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    It’s hard to tell if the incorrect “history” or lame philosophy is more irritating.

    However, I am not going to annoy you all with historical facts and details, but the only reason why I am raising these few points is to show that the underlying motivation to the legislation of such a thing as copyright was nothing else than the protection against competition of the publishers material production.

    He’s annoying me with the historical non-facts. For example, a big push for international copyright came from authors who were unhappy that their work product was being appropriated (and often changed) by publishers. Among the strongest advocates for copyright were Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Copyright is a right of skilled labor to be paid for work. I love this nostalgia for back in the day when Mozart had to beg rich people to sponsor him.

    “ Property after all, is something you can lose. If you can’t lose something you can’t consider it to be your property neither.”

    You can lose your title to land or your copyright to your writing. Property is an abstraction. Gasping in astonishment that intellectual property is an abstraction while pretending that e.g. treasury bonds or condominium titles are solid objects is weak.

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      I’m not motivated to read through the whole article, but copyright is an interesting topic.

      Property after all, is something you can lose. If you can’t lose something you can’t consider it to be your property neither.

      That’s an overly loose definition of property. Utility is more important than physical possession. It just so happens that for most of human history, the two have been intertwined.

      Let’s say you own a Volkswagen Golf. You’ve parked it somewhere, and a truck rams into it at full speed, reducing it to a pile of scrap metal and parts.

      Let’s also stipulate that you have no way of salvaging anything from the wreck - you couldn’t sell the scrap metal and so on. You had no insurance, and neither did the truck driver.

      Now, at this point, you could certainly still be in physical possession of whatever remains of your glorious Volkswagen. But would you want to?

      No, of course not. The utility is gone, and since value is essentially just utility as a means towards an end, the car has no more value to you.

      (Look into “Austrian Economics” for more on that)

      As far as you’re concerned, anyone is free to do whatever the hell they want with the remains, and you’ll just move on with your life.

      So you see, we only care about “property” in the context of utility. If we have physical property, its utility is tied to its physical form.

      But here’s the problem with dismissing “intellectual property” completely: Its utility is not tied to its physical form, because it has none! But it does have utility!

      When you pirate a game or a movie or a song, you take the utility, but without giving any in return. But we don’t care about that because they’re ~all sold by “evil big corporations”, and yeah, there’s something to that idea too.

      But suppose you’ve been commissioned to translate a movie from English to Japanese. The translation is on your computer, of course. It has no physical form after all. It’s just bits! -Mere information!

      How would you feel if someone hacked into your computer, copied your translation, and then sold it to the movie studio for half the price you would have charged?

      “Information wants to be free?”

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        The utility isn’t taken when you copy a song - it’s created (not to dismiss IP, but this analogy is flawed).

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          The utility isn’t taken when you copy a song - it’s created

          What distinction or point are you making?

          The specific moment the utility starts applying is debatable, but doesn’t matter. You copy a song because you want it, and you want it because it has / will have utility to you.

          Either way, whoever produced the song and put it up for sale (and thus susceptible to copying) wants your money. You get the song and its utility, but the creator / seller doesn’t get the utility of your money. That can be considered “wrong”.

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            The distinction is that when you take physical goods, you’ve deprived the owner of the ability to use it themselves or sell it to someone else. Neither property holds for digital goods, and the result is a market without natural scarcity.

            Such a market cannot perform its price-finding function; for example, SAAS pricing.

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              The utility isn’t taken when you copy a song - it’s created

              The distinction is that when you take physical goods, you’ve deprived the owner of the ability to use it themselves or sell it to someone else

              You’re not talking about your supposed point about utility anymore, and you’re not addressing what I’ve said.

              Such a market cannot perform its price-finding function; for example, SAAS pricing.

              How do you define “a market’s price-finding function”, especially considering SaaS products are non-physical, but do have prices (thus showing that some sort of “price-finding function” has been performed)?

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                You’re not talking about your supposed point about utility anymore, and you’re not addressing what I’ve said.

                My apologies - my writing hasn’t been as clear as it should be.

                Because the appropriation of physical goods directly deprives the owner, almost everyone agrees it’s usually wrong. However, the appropriation of digital goods only theoretically deprives the owner - you may or may not have otherwise paid them.

                As a result it’s possible to mount a coherent argument that “my piracy didn’t hurt the owner because I would have gone without rather than paying them”.

                How do you define “a market’s price-finding function”, especially considering SaaS products are non-physical, but do have prices (thus showing that some sort of “price-finding function” has been performed)?

                The primary advantage of free markets is optimizing the allocation of scarce goods (both by encouraging their production and by distributing them to those who want them most).

                Getting good results via non-market alternatives has not, in general, proved practical (e.g. long queues for goods in cashless centrally-planned economies).

                The free-market price for scarce goods (where marginal costs dominate) optimizes utility (maximizing volume, the number of people accessing the good). This is roughly the most efficient way possible to distribute these resources from a societal perspective.

                The free-market price for non-scarce goods (with capital costs but not marginal costs) optimizes revenue (maximizing price * volume). This is an inefficient way to distribute these resources from a societal perspective.

                While acknowledging that the scarce-good scenario is an unbeatable advantage of markets, I hope we can find non-market approaches to the provision of non-scarce resources, because markets do not allocate them very efficiently.

                So far the primary non-market approach is data collection for advertising (which is why there are so many excellent free products built on it).

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                Such a market cannot perform its price-finding function; for example, SAAS pricing.

