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No Way!ABSOLUTE AUSTRO-LIBERTARIAN FREEDOM

As we have seen above, governments not only are invalid, their laws are invalid but also the manner in which IPR laws operate in practice go against the most basic legal contract law principles that exist today.

Therefore IPR principles are themselves invalid. They are nonsense, pure and simple.

Can ideas be contracted?

In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system (and in most Libertarians ones) the most basic element of coexistence are voluntary contracts. And so it is appropriate to ask the question if ideas can be contracted? In our system the answer is yes! In our system any emancipated person has the right to contract absolutely. Anybody can contract for anything whatsoever, and this includes ideas. This is so simply because contracts are economic activities and as such, subjective. Therefore, since an objective point of view does not exist, there is no way to determine what could be "allowed" versus what could be "dis–allowed", even if we wanted to (which we don't because that would be interfering with people's rights).

Contracts are the solution

We know now that ideas can be contracted and as such they can be protected (to a degree) through the use of contracts. Of course, these contracts won't provide a bullet-proof way to protect ideas, but they will provide a modest level of reassurance. It is simple; as in our previous example between A and B, there is a perfectly valid contract offering some degree of protection. The difference is that there is no government to inject itself into the contract. This is indeed the most fair option we have because any other option involves the imposition of third parties in the affairs of other people, through the creation of artificial monopolies (i.e. the monopoly manufactured by the government for the IPR owner).

Making profits

Absolute Austro-Libertarianism is about freedom, but it is also about maximizing human economic potential. Therefore being against IPRs does not mean being against making a profit.

Any person creating something new has spent capital on it. There is an opportunity cost that can be calculated. In other words, it is possible to know how much did this “creation” cost the owner. From this perspective, the “creation” can be considered either a product or part of a manufacturing process. As such it is only rational that the creator would expect to make a profit of this investment. Therefore, any and all methods that the creator may choose to use, short of demanding an artificial monopoly over everybody else, are valid. For example, any type of contract is acceptable. In the case of copyright, a condition of purchase may demand agreement not to produce copies of the work. In the case of a patentable idea, a similar contract may work in some instances. In others a non-disclosure agreement may do it. A third way is to disguise the invention or seal it in an enclosure, and so on. None of these methods will impose an artificial monopoly and they certainly won’t prevent people from produce copies. They will, however, delay those actions.

Through these processes, the creator of the idea gains an actual monopoly over its own product; this monopoly being determined by the free market. This is indeed a valid monopoly which cannot be differentiated from any other natural and real monopoly. As such, this monopoly provides the opportunity for the owner of the idea to obtain financial compensation.

Public goods versus personal property

We do not believe in forcing people into behaving solely for the concept of "public good". The basis of the Absolute Austro-Libertarian concept is the concept of self-interest. Public good is simply a side-effect of self-interest. However, for instructive purposes, it is appropriate to demonstrate how the use of voluntary contracts actually deliver "public good", again, as a side-effect.

Contracts delay the copying of an idea. This delay is actually determined by the usefulness and desirability of the work or device. The more desirable it is, the sooner it will be copied, the sooner people will benefit. Volia! An automated method which provides creators with time to make profits while at the same providing people with innovation faster than laws, rules and regulations. Everybody benefits without the need for governments or judicial systems. Furthermore, the delays will also be determined by the complexity of the idea and its implementation. For example, creating a new dish does not take too much time and neither does copying it. Creating a new CPU, for example, does take a long time and so is copying (or reverse-engineering) it. In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system, the duration of the monopoly is also correlated with the R&D and manufacturing costs. The bigger the costs, the higher the complexity, the longer the monopoly. This is an automatic process which is fully in control of market participants. The higher the demand, the higher the incentive to copy. From a "public good" perspective, this is nothing but fair.

The critique

The standard critique to the notion of such contracts is that people would not be willing to spend $10 AUD for software if the contract would demand 1 million AUD in damages if copied. In such a circumstance, people would simply copy the software from other person or purchase a different one. At the same time, if the potential liability would be small, it would not deter copying. The problem with this argument is that the people making it are thinking as lawyers, not owners or users.

To begin with, IP owners would not demand a ridiculously high liability because they would want to have sales; nor would they want to have a ridiculously small liability because it would not have any deterrent effect. The point of adding a reasonable liability is simply as a psychological effect to emphasize the non-copy contract. In the same manner as many e-books and e-magazines today have legends asking the purchaser not to copy them, other IP owners would choose to add a modest liability. This modest liability will create the effect of planting a doubt in the purchaser's mind. The purpose is to minimize copying, not to deter it or claim such liabilities. It is a loss minimization procedure, not a legal remedy. As such, this process will be very successful indeed as today it is, even without the liability.

CONCLUSION

IPRs are totally invalid. They originate in invalid governments and are imposed through invalid laws through the use of brute force. Furthermore, they are against basic contract law principles. The only proper way to operate with ideas is through private contracts. This method is the only one that delivers fairness while preserving everybody's rights.

We have provided you with some ideas for your consideration. You may now share our point of view or not. Up to you.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

2 Comments | Add yours
  • Guest (Jonas Smith)

    I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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