Author Topic: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business  (Read 66723 times)

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Offline Mr. Binary

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #330 on: July 19, 2010, 05:03:19 PM »
If a person burns CDs of another person's work, and sells them, for example, I would certainly consider that inappropriate and immoral behavior.

In a society where copying is not considered illegal, that person probably wouldn't be able to sell a single burned CD. At least not in places where internet is available. I think in such a society only the original author would be able to actually make any money off his/her work, by bundling it with other, scarce goods.

Some scarce goods that immediately came to mind: exclusive forum access for paying readers (with "badges" for every book you bought), advance copies of new books, preview chapters, signed copies, a chance of being turned into a character in the next book, lossless high-quality recordings of music, live or remixed versions, huge HD versions of movies, access to movie prop auctions, etc. The producers might have to get "closer" to the fans in the process, and it won't be so easy to sell meaningless crap to the masses.

Besides, there's still plain old advertising, and (shocker) some people actually want to reward the author for the good work (I know I do).

We (our company) already make money in a similar manner. We do sell "software" (and not cheaply), but it comes with access to very responsive support staff, feature requests that are actually fullfilled and a very active (and exclusive) user community. Plus the knowledge that more software of that quality will be produced for the particular niche we fill. We also bundle with hardware.

Cathy

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #331 on: July 19, 2010, 05:16:12 PM »
I'd like to try this one more time, without name-calling and hand-waving.

I'm happy to talk with anyone, publicly or in private, who can refrain from insults. I am Neil Smith's wife. If that makes me somehow suspect, I invite the principals in this issue to stand aside as well. I am also a signatory to the original document in question, which makes me a principal participant in my own right, and not (as has been implied) merely a mouthpiece.

Here are the issues:

1. It has been demonstrated, over and over again, that Neil Smith made no reference to the involvement of the state in this disagreement. That the recipients of his message jumped to that conclusion is their responsibility, not his. That the parties on this side continue their assertion "that Neil Smith is a statist asshole" is an issue that must be dealt with.

2. I pointed out in a previous post that was entirely and contemptuously ignored, that no one was claiming a copyright on the idea of liberty or of a social contact. What is claimed is that the "unique and complex expression of those ideas" [http://artfulwriter.com/?p=10] was first copied (which, with attribution, would not have been a problem), then modified (but leaving the identifiable uniqueness of the document), which is a problem. "Plagiarism, as defined in the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.""[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism]. Since the copy of the document that found its way to Neil Smith had no "ownership" attached to it but was clearly, in its most identifiable part his "unique and complex expression of the ideas", a charge of plagiarism hardly seems unreasonable.

If you doubt the claim of "uniqueness" I invite you to put the following words in your web browser: "that no Form of political Governance may be relied upon to secure the individual Rights of Life, Liberty, or Property -- now therefore establish and provide certain fundamental Precepts measuring our Conduct toward one another, and toward others:" and see what hits you get. Furthermore, the discussion -- without invitation to participate -- of the changes to the document on a blog somewhere does not constitute "notice".

3. I find it interesting that a group of people who deny the existence of IP nevertheless lose no time in claiming protection under "fair use".

4. There are both economic and intangible issues here. That a writer makes his living through the "unique and complex expression of ideas" makes it his business to defend them from "appropriation". An equally important aspect, however, has to do with reputation. The lack of attribution results in the implied consent or sanction of the author of the original document with the use to which it's being put by an entity that offers no responsible agent and yet objects to being identified as a "collective". That implication of sanction is an event that everyone here is likely to understand is not justified.

5. An important aspect of attribution in the academic and scientific world is the opportunity it affords the original authors to make it known when their work is being incorrectly interpreted or used out of context. The unwillingness of a party to entertain the possibility that it made a mistake is instructive.

6. A suggestion of how to "make whole" the damage was offered previously. I'll restate it here: from the standpoint of a signatory to the original document you must remove the declaration from everywhere it appears and replace it with a document of your own creation. As to repairing the damage you've done to the reputation of the author, only he can suggest what that will take.

