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Intellectual Property in the Arts - How to enforce?

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Mike99 Posted: Thu, Oct 4 2012 2:53 PM

I'm studying libertarianism, free market capitalism, etc. and so far, I'm loving it, it's like a re-awakening to obvious things I knew but didn't know.

 

One thing that bugs me lately is seeing libertarians, or some that call themselves objectivists and so on, basically trashing intellectual property rights. They say, if I have this right - that once the idea leaves your body, it's a free for all. I can't explain why yet, but I believe this to be wrong, and I'd like to hear some ideas on this issue. I mean, if an artist spends 6 weeks in an expensive studio crafting a masterpiece of recorded music, why should he NOT hold the rights to the master, not only as a physical piece of property but as intellectual property. Why can someone copy his song, and take his credit?

 

That's one question. Then, assuming you are going to have IP rights, how do you enforce it? I'm against government force. I believe it just can't be trusted. From my point of view, government is notihng but a corporation with a bunch of monopolies, the end result is murder, theft, genocide, and more.  I don't care what flag they wave.

 

But how do you enforce IP? Take music for example. The internet allows sharing. Perhaps the worst thing you could do is criminalise the end consumer, listening to music as crime is even more abhorrent to me than a free for all. So how to do it?

 

One side shoot to this question is this observation I made: it's actually hard to find reliable sources of high quality music online where you can free download, without danger of viruses, malware, etc. It's actually easier to go to itunes or another store and just buy the music at the prices they are at. When you look at who was distributing the main software that was used for piracy distribution - websites like cnet and others - you find that the same corporations who were lobbying for legislation like CISPA and SOPA were the ones who were the most aggressive in openly promoting pirated music. Seems like a bit of Hegalian dialectic going on there without any question (to say the least). Obviously to chill free speech online.

 

That said - when people are not induced, encouraged and facilitated with the means of pirating IP, particularly music and videos - they tend to buy it. I suspect also that a lot of piracy numbers as in "billions lost this year" are really fake - in other words, a lot of people who watch a pirated movie, or listen to a pirated piece of music in fact if they had not had free access to it, would never have bought it *either* because they never had any intent to pay for it and would have gone without. So, technically while it's a lost intellectual right, it's not a lost monetary unit.

 

BUT all THAT said, freely available pirated music DOES reduce the market value of legitimately sold music at some point, where there's lots of free music available that's a supply issue, and that will reduce demand, especially for not-free music - and reduces the money artists can recover for their work - and personally I think music is extremely important - it's a shame we hardly have any music left due to music company monopolies whose growth and subsuming homogenising activity was only to my mind driven and facilitated by the crony capitalist system. So my question is finally WHAT is the best way to protect IP? Is it through technology? Can the free market develop a system, or sell to consumers via informing them, perhaps, a better system of music. To people who work in music and have any self respect, mp3's and low quality formats like that are disgraceful. What happened to the audiophile industry of decades past? Can we get it back? People used to cherish their stereos, their listening environments. While it's true that demand drives innovation, sometimes people don't know they need something until you give it to them, then they can't live without it. Steve Jobs said something like that. He was right.

 

I refuse to believe that music is a lost cause. I believe much of the situation with music today is in one form or another engineered - either through promotion of piracy of music so that there is a problem that can be pointed at and blamed, as in my example above - or when it comes to the fact that music is hardly anymore the political, emotional and spiritual catalyst, inspiration, and soul nourishing thing that it once was. That lyrics and musical content is dictated by monopolistic coroporate interests - that maintain monopolies becuase of the crony system that supports their festering presence.

 

I apologise if this is a bit of a disconnected rant of sorts, but if anyone can shed light on this topic, I'd be very grateful.

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You are studying libertarianism, so what literature have you read on this sub-topic?

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

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Recordings are not the main source of income for most musicians. Concerts and teaching tend to be the main source. It really annoys me when people start worrying about musicians because of recordings. It just has nothing to do with reality.

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freely available pirated music DOES reduce the market value

You have no right to value. You only have right to phsyical integrity. As Walter Block notes, the value of your stuff is actually other people's opinions of it. You have no right to that.

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Bogart replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 3:59 PM

The enforcement issue is not the worst thing about IP but you brought it up.  It is not my responsibility to enforce or protect your private property rights.  Intellectual property is particularly bad at this as the point to intellectual property is to disperse the IP and then dump the very expensive enforcement onto parties who have no interest in the property.  If I am trying to prevent my home from being robbed then I have to be the first line of security with locks, lights, a security system, weapons, etc.  With IP the holder does not protect their property at all, in the case of music they may put it on the internet for the world to test.  Then the IP holder only pays a minute fraction of the expense of enforcement.  The govenrment that uses force to steal from everybody else then acts as the agent (At its own discression) of the IP holder. 

The worst issues in the concept of Intellectual Property are in order: First, IP is not scarce.  Property rights exist to handle the distribution of scarce things.  When a book or disk or idea is made and placed for the world to see then it is not scarce because many (Billions of people) can possess the item at the same time.  Second, IP is a grant of privilege that enables the holder to use government force to restrict what others can do with their own property.  If someone makes a song and I play it in a coffee shop with my equipment that holder can sue for damages or use damages as a threat to keep me from playing the song.  Third, Other party use of an idea, art work, etc does not harm the person or property of the maker.

