Same here...I was always (initially by default) not entirely opposed to IP, especially since I had worked as a musician/programmer/engineer/teacher/researcher (all industries that currently rely on IP), until I actually worked at an unnamed computer engineering corporation where I was exposed to the reality of the patent system (since I had to review all the gory details of a bunch of patents related to my work), at which point I started to question the whole concept. Naturally I searched google to help understand, and it really only took a couple pages of reading Against Intellectual Property
which is an argument based primarily on libertarian ethics) and Against Intellectual Monopoly
which is a utilitarian argument so you don't have to be a libertarian in order to follow) for me to become consistently anti-IP. On a side note, Stephan Kinsella's writings also exposed me to the whole Mises and Rothbardian tradition, which led me to fully-embrace anarcho-capitalism.
I went the other way. I began to see politicians, landlords, employers, and the like taking advantage of honest workers just like how I previously only saw IP rights-holders doing. And so I so I abandoned (American) libertarianism for anarchism.
But those traditions aren't necessarily opposed. I used to label myself an "anarcho-capitalist" until I was exposed to the Mutualist and "Left-Libertarian" thought of folks like Roderick Long of The Austro-Athenian Empire
) and Kevin Carson of The Center for a Stateless Society
). I have since stopped bothering with labels, although I sortof like the ring of "free-market anti-capitalist"
. But fundamentally, I don't see how the "American"-libertarian tradition of the non-aggression principle and homesteading principle are necessarily supportive of landlordism and bossism, since it ultimately depends on what action and time is considered to be sufficient for homesteading and abandonment of property. For example, even the most hard-core anarcho-capitalist will admit that if you leave you home abandoned for a long enough time, that it will eventually be considered abandoned and thus homestead-able by new parties or the current renters. While I don't agree with the full-fledged socialists that immediately once you leave your door or otherwise relinquish control of your property that some random person can then break in and occupy your home, I do feel it is important to recognize that a robust libertarian legal system should recognize that property rights aren't perpetual. And by robust, I mean that the anarchist society doesn't revert back into a form of statism run by powerful businesses or a collusion of private owners. Indeed, as Roderick long has argued, The State is simply an absentee owner, just a very very large one. The other set of insights that I have learned from the "Left-Libertarian" tradition is to recognize that most forms of economic and social oppression are indeed due to state laws. For instance, the fact that most people live in homes owned by large banks is largely the result of the special privilege that The State (namely the Federal Reserve) gives to large banks, leading to an unfair economic advantage. And the limited-liability protections of incorporation. And of course IP laws that provide private businesses owners with all sorts of advantages which leads to powerful corporations controlling all important creative works, inventions, ideas, etc of society.