by the editor

Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has a Trade & IP Unit. The IPA says, “The purpose of the Trade and Intellectual Property Unit is to educate policymakers and the public about the value of intellectual property to Australia’s economy, and the importance of expanding free trade across the world.” Yet free market advocates should oppose intellectual property. humbly suggests they do an online course with the great Stephan Kinsella.

Kinsella writes:

The second run of my 6-week Mises Academy course, “Rethinking Intellectual Property,” starts this Tuesday, March 22. There is still time for students to sign up. Topics the course will cover include:

  • The statist origins of patent and copyright, and how IP, used to persecute “pirates” today, was used in the past to support actual piracy;
  • The types of IP, and the difference between copyright and patent — and trade secret, trademark, moral rights, reputation rights, database rights, and sui generis IP rights like boat-hull designs and semiconductor mask work protection;
  • Problems with utilitarian arguments in general, and with utilitarian arguments for IP;
  • Why empirical arguments for IP’s “success” are flawed;
  • How open-source software depends on IP;
  • Why it’s almost impossible to get rid of copyright, and why it’s not hypocritical to oppose IP and still “have” a copyright;
  • Why patent and copyright cannot originate in the common law (also: what is wrong with legislation, anyway; and what “common-law copyright” was; bonus: what a “poor man’s patent” is);
  • What the most libertarian type of copyright license to use in today’s world is;
  • The relationship between scarcity and property;
  • Homesteading theory, the nature of human action and contract, and their relationship to property and scarcity;
  • Why IP cannot be based on contract;
  • How most patent lawsuits have nothing to do with “copying”;
  • Central mistakes and confusions of natural-law arguments for IP;
  • Common fallacies and mistakes of pro-IP arguments, such as the implicit idea that there are property rights in labor, or that creation is an independent source of rights;
  • What Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard, as well as other notable economists such as Fritz Matchup, thought about IP;
  • The IP arguments of early libertarians like Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner;
  • Legal and political reforms to improve or abolish IP; and
  • Market and social institutions and practices that would arise in a post-IP world.

Read more about the course here. You will enjoy it. And you will be able to put your questions to Kinsella himself.