 

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 4:08 PM

"You are studying libertarianism, so what literature have you read on this sub-topic?"

 

Oh I should clarify and point out that I say that with good degree of humility... it might have appeared somehow authoratative. I say studying, I mean *I* am studying it, not anywhere, or with anyone. I've read a number of books from Ayn Rand to Ron Paul, Mises, Hazlet and so on. But I'm not studying at a university or anything. This is my own interest in life. :) Also when I say libertairanism I mean that broadly: I am studying libertarianism, free market capitalism, and ultimately I would have to say that my opinions and positions on all things are undetermined as of yet. All I know is to put it basically, I believe in consent, liberty, non-violence except in self defence, voluntary contracts, and logic and rationale - the rest I'm working on.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 4:12 PM

Wheylous: But then if I harvest a ton of wheat and you steal half a ton and sell it down the road?

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 4:13 PM

Bogart, I don't disagree with you on those points, it's impractical and like you point out, the worst of it is that it's discretionary.

 

So what can be done to protect a movie, a piece of music. Put another way how would *good* movies and music be made in a free market in a way that was profitable for the makers?

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Read "Against Intellectual Property" by Stephen Kinsella for an explanation on why IP is illegitimate. It's available free on mises.org in PDF and audiobook format. It's not super long at all. Also, others are correct in pointing out that copyrights do not help artists out as much as they do record label corporations. Artists make their money from live performances.

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The difference between wheat and an idea is scarcity. If someone takes the wheat, you no longer have it. If someone has your song, you still have your song. This issue of scarcity is what defines whether something can legitimately be considered property or not.

It would be fraud for me to copy your soy and pass it off as if I wrote it. And the fraud would be between the person I sold to and myself.

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 4:37 PM
 
 

Phi est aureum:

Read "Against Intellectual Property" by Stephen Kinsella for an explanation on why IP is illegitimate. It's available free on mises.org in PDF and audiobook format. It's not super long at all. Also, others are correct in pointing out that copyrights do not help artists out as much as they do record label corporations. Artists make their money from live performances.

Thanks, I'll look into it. Unlike Autolykos, I have the problem of actually trying to translate libertarian ideals into a working legal code :\ I'm sure there must be better answers out there to my challenges that remain consistent with a free society.

For others looking for the book.

 

 
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Anenome replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 4:40 PM
 
 

Phi est aureum:

The difference between wheat and an idea is scarcity. If someone takes the wheat, you no longer have it. If someone has your song, you still have your song. This issue of scarcity is what defines whether something can legitimately be considered property or not.

It would be fraud for me to copy your soy and pass it off as if I wrote it. And the fraud would be between the person I sold to and myself.

It doesn't work with book writers. There's no such thing as a 'book performance' for instance.

 
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Anenome:
Unlike Autolykos, I have the problem of actually trying to translate libertarian ideals into a working legal code :\

Go right ahead and prove that I've never actually tried doing that - or eat your words.

By the way, just what do you mean by "working legal code"? Answering that question will require you to first explain just what you mean by "legal code" in general.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 6:08 PM
 
 

Autolykos:

Anenome:
Unlike Autolykos, I have the problem of actually trying to translate libertarian ideals into a working legal code :\

Go right ahead and prove that I've never actually tried doing that - or eat your words.

It's been clear that you're only interested in theory and not specific implementation, or are so completely dogmatic about certain principles that when I've questioned how X could be implemented as policy and suggested your statement would be little solace to actual people in X situation, you said, coldly, you didn't care what they thought.

Autolykos:

By the way, just what do you mean by "working legal code"? Answering that question will require you to first explain just what you mean by "legal code" in general.

"It is now clear that there will have to be a legal code in the libertarian society. How? How can there be a legal code, a system of law without a government to promulgate it, an appointed system of judges, or a legislature to vote on statutes? To begin with, is a legal code consistent with libertarian principles? To answer the last question first, it should be clear that a legal code is necessary to lay down precise guidelines for the private courts.

...It then becomes necessary to have a legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow. The legal code, simply, would insist on the libertarian principle of no aggression against person or property, define property rights in accordance with libertarian principle, set up rules of evidence (such as currently apply) in deciding who are the wrongdoers in any dispute, and set up a code of maximum punishment for any particular crime. Within the framework of such a code, the particular courts would compete on the most efficient procedures, and the market would then decide whether judges, juries, etc., are the most efficient methods of providing judicial services.

- Murray N. Rothbard (2012-08-16 12:47:05-07:00). For A New Liberty (Kindle Locations 4196-4206). Ludwig von Mises Institue. Kindle Edition."

I refer you to Rothbard and the rest of that chapter for the rest.

