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An Unconventional Perspective on Intellectual Property


No doubt you have heard of the proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress called SOPA and PIPA and of the protests of various websites against them. These measures are ostensibly intended to fight against copyright infringement and piracy on the web. Most of the protesting websites did not express disagreement with the enforcement of intellectual property (IP) laws, but that there would be privacy issues and regulation of websites by the feds. For this reason, I wanted to offer a different perspective on IP, which argues that it is neither necessary nor just.

As a primer, I recommend reading a commentary by Jeffrey Tucker, chronicling his struggle with the issue and a book that helped him understand the issue in such a way that converted him to be anti-IP. This book is called "Against Intellectual Monopoly" by Michele Boldrin and David Levine, the PDF of which can be found here

But this is not the only approach taken by non-statists towards IP. Murray Rothbard, in Man, Economy, and State, advocates common law copyright, as well as copyright for inventions (which allows for simultaneous discovery).

I would encourage all interested parties to check out these resources, if at least to know that there is more out there than the neoclassical dogma that innovation would not happen in the absence of patents.

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