Intellectual Property - Opinions and Arguments

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by meambobbo, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    I decided to start this thread because it's a subject that interests me, and we started getting on a tangent when talking about Schaller and how some builders have been modifying their Hannes bridge to equip on guitar's they are building. Schaller does not make 7/8 string versions yet, nor fanned fret versions, yet they have sent cease and desist letters to such builders claiming patent violation.

    Anyway, I sympathize with the utilitarian intentions of intellectual property but feel such laws ultimately impede utilitarian results. There are no doubt cases that support intellectual property as a necessary catalyst to create some pretty amazing products. Nonetheless, I believe on a whole, the net costs outweigh the net benefits.

    There are three common form of intellectual property - copyrights, patents, and trademark. Related but not exactly the same are things like trade secrets and non-disclosure agreements. I think copyright and patent are the items we should focus on, but anything is fair game.

    Copyright covers copying or creating a derivative work of some informational good, outside of "fair use", without the permission of the author. Patents cover inventions, whether that be a design or a process. The idea behind each is that with exclusive rights to manufacturer and distribute the product, or license others to do so, there is an economic incentive to invent such goods.

    There are two problems with this approach. One is that it tramples on traditional rights, which is damaging for individual freedom. The other is that in addition to creating incentives for innovation, intellectual property law creates disincentives for all kinds of economic activity, including innovative ones. In the latter case, I actually believe the net harm outweighs the net benefits.

    As for trampling on individual rights, the root of the concept of property is to allow individuals or groups exclusive control over scarce resources. Without the concept of property rights, conflict is inevitable - any desirable good can only be controlled by possessing it, which is both vague and fleeting. For some goods, simple possession is completely impossible. Property also allows individual freedom - since we are in constant contact with scarce goods, action would be near impossible if it were required to seek a consensus or even majority of any population's permission to interact with such scarce goods in your desired manner.

    As far as net costs, we see this all the time. With patents, patent trolls, drawn-out legal battles over arbitrary patents, companies able to enforce relatively obvious patents against companies working hard to provide desired goods to consumers at lower cost (or at all), individuals having to pay big money for patent searches to make sure they can make a product without getting sued, individuals and companies having to patent their ideas strictly as defense against someone else patenting it and preventing them from legally continuing to produce and sell the product they invented. With copyright, carbon copies are one thing. I get that you'd want protection, even though there is a first arriver advantage. But the derivative work stipulation blurs the line. In a very loose interpretation, one could "own" a 3 note melody for 150 years. If we had to wait 50+ years every time we wanted to write something that could vaguely be considered derivative of something we heard someone else write, there would be very little progress. Luckily, copyright is rarely enforced to such a degree.

    Another aspect I don't like about intellectual property law is its arbitrary nature. This leads to it disincentivizing work. It is unclear if you are breaking the law in certain cases. Or you may go through the expense of obtaining a patent, only to discover in court later on that your design is too "obvious" to hold a valid patent, even though it was approved by the patent office. Additionally, the time limits granted are completely arbitrary. How were they selected as the optimal time lengths necessary to incentivize the correct amount of innovation? If they are so great, why not make them perpetrual - I think the concession that they SHOULD expire acknowledges that the exclusive right is harmful to economic activity and that its incentive only goes so far. Nevertheless, due to corporate personhood and the way copyright law is written, copyrights ARE de facto perpetual. Yet the majority of music, for instance, has very little inspiration drawn from seeking financial gain through exclusive rights. Individuals are producing songs in their free time with no promise of making a living selling their music or seeking to sell their copyrights to a corporation.

    Intellectual property comes up frequently in music and gear. In music, there is copyright and the constant claims of copying styles, melodies, or even direct recordings. For instance, Meshuggah clones, Satriani vs. Coldplay, and Vanilla Ice vs. Queen. Where exactly is the line of a derivative work vs. an original? Is this completely arbitrary? How do you feel about the examples mentioned, and do you have others to offer?

    As for gear, there's guitar body styles, mechanical devices/designs, perhaps even new instruments. Consider Gibson suing others for stealing their body designs, or Floyd Rose's patent on their bridge design. I'm surprised that Fernandez and Sustainiac haven't legally barred one or the other from the market. Any famous cases of gear getting outlawed? Like a patent on cascading gain stages or devices that were the first to do ____?

