Can an idea be “owned” in any meaningful way? Only one person can stand on a patch of land at one time, whereas an infinite number of people can read a passage of a book without denying the owner of it use of this work. Physical goods are, in this sense, scarce, and we have property to ensure peaceful control of these things, but in the realm of ideas, there is no such scarcity. Also, IP represents an attack on freedom. If I own a computer, and a supplier of software bans me from using it in certain ways lest I violate IP, then I am being told how to use my own physical property. In short, IP limits freedom.
This dilemma has harrassed and divided libertarians for years and is the endless topic of beer fueled debates. That is why Tom Burroughes has kindly agreed to speak at this months drinks evening at the Rose and Crown. His talk will review the arguments to inform our discussion late into the evening. Does he have any answers? I’ll tell you afterwards.
Tom Burroughes is a Samizdatista and group editor of ClearView Financial Media. He sits on the advisory board of the Cobden Centre and blogs at the Cobden Centre blog.
His talk will begin at 8pm on April 5th at the Rose and Crown, Colombo Street. The informal drinks will begin from 1900. Limited catering will be provided, to fuel brains.
Please indicate attendence via Meetup.com to help us plan things smoothly.