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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Philosophy of IP

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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What's Wrong with Theft?

As I noted in Copypats, many non-specialists and proponents of IP erroneously believe that copying is an element of patent infringement--they conceive of the typical patent infringer as some bad guy who knocked off, or "stole," the patentee-inventor's idea. They are usually unaware that proving copying is neither necessary nor sufficient to prove patent infringement. It's not necessary because even an independent inventor can be guilty of patent infringement. It's not sufficient because the patent may be invalid, or the copier may make changes to "design around" the patented invention (which is encouraged by patent policy--that's one reason the patent is published).

But it is common to charge the patent infringer, especially the idea copier, with theft--he stole the idea, it is said. But if we think about standard cases of theft that we all agree are criticizeable, what is it about them that we object to? Is it that the thief now has a bicycle? Or is it that the owner now doesn't have his bicycle?

Of course it is the latter. If you have a bike, or car, or log cabin, or corn crop, and I could gaze at it from afar, blink my eyes, and conjur up a similar bike, car, cabin, or crop for myself, I do not steal your things. But if I take your bike or car from you, or oust you from home and farm, you no longer have the things you formerly possessed and owned. That is the damage done to you by theft. This corresponds nicely to the very nature and function of property rights: the need for them arises when people need to use scarce resources as means to act in the world, and appropriate unowned ones. The scarce nature of these things is such that use by one person excludes that by another; the goods are rivalrous. (More on this in How We Come to Own Ourselves; Defending Argumentation Ethics; Owning Thoughts and Labor.)

But copying or emulating someone else's idea is not "taking" it from them; it is not theft. The originator of a given pattern still has his idea, and is free to use it in guiding his action and using or transforming his own property. This is why all arguments in favor of IP (and reputation rights) ultimately end up falling prey to the notion that there are property rights in the value of property, rather than in its physical integrity. But this view is fallacious, as shown by Hoppe and others.


Comments

The thing that is wrong about theft is that it is a violation of someone's natural right to privacy.

Thus the unauthorised use, inspection, removal, or communication of an inventor's private designs (their private intellectual property) is a privacy violation. These exclusive rights were recognised by the US constitution.

One of the very evils the constitution studiously omitted was the power for the government to grant monopolies.

Unfortunately, the government took the power anyway and enacted patent, a monopoly over the use of registered designs (an unnatural extension of the inventor's exclusive rights).

People who don't understand the distinction between exclusive rights and commercial privileges such as patent mistake an infringement of the latter as a violation of the former, and thus abuse the legitimate concept of IP theft to apply when no such theft occurred. This aggrandises an unethical privilege as if it were a right, so it's not too surprising that those who enjoy such unethical privileges abuse language in an attempt to apply a veneer of legitimacy to themselves and their claims against those who they allege trespass against them.

So, Stephen, copying or emulating someone else's idea if it involves a privacy violation is still IP theft. If it doesn't, if one simply buys a bread slicer and reverse engineers it, then no IP theft occurs. If one then manufactures a copy of this design (or of a very similar design arrived at independently), then one may only infringe the device's patent, the unethical monopoly that privileges the inventor.

It is only monopoly that is wrong. There's nothing wrong with intellectual property, and IP theft remains just as wrong as material theft.

So let's confine ourselves to being against monopoly, and not also against property.

Crosbie, Your posts are almost always incoherent to me. You keep stating things like this, with the apparent assumption that your concepts are clear and coherent enough to make sense to others. Case in point, your notion of "privacy" rights, your assumption that the US Constitution is relevant to a normative discussion, and your bizarre usage of "intellectual property" "right".
Stephan:

You state above regarding theft whether it is the act of taking or depriving that is wrong, and then you state Of course it is the latter.

You are presumptuous. I was taught as a child that taking something that did not belong to me was wrong. It had nothing to do with depriving someone of their property. Classic example: Copying another person's paper. Did I deprive anyone of their property? No. Does it matter that I got away with it? No. I took something did not belong to me, and I was taught that was wrong.

FYI: I was raised in a home that was predominantly Baptist. We learned this same message in Sunday school and occasionally our trusty fire and brimstone preacher would teach the same message. From a religious viewpoint, it is not the depriving that is the primary wrong, it is the act of taking, which is considered a sin.

Even though I am much less fervent about religion now than I was in my youth, I still believe it is wrong to take something that does not belong to you. Your comment "Of course it is the latter" is a personal paradigm that is inapplicable to tens of millions of people.