 
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While there aren't book performances, there are book readings and discussions. The author could make money this way. Also, the author could, if working through a publisher, sell the book for a price, and the publisher would decide how to make a profit. Like with music, I believe if prices came down, many would actually pay. Like a penny for a song, a dollar for a book, in digital format of course. This idea applies to painters as well. They could do live paintings (a copy of an original) or discussions of their paintings, or could sell the original to a "publisher."
 
The simple fact is, people are not going to be willing to pay $15 for a CD that costs penny to manufacture when it can be digitally copied so cheaply. The same goes for pictures and text. These artists need to adapt.

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Anenome:

It doesn't work with book writers. There's no such thing as a 'book performance' for instance.

GAH!!!!

Writers have various means to earning money as writers. Selling hard copies of their. Selling digital copies of their work. Selling first right of publication to a publisher. Teaching at colleges. Teaching at high schools. Private tutoring. Teaching workshops. Book readings. Book signings. Lectures. Work as a critic. Freelance writing.

Of course, there are more options if they are screenwriters or playwrights. They can work as a salaried writer at a movie studio. They can work freelance and sell their ideas and scripts to movie studios. Playwrights can collaborate with specific directors in putting on new shows. Until someone can copy the show, they essentially have a natural monopoly on the show. And it would take quite a long time to copy the show.

Most people will do some combination of the methods mentioned above. Many of what I listed are already practiced by both new and established writers. For instance, Orson Scott Card regularly holds workshops and teaches (or he certainly used to). This is in addition to selling a ton of books. And he has also sold the rights to Ender's Game to a movie studio. Without copyright, any movie studio could make an Ender's Game movie, but that doesn't mean they would have the author's blessing. And to fans, that can mean a lot. And if a studio decides to invest in making a movie without the author's permission, you can almost be sure that another studio would seek out the author in order to get his permission. They might even hire him as a writer for the movie.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 6:37 PM

I am a recording artist / composer. I don't do concerts, I'm not a live performer, and I don't teach, what I do can't really be taught. What I do is sell my work and the only way my work is able to be sold is if it's protected as an idea that nobody else can just arbitrarily copy and produce. How do I fit? Before you dismiss music as just a performance, consider the work and expertise that goes into a recording. It's not just poking some microphones in the direction of something and hitting record, anymore than creating a car is as simply as attaching two wheels a seat and an engine to make a car. If there is no IP, nobody will pay me for my compositions. I may write one particularly fantastic piece of music in my life, for example, a lightening bolt moment that millions of people love to hear - for which I invested 30 years previously and 20 after in the quest to find. And that's a free for all?

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 6:41 PM

@gotlucky: you overestimate people in that respect. Yes, in a properous politically interested society of the future, your argument may hold up, but today? Today nobody cares if the writer is stiffed, they care if the movie was entertaining. There will be some who boycott the film, they will be a small minority.

 

How does a recording artist practically today sell music he has recorded for people to enjoy in their homes and not have the precedent established that his efforts are essentially worthless and a free-for-all? Say for example I don't want to prostitute myself into a public figure, which is what one has to do to sell music when the recording itself is just a leaflet inviting you to join the cult of so-and-so.

 

Just asking.

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Mike99:

@gotlucky: you overestimate people in that respect. Yes, in a properous politically interested society of the future, your argument may hold up, but today? Today nobody cares if the writer is stiffed, they care if the movie was entertaining. There will be some who boycott the film, they will be a small minority.

You watch the Harry Potter films? I think they sucked, but some had their moments (they did pack the supporting cast with amazing actors). But Rowling wasn't really involved with it. She sold the rights and that was it. After seeing the crap that came out, I would be totally surprised if there was not someone who would have liked to have done a TV miniseries for each book, but of course he could not because it would be illegal. Just look at how Marvel remade the Hulk and Spider-Man in just a few years. Then there are the Batman remakes. Bond remakes. The Bourne Legacy. Etc.

Hollywood does not mind doing remakes if the studios think they can make money off of them. Do you think that all authors are okay or happy with the outcomes of the movie adaptations? If the fans can be so unhappy, I bet you the authors can be too, even if they don't publicy say so (after all, $$$ is involved). If the author had such a good idea when it came to the novel, you can be sure that they know what they want the film adaptation to look like. Not all authors are suited for writing the screenplay, but that doesn't mean that they cannot be hired to give their input.

Basically, if a movie adaptation came out and the author was unhappy with it, he can approach another studio and say he wants to work with them on making a better version. Even if he did that for free, it would still give him a ton of publicity, and that will help his book sales. But if his book were popular enough that people would be willing to see a better version of the movie, then studios would certainly be willing to pay the author to have him at least consult.

If it wasn't popular enough, then it wasn't popular enough.

Mike99:

How does a recording artist practically today sell music he has recorded for people to enjoy in their homes and not have the precedent established that his efforts are essentially worthless and a free-for-all? Say for example I don't want to prostitute myself into a public figure, which is what one has to do to sell music when the recording itself is just a leaflet inviting you to join the cult of so-and-so.