Again, I'm happy to discuss, but I refuse to participate in childishness.

Offline sethcohn

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #332 on: July 19, 2010, 05:30:33 PM »
2.  What is claimed is that the "unique and complex expression of those ideas" [http://artfulwriter.com/?p=10] was first copied (which, with attribution, would not have been a problem), then modified (but leaving the identifiable uniqueness of the document), which is a problem.


Cathy, I think the question of contract law (and boilerplate) is quite large here.  Either this is a legal document, or it isn't.
If it is, then it falls into one group of rules.  If it isn't a legal document, but merely 'an expression of an idea', it falls into another, and in fact, it then fails to meet the primary claim it otherwise makes: a Covenant.

Which is Neil's position on this?

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3. I find it interesting that a group of people who deny the existence of IP nevertheless lose no time in claiming protection under "fair use".


You'll find a variety of distinct opinions... some of which are mutually exclusive.  The hazards of dealing with multiple people of diverse views.

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6. A suggestion of how to "make whole" the damage was offered previously. I'll restate it here: from the standpoint of a signatory to the original document you must remove the declaration from everywhere it appears and replace it with a document of your own creation. As to repairing the damage you've done to the reputation of the author, only he can suggest what that will take.


I still don't see a claim of damages that addresses any of the questions raised.  If Neil is asserting legal rights, under what legal system?
If he is claiming a moral damage, by what system of morality?  If he is claiming that 'true libertarians' would believe in IP, I've addressed that, as have others (I listed multiple credible sources, not just parties involved... and FYI, I am not a party to the matter)

Offline AntonLee

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #333 on: July 19, 2010, 05:33:17 PM »
if you can open your husbund's books and you reveal that the pages are in fact, in tact, the words he wrote are still there, then you haven't lost anything.  Don't fret, the idea is still on his piece of paper.  When that disappears from your shelves, let us know so we can ostracize the person who broke into your home and stole the pages.
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Offline Davi Barker

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #334 on: July 19, 2010, 05:36:42 PM »
I'd like to try this one more time, without name-calling and hand-waving.

I'm happy to talk with anyone, publicly or in private, who can refrain from insults.

gladly. I have not engaged in insults, yet I have been personally insulted. So I would be very happy to see that part of the conflict stop.

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I am Neil Smith's wife. If that makes me somehow suspect, I invite the principals in this issue to stand aside as well. I am also a signatory to the original document in question, which makes me a principal participant in my own right, and not (as has been implied) merely a mouthpiece.

That doesn't make you suspect to me at all

Quote
Here are the issues:

1. It has been demonstrated, over and over again, that Neil Smith made no reference to the involvement of the state in this disagreement. That the recipients of his message jumped to that conclusion is their responsibility, not his. That the parties on this side continue their assertion "that Neil Smith is a statist asshole" is an issue that must be dealt with.

Agreed... sort of. I understand now that Neil likely did not have statist intentions with that statement. However, "the parties on this side" do not assert anything. Only individuals make assertions. I never called Neil a statist asshole, I merely participated in a forum thread titled such. Neil on the other had did call all involved "socialist scum" and "sticky fingered rodents." And that is still an issue can be dealt with. But I wouldn't say "must"

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2. I pointed out in a previous post that was entirely and contemptuously ignored, that no one was claiming a copyright on the idea of liberty or of a social contact. What is claimed is that the "unique and complex expression of those ideas" [http://artfulwriter.com/?p=10] was first copied (which, with attribution, would not have been a problem), then modified (but leaving the identifiable uniqueness of the document), which is a problem. "Plagiarism, as defined in the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.""[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism]. Since the copy of the document that found its way to Neil Smith had no "ownership" attached to it but was clearly, in its most identifiable part his "unique and complex expression of the ideas", a charge of plagiarism hardly seems unreasonable.

