Saturday, January 24, 2009

A "Bullshit" Response from Jeffrey Tucker

This is the toughest post I have ever had to sit down to write. It involves top personnel at an institute that, overall, I respect very much, the Mises Institute. In an email, I was warned by a friend:

So anyway, just letting you know that you will forever be "that freaking guy who was trying to embarrass us on copyrights when we lose money on that side of the business and put the books online for free?!"
So let me set things straight from the start, my intentions in this post are purely academic in nature, outside of very specific comments directed at Jeffrey Tucker for his extremely rude and crude comment to me, I am continuing this debate for academic purposes.

I consider the Mises Institute to be the number one, bar none, economic educational institute in the world. No other organization has ever done as much to correct falsehoods in the world of economics. I would imagine that from time to time they have had to stand up against powerful forces when they have taken stands on principle. Because of them a large body of Austrian and libertarian scholars are beginning to infiltrate academia and business. The institute overall is doing heroic things. It is in my will.

I consider the founder of MI, Lew Rockwell, to be an entrepreneurial genius when it comes to understanding how to market Austrian economic and libertarian ideas. When I observe others who have launched various projects that have not reached their original goals and contrast this with the success of everything Rockwell launches, e.g. the Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com, his involvement with the Ron Paul campaign and his latest venture, podcasts, it is obvious to me that Austrian economics and liberty have a much, much greater worldwide audience because of the talents of Rockwell. I urge some biographer to chronicle the life of Rockwell so that future generations of Austrians and libertarians in general have an understanding of the superior marketing, management, wisdom and skills of this great man.

Murray Rothbard has left us with many remarkable writings from which we can learn many things. But as great as his writings are, he did not leave this earth before he clearly hooked up his star with Rockwell and for that we should be as truly grateful as we are for his writings.

All this said, I have a bone to pick with one theory coming out of the Mises Institute. I consider the theory absurd and dangerous, and I have, indeed, started picking at that bone. The theory seems to have been launched by Stephan Kinsella and is clearly being advanced by Mises Institute editorial vice president of www.mises.org, Jeffrey Tucker. The core of the theory is that "intellectual property" is not property and thus no one has the right to exclusive use of it, not even the original creator of the work. My initial public drive-by sniper shot at the theory occurred in my post, Stephan Kinsella versus Barack Obama On Copyright Protection. Just having a little fun at the expense of the anti-intellectual property crusader who bars anyone from profiting from his work.

I believe the relationship between property and government is greatly misunderstood, even by libertarians, and I am in the very early stages of putting a book together on the topic. I believe a number of errors Kinsella makes are based on this misunderstanding of property and government, but a full treatment of this will have to wait for the book. However, I have been carefully observing Kinsella's commentary, and indeed had planned to, over-time, turn up the heat a bit and highlight, here at EPJ, some of my disagreements with Kinsella.

This brings us to this past week when an article by Kinsella water carrier, Tucker, appeared at LRC in the top slot, Authors: Beware of Copyright. The article appeared under perfect storm conditions for me. It was a slow news day as far as I was concerned, and I was having trouble finding anything in the news to comment about for EPJ. Plus, I had some time on my hands, and there, seemingly growing in size, was the Tucker article which I found quite amusing, given that some of Mises publishing tactics had been made public and seemed to be the types that Tucker, I thought incorrectly, was warning about. Thus, I wrote my piece, Mises Institute: Do As They Say, Not As They Do?

Now since writing this piece, I have learned that some believe that I was charging MI with being hypocritical, by saying one thing and doing another. I can see how this interpretation can occur given the title to my post, but please be assured that I was not making such a charge.Under Rockwell at MI that doesn't happen. My view was simply that Tucker was blind to what was going on around him, and, again, I found it amusing. It was very easy for me to believe that Tucker was clueless on what he was saying since he seems to be as clueless on the entire topic of intellectual property.

So what is Tucker's stance on IP? Let's see what he has to say. In a review of against intellectual property, he writes (my emphasis):

...if you are like most people, you figure that copyrights and patents are consistent with the justice that comes from giving the innovator his due. In principle they seem fine, even if the law might be in need of reform...

That changed in 2001 with the publication of Stephan Kinsella's article and now monograph "Against Intellectual Property." He made a strongly theoretical argument that ideas are not scarce, do not require rationing, are not diminished by their dissemination, and so cannot really be called property. All IP is unjust, he wrote. It is inconsistent with libertarian ethics and contrary to a free market. He favors the complete repeal of all intellectual-property laws...

Kinsella's article continued to haunt me personally. It took about six years or so, but I finally worked through all the theoretical problems and came to embrace his view...

It is not just a matter of deciding what you believe from a theoretical or political perspective. It is not just a matter of thinking that "pirates" are not really violating moral law...To fully absorb what these authors say changes the way you look at technology....IP is a form of exploitation and expropriation that is gravely dangerous for civilization itself.

