Re: Intellectual property

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 20:33:37 -0800 (PST)

> It would be great if you could offer a model or some evidence/background
> to back up these facts.

Not sure what you mean by "model", but facts I can give you (after dinner).

> Not. If you breach a contract you have Contract remedies available to
> you, not those from tort law. Fraud is enforceable in Tort.

Caught me. Been a while since I read up on contract law. I believe
the term is "equitable relief"?

> Good point, but you still havn't expressed how IP would be protected
> otherwise.

I have many times, here and elsewhere, but I will again. After dinner,
I promise.

> What? You're way off buddy. Real property is protected in an identical
> fashion. Deeds are your claim to a piece of real property - granted by
> the government. Patents/copyrights are your claim/title to a piece of
> IP. Where's the distinction?

As a libertarian, I reject the idea that property is a whim of the state,
but rather we may freely choose whatever private means of enforcing our
claim to our property we find satisfactory. But even if we do give that
privelege to the state, there is a fundamental, inescapable objective
difference between physical property and IP: physical property /cannot/
be used to serve the ends of two people at the same time. IP can be.
A copy of knowledge is exactly the same as the original. I do not lose
knowledge when I give it to you. If I don't want you to use knowledge
to compete with me, I should keep my mouth shut, not give it and then
shackle your use of it.

If I plant an apple tree on my land, and sell the apples, you cannot
simultaneously use the same land to plant wheat, or sell my apples for
your benefit. But If I freely choose to sell you a book on how to grow
apples, never asking you to enter into any contract with me, then you
/can/ use the knowledge of how to grow apples to grow them on your own
land and sell them, or tell your neighbors how to grow them, without
interfering one bit on /my/ ability to do the same.

You may say, though, that it would be OK to grow apples, or even tell
my neighbor how, but not to copy my book word for word and sell it.
Why not? I am growing the same apples as you, competing with you for
the limited apple market, and you have no claim on the state to protect
your monopoly on apples; why claim a monopoly on your apple-book? You
could instead have asked me to sign a contract waiving my right to grow
apples and sell them into your market, and you could have asked me to
sign a similar contract not to give the apple knowledge away, but you
didn't. I shouldn't use force to prevent you from using a asset I chose
to give you of my own free will. If I don't want you using my knowledge
to compete with me, it is /my/ obligation, not the state's, to make
that happen by non-coercive means.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>