Re: Patents

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 13:18:10 -0800 (PST)

> They [Indian engineers] come here because of the freedom of opportunity
> that IP gives individuals...

Oh, poppycock. You know as well as I do that not one single engineer immigrated with that thought in mind--in fact, since every one of them was sponsored by an employer who by contract owns every patent ey might create, ey /could not/ have used that reasoning by law. They came for economic opportunity all right--but not because US patents applied to them as individuals, it was because they are more likely to find good work for US corporations than Indian ones (no doubt you'll now credit that fact to IP law as well; there's about as much evidence for that as attributing it to curry).

> Failure to recognize the individuals right to IP is as bad as
> the failure to recognise that ANY political right originates
> in the individual.

Rights that originate in the individual do not include the "right" to employ state force to prevent other individuals from competing in the free market--even if the market is one you created. It is precisely because I am the most radical individualist and die-hard capitalist here that I must reject the concept of subsudizing creativity, which is what patents amount to. The very idea that labor creates value--even creative labor--is the socialist fallacy. Demand creates value. Those who demand creative work will pay for it, and those who perform it will find ways to maximize their profits whether the state steps in to help or not. I see as little reason for the state to grant monopolies in these markets as there is for it to grant monopolies in power or water.

Rights derive from objective facts, not some sense of moral desert. Porperty rights are a consequence of the objective fact that physical property cannot be simultaneously used by two agents for different purposes. That same objective fact also applies to trademarks--intellectual property in scarce namespace, which I fully support. It does /not/ apply to patents or to copyrights, so the analogy misleads. My use of an idea does not in any way constrain your use, so there is no reason for me to invent some right out of thin air to prevent one of us from using the knowlege in eir head to eir own advantage other than some vague sense that it is "good" to do so. I, too, grew up with the idea that it was "wrong" to copy someone else's work for my own use, but I've reached my own conclusion on the matter after seeing the harm caused by that cultural assumption.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC