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Author Topic: Read this before having an opinion on economics  (Read 23853 times)
NghtRppr
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May 03, 2011, 07:07:44 PM
 #221

But you will never have access to the particular physical rendition required for you to make a copy without first agreeing not to make a copy.

That's incorrect. If Alice and Bob have a contract between them whereby Bob agrees not to make copies of Alice's work but Bob breaches that contract anyways and sends a copy to Carol, Bob has violated that contract and legal recourse may be taken against Bob. However, Carol now has a copy of that work, isn't bound by any contract and can do whatever she pleases with it, including sending a copy to anyone she wishes.

In other words, a contract between two parties isn't automatically binding on a third party. Once the cat is out of the bag, there is no putting it back in.
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BitterTea
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May 03, 2011, 07:59:59 PM
 #222

In other words, a contract between two parties isn't automatically binding on a third party. Once the cat is out of the bag, there is no putting it back in.

This is the point I was trying to make.

Only to the extent that you do not bypass the contract by illegally entering my property or handling physical property, such as a book, which does not belong to you.

I agree with this.

Quote
For instance, earlier in the thread someone spoke of using binoculars to examine the material. This would be fine, assuming a copyright owner would be so foolish as to let the book lie open in plain sight.

But even taking the book of the shelf in a library would be wrong unless you first have permission to do so.  And again such permission will not be forthcoming unless you agree to the contract.

I have to disagree, the library would have a contract with authors allowing loaning of their books out to library members, perhaps in exchange for having membership rules against copying. If a member copies a book, he is breaching of the rules of his membership, but not any contract with the author. If an author believes a library is not enforcing the rule, he can sue the library for breach of contract or just invalidate it altogether.

At least, that's one idea of how a library could work without intellectual property laws.
stillfire
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May 03, 2011, 09:07:16 PM
 #223

That's incorrect. If Alice and Bob have a contract between them whereby Bob agrees not to make copies of Alice's work but Bob breaches that contract anyways and sends a copy to Carol, Bob has violated that contract and legal recourse may be taken against Bob. However, Carol now has a copy of that work, isn't bound by any contract and can do whatever she pleases with it, including sending a copy to anyone she wishes.

Indeed. Here my attempt to play the devil's advocate will become more stilted because I happen to agree.

Still, I will give it a try for the sake of argument. I believe Mr. Rothbard argues that there are two things which must be forbidden in a libertarian, natural rights, property-rights theory: theft and implicit theft. Again, "...the defendant stole the former’s creation by reproducing it and selling it himself in violation of his or someone else’s contract with the original seller." Carol is an implicit thief.

It would be similar to if Carol ran a thievery house and her guild member Bob stole money from Alice. Bob made interest on the money and then returned the stolen money to Alice (or not, it does not particularly matter), but gave the interest to Carol. Even that Carol never directly held any of Alice's monies - only Bob did that - Carol does not own the interest monies she received and her actions must be made illegal for the rights of property to hold.

(Of course I might be getting Mr. Rothbard's opinion entirely wrong since the case of the third party is not particularly discussed in the chapter. It's rather focused on the difference between copyright and patents. http://mises.org/rothbard/mes/chap10e.asp#7._Patents_Copyrights)

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NghtRppr
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May 03, 2011, 09:13:52 PM
 #224

Carol is an implicit thief.

You can only steal property but if you're treating ideas as property then that obviates the need for a contract in the first place. If Carol steals Alice's money with the aide of Bob then he's an accessory to the crime, no contracts need be involved. The entire point in involving a contract is to go above and beyond what property rights already allow for.
BitterTea
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May 03, 2011, 09:19:13 PM
 #225

I believe Mr. Rothbard argues that there are two things which must be forbidden in a libertarian, natural rights, property-rights theory: theft and implicit theft. Again, "...the defendant stole the former’s creation by reproducing it and selling it himself in violation of his or someone else’s contract with the original seller." Carol is an implicit thief.

I don't think this logic applies in the case of intellectual property. When possessing stolen goods, you are depriving the rightful owner of their use. When possessing non-contractually copied information, you are not depriving the rightful owner of their use, but rather his claim to control their use. If it is to apply, I feel it must be shown that such deprivation is equivalent in harm, and thus that one does have a right to control the use of such information.
stillfire
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May 03, 2011, 10:23:25 PM
 #226

You can only steal property but if you're treating ideas as property then that obviates the need for a contract in the first place.

For the sake of this argument I am not treating ideas as property. Rather, I am attempting to frame the proceeds of use of stolen physical property as belonging to the owner of the original physical property, be it a physical copy or interest.

If Carol steals Alice's money with the aide of Bob then he's an accessory to the crime, no contracts need be involved. The entire point in involving a contract is to go above and beyond what property rights already allow for.

The point of the contract is to allow Bob to hold the book legally but conditionally so that the property may instantly cease to be his for legal use should he break the contract. Without the contract, I could not make my argument.

The example with money was not there to illustrate the need for a contract but again that proceeds from thievery do not become the property of the thief.