What is so special about your music that it can't be performed live? I'm a classical musician, and I don't have to have a minimum wage side job. I perform and teach, and I have great hours. Even the most established classical musicians typically do many of what I already mentioned. It is so ridiculously rare for a classical musician to be limited to even one type of performance for income. For example, take the most famous modern classical musician: Yo-Yo Ma. He is the most recorded living classical musician. But guess what? The majority of his income is from performing concerts. Seriously. He makes up to $70,000 for some concerts. Just. One. Concert.

No living classical musician makes his living from recordings alone. Period.

But there are plenty of other successful classical musicians. Forget the soloists, let's look at the top 10 orchestras. Did you know that a section cellist in the BSO makes $128,000 a year? That's without overtime. Yes, they get overtime on top of that. But guess what? Not only do these musicans perform in the BSO, they also teach. Some teach privately, some teach at the local colleges: BU's CFA, NEC, Longy, and BoCo. Not only do they teach and perform in the BSO, but some also perform as soloists and in chamber groups. Some give masterclasses.

Okay, so on top of a really fucking nice salary, they have all sorts of additional income from the sources I mentioned. Okay, but there are only 10 orchestras in the US that pay nice salaries (the BSO is maybe the highest paying, but the other 9 are nothing to sneeze at). Well, like I said, most perform or teach. This can be done completely privately or at a school, whether it is a public school, private school, college, or a private music school. They also perform. There are plenty of freelance gigs, whether it is union work or even something like playing at weddings.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 7:43 PM

In the case of books, your argument requires that the existing or similar IP laws be in place. Otherwise the studio would not need to buy the rights or royalties from the author, but could just make the movie. When the author sells the rights presumably she is handing creative control over to the studio. In the case of those movies, they actually voluntary (we're told) consulted her, but that was a very rare case because of the huge popularity among fans of her books and of her celebrity as an author. That is a rare case and not exactly commonplace. How many people even know that the author of the Bourne series was Robert Ludlum, not many.

 

As to music, you presume, strangly, that I am a classical musician. I'm not actually. I hear you in regards to concerts, they can make money - understood. But a concert and a recorded album as a piece of art in and of itself (which I believe i"m not the only one to appreciate) are not the same thing. Why do some vocalists use a $10,000 Sony microphone for their vocal performances, but a $100 to *maybe* $500 microphone at the live venue. Because you can't hear the difference, for one reason, (as well there are technical reasons besides). Classical musicians often think in terms of notes, phrases and pieces. But a recording artist will hear things very differently. And you may not care for that, and that's fine. But you can't compare the recording of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean (that's the one that comes to mind right now) or other milestone recordings which are classics of engineering and production not *only* of performance to any of his live concerts, which were another thing, in terms of the sound quality. If I want to "see"  a performer, I'll dial up their live show, or their music video. But If I want to enjoy their artistry in recording music - which is a highly detailed art - I listen to the CD or HD DVD / BluRay, with the TV/screen off.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 7:48 PM

Also, I can't "teach" what I do in performing and engineering in the studio to anyone, because it's "MY" art. I can say plug this in here, do this do that, write like this, this is right this is wrong, but I wouldn't be teaching what I do. In fact, I wouldn't really even be qualified to do that, to teach the art technically. But I do what I do and it is highly specified, and I do nevertheless have a competent degree of technical knowledge, still, that's not relevant - what's relevant is what I do with that, and that comes from an artistic point of view, aesthetic sensibility, that's what I have to lend, and performance, but not live performance. It's the one performance I might choose to go with all the other performances in the layers that I build and sculpt in the work I do. When you say "what's so special". I'm not claiming any special status. I'm just saying, that's what I do, I believe to me it has artistic value, now I want to know why it has no commercial value, why it's a free for all that once I complete that work, I have no right to say that I created that, and to be able to stop people from selling it. I'm not saying I'm right, I'm simply trying to understand - what's my alternative? To give up? I see that as a loss to a very important field, and society will get what it deserves (what it is largely getting now) really crappily produced music that just sucks to listen to. McDonalds for your ears. Even good musicians' product in the studio is second rate because that's the place the album has taken. Am I right? Wrong. I'm trying to work it out myself, but I have issues with it that I believe despite my conflict of interest are objective.

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In the case of books, your argument requires that the existing or similar IP laws be in place. Otherwise the studio would not need to buy the rights or royalties from the author, but could just make the movie. When the author sells the rights presumably she is handing creative control over to the studio. In the case of those movies, they actually voluntary (we're told) consulted her, but that was a very rare case because of the huge popularity among fans of her books and of her celebrity as an author. That is a rare case and not exactly commonplace. How many people even know that the author of the Bourne series was Robert Ludlum, not many.

No, my argument does not require IP laws. I'm not talking about the studio buying the rights in a free market. I'm talking about hiring the author as a consultant or a writer. They will not always hire the author. So what? If it's a mediocre author who had a good idea, the studio may not want to bother with the author and use their own writers. Maybe they will at least consult the author. Who knows? But either way it's publicity.

As to music, you presume, strangly, that I am a classical musician.

No, I don't. But you are being very vague about what you do, so I am filling in about what I do and what others in my field do.

