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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