Posts Tagged: IP


These selections from the “Property in Ideas” debate, taken from the pages of Benjamin Tucker’s Liberty (1890–1891), include provocative essays on property, anarchy, equal liberty and copyright from some of the leading individualist Anarchists of the 19th century. Includes articles by Benjamin Tucker, Victor Yarros, J. William Lloyd, Tak Kak, A. H. Simpson, John Beverley Robinson, and William Hanson.

“My understanding of my environment is my idea of it. … Everything that I understand I discover, just as much as the first man who understood it and discovered it… . I must discover it for myself. My understanding of another’s idea, as before shown, is not his idea, but my own, and my discovery of his discovery is original discovery so far as I am concerned, no matter how many thousand times discovered by others before. So, if original discovery gives exclusive right to copy, very well, all discovery is original; all understanding is original discovery for the individual making it, and beyond the individual we, as egoistic Anarchists, have no need to go… .

“Do I, then, deny copyright? Yes and no. I deny false, legal copyright, which is the privilege of the first man who exercises his faculties in discovery or production to forbid others to imitate without permission. This is really not copyright, but the invasion of true copyright, which is the inalienable right of every man to copy whatever he pleases if he can, a part of that complete natural liberty of the inoffensive for which we An­archists persistently stand. That there is no offence in copying is proved by the simple fact that, even if I think a thought similar to the thought of my fellow, he is not thereby at all prevented from thinking it; if he copies my hoe, he does not by so doing take away my hoe, or prevent my using it, or making as many as I please like it. This consideration alone is all­sufficient to make true Anarchists endorse free copyright, inasmuch as all action not invasive is truly free and justifiable.

“Legal copyright, patent-right, is only one form of that hydra headed monopoly which is reducing us all to slavery. This is the true copyright, my right and your right to copy and reproduce everything our senses comprehend; anything less than this stops human growth and blocks the wheels of progress. If I am free to copy all men’s thoughts and deeds, I am a man among men; if I may do freely only that which I am first to do, I am a pauper or a slave… .” — J. William Lloyd, “Copyright”

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"A superabundant world does exist, however, in ideal resources - ideas, patterns, concepts, words, expressions, information, knowledge, etc. (in other words, products of the mind). My use of a chicken soup recipe doesn’t interfere with or exclude anyone else’s ability also use it. The same goes for the design of an internal combustion engine, the arrangement and expression of words in a novel, the colors and patterns of a painting, the notes and rhythms of a musical composition, and anything that exists beyond the constraints of physical goods."


Copying is not theft. Monopoly is.

Real, tangible property rights result from natural scarcity and follow as a matter of course from the attempt to maintain occupancy of physical property that cannot be possessed by more than one person at a time. Intellectual property, on the other hand, creates artificial scarcity that does not naturally exist and can only be enforced by invading real, tangible property and preventing the owner from using it in ways that violate the supposed intellectual property rights of others …. Intellectual property also serves as a bulwark for planned obsolecence and high-overhead production.

Corporations rely on increasingly authoritarian legislation to capture value from propriety information…. Privileged, state-connected economic interests are becoming increasingly dependent on such controls. But unfortunately for them, such controls are becoming increasingly unenforceable thanks to Bittorrent, strong encryption, and proxy servers…. This has profoundly weakened corporate hierarchies in the information and entertainment industries. In this environment, the only thing standing between the old information and media dinosaurs and their total collapse is their so-called intellectual property rights.… Without intellectual property, in any industry where the basic production equipment is widely affordable, and bottom-up networking renders management obsolete, it is likely that self-managed, cooperative production will replace the old managerial hierarchies.

Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “Intellectual Property is Theft!”


Historical record shows how intellectual property systematically slowed down innovation

“We all too frequently hear that the copyright monopoly is supposed to encourage creativity and that the patent monopoly is supposed to encourage innovation. Most lawyers whose jobs depend on the belief in these myths even claim that the monopolies fulfill these functions to the letter. But when we look at history, a different pattern emerges.

Let’s start around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In that day and age, copyright monopoly laws were in force in the United Kingdom, and pretty much the United Kingdom alone (where they were enacted in 1557). You know the “Made in Country X” that is printed or engraved on pretty much all our goods? That originated as a requirement from the British Customs against German-made goods, as a warning label that they were shoddy goods made in Germany at the time. It spread to pretty much global use.

But Germany didn’t have copyright monopoly laws at this point in time, and historians argue that was the direct cause of Germany’s engineering excellence overtaking that of the United Kingdom. In the UK, knowledge of handicrafts was expensive to come by. Books and the knowledge they carried were locked down in the copyright monopoly construct, after all. In Germany, however, the same knowledge was available at print cost – and thus, engineering skills proliferated. With every new person learning engineering, one more person started to improve the skill set for himself and for the country at large. The result is that Germany still, 200 years later, has an outstanding reputation for engineering skills – the rise of which are directly attributable to a lack of the copyright monopoly. …


C4SS Media presents 's “The Problem Isn’t ‘Patent Trolls.’ The Problem Is Patents.,” read by James Tuttle and edited by Nick Ford.

"Apple’s complaint, in its essentials, is that patent “trolls” just buy up patent “rights,” then search for infringement to cash in on, rather than going to the trouble of making real products. But why shouldn’t they do that? If, as Apple would have us believe, patents are a legitimate market instrument, then the “trolls” are just exploiting that instrument more efficiently than Apple cares to, right?

The problem isn’t “patent trolls.” The problem is patents.”


U.S. Farmers Report Widespread GM Crop Contamination - Inter Press Service


"For a society to be liberated its ideas cannot be owned. Once in the market others should be free to add their knowledge to a concept and advance its practice. This does nothing but maximize the innovative capacity of human labor. Best practices should be free to develop. IP restricts the creative, innovative potential of the populace as these laws allow the “ownership” of information. IP laws serve to protect capital at the expense of inclined labor. Ideas are powerful and fundamental to a free society - they should not be caged by legal activism."


"In other words, patents are indirect taxes on consumers. Patent monopolists can charge higher prices because government suppresses their would-be competitors for them. And if those competitors do manage to bring products to market, those products are also more expensive because they’ve had to spend money on patent licensing, or on patent research to avoid “infringement,” or on insurance to protect themselves against patent litigation."



One cannot simply choose not to patent an invention and entrust it safely to the public domain. It is necessary to pay the enormous expense of obtaining a patent in order to enforce the continued public domain status of one’s own invention, and keep it from being stolen by corporate pirates.

In Summary…

“Intellectual property” is theft. Smash the state.



"But to repeat once again, and for the last time, the laws on which the enforcement of this business model depends are becoming unenforceable, and the business model itself as a result untenable. According to the (probably hyperbolic) claim of Johan Pouwelse, a scholarly analyst of the P2P phenomenon, copyright will become unenforceable by 2010. If his assessment of the timeline is overly optimistic, his analysis of the causes of copyright’s obsolescence are on the mark."