I hear you in regards to concerts, they can make money - understood. But a concert and a recorded album as a piece of art in and of itself (which I believe i"m not the only one to appreciate) are not the same thing. Why do some vocalists use a $10,000 Sony microphone for their vocal performances, but a $100 to *maybe* $500 microphone at the live venue. Because you can't hear the difference, for one reason, (as well there are technical reasons besides). Classical musicians often think in terms of notes, phrases and pieces. But a recording artist will hear things very differently. And you may not care for that, and that's fine. But you can't compare the recording of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean (that's the one that comes to mind right now) or other milestone recordings which are classics of engineering and production not *only* of performance to any of his live concerts, which were another thing, in terms of the sound quality. If I want to "see"  a performer, I'll dial up their live show, or their music video. But If I want to enjoy their artistry in recording music - which is a highly detailed art - I listen to the CD or HD DVD / BluRay, with the TV/screen off.

I really have no idea what you are trying to say here. I can't tell if you are a recording engineer or a singer who records his work or whatever.

Also, I can't "teach" what I do in performing and engineering in the studio to anyone, because it's "MY" art. I can say plug this in here, do this do that, write like this, this is right this is wrong, but I wouldn't be teaching what I do. In fact, I wouldn't really even be qualified to do that, to teach the art technically. But I do what I do and it is highly specified, and I do nevertheless have a competent degree of technical knowledge, still, that's not relevant - what's relevant is what I do with that, and that comes from an artistic point of view, aesthetic sensibility, that's what I have to lend, and performance, but not live performance.

I don't know why you are being so vague about what you do. What do you think violin or trumpet professors do when they teach their students? They teach both technique and artistry. From what I understand, classical voice is taught slightly differently, they have teachers who typically focus on technique and coaches that teach expression. Not always, but it's quite common for voice.

So, I don't see why you can't teach the technique of what you do, unless there is just not a demand for people to learn whatever skillset you have. I can't really comment much on it since you are being very vague about what you do.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 8:39 PM

So re authors, you are advocating a free for all. If a studio does not have to buy rights, then very soon they will not bother to hire the author and will only consult in rare cases where something is exceedingly popular like the Harry Potter series, in order to get credibility and to appease fans, but 99% of the rest of the time, that's not going to happen. So exactly my point, the guy writes the book, and it's for someone else to profit from it either by selling copies, or taking the story and using it as though it's theirs.

 

I am a musician, composer, arranger, recording engineer and producer. So I wear all those hats simultaneously. I don't think anyone would want to learn what I do, and if they did they wouldn't need me to teach it to them, or rather it's nothing they couldn't learn elsewhere and apply simply by observation - afterall that is what I have done myself. Most of what I have learned is by observation and experimentation. I don't fit in the box, you might say. I wasn't being intentionally vague, I was just trying to not make this conversation about me, but thanks (!)... I was trying to keep it generalised while using examples I'm familiar with.

 

You may be able to teach artistry in classical music, and even simulate it, which is what many people do - but real art is an individual expression, so, when I say I can't teach that, maybe that's just my philosophical point of view, I would only advise someone to be true to themselves, and express that. So that's a pretty short lesson I don't think i could expect anyone to pay for that unless they were feeling charitable.

 

My point is, as an entrepaneur / artist in the market place that you describe, which, by the way I'm in most way's all for, I believe I can produce something that a certain share of the market will pay for - they will give value for it - and that would enable me to justify my art and to live, but... not if the moment I release it, copies can be made and distributed lawfully without recourse.

 

If that's the case, the type of music I want to create can never be created. Now, it may be that it has no place in any market because nobody likes it - so be it. that would be my problem. But take the inventor of a new type of engine or transmission that would be a boon to society, he looks at society and he calculates teh time and effort he has to invest into the risk of this venture, and if he looks out there and the only net result for him is a charity to society and a free for all on his idea, he's not going to do it, even if he knows for sure it will work - at least, many wouldn't - unless maybe they had some other source of significant income and didn't care about the money. Even then, maybe principally or emotinoally it will piss him off and he will just say "you know what, forget it". Of course, music might not be judged to be as important as that example, but the analogy fits otherwise. I would look at such a state of affairs of the market, and society, and say you know what, I can't get any returns on this, even though it would sell, nobody will buy it because they'll be able to get it for free, so forget it. Is that what you're saying?

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As an aspiring filmmaker, I see where you are coming from. Murray Rothbard once suggested contracts as an alternative to IP, meaning that if somebody wants to purchase the work of art, whatever it may be, they have to basically sign a contract to not to duplicate that work. I think it would work a lot better than IP, too.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 8:47 PM

Maybe, and isn't IP really in it's effect of force a contract between the non-consenting citizens, the IP holder and the state? Could you feasibly have such contracts with the guy who buys your HD DVD music to listen to? Or even an mp3?

