Q&A: —“Curt: Whats Your Position on Intellectual Property”—

Forms of Intellectual Property:

    * Trademarks and Branding (Weight and Measure) (may not misrepresent as identical)
    * Creative Commons and Open Source ( free use for non-commercial use)
    * Copyright (License fees to inventors of creative products)
    * Patents (license fees to inventors of material products )
    * Legal Privileges (license fees on partial or total monopolies)

[T]rademarks and branding were developed as a weight and measure to both to prevent people from fraudulently representing work, and to provide traceability if the weight and measure was violated by substandard manufacture. There is no more conflict over trademarking than there is over any other standard weight, measure, or title registry.

Copyrights might have been issued as a perk to authors from the crown, but they evolved into a standard practice, if for no other reason than humans in protestant societies object to profiting from the work products of others.

Creative commons and Open Source licenses evolved out of copyright in order to allow non-commercial use and copying. Which solves the problem of profiting without contributing to the works of others, versus the ability to copy that which is easily copied. Creative commons solves the problem of allowing profiteering on the backs of others.

Worse, the reason we have so much (undesirable) that’s published in every medium, is the rewards of selling these artificially licensed products. People who write will do so for very little return. Just as people who produce all arts will do so for very little return. Just as people who engage in research will usually do so for very little return. There is no reason provide support when the net result of that support is the conversion of ART FROM A CIVIC COMMONS TO PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. In fact, under that criteria, it is immoral to issue copyrights. But this is a decision for groups through their political processes. They must just be aware of the consequences that will occur as monumental works decline and experiential works increase.

I suggest that we retain a registry (trademarks) and copyrights, so that people may engage in the reproduction of easily reproducible goods for personal, interpersonal, and civic use, while retaining the prohibition on unproductive profiting (reproduction for profit without compensating the copyright holder), and on fraud (profit through plagiarism).

Patents have a long history both of existence in one form or another, and of attempts to end them. The problem has been in part that there are good reasons for some, and no point of demarcation (no ‘criteria of decidability’) has been discovered that limits its use.

There is one benefit of patents in that it forces continuous creativity in some minor property of a process or admixture, and it is possible that without patents we would not see this creativity. However, it we could easily limit patents (grants of partial monopoly), to those at biological, chemical, or atomic level (basic research), and leave engineering (construction) and design (user interfaces) out of it, and then later extend into atomic, chemical, and biological levels at some point in the future when we have reduced those areas to engineering rather than basic research.
Otherwise, if used as an incentive to conduct basic research (like universities and laboratories), or as an incentive to produce goods with unlikely markets (rare medicines and treatments), or in the future, genetic modifications, a patent can serve as a method of funding off-book subsidy of private research for the production of beneficial commons. For this purpose, it would be immoral to prohibit patents.

It is difficult to imagine an equivalent of the creative commons or open source movements, for explicitly commercial goods, for personal or civic (non-profit) use. We do not do this today because we already implicitly permit it today. (Given the problem of “I Pencil” it’s almost impossible to create complex goods for personal use, but we encourage it and treat admire it.) So I would argue that we could clarify the right to do so, because this is the area where we get into problems of companies defending uses that they don’t want to because the courts will treat non-defense as license.
In other words it is rational to separate market-for-profit-using-the-insights-of-others from ‘use’. Or put another way: you cannot prohibit someone from making something for self, family and society by a license to a MARKET monopoly on the SALE of a good. This is the difference that needs clarifying. You cannot tell someone he may not use information to transform something for use, but you can certainly prevent him from participating in the market because it is a COMMONS, by profiting from the innovations of others.

Further Thoughts
I suppose I could get into how we create opportunities through population density and the suppression of parasitism using the common law, by requiring PRODUCTIVE, fully informed, warrantied, voluntary exchange between all parties; and then address how the PRODUCT of this collective norm (property) produces opportunities, and that it is these opportunities (a product of the commons) that we compete for, with the best competitor (inventor, investor, producer, distributor) winning the benefits of seizing that opportunity. But I think that the logic and economics of market opportunities is off topic for this discussion. Even though, in order to explain why we require PRODUCTIVE transfers from people rather than parasitic transfers, is the entire purpose of coming together in groups, and incrementally suppressing parasitism through the (negative) prohibition on involuntary unproductive uninformed transfers and negative externalities using rule of law, and the (positive) market reward for productive, informed, voluntary transfers and positive externalities. It’s this process of forcing man (like we have with plants and animals) to engage in productive market participation, in order to benefit from productive market participation of others.

This possible a great deal to digest, and yet, I could go into far more detail as I’ve shown in the last paragraph. But this is a categorically consistent, logically consistent, morally consistent, empirically consistent,fully accounted,and fairly parsimonious argument that will be difficult to defeat.
Curt Doolittle
The Philosophy or Aristocracy
The Propertarian Institute

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