    Amp modeling and profiling are another area. This is a particularly funny one to me. Apparently attempting to model or profile an amp's sound is ok, but using the trademarked name of the amp in the modeler is not. Hence all the Treadplate, Blackface Double, USA Lead, Angel Fball, etc. Then Kemper's profiling process is patented, while the process itself is an attempt to basically "steal" the response of amps designed by other companies. They're protecting their exclusive right to "steal" others' sound!

    Anyway, my opinion is just my opinion. However you stand on this issue, prevent your argument or your simple opinion!
     
  2. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    I'm just curious as to what traditional rights are trampled on by someone being granted exclusive rights to one's own creation. Is it the "right" to take something from someone who doesn't have the strength to stop you? Could you clarify what "traditional rights" are being trampled?
     
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  3. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    property rights precede intellectual property rights by thousands of years (although I will not pretend that they were universal or administrated in a perfectly just fashion). intellecutal property laws trample rights by preventing someone from using his property as he sees fit. he can't take a piece of metal that he purchased (or mined/homsteaded in a non-violent, non-conflicting fashion) and form it how he chooses. The Schaller Hannes issue clearly demonstrates this. You can't buy a bridge from them, change it a bit in ways consumers want and sell it. he can't put a page of a book on a photocopier under certain circumstances.

    nothing is being taken. that's muddying the argument by conflating copying/imitation with depriving someone else of control of a scarce good.
     
  4. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    Also, in regards to patent, it is technically illegal to even attempt to implement a patented design regardless of whether or not you plan to sell it or use it personally. the law is not typically enforced against DIY end-users, but that's how it is spelled out.
     
  5. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    What would you see as the alternative to intellectual property rights? Without them, nobody would put any money in research and development, because instead they could just copy somebody else for free. Without being granted sole rights to use an idea, there is a lot less motivation to put significant time and money into creating something, so removing intellectual property would significantly slow the creation of new products and ideas.
     
  6. pink freud

    pink freud SS.org Regular

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    That and more things would become "Trade Secrets". It's harder to do with a physical product (all the trade secrets I'm personally familiar with refer to processes) but Coca Cola has famously managed to pull it off.
     
  7. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    False, as long as he isn't taking someone else's protected ideas. You're making it an all-or-nothing proposition.

    So, you're saying that someone wants to take someone else's ideas and sell them. You're against someone having exclusive right to their own ideas for a limited time... and for someone else being able to take those ideas at any time.

    To say plainly what you're not saying: The ideas clearly have value, because someone else wants to take them. However, you don't want those innovative people to profit from their own ideas.

    Am I misconstruing the core of your argument? Let's look.

    If nothing is being taken... why does someone have to steal the idea in the first place, instead of just coming up with an unrelated, original idea?

    I suspect that you mean, nothing physical is being taken, and that you want laws which deal with and protect intangibles (your reputation, being credit-worthy, being protected from being falsely listed as a felon when hunting for a job) shouldn't exist, and that only physical things can be given value. Is that correct?
     
  8. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    In many times and places, intellectual property laws were not around or ineffective in protecting exclusive rights of innovators. And innovation happened anyway. There is an inherent incentive to innovate simply because innovation is often a lucrative industry. Yes, without protection there are copycats. But first arrivers typically maintain a powerful market position. When they first launch, they get "lead time" in which they have a de facto monopoly before the copycats can measure their success, reverse engineer their products, develop their own manufacturing equipment and process, manufacture comparable goods, distribute and market them. But even long-term, first arrivers still retain the lion's share of the market. Their lead time and shown expertise develops a reputation and builds a brand associated with quality.

    On the other hand, intellectual property creates perverse incentives to innovation in contrast to the incentive of exclusive rights. It creates high costs to develop a new product to be sure that you will not receive an injunction or suffer a lawsuit from a current patent-holder. Where such a patent does exist, it means paying licensing fees - in some cases these are too cost prohibitive to develop the new product.

    From surveys of businesses, (http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/ip.ch.4.m1004.pdf see page 17), many ranked secrecy and lead time as more important than patent protection. Also, they rated the reasons for getting patent protection nearly as high to protect against the negative impact of intellectual property laws as the exclusive rights gained through patents.

