The Instigator
LaissezFaire
Con (against)
Winning
84 Points
The Contender
tvellalott
Pro (for)
Losing
69 Points

Intellectual Property

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 36 votes the winner is...
LaissezFaire
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 15,960 times Debate No: 12861
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (94)
Votes (36)

 

LaissezFaire

Con

My position is that Intellectual Property should be abolished. I accept the burden of proof for this debate.

Definitions:
Intellectual Property- Copyrights and patents.

Abolished- IP should no longer be granted legal recognition. That is, no one should be able to sue for copyright or patent infringement.

First round is for definitions and for each side to state their position. The next three rounds are debate.

Please only accept this debate if you intend to finish every round.
tvellalott

Pro

I accept my opponents definition of Intellectual Property, that is confining the debate to Copyrights and Patents.
I will argue that at the very least some if not most people should be able to sue for infringement of copyright and patent laws. IP laws may need to be revised but they certainly don't need be abolished.
I have full intentions of finishing every round and promise not to leave debates to the last minute as I have in a few of my more recent debates.

Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
LaissezFaire

Con

Thank you, tvellalott, for accepting this challenge. I look forward to a good debate.

Intellectual Property vs. Property
Intellectual Property (IP) is not real property. To see why, look at what exactly property is. Normal property includes things like land, food, cars, etc. These things have one thing in common: they are scarce. (That is, the economic definition of scarce, meaning that there aren't enough of them for every person to have as much as they want) That's why air, for example, is not property, and cannot be bought and sold. Everyone can have as much air as they want without taking away anyone else's air.

What does this have to do with IP? IP, since it is an idea rather than a physical good, also isn't scarce. Everyone can posses an idea without taking it from its creator. That's the difference between internet "piracy" and real theft: with theft, someone gains something by taking from someone else, but with "piracy," someone gains something without taking anything from anyone. [a]

But then what is IP? It is property in name only. It's nothing but a coercive government-granted monopoly on the right to sell a certain good. [b] The government could grant GM the exclusive right to sell cars and label it a form of property if it wanted to. In fact, that was the origin of IP laws. In England, IP rights were originally considered the same form of monopoly as the East Indian Trading Company's monopoly on selling tea.

The Economics of Intellectual Monopoly
Of course, at a basic level, the economic consequences of intellectual monopolies are clear. As with any monopoly, it creates higher costs and lower quality and variety of goods for the consumer. But, supposedly, intellectual monopolies are special. They are supposed to be necessary for innovation. In this next section, I will briefly explain why this belief is false, and, in fact, the opposite is true.

Books- Many people believe that IP rights are necessary to give authors incentives to write. After all, if anyone could just copy a book and then sell it themselves, authors wouldn't make any money, would they? They would. Books make 80% of their profits in the first 3 months [1], so someone taking the time to copy and re-sell the book wouldn't have time to distribute it before most of the profit is already earned. Authors could sell the initial manuscript of their book to a publisher, rather than selling the rights to the book. They wouldn't make as much money of course, but they would certainly be able to make a living. Well, that's all fine in theory, but what about in practice? How do I know that it would actually work the way I say? For most of history, IP laws did not exist. Authors managed to produce great works just fine. Take Shakespeare for example. Most of his plays are basically plagiarized from other stories. If those stories had been copyrighted, he wouldn't have had time to write all of the great plays he wrote with all the court battles he'd have to deal with. He also managed to have enough incentives to produce what are widely considered the greatest written works in the English language without requiring an intellectual monopoly. Not only that, but if he was given an intellectual monopoly, he would have spent a considerable amount of his time suing copyright infringers rather than producing plays. Another example is British authors during the 19th century. They enjoyed an intellectual monopoly on their works in Britain and did not in the U.S. But they still earned more profits from the U.S. market than from the British market. For a more modern example, look at the 9-11 Commission Report. It had no copyright restrictions on it; anyone could download it for free off of the internet or publish a copy themselves. But despite this lack of monopoly protection, Norton's edition (the first publisher to sell it) became a bestseller and made more than $1 million in profit. [2] A different publisher, St. Martin, released its own edition with additional analysis which also became a bestseller. [2]

