This post is in reply to patm, and his extensive comments on this subject here.
patm, thank you for the detailed and extensive reply. In some ways I am flattered that you consider it important to spend so much time with me on this subject, especially as I have made clear that this subject is not one of the more terribly important topics for me.
I will attempt to address most of our substantive points of disagreement, and avoid the peripheral.
First you define "ownership" as simply "control, use, and disposition." You are forgetting one crucial aspect of property ownership: exclusion.
Doesn’t “control” cover this for you?
Control (verb): To exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command. To eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of.
If I control my property in my house, I certainly consider the right to exclude someone from entering as an inherent part of control. How can I control my house and not have the right to exclude others from using it? This seems consistent with the common definition of control. Is there some meaning of the term “exclusion” that I do not understand?
…what we mean by [rivalry] is "a good whose consumption by one consumer prevents simultaneous consumption by other consumers."
I accept this.
Your definition of ownership doesn't seem to include any of this.
I suggest it does.
The formula [for Coca-Cola] is not rivalrous at all.
Control, use, and disposition. The sole, proprietary use. The formula is as unique a piece of property as is an individual banana. This sole proprietary use over the formula is no more divisible than is the sole proprietary use over your banana in the Garden of Eden.
Your second issue is in your conclusion...you literally state: "an idea is property – the result of man applying his brain to the physical world". That makes absolutely no sense.
I am sorry you feel this way. I believe it is incumbent on those who advocate an anti-IP position to come up with a positive case why the one thing that differentiates man from the animals is not subject to the same theories of property rights. Apply your analysis to the formula for Coke. I will not carry the need to make this proof as my burden.
The problem is you're not realizing that you cannot replicate a system of IP with contracts.
Who is talking about “replicate”? I do not imagine that the market will come to the same system as has this government-enabled monstrosity.
Your statement shows no imagination whatsoever. You cannot see the possibility of Coke (“A”) keeping sole proprietary use of its formula in a private contract system? You cannot see non-disclosure agreements with its scientists (“B”) and bottlers (“B”)? You cannot see that if a third party (“C”) comes across the formula – especially (but not only) in a nefarious way, like theft from the vault – that the third party can be legally (via enforcement of contract, even though “C” never signed it), and if necessary forcefully (through private injunction) restrained from commercializing or spreading it? (And I agree that independent discovery would not be a violation of Coke’s position…just tough luck for Coke.)
“C” can be bound by contracts he has not signed. It happens every day. “C” did not sign something that says he would not trespass on my property, yet he is bound to not trespass on my property. “C” did not sign a document recognizing that I have title in my car, yet he is bound to recognize that I have title in my car. The burden of making a positive case lies with the anti-IP advocate to demonstrate why this is not applicable to the sole proprietary use of the formula for Coke, just as it is applicable to the sole proprietary use of your banana.
You cannot see that the expense of anyone claiming ownership of IP having to do this through private means would likely eliminate enforcement of most of the frivolous nonsense about IP restrictions (including much of today’s government-enabled system which I do not state should be replicated, and likely would not be replicated) – whistling tunes, using quotes from the internet, etc., thus providing a market-based solution? Why develop circuitous and complex means and theories to enforce that which a market can enforce without much help?
Even Hoppe suggests that private enforcement would go a long way toward resolving any IP controversies: when asked about the possibility of using private enforcement in copyright – one of the least defensible subcategories of IP as property, in my simpleton opinion – Hoppe replied “That would go a long way in the right direction.”
So I guess Hoppe is under the same false delusion that I am regarding the possibility of contracts and private enforcement – and he applies it to what I consider it to be one of the least defensible aspects of IP.
I will add: I see zero possibility in a libertarian world for a Coca-Cola to not attempt to establish and enforce such control through private means, and I see zero argument that Coke’s doing so violates any libertarian principles. The burden of proof lies with the anti-IP advocates. Hoppe did not pooh-pooh the possibility; there must be at least some merit to it.
patm, once again, I do appreciate your taking the time in this most distant and rarely-visited corner of the internet. Like my shadow created by the early morning sun, you make me feel significantly larger than I am.
In any case, such dialogue helps me to further hone my thoughts and conclusions. I remain satisfied in my conclusions regarding IP.