Statist claim: Ideas, recipes, etc. are valid property.


"I have a right to lock you up because you copied something of mine!"


IP, intellectual property such as patents and copyright, requires asserting the right to do violence to someone for making a copy using their own materials on their own property. Clearly there is no such right.

Most real property is rivalrous,* which is why taking it away is wrong: it stops the owner from benefiting from it. Since IP is non-rivalrous, any attempt to defend it cannot start by pretending it is the same as real (physical) property. That would be to steal an unearned march. So it would be incorrect to use the term "theft" (or the more ridiculous "piracy") for "unapproved copying".

Similarly, attempts may be made to claim that this "unapproved copying" deprives an author of income. But that is an assertion backed by nothing; for it relies on the unproven fact that such copiers would otherwise pay, and on the belief that the author is entitled to certain compensation. But that isn't true. Consider, for example, a small shoe store, which makes a certain amount of daily profit; and then a larger store opens nearby, reducing this profit because people go to the large store, which offers more selection and better prices. The small shoe store owner has no right to violently close or destroy the larger store, even though by opening it caused his profits to drop.

Stephan Kinsella wrote the best treatise on IP: Against Intellectual Property.

Coining the term "piracy" for "unauthorized copying" was a master PR stroke. But it's "copying", not "piracy"; piracy requires hoisting the Jolly Roger, strapping on a peg-leg, and plundering and destroying ships at sea, waving a cutlass and carrying a brace of pistols. (DBR)

You may not arrange your property in a way that looks like the way i arranged my property!!! (JGF)

The purpose of property is to solve the scarcity problem without violence. IP has no scarcity/rivalry, ergo it is not valid property. [HB]

* Goods are rivalrous if one person's use of that good hinders or prevents other people from using that good. My paperback book "Huckleberry Finn" is a rivalrous good, since other people cannot read it while I am, but the string of characters yielding the novel is not rivalrous, since many people can read that information simultaneously on different books and computers.