Innovation- Contrary to popular belief, IP hinders innovation rather than encourages it. Patents can increase the amount of revenue an inventor would receive for a given idea, but this greater incentive does not necessarily translate into more ideas. [c] Patents also discourage innovation by causing patent-holders to waste much of their time suing people who violate their monopoly rather than inventing. [d] Patents also discourage innovation by restricting the ability of people to improve on existing ideas. Look at the invention of the steam engine. James Watt thought of the idea in 1768, but production didn't really start until 1775, when his monopoly was secured until 1800. Production was slow during those 25 years, and exploded afterwards, and when a superior steam engine was developed, Watt spent most of the 1790s suing its inventor. [3] Because of Watt's monopoly, innovation stalled during those years, with fuel efficiency, for example, stagnating during Watt's patent, but increasing by a factor of five by 1835. [4] This delay of innovation had serious consequences, as the industrial revolution only took off in England after Watt's patent expired and the industry could thrive. But would Watt have had the incentive to invent the steam engine if patents didn't exist? Yes. He actually made most of his money after his patent expired. He was forced to constantly innovate to keep up with the competition, and, as a result, his steam engines were recognized as the best ones and thus the best-selling. What about pharmaceuticals? Don't we need patents for those? No. Historically, the pharmaceutical industry grew much faster in countries were patents were fewer and weaker. [5] And when countries did introduce patents, they saw no significant increase in innovation. [6]

Sources:
[1] Flint, E. (2002), "Prime Palavar #6," April 15.

[2] Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 25.

[3] Carnegie, A. (1905), James Watt. Doubleday, Page & Co.

[4] Lord, J. (1923), Capital and Steam Power. London: P.S. King & Son.

[5] Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 215.

[6] Scherer, F. M (2003), "Global Welfare in Pharmaceutical Patenting," mimeo Haverford College, December.

Cartoons:
[a] http://ninapaley.com...

[b] http://ninapaley.com...

[c] http://ninapaley.com...

[d] http://ninapaley.com...
tvellalott

Pro

Thank you to my opponent for providing such a rich subject. I hope I can challenge him and provide the readers with an interesting debate.

Intellectual Property vs Physical Property: I have slightly changed the heading of this one, but I think that makes the distinction clearer. My opponent proposes that because IP is an idea it doesn't constitute property. I strongly disagree. While 'ideas' are like air, in that as long as humans exist there will be infinite ideas, herein lies the problem. Brilliant ideas are not infinite. In fact they are more scarce than the normal property my opponent speaks of (land, food, cars). Often a lot of thought, time and effort goes into such ideas. So I'd like to make that clear distinction:
POINT ONE:- PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED OWNERSHIP OF THEIR BRILLIANT (or even just good) IDEAS

My opponent goes on to speak of the difference between 'property theft' and 'information piracy'. I don't think there is a difference. If you're illegally downloading an album, a movie, a book, an application that some company, band or writer worked hard to produce then you are STEALING. You know you're stealing. The fact that you're unlikely to be punished or even caught is irrelevent. You are not "gaining something without taking anything from anyone", you are "gaining something for free that you really should be paying for."
POINT TWO:- PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED OWNERSHIP OVER THE FRUITS OF THEIR HARD WORK

My opponents final (and chunkiest) point can be summorised as follows: IP laws should be abolished because then the brilliant people out there would have more time to come up with more brilliant ideas instead of wasting time in court. In his book example, my opponent mentions Shakespeare and how most of his plays were just rehashed ideas that already existed. I strongly disagree. Rehashed ideas are still new ideas. Take for example the book Eragon [1] written in our lifetime. I really enjoyed this book. Recently I discovered that the plot is almost identical to Star Wars [2]. I didn't notice this while I was reading this but retrospectively it is completely right. However there is no lawsuit pending. No-one is in court over it. Christopher Paolini is writing his fourth book as we speak.
He then talks about innovation and legal disputes holding up society. While his example about James Watt is completely valid, I think this is where my opening statement about reforming the laws rather than abolishing them comes in.
POINT 3:- IF YOUR IDEA IS IMPROVED UPON, IT BECOMES A NEW, BETTER IDEA AND YOU LOSE SOME RIGHTS TO IT, REFLECTING THE LEVEL OF IMPROVEMENT.