                So, what’s your theory on Shenzhen where copyright and patents are ignored with constant innovation, benefit to consumers, and jobs going strong? If pro-copyright or pro-patent are right, then that place shouldn’t be working at all with much less innovation and artwork than those with I.P. protections. We’re seeing the opposite, though.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGJ5cZnoodY

                The main difference I see is the strong, I.P. laws allow a small few to extract maximal money out of the many. They don’t even have to give much in return. They can do it for long periods of time. They also get many fold more value for their work than majority of jobs where people are just paid wages for time put in. So, I’m against it on three grounds: reduction of innovation and benefit for the consumer; wealth shifting from the many to the few eventually reinforced into a legal system; ensuring residual, high-margin income for a few types of jobs while everyone else has to essentially compete and do more work to make more money.

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                  Shenzen is somewhat classic for an emerging tech center. In the early 1800’s the US government paid skilled British workers to immigrate - with schematics. UK intellectual property was copied with abandon. There was no enforcement of patents at all. However, once US companies began exporting actual designs and investing in R&D for the domestic market too, the environment changed. This has already happened for major Chinese industries. I love those Bunny Huang videos on Shenzen manufacturing, but there’s not much deep innovation going on there - and even in this video you can hear the guy at the more established Shenzen company talk about how they’ve started to take care of IP now that they are doing more original designs.

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                    The US got started stealing lots of IP, too. Big companies stay taking it ftom workers. Currently, though, most innovation happens in Universities often with tax funding, startups, and corporate R&D. The latter two will innovate anyway to grab or keep a market. The majority of patents and patent suits here in US are big companies reducing competition/innovation or patent trolls punishing innovators.

                    So, given US situation, Id say Shenzhen could continue fine if the established brands stay competitive with high quality, startups keep trying to grab markets, and taxes keep going to R&D.

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                      My prediction is as above: as Shenzen companies and inventors become more successful they will change their minds about IP. In fact they are already doing so.

                      People underestimate how important patents are to innovative startups. There’s a reason Google dominates search with its initial patents that slowed copycats and Microsoft dominates spreadsheets (never patented by the inventors). Same reason that encryption is such a vibrant field - the RSA patents created pressure on big companies to innovate and created space for RSA to develop technology.

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                        There’s a reason Google dominates search with its initial patents

                        Trade secrets could’ve accomplished that. They did for a lot of other companies that were successful. The difference is that they wouldn’t have continued to dominate search at high margins due to more competition.

                        “Microsoft dominates spreadsheets (never patented by the inventors)”

                        Microsoft used marketing, shady deals, and copyright law to dominate. They’d have done it anyway like ambitious companies always do. Then, they’d get hit with a patent suit they’d fight to bankrupt the patent-holder, they’d pay off the company, and/or offer to acquire the company to sue competitors in area using its patents. Similarly, Microsoft and Apple have tons of patents applying to smartphones. In your model, Windows Phone and iPhone would be dominating. Yet, Android rose to high market share with them all just duking it out in court. Microsoft snagging over a billion in royalties. I can’t remember what Apple did or didn’t make. One holder of patents lost the market while other is immensely profitable. It’s branding & lock-in to its App Store driving that whereas in Shenzhen the innovators have already iterated out improvements to its own products at a faster rate than the original does.

                        So, your examples aren’t even examples of patents causing innovation. They just support how patents allow specific companies to increase profit in the long term by suppressing competition. That hurts innovation overall.

                        “Same reason that encryption is such a vibrant field - the RSA patents created pressure on big companies to innovate and created space for RSA to develop technology.”

                        RSA is possibly an outlier that shouldn’t be used to prove anything. It was hackers, cryptographers, and the media that made encryption a vibrant field. Most of the research was not in RSA. Let’s look at your example anyway to see how much patents and business led to the invention of RSA. Here’s the steps.

                        1. Cryptographers, militaries, etc wanted a way to do key exchange that didn’t rely on a shared secret. It is such an important problem that all kinds of people are working on it in hobbyists, academia, industry, and military. It will get solved regardless of financial incentives.

                        2. It was solved initially by Whitfield Diffie at Stanford University with help from Martin Hellman. He lacked the one-way function he needed, though. Due to No 1, someone will provide it for fame or fortune regardless of whether patents exist. It’s inevitable since the need is so high.

                        3. Two computer scientists and one mathematician by names of Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman spent most of their time digging through university research that was funded with taxes. They also worked to create such things. They went back and forth for a few years with ideas until Rivest solved it. If patents didn’t exist, he’d publish it in a journal like tax-funded academics usually do with a commerical spin-out gaining market share through branding (“get the implementation from the inventors of the concept!”), make consulting fees, and/or live happily ever after as an academic in prestigious position.

                        4. Patents exist. The algorithm was patented. It got turned into a business that sucked money out of all competitors along with providing solutions themselves. Business got extra profit and market share on top of the actual innovation that happened without the patent. Later, its greed got it in trouble with major losses for backdooring a RNG for the NSA. I think it rebounded, though.

                        So, your RSA example also proves my point that innovation will happen regardless of whether there’s patents so long as there’s research funding, prestige to be had, and money to be made with product differentiators. Your other two examples are also companies that took markets without needing patents. You’ve so far only supported that an innovator will financially drain an economy and stifle innovation by competitors when patents are allowed.

                        It’s for that reason I agree with you on your prediction for Shenzhen. The more influential people there are realizing it’s more profitable to prevent competition. They’ll use their money or politics to influence government policy. This might cause them to implement stronger I.P. protection. It will just be corrupt politicians protecting the interests of the rich few as always. Works great [for the rich few] in my country. :)