I would sincerely appreciate your feedback on this analogy I'm developing.
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- There is a danger with copyright and the informal markets, see my article below
http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.netopia.se%2F2010%2F02%2F24%2Fden-informella-ekonomins-mysterium%2FJul 26, 2012
- Copyright is a temporary monopoly privilege that has been bastardized. I will leave it there. Concerning Solyndra, subsidies, and copyright - There is a concern that would need to be explored. Theoretically, governments should run on a balanced budget. As such, when a company - such as Solyndra - receives a subsidy, that means that others have to pay higher taxes. There are three scenarios: 1. The subsidy to Solyndra could have been the creative spark to manufacture an innovative product available to fill a market need. 2. the subsidy may have been granted to Solyndra for political reasons and to give it an unfair market advantage and/or 3. Consumers, because they would be forced to pay a higher tax, may not spend as much on other products thereby stifling economic growth in other sectors of the economy. (Yes the amount of Solyndra money was incredibly small in terms of the whole economy, so the consumer really would not see their taxes rise, But then there are many many many subsidies that cause economic inefficiencies. I am speaking theoretically).
As I write, my thoughts have trended towards the copyright analogy being more in-line as a "barrier to trade" rather than analogous to a subsidy. The reason, is that those who favor "strong" copyright want to control/manipulate the entire distribution chain. Even to the point of maintaining control post-sale and using legal means to stifle competition. Perhaps a better real-world analogy may the the concept of Mercantilism and the East-India Company. But those examples may be too "old". I'm a little short on modern day examples, but the recent populist outrage over the US Olympic Uniforms being made in China may be a precursor for a future trade war where government granted privileges could distort the economy.Jul 27, 2012
- Disney is like Solyndra, and I don't know that many will remember the latter for long. But yes, libertarians should reflexively hate copyright as any other industrial policy/regulation/takings.
copyright is an attack on physical property rights. International comparisons of property regimes such as the one you cite ought take this into account. :)Jul 29, 2012
- When the government gives Solyndra a subsidy, it literally moves money from some people's pocket to another's, in a positive, definitive action. When the government grants someone a copyright, it does so first and foremost because it is being asked to do so by the author of the work. Copyright is not mandatory, you don't have to seek it (famous example, Woody Guthrie, see Wikipedia).
If you as a taxpayer don't want to subsidize Solyndra, it looks like you don't have much of a choice, the government will use your money whether you want it or not. But if you as a consumer want to watch let's say Avatar for free, or copy it and sell it, while again, don't have much of a choice, it can't really be said to be the same as above. The libertarian argument goes like this: by enforcing copyright the government infringes on your right to do what you please with your blank CD in this case. But the government has a different choice to make than above. Instead of choosing between funding Solyndra and taking your money on one hand and leaving Solyndra and you untouched on the other, now the government has to choose between putting some money into James Cameron's pocket if you really want to watch the movie or leaving you in the impossibility of copying or watching the movie at no cost. I am sorry, but I don't think it's the same. In the first case the government is forcing you into an exchange that, even if arguably "good for you" down the line, it's definitely not a choice, while in the second case the government is forcing you into an exchange, but it is 1) voluntary, you don't have to do it and 2) clear, you know what you get for your money, you get to watch or copy the movie.Jul 29, 2012
- Jerry, I want to write a long response to this post but won't have time for a couple weeks. I'm a copyright skeptic too, but one must recognize that copyright is as much about tackling Coase's "positive transaction costs" problem (by attempting to reduce otherwise-prohibitive fencing costs) as it is about the incentive-access tradeoff.
Have you read The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property by Bill Landes & Richard Posner? If not, borrow Thierer's copy and read the first 4 chapters. It's the best treatment of copyright I've ever read (second best is Tom Bell's Intellectual Privilege draft book).
Also, check out Richard Epstein's short paper, Why Libertarians Shouldn't Be (Too) Skeptical About Intellectual Property, at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=981779Jul 30, 2012
- Please let me know when you get more of this paper written. I have thought that intellectual property is a misuse of property rights for some time. I don't have very much education in this particular area, being a health science major, but ideas are not physical things. If we trade 1 item for another item we each have one item. If we each start with 1 idea and exchange ideas then we will each have 2 ideas.
It seems like it's trying to legislate the mind, not property.
There were no property rights on the wheel when it was invented. But each person who built a wheel had a property of ownership in the wheel that they built.Aug 7, 2012