SOURCES:-
[1] http://www.alagaesia.com...
[2] http://everything2.com...
Debate Round No. 2
LaissezFaire

Con

Intellectual Property vs. Real Property:
My opponent is correct in saying that brilliant ideas are not in infinite supply. However, that does not mean that they are economically scarce. As I said before, I can use someone else's idea without taking it from them. It makes no difference that effort goes into the idea; it is still not a scarce resource.

As for copyright infringement being theft: No, it isn't. If I steal your TV, you no longer have a TV. If I download a song off the internet, no one loses anything. My opponent states copyright infringement is "gaining something for free that you really should be paying for." Well, that's your personal opinion, not an argument. You're free to compensate artists as much as you want. I just ask that you refrain from forcing me to. Furthermore, I never said that ideas shouldn't be compensated. In fact, I explained in my final point how they would, and have in the past, been compensated without intellectual monopoly.

"My opponents final (and chunkiest) point can be summorised as follows: IP laws should be abolished because then the brilliant people out there would have more time to come up with more brilliant ideas instead of wasting time in court."
That is only part of my point. The rest includes the fact that IP laws discourage creativity and innovation (see previous post for elaboration on this).

As for your point about Shakespeare and Christopher Paolini, the part about Shakespeare not being sued was only a small part of my point. He also produced the greatest literature in the English language without needing the incentive of an intellectual monopoly to do it. Do you think Christopher Paolini would have simply refused to write books and done something else instead if he didn't get quite as much compensation? I don't know how many books he's sold, but let's look at J.K. Rowling's books. Without intellectual monopoly, she could have been compensated for selling a publisher the rights to publish her book first. (See my previous section about books, particularly the 9-11 Commission Report) She wouldn't have become a billionaire, but it's estimated that given the popularity of her books and how many were sold immediately following their release, she would have gotten millions of dollars per book. [1] Another example of this is British writers during the 19th century. Their books were copyrighted in Britain, but not in the U.S. They still were able to make more money in the American market than in the British market by selling American publishers the right to sell their book first. [2]

Reform vs. Abolish:
You say that people should lose the rights to their inventions once someone improves upon them. How do you define improvement? Anyone could take any invention and change it slightly, and claim it was improved. If that were allowed, then this reform would have the same effect as completely abolishing patent laws. If significant improvements were required, then, while it would be better than current laws, legal battles would still hinder innovation as inventors fought over what counted as a significant improvement.

Sources:
[1] Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 25.

[2] Plant, A. (1934), "The Economic Aspect of Copyright in Books," Economica 1, n.s., 172.
tvellalott

Pro

Intellectual Property vs. Real Property:
Again, I strongly disagree with my opponents unfounded opinions on this subject. Brilliant ideas ARE a scarce resource. If they were in abundant supply, the Earth wouldn't have the problems we have today. Our problems have more to do with the lack of brilliant ideas and the overwhelming amount of bad ideas.

While it's true you can use someone's idea without taking it from them, if they spent years nurturing that idea and their own money building it into a product it is immoral for you to use it without due compensation. If you don't want to pay for the use of their product (whether it be an invention or some form of entertainment) then don't use it. Clearly you have some need or desire for it, so why shouldn't you pay for it?

"My opponent states copyright infringement is "gaining something for free that you really should be paying for." Well, that's your personal opinion, not an argument. You're free to compensate artists as much as you want. I just ask that you refrain from forcing me to."
That isn't a personal opinion. It's the law. [1]
No one is forcing you to pay for anything. If you want it, pay for it. If don't want to pay for it, you don't get it. Simple.

"...IP laws discourage creativity and innovation..."
"...He also produced the greatest literature in the English language without needing the incentive of an intellectual monopoly to do it..."
While many might agree that Shakespeare's collection of plays and sonnets is the greatest body of works in History, that doesn't change the fact that you can't show any evidence that creativity or innovation has diminished since Copyright laws were introduced. They have BOOMED. The first Copyright law was introduced in the 1700s [2]. In the past 300 years Humans have produced more books, music, plays, movies, inventions and medicine then in the entire prior history of humanity. You can't even begin to compare the since with the before. IP laws are among the reasons that likely encouraged Thomas Edison and Henry Ford to become inventors.

