by Alex Tabarrok
on May 13, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Copyright control to Major Tom
There’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Copyright control to Major Tom
There’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Alex the commie? Does Alex not believe in private property rights? Should the property owner not have control over their property?
The focus on expanded IP rights was given the biggest boost in the 80s with the supposed focus on creating wealth in the private sector by privatizing the public common, or conversely, preventing private property from entering the public common, as in the exclusive rights to creative works being terminated.
Back then, the attack on the public common was rather vigorous. Extending copyright over and over keeps the public common shrinking so the protected expression constantly increases in proportion to the creative work in the public common.
A true conservative must surely see this as a countdown to creating wealth. After the deadline you will need to pay to hear the song (somehow, maybe with ads) creating wealth.
I’m not a property rights purist, and I think you’re misrepresenting the conservative/libertarian position here.
I think generally conservatives and some libertarians hold the view that property rights are deontological and more or less absolute (you can’t just seize my stuff/land/whatever) whereas IP rights are acknowledged as being an artificial legal creation that is enforced on more or less utilitarian grounds. So if IP laws are too strong or too weak, there is nothing anti-freedom about loosening or tightening them accordingly while maintaining a hard line on physical property rights. And that is not even considering the qualitative aspects of IP, like, should rounded corners on a phone be patent-able? Probably not.
A related position is that *all* property rights are held on similarly utilitarian grounds, or at least grounds of cultural habit. Where deontology comes in when some try to violate rights that were previously recognised. Nationalisation is such a violation, and so is the extension of existing copyrights (which deprive the public domain).
It seems this video was under a license that was always going to end today. So nobody is doing anything wrong here, but Alex can still say the laws which made that license necessary are bad.
‘whereas IP rights are’ a government granted monopoly.
James Madison discusses the benefits and problems, two and a quarter centuries ago –
‘With regard to monopolies they are justly classified among the greatest nuisances in Government. But is it clear that as encouragements to literary works and ingenious discoveries, they are not too valuable to be wholly renounced? Would it not suffice to reserve in all cases a right to the Public to abolish the privilege at a price to be specified in the grant of it? Is there not also infinitely less danger of this abuse in our Governments, than in most others? Monopolies are sacrifices of the many to the few. Where the power is in the few it is natural for them to sacrifice the many to their own partialities and corruptions. Where the power, as with us, is in the many and not in the few, the danger can not be very great that the few will be thus favored. It is much more to be dreaded that the few will be unnecessarily sacrificed to the many.’ http://digital-law-online.info/patry/patry4.html
Do note that Madison’s view the of the fundamental problem of a monopoly – ‘Where the power is in the few it is natural for them to sacrifice the many to their own partialities and corruptions.’ seems to be wonderfully borne out by the history of IP law in the last generation. Resulting in the reality that the current generation born in the United States of America may be the first that, if current indefinite copyright extension lawmaking continues, not have a single copryrighted work enter the public domain during their lifetime.
There is no such thing as intellectual property without a government enforcing it. Madison thought that the form of government being constructed for a new republic would be able to alleviate and mitigate the results of granting a monopoly.
no true conservative
That damn Putin.
For those of you that think property rights in real estate are “natural” while property rights in IP are “artificial”, read “American Property: A History” by legal scholar Stuart Banner, and you’ll see all such property rights are created by society by convention, that changes over time.
Examples (not all from Banner’s book; property in the next three examples below is ‘real estate’):
-at one time having something dangerous on your property, that created a playground for kids but could lead to death, was legal, but now it’s not; this diminishes the right of trespass. Same for ‘trap guns’ (booby traps to stop criminals from trespassing; now mostly illegal) .
-at one time you could defend your property from seizure from all comers, until they invented the 5th Amendment (eminent domain, government can seize and pay you ‘reasonable’ compensation, which almost always is the lower bound of the market, and certainly not a holdout price); at one time you could mine minerals to the center of the earth, but in Texas and elsewhere it’s different (same for water passing through your property); at one time you owned all the airspace over your property to outer space, but now it’s different.
-you cannot vote against property taxes unless you are a resident where your property resides (ask absentee landlords in Manhattan, much to their regret)
Finally, keep in mind that animals will mark and defend their territory so that’s evidence of a “natural right” in real estate property, but then again, concerning IP, internationally magicians have very strict code of conduct about using each others tricks–it is forbidden on pain of being ostracized, which is taken very seriously–so that’s evidence that even without patents, people respect “intellectual property”.
It’s all about balance but the distinction is both natural and artificial. AlexT is arguing copyright rights have swung too far in favor of the copyright holder. BTW I’ve heard informally from a rock connoisseur that David Bowie is artistically a sort of ‘me-too copier’ of other musicians, jumping on the bandwagon, so I doubt he will release the copyright to the public domain.
The most important distinction between property rights to physical goods and “property rights” to creations of your mind is that someone else making use of intellectual goods doesn’t prevent your from enjoying them, which is not true for physical goods. If some good can be enjoyed by everyone without any further costs the original producer of the good, then surely there should be no ownership of this good.
People can use real property if I’m not there, yet real property exists.
When real property was created, there were probably some people who were only used to chattels that just couldn’t wrap their brains around it. “How can it be property if you can’t carry it around!?!?!?!!!”
This is a very clever point. Perhaps Uber, airbnb, etc reflect a subtle societal shift away from the standard “Blackstone” theory of absolute ownership?
Too late, Alex T; too late.
It says ” This Video is Private ” and there’s nothing I can do.
Just search youtube for ‘Hadfield Major Tom’: there are several others.
Or, to create an entirely different framework, search for ‘youtube-dl’ Then such license concerns become irrelevant in the age of abundant storage space and art in the age of digital reproduction – http://www.howtothinkaboutthefuture.com/?p=127
My mother said, “To get things done
You’d better not mess with Major Tom”
How dare David Bowie license his right for a limited duration! He ought to be forced to relinquish his property because, and get this!, LIBERTARIANISM! CONFISCATE IT ALL FOR RAND!
Rand was an absolutist on copyright and patents. See her essay on the subject in her book “Capitalism the Unknown Ideal.”
23 million views should have generated between 60,000 and 80,000 USD of payments by Google. There is utility beyond people watching the video, being happy and sharing it with friends. Bowie’s video in Bowie’s channel with the highest views only got 6 million views. Total views for all Bowie’s videos are approximately 18.5 million. Chris Hadfield is a serious competitor. Is it to bad for Mr. Bowie / music label to claim his property rights? Those 80K USD are growing in trees, no sir.
How many people listened to that song for the first time because of it being in the space station?
Don’t give up your day job.
Both the patent system and the copyright system were setup to do two things – provide ownership for the creative person and to provide dissemination of the newest ideas. Now the system does neither. The creator assigns his rights to a more powerful entity and in return gets a pittance and the rights are continued in perpetuity past the point where the idea is of any value to anyone.
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