If you doubt the claim of "uniqueness" I invite you to put the following words in your web browser: "that no Form of political Governance may be relied upon to secure the individual Rights of Life, Liberty, or Property -- now therefore establish and provide certain fundamental Precepts measuring our Conduct toward one another, and toward others:" and see what hits you get. Furthermore, the discussion -- without invitation to participate -- of the changes to the document on a blog somewhere does not constitute "notice".
Agreed. This remains a point of contention.

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3. I find it interesting that a group of people who deny the existence of IP nevertheless lose no time in claiming protection under "fair use".
There is not a group of people who have a unified position here.

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4. There are both economic and intangible issues here. That a writer makes his living through the "unique and complex expression of ideas" makes it his business to defend them from "appropriation". An equally important aspect, however, has to do with reputation. The lack of attribution results in the implied consent or sanction of the author of the original document with the use to which it's being put by an entity that offers no responsible agent and yet objects to being identified as a "collective". That implication of sanction is an event that everyone here is likely to understand is not justified.
I don't accept that there is a lack of attribution. The Shire Society website has not even been launched yet, and it is likely the attribution would have been prominent. But I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "implied consent" so maybe you can speak more about this point.

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5. An important aspect of attribution in the academic and scientific world is the opportunity it affords the original authors to make it known when their work is being incorrectly interpreted or used out of context. The unwillingness of a party to entertain the possibility that it made a mistake is instructive.
I can't speak to this. The original document has not been interpreted, it has been changed by those who would not have signed the original. I think we have agreement what the preamble means. The phrase being differently interpreted is "and all products thereof." in the first section. I am willing to be shown that I made a mistake, but I have not been sufficiently shown.

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6. A suggestion of how to "make whole" the damage was offered previously. I'll restate it here: from the standpoint of a signatory to the original document you must remove the declaration from everywhere it appears and replace it with a document of your own creation. As to repairing the damage you've done to the reputation of the author, only he can suggest what that will take.

Again, I'm happy to discuss, but I refuse to participate in childishness.


This is the first I've heard of this. But I am unwilling to destroy the Shire Society Declaration that I have printed and proudly hung in my home and office. I am also unwilling to remove the articles and blog posts I have posted that contain the text of the document. So, I will propose again what I have from the beginning.

Let's find an impartial third party arbiter and see if Neil can prove to us all that he has suffered damages by me. Let us all agree that he can present his case in public, and I can present my case in public, and we will submit to the ruling of a private arbiter. And if he decides that I, as an individual, have injured Neil, as an individual, I will personally offer restitution to him in whole.

I have one issue. According to Neil, you have claimed that I am lying when I say that I have hand written the Shire Society Declaration. Here are links to photos of the work in progress:

Practice: http://tweetphoto.com/24294301
Day One: http://tweetphoto.com/26182035
Day Two: http://tweetphoto.com/26312512
Day Three: http://tweetphoto.com/26438293
Day Four: http://tweetphoto.com/26791694

Will you retract that accusation?

You are also free to contact me personally by Email (TheMuslimAgorist@Gmail.com), but at this point my position is that all correspondences are public and will be posted here. http://fr33agents.ning.com/profiles/blogs/for-the-record-all-my
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 05:50:03 PM by Davi Barker »

nskinsella

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #335 on: July 19, 2010, 05:39:28 PM »
Cathy, my only focus here is the claim that IP is justified. Neil's latest articles is not a clear argument in favor, but it seems to rest on the idea that you own any pattern you create. But this is not a libertarian principle and in fact if people owned patterns they created then it would undermine all property in physical things. He implies we would have no innovation without IP--which is clearly untrue. We might have less, but not zero. So then the argument is we need IP to make sure we have more innovation. How do we know the value of that additional innovation is worth the cost of the IP system? How we do know even that higher level of innovation is enough? Some--even libertarians--think it's not so they go even further and support tax subsidized innovation awards to spur even more innovation.

