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Don't be fooled by the DOJ's anti-trust theater. Remember Bastiat's "the seen and the unseen."
Those who understand Austrian-school economics know that it is the consumer who decides the value of all goods. In a voluntary exchange, if the consumer does not value the product he buys more than the price he must pay, there's no exchange. Period. So government's overreach protection is completely unnecessary.

Cartels cannot function without the legislative support of the state which stems from cultural support from the public. Would there be drug cartels without the "war on drugs"? Would there be a war on drugs without massive support from those profiting from it? Institutionally, this means; the agency employees, the lawyers, the judges, the prison system, the cops, not to forget the dealers themselves. Then there's support from the public itself, too ideological to be logical.

This situation differs from the drug war only by the degree of the outward devastation. It advances the attack on free markets and actually solidifies the very thing it purports to fight. By themselves, cartels are short-lived. Prices can't be fixed high because the pressure to take advantage of competitive markets is inherent in the free market. However, win or lose in court, the further institutionalization of anti-trust actions will ensure the biggest players control the market.
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John Baker's profile photoDavid Gallaher's profile photoChuck Dahmer's profile photoMorgan Laco's profile photo
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+Chuck Dahmer Am I correct to then expect the Austrian view of RIAA claims to be invalid? I have always thought the valuation of copyrighted materials to be overblown personally - but if no one would purchase said materials at the stated value would this invalidate the argument that this amount is being "stolen" from them?

I'm not seeking any kind of argument in favor of people who actually may be accused of copying; rather I'm trying to understand the premise you're making and I'm just not as Austrian-aware as I'd like to be. Thanks!
 
+John Baker I'm pretty certain that Austrian economics doesn't have anything to say about what is and what is not property. I think that is out of its scope. Austrian economics generally oppose market interference, and legal protection of "intellectual property" requires such interference.

+Chuck Dahmer what do you think?
 
+John Baker Good question on a different topic but the Austrian view is that ideas cannot be stolen nor considered property.

Copying an idea doesn't take anything away from the author, who still holds and uses the idea which could hardly be considered to have originated with them. Using music as an example, the chromatic scale frequently used in western music has 12 pitches, each repeated as higher or lower octaves. Are the notes property? If so who owns notes. Most music contains note groups known as chords that are universal. Who owns chords?

In Austrian and all economics, resources are considered to be scarce when they cannot be used simultaneously for two different purposes. Only one individual can occupy the same space at the same time. Each of us cannot be in two different places at the same, making our individual time a scarce resource.

Whereas, physically taking a DVD, for example, is a breach of property rights. The DVD is a scarce resource. Once removed from his possession, the rightful owner can no longer use the DVD. It cannot be simultaneously in his and the taker's possession.

What are considered trade secrets or patents are quite different and about which a number of factors must be considered. Your best resource on patent questions are +Stephan Kinsella who is a lawyer dealing in these matters.

Hope I didn't muddle that too badly. :-)
 
+Morgan Laco Happy to see that you're surviving the tornadoes. :-)

However, private property rights are at the heart of Austrian thinking, and of capitalism, for that matter. So, indeed, the property distinction I made above is paramount to understanding the actions of the market which always deals in the exchange of scarce resources among individuals.
 
Wow +Chuck Dahmer and +Morgan Laco thank you for taking me even further out B-D on this topic!

Chuck to take your example of a DVD a step further, does the information contained on the Disc constitute an idea? Or is this where the pirate copier goes wrong in the example?

- The DVD is still on the store shelf unpurchased, then as a scarce resource it's stlll available for sale (presumably, at a market value) and the owner isn't hurt.

- The information taken from the DVD is now on its own, free in the aether to go wherever it's taken and in that sense could be used simultaneously, for whatever purpose, as the original.

- That same information was obtained (presumably) without the owner's permission (which is copyright infringement) so the owner could claim to be hurt by the action.

- The information contained in a recording of music or a movie file is neither a company secret, nor is it patented - just plain ol' copyright protects the owner's rights.

I really liked your example of the chromatic scales because who owns them? And what difference is there between using tones, which are the bones of music, and words, which are the bones of language?

I'm thinking in particular to many ( many... ) 'work processes' both in software and more recently in real life that have been patented: Often these are things many people did without formal documentation before the monetization of patents became so particular.

And +Stephen Kinsella please feel free to join to this thread any thoughts you have - that is whatever you feel you can without giving away something you could sell elsewhere!

Thanks all.
 
+Chuck Dahmer Right, but what I was saying is that the theory doesn't have an "opinion" on whether intellectual property is property. It wasn't quite the issue it is now when the Austrian school was developed. If anything though, it says that intellectual "property" is not property. I'm not having a "sharp" day, forgive me.

Thanks for the well wishes. I think we're going to be okay today. Storms are supposed to move into central oklahoma later, but I'll have time to get over to campus for shelter if it gets bad.
 
Why is Teddy Roosevelt's trust busting still seen through rose colored glasses? Teddy was wrong about most things, and mentally questionable.
 