 

One thing also, piracy was made a problem by the corporations who now cry bloody murder about it. They wantonly and intentionally propagated online piracy to a very large majority extent. Piracy may be a problem, but it's a minor problem. Most people can't be bothered. If you just punish distributors of copyrighted material and not end users, that is one thing. This business of suing some single mom for $1m because she downloaded a Britney Spears track on a pirate site with software distributed knowingly by cnet or other such website is a joke that I believe has the full intention to get public uproar into a "something must be done" attitude where they can then justify laws so that "doesn't need to happen" anymore - laws that can be used to censor free speech - but that's another thing. So, I'm even more opposed to that. I would rather give up music than have innocent people imprisoned.

 

In that sense, maybe the existing IP system isn't fundamentally so bad afterall, and what is bad, can be corrected. This is my problem though - having no IP as a fundamental philosophy in society. That doesn't seem right to me. I'm willing to see the error of my ways but it seems abhorrent to me, though I admit I don't fully understand it yet.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 8:49 PM

By the way, perhaps relevant to the discussion this video is a really good breakdown of what happened, pretty alarming and actually not widely understood situation regarding online piracy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFf5DXdTCYk

 

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Anenome replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 9:26 PM
 
 

Mike99:

In the case of books, your argument requires that the existing or similar IP laws be in place.

All it requires is that the courts accept the ability to own IP as actual property. Everything follows from there. It doesn't require a coercive state to enforce IP law anymore than it would require a coercive state to enforce you owning you own house.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
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Anenome replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 9:28 PM

SkepticalMetal:

As an aspiring filmmaker, I see where you are coming from. Murray Rothbard once suggested contracts as an alternative to IP, meaning that if somebody wants to purchase the work of art, whatever it may be, they have to basically sign a contract to not to duplicate that work. I think it would work a lot better than IP, too.

Now we're getting somewhere. Isn't that what an end-user license accomplishes?

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So re authors, you are advocating a free for all. If a studio does not have to buy rights, then very soon they will not bother to hire the author and will only consult in rare cases where something is exceedingly popular like the Harry Potter series, in order to get credibility and to appease fans, but 99% of the rest of the time, that's not going to happen. So exactly my point, the guy writes the book, and it's for someone else to profit from it either by selling copies, or taking the story and using it as though it's theirs.

There is nothing wrong with adapting a book to film or tv and not consulting the author. It's an entirely different medium, with entirely different people involved in creating the film or tv show. The reason someone would consult an author is because the studio or director or producer or actor would think that the author has something useful to offer. Most studios just buy the rights and hire a professional screenwriter to write the script instead of using the author. Why not buy the rights and hire the author to write the script? Because writing a screenplay that works for television or film is an entirely different medium than writing a novel or short story. There are some similarities, but it is a different skill, and many authors who write great novels are not suited for writing screenplays.

They are different mediums, and if someone wants to make a Harry Potter film, I don't care if J. K. Rowling doesn't see a dime in "compensation". The film is not her work, it is someone else's.

And I addressed your point about selling copies to publishers. And so did Phi est aurem.

You may be able to teach artistry in classical music, and even simulate it, which is what many people do - but real art is an individual expression, so, when I say I can't teach that, maybe that's just my philosophical point of view, I would only advise someone to be true to themselves, and express that. So that's a pretty short lesson I don't think i could expect anyone to pay for that unless they were feeling charitable.

Very few people have such a natural talent that they completely learn good expression all on their own. The vast majority of good classical musicians respect and revere their teachers...for their ideas. Good artistry most definitely can be taught. If it couldn't, people not revere some of the great pedagogues and performers who teach.

In the classical music world, people place far more importance on who you studied with, not where you studied. Seriously, only laymen care that someone went to Julliard. Curtis is a far more respected school in the classical music world, yet most laymen think Julliard is the most respected. And even then, if you went to Julliard but weren't in the "right" studio, no one will care that you went there. It will mean almost nothing to other musicians. Teaching is an incredibly integral aspect to the music world. That it isn't as important in mainstream music is probably due to the fact that technical skill isn't in high demand (and in my opinion, I don't think good artistry is either).

I doubt the abolition of IP would change much for mainstream music except for the recording industry.

My point is, as an entrepaneur / artist in the market place that you describe, which, by the way I'm in most way's all for, I believe I can produce something that a certain share of the market will pay for - they will give value for it - and that would enable me to justify my art and to live, but... not if the moment I release it, copies can be made and distributed lawfully without recourse.

Well, if your goal is to have your primary source of income (or your entire income) come from recording, then I think you would be making a big mistake. Right or wrong, most people seem to like going to live concerts. Recordings are useful to most people for car rides (or travel in general) or when they want to listen to music that they either couldn't see in concert or want to just listen to at that moment.

And I really have no idea what is so special about your music that it can only be done through recording. Maybe it is primarily electronic music, so it is not easily reproducible in concert? Maybe you like to record yourself as a duet or quartet? But then I would just suggest finding other people to perform with...

