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Post 60

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 3:24pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Sorry about that - you're right, I meant to address Aaron.

I was still able to edit it - now it says 'Aaron'.

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 3/01, 3:26pm)




Post 61

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 3:41pmSanction this postReply
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In post #55 Michael Moeller quotes Rand:
"By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object's value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it brought into existence" (VOS, pg 130).
Some points to ponder:

1. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder so does value reside in the valuer.

2. To claim that the [original] creator of an object or idea creates (is the source of) the value of that object or idea is to espouse the long discredited labor theory of value.

3. When dealing with physical objects, property law protects the owners right to that object but IP law creates a "right". In other contexts this is referred to as a government grant of monopoly privilege.



Post 62

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 6:38pmSanction this postReply
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3. When dealing with physical objects, property law protects the owners right to that object but IP law creates a "right". In other contexts this is referred to as a government grant of monopoly privilege.


So you would let anyone copy Atlas Shrugged, print it on their own printing press, and then sell the copy of this book without any compensation to Rand's estate? Why are none of the anarchists answering this question?

I swear talking to anarchists is like talking to a brick wall.



Post 63

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 7:42pmSanction this postReply
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In the not too distant future there will be fabricators available to anyone who is willing to buy one that can replicate anything with raw materials and a set of instructions. This will happen. The "raw instructions" (software) will be the only property of value. Before this happens you can be sure there will be VERY strong protection for intellectual property, commonly understood (even by anarchists).

Re: "eye of the beholder", thieves typically undervalue what they steal. A thief will be happy to sell your $2000 dollar laptop for $50.



Post 64

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 7:40pmSanction this postReply
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I have a small point to ponder in terms of individual rights.

Suppose that I owned a huge farm and I was willing to hire workers to do backbreaking work in exchange for room and board. And suppose I signed a contract with such workers, there was voluntary consent on both sides, but they later defaulted. How do I enforce my contract?

(If this sounds like a trick question, it is.)

Michael



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Post 65

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 8:11pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

"Suppose that I owned a huge farm and I was willing to hire workers to do backbreaking work in exchange for room and board. And suppose I signed a contract with such workers, there was voluntary consent on both sides, but they later defaulted. How do I enforce my contract?"

You ask Russia for aid and they send AK-47's, tanks and "military advisors"?



Post 66

Thursday, March 1, 2007 - 10:05pmSanction this postReply
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MSK-
"Normal property will include all three elements: (1) tangible part of the earth or earth's elements (or, later down the road, outer space), (2) intellectual input and (3) work."

I like that formulation, an expansion of the typical Lockean view of 'mixing labor'. Is this where Steve is going too..

"The reason I find this strange is that how can a man own something when he is dead? The simple answer is that he can't. Property is for the living."
"I believe inheritance laws for all property should be the same and, by nature, they cannot be for perpetuity."

This was a bit surprising. Would that mean by your view that even if Rand had property rights to the words of Atlas Shrugged while alive, then no one does now since she's dead? Or are you just saying that you consider that there may be inheritance rights to property (tangible or other), but are undecided on how long this should extend? I'm used to Objectivists being for tangible property rights being held/transferred indefinitely, and I've only encountered (relatively libertarian) arguments for property rights expiration from mutualists.

Steve-
"Or you could be using to say "all property except patterns which we are still discussing." I'll assume you are talking about the latter."

True. 'Real' is not an ideal term given the usage concerning real estate, I chose it only since it was broader than 'tangible', and rejected 'rival' or 'first order'. If you prefer to substitute 'exclusive' that would keep the idea.

I'll buy your argument concerning force and property. Yes, trespass against someone's legitimately owned tangible property could be warranted to retrieve stolen property. I was thinking of 2) for cases if we got to 'it's not property in the same sense as naturally exclusive property - but we should try to construct something concerning it at the political level anyway.' But if we can really get from 'ground up' to a concept of property that can treat patterns equal to exclusive items, then 2) would not be an issue. I'm curious to see where you're headed.