    Free market contracts or development processes can handle the exceptional cases where the cost of research and development is high but the speed and cost of copying is low. For instance, all the major players in the field will cooperate and fund the research and development together. The resulting standards or products will enhance all of their businesses. Copycats may also profit from such, but they will be a very small segment of the market compared to the major players.

    Also, there are adaptable business models. For instance, open source, copy-center or copy-left software gives away the end product, the software for free. Rather than selling CD/DVD copies of software, they sell customizations and support services. Others could sell such services, but the original author has a strong advantage. As the original developer, they have the most working knowledge of the software and ability to quickly and effectively service or modify it with the same levels of quality evident in the public release.
     
  9. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    When people start agitating for something being free, I always wonder what they themselves originate which has value, and which they then freely give away.

    Those who never originate ideas can't conceive of allowing others to value theirs. However, they do have no problem appropriating the ideas of others.

    So... I decided that I would look at that recent post and see what is original thought, and what is just copy-and-paste.

    Although some parts might have been reworded, I think I'd have to fail that if it were submitted to me as a paper due to too much plagarism. I just ran bits through Google and found completely identical examples (what are the odds of that? not huge!), but a lot of universities have programs which are better at finding such instances. *laugh*

    Anyway, you didn't answer any of my bolded questions, especially the last one. If an idea has no value (according to you, nothing was taken, while I hold that something of value was taken), then why not just come up with another unrelated idea?

    No copy and paste necessary, mind you. Just your thoughts on why someone would take something of no value... and then be able to sell it as well, given that it has no value.

    I think you reduced your own argument to absurdity, but I'm interested in where you go in reconciling those two incompatibilities.
     
  10. Grand Moff Tim

    Grand Moff Tim Some call me... Tim

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    Which is of course why everyone enjoys delicious Hydrox cookies, and not those shamefull late-coming knockoffs, Oreos.

    :ugh:
     
  11. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    No I'm not. I freely acknowledge you can do lots of other things with the raw materials. And even within traditional rights, there are clear restrictions on what you do with them. For instance, I'm not free to use a gun to go shoot a bunch of people. That would violate their rights. The concept of freedom is built on equal rights. But intellectual property violates this. If you get some raw materials and use them in such a way, then get a patent on that, now I'm forbidden from doing the same thing with mine. Maybe I'm "taking" (copying) your idea, or maybe I had the same idea independently. But the result is the same. Intellectual property rights are clearly a restriction upon the individual property rights of others that they would otherwise have.

    Basically, yes. But it should be said that in such an environment, if an innovator desired to be the monopoly supplier of their work, they wouldn't publicly share their research, particularly before bringing their product to market.

    Also, again you insist on using the word "take" which is simply inappropriate. I cannot force myself into your brain and see your ideas. I cannot legally invade your home and see your ideas you've put to paper or your computer, etc. And any copying I do does not deprive you of your research. So while "taking" implies depriving you of something against your will, what we are describing is copying something which you willfully released without depriving you of anything, other than your status as the sole proprietor of some knowledge.

    Yes, I never said that I do not wish for innovative people to profit from their ideas. I just don't they should be granted a legal right to monopolize said ideas.

    Well one argument would be to say that there are no such thing as unrelated, original ideas. So again, maybe intellectual property laws incentivize original ideas, but they also disincentivize derivative original ideas so long as they could be considered derivative of existing ideas.

    But I don't think we're worried about derivative works here, but direct copies, or insignificantly altered copies. So let's focus on that - the case of those who professionally copy end products and sell them at a lower price than the author - the bootleggers and pirates.

    I don't want to necessarily defend the bootlegger, but I don't think I have to. Consider the file-sharer. I could more easily defend this person, and what he does is not a whole lot different from the professional bootlegger. Rather than gaining money; however, he gains content. And I'd defend these people on the grounds of freedom and property rights.

    To the extent these people will exist even more prominently in a world without intellectual property laws, it does force certain industries to adapt their business models. Despite copying occurring relatively quickly given modern technology, the original author still has a first arriver advantage. He simply has to preempt the bootlegger to earn his income. Bootleggers have already learned this lesson - their operations themselves aren't free and are highly competitive. They have pushed prices downward and eventually shifted business models towards advertising (or pushing malware/spam). Content creators can take this even further. Unlike the copiers, they can tailor the content itself towards the demands of those willing to fund it. The copycats can't.