Reform vs. Abolish:
How do I define improvement?
Improve: "To raise to a more desirable or more excellent quality or condition; make better."
A slight change is not an improvement. Claiming it was improved means nothing. SHOW how it is improved. Have you made it 10% smaller? 15% faster? 20% more power/fuel efficient? Changing the color means nothing. Also, Trademark laws come into it. You couldn't make an iPod 10% more power efficient and start selling them.

My opponent keeps talking about time wasted in court, but apart from the James Watt example has been unable to show any example of any artist or inventor who has spent so much time in court that they were prevented from practising their art or inventing. The fact is that Copyrights have been completely overhauled since the 1800s when the James Watt case took place. Our system is much more efficient now.

RESOURCES
[1] http://www.wipo.int...
(Chapter 1, Page 16 onwards specifically)
[2] The making of modern intellectual property law: the British experience, Brad Sherman, Lionel Bently
http://www.google.com...
Debate Round No. 3
LaissezFaire

Con

Intellectual Property vs. Real Property
I agree that brilliant ideas and innovation are vital for improving society. But, since IP laws discourage innovation, this point works in my favor.

Why is it immoral for me to use an idea without compensating the creator of it? It doesn't matter how much hard work they put into it. Plenty of people work long and hard on bad ideas and get nothing. Furthermore, if inventors can claim their ideas as property, then why do you not suggest that they retain this property indefinitely? Why should there be a time limit on copyrights and patents at all? Say I steal someone's property (real property). It doesn't matter if they've had it for a few days or a hundred years; it's theft either way. If ideas are property, why shouldn't they work this same way? If one can have property rights on ideas, then one must morally have complete property rights for them. If you advocate using IP law to encourage innovation, (Which is the usual justification for IP), then the best IP law is none at all.

"If you don't want to pay for the use of their product (whether it be an invention or some form of entertainment) then don't use it. Clearly you have some need or desire for it, so why shouldn't you pay for it?"
I am not saying that I should be able to get products for free. Abolishing IP law would not mean that. Take computers for example. I would still pay for the actual product (the computer), I just don't want the person to first invent the computer to be the only one allowed to sell it.

"That isn't a personal opinion. It's the law. [1] No one is forcing you to pay for anything. If you want it, pay for it. If don't want to pay for it, you don't get it. Simple."
Of course it's currently the law. That's what we're debating about: whether or not those laws are just. And IP laws do involve the use of force. Would you say that sales taxes aren't collected by force because you can just not buy things? Would you say that income taxes are not a use of force because you could just not work? Would you say that laws against marijuana use aren't force because one could simply not do it?

Effect of IP laws on Creativity and Innovation:
My opponent states that I cannot prove that creativity and innovation have diminished since the original copyright laws were established. First, correlation does not equal causation. Second, that is not what I am trying to prove. I am arguing that we would be better off without IP laws.

Copyrights: First, as I said before, creators would be compensated for their work if there were no IP laws. (See previous posts for an explanation of this) I am not arguing that authors and such should not be compensated; I am arguing that they should not be granted an artificial government monopoly on their ideas. As for the effect of IP laws on creativity, I would argue that it has diminished the amount and quality of things created. First, as I mentioned before, copyright laws cause artists and authors to spend their time in court rather than creating. Second, and most importantly, they prevent people from improving on the works of others. For example, look at the textbook market. As with every monopolistic market, the prices are extremely high and the quality of the goods is usually poor. What would happen if IP were abolished? The market would be revolutionized and would flourish. Let's say I want to publish a biology textbook. In the current market, there are several textbooks, each with one or a couple authors, all of which have some strengths and some weaknesses. But if there were no IP law, instead of having to make a whole new book from scratch, I could just take the best from each field. Say one author explains genetics really well, but doesn't explain evolution well, and another author does the opposite. I could just take the best writing from each area and combine it into one textbook. Or say I wanted to write a political science textbook. For this subject, since recent events may be very important to the material, professors often require the most up-to-date edition. These are very expensive and the selection is very limited. But if there were no IP law, publishers could just take older works and update them with recent events, and publish a brand new edition every semester. Since many different publishers could draw on the old material, there would be far more supply, which would cause the quality of the texts to go up and the prices to go down.

