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Re: Theft WAS Re: [ox-en] The term "intellectual property"

On Fri, 7 Nov 2003, Adam Moran wrote:


I've not got too hung up about re-naming the concept of "intellectual 
property" has this concept belongs to a decaying method of production. ( 
I am more interested in the language of our growing method of 
production, the language of our telos, so to speak ).

I understand though that it is necessary to tackle the term 
"intellectual property" in order that we may tackle the concept of 
"intellectual property" in our own heads and the heads of others.

May be we should unfold Proudhon's thoughts in to this thread.

  "If I were asked to answer the following question: What is slavery? 
and I should answer in one word, It is murder, my meaning would be 
understood at once. No extended argument would be required to show that 
the power to take from a man his thought, his will, his personality, is 
a power of life and death; and that to enslave a man is to kill him. 
Why, then, to this other question: What is property! may I not likewise 
answer, It is robbery, without the certainty of being misunderstood; the 
second proposition being no other than a transformation of the first?"

Proudhon, Pierre Joseph . What is Property? An Inquiry into the 
Principle of Right and of Government.

Proudhon took part in the debate over intellectual property (involving 
Carey, Bastiat, Walras, Victor Hugo etc) after the Hague conference in
1858. By then apparently he'd changed his mind about property being theft
and had a right-Hegelian view of property being the individuals defense
against the state. But in the specific case of copyright his argument was

1. The author of a text is initially the owner of all rights in it.
2. The author may sell these rights; eg. to a publisher
3. As soon as anyone has published the text, ownership has been 
transferred to the public.

If right, that's exactly the proposal of Boldrin and Levine now.

There's an excellent description of the discussion (in French) at 

my summary above came from that (only from memory).





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