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Post 67

Friday, March 2, 2007 - 5:54amSanction this postReply
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Preface --
It is a principle in science that a good theory not only explains the facts, but leads to new predictions that are valid.  A bad theory not only fails to explain all the facts -- even a good theory might be incomplete -- but leads nowhere else useful and leads only to contradictions.

I believe that consistent capitalism is a workable theory.  I believe that when they look to government, Objectivists are trying to "save the phenomenon" of the American constitutional system.  It is a fine system.  I am happy to live here (more or less). The geocentric model of ancient astronomy with its epicycles was actually a better predictor of planetary position than the heliocentric model (with circular orbits) of Copernicus (based on Aristarchos).  Furthermore, in point of fact, the Earth does not "go around" the Sun -- despite our common claim, any more than the sun "sets" or "rises" -- though speaking that way is not horrible.  So, too, are we able to get along fairly well when we agree that anti-trust laws or "insider trading" prohibitions, etc., are violations of our rights and that the government has exceeded its constitutional authority.  However, here, were are beyond all of that and examining a deeper, more consequential issue.

Similarly, with capitalism, I am not interested in medieval Iceland or what someone who claims to be an "anarchist" once said.  I am only interested in empirical evidence rationally explained and in consistent explanations factually verified.

William C. Wooldridge's Uncle Sam: the Monopoly Man (http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Sam-monopoly-William-Wooldridge/dp/0870001000) was based on the premise that everything the government does is being or has been done on the market.  I see in that the deeper truth that government creates nothing, but only usurps what the market does.  Electrical power production, money, post roads, police, courts, lighthouses, parks and playgrounds, schools, hospitals,...  whatever government is doing now, it would be surprising if no one is doing it for profit -- or if it was not done for profit at one time before government usurped that sector of the market.  Copyrights, patents, and intellectual property in general must also be examples. 

Now, it is important to disassemble the moral actions of government from the immoral actions of government.  Governments run schools.  Schools are businesses.  It is not effective for governments to do that, but there is nothing wrong with schools per se.  On the other hand, government gets money from income tax and we all agree that this is wrong because no one has a right to do that.  So, there may be elements of intellectual property that are marketable and others that are coercive, i.e., consequences of government.





Post 68

Friday, March 2, 2007 - 6:03amSanction this postReply
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To clear up a few things:
Michael Stuart Kelly Post 40:
You are confused on an issue. The USA government does not collect and distribute copyright monies for performance fees. You linked to two organizations that do, ASCAP and BMI, as if they were alternatives to the government. But they rest on government protection.
As a recipient of such payments myself, I know that the US government does not distribute them.  My point was the same as yours: the government structure is our default mode on this.  We assume that without government, as you say, "... composers, authors and publishers would rarely receive fees for performance use."  I do not agree. 
... Incidentally, BMI does not stand for "British Music Industry" as you wrote. I have no idea where you got that from or why you wrote that.

I got it here: http://www.bmi.com/  The mistake was mine.  I thought that BMI was the UK's ASCAP, but I was wrong.  The point stands, however: there are organizations that you can join that will negotiate and enforce your rights for you.  (Reply on your experiences in Brazil follows.)
Michael Moeller post 41:
So on one hand, you complain about intellectual property being a "monopoly" (i.e. exclusive to the owner), and he complains that "government force" denies it.  So which is it? You guys can't seem to decide whether up is up or down is up.
I never complained about intellectual property being a monopoly.  It is the government monopoly that bothers me.  That is why I cited the many market alternatives.  As for "up or down" it is true that the contradiction in governmentalism causes this ambiguity. The governmentalists are the ones with the problem.  I just pointed it out.

