Norman Stephan Kinsella

is an intellectual property lawyer and libertarian legal theorist

Hosted AMAs

Highest Rated Comments

nskinsella59 karma

yes, if you try to sell a product and if it is popular, you have to expect competition. there is nothing wrong with this. you have to have high quality, rely o your first mover advantage, your band name or reputation, or keep innovating, if you want to keep making profit. Profit is unnatural, and is gradually reduced by competition. Everyone who is for patent is against free market competition. See They admit this. They say "Governments adopt intellectual property laws in the belief that a privileged, monopolistic domain operating on the margins of the free-market economy promotes long-term cultural and technological progress better than a regime of unbridled competition." -- What kind of libertarian or free market advocate is against unbridled competition??!!

See -- Wendy McElroy discussing Benjamin Tucker:

"The natural-rights side contended that the law must presume something to be property so long as it was valuable. If an idea had value, then it was presumed to be property whether publicly expressed or not. By contrast, Tucker advanced a theory of abandonment. That is, if a man publicized an idea without the protection of a contract, then he was presumed to be abandoning his exclusive claim to that idea.

'If a man scatters money in the street, he does not thereby formally relinquish title to it … but those who pick it up are thereafter considered the rightful owners…. Similarly a man who reproduces his writings by thousands and spreads them everywhere voluntarily abandons his right of privacy and those who read them … no more put themselves by the act under any obligation in regard to the author than those who pick up scattered money put themselves under obligations to the scatterer.'

"Perhaps the essence of Tucker's approach to intellectual property was best expressed when he exclaimed, "You want your invention to yourself? Then keep it to yourself."

nskinsella55 karma

the purpose of law is to protect property rights, not to ensure entrepreneurs of every type can make a profit; that is their job. but for some ideas of what is possible, see

nskinsella49 karma


nskinsella45 karma

they are not "taking" it. the original author still has the informaiton, no?

It is just using public information. What is wrong with this? If you don't want people to konw your song, don't sing it. Keep it to yourself. If you reveal it, expect people to use it. Just like if you sell a new mousetrap, you have to tell your customers its innovative features; and if it starts selling the profit signal will attract competitors like chum does sharks; and then your profit will be eroded as you face compettition. this is the free market.

nskinsella45 karma

yes, but I think they are largely impracticable--hard to enforce, pointless, and can't affect third parties. IP needs to ensnare third parties.

Consider as a customer: some publisher offers a text book on amazon for $30. to buy it you hvae to sign an agreement saying you will pay the publihser $10M if he can prove you copied the book or showed it to a friend or used the ideas in it. Who would sign this? not many people. Most peopld would move on to the next seller.

nskinsella44 karma

they didn't copyright it. they put a copyright notice on it that was false. they said they have copyright; they do not, since it was not a work for hire and I never assigned it in writing. I have the copyright, and all my work it on with CC-BY applied to try to liberate it as much as the state will let me. It's bizarre for pro-copyrgiht people to blame me for having copyright that their system imposes on me against my will. It's like telling a black guy that he has no right to be against affirmative action or anti-discrimination laws since he is eligible to use these laws if he wants. why is it his fault if statist impose laws on society?

nskinsella44 karma

you make things to make a profit selling a product or service, obviously. The idea that this is impossible absent state grants of monopoly privilege is totally unfounded, an wrong. Of course there has been innovation and artistic creation throughout human history, even before modern IP law. So the olnly real argument is that there would be innovation without IP, but not enough. This implies that you know that IP actually stimulates new innovation and that the value of it is greater than the cost of the system (neither is true: And there is no stopping point to this; the state could tax us and grant trillions of awards to innovators to stimulate even more innovation.

nskinsella41 karma

who is going to enforce the tax? how much is it? why does society have a claim on land it never homesteaded? Why is land special--after all it's just another type of scarce resource. etc.

nskinsella40 karma

No, they cannot. Contracts are just transfers of title to owned scarce resources, and they cannot, in any event, affect third parties. I deal wit this in the reserved rights section of Against Intellectual Property, at

nskinsella38 karma

you don't own value. value is what others think about your stuff. you have no proeprty in that. the law should not give you a property right in that. besides, if the state stopped taxing you, you would be 8 times richer immediately, an could afford to do your music.