Reading Kinsella as suggested by Victor in the earlier SOPA / PIPA thread …
The usual “property value based on scarcity / replacement cost / value” doesn’t apply to IP since the creator / owner is not in any sense deprived of the IP however many copies others make. True, but the natural reduction in scarcity caused by the free copying reduces the value of the IP to its creator / owner. So as Kinsella continues, it is a matter of “contract” by the creator at time of publication – and what is “fair value” in return at that point. Fairness is a good concept – from both moral and utilitarian perspectives – though remember, for me, correctly applied, pragmatism IS morality (another story).
I have to conclude that most of the rest of Kinsella’s case is about difficulties (*) in fair application of copyright “contracts” to future people not party to original contracts directly, and where the “essence” of the copyrighted idea is patterned at some level below any physical artefact “copy” owned legitimately by a third-party in future. All of which says to me we should be taking exactly what is copyrighted and patented very seriously, not simply dismissing it as “untenable”. Strengthening (fair) legal arrangements not rejecting them.
Good to be reminded that for IP the questions are in fact about contracts for fair use, not ownership per se, as would be the case for property rights generally. The distinction is very important. Property is the wrong word, copyright is right.
No surprise, morally, fair value lies in multiple levels of patterns. What is surprising is how quickly Kinsella’s IP debate leads straight to metaphysical fundamentals of value. Wow. Double wow.
(*) Examples of problems include : Patents with unfair assertion of creative copyrights, occupation and “homesteading” etc … the idea of a light-bulb, things discovered (in science) not “created”, not being distinct about the actual thing created. I remember doing a master’s paper on this on Pharmceutical patenting back in the late 80’s. (Creation is the key concept here, in an aontic world-view, all reality is in fact created, a view I only recognized in the noughties.)
PS love the example character “Galt-Magnon” – magic, I hope Kinsella copyrighted it 😉 I’m guessing Kinsella rejects (Ayn) Rand as strongly as I do.
[Post Note : Here is an example “guinea-pig” case.]
3 thoughts on “More on IP”
Rand was a strong proponent of copyright and it’s probable the biggest point of disagreement between randians and libertarians today.
Concerning the pragmatism – had you seen the discussion on consequentialism and business process modeling 🙂 ? http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=84616115&gid=2452802&commentID=63149650&trk=view_disc&ut=1p-3IQe0YdkB41
Enough about Rand.
That consequentialism debate – I won’t join thanks. Starts on a false premise that the two represent some binary choice, whereas they are an active loop. As I say, there are much better metaphysics than (say) Kant and Bentham individually. Quality is in the interaction – of means with ends – they are not independent objects in some ontological sense.