I believe that the governmentalists are viewing the problems of intellectual property as "market failures" requiring government intervention.  Among the many kinds of "market failure" are those "public goods" which are non-rival and non-excludable.  Anyone can listen to a radio broadcast and one person's listening to it does not prevent another from listening to it. Governmentalists say that such cases demonstrate a kind of "market failure."  I disagree: markets do not fail.

I believe that (1) a proper analysis of property will solve half those problems and (2) the free market has mechanisms for solving the other half. 




Post 69

Friday, March 2, 2007 - 6:16amSanction this postReply
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Og chips a point out of flint.  Nog tries the same thing with obsidian.
Henry Ford invents a horseless carriage and rides around Dearborn in it.  Another man sees this and builds one of his own. 
Ernst Werner von Siemens invents a generator that creates direct current.  Nikola Tesla simplified it to create one that generated alternating current. John Galt invents one that draws electricity from the air.
Michael Moeller Post 41
Let's be clear on precisely what you are advocating.  I am going to ask a few simple questions and I would appreciate a direct answer.  Does Ayn Rand own John Galt, Dagny Taggart, and the rest of the story contained within Atlas Shrugged?  Does somebody who buys her book have the "right" to go ahead and make copies and distribute them, create a movie of her work, etc.--without her consent?
Joe Maurone Post 42
But what if an artist, like the fictional example of Rand's Richard Halley, objects to his work being "cut up" and destroyed of its original integrity? What if financial composition is not the composer's concern, but the understanding of the piece? What if he doesn't want that kind of exposure?
To Michael Moeller, the direct answer is: I don't know. 
Michael Moelller conflates four actions: (1) making copies (2) distributing them (3) creating a movie and (4) etc. That fourth is problematic in the extreme.  Would that including going to every copy of the book and fixing the typos?  We need to be more specific in part (4). 

Ayn Rand is dead.  Her rights are limited, though she does have some.  For instance, spousal privilege against testimony in court extends after death.  If she transfered property rights, titles, or licenses before her death and the holders are alive, then those rights, titles, and licenses are theirs, not hers.

You read Atlas Shrugged, and, having some talent, you create sketches and paintings of people and scenes, such as this one of Dagny Taggart at her monoplane:
http://aethlos.com/uploaded_images/dagny_taggart_plane_aethlos_atlas_shrugged-703189.jpg

A friend sees it and likes it and wants to frame it and offers you something valuable for it.  Is that a violation of Ayn Rand's rights? Is it a violation of someone else's rights?  To me, it is not.  Since he asked this rhetorical question, perhaps Michael Moeller would care to parse it for us. 

I note, that Joe Maurone asked a deeper question that addresses this in a way that Michael Moeller seems not to have anticipated.  In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark blows up two buildings (which, legally, he does not own) on the theory that he "created" them and therefore had the "right" to destroy them.  The problem here is basic: the actions of Howard Roark are fiction for the artistic purpose of demonstrating a philosophical point.  Attempting to realize such actions,  i.e., to effect them into the real world is to commit an error of "primacy of consciousness" which is the basis for philosophical idealism. 
MSK 56: Aaron, You mentioned an idea I find very strange: property that applies in perpetuity. The reason I find this strange is that how can a man own something when he is dead? The simple answer is that he can't. Property is for the living.
MSK then must disagree with John Aramaos and Michael Moeller who seem to think that Atlas Shrugged is the property of yn Rand forever -- or 75 years after the death of Dr. Leonard Peikoff, or some other "objective" (ahem) standard...

1.  You buy a fishing rod and find that it is defective.  You return it.  The shopowner refunds your money.
2. You buy a book and find that it is a mishmash of lies, badly written and poorly printed.  You find the author and demand that this experience be removed from your mind.

The difference between 2. and 1. highlights the problem areas with the concept of "intellectual property."  No one has a right to force your ideas from you, but once you publicize them, you have no way to take them back.  Once communicated, they become the property of new minds.  You can control the reproduction of the form you gave them, but you cannot control the ideas themselves, once you have communicated them.
 
