Monday, January 26, 2009

The Crusader Against Intellectual Property....

...continues to split his life between reality and play theories.

He is out today with another screed against intellectual property, but continues to refuse to grant me rights to print the MI copyrighted book, Mises: Last Knight of Liberalism by Guido Jorg Hulsmann.

Jeff Tucker's confusion today is multiple. He seems to believe that there is only one option to all marketing and that is open source. And that somehow, open source is the only free market way.

Of course, in reality, there are many methods to market. You can have open source, licensing and sales of a product. Some methods work better for some products than others. The best way to find out what is the best for each market is to leave everyone in every market to proceed on their own in developing their own products and marketing methods.

A movie theatre owner may believe you have to charge for providing beverages. He may argue in faulty fashion, "This is the only free market way. Let me charge what I want and so must everyone else." He is wrong, it is just one way. On a free market he should be allowed to charge whatever he wants, but it s not the only way. At art gallery owner who chooses to sell art works versus charging for viewing may do the exact opposite of the theatre owner and give away expensive beverage, wine and champagne! The art owner might say "This is the only free market way. To charge for beverage is silly." He is wrong, it is one marketing method.

Jeff Tucker is wrong if he believes open market is the only method to marketing, production and sales, and he continues to prove this in his other world of reality, when he refuses to give me permission to publish Last Knight.

Free markets are about choice, any product that I develop I should have the right to bring it to market in any fashion I choose, on an exclusive basis, on an open source basis, or some method in the middle. Tucker's demand that I publish my work as open source is totalitarian. And, typical of totalitarians, somehow in his mind he has found a loophole where it doesn't apply to projects he is involved with, i.e., The Last Knight.


  1. I don't have strong views in the Intellectual Property debate, although (like this 2004 'Wired' article, see here), I think most of the recent US legal changes in this field, and insistence on the supremacy of US IP law in international trade treaties, are really "neo-protectionism", not free trade, whatever the label the politicians put on it.

    If anything I am probably closer to the more "middle of the road" position between the IP neo-protectionists and the IP abolitionists, like the talented Mr. Kinsella. Although he is not usually thought of as a free marketeer, I think Larry Lessig is probably pointing out a practical middle path worth exploring.

    All that being said, it is worth pointing out that none other than Alan Greenspan, who advocates IP, in his recent biography 'Age of Turbulence' points out how remarkably weak the economic case for IP controls actually is. Greenspan more or less saying the IP Emperor has no clothes.

    Remarkably Greenspan then says we best still keep on serving the Emperor as we don't have any idea of what an "Emperor free regime" would be like.

    Greenspan's defence of IP is hardly a ringing endorsement, ...nor is it in the least bit libertarian. But then again we already knew that.

  2. Bob, I wholeheartedly agree with you in that the choice of how to introduce the product (IP) into the market is at the choice of the creator. Free Agency (Freedom of Choice) = Liberty.