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Author Topic: Do libertarians support the idea of information as property?  (Read 5899 times)
Sovereign
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July 03, 2011, 06:08:55 PM
 #41

Information is non-scarce. When one gives it to another person, the originator still has it.

Information is non-rival. When you take it from someone, you do not deprive him of the ability to use that information.
If you honestly believe this, please give me all the private keys corresponding to your Bitcoin accounts.

I would only give it out if a huge government bureaucracy is created to insure that if I give it out, they would prevent people like you from abusing it. Only a megalithic government institution can prevent the bad stuff you will do after I give you my bitcoin private key.



Oh wait, it won't. It's my responsibility what information I give to what people.

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July 03, 2011, 10:03:28 PM
 #42

Information is non-scarce. When one gives it to another person, the originator still has it.

Information is non-rival. When you take it from someone, you do not deprive him of the ability to use that information.
If you honestly believe this, please give me all the private keys corresponding to your Bitcoin accounts.

I would only give it out if a huge government bureaucracy is created to insure that if I give it out, they would prevent people like you from abusing it. Only a megalithic government institution can prevent the bad stuff you will do after I give you my bitcoin private key.

Oh wait, it won't. It's my responsibility what information I give to what people.
You said, "Information is non-rival. When you take it from someone, you do not deprive him of the ability to use that information." But that's not true. If you give me your keys, I can deprive you of the ability to use them.

You said, "Information is non-scarce. When one gives it to another person, the originator still has it." But that misunderstands the nature of scarcity. Bitcoins are information, yet Bitcoins are scarce. No matter how many copies of a bitcoin are made, it is still only one bitcoin.

Perhaps you can make some argument that your statements are correct in some absurd technical sense, but they obviously are nonsense from a practical standpoint. You might as well argue that speed limit signs are ambiguous because they don't state what the speed is relative to.

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July 03, 2011, 10:12:42 PM
 #43

You said, "Information is non-rival. When you take it from someone, you do not deprive him of the ability to use that information." But that's not true. If you give me your keys, I can deprive you of the ability to use them.
No, you can deprive him of the ability to spend the coins those keys unlock. He's free to add more coins to the compromised wallet, if he so chooses.
You said, "Information is non-scarce. When one gives it to another person, the originator still has it." But that misunderstands the nature of scarcity. Bitcoins are information, yet Bitcoins are scarce. No matter how many copies of a bitcoin are made, it is still only one bitcoin.
Bitcoins are not, strictly speaking, information. They are an abstraction of the transaction record.

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July 04, 2011, 12:05:59 AM
 #44

I agree with JoelKatz, bitcoins are a clear example of information as property of which copying can lead to transactions that deprive someone of something. The stolen manuscript and loss of publishing contract are similar, but more abstract.

I still don't think that it's a good justification for copyright though, I think that both of these involve non-public, secret information which could fall under legislation that deals with privacy, but they're pretty solid counter-points to the hard-core "information wants to be free" or "all regulation is bad" ideas.
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July 04, 2011, 12:45:51 AM
 #45

I doubt anybody wishes to purchase counterfeit products. Nobody likes being lied to. This whole trademark debate can be thrown under a true law called fraud.

In addition, to say trade secrets would be forever hidden is to say that somebody that has a Bitcoin will forever hold it.

I have nothing against paying a fair price for the quality and getting a nice looking product as a bonus. Trying to trick people into thinking it's somthing it isn't, is not somthing i welcome though.

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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Sovereign
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July 04, 2011, 12:07:32 PM
 #46

Information is non-scarce. When one gives it to another person, the originator still has it.

Information is non-rival. When you take it from someone, you do not deprive him of the ability to use that information.
If you honestly believe this, please give me all the private keys corresponding to your Bitcoin accounts.

I would only give it out if a huge government bureaucracy is created to insure that if I give it out, they would prevent people like you from abusing it. Only a megalithic government institution can prevent the bad stuff you will do after I give you my bitcoin private key.

Oh wait, it won't. It's my responsibility what information I give to what people.
You said, "Information is non-rival. When you take it from someone, you do not deprive him of the ability to use that information." But that's not true. If you give me your keys, I can deprive you of the ability to use them.

You said, "Information is non-scarce. When one gives it to another person, the originator still has it." But that misunderstands the nature of scarcity. Bitcoins are information, yet Bitcoins are scarce. No matter how many copies of a bitcoin are made, it is still only one bitcoin.

Perhaps you can make some argument that your statements are correct in some absurd technical sense, but they obviously are nonsense from a practical standpoint. You might as well argue that speed limit signs are ambiguous because they don't state what the speed is relative to.


That is because what I failed to mention is that once information is published, it becomes non-excludible. It remains excludible only as long as it remains secret, ie, you are the only one that knows it.


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Reikoku
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July 04, 2011, 04:47:55 PM
 #47

Property is not property because it is rare, it is property because it is the product of your mind/creation.

If you steal some wood from me and make a chair, you don't own the chair. It's my chair and you owe me for damages to my wood.

Because you appropriated the wood from somebody who mixed his labour with a tree, and/or mixed your own labour with the tree, and/or at very least homesteaded it.

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July 04, 2011, 04:51:26 PM
 #48

Property is not property because it is rare, it is property because it is the product of your mind/creation.

If you steal some wood from me and make a chair, you don't own the chair. It's my chair and you owe me for damages to my wood.

Because you appropriated the wood from somebody who mixed his labour with a tree, and/or mixed your own labour with the tree, and/or at very least homesteaded it.