I am a patent lawyer, and a libertarian (and a huge fan of your husband's novels). I used to be pro-patent, but when I searched for a more solid foundation for it, I finally realized I couldn't, and that the reason was I was trying to justify the unjustifiable. Granting rights in ideas really means giving the idea-creator a veto-right over how other people use their own bodies and property. It's simply unjustifiable. You do not own "whatever" you "create"--you own scarce resources for which you or an ancestor in title were the homesteader.

I've explained all this in detail in various works, such as "Intellectual Property and Libertarianism" and "The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide", here http://www.stephankinsella.com/publications/#IP.

Jeff Tucker also has a brief reply to Neil up at http://blog.mises.org/13327/l-neith-smith-on-ip/.

I can assure you I'm no collectivist and I do not dismiss the value of mental creativity. But after looking at this issue in depth for a long time--from the inside as a patent lawyer, as well--it is very clear to me that granting property rights in things like ideas, patterns, inventions, etc. necessarily undermines and undercuts real property rights. It is based on a confusion that a lot of libertarians have, in part because of their reverence for the American Constitutional scheme, Ayn Rand, and also some somewhat imprecise wordings by Locke--about the ownership of "labor". We have to keep in mind that the whole reason we need property rights is because tangible objects--which we need to use to survive and prosper--are scarce, or rivalrous: that is, only one person may use it. Because of this scarcity, unless there are property rules people will conflict and fight over these things instead of using them peacefully and productively. In a world of nonscarcity--which is hard to imagine--if you have a car and I can just blink my eyes and "copy" it magically have my own car, you still have your own car and I have not harmed you. There would be no need for theft prohibitions or property ownership in such a world. We ban theft in reality, because if I take your car you no longer have your own car.

Now it is true that ideas are crucial, but the role they play in action is not as scarce means (like appropriated scarce objects are--land, sticks, food, etc.), but as a guide to action. We use information at our disposal to decide what actions to take, with available (scarce) means. Unlike scarce resources, the information we rely on to guide our actions does not need to be economized or owned, since it is not scarce. You and I can each back our own cakes, as long as we each own our own equipment and ingredients. I can't use the egg you are going to use; you need to own your egg and I mine, and then we can make our cakes. But we can each follow the same recipe. My having and using it does not prevent you from having and using it. Thus there is no need to have property rules in it; moreover, assigning property rules in the recipe is always enforced with physical force, against physical things in the real world (say, you would use your copyright in the recipe to take some of my money for damages, or to compel me not to use my body or property in certain ways). Because you have to enforce it in the physical world, with physical force, against physical property and/or bodies, assigning property rights in information or ideas always translates to some kind of property assigning in physical property--but it's in property that is already owned. So that means my property ownership in my body or my equipment is now partially assigned to you (your "veto" rights over how I use it), which is theft, or a transfer of property rights from me to you.

We have to realize that it is a *good thing* that ideas are infinitely reproducible (nonscarce). This allows the gradual accumulation of knowledge and technology; learning is a good thing. The transmission and spread of ideas is a good thing. IP tries to force ideas  to be scarce resources, by imposing artificial scarcity. It tries to make ideas more like tangible objects, which are unfortunately scarce. We should be doing the opposite: be glad that ideas, at least, are nonscarce and reproducible (thus allowing learning and progress), and support the free market which makes scarce objects ever more abundant and cheaper (less scarce). We want to make scarce things (physical goods) more plentiful, and to keep ideas nonscarce. Learning is good. Imitation is good. The market thrives on emulation and the spread of information, ideas, knowledge.

Cathy

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #336 on: July 19, 2010, 05:55:09 PM »
Practice: http://tweetphoto.com/24294301
Day One: http://tweetphoto.com/26182035
Day Two: http://tweetphoto.com/26312512
Day Three: http://tweetphoto.com/26438293
Day Four: http://tweetphoto.com/26791694

Will you retract that accusation?


Yes, I retract that accusation. I had seen only the reproduction up until now.