If that's the case, the type of music I want to create can never be created. Now, it may be that it has no place in any market because nobody likes it - so be it. that would be my problem. But take the inventor of a new type of engine or transmission that would be a boon to society, he looks at society and he calculates teh time and effort he has to invest into the risk of this venture, and if he looks out there and the only net result for him is a charity to society and a free for all on his idea, he's not going to do it, even if he knows for sure it will work - at least, many wouldn't - unless maybe they had some other source of significant income and didn't care about the money. Even then, maybe principally or emotinoally it will piss him off and he will just say "you know what, forget it". Of course, music might not be judged to be as important as that example, but the analogy fits otherwise. I would look at such a state of affairs of the market, and society, and say you know what, I can't get any returns on this, even though it would sell, nobody will buy it because they'll be able to get it for free, so forget it. Is that what you're saying?

Um, you know of Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, etc? No IP. They were prolific composers. Bach actually copied many other composers and improved it. He did it to his own work too. We would have less Bach if there were silly IP laws back then.

About technology in general, I think you just need to read some Kinsella or whatever. Clayton has pointed out numerous times on this forum all the various improvements in technology without IP. He has also talked about how IP has held back innovation in his own industry (computers). 

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h.k. replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 9:45 PM

IP stops other people from improving currently existing items.

 

The authors keep assuming IP rights do more good than harm, but this has been addressed already.

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There was a relevant post by Jeffrey Tucker entitled "CwF + RtB = $$$".  I recommend watching the presentation.

http://archive.mises.org/9780/cwf-rtb/

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 9:59 PM

That's absurd gotlucky - In the case of J K Rowling, the film wouldn't be succesful without the capital (and excuse me if I'm now getting into an area where I'm academically not using the right lingo but I hope you'll get my meaning) the capital that was created by her creative efforts - the characters, plot lines and tone. That is something of value that she has built up with her creativity that was bought into by millions of people. If they come in and make a movie on it whether and say well this is something new - it absolutely is not. You lost me.

 

And this is why I brought this whole thing up, what I find really not good - and I remain open minded to be shown the light either way - is what I perceive as a bastardisation of the liberty movement for lack of a better way of putting it - we have these coercive, abusive, infiltrated and mainly privately interested state apparatus around the world, and our solution is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I mean I personally believe that the founding fathers were smart guys, and they saw fit to include IP. Ideas are valuable. And if you don't protect ideas to some extent then you are not valuing the creators of ideas. It's to give no value to the very thing in society that gives everything value. Isn't it?

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 10:04 PM

hk - now maybe we can say yes IP law is obese and obscene in some respects and that's a whole area I suppose in the specifics I'm not qualified to really comment on - my specific interest, which I'm trying to keep more simply than things like mechanical patents, and medical patents and the like, is really copyright, art, books, movies, music etc. that's my area of interest. But from the little i know, patents on industrial things are very complex often abused and it's a kind of working failed system at best. Maybe those laws can be improved, changed, simplified - maybe if someone improves on something in a significant way they should be able to patent *that*. After I see that as legitimate. For example if I find a brand new technique of playing an instrument, and I use it on my recording and nobody has ever heard that before, and people buy it, then I become known for that technique - an artist that comes to mind Is Jeff Beck. If someone copies that directly, people will reject it, it's not the original. But, if someone takes that style, adds to it, changes it, improves it, takes the good and then adds their own touch, then it's not Jeff Beck, it's influenced, but it's not him - that becomes legitimate. Maybe there's some value in that kind of common sense that is present in people (generally speaking). But the idea that nothing is sacred, that it's a free for all, and ideas are valueless, and can't be owned wholesale... I don't think that's a good thing.

 

By the way if an artist develops a technique but doesn't capitalise on it, and only a few people hear it and he never "does anything with it" but an audience member, also a musician takes it and runs with it and becomes famous, then HE will be the one who is known for that, while the original "inventor" you might say will remain in obscurity - I'm using that example only as an analogy.

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Mike99 replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 10:09 PM

Tex2002ans, I'll check that out thanks. I know about Trent Reznor. Funnily enough he has used his success to now move into film composing perhaps ironically.

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Oct 4 2012 10:14 PM

That's absurd gotlucky - In the case of J K Rowling, the film wouldn't be succesful without the capital (and excuse me if I'm now getting into an area where I'm academically not using the right lingo but I hope you'll get my meaning) the capital that was created by her creative efforts - the characters, plot lines and tone. That is something of value that she has built up with her creativity that was bought into by millions of people. If they come in and make a movie on it whether and say well this is something new - it absolutely is not. You lost me.

Not really. Look at Peter Jackson's LotR and The Hobbit (which looks like it's going to be awesome). I'm almost positive he has to pay the Tolkien estate, but that's beside the point. Jackson's films are an entirely different creation. Obviously he is staying as true to Tolkien as he can, and apparently he is filling in some gaps in The Hobbit with some of Tolkien's notes. But the experience and result is completely different from the novels.

Certainly people value Harry Potter and LotR, but that's not something that the Rowling or Tolkien's estate own. All of that value is in the mind of all the fans of the stories.

Let's use Bourne as another example. I have never read the novels by Ludlum, but from what I understand, the movies are really different. From what I've read, it seems like the Bourne movies are more inspired by the books than adapted. So why pay off Ludlum or his estate if it's just inspired by his work? It just becomes another spy thriller about some guy who is being chased by the CIA. Oh, and his name happens to be the same as the guy from the novel.