+John Baker What is B-D? When it comes to facts, trust +Chuck Dahmer over me. I'm fairly well-informed, but I believe he is more so. He's had a little more time than me to get his facts together :)
 
+John Baker Re: The information taken from the DVD is now on its own, free in the aether to go wherever it's taken and in that sense could be used simultaneously, for whatever purpose, as the original.

Yes. You're correct. But the information was free to go at anytime during its production, not only after a DVD, a means of storage, was purchased.

Let's make a distinction as to why one would want a DVD, at least back when DVDs were relevant. Convenience and quality of information. That is all that's being purchased. DVDs can contain many extras beyond the music itself, all compactly stored in lossless format. But not all of us care about the extras or the audio quality.

And you missed one of the key premises behind copyright: fraud protection, i.e., to keep others from claiming authorship and gaining remuneration, such as through concerts, on false premises.

However, fraud is already a part of common law. Copyright does nothing to enhance that.

Re: That same information was obtained (presumably) without the owner's permission (which is copyright infringement) so the owner could claim to be hurt by the action.

Your point is unclear. Was the DVD stolen? If so, yes, that is property theft.

However, if the information on the DVD is still on the DVD, and it is rightfully possessed, nothing was stolen, regardless of legislation that seeks to grant monopoly powers to large interests. Theft deprives the rightful owner of a product's use. This situation does no such thing.

Re: The information contained in a recording of music or a movie file is neither a company secret, nor is it patented - just plain ol' copyright protects the owner's rights.

Correct. I didn't suggest otherwise.

Re: I really liked your example of the chromatic scales because who owns them? And what difference is there between using tones, which are the bones of music, and words, which are the bones of language?

Was that a compliment or sarcasm? :-)
 
+John Baker I forgot to mention (before I fire up the mower) your arguments imply some, probably authors or artists, have been damaged when their music is "pirated." Quite the contrary. The more their music is heard, the greater the demand to see their work in person, thus increasing their opportunities for remuneration.

Copyright, far from protecting authors, actually keeps them slaves to big interests. Thankfully, we see this finally changing through the bright light of reasoned examination.
 
+Morgan Laco Yeah, I have more time because I'm not wasting my days on all that physics and math nonsense. LOL. When are the first of your tests?
 
+Chuck Dahmer (a/k/a 'lawnmower man'?)

'Was the DVD stolen? If so, yes, that is property theft.'
What I was working towards was the point that although the physical recording wasn't stolen, it's use became available through a copy process and could be claimed as one's original work, or sold. As you pointed out, these events are one of the key premises of fraud protection.

And that's the point where I think the case needs to be made: Show me someone who's sold one of these recordings or claimed ownership of the recorded work, and I would say, 'feed 'em to the bullfrogs.' But this doesn't seem to be happening at the moment.

Regarding your following post on 'pirating' - I recently read a text called 'Software piracy Exposed' that defined pirates very narrowly as people who work together to acquire, decrypt and distribute pristine copies of just about anything they can find.... and those guys aren't even listening to music or watching the movies or running the apps they handle - the effort for them and the motivation is successfully getting the content out to others.

But the copier is in it for having the multimedia item and enjoying it without purchase. In the very short term the artist is harmed by this because he or she isn't getting the pittance of royalty from the publisher.

To your point, in the longer term I absolutely agree, this is a marketing opportunity of the highest quality and will almost certainly generate more sales, particularly these days when songs are sold singly. I may not like 'Dead Skunk In The Middle of The Road' but I very much enjoy other tunes by the artist, such as 'Primrose Hill' or 'Cobwebs'
 
+John Baker Re: As you pointed out, these events are one of the key premises of fraud protection.

So we agree that our common law already addresses fraud, right? In other words, copyright is wholly unnecessary for that.

Re: pirating

Indeed, I enjoy the work of pirates without which I would be unable to watch certain favored TV series on my computer (my sole means for TV). One broadcaster has for unexplained reasons stopped online streaming a popular series, replete with the inane commercials. Fans are rightly pissed. However, the market is now being streamed from servers in Europe. Screw this major network which forgets it's the consumer who determines value. Oh... and I watch without the annoying commercials. Win for consumers, a lose for the major network.

Re: In the very short term the artist is harmed by this because he or she isn't getting the pittance of royalty from the publisher.

Except that is seldom the case. Major studios or publishers usually take publishing and marketing costs out of the artists royalties, off the top. Major stars have learned how to structure contracts so they suffer few losses up front. Smaller players, regardless of industry, often find themselves raped. That's why it's important to stop these industries from their evil legislation such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
 
Haha +Chuck Dahmer ' So we agree that our common law already addresses fraud, right? In other words, copyright is wholly unnecessary for that.'

I don't think there's anyplace we really disagree in this whole conversation! For me it's about identifying the points where these specious arguments arise from. I enjoy it when someone repeats something they've heard on some tv network or other (especially one particular "news entertainment network" ) and then pausing, and asking, 'gee, did you know that ....?' Lots of times they have no idea.
 
+John Baker Great! It's good to have participated in at least one discussion that produce some meeting of the minds.

Most of my time in discussion is spent challenging endless unfounded assertions which their authors refuse to back up, or refuting non-stop outright fallacies. Every one-sentence fallacy usually requires at least ten careful sentences to refute. Argh!
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