I am slowly been coming to the belief that Ayn Rand's concept of "Objectivism" has had severe negative unintended consequences on our economy and the state of so-called intellectual property. Basically, that there is no imperative for the individual and/or corporation to act responsibly from the perspective of society. Even Adam Smith recognized the need for a moral foundation.

Anyway, in reading another post, I was reminded of Max Weber, he wrote "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". It has been a long time since, I have read the book. Nevertheless, it seems that both our corporate and elected leaders have tossed aside their moral compasses and have lost sight that copyrights and patents should only provide monopoly advantage in a limited manner and for a limited period of time to promote the progress of science and arts for the benefit of society. Copyright and patents were not put into place as an unlimited welfare benefit for the content producer.

Stephan, this post is right on.

Crosbie, where is the "privacy violation" in theft? From my driveway, I can see my neighbor's car. I can even see through the windows. There's nothing private about it, so what privacy invasion could I possibly commit by stealing it?

Lonnie, taking something that doesn't belong to you is wrong precisely because you deprive the legitimate owner of the thing you took. Copying another person's paper isn't theft, it's fraud, and it's wrong because you're deceiving the person who grades you based on work you didn't do. That's why it's OK to quote someone else's paper without their permission, as long as you give proper attribution so you're not falsely claiming to have written it.

But I can see how a religious upbringing might lead to the belief that it's wrong to receive a benefit you don't "deserve". It's the same sort of puritanical reasoning that leads to denouncing sex, drugs, dancing, etc. -- some people believe it's just not fair to feel pleasure unless you've suffered for it (e.g. the pleasure of a job well done after toiling all day in the sun). I can see how that could morph into the belief that it's just not fair to listen to a song unless you've paid for it.

Jesse:

In my upbringing, making a copy of a recording and walking away with it without paying for it would be taking something that did not belong to me. Do not bother trying to rationalize culture, it never works.

Lonnie:

What does your upbringing say about quoting another person's writings, without permission but with proper attribution?

Jesse, property derives from the right to privacy, given you can naturally maintain exclusive control over your private domain and those objects within it (private property). For purposes of social stability we create registers of private domains such as dwellings and large/valuable vehicles such as cars that may otherwise be mistaken as abandoned, despite being secured against use/entry.

A car is both private property, and a somewhat private space (secured interior).

If the car is left in a public space, or visible to the public, then you can see somewhat within the car, e.g. to notice it has red leather seats. However, it would be a privacy violation to break in to the car - damaging someone else's private property, and invading their private space. It would also be a privacy violation to dump the contents of a laptop's disk drive (that you found in the car) to a USB memory stick for later perusal - even if the car was unlocked, given its owner had an expectation of privacy. The fact that the owner of the laptop retains their disk drive does not negate the theft of their IP (including an as yet unreleased album perhaps).

This is why I'm quite happy defending an author's exclusive right to their writings, and an inventor's exclusive right to their designs, i.e. the securing of their intellectual property (especially against theft). I'm also all for the protection of everyone's natural right to liberty, to be able to share and build upon the intellectual property that they create or purchase - and that's why I'm against monopolies such as copyright and patent, because these derogate such liberty. However, one individual's liberty should end (as it always has) at the private boundary of every other individual.

"I can see how that could morph into the belief that it's just not fair to listen to a song unless you've paid for it."

Jesse, I think you're onto something there. There is a sort of reverse work ethic, a stigma that implies a deep shame should be felt by whoever benefits from another's work without contributing a fair share in compensation. The guilt of the free riding bogey man.

Not really. Imagine a toll road. Me driving on the toll road does not deprive you of the ability to drive on the toll road. But I think we can all agree that toll-evaders commit "theft."
No, TJ. Driving on a private road is not theft, since the owner of the road doesn't loose posession of the road. The crime being comitted is tresspass.
Jesse:

Actually, quoting someone's work was not something we discussed at home. However, in elementary school I was taught that it was fine to quote limited portions of someone's work with proper attribution to help support an argument or to provide perspective.

Lonnie: "I was taught as a child that taking something that did not belong to me was wrong. It had nothing to do with depriving someone of their property. Classic example: Copying another person's paper. Did I deprive anyone of their property? No. Does it matter that I got away with it? No. I took something did not belong to me, and I was taught that was wrong. "

Extremely confused, if not disingenuous, "reasoning." Notice what you do here: you rest on the common assumption that it's "wrong" (immoral, unwise) to commit plagiarism, to copy another's paper. Fine. But you call this "taking". Then you use "taking" to mean the same type of taking as we mean by "theft." Nice equivocation, but no cigar.