    Maybe this conflicts with ideals in art. Maybe so, but art isn't necessarily driven by financial incentives anyway. At least not most acclaimed art. In fact, given widespread online free distribution of music (youtube your favorite song...) and iTunes pushing purchases more towards singles over albums and lower prices per song, the monetary incentives of distributing music could be said to have decreased. Has there been a corresponding decline in the number of people becoming musicians? No. In fact, there's likely more.

    I feel like these things are kind of off-topic, but I'll give a response anyway. Unless I'm misinterpreting the point - please correct me if I'm missing something...

    Obviously intangible goods are valuable, but that doesn't mean they should be exclusively owned by someone, and in some cases I don't think even can be. There are ways to capitalize on such goods without intellectual property laws. A clear example are your job skills. You capitalize on them by selling your labor - your application of them. Anyone could study your work and attempt to develop similar skills. I don't think anyone would argue that we should outlaw people from studying to become ___ because it would diminish the value of existing ___'s.

    Keep in mind that value is the opinion of other people of something. To say you "own" value is to say you own the minds of others.

    Your reputation is simply a collective opinion of you by others. No one has any right to their own opinions other than themselves. As far as slander and libel, I don't think they should be regarded as crimes; however, I think that those who slander and libel will likely end up with a reputation as being irreputible, rather than those they attempt to slander/libel. Now, that's different from fraud, a purposeful misrepresentation intended to create a gain. It usually amounts to theft.

    Credit-worthiness...I'm not sure what you're saying here. If I bring a false document that purports I have a better credit score according to ___ company in order to secure a loan or get a job, etc. that's fraud.

    If someone applying for the same job as you says you are a felon, that could be construed as fraud, but I would have to believe any employer is not going to trust a competitor applicant's claim against another applicant over their own research, which could be rather easily verified.

    This is in part why there are multiple companies that perform background checks and credit scores and why companies pay money for these services. If any of them gave false information, they would eventually be found out which would have a severe negative impact on their marketability.

    I don't predict changing intellectual property laws would have any impact on these things.
     
  12. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    You are trying to make this personal. Whatever. I have thick skin.

    Check my signature. Behold my Pod HD guide which I created and distribute for free. I have told anyone who asks that they are freely able to do with the content whatever they wish, other than the images, which I don't hold copyright on. Are the ideas completely original? No. Much of it is compiled information from lots and lots of forum threads. Copy-paste? No. I give credit where credit is due and try to link to sources without littering the info with a ridiculous amount of links.

    I also release scores of patches for the Pod HD platform. Are these completely original? No, I'm attempting to emulate classic artist tones. But they are all the result of many, many days of labor I've put into perfecting them. Should I feel shame for making them and distributing them for free? Probably less shame than the manufacturer of those pesky modelers that are ripping off amp and effect manufacturers. Or maybe no shame...actually pride. To date, no one has emailed me saying I'm doing a bad thing, but I've had hundreds of people thank me from all over the world praising the distribution of my research.

    You could also check my username on this forum and look at my contributions. I am not getting paid for them, and I am sincerely trying to help others.

    I AM NOT A MOOCH
    /Nixon

    As far as the ideas in this thread, I freely admit I didn't come up with them all on my own. I don't understand why I need to. Most of my arguments are started very well in both Kinsella's Against Intellecual Property and Boldrin/Levine's Against Intellectual Monopoly. Both are available for free online. Anyone writing a college level paper on these topics may incidentally be using the same sources. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? I wouldn't know - I didn't Google anything. I've held my views for years.

    Accusing me of plagiarism? Give me a fucking break. This isn't a college paper or a commercial work. I can plagiarize all I want if I wanted to. But no, it just so happens that I understand the concepts and can write sentences about them. If my statements happen to mirror college papers on the subject, that's only verification that I am making valid points. I'm not going to bother Googling every college paper on this subject and making sure I make statements that do not resemble such papers.

    In fact, that only proves my point. Why should I need to Google 100 papers, read them, and choose to avoid wording my points (or even making the same points) for an argument in an internet forum? There's no point to all that effort. Which is exactly one of my arguments against intellectual property - why should we spend effort avoiding "taking" ideas when those ideas are the best way of expressing what we want? Why should we have to make sure our inventions aren't incidentally patented by an independent, parallel developer who just happened to get there first? We are chilling innovation and restricting rights.

    So I don't know what you expect. Should I be making points that make no sense but are completely original? Do I need to seek permission before posting ideas that someone else may have incidentally posted online?

    As far as not answering your bolded questions, haste makes waste. I was typing up specific answers to those questions while you said I didn't answer them. My 2nd to last response wasn't even responding to that post.

    If you want to have an intellectual argument, then do so. If you want to try to use ad hominems and simply claim a moral high ground (without basis I might add) as your "argument", then I'm just not going to respond to you anymore.
     
  13. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    Typically...but not guaranteed. But this is a good case, because the "rip-off" was actually a superior product. According to wikipedia on the subject:
    Hydrox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "Compared to the Oreo, the Hydrox had a "tangy, less-sweet filling" and a crunchier cookie that stood up better in milk."

    Could anyone argue that we would be better off without Oreos and instead have to eat Hydrox?
     
  14. Cancer

    Cancer Cancer:The Crucifuct

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    I skimmed briefly through this thread but I've had discussions like this before so I state, and leave, with this.

    The underlying cause to the issues of intellectual property is the desire for, and need of, money (re:profit). Those who create need profit so that they can survive to create more, while those who cannot create have to steal others ideas for the same reason. Copyleft offers a partial solution but it is still hampered by the need the generate profit, hence the resistance of it's widespread use. Profit impedes technological progress, but since our survival depends on it, nothing will change until money is eradicated, and our monetary system replaced with a system that allows for the free exchange of ideas without placing the creative's survival in peril. I believe our species is very quickly evolving to the point where money is becoming obsolete, but a transitory system will have to be devised before widespread adoption can occur.
     
  15. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    But you're also arguing against their having the right to have intellectual property rights (copyright, patent) after they bring their product to market.

    Okay, so you can't acknowledge that profit from an original idea, as protected under patent and copyright, is something which can be taken from someone. Or, rather,you won't acknowledge it as something which can be taken, as that would undermine your position.

    If you do acknowledge that those profits can be hijacked by making a knockoff of a protected product or copyrighted work, then you're acknowledging the value of said ideas.

    Ah. And this is really the crux of your argument: Ideas have value, but you don't agree that someone should be legally entitled to their idea for a limited time.

    ----

    Okay, so here's some questions:

    Who would decide in what way a creator is allowed to profit from an idea?

    In what limited ways do *you* think a creator should be allowed to profit from an idea?

    Have you ever created an idea which was potentially hugely profitable, and given it away? (I'm *not* saying, just decided not to pursue protection, because lots of people say, oh, I came up with that but didn't patent it!, or, Didn't you know the guys at Reaper did that, even though I wasn't involved? I mean, have you personally put something huge and potentially profitable into the public domain?)

    (This last question is always interesting to me, and on this and another forum, I once challenged members who argued for software piracy to present me with evidence that they had put something of similar value to what they were "liberating" into the public domain. If they could present evidence of it, I'd take them to either the Four Seasons in town, or send them something of similar value. For some reason, those members would argue about how ideas were a dime a dozen, but never came up with their own, let alone gave them away....)

    Cheers!
     
  16. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    These are good points, and I wish you wouldn't leave so soon to allow us to more fully explore them.

    I completely disagree with the idea, however, that intellectual property laws are NECESSARY for the creators of informational goods to profit. We have lots of history contrary to this. One could argue modern technology has reduced the costs and time of copying to the point where creating informational goods is only profitable under intellectual property law, but I disagree still. In the worst case scenario, creators simply must adapt new business models.

    Money is a byproduct of scarcity - the fact that goods are not abundantly available for non-rivalrous comsumption. Then, trade and prices ensure that goods are being put to their most desired ends. Money strongly facilitates this for many reasons, such as avoiding double coincidence of wants (which is really just an informational problem and could be solved with technology), a common unit for accounting and long-term planning. So long as scarcity exists, money is probably a good thing.

    But looking far into the future, I see what you are saying. If raw materials are cheap, every home is running a mini-fusion generator, everyone is fabricating machines and parts from 3-D printers, and most goods come by way of DIY due to easily being able to replicate goods/tools, we have placed much higher importance on the development of informational goods rather than tangible, scarce goods. Labor is still scarce, however, and would be economized upon. I would still imagine money will be around, even if it takes a smaller role. Perhaps informational goods are created and widely distributed without being able to collect royalties/rents on them, but it seems like in that case, creators would still work for commissions or other methods of collecting revenue. Regardless of the profitability of the situation it still seems it would be a better situation than where ideas are less widespread.

