"Francois-Rene Rideau <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>" wrote:

> Let me quote what Bastiat says in "Property and Law":
>       http://bastiat.org/en/property_law.html
>       [The romans, and other looters after them]
>       had to have recourse to a purely empirical definition of property
>       -- jus utendi et abutendi [The right to use and abuse.] -- a
>       definition that refers only to effects and not to causes or origins,
>       for they were indeed forced to conceal the latter from view.

Definitions, by their very nature, do little to shed light on their 
justifications.  I had provided a definition, and the justification 
followed.  Though, one would hardly need justification of tangible 

> > Definition of Intellectual Property:  Property that is not concrete,
> > i.e. without tangible form.
> Just because you give a definition doesn't mean anything exists
> that fits the definition. 

Again, that is where the justification fits in.  If you have read a 
topology book, there exists all manner of wild definitions; all the 
fine print and supporting theorems constitute a discussion 
justifying the given definitions.

The reason definitions are definitions, rather than theorems or 
lemmas, is that they postulate metaphysical non-uniformity, as you 
have noted.  So, one has the unenviable task of proving a negative 
in order to make a definition stand on its own legs.  Rather, you 
provide a statement that is self-consistent and consistent with 
everything else accepted to be true, then hope to convince everyone 
that there is merit in the concept proferred.

> > A CD would be property, the data on the
> > CD would be intellectual property.
> In a robber's dream, indeed!
> A ship of tea from the Indies would be property;
> the Exclusive Right to send ship to the Indies would be the
> industrial property of the Company of the Indies (by privilege of the Kin=
> g).

Um, sure, if other tea import companies tried to use Company of the 
Indies maps or something w/o their permission.  If competitors 
derive and generate the knowledge to get to India and transport tea 
by themselves, then they surely are in the clear ethically.

> Yeah, right. As long as you are the one holding the gun,
> you may get away with it. As long as you also hold the media,
> you may blank out your utter evil from the minds of most people.
> But don't you ever put down the gun, and don't you stop your propaganda,
> for the oppressed and the slaves will make you regret it!

I won't dignify this with a response.

> > Ethical Justification of Property:  That which itself does not have
> > rights, can be property.
> No. That which naturally has the property of exclusion,
> and is yet unclaimed, can be claimed by homesteading it,
> i.e. by being first to use the thing.

I say, "can be property", you say "will be your property."  Again, 
refer to the delineated argument in defense of (intellectual) 
property for the demarcations of rights here.

More on exclusion below.

> > * Sub-ideal Sharing -- If someone else has, I can't have it, so it's
> > mine.
> Sounds like socialist plunder to me.
> Just because it would be your interest for you
> to have something doesn't entitle you to that thing. If someone else has
> gold bullions, I can't have them, so they're mine. 

My sentence has typo.  "If someone else has it, I can't have it, so 
it's mind."  I was trying to express your principle of exclusion, 
not thievery.

> > Obviously, holders of the latter cannot support IP, since data can
> > be reproduced very well, and discrete (digital) data can be
> > replicated flawlessly.
> I think you're completely confused on this issue,
> so let's focus on the first principle.

Actually, I am expressing my understanding of your abhorrence toward 
IP.  You believe that the linchpin of property rights is the 
exclusion principle, hence you cannot support IP.

> > 1. I postulate abstract entities (non-concrete entities), i.e. that
> > they can be well-defined (mathematically, ethically, legally, all
> > that).
> That postulate itself is dubious, at least depending on what you require
> of these entities. Remember that reality is understandability are quantum
> dual concepts, and that the more an entity is abstractly well-definable,
> the less it is physically identifiable and ownable.

That would invalidate 20 years worth of excellent data my research 
group has gathered.  If you are not understanding reality, then what 
are you understanding?  How can "understandibility" and "reality" be 
complementary, when in fact one is the object of the other?  
Metaphysics is the object of epistemology, not its competing effect.

> > 3. IP is abstract, and is indeed created *materially* out of thin
> > air.  However, some sentient entity had to generate this object,
> > lest it not be well-defined.  In other words, IP is in it's totality
> > value-added.
> Grammatically, this is circular reasoning: you posit the very existence
> of IP so as to justify its existence.

Where am I positing?  The mere fact that I mention IP, and try to 
describe it?  That fact the we can have discourse concerning IP 
means that it does indeed exist, that's its facticity is solid.

> > 4. Since a sentient entity created an object, it can claim it as
> > property by right, as the value-added product is a direct result of
> > their own actions, and none others.
> >
> Information is NOT an object, and you cannot claim its property.

Very well, if an object must be physical, then information must at 
least be *something*, lest we can't tell what information is when we 
see it.  If information weren't at least something, then 
thermodynamics would be in dire straits.

> > A: Say you hear a (copyrighted) song on the radio -- the tune is now
> > somewhat in your mind.  The mp3 for this track was encoded by some
> > guy, and you say you have a write to download it using Napster and
> > store it on your hard disk, because you claim rights to the tune.
> > But, this is just a licensing.
> Who says so? The proof that it isn't lawful is that you won't be able
> to enforce such a view but at the point of a gun,
> even though nowadays, guns are hidden behind lawyers in expensive suits.

I would defend my property with a gun, or Armani, whichever is most 
effective (aesthetically, it depends on which make and model of gun 
is at hand).  Enforcement comes after rights have been justified.

> I'll go one step further. If IP were truly natural property,
> then it should be forever. 

I support this.  Let patents be concurrent, then let individual 
patents stand into perpetuity.

