Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On IPR Abolition 7: Ideas Cannot be Owned?

Further continuation of my debate with a young Singaporean libertarian, Say Peng.
Say:‎ Where is the evidence to prove a causal relationship between IPR and the creation of all that you listed above? That is to say, how do you know that all the above inventions and innovations wouldn't happen in a non-IPR world? This issue is still disputed, as I've point out.

To give you a counter-example, about the time of the Renaissance, where copyright laws were non-existent or weak, nevertheless, this did not stop artistic and literary creations and innovations. Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer did not stop writing because of weak or non-existent copyright laws, did they?

Nonoy: Proof? All those big and monster companies in music and movie, agri-business and biotech, books and magazine publishing, automobile, pharma, etc., are in developed economies where the rule of law, where IPR is strictly protected. Are thosehuge companies found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Somalia, etc. where counterfeits, fakes and copying are rampant? I dont think so. People will still write books, invent new products, with or without IPR protection. It's just that there are more innovators, more inventors, in countries where IPR is strictly protected than in countries where IPR is a joke or not strictly protected.

Say: Indeed, you realize that the media and printing businesses today are dominated by the few "big and monster" conglomerates and corporations--oligopolies who finance the politicians within government to push the IPR agenda so that they may continue to keep out potential competition and dominate the industry.

You list 5 countries where those huge companies do not operate in, not realizing their absence in those countries are due to different reasons....

Look at the origins of intellectual property rights. They were grants for monopoly privileges--the monopoly of intangible ideas and concepts--by the monarchical government, which, when enforced, entails exacting force against nonviolent people doing peaceful things with their own property.

Nonoy: Supposing IPRs will be granted by an industry association, to be respected by industry players. Govt is out. Still an unacceptable situation?

Say: It's acceptable only if it is voluntary, which includes the choice to opt out and not suffer any violent retaliation for nonviolent behavior.

So I do see a possibility of an "intellectual property" social contract, in which it becomes common practice through habit not to copy wholesale the conceptual designs and whatnot of others, and that anyone who violates this social contract will be ostracized and no one would want to do business with him, and so he will be compelled to respect the IP social contract. All that can happen without the initiation of force from the state that current IPR laws entails.

Nonoy: New trend: libertatrians and anarchists' main enemy is supposed to be the state. Now, private capitalists, private individuals and inventors who want protection of their own invention are the big enemy of libertarians and anarchists?
Say: The enemy is the state that initiates violence upon peaceful people. The moral state, which is a state funded voluntarily if I may add, will defend the physical property of people against theft, but not a kind of property that does not exist physically in the material reality but as mental projections from our minds.

Nonoy: I am a rock star, I composed several good rock songs. I want my songs to be protected from some copycatters who they record my songs and do concerts from them with zero recognition of me and get all the money and fame. Now I am an enemy of the libertarians? Why don;t you compose your own rock songs too, instead of spending your energy attacking me for seeking protection of my own invention, my own song compositions?

Say: You will be an enemy, if you want to unleash state violence on peaceful people. But the thing is, you will get some recognition, if the people who copied your music go famous. I have many such examples, from the era of Mozart to Madonna. You won't get as much attention as them, but there will be recognition. Their fame is after all based more on their interpretation and performance of your lyrics than on the lyrics themselves.

I could compose my own songs, but I might not want to. I just want to copy others. I might be deemed a lazy freeloader within the industry, but I haven't used force against you.

Nonoy: People who do nothing but copy my good rock songs and make money from them with zero recognition of me are "peaceful people"? Now the world is upside down. If you're too lazy to compose your own songs and just copy my songs for your own enjoyment, fine. But if you copy my songs to do concerts, to record songs under your name, it's ok? Upside down world indeed.
Say: You won't get zero recognition, as I have said; but even if you get no recognition, the people who have copied and performed your songs are still peaceful nonviolent people. Such acts might be immoral and unprofessional according to your ethics, but it does not warrant the state's violent retaliation.

Nonoy: I already qualified above, supposing an industry association will grant the IPR, not the state. No IP system is good for lazy and non-innovative people, you just copy, it's moral and legal, life is good.

Say: And I have already replied to your point about such a potential IPR system above. The key issue is that one must be free to opt out of it and that the industry association cannot initiate physical force to enforce IPR.

Nonoy: No need for physical force. A country's music industry will grant IPR to rock band A, Then rock bands B and C do nothing but copy the songs of A, do concerts on them, make product endorsements from the songs of A, make lots of money. Pure lazy but good marketing guys. The no IP system will expand their rank. But while there is IP system, the music industry association can blacklist rock bands B and C, tell corporate sponsors not to get their services or they won't get the services of any other music groups in the industry. Just to punish the lazy and non-innovators.
Say: Such an IP system I can endorse.