    Another point I'd like to address - the non-prevalance of copyleft. I don't think copyleft has stalled out. It continues to grow. Also, copyleft is not a truly free license. Copy-center is.

    Regardless, the point is that intellectual property laws, like many laws, allow rent-seeking from established businesses. Informational goods creators generally enjoy them. You won't see Microsoft arguing they'd be better off without IP. My claim that removing IP would be more utilitarian considers the public as a whole, not simply creators of goods. Like any government subsidy, those receiving the subsidy tend to support it, even if it weakens the overall economy.
     
  17. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    Correct. My point was not in permanent protection of the idea - only the ability to secure lead time. The type of product as well as the manner in which they bring their product to market also determines how easily it could be reverse-engineered. Consider cloud services, such as Google Docs. End users don't have the binary files to copy and host on their own servers. For products that are easily and quickly able to be copied and redistributed, creators may have to adapt new business models.

    I acknowledge that potential profit can be siphoned away from creators to bootleggers, given certain business models. But no one can "own" a profit, which is someone else's choice. To argue we can own how others choose to spend their money is at the least assumptive and at most slavery. For instance, if one were to buy a bootlegged copy of ___ for half the retail price, have we actually robbed the author of the retail price? Maybe the consumer's highest willing price was the bootlegger's price. These things are impossible to determine - all we can say for sure is that the author has been denied 1/2 retail price. But since the author does not offer his product at this price, we could also argue he has been denied $0.

    I have never denied the value of informational goods. I don't know why you keep insisting on this. Simply because something has value doesn't mean you are owed rents on it. Consider if I planted a beautiful garden in front my house - passers-by enjoy it and value it. Can I demand they compensate me for it or get the police to reposses their property or lock them up in jail? No, that's absurd.

    YES!

    He can profit however he likes, so long as he isn't attempting to violate the rights of others. He can charge for his distributions, collect subscriptions, market related scarce goods, ask for donations, condition future-develop on the ability to reach certain funding goals, work for direct commission, offer support services for the good in question, sell advertisements for his distributions, or resort to other methods I haven't thought of. The only thing he can't do is sue/injunct those who also distribute the same or similar goods, regardless of whether they are a duplicate copy or an independent parallel development.


    No (at least not yet), but I could see why I would want to take advtange of IP if I did. On the other hand, I don't have the time or funds to research whether some ideas I feel are original are protected by existing patents, and I'm not willing to put a bunch of time into them only to get sued. So it goes both ways.

    Overall, I weigh the utilitarian concerns about IP not through the lens solely of those who are producing desirable informational goods but through the lens of all. I feel many producers may be made less profitable; however, I don't believe such is enough to stifle technological (or artistic, etc.) progress, and I believe it allows more end users to enjoy the fruits of such.
     
  18. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    You can copy someone else's protected design all you want (at least in practice), you just can't make it available to others (distribution) whether at a price or free of charge. That's where the infringement occurs - depriving the rights holder from his/her income (rightly his due to the copyright, patent, etc., he holds on it) by distributing protected IP.


    Chinese made goods are a perfect example of this.


    That isn't a cost of developing a new product (R&D), but rather a commercial cost of bringing it to market, a cost of doing business if you will.


    Why not? I still haven't read a sound arguemnt to support this position.


    This is a red herring and I have to call bullshit on it. The purchaser of the files received a license to use them in exchange for his money, not property ownership. He then took that someone else's copyrighted material and distributed without the owner's permission. He is in no way doing something with his own property as you imply.


    I can't agree with this - it simply doesn't hold up in practice.


    This comment shows that you have no actual experience in this area.


    This is another red herring - it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.


    Anyone writing a college paper would cite their source(s) or be expelled for plagiarism.


    Once again, your lack of real world experience is showing. What is this simple shift in business model you mention? And if its so simple, why are so many real businesses unable to identify it?