Plagiarism is wrong, but not because it is theft--it is not theft. It is not literally the appropriation of another's scarce resource. What it is, is a breaking of the rules of a given institution or setting. It has nothing to do with normal theft.

Your example only bolsters my point: you feel compelled to use the standard word "taking" to show that something is theft--okay, fine. But to take something means the owner no longer has it. That is in fact what is wrong with theft--just as I said initially.

By Stephan's logic, there is no deprivation when a trade secret is stolen either. Correct?

The entity that invested, experimented, and put forth effort to create a trade secret is no less in possession of that knowledge (though it is no longer a secret!) once it is stolen than before.

But of course they are economically worse off, since their investment is ruined since the knowledge is now out in the hands of a competitor, who obtained it for much less effort. Not to mention the inherent evil we would encourage by condoning such behavior. Commercial Darwinism, and with society the poorer for the rewarding of theft, deception, and dishonesty. Not to mention the risk that trade secret information may be lost to society as a whole, since it could die with the inventor/entity.

Competitors could kidnap eachothers research scientists, or use other extortive measures, to extract trade secret information. So long as they "compensated" the employees for their time, apparently you would have no trouble with this behavior, since nothing is "taken" except information. I suggest this is an extremely primative view of information.

Patents are a method of trying to mitigate these scenarios. They may be imperfect, but a quid pro quo is struck between inventors and society through government enforced short-term monopoly.

There is nothing preventing someone from improving on an already patented device, or even obtaining a patent on the improvement. You might have to obtain a license on the original patent to practice the improvement, but maybe cross-licenses would benefit both parties. A patent doesn't prevent someone from using the earlier ideas ... but you have to add something of value yourself, and not be just a thief.

ruralmouse: "By Stephan's logic, there is no deprivation when a trade secret is stolen either. Correct? "

No. It gets a bit tiresome to repeat arguments that are already written down to people who chime in without familiarizing themselves with the relevant literature first. See my Against Intellectual Property, pp. 56-67. "Stolen" is confusing and loaded language. What really happens is one of two things: (a) A breaks into B's property (trespass) to find out secret information. In this case, the trespass is use of property without consent--a type of theft. (b) an employee contractually agrees not to do certain things--which means, he contractually transfers some of his property as monetary damages IF he spills the beans. Note that there is no need ot confuse issues by calling situation (b) "theft"--it's just a breach of contract. In the first place, yes, there is theft, but it is not theft of the trade secret--it is trespass, or unconsented to use of, the property of the owner.

By Stephan's logic, there is no deprivation when a trade secret is stolen either. Correct?

The entity that invested, experimented, and put forth effort to create a trade secret is no less in possession of that knowledge (though it is no longer a secret!) once it is stolen than before.

But of course they are economically worse off, since their investment is ruined since the knowledge is now out in the hands of a competitor, who obtained it for much less effort. Not to mention the inherent evil we would encourage by condoning such behavior. Commercial Darwinism, and with society the poorer for the rewarding of theft, deception, and dishonesty. Not to mention the risk that trade secret information may be lost to society as a whole, since it could die with the inventor/entity.

Competitors could kidnap eachothers research scientists, or use other extortive measures, to extract trade secret information. So long as they "compensated" the employees for their time, apparently you would have no trouble with this behavior, since nothing is "taken" except information. I suggest this is an extremely primative view of information.

Patents are a method of trying to mitigate these scenarios. They may be imperfect, but a quid pro quo is struck between inventors and society through government enforced short-term monopoly.

There is nothing preventing someone from improving on an already patented device, or even obtaining a patent on the improvement. You might have to obtain a license on the original patent to practice the improvement, but maybe cross-licenses would benefit both parties. A patent doesn't prevent someone from using the earlier ideas ... but you have to add something of value yourself, and not be just a thief.

"which means, he contractually transfers some of his property as monetary damages IF he spills the beans"

Ouch. Stephen, I'm surprised at your apparent support for such invidious contracts.

Have you read Rothbard on this matter? PROPERTY RIGHTS AND THE THEORY OF CONTRACTS

It is possible you meant "he contractually deposits some of his property as a forfeit in case he should he spill the beans"...

