"What exactly is it with so many technical people being anarchists?"


(1) No more artificial scarcity.  

(2) COPYING IS PUBLIC DOMAIN TECHNOLOGY ([http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=563921&cid=23543419]) (monxrtr)  

Copying, the action, the method, the process, of copying, is "IP" just as much as any product is "IP". So how is it all "IP" copies the ideas of copying and limiting copying?  


"These sorts of hyper-reductionist arguments are stupid. At the end of the day a human is just a bunch of atoms. Shouldn't I be able to disrupt those atoms the same way I can disrupt the atoms in my own house if I want? And before you start on who "owns" atoms, "ownership" is just an arrangement of neuronal connections in people heads. ENOUGH!" "Your point is a good one, and one that I've thought about, but what is your meaning? That scientifically derived models of reality aren't real in some way and shouldn't be used for decision making? As long as all known factors are taken into account, I don't see a problem with reductionism. It's the basis of science, and programmers do it frequently when debugging at a high-level doesn't provide enough information, and the machine code must be directly investigated." "You state the truth, but seem to fear and deny it. Ownership is not an inherent part of reality, but actually just a set of implicit and explicit contracts between people. And people are to some degree defined by the arrangement of neuronal connections in their heads." "Once we've established the concept of ownership, what you do to those atoms considered to be in the realm of your ownership is your business, including the atoms in your body. Which is why I'm against drug laws."

"Taking it one step further, we create all kinds of ideals, concepts, and symbol structures to model our reality (freedom, rights, ownership, nations, laws, etc). But they are once again just implicit contracts between groups of neuronal structures, and they only maintain their integrity when enough power and incentive is in place to assert enforcement in control, and not whether they are "right" or "wrong". You can see the illusory nature of these mental constructs during revolutions and wars. You've just lived in the nuclear era where large-scale and quick revolutionary change hasn't happened in your own lifetime so you somehow think these concepts are inherent in reality, as most people do, and fear the alternative.

Humans are just as subject to natural selection and pack/herd behavior as any other animal, and you could get selected out tomorrow by a car on the street. And you will find that your body is no ideal sphere of light, but a group of atoms in a temporary stable arrangement that is about to lose coherence, and you will momentarily awaken and realize that you, just like most everyone else in society, is under layer after layer of illusion and abstraction about what is really happening.

Working at a high-level (or human level as you call it) makes things easier and quicker to discuss, but sometimes you have to go to a low-level (or reductionist level as you call it) to clear up ambiguity and apparent contradiction.

So you can decide to insult your own intelligence by making it personal and calling me stupid, or you can provide a well thought out response, as I by no means believe that I have all the right answers.

Even after the loophole of, basically, "yeah, but you need to copy the program to memory, which is making a copy, and you need a license to make copies" was closed, we got stuck with the same stupidity as a before. Nah, see, it's _licensed_, not sold, 'cause if we sold it you might think you bought the rights to Vista as a whole!

Exactly wth is the fundamental difference between buying a copy of, say, Vista, and buying a copy of Huckleberry Finn? I'll go on a limb and say that people would have had no trouble using the pre-existing concept for software too.

And then based on the license stupidity, we had increasingly stupid stuff snuck in as licensing terms, that no consumer rights law would have allowed otherwise. E.g., you can't resell it. (See the recent AutoCAD lawsuit, but also all the software where you have to use up a serial number to use it, etc.) You can resell your old book, your old vinyl records, even your old copy of The New York times if you find someone interested in that particular issue, but you can't resell your old copy of AutoCAD. 'Cause it's licensed not sold. Some presume to unilaterally decide what else you can run on that computer. (E.g., it's quite common for game copy-protections to just quit or do this and that to you, if they think you have a CD emulator running on that computer.) Or what they can do to your computer. Or what you can use it for. Etc. Everything that consumer protection laws gave you for books, records, etc, the license took away for software.


First of all, 20 of the 46 top selling drugs had no need for patents. These are things that doctors still prescribe or use like aspirin, insulin, penicillin, quinine, morphine, vaccines, vitamins, etc.

It claims 54% of new drug applications use active ingredients already in the market, the "innovation" being merely in dosage amounts or other incidentals.