Thus, among other absurdities, Tucker now appears to believe that it is not morally wrong to illegally download music! and that:

...people like James Watt, Eli Whitney, and the Wright Brothers are not heroes of innovation, as legend has it, but rent-seeking mercantilists who dramatically set back the cause of technological development. These people spent vast resources prohibiting third parties from improving "their" product and making it available at a cheaper price. Instead of promoting innovation and profitability, they actually stopped it, even at the cost of their own business dreams.
Note his quotes around "their". Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin and sets back technology? The Wright brothers invent the plane and set back flying?

Tucker confuses monopoly here, which again is too much to get into in this post, other than to note it that if I create something and hide it in a closet, and agree to let you see it, only if you agree not to tell anyone what you see,to me this is a contract between two people and fine. Apparently not for Tucker. To him it is being a "rent-seeking mercantilist". He wants you, once you see it, to, if you so choose, open it to the world. Tucker doesn't realize it but he is attacking the sacredness of contract,and replacing it with a commie "for the common good" view , i.e., how it will benefit society.

You can apply this thinking to any product, work etc. and you do indeed have communism.

But, the fact of the matter, is Tucker, aside from his theoretical musings, doesn't really believe in what he is expounding. I sent him this email to put him to the test:

from Robert Wenzel
to jatucker@mindspring.com
date Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 6:54 PM
subject Publication Permissions

Dear Mr. Tucker,

I continue to be fascinated by your views on copyright. After reviewing a number of your writings, I get the sense that, like Stephan Kinsella, you believe that writings should not be classified as "intellectual property" and others should not be prevented from copying works in full.

You write, for example,

So I say to all authors: please look at your contracts. Don't sign your life away. Publish on the condition of Creative Commons. Claim your rights back as a creator and an author.

How does this work? You have to copyright your work if only to prevent others from claiming copyright and thereby binding all other living persons, including you, from publishing it. Once you claim copyright, add that it is published under the Creative Common License 3.0. This rids your manuscript or song or painting of copyright's provision of doom: the requirement that only one institution can control it.


In other words, it makes your creation part of the free market. It can be posted, recorded, shown, photographed, celebrated by one and all forever. Isn't this why you create in the first place? Isn't this what drove you to write, paint, photograph, sing, or whatever? You want to make a difference. You want credit for your work. This permits it.


Old-fashioned copyright is nothing but a form of modern tyranny in the digital age. It has no future. Bail out of this wicked institution and make sure that your work has a future too.

I would like to test just how much you and the Mises Institute believe this. I note for example that MI hold rights to Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism. I hereby respectfully request that you grant me the publishing rights to this book that you believe I would have if there were no copyright laws.

Sincerely,

Robert Wenzel



Tucker responded:

from Jeffrey Tucker
to Robert Wenzel
date Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 8:27 PM
subject Re: Publication Permissions


you want to publish Last Knight? Seriously?


My response:

from Robert Wenzel
to Jeffrey Tucker
date Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 8:53 PM
subject Re: Publication Permissions


Yes.


Tucker, back to me:

from Jeffrey Tucker
to Robert Wenzel
date Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 11:22 PM
subject Re: Publication Permissions

bullshit


Ah, so much for free use of intellectual property by everyone.

I hereby publicly request Jeffrey Tucker apologize for his rude, crude response to my attempt to further intellectual debate.

And, I further request that Tucker and the Mises Institute immediately either:

A. grant me publishing rights to Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism or

B. stop promoting the idiotic nonsense that there is no such thing as intellectual property rights.

To refuse to grant me rights (and please know, I am researching what other books MI may hold copyrights to and will be requesting that publishing rights for these also be granted me, e.g. Rothbard writings, Rockwell writings) and to continue to publish that there is no such thing as intellectual property rights is, as of the time of this post, hypocritical, and not just the misguided thinking of the very rude Tucker.

55 comments:

  1. When you are serious about reading this book I keep recommending, write me again. As it is, you write and write and write and attempt little tricks to score cheap little points. This is serious business. I beg you to read and think more. There are new ideas in the universe and this is one of them. Moreover, it is an extension of everything that Mises stood for: he loathed state privilege, and wrote passionately against patent, as did many classical liberals.

    Reading, thinking, reflecting: these are much more productive undertaking than gotcha games.

    And yes, I do apologize for my language. My only defense is that I hope that readers take the challenge seriously, and show evidence of thinking and intellectual work.

    By the way, I notice that you didn't ask permission before reprinting my legally copyrighted email. In my opinion, that's fine. Apparently you think so too. Who is the hypocrite?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeffrey Tucker,

      You are probably my favorite thinker at the Mises Institute.

      I have so much respect for you and what you have done. You changed my opinion 180 degrees on Intellectual Property.

      I now agree with you that IP is an attack on property rights, since it binds 3rd parties that have agreed to nothing.

      Great job, and good work at MI, thank you for everything you have done. i have yet to purchase from LFB, but i just got a job and am planning my purchases already ^_^

      Delete
    2. I do not understand that concept. If I agree not to share an idea, a piece of software, or any other IP, what gives me the right to share said IP with someone else?