Patents: My opponent is correct in pointing out that innovation has greatly increased since the start of the industrial revolution. But, as he himself admits, ("While his example about James Watt is completely valid,"), patent laws delayed the industrial revolution! Patent laws have, throughout their existence, retarded innovation by preventing innovators from improving on existing ideas. Take your Henry Ford example. What is he most famous for? The car and the assembly line. Did he invent these things? Sort of. He used the (at the time, unpatented) ideas of other innovators and used them in a way no one else had before. [1] He owes his success to the weak (relative to our current laws) IP laws. And what would have happened if he had been able to patent his ideas? Would the world be a better place if Henry Ford had a patent on the idea of an assembly line (which, under current laws, would be possible)? Would innovation have increased had he been given a monopoly on the use of the assembly line?

Reform vs. Abolish:
That isn't an adequate definition of improvement. How do you define significant, exactly? Who would have the burden of proof, the original inventor or the improver? And what about if several people invent the same thing simultaneously? (Newton and Leibnitz, for example) If one person gets their patent in first, it's just too bad for the other guy? And if you do allow exceptions for that situation, how could a court possibly distinguish from those that copied an invention and those that invented it simultaneously?

"My opponent keeps talking about time wasted in court, but apart from the James Watt example has been unable to show any example of any artist or inventor who has spent so much time in court that they were prevented from practising their art or inventing. The fact is that Copyrights have been completely overhauled since the 1800s when the James Watt case took place. Our system is much more efficient now."
First of all, James Watt was just a specific example of what all patent holders do. I just chose to describe what happens in general rather than give every possible example. Second, it isn't the only example I used, I also provided evidence that IP law has discouraged innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. As for your final point, you're half right. Our IP laws have been completely overhauled since the 1800s. But they haven't gotten more efficient; they've gotten much, much worse. Now, not only do inventors prevent others from improving on their ideas, hacks can get patents for extremely vague ideas, wait until someone uses the idea and becomes really successful, then sues them. For example, a federal judge ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word, based on a BS patent infringement. [2] Another example is Paul Allen, who is suing Google, Facebook, and eBay over vague patents he never actually used. [3]

Finally, I would like to thank tvellalott for a great debate.

Sources: (Also, for anyone interested in learning more about IP's destructive effects on society, I highly recommend 'Against Intellectual Monopoly,' available for free here: http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu...)

[1] Ford, Henry; with Crowther, Samuel (1922), My Life and Work, Garden City, New York, USA: Garden City Publishing Company, Inc. 25.

[2] http://news.cnet.com...

[3] http://online.wsj.com...
tvellalott

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for a challenging and interesting debate. Playing devils advocate is always fun. :)
Anywho...

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY VS REAL PROPERTY: "...Why is it immoral for me to use an idea without compensating the creator of it? It doesn't matter how much hard work they put into it. Plenty of people work long and hard on bad ideas and get nothing..."
---Believing as I do that morals are subjective, this is obviously a matter of my personal opinion.
I think it's self-explanitory. The very way you've phrased your question answers itself. You're using someone elses property. You're argument that 'because they aren't losing anything makes it ok', is flawed. Would you steal someones car because it was fully insured? What's the difference? They'll get a rental until the insurance company organises a new car. They wouldn't actually LOSE anything, they might even gain a new car... It is still theft.

"...Furthermore, if inventors can claim their ideas as property, then why do you not suggest that they retain this property indefinitely? Why should there be a time limit on copyrights and patents at all? Say I steal someone's property (real property). It doesn't matter if they've had it for a few days or a hundred years; it's theft either way. If ideas are property, why shouldn't they work this same way? If one can have property rights on ideas, then one must morally have complete property rights for them..."
---I agree. Patents and copyrights shouldn't have time limits on them. As long as the idea is actively being used the law should continue.

COPYRIGHTS: "...What would happen if IP were abolished? The market would be revolutionized and would flourish... ...I could just take the best writing from each area and combine it into one textbook..."
---I strongly disagree with the idea of legalising plagorism, which I basically what you're talking about. In our current system, you are not prevented from doing what you're talking about (compiling a text-book). You just can't do it without the right permissions. The idea of taking the best parts out of a bunch of books and putting them all into your own book which you then sell is aborant. Of course the system would flourish, but what part of it encourages people to be creative? Why would the authors write when you can just come along and sell their ideas and hard work?