Stephan:

You are getting into too much detail. My mother was relatively uneducated, and when you are a young child your knowledge is limited. My mother taught me that anything I acquired, whether by copying or depriving, was taking, or stealing.

Lonnie, you are arguing in an amateur fashion, by definition. It's a crude type of bait and switch. It works like this: you use "theft" or "steal" in an informal, loose sense, that we all agree--yeah, stealing is "bad". Then, you use it in a narrow, technical sense to show that copying an idea must be a type of property rights violation, after all you cna only "steal" "property", right?

This is about as sound an argument as justifying slavery by saying that we use possessive pronouns--if she's "my" wife, I must own her, right!

This is hardly worth replying to. I really don't know why people feel compelled to weigh in on issues they are clueless about.

I think your analogy to being able to copy a house is incomplete. Imagine, further, that some people have the ability to copy houses by blinking and others do not. One who does have that ability builds a house and starts selling copies of the house to those who cannot do it. Then you come along and copy his house for them instead, instead of building your own house that is different from his house and copying your own house for them. That's more like it. And if you allow the copying of other's houses, whay would he have built the house? hy would he not have waited for you to build one and then copied your's? It's all about promoting the progress of the useful arts. The laws reward innovation, and punish business entities that do not continually innovate.
Stephan:

If you are clueless, then stop weighing in. I merely was pointing out what I was taught as a child. It was relevant from the standpoint that if I walked into a room empty handed, and left with something, then that was broadly classified as taking. I am sure that you are a bright enough person to see how that definition works.

Re: Comment at 02/24/2009 09:10 AM by Stephan Kinsella

What an incredibly condescending reply. I have never thought for even a moment you would ever even consider descending to this level. Apparently I was wrong.

Our resident troll has been at it again, but as usual, he is wrong.

To elaborate further:

* Physically taking something without permission is wrong because it deprives the owner of that thing.

* Copying someone else's term paper is not wrong per se, but passing the copy off as one's own original work to the professor is fraud. Ultimately, though, you only cheat yourself out of a better education this way, mind you.

* Obtaining pleasure "for free" is NOT inherently wrong. The (often religious) thinking that says otherwise is an example of a very pervasive problem in modern thought: the zero-sum fallacy. In all too many places (including "IP" laws and religious mores) is embedded an assumption that life is a zero-sum gain so your gain (of an mp3, or the pleasure had from sex, or whatever) *must* necessarily have somehow been at someone's expense. This thinking is incorrect and illogical. (The whole dating/mating game, even outside of practitioners of religion, is distorted heavily by this, with the notion being that since men in particular enjoy sex, a woman who has sex with a man has given something up, and should therefore demand something in return. Then what should be mutual pleasure and a rewarding part of social life becomes a transaction-based business of sorts, full of all kinds of problems, jealousies, betrayals, intrigues, backstabbings, boyfriend-stealing, girlfriend-stealing, and even violence such as rape. It is worth particular note that the worst serial killers of history have tended to have all of the following traits: targeted young women that dressed or acted provocatively, frequently prostitutes; brutalized their victims in ways that clearly expressed great anger and rage; and had strict religious upbringings. Sometimes the term "sexualized rage" is used to describe this, but it's actually "rageualized sex", the normal sexual instinct perverted and twisted into violent forms by a sex-hostile upbringing. Even prostitution itself is a symptom of the same underlying problem, via the intermediary of artificial scarcity of sex, enabling women to charge monopoly prices! Society would do very well to rid itself of this pervasive zero-sum fallacy and its widespread and disparate effects. Wherever you find advocation of artificial scarcity of anything -- sex, drugs, or rock'n'roll, or anything else -- you will usually find some variation on zero-sum thinking underlying it.

* Toll road use does to some extent limit the use of the same road by others, since roads have limited capacity for traffic. Besides use without owner's permission being trespass, there is also a theft-of-services type of issue with toll-dodging, because the freeloaders may crowd out paying users of a limited-capacity resource. Such a resource is a metered rather than a fully nonrival good; utilities like electricity, water, and internet bandwidth are other commonplace examples. In fact, most examples have in common that they involve installed network infrastructure of some sort and the transportation of something over that infrastructure. (With electricity and water, there is also the production of that which is transmitted.)