      Delete
  2. Bob, re your comments criticizing the view that it's not immoral to copy music: see this post, Remix Culture (with apologies to Larry Lessig), stating, in part:

    "Larry brought up an interesting point, which I will paraphrase in the form of my own example. I am personally in favor of legalizing heroin - I think illegalization has been a horrible failure that has done far more harm than good. I am also strongly opposed to people using heroin - I know heroin addicts, and it is not a fate I would wish on anyone. So I approve the goal implicit in illegalizing heroin, even while I think it is a bad law. Copying is completely different. Copying and imitation are unambiguously a good thing that produce rather than destroy value. This is especially important when imitation adds value...the "remix culture." There is no "symbolic value" in making copying illegal...and our prohibition against file sharing is not only useless, the message it sends is that intrinsically good activities - sharing, remixing, copying, imitating - are somehow wrong. EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann, who was also at the lunch, said that the first thing parents tell him when their children are being sued by the RIAA is "We know what he did was wrong..." It is sad that people should think that culture - sharing, remixing, copying and imitating - are wrong."

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    1. Is it right if the children are breaking an agreement? Disregarding third parties that do not enter into such an agreement, are the people who sign IP contracts right in violating their contracts?

      Delete
  3. What would it mean for the LvMI to allow you to re-publish Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism? If allowing means not suing to prevent it from happening, I believe so. If it means helping you do it, giving you blessing, "granting" him priviledge to do it, then why the should they do that?

    Jeffrey Tucker's response was perfectly valid and accurate. You are clearly just being a troublemaker and trying to mess them. That's it. And you clearly do not know what you are talking about:

    "to note it that if I create something and hide it in a closet, and agree to let you see it, only if you agree not to tell anyone what you see,to me this is a contract between two people and fine. Apparently not for Tucker. To him it is being a "rent-seeking mercantilist". He wants you, once you see it, to, if you so choose, open it to the world."

    That is not at all what copyright is. Of course you could have such an agreement. And of course that person could be sued for violating it (or forced not to violate it, under Block & my view of contractual performance). The issue is whether contracts between two people can impose obligations on third parties. I tend to think they can't, for the most part; when they can, it is because of enforcing performance and voluntary servitude issues.

    Btw, if the Mises Institute's position is correct, and intellectual property is invalid, they have no need to "grant" you permission to republish. But effectively, in reality, they have given _everyone_ permission to republish, as the book is online in its entirety at http://mises.org/books/lastknight.pdf

    Last time I checked, the LvMI isn't sending search parties after those who download the book and put it up on some filesharing system.

    What intellectual property rights are _really_ about -- contrary to your misleading example of voluntary contract between two parties -- is the imposition of contractual terms on third parties who did _not_ agree to those terms. If Robinson oversees Crusoe invent some new technique for catching fish, Crusoe can say to Robinson, "you have to pay me royalties for that, or you can't use it". This is non-sense, as there was no contract, and how can he have a right to configure his property in one way, and prevent others (who didn't agree to such) from configuring their property in that way? Likewise with books, where the issue is if a contract between two parties can affect any third party who might happen to pick up a book in a friend's house...or if a "copyright disclaimer" on a book is enough to bind any party who would open it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thus, among other absurdities, Tucker now appears to believe that it is not morally wrong to illegally download music!

    What do you find absurd about this? Are you equating legality with morality?

    Tucker confuses monopoly here, which again is too much to get into in this post, other than to note it that if I create something and hide it in a closet, and agree to let you see it, only if you agree not to tell anyone what you see,to me this is a contract between two people and fine. Apparently not for Tucker. To him it is being a "rent-seeking mercantilist". He wants you, once you see it, to, if you so choose, open it to the world. Tucker doesn't realize it but he is attacking the sacredness of contract for "the common good", i.e., how it will benefit society.

    Tucker does not attack contracts in any way, even implicitly. Intellectual property cannot be reduced to a system of contracts, because it grants the IP holder the universal right to control what anyone does with the IP in question, not just those who have obtained it from the copyright holder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Intellectual property cannot be reduced to a system of contracts"

      Some of it can be. The rest must be jettisoned as absurd.

      Delete
  5. @ Jeffrey Tucker

    Your comment seems to be more of a an attack on me than an explanation of why you will not allow me to publishLast Knight.

    Let me be clear, under your view of how the world should work, where there is no such thing as "intellectual property", under what grounds are you refusing to give me publishing rights to Last Knight?

    It is interesting you bring up my quoting your email, I am operating there under a theory brought to my attention by Dr. Walter Block, and not your theory.

    As you are, I am certain, aware, Dr. Block has been defending himself from a vicious attack from a the PC wing of academia. As part of his defense, he quoted from a number of emails he received from the PC crowd. I wrote him at the time and asked if he received permission to quote from the emails. He told me he always asks permission, but that it was more a case of being polite rather than a necessity under libertarian morals.He explained that he viewed an email as a gift to do with as you please. This fits quite well with my view of the nature of property (Which again will take a full book, that is coming, for me to expound upon).

    I do admit that in the case of your second email I have stretched a bit in considering an email that begins and ends with one word, "bullshit", a gift.

    I do accept your apology.

    No harm, no foul, but you did get my juices flowing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @ Stephan Kinsella

    First, by calling file sharing an unambiguously good thing, I really believe you are thinking like a communist, it may be a great thing, or a terrible thing, depending on who initially created the file, and if that person wants to share it for free, or wants to share it only for a fee,in the hope of making a ton of money.

    Building a house may be a good thing, but does that mean that the person who builds the house must must share the house, with the local homeless? It would certainly build "value for the community".

    I am curious, under your view of file sharing, and your view that there is no such thing as "intellectual property", do you see any reason why the Mises Institute shouldn't allow me to publish Last Knight?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You consistently ignore the fact that intellectual "property" is infinite and that physical property is not.

      Everyone in the world can listen to the same song, read the same book, and know how to make a nuke at the same time. Everyone in the world can't sit on the same couch or live in the same house. When a homeless guy plops down on your couch, you can no longer sit there.

      When I download a song, it prevents no one from listening to or distributing the song.

      And again, still waiting for you to tell us where the ARBITRARY line in the sand you draw that tells us when it's OK for someone else to use the supposed "property."

      What about the drummer playing drums he didn't invent, playing beats he heard off of some other record, and playing back up for a singer than didn't invent the words, the microphone, the recording devices, the computer bytes they are stored on, or even the melody in many cases.

      You refuse to answer because inevitably you will have to make up some stupid BS like the government has done and say "7 years" or "15 years." Or, maybe you think that you own it forever, but that obviously falls on its face as then no one would ever be able to do anything.

      Stop playing dumb. We all know you aren't this stupid.

      Delete
    2. "When a homeless guy plops down on your couch, you can no longer sit there."

      What gives me the right to tell him to leave? It's "my" couch? So what? What does that mean? And who says that's what it means?

      "When I download a song, it prevents no one from listening to or distributing the song."

      When you download a song, you have prevented the copyright holder from being the exclusive provider of that song to you. Which is what *copyright* IS. It is not the song itself that is the property, but the ability to distribute copies of it.

      Delete
  7. why note spare yourself all this trouble and just read the book? Please? I feel like the character in the Green Eggs and Ham book. try it, please. try it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. @ dh003i

    Btw, if the Mises Institute's position is correct, and intellectual property is invalid, they have no need to "grant" you permission to republish. But effectively, in reality, they have given _everyone_ permission to republish, as the book is online in its entirety at http://mises.org/books/lastknight.pdf

    Why didn't Jeff Tucker just reply back to me with that answer?

    Since, you are so comfortable that LVMI will not sue me for publishing Last Knight, I am perfectly willing to take you on as a partner with 50% of profits going to you, your only obligation would be to pay any damages if LVMI did choose to sue us. Further, I would further like to expand the operation to all other LVMI copyrighted material, Rothabrd stuff, Rockwell stuff etc.

    By your thinking this looks like a slam dunk no brainer for you, guaranteeing against something that won't happen. Deal?

    ReplyDelete
  9. @ Michael

    Intellectual property cannot be reduced to a system of contracts, because it grants the IP holder the universal right to control what anyone does with the IP in question, not just those who have obtained it from the copyright holder.

    So Michael are you saying the Mises Institute should allow me to publish Last Knight?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Jeffrey Tucker

    I will read the book, however, is there any particular chapter (or chapters) I should focus on that explains why there is no such thing as "intellectual property", while at the same time this does not appear to hold with regard to my simple request to be allowed to publish, Last Knight.

    That would be the chapter(s) I would want to focus on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Robert,

    Your response to my comment just furthers what I was talking about: you are just playing games and being a trouble-maker. But even if you were serious, I am not interested in investing money in publicizing LvMI books, as the LvMI already does an excellent job of that (and being a supporter of the LvMI, why on Earth would I want to partially take away a revenue stream from them?).

    You see, me turning down your offer does not in any way prove your point. It is just a rhetorical tactic. Of course, it would be quite easy for me to upload it to a website and offer it for downloading, but I refuse to do this for several reasons: (a) Doing so would not prove my point, just as not doing so doesn't prove your point; (b) Hence, it would just be playing along with your silly game; (c) Why take internet traffic away from LvMI?

    Finally, I would note there is something particularly ironic about an ethical doctrine (IP), which, if implemented consistently, would prevent the spread of knowledge of ethics in general. The proponents of IP are much like sophists.

    -David J. Heinrich

    ReplyDelete
  12. Robert, yes, the Mises Institute should allow anyone to publish any of the works for which it holds copyright, assuming it holds the same views as Tucker does (as do I).

    I think your position would have been stronger had you stuck to pointing out Tucker's hypocrisy and not ventured into arguments on intellectual property in general.

    ReplyDelete
  13. David,

    What money are you talking about investing?

    Jeezus, read what I write.

    Further, you can label anything you want "troublemaking" but to me I consider it intellectual debate.

    I believe the concept of "intellectual property" is a very important one, and the fact that Jeffrey Tucker isn't willing to just say, "Go ahead print Last Knight signals and extreme contradiction between his theory and reality, as far as I am concerned.It proves an important point. Further, if Tucker gives me the right to publish Last Knight, I fully plan on publishing the book--I do not play games.

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    Replies
    1. Wenzel,

      Seriously. I am losing respect for you with this debate. You use so many logical fallacies in your arguments here it's hard to parse them all out.

      I'm not even defending Tucker's position here. I'm just going to point out (it should be obvious) that when you point out that Tucker doesn't want or didn't grant you permission to publish the book, it DOES NOT FOLLOW that he would sue you or is a hypocrite.

      This is the EXACT same scenario with libertarians and the drug war. Using your logic, all Libertarians must be in support of doing drugs since they are against the drug war. Sorry, it doesn't follow. You know it.

      Just because Tucker doesn't like IP laws and would like there to be anarchy (for lack of a better description) in the realm of knowledge and ideas, doesn't mean he thinks it's morally right or that he approves of that sort of behavior. You know this.

      Again, stop playing dumb. It's starting to embarrass me that someone I respect as part of the movement uses logical fallacy after logical fallacy when arguing this particular point.

      Nothing you have said so far stands up to even minor scrutiny. This isn't CNN.

      Delete
  14. Robert,

    "What money are you talking about investing?

    Jeezus, read what I write."

    Since you're just playing games and being a troublemaker, I don't see the point in combing it over with excessive detail. But my other points still hold.

    "Further, you can label anything you want "troublemaking" but to me I consider it intellectual debate."

    In which you are using rhetorical tactics, which one way or another, if the other side decides to play along, does not prove anything.

    "I believe the concept of "intellectual property" is a very important one, and the fact that Jeffrey Tucker isn't willing to just say, 'Go ahead print Last Knight' signals and extreme contradiction between his theory and reality, as far as I am concerned.It proves an important point."

    No, actually, it doesn't prove a thing. It doesn't show any contradiction. If they sued you for redistributing the book, that would be hypocritical (but then again, it depends on who at the LvMI makes those decisions; maybe not everyone there agrees with Kinsella on IP.

    All that it shows is that Jeffrey isn't willing to play along with your game. And maybe he didn't call attention to the book being freely available online because he thought it to be a very widely known fact by anyone familiar with the LvMI's liberal policy of spreading the ideas of liberty as far and wide as possible.

    "Further, if Tucker gives me the right to publish Last Knight, I fully plan on publishing the book--I do not play games."

    So you say.

    -David J. Heinrich

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mr. Wenzel: If you would be so kind as to navigate to the mises.org website and scroll to the bottom, I believe you will find a link to the Creative Commons Attribution license which effectively notes that "You are free: to Share — to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to Remix — to make derivative works, under the following conditions: Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work)." What additional permission would one require to republish? Are you asking for permission to publish the book under your own name as if you had written it?

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  16. Mr. Wenzel,

    Your argument here seems to be, "Jeff Tucker has not taken seriously my non-serious request for reprint permission, therefore copyrights is valid."

    Do you see how flawed this argument is? No action in life of Mr. Tucker has any bearing on whether IP is justified or not. He does not have the power to make IP legitimate (if it is not) by his actions.

    You seem also to think that the fact that you have gotten your way, in that IP laws are in force, and that they are being imposed by your government on those of us who do not agree, meaning we have to navigate within a system that you yourself support, -- you seem to think that the difficulties we anti-IP people face in finding ways to work within the very corrupt IP system that you support, somehow means IP is not corrupt. In other words, you want to force us to abide by the laws you and your side have been able to foist on us, and shut us up too--by turning us into hypocrites for having to live in the corrupt system you've forced us into.

    This tactic is, in my view, despicable (though you perhaps don't mean to do so explicitly); it is reminiscent of what smug lefties do when they attack any successful black man who opposes affirmative action, by showing that he probably received and benefitted from it so how dare he complain about it. Nice trick: impose a system on people that they have to go along with, and then call them a hypocrite when they disagree with it, since they happen to have had the system foisted on them. Sort of like a catch-22.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bingo!

      It is said to see so many logical fallacies in one argument. Especially from someone with (somewhat) significant involvement in the freedom movement.

      You are hurting the integrity of your blog Wenzel. People can have different opinions, but logical fallacies are for mainstream dolts, not Austrians.

      Delete
  17. @ Dick Clark

    The copyright for the online (http://mises.org/books/lastknight.pdf) edition of Last Knight reads:

    All rights reserved. Written permission must be secured from the publisher to use or reproduce any part of this book, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles. For information write: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 518 West Magnolia Avenue, Auburn, Alabama 36832;mises.org
    Copyright © 2007 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute


    Guys, Bottom line they are not going to give me permission to publish Last Knight, any Rothbard or Rockwell books. This "free sex" view of book publishing is based on a misunderstanding of free markets and intellectual property.

    When the rubber hits the road Tucker and Rockwell aren't going for it.

