C4SS Feed 44 presents “How “Intellectual Property” Impedes Competition” from the book Markets Not Capitalism, written by Kevin Carson, read by Stephanie Murphy and edited by Nick Ford.
Since intellectual property is not necessary to encourage innovation, this means that its main practical effect is to cause economic inefficiency by levying a monopoly charge on the use of existing technology.
In any case, for those whose libertarianism follows from the principles of self-ownership and nonaggression, whether or not intellectual property is necessary to profit from certain forms of economic activity is beside the point. That’s the same argument used by protectionists: Certain businesses would be unprofitable if they weren’t protected by tariffs. But no one has a right to profit at someone else’s expense, through the use of force. In particular, no one has the right to make a profit by using the State to prevent others from doing as they please with their own pens and paper, hard drives, or CDs. A business model that isn’t profitable without government intervention should fail.
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