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Friday, January 16, 2009

Lawrence Lessig Fnord

I saw Lawrence Lessig on the Colbert Report, and realized that he is a shill for the establishment disguised as an advocate for freedom.

My position is clear. Intellectual property is not a valid form of property. Intellectual property rights cannot be enforced without a monopolistic State, and therefore there's no such thing as intellectual property in a real free market. By intellectual property, I'm referring to patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

The immorality of copyrights and patents is obvious. Trademarks are another invalid form of intellectual property.

Trademarks are not really a problem in a true free market. Suppose you went around saying "I'm FSK!" and started giving speeches. Can I sue you for damages in a free market? No, I can't, because I have no contractual relationship with you. However, if you were defrauding your customers by pretending to be me, then your customers (not me) have a valid fraud claim. Similarly, if I make a beverage and call it "Coca Cola", then the CEO of Coca Cola does not have a valid claim against me. My customers have a valid fraud claim if I confused them and they thought they were buying from the Coca Cola corporation.

In the present, so many names are trademarked that it's practically impossible to come up with a good name for a new product. You have to pick a name that hasn't been taken, and practically all reasonable-sounding names have been used already!

Lawrence Lessig says "Current intellectual property law is completely broken." However, he does not say the correct answer, which is "Intellectual property is not a valid form of property." Instead, he says "The State has the right to regulate intellectual property. The State has an obligation to pass reasonable intellectual property laws instead of ridiculously restrictive ones."

Lawrence Lessig is arguing the pro-State position. Lawrence Lessig argues (indirectly) "Most teenagers today ignore intellectual property law. Current intellectual property law is conditioning teenagers to believe 'The law is immoral!' If the State passed less restrictive intellectual property law, then teenagers wouldn't be learning disrespect for the law." My attitude is "Good! Teenagers are learning that the law is stupid! The system is working!" Of course, most of them haven't yet considered "Taxation is theft!", but the stupidity of intellectual property law is making them more openminded. Maybe the current defective intellectual property laws should stay in place until the State completely collapses!

Lawrence Lessig's viewpoint on intellectual property is the most radical permissible viewpoint that can be discussed. "Intellectual property is not property" may not be publicly discussed on a mainstream media outlet, which itself is dependent on intellectual property law for profit. Lawrence Lessig's viewpoint "Intellectual property law should be reformed" is presented as a false opposite to the current corrupt system.

The reason copyrights are profitable in the present is due to the artificial scarcity caused by the maisntream media monopoly. Even if created my own TV show, I could not get a mainstream media outlet to carry it. Even if my show were good, I might not get a mainstream media outlet to broadcast it due to censorship considerations. The shows promoted by the mainstream media then have an artificially high value, due to the restriction of competition. The media corporations then exploit the fact that their works have an artificially high value via intellectual property laws.

The Internet is breaking the mainstream media monopoly somewhat, but an Internet-based business cannot yet earn the type of money that a mainstream media outlet earns. Most Internet-based businesses don't rely on copyright law. For example, Freedomain puts his books on the Internet for free.

In the Colbert Report interview, Lawrence Lessig was a really bad advocate for his position. He looked like an idiot. (I don't know if the interview was edited to make him look stupid. He probably was that stupid on his own.) By providing a weak criticism of the current corrupt system, Lawrence Lessig actually winds up being an advocate for the current corrupt system.

Most mainstream "activists for freedom" you see are really pro-State trolls. I've never see a mainstream advocate for freedom go all the way to the truth and say "Taxation is theft! The State is immoral! A completely free market would be superior to the current corrupt system!" By presenting a weak critcisim of the State as genuine criticism, the mainstream media advocates for the State. People who give valid arguments against the State are not presented in mainstream media outlets.


fritz said...

But what if I come up with a 0 point energy device. I spend my whole life working on it,lots of my money, and a bunch of investors money. A patent doesn't give you rights forever, just a while. shouldn't I have some chance to capitalize on my hard work.

Or have I just given a gift to man kind. Something for someone to copy,produce and sell. Cut me out of the loop??

I see your point,But I wonder what will promote research in an Agorist economy? If your whole lifes work can be copied and sold from under you. I wouldn't be motivated to expend such energy in a project.


Anonymous said...

Wow Fritz, are you being serious?

What if you spend your whole life inventing the television? What if you invest everything into it, all kinds of investor money.

And when you go to market, you find out someone in Egypt invented it 2 months earlier than you.

IP is not a valid form of property. You shouldn't have the sole right, for moral, rational and pragmatic reasons, to be the sole producer (or not) of a good. What if you can't bring it to market? What if you bring it to market without competition and it is too expensive? What if you bring it to market, and exposes a core defect, and you go broke because you weren't rigorous enough testing your own product?

I could go on and on.

Check out and anything by Stephan Kinsella on IP. There is an article by Jeff Tucker on the front page right now.

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