Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Is IP Property

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

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IP Trends

From 2005:

IP Trends

Posted by Stephan Kinsella on April 5, 2005 03:37 PM

A Swedish libertarian buddy, Johan Ridenfeldt, pointed me to this article (in Swedish), which describes libertarian (liberal) arguments against intellectual property, and also includes a review of the debate in Nyliberalen (The Neoliberal). He wrote, "I find this very positive. I'm involved (somewhat) in politics, and I have noticed that most of the libertarian young ones agree with us on IP [i.e., that it is problematic and unlibertarian]. This was not the case when I first started quoting you back when your Against IP article was in draft [in 2000 or so]. I used to post and recommend your working paper draft, and back then I was pretty alone in my views."

I have noticed a similar trend. The younger, Internet generation seems to be much more receptive to the notion that there are no property rights in information and ideas. Whether this is because they are more open minded, more libertarian, or anti-big-business, I am not sure. I have noticed that most of the older types are much more resistant to challenges to IP.Coda: Jim Newland writes:

Sheesh, Stephan. I'm an old fogey and even I know the answer to this one. It's because they've grown up in the digital era, with its easily traded and downloaded electronic files. The impossibility of actually owning an idea or anything else nonmaterial is brought into sharp focus with the ubiquity of the internet. For instance, in the case of videogame pirates, they ask how they can be accused of stealing something when the original product remains with its original owner. This starts them thinking about the whole idea of intellectual property and the notion that one can somehow own something as ephemeral as a thought.
And a college student writes,
The reason is actually pretty simple. The RIAA just sued my roommate and about 10 other kids here at [my college]. The younger generation is anti-IP because we love free file sharing and hate getting sued.


There is a social evolutionary trend that is be being overlooked. Basically, the younger you are (either as a person or as a business) the more liberal you are. As one ages, people and businesses tend to become more conservative, even to the extent of being repressive in certain instances.

A more meaningfully analysis of IP trends would revolve around the younger generation maintaining there liberal bias over time and/or the older generation developing a liberal bias. I assume that we don't want to wait 20-30 years to see whether the younger generation maintains its liberal bias, but we can see now what the older generation is expressing. More examples in the form of your post "An Objectivist Recants on IP" would better disclose whether the concept of IP is on its hopeful road to oblivion.

"As one ages, people and businesses tend to become more conservative, even to the extent of being repressive in certain instances."

For a simple reason: one establishes a place in the scheme of things, and then favors the status quo. One who has not yet established a place (young person, startup company) has little to lose by shaking things up, and may have a great deal to gain, by tilting the entire playing field to their advantage.

So, both are behaving quite logically.

@ Nobody

Quite true, but the question is one of trend. If you can convince an old conservative person to change their viewpoint or a young liberal person to maintain their liberal viewpoint, then I think you can document that change in the IP landscape is indeed occurring. I hope that change is occurring.

just want to ask, why are you really against monopoly? :) hutch for desk
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