Monday, September 22, 2014

IP Debate Round 5: Block and Edelstein versus Wenzel on IP_

Note: The quality of this recording is a little bit on the poor side. We are working out some kinks and should have much better quality in a week or so.

Round 1 is here.

Round 2 is here.

Round 3 is here.

Round 4 is here.


  1. Ugh, again? What is the current boilerplate? That IP provides incentives to invention? Poppycock. People love to invent things. That IP is property? Absurd. When Elisha Gray lost the patent race to Alexander Graham Bell for the first practical telephone, does that mean that Gray's invention became the property of Bell all of a sudden? Because that is the implication of IP: It is an UNDUE transfer of title of any property owned by someone over to whoever claims to be the "originator", only because the property looks like something the "originator" thought in his head.

  2. Assuming we'll never live in a world that is totally devoid of states, wouldnt states, which provide patent and copyright protection, attract all of the creative people in the world (Lucas, Spielberg, Gates, Zuckerberg)? They'd make more money there. A LOT more. Thus leaving free societies void of the best people?

    1. "Thus leaving free societies void of the best people?"

      You need to examine your definition of freedom and elaborate.(if you care)

      For example, if I live in a society where I have the freedom to appropriate my neighbors property, is it a free society?

      So how do you intend the meaning of freedom?

      Instead, let's look at it from the basic principles of what a libertarian society would hold prime:

      The non-aggression principle & property rights.

      So even in a libertarian society, freedom is limited to actions that respect the above two axioms. Follow?

      So the argument may go, what type of society allows for the most prosperity & freedom? Naturally most here would say libertarian.

      Further though, to your point, that's the society that I would guess would attract the most talented people if they were to be able to voluntarily choose which society to become a member of. Certainly, people that create things of value wouldn't benefit in a society where an arbitrary standard of what they can or can't keep is in play.(assuming they have choices)

    2. Not necessarily as it depends upon many things including implementation.

      Consider software patents. A modest computer program can involve 10s of thousands of lines of code. Patents can be infringed with only a few lines of code and our modest program can infringe on hundreds of patents & there is no practical way to determine which patents could be infringed.

      I have some SW developed by me & some Univ Profs. Its math & currently useful only to prof-types; but it can be the core of a larger program useful to engineering. There is a world-leading package with which it would compete & I know I can outperform it mathematically, ease of use, and better results display. I contacted a Venture Capitalist who advised me to find & make a deal w/ a large company w/ a large patient portfolio as, if successful (become noticed), I would be unable to withstand patent attacks. He described his experience years ago funding a new SW company and being threatened with a confetti war, had to settle, & it was not about any real SW patent infringement, just legal muscle.

      Thus, with software, it may be best to sell it where SW patents are not recognized. I'm for SW copyrights as source code is a writing but my pkg would be sold without its 40K-100K lines of code. I also like SW use licenses (contracts). But, patent lawyers & legal fees scare me much worse than anyone infringing on me.

  3. After listening, I just wanted to make this brief comment:

    Walter is wrong in suggesting there's only one possibility for a libertarian styled society.

    The difference of opinion in what the definition of "property" is, is clearly a case where the two primary axioms of libertarianism are still subject to the subjective notions, like what constitutes property, and yet can be considered philosophically consistent despite differences in its definition individually.

    I see RW moving towards the whole phyle concept championed by Doug Casey and conceived by Stephenson in his book "The Diamond Age", which is an effective way to deal with subjective differences in the definition of what "property" is, in my opinion. It's completely compatible with libertarianism as a whole, more decentralization in a way.

    I still see the basic problem in this debate, is how property is defined. I don't think it's solvable due to its subjective nature.