Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Slippery Slope of Intellectual "Property" Law

Jan 1, 2008 9:45 am

The Slippery Slope of Intellectual "Property" Law

"[T]he [recording] industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

"The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files [Jeffrey] Howell [of Scottsdale, Ariz.] made on his computer from legally bought CDs are 'unauthorized copies' of copyrighted recordings."
--Washington Post, Dec. 30, 2007

Hat tip: Jacob Hornberger

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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Gus diZerega - 1/3/2008

Interesting theoretical issue here.

This case is a good example of the fundamentally contradictory interests of organizations in spontaneous orders and the orders themselves. It is in keeping with Disney's earlier successful efforts to rewrite copyright law to reward "ownership" rather than creativity.

Organizations seek to control all information because by doing so they make their environment more predictable and they possess valuable resources, resources that lose value when not controlled.

Spontaneous orders adapt and coordinate best when information is as abundant as possible, with the order itself generating whatever coordinating mechanisms are needed to coordinate complexity.

Those who adapted property law to "intellectual property" demonstrated they understood neither the ethical case for property nor the reasons markets work so well.

The same kind of tension exists between political parties and democracies, schools of scientific thought and science, and individual organisms and eco-systems.