    I'm sure JÖRG GUIDO HÜLSMANN slaved over putting this book together, as well as Jeffrey Tucker probably having done significant work on the physical publication of the work.

    They are not going to just expand rights to me or anybody else that comes along. Tucker needs to re-think his theory.

    Hulsman created something magnificent, to somehow suggest that it belongs to everyone is the ultimate in socialistic thinking.

    It flys in the face of everything libertarianism and Austrian economics stand for.

    Property rights remain with the creator whether it is a house, a song or a book, until he chooses to do something else with it. Some things are easier to steal (like songs)than other things, but it doesn't mean you have the right to do so because it is easy to do.

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    Replies
    1. Hulsmann doesn't think the ideas and thoughts about Mises (enmattered in Last Knight) are his own property. Neither does Tucker nor any anti-IP libertarian.

      The physical books of Last Knight belong to LVMI because they created, contracted, and voluntarily exchanged resources for those pages and ink. But the ideas inside - even the verbatim writing style - is not owned by anyone. They are infinitely reproducible and thus do not belong in the category of goods we can apply property rights to.

      You cannot own a specific formula or recipe, because that would imply that you have control over how other peaceful people are allowed to arrange their resources. That's a violation of the NAP. In a stateless society, there would doubtless be "protection" of ideas and original material, but it would be done through contract, through license agreements, etc. etc. And it would turn out that way because there is a genuine demand that we have for people to be properly credited for original material - but this doesn't prove that we "own" our thoughts or ideas as a natural or metaphysical law.

      If you write a book, and you either create or purchase the requisite materials (ink, binding, paper, etc.) for it, then you own THAT BOOK. You do not have the right to restrict other people from creating an identical book, or from coming up with similar ideas and writing them in other books. You only own the one.

      Delete
  18. @ Stephan Kinsella

    You really missed your calling, try comedy. Your style is a little dry, but maybe if you break watermelons with a judge's gavel, you would draw them in.

    You write:

    Your argument here seems to be, "Jeff Tucker has not taken seriously my non-serious request for reprint permission, therefore copyrights is valid."

    Where do I begin with this absurd strawman. Oh yeah, how about your strawman doesn't even have the timeline correct. How can my argument be that "Jeff Tucker has not taken me seriously." When I wrote my initial argument before I even wrote to Jeff Tucker and had no idea how Tucker would respond when I did write to him raising my concerns in that first email.

    Further, if you think my request to publish is not serious, then I suggest you urge Tucker et al to test me. Go ahead tell them I am not going to publish, that it is all a bunch of hot air.

    Go ahead guys try it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just publish it. Show him to be the "hypocrite" you say he is.

      What's he gonna do? How much could it possibly cost you?

      But then again, your logical fallacies abound. Even if he sued you for it, participating in the current system doesn't prove anything. Kinsella summed it up perfectly:

      Paraphrasing: A single persons or even a million people's actions don't prove anything. The actions of Tucker (even if they became utterly despicable) would have ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING on the legitimacy of IP

      Are you in favor of the federal reserve because you use fed notes and also make people pay you in fed notes? No, your actions have no bearing on whether CB is good for freedom, humanity, whatever. Tucker could sue everyone on the planet and it would make no difference.

      Delete
  19. To all the academic fucknuts who live in ivory towers and couldn't fucking make a dollar in the world if their lives depended on it, pick up a copy of Man, Economy, and State and turn to page 654:

    "Let us consider copyright. A man writes a book or composes music. When he publishes the book or sheet of music, he imprints on the first page the word "copyright." This indicates that any man who agrees to purchase this product also agrees as part of the exchange NOT to recopy or reproduce this work for sale. In other words, the author does not sell his property outright to the buyer; he sells it on condition that the buyer not reproduce it for sale. Since the buyer does not buy the property outright, buy only on this condition, any infringement of the contract by him or a subsequent buyer is IMPLICIT THEFT and would be treated accordingly on the free market. The copyright is therefore a logical device of property right on the free market."

    Oooooooo, schooled by Rothbard! It hurts, doesn't it bitches?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rothbard is actually bad on fraud and breaking contracts. It's not theft, it's not immoral.

      Anyone who buys a book with the words copyright on it are in fact agreeing to treat the material inside with conditions. Fine. But breaking those conditions does not constitute a violation of the NAP. Breaking contracts is not categorically immoral nor is it "implicit theft." Rothbard, for all his enormous victories for libertarianism, fortunately, is not the end-all and be-all of it.

      Delete
    2. Rothbard is actually bad on fraud and breaking contracts. It's not theft, it's not immoral.

      He also believed that any form of fractional reserve lending was outright fraud, IIRC.

      Delete
  20. "When you are serious about reading this book I keep recommending, write me again. As it is, you write and write and write and attempt little tricks to score cheap little points. This is serious business."

    Dimwit serioso alert!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Numero Uno,

    If Rothbard's position was the final word on the topic, I imagine getting around that copyright would be rather simple. Have someone besides the purchaser of the book do the reprinting, since no obligation exists for them.

    Of course, Rothbard is not infallible, and your attempted appeal to authority is just that - an appeal to authority.

