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cathyn: (Johnny!)
[personal profile] cathyn
Over on Facebook, I got into a discussion with a friend, and I asked him to explain the Libertarian Platform on reducing Government Regulation, specifically how that would apply to Intellectual Property Rights. He graciously provided me with a link to an article on the subject written by an IP Attorney who happens to be a Libertarian, and an author of a large body of work on Libertarian concepts. He is a good writer, well educated, and presents his ideas well. I read it, carefully, twice, before crafting this response:

"OK, I read through the link you provided, and find the ideas therein regarding intellectual property abhorrent.

As an example, an entity (let's call them Company A) spends vast resources creating a thing, say a unique medicine, which cost $500M to research and perfect. Presuming we live in a Libertarian Utopia, Company A doesn't need to spend even greater resources to pass through Government Regulations, but the cost of process was still astronomical. According to the argument of the author, upon completion of that process, the minute Company A brings that product to market, and releases it for sale, at whatever price they feel is fair, as there cannot be any regulations on such a thing. there is nothing whatsoever to stop Company B from purchasing a small quantity of it, reverse-engineering it, and selling it themselves.

Without the need to both sell the product, and pay for the Research and Development required to bring it to market, Company B can charge significantly less for the product. Company A has a need to charge more, which is the mechanism by which Company A would recoup the $500M investment required to create the product. At this point, Company A goes out of business, not because they were weak, poorly managed, or unsuccessful, they were simply bankrupted by spending money to "create" a product, the specifics of which were then taken by Company B (which spent virtually nothing to develop the product), and they are profiting on the works of Company A. Company A, according to the author, has no Property Rights to the creation at all. Under the stated Nonaggression Principle, since Company A still owns everything they physically have in hand, their research, their product inventory, and such, nothing it being "taken" from them, therefore Company B is complying with the Nonaggression Principle perfectly, and therefore is doing nothing wrong when they choose to take their own resources and make a product identical in every conceivable way to that of Company A's product, but at a much lower cost of production. Company B is successfully participating in "pure competition", nothing more, nothing less.

This very idea completely disincentivizes invention, and in fact abjectly penalizes anyone and everyone who spends even the tiniest resource to invent anything whatsoever, by allowing the latecomer to take whatever ideas are out there that they feel like producing, and boldly claims that the reason IP rights do not, and should not exist, is that a Government Entity would be required to enforce them."

The author also presents ideas regarding "ownership" of one's own body, and I fully understand why many individuals would like those ideas, but can't imagine how anyone could read this full article and not realize that such policies as applied to IP would essentially demolish a nation's economy over time.
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