The book says that 75% of drug R&D costs are for development of me-too drugs. The way I would explain this is this: a lot of otherwise unnecessary patents are filed on slightly modified drugs based on a successful earlier design. The new drugs are heavily promoted to doctors so that it can earn the company royalties while the old, perfectly good drug is ignored by the big name pharmas. Drugs are not developed as things that the whole society needs, but rather on the basis of marketability.

The book argues that clinical trials for new drugs could (and should) be paid completely by NIH grants, and this would remove the conflict of interest of having the drug company doing its own testing. Doing so would eliminate any need for drug patents to exist, because this is the cost that the companies are citing they would need to recover (the marketing cost being optional and really up to them to decide). The legal costs of fighting patents would of course also go away (too bad for the lawyers).

So yes, surprisingly they would still be invented. Then there's the question about whether the generics makers would take all of the profits. Think for a moment about how patents are filed, describing the drug in detail. Without patents, the first drug company to produce a successful drug would have a very large lead over the other companies. The others, once they see the drug is selling well would basically try to reverse engineer it, but in order to produce the drug in significant quantities they would have to retool their factories and that takes time. If typically takes the generics manufacturers about 4 years to get up to speed, and that's about half of the length of a drug patent period anyway. Overall, that means drug companies can still recover their costs, save hugely on legal costs and still make a tidy profit.

The upshot is that after 4 years any given drug of any importance would be very, very cheap everywhere and thus widely accessible by all economic strata.


Your premise that intellectual property has to be either equivalent to physical property or illusory is mistaken. It's entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that intellectual property is a valid construct but NOT equivalent to physical property.
In fact, by its very nature it would have to not be equivalent. For example, if I infringe your intellectual property, I haven't deprived you of the use of it, as would be the case if I stole your physical property. Since the natural consequences of infringement are different, it follows that the rights should not be completely equivalent. However, that's not at all the same as saying that there shouldn't be any intellectual property rights.

= Artificial scarcity =

artificial scarcity: so called "intellectual property" introduces an artificial scarcity into something that could be useful to all of us without extra costs: information and knowledge. so only kind of "intellectual property" reduces the usefulness of this goods. (this is something that patents, copyright, etc.. have all in common).
so why then do we have IP at all? because capitalism can only deal with scarcity: you can not sell sand in the desert. this shows a principal problem with capitalism. and if you look a bit closer then you see that this does not only happen with intellectual goods but with almost everything that capitalism deals with: it introduces artificial scarcity:

advertisement: to create new demand for mostly useless things where there was no demand before.
war: the most effective way to create new demand: destroy what was there before, create insecurity and create weapons that "protect", ...
crisis: like the bursting housing bubble...
my employer pays me to filter out spam for him. other people are being payed by there employer to send out spam. etc..etc..
the capitalist system is fundamentally broken. every year 10 million people are starving even though there would be enough food to feed them all... capitalism just does not cater to those with no money...

our so called "democracy" is becomming more of a farce every day: voters being manipulated by $$$-media... those with enough corporations behind them have more money for their election campaign... this all leeds to the fact that you can only rule if you represent the profit-interests of the big corporations...

greetings mond.

= other =

= Stand on the shoulders of giants =

Remember when we said we did great things, but it was because we stood on the shoulders of giants? IP takes away those giants, so we have nothing to stand on anymore.

While IP is great for somebody or something in the short term, it harms everybody in the long term, including the people who want it so badly.

There should be a way to both have advantage for the 'owner' in the short term and advantage of everybody in the long term.

The best way is to have it 'short term'. 70+ or 100+ years is not short term. 5 or 10 years is short term.

Companies claim they need that long term, because they need to research so much. Well DUH! That is because you must re-invent the wheel over and over again. What would you save if you didn't have to do all the research yourself? What if somebody else already had done it and you can simply use it.

See how you shoot yourself in the foot by these ridiculous long IP times?

= "Intellectual property" is the enslavement of intelligence =

"intellectual property" is the 21st century's version of the victorian slave trade and other issues.

think about the phrase "intellectual property" for a moment.

intellectual. property. information. owned. intelligence. enslaved.

therefore, "intellectual property" is the "enslavement of intelligence".

this isn't some sort of waffly joke, the words "intellectual property" _say_ so.

the implications are quite straightforward: the use of the phrase "intellectual property" has behind it just as much enslavement and disempowerment as physical slavery.

when you sign an employment contract, your "intellectual property rights" are taken away. you are given money, as a "sop". you cannot get any work anywhere else - you cannot get any money to live on - if you do not follow the "norm".  