* With respect to the use of words like "my" and "taking", it's worth noting that the word "my" (and the possessive ending 's and related things) have two related patterns of meaning and use -- to denote actual possession, and to denote attribution. "My wife", "my skin color", "my book" (when referring to someone else's copy of one I wrote, rather than my copy of anything) are attributing traits to me, but not ownership. "My car", "my computer", "my book" (when referring to my copy of a book regardless of authorship) are possessive, on the other hand. Similarly, "taking" may or may not imply removal of something from someone else's possession or withholding of access by someone else, depending on how it is used. It also may or may not imply fraudulently attributing authorship to oneself, again depending on how it is used. (Surely no-one would argue that "taking" pleasure in watching a pretty sunset is somehow wrong, or requires monetary compensation to someone? This returns to the zero-sum fallacy above -- plenty of people would argue that "taking" pleasure in sex would, in some form or another, require compensation. And the movie industry is busily trying to convince everyone that "taking" pleasure in watching a film does, as they continually push towards being able to control, and eventually charge for, every single use of their works. "Their" in the attribution sense, not the possessive sense, of course! Despite their wishes that it be otherwise.)

Beeswax:

I was going to ignore your post initially, because it fails to respond to my comment in any meaningful way. I stated that from a religious perspective, taking something that does not belong to you is a sin, and your response was from a completely different perspective. However, on the extremely thin chance that your arguments are not specious, I decided to respond with a much more eloquent person than myself.

Bob Deffinbaugh over at Bible.org (FYI - that is a religious site) has a lovely, well thought out sermon on the subject of stealing, nicely supported by an array of biblical references. You will recognize in his sermon many of the things I have said regarding stealing and sin. You will most especially note that from a perspective of sin, that depriving someone of something is certainly one aspect to stealing, but it is not the only aspect. From the greater perspective, sin is what is in the mind of the doer, not the physical or mental situation of the victim.

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=155

Near the end of his lengthy sermon, on reflection to an array of religious issues, he provides this definition for stealing:

STEALING IS TAKING FROM OTHERS WITHOUT GIVING IN RETURN.

From a religious perspective, I think this definition is quite accurate. Note that the definition of stealing is not "STEALING IS DEPRIVING OTHER WITHOUT GIVING IN RETURN." Of course not, because in religion "depriving," though a sin, is not the only aspect of sinning in stealing.

Indeed, there is substantial discussion on various religious web sites regarding making copies of files and taking those copies. The discussions are quite revealing. Some individuals have stated that because file sharing is so obviously a sin that they will not permit others to borrow electronic files if they believe the receiver's intent is to make a copy. I was unable to find any religious discussion that found making electronic copies as the person taking the copy to be religiously acceptable under Christian doctrines.

Again, speaking only from a Christian perspective, you may attempt to make pretzel logic however you like, but the Christian Bible seems to provide references that the act of taking without appropriate compensation (though I think that Deffinbaugh also implies that undesired taking even with compensation is wrong), regardless of whether it leads to deprivation, is a sin.

Our resident troll writes:

"I was going to ignore your post initially, because it fails"

NO. It fails at nothing. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

"I stated that from a religious perspective, taking something that does not belong to you is a sin"

Religious beliefs are irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

"I decided to respond with a much more eloquent person than myself."

You mean, the rest of your post might actually make sense?

"Bob Deffinbaugh over at Bible.org"

I guess not. How disappointing.

"(FYI - that is a religious site)"

FYI - that is an insulting, patronizing parenthetical remark.

"has a lovely, well thought out sermon on the subject of stealing"

which is of course not relevant here. If person A writes the original, and later person B makes a copy of person C's copy, nothing has been stolen from person A; person A was not even a party to the transaction between B and C.

"nicely supported by an array of biblical references."

A genocidal pogrom against all homosexuals can also easily be "nicely supported by an array of biblical references" (starting with Leviticus, of course), so you'll pardon me if I don't consider "it's nicely supported by an array of biblical references" to be a strong argument in favor of anything in particular.

"You will most especially note that from a perspective of sin, that depriving someone of something is certainly one aspect to stealing, but it is not the only aspect."

No, of course not; since religious mores are based on an erroneous, zero-sum perception of economics, gaining without much effort is a "sin" as well.

Of course, to rational, modern, secular thinkers, gaining without much effort in such a way that *everybody* gains in the long run is not called "sin", it is called "progress".

You are a Luddite, Lonnie. You are like the workers who, fearing for their jobs, threw their wooden shoes into the machines to stop them. Would you turn back the clock to a pre-mechanization age, though? Remember, people back then dropped like flies from drought, famine, disease, and in childbirth, and the life expectancy was around 40.

