I have argued for decades that IP cannot be derived from natural rights. Most IP advocates claim IP is a product of your labor in the same sense as a chair you build; if you do not need a contract to claim the chair as property, then neither do you need one to own an idea. (See the Daily Anarchist article “The Basics of Copyright” for arguments against IP as a natural right.)
Geography is a peculiar way to think about rights. But the rights that people can exercise are being increasingly defined by the square foot of earth they happen to stand on. These ‘rights’ can change in the course of a two-minute walk.
3D printers manufacture three-dimensional products by laying down a series of thin plastic or metal in one layer at a time. The 3D printing technology is stunning in its potential to empower individuals. Unfortunately the state knows its power as well. The race is on.
Whose Hand Will be on the Power?
One reason is the political commentary that has been embedded into many zombie films since 1968 when the anti-establishment director and scriptwriter George Romero reinvented the sub genre. Romero is self-consciously political.
How many discussions of rights and ethics begin in a lifeboat where one man’s survival involves killing the other? The discussions usually end by concluding there is no right of self-ownership, no such thing as natural rights; there is no objective morality.
Slavery is the social condition in which one human being owns another as property. This means the owner can use and dispose of the slave as he would other property such as a table or dog. Historically, slaves were acquired in one of two ways: a defeated opponent was offered the choice of slavery or death; or, a person was kidnapped. No contract existed even in the choice between death and enslavement because the framework of coercion negates the possibility of contracting; coercion and contracts are diametrically opposed concepts. Historical reference does not dismiss the hypothetical debating point of a ‘slave-contract’, of course, but facts should carry some weight.
As a matter of principle, I am for repealing every piece of governmental legislation in existence. I echo and applaud the sentiment so eloquently expressed by Groucho Marx in the movie Horse Feathers: “Whatever it is, I’m against it!”As a practical matter, I think repealing laws is a waste of time.
I argue for copyright based on contract rather than upon natural rights because no natural ownership exists in freely expressed ideas. Ownership exists only in ideas that are protected by prior agreement or that remain unexpressed.
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