My article, “The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism,” was published on Mises Daily today. Also published today on Mises Daily is a reprint of Wendy McElroy’s great, classic “Copyright and Patent in Benjamin Tucker’s Periodical Liberty.”
Amusing: on the “Christian Pipe Smokers” site (hunh?), one guy links to my article and says “This is so beautifully written I had to share it.” Another replies: “Okay to be nice I started reading it. I got half way and wanted to blow my brains out. That was stupidly and poorly written. After getting half way I was lost having no idea what he was talking about. … If yer reading crap like this all the time it is no wonder your politics are screwed up.”
Also, mentioned in Where should anarchists stand on IP? (FreeDissent); my comment was:
Thanks for the plug, but correct, I don’t regard myself as a right-libertarian. I despise the right, and also the left. We libertarians are neither right nor left.
I’m nonreligious, pro-gay-marriage, pro-open-borders, pro-tolerance/cosmopolitan values, pro-drug legalization, anti-state, anti-war, and anti-IP. And I even like chardonnay. I am not sure how that makes me “right.” I doubt they would have me.
Also discussed on Freesteader.
And in an excellent post, The Decline of the Randian Influence on American Libertarianism?
“People who love only once in their lives are. . . shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.”~ Oscar Wilde
I have an admission to make: I didn’t watch any of ESPN’s coverage of “The LeBron Decision.” I don’t remember what I was doing, but it probably involved something on the order of importance of putting clean newspaper in a bird cage or trying to identify navel lint or trimming my pet’s toenails. You know—big, important, relevant stuff.
That disclaimer aside, I find myself puzzled by the coverage LeBron’s decision has gotten after he made it. Luminaries from across the entertainment and sports spectrum, including the august Bryant Gumble, have jumped on the LeBron-is-a-schmuck bandwagon. (If you’re hoping to get a seat, I say move fast. Bob Ryan might save you one, if you ask nicely.) Charles Barkley has chimed in, as has Michael Jordan (MJ). Apparently LeBron embarrassed himself as he pandered to the excessive coverage. (Actually, maybe he did.) Gumble, speaking as part of the closing commentary of his HBO sports news magazine, accused LeBron, among other things, of being shallow and overly pre-occupied with winning. MJ, ostensibly commenting on the fact that LeBron has “teamed up” with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh versus staying in Cleveland, supposedly said, “I would never have called Magic [Johnson] or Larry [Bird].” Really?
Intellectual property, especially copyright and patents, is purely fictitious, a construction of the State. Stephan Kinsella has definitively proved such in his paper Against Intellectual Property.
Nevertheless, the US government continues to prop up this inefficient and unethical practice. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, many lives have been ruined by the bad side of corps, full of lawyers hunting for cash. We all know of the old ladies and teenagers who receive verdicts requiring them to pay obscene amounts of money for such non-crimes.
Well, some new rules coming straight from the Library of Congress are sure to help alleviate a few of these problems. Essentially, the Librarian of Congress must evaluate exemptions to the DMCA every 3 years, i.e. you cannot be prosecuted, period, if you do these things. Previously, there had only been one exemption recognized. Now, there are SIX exemptions, and the first three are quite significant.
The basics of each exemption:
1) You can rip your own DVDs. You can remix scenes for noncommercial use. So all those Hitler-plus-caption remixes from the movie Downfall no longer can be taken down. Teachers who want to use a movie in a class can rip it. No one from the DMCA can touch you.
2) You can jailbreak your phone, nobody can prosecute you. Big swipe at Apple/AT&T.
3) You can use software to unlock your phone for use on a different network.
4) You can use software to crack game SecuROMs or other game DRM for the purpose of “investigation” or research. The language is very broad, since even curiosity can prompt “investigation.”
5) You can use cracks to bypass a hardware dongle. This is significant for people like me who use lab equipment or any variety of peripherals with stupid dongles.
6) You can crack DRM encrypted ebooks to use text-to-speech capabilities. Convenient.
Gizmodo has a more thorough analysis here.
These new rules surely do not go far enough, but thankfully things are not becoming more restrictive in this arena. But we need to continue pushing back, so keep spreading the word!
Cross-posted at LibertarianChristians.com.
Statism + legislation = destruction and unintended consequences:
… Jon “Maddog” Hall wanted to try to preserve some deteriorating piano rolls, but discovered (much to his annoyance) that copyright may be getting in the way. He points out that many old player piano rolls are deteriorating, and the small group of remaining collectors are hoping to preserve the music by digitizing them. Easier said than done… turns out that Hall got confused about the difference between the copyright on the composition and the copyright on the performance, and his attempt to save a more modern recording of a public domain song — even though that piano roll was deteriorating — was not allowed. After contacting one company that still makes piano rolls, he was told that he was better off not preserving the rolls in his collection:
We ended up agreeing that if I made an mp3 recording of less than 30 seconds, off an old roll, from a company that was completely out of business, kept it completely for my own use and locked up so no one else could hear it, that I probably would not be sued. He also begged me not to use any of his company rolls in this task, as he really did not want to have to sue me. I thanked him for his time.
It only took 100 years, but it looks like copyright law in the US is finally doing what it originally intended to do: destroying piano rolls.
Intellectual property legislation is outright theft. A judge could one day order a famine by declaring certain farming methods and genetic patterns to be “owned” by someone else (probably some corporatist entity backed by the full “faith and credit” of the US–that is, anything from machine guns to nukes.) Great!