Compared to back then, even the members of a working-class family of today live like kings. Hundreds of millions of kings where once there could only be a handful.

That's progress.

Stopping it for the sake of one or another group that fear for their jobs and don't like the thought of having to retrain and do something new? That's zero-sum thinking at best. When your proposed means involves taking away others' freedoms and property, it is worse; it is negative-sum, just like damaging machines that are valuable.

The latter-day Luddites are trying to throw the shoes of copyright and patent law into the Internet to stop it. It behooves us all to hope that these Information Age luddites fail to halt progress just as thoroughly as their Industrial Age predecessors did.

Cobblers. Blacksmiths. Spinsters. Buggy-whip makers. Carriage-wheel makers. Steam boiler engineers. Newspaper editors. Copyright lawyers. Licensing agents.

Civilization survived the advent of the steam engine, and it survived the advent of the internal combustion engine too. It even survived the advent of the nuclear bomb. It will certainly survive the advent of the Internet. Without your help.

All jobs eventually become obsolete in a free and just society. Learn to accept it, and move on.

"From the greater perspective, sin is what is in the mind of the doer, not the physical or mental situation of the victim."

And if in the mind of the doer is "this harms no-one and benefits many, so there is no guilt attendant my act"?

"Near the end of his lengthy sermon, on reflection to an array of religious issues, he provides this definition for stealing:

STEALING IS TAKING FROM OTHERS WITHOUT GIVING IN RETURN."

So in his eyes, it would be OK for me to grab a can of tomato paste off a shelf in a store and leave a nickel where it had been?

Ludicrous.

Stealing is, quite simply, removing someone else's property from their use without their permission, with or without an act of reciprocity. (Except when the government does it; then it's called "eminent domain" of course.)

Removing something from the store without paying the store's asking price for it (and thus obtaining their permission) is stealing; making a copy of something is not.

"From a religious perspective, I think this definition is quite accurate."

And that statement alone proves that you are completely unqualified to discuss this topic meaningfully. Your refusal to acknowledge that you might be wrong makes you completely unqualified to discuss anything with adult human beings. So please go away now and come back when you're all growed up and can actually engage in an intelligent and honest debate, without resorting to plugging your ears, specious arguments from authority, personal attacks, or pure nonsense.

"Note that the definition of stealing is not "STEALING IS DEPRIVING OTHER WITHOUT GIVING IN RETURN.""

Sure it is. That's almost word for word what you wrote above. The meaning of "taking" in the earlier sentence is "depriving".

"Indeed, there is substantial discussion on various religious web sites regarding making copies of files and taking those copies. The discussions are quite revealing. Some individuals have stated that because file sharing is so obviously a sin that they will not permit others to borrow electronic files if they believe the receiver's intent is to make a copy."

In other words, you've found that a fair number of people from a sample of religious nuts are nuts. Hardly shocking. You'd find even more nuts if you sampled Bellevue's patient population. Would that be evidence in favor of preserving copyrights and patents? I don't think so.

"I was unable to find any religious discussion that found making electronic copies as the person taking the copy to be religiously acceptable under Christian doctrines."

Perhaps because it's so obvious to all but the nuts that they don't feel the need to spell it out.

"Again, speaking only from a Christian perspective, you may attempt to make pretzel logic however you like, but the Christian Bible seems to provide references that the act of taking without appropriate compensation"

Who is taking anything? If B makes a copy of a file C possesses, with C's permission, B hasn't even taken anything from C, let alone from some third party A.

"regardless of whether it leads to deprivation, is a sin."

This is probably intended to cover the case of borrowing a rivalrous good without permission and returning it later. Not copying a non-rivalrous good.

Someone borrowing my car without permission is certainly doing me harm. They add mileage to the car, may leave it with less fuel than it had (depriving me of some fuel), risk damaging it while they are using it, and if I chance to want to drive somewhere while they have it, deprive me of that opportunity. Even if no actual deprivation ends up happening, they risked it and probably could not have easily replaced it if something had gone wrong. They risked causing me deprivation and inconvenience whether they actually caused either. Without permission. That makes their act an irresponsible one at best.

More basically, it violates my property rights in the car. But if they built their own identical car referring to mine as a template (without disturbing it) and then took that for a joyride, it would be no skin off my nose. My car is still there, undisturbed. My property rights in it are intact.


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Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you

Bonfire of the Missalettes!

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? I wondered about TFP, because I had heard that TFP was increasing. Apparently, it depends on who