Lew Rockwell has given the top billing at LRC this morning to a screed, Authors: Beware of Copyright, by Jeffrey Tucker.
In the piece, Tucker warns of evil publishers who take advantage of copyright to lockdown authors. He writes:
Your creation, which copyright is designed to protect, is now the possession of someone else...Interesting stand by Tucker since according to Gene Callahan (see the first comment to this link), this is what the Mises Institute has done to him, in relation to his book Economics for Real People:
Yes, it is done by contract – contract backed by the power of the state...
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.
...they do promote it still, as well they might -- every penny of sales goes to LVMI, not to me. (And I'm not saying they're stealing from me or anything -- I voluntarily signed a contract calling for one up front payment for writing the book.)Perhaps now that Tucker has supposedly seen the light of the evils of copyright, he will give Callahan the right to print his own edition of Economics for Real People?
But this double standard on copyright seems to be a consistent stand by the Kinsella-Tucker wing at LVMI. Stephan Kinsella, the creator of the "intellectual creations aren't property" stand, recently wrote:
Often we opponents of socialistic, legislatively-created, utilitarian-based,property-redistributing, artificial, arbitrary, inconsistent, irrational, innovation-hampering, monopolistic, anti-competitive, and wealth-destroying intellectual property laws are accused of hypocrisy when we "copyright" our articles and books.The sly Kinsella explains why he is not hypocritical by arguing that he is trapped by copyright law:
I've pointed out to such people innumerable times, to little avail, that copyright is a noun, not a verb--that you don't "copyright" something--you have a copyright in your original works of authorship as soon as you write them, automatically, courtesy of federal law. No copyright notice is required. No copyright registration is required. You have the right, whether you like it or not.Bull. There is a clear way to do it. "Pull" the copyright. Gary North does it frequently, and has apparently for a long time. He writes of one instance:
Well, then, why don't you just "make it public domain," some then, a bit unreflectively, retort. The problem is, there is no clear and good way to do this.
In August of 1979, I published the essay by my anonymous Washington analyst, “The Danger Is Defeat, Not Destruction.” By pulling the copyright, I helped get about half a million copies into print. It was widely printed.By "pulling" the copyright, I take it to mean that North is saying he will not sue anyone for damages who copies the work, even though the state has granted hm the right to do so. Why can't Kinsella do this for all his works. In fact, why can't Kinsella be even more explicit, about his thinking and write:
Although I wrote the following and I am automatically afforded copyright protection, I hold that my written creations are not my property and thus please know that it would be hypocrtical of me to sue you for damages under copyright law, so please print, and broadcast this work in any manner you choose and know that I will not seek damages. In the manner of Gary North, I have "pulled" the copyright. If you would like written permission as to this matter, please send along your name and address and I will send you written permsssion to do as you please with my writings.If he really believed in his position, I see no reason why he wouldn't do this, and, further, only deal with publishers in the future that will allow him to publish under such conditions. Given his belief that written creations are not property (which by the way I think is an absurd notion), for him to hide behind the "I am trapped into copyright and there is nothing I can do." is nonsense.