It is true that -- as Galambos did and Coca-Cola does -- that you can strictly bind each party by contract not to reveal certain information you give them.  Softrware publishers do that with their licensing agreements. 


 




Post 70

Friday, March 2, 2007 - 10:08amSanction this postReply
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Michael Morotta,

You wrote:

"MSK then must disagree with John Aramaos and Michael Moeller who seem to think that Atlas Shrugged is the property of yn Rand forever -- or 75 years after the death of Dr. Leonard Peikoff, or some other "objective" (ahem) standard..."

If you checked my definitions and explanations, you would see the oversimplification here. As Ayn Rand no longer exists, it is impossible for her to own anything in the normal sense of the word. The only things recognized by our society as property in perpetuity for her memory are the moral rights to her work, as I stated earlier. No one else can claim to have written Atlas Shrugged, not now, not in a hundred years, not in a million years. Nor can anyone else mix the parts up, paste in other writing, or otherwise disfigure the work and claim she wrote it like that. Only the rights that can pertain to the dead, i.e., her memory, are the ones recognized as still belonging to her.

This does not include monetary rights or rights of use. Can you imagine rights of use being exercised by the dead? Or can you imagine the dead signing contracts and receiving fees? They can't do these things anymore. (How's that for elaborating on the obvious?)

So for owning property in the normal sense of the word, meaning the right to personally use and commercially exploit it, Rand herself recognized that she would not own her work after death. That's why she made a will and passed it all on to Peikoff. That's also why this part of property ownership is designated as her copyrights. (She even passed all her money and real property on to him.) She did not pass the authorship of her works to him (nor can she in our society, thank goodness).

Rand owned, owns and will own forever the authorship of her works. In practice, this means that while she was alive she owned it and could enforce it and now, after she is dead, this is a convention recognized by society for her memory.

The copyrights to her works are now owned by Peikoff. After a certain number of years, they will lose legal power of the exclusive right to commercially exploit the works they protect, and then anyone will be able to commercially exploit those works.

I don't know how some people interpret theory here, but in practice, Rand did what everybody else does. It helps when we define our terms, or at least make them clear.

Michael



Post 71

Friday, March 2, 2007 - 10:01pmSanction this postReply
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To remark on MSK's prior description of property, I find it interesting that a Florentine entrepreneur (whose name, to my shame, momentarily escapes me) wrote during the early Renaissance that successful action requires: Knowledge, Will, Means and Effort. The man's writing, essays of advice to his kin, was so very beautiful. He even advocated doing all one can to avoid sleep as he believed it robbed us of our potential glory. I tend to believe that reasonable amounts of sleep are not deductions from our lifespan. But his passion for life was admirable, almost a shock, hundreds of yearss ahead of his time, and in some ways ours. The gradute seminar in which I read him was shocked at my astonished admiration; but they were easily shocked.

Ted Keer



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Post 72

Saturday, March 3, 2007 - 11:09amSanction this postReply
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Hi Aaron,

 

I'm slow getting back to you.  My brother and his fiancé were in town and  I fell behind on chores. But I'm catching up on the chores and still putting ideas together for this thread.

It will be important to have the right words for distinguishing between intellectual property and non-intellectual property to ensure solid reasoning.  Here are the choices we have been looking at:

  • "...all property except for patterns" or
  • "...all property except for Intellectual Property", or
  •  "...all exclusive property" or
  • "...all rival property", or
  • "...all real property", or
  • “...all tangible property”, etc. 

I'd rather not use 'real' because of the confusion with 'real estate' and I'd rather not use 'exclusive' because of a possible equivocation I mentioned in an earlier post.  And, as we go we might end up finding a kind of in-tangible property that isn’t the same as the “patterns” type of property and until we get further in the exploration, we shouldn't use the phrase we are trying to clarify - "Intellectual property".  If someone foresees a problem with using 'except for patterns', let me know.