when you come up with an idea, which you find that nobody is implementing, you are afraid to make money from it because there might be someone who will bully you into submitting to their will because there is a "patent" - a government-sanctioned right to bully - the owner of which has been waiting for someone just like you, so they can take money away from you.  

ultimately, however, "intellectual enslavement" is driven by "maximisation of profit".

fortunately, there are solutions: read muhammad yunus new book, "creating a world without poverty", in which he describes "social business" as being "capitalism with non-loss, non-dividend" at its core.

if you have non-loss, non-dividend replacing "maximisation of profit" at the core of your articles of incorporation, then you do not have to suppress or own to "make money". you can cooperate with your former competition, working towards social goals.

it's a long story.

= Wedging it in =

hear me out, even though you might be hostile to what i have to say

i agree with you about ip, i hate it. i think ip law should be utterly destroyed. however, i object to your "i'm an anarcho-capitalist...". its your opening remark. and making it whiffs of desperation to be or feel different. i agree with your thinking, but the way you present yourself to the world is odious

your ideological self-description should be "normal". your radical agenda should be called "common sense". the point is, you are trying to appeal to other people, not distance yourself from them, and that's what you do, consciously, or subconsciously, you create a wedge, when you begin a sentence with this "i'm an anarcho-capitalist..." oh really? in other words, you're an average middle class suburban kid

do you want to destroy ip? or do you just want to tweak your ego? if you want ip destroyed, your job one is to make yourself appealing to the average joe. not drive a wedge against them. your ideology stands zero chance of succeeding in this world when you try to distance yourself from people rather than make yourself part of them. real politics trumps college aged identity politics

secondly, "anarcho-capitalism" is basically, somalia. sound superior? i thought not. so stop embracing ideology which appeal to college age kids with far too many textbooks and far too little real life experience. it is possible to destroy ip without becoming somalia. really. so lose the college age naivete

much like the college age girl who describes herself as a polyamorous bisexual and then becomes a suburban housewife with 2.3 kids and a dog in 10 years, you will be a cube dweller in 5 years if you continue calling yourself a bullshit label of "anarcho-capitalist". its not a real or valid ideology. its intellectual ephemera, fetishistic esoteric ideology, art house insularism. "anarcho-capitalism" is not a real, working valuable set of ideas. really. lose the bullshit label

i know you are going to be hostile to my words. i apologize if i sound too rough. i'm actually trying to be helpful and i don't know a softer way to say it. i think you will appreciate what i am saying one day

= There is no solution =
Property fantasy.

= You can not design a system that works better than anarchy. =


= It's all about scarcity =

This is an immense topic, so I'll focus on a few things which I've mentioned before.

1. "Real" Property encompasses those things which are truly economically scarce. By that I mean "things that can only be used simultaneously by a small finite number of people." For instance: a piece of land, a particular tool, a book (the physical object), etc. Real Property rights make sense, because it is possible to enforce by virtue of the location of the object. Note that a consumer/user of physical property has some typical social grants also: right of first sale, the concept that if you 'buy' the object, you can use is until it breaks with no additional compensation to the manufacturer than original (you don't pay annual license fees on a hammer for instance). (Note: Things like leases are different, because in those the 'customer' pays less than the "ownership" amount for a temporary use of the item. Observe: you can both buy and rent tools from stores like Home Depot - a large "consumer" construction supply store for those not familiar with it - you buy a tool it's yours, you rent it you have to return it later, but renting is far less expensive for a few days than buying a tool.)

2. "Intellectual" Property has some problems that current legal and social constructs do not address. The first is that currently the system tries to protect the work as the economically scarce item - the copy of the music, book, software, etc. Those things are not economically scarce though, because there is no loss of use to any number of individuals which may be utilizing an idea. Until the rules protect what is actually scarce - the people coming up with and implementing the ideas - then the system will be broken. Rather than strange licensing rules and copyrights and such, I would rather see forced "attribution rights" (for lack of a better term). That said, the only thing that really troubles me about "intellectual property" is the ability of people to continue to extract economic wealth from others for work that was done in the past without adding new value - things like forced annual licenses for software when a version that's three years old is fine for a particular need, or making tons of money off a song that was written thirty years ago. I don't have problems with artists making money off new performances (performances are a scarce economic good, so those fall under the "old" paradigms). This is why, of all the current forms of intellectual property, I think Trademark is the most sound as it is simply what I meant by attribution "rights" - it ensures the consumer that a particular product was created/developed by a particular entity and establishes brand image and gives real value to both the consumer and manufacturer/creator. It also allows for vast competition in a field - I can by a brand X widget or a brand Y widget depending on my tastes.