Offline MaineShark

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #337 on: July 19, 2010, 06:02:13 PM »
I'd like to try this one more time, without name-calling and hand-waving.

I'm happy to talk with anyone, publicly or in private, who can refrain from insults.

...

Again, I'm happy to discuss, but I refuse to participate in childishness.

So, will you be providing us with a rational, scientific proof that IP exists?  I'd love to see it...

Joe

thomaslknapp

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #338 on: July 19, 2010, 06:22:48 PM »
On the other hand, that's a piss-poor argument when applied to abortion (I told him that at the time), and no better when applied to IP. It's an entirely consequentialist argument that sheds no light whatsoever on whether or not the activity in question an initiation of force or not (or, if some other standard of morality is being applied, whether or not it violates that standard).

The point is, despite it being consequentialist, is that if you end up with a solution that you cannot live with, then one of your premises is wrong. 

 

Well, that's sort of the point -- or, rather, its reverse.

Abortion was illegal in much or most of the United States for about a century prior to Roe v. Wade and yet there weren't routine searches of trashcans for fetuses, requirements that women report to the local police HQ to have their menses monitored, etc. So not only was the argument consequentialist rather than moral, it was patent evidenceless horseshit.

Murder has been illegal for as long as there have been laws, yet we've somehow so far avoided random closet corpse searches.

The possibility of slippery slope on enforcement has precisely zero bearing on whether or not a restraint/prohibition is defensible. That's why "slippery slope" arguments are correctly labeled as fallacious.

Offline SnowDog

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #339 on: July 19, 2010, 06:29:04 PM »

So, will you be providing us with a rational, scientific proof that IP exists?  I'd love to see it...

Joe

You can't prove that IP exists anymore than you can prove that rights exist. Rights are a principle by which we respect the freedom of action of others. The fact that necessitates the respect for individual rights is that each of holds unique and personal things of value. That's the fact. Another fact is that only each individual knows how to act to achieve his values. Therefore, IF we want people to act in accordance with their nature, and achieve as many of their values as they are able, then they need to be free to act. That's liberty, and the product of liberty is property. It doesn't matter if it's scarce or not. You can act in any way you choose as long as you don't interfere with this equal right that others also have. Likewise, you can keep whatever property you create as the result of your actions. That's property, and that's IP as well.

For instance, you value your children's education. So you work hard writing songs, so you can sell those songs and trade them for something of value, (like gold), which you can then use to buy your children's education. Because you wrote the songs, and they wouldn't exist anywhere in the world without your labor, they are your property, regardless of how tangible or scarce they are.

« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 06:33:40 PM by SnowDog »

Offline sethcohn

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #340 on: July 19, 2010, 06:30:42 PM »
Abortion was illegal in much or most of the United States for about a century prior to Roe v. Wade and yet there weren't routine searches of trashcans for fetuses, requirements that women report to the local police HQ to have their menses monitored, etc. So not only was the argument consequentialist rather than moral, it was patent evidenceless horseshit.

No, either it's an enforced law, or it isn't.  Pointing to the lack of enforcement is not a defense, if anything it proves the point that enforcement is really unwanted.

Quote
Murder has been illegal for as long as there have been laws, yet we've somehow so far avoided random closet corpse searches.

If someone disappears, you can count on less than random closet searches if you are a suspect.
We have dozens of shows devoted to solving murders.

I disagree it's fallacious, it's a good way to bypass the rhetoric and focus on the contradiction(s) with Liberty.
It's only a valid argument if you have a fixed point (in this case Liberty) with which to compare.  It's not the end all argument stopper, of course.
 

thomaslknapp

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #341 on: July 19, 2010, 06:54:55 PM »
Abortion was illegal in much or most of the United States for about a century prior to Roe v. Wade and yet there weren't routine searches of trashcans for fetuses, requirements that women report to the local police HQ to have their menses monitored, etc. So not only was the argument consequentialist rather than moral, it was patent evidenceless horseshit.

