or worthwhile) to go to such lengths to protect your music without the state. The problem now is that for a number of reasons CDs are horribly overpriced and the quality is usually quite bad. Usually there's a lack of any (decent) album artwork or anything like that. I used to buy CDs for a long time because I liked having the real thing. But in the end I figured it wasn't worth it, I can go on a torrent site find literally any album I like and have the album within minutes.

 

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (36 items) | RSS