So what's the solution? I admit that I am not entirely sure, because there are problems with the current implementations of both real and "intellectual" property rights. What is really needed is a thoughtful consideration of the social goals of the concepts, and how to ensure that people remain free to think and tinker and make a living off (which is a distinct difference in my mind from "profit from") their works. Having any entity, even a government, tell you that you cannot implement an idea because someone else implemented it is a not-so-subtle form of slavery.

= It just doesn't make sense =
The fact is simple: you cannot, and should not, lay claim to own something in someone else's mind. It's as simple as that. Intellectual "property" is nothing of the sort. The moment you introduce the idea that an idea itself can be "property" you automatically bring to bear the social mechanisms of enforcement of something already in the mind of another person. In other and simpler words: Thought Police. That is no definition of "liberty" that makes sense to me.

The idea of "property" was invented as a means to control access to and use of scarce resources. Intellect, despite the example of politicians all over the world, is simply not scarce.

Reasonable people can talk about the problem of compensating creators of new intellectual "property" - but only after they have rid themselves of the destructive meme of forcing it into the real estate mold.


= Arguments from "I was here first" =

As an anarcho-communist, I have to say, I don't acknowledge property rights. Why? Because property rights boil down to "I was here first, I stuck a flag in it, it is mine", and everything had a flag stuck in it before I was born, and I refuse to acknowledge a system that considers all of this to be someone elses property. It is not. It is my birthright, to share with others of my generation. If you claim I do not have a right to my birthright, I consider that justification to kill you and take it by force.

As far as intellectual property and creative works are concerned, there are two ways to measure the value of those. The first way of measuring the value is to determine how much leverage you can achieve over your fellow man with them, how much they are willing to sacrifice to get it. That is a valuation based entirely within the system of property rights. But there is another way to measure the value. These types of works can also be measured in the advantage they bring humanity. The more people who are enlightened, entertained, educated, cultured, the more value.

The first type of value is entirely arbitrary. The intellectual work doesn't create the physical work that was used to pay, the amount available to pay was fixed before you came on the scene, and you will get less than is available, because the creator needs some too, and he's inclined to compete and give you as little as he can.

The second type of value, the real value, it is destroyed the more you restrict the propagation of the intellectual or creative work. Your neighbours become a little more barbaric, their lives a little more desperate, their minds a little more closed, their thoughts a little less effective. You cripple their capacity to be your allies and friends, and give them reason to wish to break the system and take the wealth that is being destroyed, because they know it's being destroyed simply because you would pay armed men to keep from them what it would cost you nothing to share with them.

Private property is a bad system. But intellectual property in its myriad forms is a needlessly destructive and utterly stupid system for any person to support who doesn't have harming their fellow man and keeping him small as an agenda.

= Good distinction :) =

So how is your right to enforce your property rights with a gun, any different from ShieldW0lf's claim to take by force the (metaphorical or not) land occupied by others before his birth? Both are based with what you can do by sheer force.


So how is your right to enforce your property rights with a gun, any different from ShieldW0lf's claim to take by force the (metaphorical or not) land occupied by others before his birth? Both are based with what you can do by sheer force. No, I'm on my land. I'm making something of it. I'm there. ShieldW0lf argues that he has the right to go break into someone's house, murder a man, his wife, and his children in their sleep, take his food, and house, as his, for some against him that the man arguably had little to do with. I'm a property owner, ShieldW0lf is a murderer, like most communists are.
To be honest I'm not certain there's a difference. No matter where you are in the world you're on land which was once someone else's, and they were murdered or enslaved to get them off it. In the US that's more recently true than it is in Europe, but it's also true in Europe.

If you believe in property rights, now is the time to give the whole of the territorial United States back to the First Nations, because, with the exception of a very few small enclaves, they were there first and they didn't give it up voluntarily (and before you think I'm getting at Americans, the same is true virtually everywhere else on Earth, too).

If what you're saying is 'I believe in property rights, but only those rights which were established after my ancestors killed your ancestors', then I don' think you've got a very solid foundation for your rights.