 

The purpose is just to find a word or phase that describes all property except intellectual property - a word that won't trip us up latter.  I think "...all property except for patterns" works. Going back to the early post you can see that we also can't use rival/non-rival if we are to succeed in our ground up approach to that level whereupon we would certify, modify or drop the use of rival and non-rival based upon our new understandings.

 

And I do want to get a 'ground up' concept of property. 

 

Methodology:

 

Some knowledge is only possible using an iterative approach.  I'm starting at a kind of common-sense low-level description of 'property' as a collection of attributes and understandings that don't contradict major Objectivist tenets.  Step two will be to use them as the temporary stand-ins to explore the metaphysical-epistemological connections to ethics.  Then iterate.  What is left after changing, deleting, adding to the initial stand-in concepts will be what get carried forward to create the political/legal concepts.

 

I made some minor errors in the last post where I was describing the attributes of property.  I'll correct them and add more on the next post.  In the meantime I'm making note of the discussions between you, MSK and the contributions of others to be sure the final collection of attributes will be rich enough to handle the different issues.  I hope this isn't too tedious or slow - I think it will be a worthwhile approach.

 




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Post 73

Saturday, March 3, 2007 - 2:52pmSanction this postReply
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This post is in reference to Rick Pasotto's post #61,

He quotes Rand, (via Michael Moeller's post),
"By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object's value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it brought into existence" (VOS, pg 130). 
 And Rick says that Rand, in this quote is espousing Marx's Labor Theory of Value.  And he states that IP law creates a monopoly 'right' and 'creates' a law versus just protecting 'ownership right of an object.

First I'll address the issue of "rights"

Ethics derive a 'right' (according to it's basic philosophical premises) - then law(s) can be created as expressions of that ethical right.  If the ethical system says "man has a right to his life" - it is reasonable to express this with a law that declares taking of a life under certain circumstances as 'murder'. 

Thus the word 'right' can mean two things (which should, but don't necessarily agree with one another).  My right to my life (ethics) is defended by my right (legal) not to be murdered.  Ethical rights are proposed by philosophers, ethicists, and intellectuals.  Legal rights are all created by government. 

In point 3) on Rich Pasotto's post he says,
"When dealing with physical objects, property law protects the owners right to that object but IP law creates a 'right'. "
The fact is, the government has created laws defining legal rights in intellectual property, and in real estate property, and in all instances of recognized property. Rick goes on to say,
"In other contexts this is referred to as a government grant of monopoly privilege."
  Chucking out the following unhelpful phrases - "In other contexts" and "this is referred to as" we are left with a statement saying
IP law creates a monopoly privilege (that other property laws don't create).
 But every legal right in a bundle of legal rights that makes up the property associated with a good is a kind of legal monopoly.  I have the right to rent my house out (In my case, no covenants, zoning laws, or other restrictions deprive me of that right) and ONLY I have that right.  I have a legal monopoly on renting out MY house.

Next I'll address Ricks use of "value"

Take a look at Rick's 2nd point,
To claim that the [original] creator of an object or idea creates (is the source of) the value of that object or idea is to espouse the long discredited labor theory of value.
Marx's labor theory of value has no place for anything but labor in determining value (exluding natural values like unprocessed minerals  or raw ground).  And that theory would not recognize any special value in the uniqueness of the pattern emerging from a given labor such that it could become something like IP.  And IP is clearly what Rand is arguing for.  Marx's theory also specifically denies that differences in the quality of labor that might exist could change the theory that labor is the sole arbiter of value.

Rand is talking about the creation of the value versus the copying of it.  (And please note that 'copying' also involves labor which by itself makes Rick's claim wrong on its face).  Rand would be the first to say that the value created by a monkey hitting a keyboard for 100 days would not be the equal to the value of a writer whose previous works sold in great number.  She also would not have said the entire value of a book is in the 'pattern of words' but also, even if in much smaller portions, in the physical binding, the paper, the ease of purchase, the efforts and ideas of the others, etc.  Value is added after she turns over her manuscript - by publisher, editor, agent, printer, shippers, distributers, retailers, advertisers, etc.  This chain of agreements where value is added - values that include capital, machines, commitments, legal rights held by others, and labor.