Nonoy: Then IPR is good. It's just the mechanics how it can be implemented. IPR system will encourage more inventors, more composers, more innovators. The lazy are penalized by exclusivity, so instead of being a lazy copycatter, people would rather become innovators and inventors too.
Say: ‎"IPR system will encourage more inventors, more composers, more innovators."
I very much doubt so. Just ask any writer, musician, artist, inventor: What motivates you to create what you create? I don't think their answer would be "IPR!"

But I do agree with you that the nonviolent excluding process is a good way to discourage copycats.

Nonoy: People invent or compose something because they want to be creative, to produce something original. IPR system protects them from being copied by others who do nothing but copy the works of the successful composers and inventors. IPR discourages the lazy.
Say: When you the "IPR system protects...", as long as it does not include the initiation of physical force, there is nothing above I disagree with.

Nonoy: ok, case close :-)

Say: Indeed. We've come a long way. I presume you've now rejected the current statist IPR system and embraced a nonviolent form of IPR?

Nonoy: In the absence of private sector-granted IPR, I have to support the state-granted IPR system. My interest is protection of invention and composition by their authors if they seek it, not protecting the state itself. Ultimately, industry associations themselves should issue (or reject) IPR applications, and f___ the state.
Say: Do you not think that the means to attain your ends of "protection of invention and composition by their authors if they seek it" should be peaceful and nonviolent? Or do you think that the ends justify the means?

Nonoy: The end does not justify the means. The latter is incidental and can be replaced.

Say: You are now advocating a violent means to achieve your ends of the "protection of invention and composition by their authors if they seek it". Shouldn't you change it?

Nonoy: That's false accusation. What sentence, what paragraph, did I say that I "advocate violent means"? Is it plain paranoia?
Say: Here: "In the absence of private sector-granted IPR, I have to support the state-granted IPR system."

Nonoy: One rule of paranoia says: If you dont like what your opponent says, concoct stories and imaginations. Like he advocates violence, he is going to kill you, he will steal your girlfriend...
Say: I gave evidence, a quotation of yours, to back my statement about your advocacy of using state violence to achieve IPR ends. Perhaps you should clarify my confusion (if it exists) rather than invoke paranoia on my part.

Nonoy: I gave zero statement, zero sentence, that I advocate violence to protect IPR. What's next, that I advocate raising taxes, creating new govt. bureaucracies, new UN offices, to protect IPR? Concoction and imagination is endless.
Say: To prove that you did advocate state violence to enforce IPR, I shall quote you again: "In the absence of private sector-granted IPR, I have to support the state-granted IPR system." A state-granted IPR system is a system enforced by state violence.

Nonoy: I am a rock star, I produced good music. Rock bands B and C do nothing but copy my songs, do concerts, do product endorsements, make lots of money by stealing my songs without permission. I go to the IPO or other govt agencies in charge of IPR in music, they send a letter to rock bands B and C to discontinue their stealing as they can compose their own songs. Some libertarians now say that I am advocating violence. Weird world.

Say: In the first place, it is not the theft of a physical item, and rock bands B and C did not use physical force against you when they copied your songs. Their copying of your songs, regardless of whether you think is moral or otherwise, was a nonviolent act--which does not merit violent retaliation from the state, which you euphemistically describe as "I go to the IPO or other govt agencies in charge of IPR in music, they send a letter to rock bands B and C"--the paper threat backed by the violence mechanism of the state is what it is.

Don't be so glib about state violence. It's not just "they send a letter"...

Nonoy: Stealing song composition for big money is ok, is alright, the song composer should not even complain. Wow. Robbery morality = libertarianism?

Say: Sure, the composer should complain, but he should not unleash state violence upon the copycat. Because, and I keep repeating this over and over again, the copycat has not initiate violence against the composer; the composer has not lost any of his physical property. The copycat took the composer's idea. It does not mean the composer has lost the idea to the copycat. Both of them now hold the same idea in their minds. It is not robbery since nothing has been robbed; no one party has lost property to another party. You are basically saying that ideas can be stolen. (And since you apparently love sarcasm...) Wow, isn't a miraculous kind of robbery in which previously one person owns something, and after the robbery, two persons own it. Really brilliant kind of robbery.

Nonoy: I am a univ. student taking up BS Music, or BS molecular biology. My goal is to produce lots of good music or lots of good drug molecules someday. In short, my entire career, my future, is to produce ideas. Now some liibertarians and anarchists say that other people can steal my ideas anytime, anywhere, it's perfectly ok, and I have no right to complain whatsoever. Good message. I can never be an anarchist. An anarchist even views the miniarchists as advocating violence. Absolute truth belongs only to anarchists, great.

Lesson: dogmatic anarchists -- I think they're few -- believe that only them are correct; anyone who disagrees with them are lovers of state violence and are advocating violence.

See earlier exchanges, On intellectual property abolition, part 6.

No comments: