Monday, February 2, 2009

Now If We Could Only Get Danielle Steele and J.K. Rowling To Think Like This

Jeffrey Tucker has "pulled" the copyright on all his present and future writings. In an article at LRC today, he writes:

As for this article, please "steal" it. That goes for anything I write. If you can sell it and make a buck, good for you. If you become a millionaire, shame on me for not thinking of it first.
Unfortunately, Tucker's writings are about as popular and in demand as would be a self help book written by George W. Bush.

In reviewing Tucker's writings, for my upcoming book, I have discovered logical errors and factual errors across his writings on intellectual property, all of which I will detail in the book. However, I can't resist this gem in Tucker's pulling of his copyright. He writes,"If you become a millionaire, shame on me for not thinking of it first."

What does "thinking about it first" have anything to do with it?

Let's suspend disbelief for a moment and assume that Tucker writes a book that the masses will crave. In this case, does it mean that Tucker under his copyrightless world will benefit? Absolutely not. The beneficiaries will be the companies that have the most efficient printing equipment and who have the best distribution systems.

Since Tucker has pulled the copyright on his works, they have no incentive to negotiate with him. Zero. They will just print his book. Tucker will bring up the 9-11 Commission Report as an example of why the book will be published with only one publisher. But Tucker forgets one critical point, there were no royalties paid to anyone on the 9-11 book. For Tucker, to mimic the results of the 9-11 book he would not only have to pull the copyright, but cancel any royalties or other payments for his book, otherwise any other publisher (other than Tucker's initial publisher) will have an advantage over Tucker's chosen publisher because they won't have to pay Tucker a royalty. Thus, they can always undercut the price of Tucker's chosen publisher and still make more money than Tucker's publisher.

It isn't always the person who is first to market with a product, as Tucker claims, (See my long list in my book), sometimes it is those that find ways to cut costs. And in Tucker's world of no copyright, the most obvious cost to eliminate would be royalty payments to Tucker.

On another point in this mornings musings from Tucker, Tucker tells us that, at "the Mises Institute... All our new works, insofar as it is possible, will be published with a Creative Commons license as a matter of signed contract with authors."

But, why stop there, why not allow authors of previous Mises published writings to publish copies of their own books? I'm sure Gene Callahan would be perfectly willing to accept such an offer, as would any other Mises authors (if there are any others) that initially published under a fixed fee that Tucker has written is an evil way for a publisher to act:

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.

Now is your chance to really repent (based on your thinkng on copyright), Mises Institute, FREE GENE CALLAHAN's writings from what you claim are evil ways to snag an author.

Oh, and I am still waiting on the go ahead to publish Mises: Last Knight of Liberalism, for which the Mises Institute holds the copyright. If you are going to be consistent, be consistent.


  1. Nice. Keep up the pressure on them. They are buckling.

  2. t isn't always the person who is first to market with a product, as Tucker claims, (See my long list in my book), sometimes it is those that find ways to cut costs.

    But that's only because the subsequent producers are allowed to "steal the idea" from the first one to market. Your example illustrates Tucker's point, not yours.

    (BTW, I am perfectly aware that you are going to say, "No Bob, what I'm saying is..." But I just wanted to go on record by noting that you think you are refuting him, when you're really giving evidence of why the notion of "owning an idea" leads to absurdities if you actually applied it consistently. For example, I wouldn't have been able to type this paragraph because I'm stealing Kinsella's argument. I hope he wasn't planning on using it today! I'll give it back to him and maybe he'll forgive the theft that was for a good cause.)

  3. I'm trying to figure out how you went from friendly critic to troll.

    Have you read the book yet? Nope, too busy writing and blogging to learn anything.

  4. Actually Bob,

    The answer is much more complex than that. Under my view of "natural" copyright and "natural" intellectual property this is not the case.

    The problem with Tucker's view is that he doesn't understand the right of the individual to his own creations--under any circumstances. It is a commie view.

    In my view it is quiet a bit different, but not like current copyright, trademark and patent law, either.

    The problem with the Tucker-Kinsella view is they realize something is wrong with current intellectual property law, but their solution is even worse than the current problem.

    I don't really want to right an entire book here in this post, but just know there is a third way that is much more in line with individual creativity,and rights to ownership, but eliminates the problems of sometimes justified charges of monopoly charges against current intellectual property law.

    Naturally, I plan to cover all this, with copyright protection, in my upcoming book

  5. With regard to Callahan you are either a liar or deeply ignorant. He is free to publish his writings anywhere in any form. The Mises Institute does NOT violate anyone's rights, though apparently you favor a system in which doing so would be legal and wonderful.

    Go for it! Up with Callahan! May he hit the NYT bestseller's list.

    For god's sake, at least pretend to be striving for truth here.

  6. @ Jeffrey Tucker

    Actually, I am trying to figure out why you continue with the ad hominem attacks versus attempting to answer any of my criticisms.

    Or why you fail to explain to me, and other readers, why you won't release the publishing rights to Last Knight to me. If you have a defense for you actions, I would like to hear it. With all due respect, it does look hypocritical that you argue for open source publishing and then refuse to allow me publishing rights to the book.

    As for my intense focus on your writing, the answer is simple. Anyone that responds to an email of mine where I an attempting to expand intellectual debate, with a one word response, "bullshit", gets my juices flowing.

  7. @ Jeffrey Tucker

    Re: Callahan

    There you go ad hominem, again.

    Actually, during this entire debate, I have not been in touch with Mr. Callahan. I have no idea whether he is even aware of this debate, but my guess is judging just by what he has written re his contract with Mises Institute that with regard to Economics For Real People he is unaware that he is free to publish his own version of the book.

    I will be in contact with him to see if he is aware of this fact.

    However, my understanding of your anti-copyright belief is that anyone should have the right to publish written works of others (Beyond just the authors), if this is the case, is it alright with the Mises Institute if I publish versions of Last Knight and Economics for Real People?