    Traditionally, few authors sell at retail. The author receives a (very) small fee for the IP, and the rest of the retail price consists of the costs of manufacturing physical goods and distributing them through distributors and retailers, each of which also makes a profit for their work. This has changed to some extent in recent years due to technological advances, but this still holds: the author (IP rights holder) has been deprived of the monies due him, and if a sale wouldn't have taken place, the person buying the bootleg copy should not benefit from the IP they "stole". Note that I am aware of the distinction between IP infringement and theft. The point I am making is that the person buying a bootleg copy is every bit as involved in the IP infringement as a person who buys stolen goods is involved in the theft.
     
  19. meambobbo

    meambobbo SS.org Regular

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    I offer two rationales, individual rights to do with one's property as he wishes, including selling it, and utilitarianism - I believe the net cost of IP law is higher than its benefits. I have presented my arguments at a theoretical level. For more depth on both, I would read the sources I've cited. The utilitarian argument is impossible to prove - we cannot prove individual incentives. I can simply show that IP law isn't necessary to earn revenue and that innovation has historically occurred in its absence. You can reject my arguments - that is your opinion and I respect it.

    What you say is somewhat valid. If I purchase a book, the copyright page clearly says I have agreed not to make copies of the book. Similarly, when you purchase software, you are agreeing to the licensed terms of how you may use, redistribute the software, etc. But what if I find the book on the ground, and the copyright page has been removed or find on the internet a copy of the software without the license agreement. I have not agreed to any copyright agreement.

    Obviously someone has violated the original agreement, but it's not necessarily me. I understand this is a pure technicality and I don't think its necessarily an unsurmountable one as far as morally and practically justifying IP. It simply addresses the point made. IP is a restriction on property. I think that has to be admitted. Whether the restriction is justifiable is a different, albeit related, issue.

    In the case of patent, this is more clear-cut. No one agrees to patent's restriction on their property, unless you consider living under a government that enforces IP consent to have your property restricted, a state of nature which is rarely a choice at all but a necessity imposed upon you. You don't need to purchase anything, or even be aware of the existence of some patented good or process. Even if you can prove your ignorance and parallel development, you are not allowed to use your property in that manner.

    Can you convince me that what you are saying is true? Do you have evidence? I'm sure there is research on this. What I can currently offer is the survey I linked to above - a Carnegie survey in the year 2000 in which the surveyed group of businesses clearly indicated lead time was a much stronger business advantage over patent protection.

    Ad hominem. Explain why my statement was wrong. I assume you do have experience and can clearly explain to others.

    Explain why not. If musicians are earning less per distribution from distributing music, why don't we see a lack of musicians? Are musicians not subject to financial incentives? If so, does this mean that we could abolish IP in the area of music without any consequence on the creation of music? And if so, how would you justify IP?

    I'm not. Sources for theoretical arguments are immaterial to the argument; their validity is based in logic, not research. If you are curious to know where I got them, ask. But don't act like I've done something wrong. I will cite any data sources I use, which I should do to strengthen my argument, so I can't be accused of making them up.

    I mentioned numerous ways businesses COULD collect revenue that cannot or would be difficult for the bootlegger to undercut. Maybe there are other methods.

    As far as why we don't see it...We DO see it. Look at the networks allowing people to view their shows online. Look at the greater and greater adoption of open source software. Look at Spotify. Look at the decline of the delivered newspaper. Look at artists putting their music on BandCamp.

    As for failing to adapt, I never said that alternative revenue models are more profitable. Perhaps exercising one's exclusive rights is the most profitable. I merely have said that content generators can be profitable outside of IP laws. For them, ending IP protection may be undesirable. For everyone, I think it is more beneficial.

    But that proves the utilitarian point. Assuming I would enjoy some CD if I could obtain it for $1 but the price of the legal distribution is $20, IP creates the no-win situation where I don't get to enjoy the CD, and the author gets $0.

    So your argument is based on a combination of values and rights. IE, an author should have a right to benefit from any enjoyment anyone else receives from his work. This takes me back to my garden analogy, which highlights the absurdity of trying to put this into practice.

    Here's another example (and I get this from Walter Block if you want a source, even though it's immaterial to the argument presented). Should people who wear deoderant be able to extract money from those around them? Conversely, should people be able to extract money from those who smell badly around them? One can argue that the first case would require preemptive consent to be valid. But the latter case could be implied - everyone clearly understands that they do not want to be subjected to unpleasant odors.

