Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

May 3, 2006

Greg Perkins on Intellectual Property Rights

I stopped by NoodleFood today and read this great article that Mr. Perkins has written explaining, yet again, the fundamental defense of intellectual property rights and blasting the libertarian scholars that agitate against them. As a would-be author, intellectual property rights are of deep personal importance to me, because without them I can expect my dream of supporting myself through fiction writing to evaporate like mist in the sun.

A lack of respect for IP has led to some truly annoying things as creators try to protect their investment, like those 36-digit alphanumeric codes you see on video games and CD's with anti-copying technology on them, technology that makes the CD frightfully difficult to actually use. In business, many people are resorting to secrecy to protect their work instead of the using the immense government apparatus for which they have already shelled out an unbelievable amount of cash. Why? Because the government is just as likely to decide that one of your competitiors "needs" your patent and give it away; something that the government has no legitimate power to decide.

Not to mention the fact that it can be almost impossible to recoup your investment on patented drugs and other medical innovations: the length of time required for FDA approval can eat so far into the time when you still have exclusive rights to your product that you must charge ruinous prices in order to break even. But, hey, who cares, medicare pays for it, right? So it doesn't matter how expensive the drugs are. Is it any wonder that more and more people NEED Medicare to help them pay for their prescriptions? Or that Medicare costs are skyrocketing (for a number of reasons, all of which are automatic considering what it DOES), meaning that the people who support the program, namely the ones that don't receive any BENEFITS from it (unless having MORE parasites attached to you can be considered a benefit) have to pay more and more money into it.

Result: the people that are actually out there paying their own way may soon have no choice but to turn to the government to pay for their ridiculously expensive prescription drugs. Or, they could import them from Canada, putting even more strain on THAT country's over-strained socialized medical system. The Canadian government is already complaining about this and, if I understand correctly, legislation is in the works to make it illegal to import "cheaper" Canadian drugs. Technically that's only fair, considering that Americans have no right to demand that Canadians subsidize our health-care costs.

I think this situation is most accurately referred to as a Death Spiral.

As bad as that situation is, it cannot begin to approach the disgust I personally feel for another category of IP pirates: those who steal software in order to produce their own intellectual property. There is nothing uglier than a true hypocrit. If Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word are necessary for you to work, then for the love of reason have the moral decency to PAY for them.

Otherwise, you have no right to EVER expect ANYONE to pay for your work. I spit on you. Ptui.

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