In general followers of Austrian Economics (myself included) are against intellectual property. The idea that you can own something that can be duplicated with virtually no effort is equivalent to owning the air we breathe.
While I could rant on about intellectual property, there is a lot better content and presentation of ideas across the web. Here’s a link to get you started with learning.
A golden of a nugget came across my desk today when I learned that the anti-piracy group BREIN was using Melchior Rietveldt’s composition without permission and without compensation. According to Rietveldt’s financial advisor the anti-piracy group owes Rietveldt $1.3 million dollars in royalties.
The problems come when Rietveldt tries to collect and of course is hit with wall after wall of obstacles. Currently, as of today there is no resolution in the matter but it points out some very obvious facts about the anti-piracy efforts.
- They don’t give a shit about the artists.
- They don’t believe in paying the artificially high costs of intellectual property for themselves
- The IP they want to keep is exclusively to maintain profits and limit competition
- The only way they can do this is through force by the state
This boils down to why we should look to alternative solutions than intellectual property for creating value for consumers. The value you things that can be replicated for free is not in the content – but more the package. NIN and Radio Head would give away the content for free, and make money on things that are not easily copied – like concerts or signed albums.
I’m not saying that is the solution for all creators, but the beauty of capitalism is that it challenges entrepreneurs to find new and innovative solutions that the markets desire. Forcing people to do things by threat of taking their money or their freedoms is not a good strategy.