Think of this chain of agreements as made of exchanging differing bundles of legal rights.  The author may give up exclusive right to mass produce a pattern of words for some time period but under specific limiting conditions to a publisher who gives up the legal right to some of the money from the book sales (royalties).  The publisher agrees with a printer to exchange legal right to x amount of dollars in exchange for printing y number of copies under an agreement specifying details - He has the right from the author to mass-produce copies of the pattern, but he only gives the printer a version of that right so as to be able to print the same pattern in the future with another printer.  The printer has acquired from other sources the legal rights to the materials, machinery, labor, etc. needed to fulfill the agreement.  All exchanges involve legal rights and no legal right can exist without an implied ethical right.  That chain can have many links and each link can be of a slightly different nature and there can be other chains spliced into the main one, but they all are linked such that at the start is the idea of the author and the other end is a customer with a book in hand.  Each link is made of the following: voluntary agreements based upon each parties own valuation and the particular legal rights being evaluated and then exchanged.

Marx's labor theory treats labor as a special kind of contribution to a good - the only one that could increase the good's value.  Rand and most economic schools recognize that there are many things that can add to the value of a good..  Marx wanted to state that non-labor could not contribute to value as part of an argument for justifying the state owning all means of production.  Addressing that obscenity takes us off topic.

To say that Ayn Rand mistakenly confused private, productive, creative efforts involving ideas, labor, machinery, capital, estabished relationships, pre-existing legal rights, knowledge, experience and other values that resulted in desirable goods being privately manufactured, distributed and purchased in a free market as an example of capitaliism when it really should be seen as an example of Marx's labor theory is absurd.  Her royalty is payment for the percieved value she added, her rights are what she had to bargain with.  The portion that goes to the publisher is his profit (or loss if he guessed wrong or screwed up), and payment to others are for their value added.  When someone askes about a percieved value, "percieved by who?" - the answer is always by the person preparing to make a choice and to make or not to make an agreement and this means every party to every agreement.

Early man could take a simple view that he giving up his cave in exchange for a piece of fresh buffalo haunch (being hungry and knowing where another cave was).  Today we need to focus not on an object or entity but on the bundle of rights that define our "property" relative to an object or entity - we have rent, lease, sale, fee simple, lease-hold, condo, townhouse, apartment, time-share, covenants, and on and on.

I'm hoping we can create a better ground-up description of property from this thread, but I didn't think that we needed to have finished that to point out the problems with Rick's post. 




Post 74

Saturday, March 3, 2007 - 5:21pmSanction this postReply
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Michael (Marotta),

 

On your post #67 – Preface….

 You said,

“I am only interested in empirical evidence rationally explained and in consistent explanations factually verified.”

 

But before that you wrote,

“I believe that consistent capitalism is a workable theory.  I believe that when they look to government, Objectivists are trying to ‘save the phenomenon’ of the American constitutional system.”

Unless I misunderstand the meaning of “empirical evidence” and “factually verified” I can’t reconcile your lead paragraphs with your stated requirements – unless you are saying we have to meet a different standard than you do.  But we both accept your requirement that we be rational.

 

I too believe we must disassemble the moral actions of government from the immoral actions of government – just as you said.  But please correct me if I’m wrong – don’t you believe that all government actions are wrong, by their nature – at least in the sense that government itself is wrong?

 

In post #68, you are using the term “market failures” and then saying this is what others see that cause them to call for government intervention.  And you say that there are no “market failures”.  This is all strawman stuff at this point.   How did you, for example, crawl inside my mind and determine that I had “market failures” in there as the causative agent for my thought that we need a government to be the single source of rules?  And does mind-reading coincide with empirical evidence, factually verified?  And where is that empirical evidence, factually verified, that supports the assertion that there are no market failures?  