PATENTS: "...But, as he himself admits, patent laws delayed the industrial revolution!..."
---We can always look at things in retrospect and make judgements like this...
"...And what would have happened if he had been able to patent his ideas? Would the world be a better place if Henry Ford had a patent on the idea of an assembly line (which, under current laws, would be possible)? Would innovation have increased had he been given a monopoly on the use of the assembly line?..."
---...and it is extremely easy to ask "what if" type questions. The only answer is: We don't know. Perhaps had Henry Ford patented the idea of an assembly line, he might have made an exponential amount of money more and used it to improve his ideas faster. We might be decades ahead in levels of production now. It is impossible to say.

REFORM VS ABOLISH:
"...How do you define significant, exactly? Who would have the burden of proof, the original inventor or the improver?..."
---I think in the situation I've talked about the improver would have the burden of proof. If they cannot prove that they have improved the original invention then clearly they have no right to it.
"...And if you do allow exceptions for that situation, how could a court possibly distinguish from those that copied an invention and those that invented it simultaneously?..."
---Well in such as case, the logs of the inventor would have to be taken into account. If it was found that both inventors had came up with the idea at the exact same moment, they would have to share it.
"...I also provided evidence that IP law has discouraged innovation in the pharmaceutical industry..."
---My observation is that depite IP laws, medicine and pharmaceuticals are constantly improving.
"...hacks can get patents for extremely vague ideas, wait until someone uses the idea and becomes really successful, then sues them..."
---This I agree is a major problem with our current system. The laws should be reformed to prevent this. Patents should be very specific. Individuals like Paul Allen should not only be quickly dismissed, but punished for exploiting the system..

CONCLUSION:
My opponent has made some very strong points about the problems within our current IP system and I'd like to thank him for giving me the opportunity to think more about the system with have. I however, don't think abolishing the laws all together is the answer. Much like abolishing any long standing law, the results would be completely unpredictable. The better solution would be another complete overhaul of the system to account for the problems of today, to protect peoples existing intellectual property but to encourage them to continue to improve on it and to also encourage other people to be innovative and bring fresh ideas to the table.
Debate Round No. 4
94 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PDBRYAN 3 years ago
PDBRYAN
It is so sad that people squabble about IP. For pretty much any idea, good or bad, someone else has most likely thought of it previously. Some may have had the very same idea, but did not have the money or resources to act on it. What happens to those people? Since they actually thought of it first, should they actually deserve the rights to said idea? No, because an idea is immaterial. There is no way to prove that you are the sole holder of an idea. With money, you can act on an idea and be the first one to copyright it. Does this mean that in reality its not about who first constructed the idea in their head, but instead, who can or does act on it first? That makes it kind of a biased subject in my opinion. This just goes to show that you can not claim ownership of an abstract thing such as an idea. This is one of limitless arguments against IP laws. Maybe one day the public will become more informed, and realize that you can not have a monopoly on an idea.
Posted by tvellalott 5 years ago
tvellalott
Wow, I've changed so much since this debate.
Posted by Silver_Falcon 6 years ago
Silver_Falcon
I guess there is a little misunderstanding about brilliant ideas being scarce property. Of course there is scarcity of ideas to deal with new problems, so relevant ideas that hasn't been yet published are scarce. On the other hand, as these ideas became known they are no more scarce as we can teach each other.
The IP is just kind of monopoly of use of copyrighted idea. That monopoly could be considered a way to reward author for positive externalities of his work or to stimulate the research. How well or bad this works out is beyond what i want to say here.

I would also support LaissezFaire's point about printed books. Even thou the "Human Action" and "Bureaucracy" by Ludwig von Mises is free on internet both in English and in my own language, I bought the printed versions.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
There's no evidence for your claim that printed sales would all but vanish if eBooks were available online for free. There are limited examples of books that are put online for free (legally), but the evidence from these shows that the opposite is true--putting the book up for free online actually increases sales of printed books (I don't have citations for that with me at the moment; they're in my dorm room in Alabama, and I'm up in Illinois for Thanksgiving. But I can provide them in a few days if you'd like).