    So I don't think there's any valid reason that creating value entitles you to anyone else's property, unless they clearly agree to that.
     
  20. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    You are certainly welcome to beleive what you want. But keep in mind that if you want anyone else to share those beleifs with you, which, presumably you do or you wouldn't have started this thread (unless you were bored out of your mind), you need to provide evidence (e.g., actual facts) that supports your position to help convince people that your argument is valid.


    Can you show that the revenues earned on IP without IP laws to protect that IP are large enough to justify the effort from a business or economic perspective? If so, please do - I would like to see that.


    No, what I said is how the law works and I can assure you it is 100% valid within the constraints of living within the USA. Other first world countries have similar laws, so it will still hold to be largely true in these countries as well. Keep in mind that the laws are still valid (and enforceable) even if we don't like them.


    In that case what you have obtained was obtained through inappropriate channels and you are enjoying ill gotten goods. But since all IP is licensed rather than sold (without a contract explicitly stating that the buyer is buying ownership of the IP), it is still bound to a licensing structure.


    IP laws allow the creator/owner of the IP to restrict the user's use of said IP for a period of time. Keep in mind that a buyer does not own that property, so I fail to see how this is unreasonable. Also keep in mind that the law ALLOWS, but does not REQUIRE, the creator/owner to restrict usage of the IP. This is still up to the creator/owner of the IP to determine.


    I don't follow. You lost me here.


    Technically this is not true. While expensive and time consuming, you can take your case before the court and hash it out. This is done pretty regularly by bigger companies. Its the rest of us that can't typically afford this option.


    Can I convince you that the advantage of being first to market is less of an advantage in cases where the IP is copy-able and delivered or deliverable through modern technology? Just look at the effect file sharing has had on the record business. If you think its an advantage to be first to market, bearing all costs associated with the production, marketing and distribution of the recording, as compared to being the file sharers/bootleggers who make it available for free, and at no substantive cost to themselves, you'll have to explain that to me in detail because I don't follow at all.

    Besides, you are the one arguing that the current situation (IP laws)should change, therefore the onus is on you to provide evidence supporting your position, not on me to prove that things should stay as they currently are.

    You said "[The IP owner] simply has to preempt the bootlegger to earn his income."

    This is either an ill informed statement or complete condecension towards the SSO members, and I take issue with it either way.

    If you had any experience in this area, however casual, you would understand that it is not so simple. As an example, I direct your attention back to the record industry and its challenges with file sharing over the past decade and a half. As bad as the record companies are, their lack of success in this area is not entirely their fault.


    This a poor example because most musicians consider themselves artists rather than busess people, and, as such, they create art for art's sake, not financial gain. Furthermore, musicians have traditionally been so royally screwed over by the record companies that I would go a step further and say you are incorrect: musicans are making no less today, and may in fact be making more today, per distribution than they did in the past. It's the record companies that are losing ground in this area, not the musicians.


    I agree here. I was only providing clarification on Explorer's comment.


    This will sound condescending, though I don't mean it to, but your solution (for music recordings) is to stream music online with some ads like internet radio? Or provide it via subscription services like Spotify?

    These models are already in place. Why don't you go look up how well they are working out for the content creators and then consider whether its a worthwhile alternative business model.


    Without the current socio/political/economic system, you might be right. But I don't see this as being true as things are right now (see post number 14 by Cancer for more on this).


    So you're saying that a win-lose scenario in your favor is better than a lose-lose?

    Entitlement much?

    Assuming it costs $1.25 to make the CD, why should the author and/or record company lose money so that you can enjoy it? Even if it costs them nothing at all, how are you entitled to enjoy simply because they created it? You're argument isn't the least bit rational.


    No, my argument is based on the substantive laws of the United States of America. And even if we don't like them, they are still valid and enforceable until such time as they are changed.


    :scratch: Again, I'm not following at all here, man. Like, not even in the slightest way possible. Neither argument/example bears any resemblance to IP. But if people are willing to pay you to wear/not wear deodorant, charge them for it, man.


    The act of creating something does not in and of itself entitle the creator to anything beyond the right to do with that creation as he sees fit. But when demand exists for that creation, the creator is certainly free to require something in exchange for it. And it's no stretch to believe that he should be free from competitors trying to simply copy his creation and sell it for less.
     

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