...and fairly so. The people who have made the original modifications have been paid. They are owed nothing further.
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July 04, 2011, 04:54:44 PM
 #49

Property is not property because it is rare, it is property because it is the product of your mind/creation.

If you steal some wood from me and make a chair, you don't own the chair. It's my chair and you owe me for damages to my wood.

Because you appropriated the wood from somebody who mixed his labour with a tree, and/or mixed your own labour with the tree, and/or at very least homesteaded it.

...and fairly so. The people who have made the original modifications have been paid. They are owed nothing further.

I completely agree with you, however this does make his point moot because his point involved me stealing his wood.

The equivalent in intellectual property would be you stealing my research, completing it and then marketing my product as your own.

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JoelKatz
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July 05, 2011, 12:08:04 AM
 #50

That is because what I failed to mention is that once information is published, it becomes non-excludible. It remains excludible only as long as it remains secret, ie, you are the only one that knows it.
So long as everyone who knows it is bound by some contract that limits what they can do with it, the information is still excludible even though any number of people know it. For example, say I want you to have my 50 bitcoins in the case of my death. I can make you post a $5,000 bond that I can claim if you ever abuse my private key before my death and give you the private key. I am still screwed if someone other than you gets their hands on my private key, say by stealing it from me.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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myrkul
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July 05, 2011, 12:13:03 AM
 #51

That is because what I failed to mention is that once information is published, it becomes non-excludible. It remains excludible only as long as it remains secret, ie, you are the only one that knows it.
So long as everyone who knows it is bound by some contract that limits what they can do with it, the information is still excludible even though any number of people know it. For example, say I want you to have my 50 bitcoins in the case of my death. I can make you post a $5,000 bond that I can claim if you ever abuse my private key before my death and give you the private key. I am still screwed if someone other than you gets their hands on my private key, say by stealing it from me.


And as soon as someone who is not bound by that contract knows it, bam! Non-excludable.

You can sue for breach of contract, but your data is out.

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JoelKatz
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July 05, 2011, 12:34:08 AM
 #52

And as soon as someone who is not bound by that contract knows it, bam! Non-excludable.
Exactly. So as long as everyone who knows it is bound by some contract, you're good.

Quote
You can sue for breach of contract, but your data is out.
Right. If the data gets out due to the fault of someone bound by contract, you can sue for breach of contract. If the data doesn't get out, it's excludible. You're good either way. So even though a large number of people know the information, it is still valuable to ensure it isn't stolen from you.

A Libertarian intellectual property system would likely work on this principle. Essentially, you would reach the point where someone had figured out a win-win intellectual property agreement that the vast majority of people were willing to agree to.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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July 05, 2011, 02:10:25 AM
 #53

What happens when the location of the leak is unknown but there is someone not bound by your contracts that claims to have managed to copy the info (and that seems to really have it) ?

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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July 05, 2011, 02:22:36 AM
 #54

What happens when the location of the leak is unknown but there is someone not bound by your contracts that claims to have managed to copy the info (and that seems to really have it) ?
This is called the "innocent third party" problem. Some Libertarians believe it is possible to bind innocent third parties, some believe that it is not. However, it should be possible to solve this problem by drafting an appropriate win-win intellectual property agreement. You should be able to reach a point where 95% of people have entered into this agreement, so the innocent third party can only use the information himself or with those other 5% who haven't met the agreement. Drafting agreements that solve this problem will be a major market challenge. Someone will figure it out.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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July 05, 2011, 02:28:49 AM
 #55

Someone will figure it out.

Or we could stop trying to control bits and bytes, and seek more profitable revenue streams.

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July 05, 2011, 04:57:35 AM
 #56

Someone will figure it out.

Or we could stop trying to control bits and bytes, and seek more profitable revenue streams.

Sure, can I have your Bitcoin wallet.dat then? After all, it's not your property and you shouldn't try to control it.

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July 05, 2011, 05:01:46 AM
 #57

Someone will figure it out.

Or we could stop trying to control bits and bytes, and seek more profitable revenue streams.

Sure, can I have your Bitcoin wallet.dat then? After all, it's not your property and you shouldn't try to control it.

Ahh, but it's on my property, and as long as it stays that way, I have full control of it.

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July 05, 2011, 05:10:04 AM
 #58

Someone will figure it out.

Or we could stop trying to control bits and bytes, and seek more profitable revenue streams.

Sure, can I have your Bitcoin wallet.dat then? After all, it's not your property and you shouldn't try to control it.
It's not the same concept. It's scarce and most of all, controllable. Much unlike telling people they can't make your patented paper swa with their own damn paper.
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July 05, 2011, 05:15:52 AM
 #59

Someone will figure it out.

Or we could stop trying to control bits and bytes, and seek more profitable revenue streams.

Sure, can I have your Bitcoin wallet.dat then? After all, it's not your property and you shouldn't try to control it.
It's not the same concept. It's scarce and most of all, controllable. Much unlike telling people they can't make your patented paper swa with their own damn paper.

Scarcity alone doesn't justify property. OK then, duplicate your bitcoin wallet and send it to me. The bytes aren't scarce, only its contents are.

It's OK, I won't use it. I'll just duplicate it and put it on Pirate Bay.

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July 05, 2011, 05:16:53 AM
 #60

Someone will figure it out.

Or we could stop trying to control bits and bytes, and seek more profitable revenue streams.

Sure, can I have your Bitcoin wallet.dat then? After all, it's not your property and you shouldn't try to control it.
It's not the same concept. It's scarce and most of all, controllable. Much unlike telling people they can't make your patented paper swa with their own damn paper.

Scarcity alone doesn't justify property.
Yes it does. If you can deny somebody it, it's something worth owning.
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