Furthermore, my opponent never made any of the arguments you bring up--if he had, I would have responded to them, as I'm doing now, and as I did earlier with AtheistAllegiance's arguments about the pharmaceutical industry. Do you expect me to psychically pre-respond to any arguments readers might come up with? There are probably thousands of points that could be brought up, and I obviously couldn't respond to them all. The best I can do is respond as thoroughly as I can to all of the arguments my opponent actually makes.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
LaissezFaire, Currently ebooks are about 60% of amazon's sales, despite their being only a little cheaper than bound copies, usually about $10 versus $16 or so. If the eBook were free, printed sales would all but vanish. However, in these days of instant publishing an electronic manuscript for a 300 page book can be printed for about $4 for a single bound copy. Printing is done overnight. This is existing well-established technology; for some books single copies are printed on demand when an order is placed. Books would be printed overnight at a small fraction of the price from the publisher. The big costs of publishing are the authors time, editing, and promotion. People do publish for vanity, and that would continue. What would disappear are books taking a long time to research and edit.

Needless to say, I don't find your examples to plausible generalities.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
I didn't just "claim" that that past experience with book copyrights automatically applied today--I provided an example of that actually working, with a book that was available online, for free, and was copied and printed by multiple publishers. As for "my argument that books couldn't be copied in less than three months"--I never made that argument. My point was that most copies of a book are sold shortly after its release, and so publishers will pay a premium to be the first to publish a book. It doesn't matter that the book can be downloaded for free online--people still buy physical copies, and there's still a profit to be made during the time between the initial publishing and the amount of time it takes for a rival publisher to start printing pysical copies of the book.

"You made the preposterous assertion, without proof, that lawsuits cost so much that inventors are better off not having a patent." That's a preposterous assertion indeed. But I didn't make it. I said that EVERYONE ELSE is better off without those lawsuits--obviously the monopolists are better off suing people. And while the assertion that you think I made, but actually didn't, was unsupported by proof, the assertions I actually made were (See the 'Innovation-' section of Round 2).
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Roy, I think you're judging based on your own knowledge and opinion rather than the arguments presented.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Laissez Faire, You did none of what you claimed. You said that back when copying a book meant resetting the entire book in type by hand that copying was not a major problem. Then you claimed that experience applied today when books can be copied electronically in a few seconds and put on the internet in a minute. No publisher in his right mind would pay ten cents for a manuscript knowing that the book would be worthless in five minutes. The argument that books couldn't be copied in less than three months is so ridiculous, it isn't even prima facia. Why not cite manuscripts hand-copid by monks? No need for a copyright when it takes ten years to make a copy.

You made the preposterous assertion, without proof, that lawsuits cost so much that inventors are better off not having a patent. If that were true, of course, no one would bother getting a patent. There are cases where patents are not worthwhile. For example, some toys have such a short market life that they are out of fashion before a competitor can tool up to make a copy. People in that type of business don't bother with patents. If it were true, as you claimed, that books were that type of product, then no one would bother enforcing copyrights.

I don't know what Patent laws were applied in the time of the invention of the steam engine. Now improvements are patented independent of the original patent. If someone has an improvement, they need to license the basic invention to practice it. However, the original invention also needs a license to practice the improvement. This works out fine for both inventors.

You claims were so obviously specious that Con needed to so very little to overcome them.
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
My vote is just to reverse vote-bomb.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
"Pro, I think, argued rather weakly, but the IP system now produces new IP, and Con had really nothing but opinion against it. "
Really, Roy?

For example:
1. An explanation of how exactly books can be published profitably without copyright law
2. Historical examples of books not needing copyright law to be published profitably
3. Modern examples of books not needing copyright law to be published profitably
4. Historical evidence showing that patent law delayed the industrial revolution.
5. Historical evidence showing that patent laws hurt pharmaceutical innovation (not extremely old examples either--evidence from as recently as the late 1970s. I didn't expand on this point much in the debate, but only because Pro didn't try to rebut it. There's a long, detailed discussion between me and AtheistAllegience on this specific point in the comments section earlier, if anyone's interested.)

You may not think that that's enough, or may think that it isn't enough to rebut points that you think up but Pro didn't actually make during the debate, but I think it's rather insulting to say that I offered "nothing but opinion" against IP.
36 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by reddj2 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by negrodamus 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by LukeSchreiner 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by FREEDO 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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