 

(And as an aside, who have been the souls whining on various threads about Microsoft’s success?  Was that a market failure because Mac should have won? – or is true that Microsoft deserves its market share since there are no market failures?}

 

To Michael Moeller’s question in your post,

“Does Ayn Rand own John Galt, Dagny Taggart, and the rest of the story contained within Atlas Shrugged?  Does somebody who buys her book have the "right" to go ahead and make copies and distribute them, create a movie of her work, etc.--without her consent?” 

You answered “I don’t know.”  That really shouldn’t have been such a tough question.  Let’s phrase it differently.  If, in say 1960 or so, someone was very excited about the sales prospects of Atlas Shrugged and started making and selling copies without Ayn Rand’s permission, would that be a violation of her ethical rights?  As current law is written, it would violate a number of legal rights – but I want to know if you believe Rand, back in 1960 (so as to focus on IP’s ethical roots and not on inheritance issues) would have no ethical right to stop this.

 

You and I agree on a great many things – but we need to dig deeper on what is or isn’t property (at the root) to go much further on IP.  And we do agree that there are many areas where we can do without government (and good reason to do so), but I have yet to hear an explanation for a workable system without a single set of rules to refer to, or a way to have a single set of rules without government.




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Post 75

Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 10:12amSanction this postReply
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Rick writes:
1. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder so does value reside in the valuer.
Whether food supports my life or poison kills it is not in any sense in the "eye of the beholder".  The value/disvalue is determined by the nature of the object in relation to man's life, which has to be discovered by man's mind, i.e. objective.
2. To claim that the [original] creator of an object or idea creates (is the source of) the value of that object or idea is to espouse the long discredited labor theory of value.
Exactly where, then, do computers, cars, music, novels, etc. come from?  You mean to tell me that these are NOT created from the mind and labor of the creator?  Do they spring up out of the ground?

As Steve stated, you are talking about the Marxist labor theory of value, which is entirely different from what Rand is stating.  In fact, even in economics, there is a proper conceptualization of the labor theory of value.  In his book Capitalism, George Reisman advances this theory from the classical economists' theory.  Check it out.
3. When dealing with physical objects, property law protects the owners right to that object but IP law creates a "right". In other contexts this is referred to as a government grant of monopoly privilege.
That's the whole problem, you guys refuse to recognize it as property and therefore see it as an arbitrary government grant of privilege.  Again, intellectual property IS protecting what the mind has created--the product of one's efforts--and the law protects what it does in regards to every other piece of property--i.e. the right to exclusive use and disposal.




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Post 76

Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 12:27pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Marotta writes:
I believe that the governmentalists are viewing the problems of intellectual property as "market failures" requiring government intervention....I believe that (1) a proper analysis of property will solve half those problems and (2) the free market has mechanisms for solving the other half.
You keep throwing out this strawman, but like I said earlier, nobody is arguing intellectual property rights on the basis of some alleged market defect.  Its being argued on the basis of property.  Yes, a proper conceptualization of property will work out the contradictions in your position.  No, "market mechanisms" will not solve the issue because proper functioning of the market rests on legal protections for individual rights.
To Michael Moeller, the direct answer is: I don't know.
I think you do.  Taking off on what Steve said, imagine that it is right after the publication of Atlas Shrugged.  Rand just spent 15 years creating her masterpiece.  Do you mean to tell me that anybody can come along and just copy and distribute it as if it is their own proeprty?  The purpose of the question was to make, concretely as possible, the nature of what you advocating.  You seem uncomfortable with the result, I would be too.
Michael Moelller conflates four actions: (1) making copies (2) distributing them (3) creating a movie and (4) etc. That fourth is problematic in the extreme.  Would that including going to every copy of the book and fixing the typos?  We need to be more specific in part (4). 
Mr. Marotta, I was not saying "etc." as some undefined, unspecified rights.  These "exclusive rights" are enumerated in Sect. 106 of the Copyright Act, I just did not feel like writing all of them out, which is why I said "etc.".  Perhaps I should not have assumed you were familiar with the law.
The difference between 2. and 1. highlights the problem areas with the concept of "intellectual property."  No one has a right to force your ideas from you, but once you publicize them, you have no way to take them back.  Once communicated, they become the property of new minds.  You can control the reproduction of the form you gave them, but you cannot control the ideas themselves, once you have communicated them.

