Intellectual Property Rights

This is an issue I've been seriously mulling over for the last few years and I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that IP is *not* an inherent natural property right. Every argument I've used in favor of it comes down to a government granted and/or mandated privilege, not a natural right.

As an engineer and programmer I have long been aware of the financial benefits of patents and copyrights to myself.

Yes, business models may have to change, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it results in the protection of natural rights as opposed to government made up ones. When you first put your idea into physical form, as a physical item, whether a machine or a book or anything else, that physical item is exclusively yours and you can decide to keep it, sell it or even destroy it.

If you tell your idea to no one else, then that specific idea does not adhere to you alone. Anyone else can come up with the exact same idea as you did.

It's happened more than once that just the difference of a few minutes in getting to the patent office removes all right the other person had to that idea. Yet did they not put in the exact same effort as the other in coming up with it? Why should only one of them benefit when the only difference is a matter of the exact time someone showed up at some government office, nothing inherent to the idea itself? Is that not, almost by definition, a perfect example of governmental interference in the market?

Once you accept that reality, then all claims for IP being a natural property right goes out the window and you're left with only pleadings for government privilege, not rights.

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Posted in Libertarian.