    In regards to IP, Kinsella is to Rothbard as Rothbard is to Mises in regards to the necessity of the state.
    You can find plenty of Mises quotes which say that government is needed for this or that, but such does not constitute a proof of statism's validity, as Rothbard has corrected the Misesian position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If Rothbard's position was the final word on the topic, I imagine getting around that copyright would be rather simple. Have someone besides the purchaser of the book do the reprinting, since no obligation exists for them."

      Tortious interfence would apply. "I can't violate this contract, so please do it for me" is just as wrong legally, unless you reject that concept.

      And Kinsella's argument is typically construed as jettisoning even contractual copyright and patent. If it does that, it goes beyond Rothbard, I can definitively say it is wrong. (I say if, because I have not yet read the original source written by Kinsella.) Rothbard's entire premise was that copyright, etc. were acceptable insofar as they enforce contractual agreements.

      Delete
  22. Has anyone here read Kinsella's brilliant paper on IP?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think you should just publish it. The threat to do so does sound empty. LvMI is genuine in their promotion of anti-IP. You should have no problems with legal retribution. =)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Guys, copyrights require coercive violation of physical property rights to enforce. Physical property is inherently scarce. To call something property it must be scarce, or the rights to its use wouldn't be argued.

    With IP the scarcity isn't the information, it's the media in/on which to store it. But copyright argues the right of the originator of that "information pattern" to dictate how the owner of the media on which it's stored uses said pattern of information. If he chooses to expose it to copying, then stopping him, requires violating a physical property right to the use of the means of transmission.

    Isn't plagiarism the originating issue? It's disingenuous and dishonest to present an intellectual work as your own. But once an idea is copied into another's brain, hard drive, or copied onto paper. Why does the originator get to claim any right over the paper, the memory, the hard drive? The physical material is scarce, the information copied isn't. Isn't sanction/ostracism sufficient to curtail plagiarism?

    Full disclosure, I think I encountered these ideas years ago as I was transitioning to a libertarian viewpoint. My reading has most likely included been works by persons here. If so, the things I've said represent the fruit of that copying I did long ago. First to a computer, possibly onto paper (I used to print a lot), and finally into my brain. Oddly, those ideas extracted some such works years ago, mixed with other information in my brain and is coming back out in a different form. But did I have the right to do that?

    Look at the GPL. If the GPL could be applied to human writing... Then what I've just said would be covered by documents that originated ideas I've regurgitated in a different form...

    ReplyDelete
  25. You wrote:
    "Note his quotes around "their". Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin and sets back technology? The Wright brothers invent the plane and set back flying?"

    Give me a break. Mr. Tucker was NOT writing about the invention. He was writing about Whitney and Wrights trying to prevent others from improving on "their" inventions.

    At best, you have experienced a momentary lapse of sanity. Now that it has been pointed out, I expect an apology to Mr. Tucker will be forthcoming ( and the next paragraph will be superfluous ).

    At worst, you are intentionally disingenuous. In which case I have two words for you and they ain't happy birthday.

    Signed,
    Jeff Bennett

    ReplyDelete
  26. So this is an example of intellectual discourse? I'd rather think not. The debate appears more about polarization rather than of intellectuality or fairness. It seems as though each group has its share of Scaramuccia.

    I recall a debate with the late Harry Browne, in regards to his "libertarian" position that he should have the state-enforced right to purchase tariff-free imported products, but his neighbors, who stood to lose their jobs, should not have state-enforced rights to compensation or protection. Mr Browne quickly proved himself... as a hypocritical Libertarian...or as infected with the crazy notions of banana-republic anarchy...or both.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Robert have you realized you were wrong on this one yet? I assume you have come around by now....

    ReplyDelete
  28. Forget about books for a moment. Is IP on use of words or ideas legitimate or not? Can their be IP without the state?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i know the answer to number 1 is no.... where does that lead us?

      Delete
  29. Bob, while I am now totally in agreement with Kinsella et al., it took me a long time to understand their arguments, i.e., to come around to their point of view.

    On a side note, I agree 100% with you that Lew Rockwell is the most important person on this planet today in terms of getting the Austrian economics/classical liberal message out.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Look. You're clearly trolling Tucker. Trolling is, by definition, bullshit.

    The only reason you think it's "rude" and "crude" is because he said a swear. If he had said "nonsense", you'd have no case. But like a 5 year old girl you choose to run around yelling:

    "Jeffrey said a naughty word!"

    I call bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  31. There is no such thing as bad language. Complaints against the language used by others is invalid and infringes upon their natural rights, namely the right to express ideas through words without barriers laid by others who would refuse to hear certain words. The languages around the world are quite vast, including the English language. Most are quite colorful, with some words holding more color than others. Words not used out of aggression towards others are entirely valid and opposition to their public use is contrary to those natural rights, therefor invalid. I defend the rights of others to use language which I may find objectionable, though I would never refuse their right to use that language. That is a nanny state tactic, not one conducive to liberty.

    Grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Tucker, et. al…do you not consider the practical implications, especially given modern technology's easy ability to copy? To deny intellectual property completely ignores human motivation. How few people have time or the will, or both, to regularly produce quality, intellectual products at no profit? Not many. And to deny them that profit is to retard progress in technology and the quality of art, literature, and music. Should *all* literature be fanfiction, for instance? Is it truly immoral to make a living with one's mind, and only moral to make a living with one's hands? Were copyright and intellectual property *honestly* done away with, no writer would ever make money again. How soon would writing deteriorate? I focus on writing because I am a writer. While I would continue to write even without the possibility of profit (it's a compulsion, after all), I most certainly would not invest the same effort in revision, and the quality would be greatly deteriorated.

    It's all theory with anarchists and, to a lesser extent, with libertarians. There is so little thought for real consequences.
    And Wenzel, just upload the Last Knight to Amazon KDP already, and charge $2.99 for it, and see whether or not you get sued, and if you do, then scream hypocricy. Of ocurse, if they are already making it available for free, I can't imagine them bothering to sue you. So better yet, scan the text of Tucker's book Bourban for Breakfast, then publish it in print with CreateSpace, and sell it for $5.99, and then see what happens.

    ReplyDelete
  33. @ Anonymous October 26:

    The copyright notice for Bourbon for Breakfast reads:

    © 2010 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and published under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Ludwig von Mises Institute
    518 West Magnolia Avenue
    Auburn,Alabama 36832
    mises.org
    ISBN: 978-1-933550-89-3


    So, um. Yeah. I can't imagine a whole helluva lot will happen if Wenzel "scan[s] the text of Tucker's book and then publish it in print with CreateSpace, and sell it for $5.99"...

    ...other than him helping popularize Tucker's writing (as well as advertise Tucker's consistency on the subject...which of course would not reflect well on Wenzel, given how invested he seems to be in Tucker being a hypocrite.)

    No, I don't think Wenzel will be doing anything of the kind. Just like all the other "smartass bluffs" documented here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your an idiot. The creative commons clause rferenced is from 2010. You can't use that for a 2009 post. In 2009, Mises Institute copyright protected much of their publications until Wenzel shamed Tucker into changing the policy.

      Delete
    2. Read the year on the "October 26" Anonymous post I was replying to, Einstein. 2012.

      But thanks for the laugh. I never seem to tire of the irony when someone writes the phrase "Your [sic] an idiot."

      Delete
  34. Incidentally, Kinsella's mining the archives to pull the typical Usenet trick of winning the argument by being the last poster in the thread. That's why you're suddenly seeing more action on these posts.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Robert is a troll and all you guys are fools to let yourself get trolled so hard.

    ReplyDelete
  36. rereading this old thread. damn wenzel is an asshole. still attacking tucker five years later because you are wrong on IP?

    911insidejob

    ReplyDelete
  37. This was a fun read. There are egos on both sides that have come bruises, and that's always a healthy thing. I am working on a kind of touchstone. There is a well hidden mechanism through which humans have been resolving conflicts for centuries. It comes from the records of decisions made by respected people to whom disputants have turned in the past. It's often referred to as "common law" but that term (like so many others) has been perverted by propaganda from the state. There is another term that has not been so perverted, however. That term is the phrase "court of record." In fact, any website that hosts comments serves as a kind of court of record, except to the extent that its owner might alter the contents of the input from others. A court of record just means a place where you can publicly record something and expect it to remain recorded for future reference. Coercive authorities try to legitimize themselves by carrying out coercive activities that many people feel are justified by the information stored in a court of record.

    So let's suppose Richard invents an ingenious method to dig a well. Stephan watches Richard's team dig a few wells and learns the technique. He then goes into business digging wells and Richard's market share shrinks. Richard produces a pamphlet describing a few of the identifying characteristics of his method and uses the pamphlet both to advertise his service and also to motivate Stephan's customers to recognize and respect Richard's invention, either by paying him a little for using it or by getting their well dug by Richard instead of Stephan (or any other "idea-thief"). At wit's end as his business shrinks further, Richard visits a site where Stephan is digging a well and parks his truck in the way so that work cannot proceed, and visits with Stephan's customer to discuss the fact that Stephan "stole his idea". The customer thanks Richard for the information and declines to do anything about it. In order to protect his idea, Richard then vandalizes the work site in a way that makes it unclear how to proceed with his new method. He then tells Stephan's customer that he knows how to fix it, and the customer agrees to hire him and fire Stephan because Stephan's only answer for the customer is "I'll have to go back to the conventional method," which the customer knows will take longer.

    Stephan now lays before a court of record a claim against Richard for the value of the well-digging job that Richard took over. You are asked to serve on the jury, and it's a system where each juror is asked to provide both Richard and Stephan with a list of questions to answer if they have any. What questions, if any, would you ask? If none, then in whose favor do you decide the case?

    My answer has already been written in an email. I am getting answers from other people, but thought this thread might be a good place to use as a court of record. I will provide my answer once other people have had time to provide theirs.

    ReplyDelete