Again, this is the stolen concept fallacy.  How can they become the "property" of other minds if you are unwilling to grant intellectual property rights in the first place?  Your whole argument is premised on the fact that there are not intellectual property rights in the first place.  So what are you saying, that the author loses them when put out in the marketplace, but those who read the works gain them?  Don't think so.

Secondly, you are mixing issues here.  You are free to apply Ayn Rand's theories on ethics, epistemology and so forth, giving credit to her for the discoveries, of course.  One does NOT copyright theoretical knowledge itself.  However, you do not have control of the practical implementation of these ideas, whether embodied in an invention or a book.  You do NOT have control over her works and you cannot copy and distribute her works as if they are your own.  They are not, she owns them.  This is a common objection by anarcho-libertarians that obliterates the distinction between theoretical knowledge and the practical implementation thereof, which is critical to understanding intellectual property rights.

Lastly, you hit on what Mr. Bidinotto outlined as one of the pitfalls earlier.  If an author is stripped of his productive efforts once he publishes them, why in the world would he/she introduce them into the public domain if they are just going to be ripped off?  As Mr. Bidinotto aptly put it:
 They would turn producers into the equivalent of monks, creating in private (if at all) hiding their creations from the world. After all, why allow oneself to become the unrewarded, starving benefactor of humanity?

(Edited by Michael Moeller on 3/04, 12:37pm)




Post 77

Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 12:41pmSanction this postReply
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The resident anarchist wrote:

MSK then must disagree with John Aramaos and Michael Moeller who seem to think that Atlas Shrugged is the property of yn Rand forever -- or 75 years after the death of Dr. Leonard Peikoff, or some other "objective" (ahem) standard...


First of all my name is not John Aramaos. It is John Armaos. Please have the courtesy to copy and paste my name when it is plain view on this thread. Second, property for it be privately owned means the property owner can do with it as he pleases including selling it or transferring it to another individual. This is why we have "wills". Ayn Rand's wishes were to have her intellectual property transferred to other individuals. That sounds awfully objective to me.



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Post 78

Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 12:47pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Marotta writes:
I note, that Joe Maurone asked a deeper question that addresses this in a way that Michael Moeller seems not to have anticipated.  In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark blows up two buildings (which, legally, he does not own) on the theory that he "created" them and therefore had the "right" to destroy them.  The problem here is basic: the actions of Howard Roark are fiction for the artistic purpose of demonstrating a philosophical point.  Attempting to realize such actions,  i.e., to effect them into the real world is to commit an error of "primacy of consciousness" which is the basis for philosophical idealism.
This argument deserves a post of its own.  Not because it is any good, but rather because it is so far out in outer space that I cannot conceive of where you got it.  Who in the world is saying that copyright hinges on treating the fictional characters and their actions as if they are real?  Jeez Louise, fiction is just that--fiction.  Intellectual property rights are protecting Rand's right to her own works, period.  I have no idea how you could make the cosmic leap to say that it means pretending that fiction is real--that's just...just...crazy.

I 'm going to print out this argument and save to remind myself why it is futile to debate anarcho-libertarians.




Post 79

Sunday, March 4, 2007 - 1:09pmSanction this postReply
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Speaking of spelling names wrong, in Post 70 I wrote "Michael Morotta" instead of "Michael Marotta."

I cannot edit the post, so let this be the correction. My apology to Michael Marotta.

(There. I got it right.)

Michael



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