ISIS’ spokesperson is a kid from Calgary who wants to “paint the White House black.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell asks one question none of the “officials” seem to care to ask: Why? Why are foreigners flocking to the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS? Why is Saudi Arabia so keen on getting involved? How far does Obama really want to go? Find out inside. Read on…
If you’ve ever wanted to expose some heinous crime against humanity, here’s your chance. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell shows you how to make sure the world accesses to your leaks, even if something happens to you. Chris also shares why this is probably a terrible idea. Read on…
America has about 4% of the world’s population, yet houses 25% of the world’s incarcerated. What’s going on here? Chris Campbell digs deep into the industry to figure out the truth. While many blame the private prison industry, the real culprit, says Chris, begins right outside your door. Read on…
When Obama first announced U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, most people have no idea that it was to destroy U.S. military equipment in the hands of ISIS. How did ISIS get U.S. weapons? Chris Campbell blows the story wide open in today’s Laissez Faire Today. Read on…
Every 37 seconds, an American is arrested and criminalized because of one racist and ridiculous law. Join Chris Campbell as he takes you back to when marijuana became illegal… why it’s hurting America… and why you should fight to end the prohibition. And it’s not so you can smoke it. Read on…
An ancient guide has been in hiding… until now. As it dusts itself off, some early adopters are calling it “the definitive text on self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization and strength.” And, according to Chris Campbell, it could be the only thing you need to thrive in our day-to-day life of modern chaos. Embrace it, and become the hero of your own story. Ignore it, and risk living a whimper of a life on someone else’s terms. Read on…
Think it’s impossible to escape Obamacare? Think again. Laissez Faire Today reader David F. shares how he did it and how you can do it too. Don’t see another doctor, take another pill, or shop around for better medical insurance until you read his story. Read on…
“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
“While I heartily subscribe to your premise of pursuing one’s dream,” one reader, Donald J., wrote, “there are alternate perspectives worth considering.”[We’re listening… go on.]“Some wiseguy once said that life is what happens to you while you’re waiting for something better to come along. Milton put it a little more poetically in one of his […]
“Where were you when it happened?” How many times have we been asked -- and asked -- this question since 2001? Today, Chris Campbell asks us to pose a different question: What can I do today to making Sept. 11 another turning point in my life? And then, of course, taking that first step. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
“Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.” — Oscar WildeIn the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom.As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the […]
Socialism is the big lie of the 20th century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may […]
Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a worldwide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I […]
I opened a new bottle of probiotics this morning, and it had one of those circular seals on the top. You know, the one that reads, “Sealed for your protection.”And that seal got me thinking… how much protection do we need? How much security is enough?How much homogenization, pasteurization, disinfection, national security, etc…. do we […]
Last spring, Barack Obama told the graduating class of Ohio State University:“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because […]
In the Huffington Post last week, Glenn Greenwald, Slate contributor Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim had an investigative piece reporting that the NSA had been tracking the online porn-viewing habits of several Muslim leaders whom it viewed as radicals. A top-secret document shows that the agency was considering exposing these firebrands’ Internet dalliances as a […]
Americans are still trying to get a handle on the full extent of the government’s domestic spying activities, including the recent revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting and storing the email address books of ordinary Americans using online messaging services. Many users of such services are looking to tech executives for […]
A few months ago at a demonstration against the president of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, a Canadian citizen made the following claim: “We don’t have guns, we are not Americans, we are civilized.” A few days before, in early July, a train of the company had run away and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing […]
From the Tongue-In-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced that her committee will hold a “major review into all intelligence-collection programs.” This surprising declaration followed the revelation, through documents leaked by government whistle-blower Edward Snowden, that the NSA has been listening to the […]
From the Tongue-in-Cheek Department of Laissez Faire Books…Washington, D.C. – The complex negotiations aimed at bringing a long-term solution to the federal government’s expenditure and debt problem have produced an unconventional proposal. “Although the solution only focuses on a tiny fraction of government expenditures,” declared President Barack Obama, “it is a step in the right […]
I’ve just spent a harrowing weekend reflecting on Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the pamphlet that came out in January 1776 and turned the public toward seeking independence from Britain. I say harrowing because the distance between the ideals found in this pamphlet and those of today’s America is so vast as to be nearly unrecognizable.The […]
It was a wild ride last week in the world of the Deep Web, that section of the Internet that requires special tools to access. The feds took down the site called Silk Road and claim to have arrested its founder and administrator. The news streams were filled with lurid tales of derring-do in this […]
Want to know just how invasive the state is going to get in the United States?Well, take a look across the pond.In terms of the large, invasive state, we English are way ahead of you guys. We’re a good 50 or more years further down the road to serfdom.Nineteenth-century Britain was about as glorious a […]
A tense drama unfolded this week with the virtual shutdown of vital government agencies: the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as many other such federal agencies. Without them, the Founding Fathers could not have imagined the republic.Even if fewer […]
Three months after Edward Snowden’s leaks began to reveal the extent of the U.S.’ mass surveillance program, “serious people” are beginning to make the case that it’s time for the outrage and indignation to subside and give way to a “national conversation” about the future of surveillance. So has the moment come for us to […]
A sixth-grader has been suspended for drawing an inappropriate picture. The drawing did not include any gun, but showed a checkpoint backed up by a SWAT team carrying flower pots while an unarmed drone hovered above.The suspended girl, whose name is kept secret at the request of her family, said she “just wanted to draw […]
When children play with Legos, violence sometimes ensues.