No, either it's an enforced law, or it isn't.  Pointing to the lack of enforcement is not a defense, if anything it proves the point that enforcement is really unwanted.

Quote
Murder has been illegal for as long as there have been laws, yet we've somehow so far avoided random closet corpse searches.

If someone disappears, you can count on less than random closet searches if you are a suspect.
We have dozens of shows devoted to solving murders.

I disagree it's fallacious, it's a good way to bypass the rhetoric and focus on the contradiction(s) with Liberty.
It's only a valid argument if you have a fixed point (in this case Liberty) with which to compare.  It's not the end all argument stopper, of course.
 

Laws against abortion were enforced, for close to a century. They were not perfectly enforced, but no law is (there remain many unsolved murders, for example).

Smith's slippery slope argument in Hope was fallacious because a century of historical proof existed that abortion could be outlawed, and that law enforced, with none of the particular horrors that he claimed would inevitably be associated with such a project.

Ditto for slippery slope and other consequentialist arguments against IP. Enforceability, etc., are certainly practical considerations (I've used them extensively in attempting to show J. Neil Schulman how he's stomping on his own testicles through his position on IP) but they tell us nothing about whether or not IP is conceptually valid.

Offline PaulOtt

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #342 on: July 19, 2010, 06:57:49 PM »
You can't prove that IP exists anymore than you can prove that rights exist. Rights are a principle by which we respect the freedom of action of others. The fact that necessitates the respect for individual rights is that each of holds unique and personal things of value. That's the fact. Another fact is that only each individual knows how to act to achieve his values. Therefore, IF we want people to act in accordance with their nature, and achieve as many of their values as they are able, then they need to be free to act. That's liberty, and the product of liberty is property. It doesn't matter if it's scarce or not. You can act in any way you choose as long as you don't interfere with this equal right that others also have. Likewise, you can keep whatever property you create as the result of your actions. That's property, and that's IP as well.

For instance, you value your children's education. So you work hard writing songs, so you can sell those songs and trade them for something of value, (like gold), which you can then use to buy your children's education. Because you wrote the songs, and they wouldn't exist anywhere in the world without your labor, they are your property, regardless of how tangible or scarce they are.

Large record labels and publishing houses would probably dissolve (as would Microsoft and Apple) without IP laws, but I contend that the individual creators themselves would largely still prosper and flourish. Do you think it isn't possible for artists and authors to make a living selling their creations without the existence of IP laws? If I can demonstrate that they can through case studies, would you reconsider your stance on IP laws?

Offline AntonLee

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #343 on: July 19, 2010, 07:00:21 PM »
IP is real because because because I say so!  what a ridiculous statement.

just another attempt for some so called libertarians to have it both ways.
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Offline Mr. Binary

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Re: L. Neil Smith has Important Shire Business
« Reply #344 on: July 19, 2010, 07:21:06 PM »
I can't imagine how the conflict between IP and physical property can be resolved. A simple mind experiment:

A part of my computer (physical property) is currently cofigured into the pattern of Mr. Smith's text (his alleged IP).

This means that at this moment, Mr. Smith has gained partial control over my property, since I can't (legally) reconfigure that part of my computer to a different state (changed text) and then instruct the computer to transmit the pattern over a network. Even if I don't modify the pattern, Mr. Smith claims he can control how this pattern can be copied inside my computer (e.g. it can be copied in order to render the text on the screen, but not in other ways, like for example to the outgoing buffer of the network adapter).

He might even claim that I can't configure any part of my computer into that pattern at all. Or that I can configure one part (temporary memory) and not another (permanent storage). Even if I do it by pressing keys on the keyboard, not by copying the text from Mr. Smith's website. I don't see how Mr. Smith gained all these powers over my property.
If somebody could enlighten me, I'd be forever grateful.

Edited to add: I realize that property is just an agreement between people, and IP is also an agreement, but I can't resolve the inherent conflict.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 07:25:25 PM by Mr. Binary »