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NghtRppr
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May 03, 2011, 10:40:55 PM
 #227

Let's assume that Alice writes the contract as follows: "Bob owns the book as long as he doesn't make a copy. If he makes a copy, he has to return the book and destroy any copies he makes."

However, if he sends a copy to Carol, she isn't bound by the contract and Bob has no legal right to force Carol to destroy her copies even though Alice does have the legal right to force Bob to destroy his copies.

If you have a better way of wording the contract, let me know. I'd hate to attack a straw man argument.
stillfire
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May 03, 2011, 11:27:37 PM
 #228

Let's imagine a library agreement like this one: "Bob may possess the book on the condition that he returns it on Friday. Furthermore, Bob agrees that should he make a copy of the book, he hereby transfers ownership of such copies to Alice."

Now if he sends a copy to Carol, he's sending Alice's property to Carol. The ownership of the new copy was permanently established due to Bob's binding contract.

Bob could argue that he "broke" the contract and therefore does not recognise that the copy is Alice's property. But if merely saying so was sufficient to break a contract, we wouldn't have contracts.

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NghtRppr
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May 03, 2011, 11:31:08 PM
 #229

Let's imagine a library agreement like this one: "Bob may possess the book on the condition that he returns it on Friday. Furthermore, Bob agrees that should he make a copy of the book, he hereby transfers ownership of such copies to Alice."

What if the copy isn't a hard copy but rather a PDF? The PDF never changes hands. There is a PDF on Bob's computer and then a PDF is created on Carol's. Even if we can agree that Alice owns Bob's PDF, why should she own Carol's?
stillfire
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May 03, 2011, 11:54:29 PM
 #230

What if the copy isn't a hard copy but rather a PDF? The PDF never changes hands. There is a PDF on Bob's computer and then a PDF is created on Carol's. Even if we can agree that Alice owns Bob's PDF, why should she own Carol's?

I think this particular argument boils down to "what if Carol was the one who made the copy by observing the bytes on Bob's computer?"

I don't see a way to close that particular loophole by contract.

Surely, the original contract would contain a clause to discourage this eventuality, e.g. "If Bob allows a copy to be made, he hereby requests to be hung, quartered and drawn." (Which incidentally is probably where today's punishments for copyright infringement seem to be heading.)

But this would only be unfortunate for Bob and it would still leave Carol in the clear, as you say.

I think there is a case to be made that while you can't completely derive copyright from property rights through this form of contract, you can at least have something quite similar. You can allow people to view your material while essentially holding them at legal gunpoint should they fail to protect it. Once the information is out you have no rightful claim on it, but that requires that the last party in the chain of contracts is ready to suffer the consequences.

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NghtRppr
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May 03, 2011, 11:59:00 PM
 #231

Surely, the original contract would contain a clause to discourage this eventuality, e.g. "If Bob allows a copy to be made, he hereby requests to be hung, quartered and drawn." (Which incidentally is probably where today's punishments for copyright infringement seem to be heading.)

I doubt anyone would agree to those terms since there's always the small chance that Bob could be the victim of theft or fraud. The only way it would work is if you included a clause that it must be intentional. Proving intent would be pretty difficult.

Then there's the loss of goodwill towards doing business with someone that reserves the right to torture/execute you. Who writes a book that is that good?

Also, if Bob is the only buyer of Alice's book, it's fairly obvious who leaked it. When Alice sells millions of copies, which is the point of copyright after all, it becomes a lot harder.
stillfire
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May 04, 2011, 12:17:11 AM
 #232

Then there's the loss of goodwill towards doing business with someone that reserves the right to torture/execute you. Who writes a book that is that good?

That would have to be quite an astonishing book. I hear there is at least one book promising to burn you in an eternal inferno which is rather popular.

Also, if Bob is the only buyer of Alice's book, it's fairly obvious who leaked it. When Alice sells millions of copies, which is the point of copyright after all, it becomes a lot harder.

Yes, although digital watermarking is becoming more and more commonplace. I recently read that the FBI claimed to have a solid lead on who among the Academy peers leaked The King's Speech.

Either way, loss of goodwill does not seem to have stopped the current media industry juggernaut from suing countless people. Or calling an appropriate punishment for private infringement $1.92 million dollars (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/06/jammie-thomas-retrial-verdict.ars).

Here's to the vain hope that book reading contracts in a future libertarian world don't contain punishments for disclosure in the range of millions of dollars.

Edit: changed "earmarking" to "watermarking".

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NghtRppr
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May 04, 2011, 01:12:20 AM
 #233

Yes, although digital earmarking is becoming more and more commonplace. I recently read that the FBI claimed to have a solid lead on who among the Academy peers leaked The King's Speech.

I believe you mean watermarking but point taken. Though even in the cases of screeners released for Academy Award consideration, the number of people that are receiving copies is still only a few thousand and perhaps only a handful are interested in leaking the films, without collusion. In the case of wide distribution it becomes easier to defeat digital watermarks by combing multiple sources, comparing the differences and removing them or making them unidentifiable. That's just a technical issue though. In theory, it could work.
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May 04, 2011, 01:19:20 AM
 #234

Then there's the loss of goodwill towards doing business with someone that reserves the right to torture/execute you. Who writes a book that is that good?