“He knocked down my tower!”
“Only because she built it to look exactly like the one I made, and that’s not fair. I made mine first!”
All the parents I’ve ever met handle this situation by pointing out to the aggressor that it is perfectly acceptable for other kids to build things that mimic his own creations; in fact, he should feel honored!
But let’s visit a household wherein the parents are strict advocates and respecters of intellectual property. In this house, children are punished for copying their siblings. Any new Lego ideas, whether actually built or not, are immediately filed with the parent, and every time Lego building takes place, the children must first check the files to make sure they aren’t about to build something that someone else had already thought of and filed. No imitation is allowed in this household.
This is, of course, an absurd environment, and the main source of learning for children, imitation, is being crushed while some of the most beastly childlike tendencies — spite and anger at others’ success and an overwhelmingly selfish desire for all the attention — are nurtured. This is also the environment faced by all inventors, entrepreneurs, creators and businesses in any legal structure that enforces IP laws.
Let’s fast-forward a few decades. The IP-conscious parent gets a call from their grown-up child complaining about how he designed and built a beautiful garden, but the neighbor loved it so much he put in an identical twin next door. The good parent would immediately sympathize with the victimized child and come over with some shovels and firearms and help his son destroy the thieving neighbors’ copycat garden, and demand some payment from the neighbor at gunpoint, to boot.
This is only fair, of course, because this gardening son built the garden for profit, not just pleasure. It was so grand that he planned to sell tickets to people who wished to walk through and enjoy its splendor. How could he do so when the neighbor’s identical garden could be walked through for free?
It seems easy to spot the ridiculous and childish nature of anti-copying arguments in these examples, but there is no significant difference in the real world of IP law. Ideas, unlike physical goods, are not scarce. The neighbor can build his garden without so much as a single fern being removed from the other.
Garden design is an idea. Some argue that it’s not the idea of garden itself that’s being stolen, but the value it could produce. Even in the case of physical goods, no one has a right to a certain market value. If I steal your car, your property rights are violated. If a manufacturer designs a slew of new cars that make yours far less valued in the market, your rights are not violated, because you never had a right to a given resale value.
Many people argue that the real need for IP law arises when we’re talking about companies making multibillion dollar investments in R&D, not merely five-figure gardens. What incentive is there to pursue such costly innovations with no promise of reward for the effort? There are several problems with this analysis. First, even with current IP laws, there is no guarantee of profit. How many billions of R&D dollars are spent on projects that end up yielding no return? Consumers are fickle, and IP doesn’t guarantee they’ll like your product, no matter how much you spend on research.
Second, the massive R&D sticker price is somewhat deceiving. Drug companies, for example, are not spending billions of dollars of the CEO’s money. Instead, they are spending billions of dollars of shareholder money. Most shareholders have shares amounting to thousands, and they have portfolios with money spread across many companies and industries. Even if a $1 billion R&D project is fruitless, the losses are actually not that acute.
But let’s say they are. Let’s pretend a single individual had a great idea and they could devote their entire life and livelihood to developing it. Surely, without the security of IP law, they would have no incentive to do so, right? How do you explain a fashion designer whose every energy goes into designs that can be immediately copied in the IP-free fashion industry? How do you explain football coaches who spend years developing and perfecting new schemes and plays only to have the best of them immediately adopted by inferior coaches across the league?
Do you think the NFL would be more dynamic and innovative if coaches could copyright their plays? What if no one were allowed to use the cover 2 defense except its creator? The spread offense? The I formation?
Thankfully, no such IP laws exist in football. Do you think we’re suffering a lack of innovation for it? Are there innovative coaches sitting on the sidelines with amazingly innovative plays, failing to use them for fear they won’t reap enough reward in a copycat league?
IP law is not necessary to incentivize innovation. There are no guarantees of success or uniqueness in the market, yet entrepreneurs and investors put significant resources into innovation every day, apparently willing to hazard the risk. IP law stifles, rather than encourages, innovation.
Not only is IP unnecessary, it is a holdover from our nursery days before we learned that it’s not OK to be possessive little tyrants who demand no one copy their babbling noises, Lego towers and Crayon scribbles. IP laws are childish and bring out the kind of nasty and immature backbiting that parents work so hard to correct in their kids. Let’s grow up and quit trying to hold back the beauty and dynamism of a world where ideas are free.