> Pythagoras would rightly demand a fee for use of his theorem

Mathematical theorems are not creative works -- they are statements 
about reality.  I will use Pythoagoras' theorem, and if he gives me 
crap about licensing, then I will rederive it (a relatively easy 
proof) and call it the "Mandal Theorem of Half-Rectangles."  A 
concurrent patent!

> IP is no natural property, it's just an evil
> government-granted privilege, 

Exclusive patents are evil.  All else is fair game.

> > A band could release its music with
> > the license that it also claims the tune in your head upon hearing
> > the CD track, and you are not permitted to strum it, hum it, or even
> > think it.
> > I argue that this is their prerogative, because they
> > created the abstract entity, the song, and hence it is theirs;
> I argue that your english teacher should receive a license everytime
> you speak english, nay, everytime you even _think_ in english.

She can demand, and I will turn to my parents for that particular 
bit of IP.  And then, I would have them ask the school to fire her, 
since she is hijacking the product of her employer, i.e. an 

> > There are other counter-arguments, but all that I've seen are lame
> > and do not withstand a minute's scrutiny.
> Well, try read the articles listed on my page:
>       http://fare.tunes.org/libre-logiciel.html#Ou
> Particularly the ones by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Tucker,
> Roderick T. Long, Eben Moglen, Jesse Walker, etc.
> Of course, if you can read french, read the whole page.
> Please repeat to me that you find these people's arguments lame
> and incapable to withstand a minute's scrutiny after having read them.

Here goes --

Jefferson:  In this letter he argues against exlusive patents, as 
have I; but, he was the primary proponent of the US exclusive patent 
system based on empirical arguments.  He did, thankfully, design his 
empirical system with great thought and care, including time limits.

Benjamin Tucker:  

"Discovery can give no right of
ownership...No man can discover anything which, so to speak, was not 
put there to be discovered, and which some one else might not in 
time have
discovered. If he finds it, it was not lost. It, or its 
potentiality, existed before he came."

Tucker discards the possibility that one can toil without creating 
something tangible.  So, musicians are not doing any work unless 
they write down all their guitar tabs?  Tucker mistakenly equates 
abstractness with self-evidence.  Then, is art not creative, since 
there must exist a potentiality for a form an artist has concretized 
for our enjoyment?

Roderick Long:  The "thought control" argument.  I have read his 
essay before, and thereby came to carefully consider the thesis 
about infringement on the right to thought.

Eben Moglen:  This person discards theoretical arguments by calling 
IP philosophers "droids," then "concludes" the theoretical arguments 
by making an empirical statement about legal implementation:

"But that wasn't what I was arguing about. I wanted to point out 
something else: that our world consists increasingly of nothing but 
large numbers (also known as bitstreams), and that - for reasons 
having nothing to do with emergent properties of the numbers 
themselves - the legal system is presently committed to treating 
similar numbers radically differently."

That's like saying we shouldn't have physical property rights, 
because it's impossible to tell all the quarks and leptons apart 
from one another.  Structure matters; again, the mere fact that IP 
semantics are being used in the argument means that they have some 
distinguishable form.

Jess Walker:  I am more important to me than "popular culture;" his 
arguments are shamefully collectivist.  I have mixed feelings on the 
publication, Reason:  They are great at breaking down BS, but seem 
to fall flat when it comes to philosophical argumentation.

> > A critique of my
> > argumentation that accepts my ethical principle is welcome.
> I believe that we ultimately have the same ethical principle,
> but that you don't have a clear idea of what information is.

This is ad hominem.  I do indeed know what information is; if you 
firmly believe I am completey mistaken on the nature of information 
and abstract structure, please teach me.  We disagree on the rights 
people should have to it, that's all.

> Well, I can return the compliment to you:
> http://lists.tunes.org/list/cybernethics/0003/msg00000.html

I agree with you.  If you accidentally see top secret information, 
then you should be able to worry more about your nation's poor 
security than prosecution.  However, the government or its 
subcontractors should be permitted to own non-exclusive patents on, 
say, a new ultra-quiet submarine propeller.

> http://lists.tunes.org/list/cybernethics/0004/msg00001.html
> http://lists.tunes.org/list/cybernethics/0004/msg00002.html

I think you succuessfully recount your thoughts on the matter of IP; 
though, you do not seem to address any of the fundamental principles 
that are more far-reaching.  To wit, here are my personal 
principles, and I ask you if they are any different:

* Metaphysics: Universal singularity.
* Epistemology: Reason, i.e. science.
* Ethics: Me, myself and I, provided I don't trample you.
* Aesthetics: Rational eloquence.

> As for the basic libertarian assumptions about Liberty and Property,
> I think we agree. But as for Intellectual Property being natural
> or government-granted, I think that you, like Ayn Rand, like Bastiat,
> are misled by the word "Property"

How so?  Bastiat rights, "I would say: Property does not exist 
because there are laws, but laws exist because there is property."  
Do you disagree with this?


Sourav Mandal

PS: I was annoyingly prescient about the "white-hot rhetoric."  A 
friendly word:  In future correspondence, please make sure I am not 
the Armchair list's Tiresias -- SKM.

Sourav K. Mandal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Physics

"In enforcing a truth we need severity rather than
efflorescence of language. We must be simple, 
precise, terse."

                      -- Edgar Allan Poe, 
                        "The Poetic Principle"

Sourav K. Mandal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Physics

"In enforcing a truth we need severity rather than
efflorescence of language. We must be simple, 
precise, terse."

                      -- Edgar Allan Poe, 
                         "The Poetic Principle"


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