That would have to be quite an astonishing book. I hear there is at least one book promising to burn you in an eternal inferno which is rather popular.

Not for making copies of it.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
stillfire
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May 04, 2011, 01:53:40 AM
 #235

I believe you mean watermarking but point taken. Though even in the cases of screeners released for Academy Award consideration, the number of people that are receiving copies is still only a few thousand and perhaps only a handful are interested in leaking the films, without collusion. In the case of wide distribution it becomes easier to defeat digital watermarks by combing multiple sources, comparing the differences and removing them or making them unidentifiable. That's just a technical issue though. In theory, it could work.

Watermarking indeed, sorry about that. I have edited the original posting.

At least in the case of books, copies will be safe to make now and in the future, as long as only the words themselves are copied. It is possible to envision 'marks' through subtle misspellings intentionally inserted throughout a larger body of work, but that would be particularly easy to counteract through combining multiple sources.

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JA37
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May 04, 2011, 06:43:06 AM
 #236

I was impressed by the TED video too.
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May 04, 2011, 11:05:23 AM
 #237

I have a number of points to make. They are disjointed but I believe they would help to narrow these arguments which seem to confuse a number of people with their semantics. I'll number my points so you can refute or elaborate upon them specifically.

  1. People have created and will continue to create "intellectual property" of value without financial incentive to do so, and they will find financial incentives to do so even without "intellectual property" laws.

  2. The current system is inherently unfair, for many reasons, not the least reason of which is the arbitrary nature of what ideas are considered "intellectual property" and what are not. As such, to support intellectual property you should make specific examples of what idealized laws might look like. Otherwise I and many others will likely assume you mean you support current U.S. or Europe intellectual property laws, or international agreements in their vein.

  3. "Big budget" films will rarely if ever be made without "intellectual property" laws. This seems to me like common sense, which sadly is not as common as one may wish.

  4. People do not need large budgets to create powerful ideas of value. My favorite movie, Primer, was created for $7,000.

  5. It is not the society's legal responsibility to ensure profits on your work, speculation, or investment. If you make a bad investment other people are not responsible to pay you what you expected to make, even if that expectation was reasonable at the time and your investment was beneficial to society. If you buy stock in a business whose goal is to start sustainable food-export communities for starving and poor peoples, and it seems like a sound investment but it's business model failed, no one owes you your investment. That was your risk to take. (This could be a point of contention)

  6. It does not require the initiation of force to copy a book that was sold to me. (This seems to be a point of contention)

  7. It does require the initiation of force to prevent me from copying a book that was sold to me. (This seems to be a point of contention)

  8. It requires the initiation of force to take your property from you, for instance, a book, and as such reasonable force required to address that grievance is not the initiation of force and should be legal. This is complicated however. Help me to elaborate this point.

  9. Something morally or ethically wrong does not necessarily need to be illegal.

 10. My final point for now is an abstract one, and my own opinion. I consider anything that can be put into someone's mind (perhaps as mnemonic devices, words, letters, numbers, names) and then spoken aloud elsewhere, and recorded, no matter how long it takes, cannot be considered property. If they can exist within our minds they can't be owned by someone else, even if we didn't spontaneously think of them on our own.

  Also I would like to hear further ideas about the enforcement and establishment of contract-law alternatives to "intellectual property".

  Thank you for your time. I know this was a long (FIRST!) post.
Surely, the original contract would contain a clause to discourage this eventuality, e.g. "If Bob allows a copy to be made, he hereby requests to be hung, quartered and drawn." (Which incidentally is probably where today's punishments for copyright infringement seem to be heading.)

I chuckled.

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May 04, 2011, 12:23:24 PM
 #238

3. "Big budget" films will rarely if ever be made without "intellectual property" laws. This seems to me like common sense, which sadly is not as common as one may wish.
I don't know. That's a bit like saying that big software projects will rarely if ever be developed as open source. And yet there are open-source operating systems, browsers, databases and webservers that can be freely copied without payment.

I think it's safe to say that without "intellectual property" laws, big-budget films will be funded, produced and distributed very differently from how they are today. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway, I hope that you are right and I am wrong, because I'd rather have a hundred $700,000 films to choose from, than to have one $70,000,000 blockbuster to watch.
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May 16, 2011, 08:38:02 AM
 #239

http://hubpages.com/hub/Scientists_cure_cancer__but_no_one_takes_notice

So, an unpatentable cure for cancer is discovered but no major pharma is interested.
As an extra kicker it does seem that the research was tax funded too.

So, according to the economic theory presented previously in this thread there should be lots of companies trying to get this cure out to the public. Why isn't there?

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May 16, 2011, 11:11:16 AM
 #240


Google on DCA a bit more. Read the Cancer.org articles.
Etc.
Then tell me it's a full-fledged cure for cancer again.

If anyone truly believes that if anyone _ACTUALLY_ found a large scale functional cancer cure without the world going into a huge uproar about it they have more tinfoil on than me. And I sparkle like a satellite.

Ho-Hum.
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