In this study, Kevin Carson reviews libertarian perspectives on “intellectual property”; the ethics of the practice itself and the harms resulting from it. He finds that IP is an artificial, rather than natural, property right; creating scarcity rather than managing it. In that capacity, it has acted as an unjust and irrational state subsidy to corporate capitalism — distorting markets, doing violence to the concept of real property rights, forcibly transferring wealth to parasitic cartels and generally having a pernicious impact on the US domestic and global economies that is difficult to overstate. He concludes by debunking the myth of IP as supposedly necessary for incentive reasons.
Download: “Intellectual Property”: A Libertarian Critique
I. The Ethics of “Intellectual Property”
II. Privilege as Economic Irrationality
III. “Intellectual Property” and the Structure of the American Domestic Economy
IV. “Intellectual Property” and the Global Economy
V. “Intellectual Property,” Business Models and Product Design
VI. Is “Intellectual Property” a Necessary Incentive?