Abolishing IP would not end artistry or technology. It just changes the way the game is played. Films still need music, so composers still get hired to write the music. They still need people to play the music, so the recording orchestras still get hired. People still demand novels, so publishers will still need writers. Instead of just getting a monopoly on the resulting work, the publishers will pay the authors for first dibs.

Like I said before, both Phi est aurem and myself made that point. Anyway, I think you'll learn more if you read some of Kinsella's work. I happen to see how the classical music industry would fare because my profession is within it. But I can't comment to the same extent about movies or buttons on cell phones. Kinsella has done a lot of research overall, and I'm sure other people can point you to different people who have researched it.

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If you are interested in the IP arguments (and Kinsella does tackle many of the comments you bring up in this topic), I would recommend listening/watching the six week course he taught in early 2011 titled "Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics."  Kinsella has posted it for free here:

http://libertarianstandard.com/2011/12/25/kinsellasrethinking-intellectual-property-course-audio-and-slides/

I would also recommend reading his book entitled Against Intellectual Property:

https://www.mises.org/document/3582/Against-Intellectual-Property

If Utilitarian arguments are more your cup of tea, a highly recommended book is Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine:

http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm

Kinsella is constantly writing articles as well.  Any IP question you have thought of or ever will think of, Kinsella has probably written an article all about it.  But I believe that course, plus those two books would handle most of your IP questions.

I would recommend reading this article (at least the Utilitarian section):

https://mises.org/daily/3682

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Mike99,

Please read or listen to Against Intellectual Property by Stephen Kinsella. The PDF and audiobook are free from this site. If you really wan to understand the theory on why IP is illegitimate, and how a free society would function (and likely, thrive) without IP, you owe it to yourself to do so. At least then if you still disagree, you will have opened your mind to this point of view and could then raise your concerns in light of your new knowledge. Until then, and I don't mean to discourage you, but your arguments and concerns are nothing new or insightful. In fact, I'd say your concerns are pretty well handled by the book. Please say you will check it out.

Besides the whole "if it isn't scarce (or able to exhibit scarcity) it isn't property (or able to be property)" thing I explained with your example with wheat, check this: IP is not really a protection on the property of the idea holder; IP is a restriction on others' property. In other words, when an author has the text of his book protected by IP laws, it just tells me what I can't do with my mind, my eyes, my hands, a copy of the book I purchased, a computer I purchased, a printer I purchased, paper I purchased, and ink I purchased (in that I am prohibited from typing a copy and printing it out, EVEN FOR MY OWN USE! This is the problem with, not only copyright, but patents, too. So it isn't right to refer to it as "intellectual property rights;" no, instead, they should be viewed as a "privilege over other persons and their rightful property" and to have this privilege backed up by force or the threat of force. 

IP is a perversion of property and rights, and is illegitimate right to the very core.

The only one worth following is the one who leads... not the one who pulls; for it is not the direction that condemns the puller, it is the rope that he holds.

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Clayton replied on Fri, Oct 5 2012 1:20 AM

How to enforce? I say:

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Anenome:
It's been clear that you're only interested in theory and not specific implementation, or are so completely dogmatic about certain principles that when I've questioned how X could be implemented as policy and suggested your statement would be little solace to actual people in X situation, you said, coldly, you didn't care what they thought.

I'm interested in both, actually. I thought I had made that abundantly clear by now. Haven't I proposed concrete implementations of principles before? Yes I have. But if the implementations proposed seem to conflict with the theories I hold to - and which you claim to hold to - then I'll readily point that out. No, I'm not willing to sacrifice principle, not for you or anyone else. If that upsets you, then that's your problem, not mine. But please do provide a quote of what you've accused me of saying earlier.

Anenome:
[Quoting Rothbard...]

I refer you to Rothbard and the rest of that chapter for the rest.

Are you implying that you're following Rothbard's position on this to the letter?

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Winder replied on Fri, Oct 5 2012 9:33 AM

People pay big bucks to see the Rolling Stone play live.  How much will they pay to see a coverband?  The original (if it is good) will always be worth more than the copy.

The same technology that is allowing piracy to grow is also allowing artists and writers to self publish and make more money.  It is the publishing companies that are really losing money as they are being pushed out of the market.  People who create original content (of value) will be compensated if they can get that content out into the public view.  It is the ability to create valuable original content that should be rewarded.  

A photographer is hired based on their ability to create/provide original and valuable content/product.  That is what they get compensated for.  In the past the means to reproduce that content have been limited and that created scarcity.  The photogrpaher could profit from the scarcity.  Technology has changed and digital images can be reproduced and distributed for the cost of bandwidth.  The ability to create original content is still valued just as much, if not more.  Look at the price difference in original works of art compared to that of reproductions.  

The problem with IP is that there are millions of people who want to have careers producing IP.  Competition in a field like music, photogrpahy, & writting, is extremely high and the barriers to entry are extremely low.  They are almost totally free markets.  

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