Monday, January 2, 2012

IP and Scarcity

Watch me clinging to the beat
I had to fight to make it mine
That religion you could sink in neat
Just move your feet and you'll feel fine
--Culture Club

The author makes a cogent point early in this missive. Laws that protect property rights are only necessary if property is scarce. Taking scarce property away from the owner denies the owner the use of the property.

Tangible goods fit this requirement. If an infinite amount of a particular good existed, or if a machine were present to infinitely reproduce the good, then the scarcity problem disappears along with the need for laws that protect property.

Intellectual property does not meet the scarcity requirement, as IP can be infinitely reproduced. All the while, that infinite reproduction does not deny use of IP by the owner (or originator).

Laws that grant monopoly power over ideas and their expression limit progress, and can even be seen as a form of censorship.

IP laws restrict emulation and improvement of ideas--a central mechanism in improving standard of living for all.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

Apple Inc's intangible assets increased over $3 billion during the first nine months of 2011.