This whole issue gets very complicated. Look at Israel/Palestine. The Israelis claim it's theirs, because their (cultural) ancestors were there first, even though they were driven out. The Palestinian Arabs claim it's theirs, because they've always lived there. Who's right? It turns out that the Palestinian Arabs are genetically closer to the ancient Jews than most modern Israelis are. So what counts, your genetic heredity, your cultural heritage, or your actual possession of the land? And if it's actual possession, when's the date from which we say property rights apply? Is it before 1948 or after?

I'm not picking on the Israelis particularly here, either. It's just that they are currently in the process which mostly finished in Britain by the eighteenth century and in the United States in the nineteenth, of driving indigenous people off their land by force. We've all done it. Everywhere in the world it's been done. No-one's innocent. But before you start talking about property rights, when's the date the rights start from?

= Owning the sun =

"It's my land, my idea, my property, and you can go find your own"

It's my air, you can't breath it unless you pay me rent. See how silly this kind of thinking is? The only reason people get away with land monopoly is because it's easy to enforce, try enforcing a breathable air monopoly. It's very difficult and you'd be right to kill the person that attempted to do so.

This idea that property is a natural right is a farce, can someone own the sun or instance? You didn't create the sun, nor the earth, nor even yourself. Do I have a right to own people because I worked and invested money and all the resources in them? By your logic slavery should be perfectly legal, and you can own people and can be treat them as objects.

The truth is property rights are inconsistent across the board, people are made of the land, and when you create another human being you're investing resources and you're labor, yet we no longer allow the ownership of people, yet all they are is re-organized land.

Property Rights are just our backwards rationalization trying to solve complex problems and jusfify ou dominance over others in a world of scarcity, prejudice and mutual distrust and stupidity. Property is a form of tyranny when in the hands if idiots no matter which way you slice it, individual property rights ultimately has to compete with the rights of others and the common good. Any property someone owns they did not create, they merely re-organized what already existed.

= No matter how far back you go =

You miss the gps point. Did you "create" the land you own ? No ? Perhaps you bougth it from someone, but did THEY create it ?

No matter how far back you follow the chain, nobody did. It was simply there. At some point somebody stuck a flag in it and said "This is mine, for no reason whatsoever other than that I'll kick your butt if you try taking it", and made that stick.

= Baryonic matter from physics :) =

It's my land

Really? Did you pull the baryonic matter from the void, shape it into a neat rectangular plot of land, and paste it onto the surface of the Earth? Of course, I hope you pay for the right to use all that "free" gravity on "your" land, unless you made the entire 3d solid of "your" land going all the way to the core, right? Same goes for the air and water, naturally, unless you live in a habitat bubble.

my property

Did you create your TV? Your microwave oven? Your washing machine, refridgerator, computer, couch, even your house itself?

and you can go find your own. Your laziness and lack of creativity does not give you a right to steal.

Thanks, but I like yours, and you don't sound like you could put up much of a fight, so I think I'll take yours. Your naivete and belief in fictional "laws" over the reality of a cold hard monkey-eats-monkey world does not give you the right to hoarde the best bananas just because you found them first.

but, if they are so important than shouldn't you be willing to work for them?

You forget that throughout most of history, "taking yours" did count as the "work" needed to obtain such things.

Do we have it better today? Well, we certainly live longer... Of course, while pre-agricultural-revolution humans worked roughly 10-15 hours per day to obtain their necessities, we work 40-50 hours per week. Does living longer matter, when doing so just means slaving away for the gain of those who's ancestors, as the GP put it, first stuck their flag into the land we still need today?

= Scarcity-enforcement is explicitly totalitarian =


Mod parent up.

More people need to be aware that treating ideas as subject to absolute or near absolute property rights is implicitly totalitarian. The concept of intellectual property has lost its moorings as a means to promoting the public good by rewarding creators and has become the excuse for ever more authoritarian lawmaking.

I'm hoping that people who understand this will then realize that what is true of intellectual property is true of all other forms for much the same reason. Absolutist conceptions of property lead to hierarchy and authoritarianism. Anarcho-capitalism has this contradiction at its centre.

Here's to the submitter becoming a regular old anarchist. I've always liked them.

Front page   Diff Backup Reload   List of pages Search Recent changes   Help   RSS of recent changes
Last-modified: Tue, 27 May 2008 21:32:24 GMT (959d)
The Gingery Machines wiki is published under the
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License Creative Commons License