Rivalrous vs. Non-Rivalrous

if i steal your copy you don't have it any more / if i make a new copy we both have one / if you compete with my monopoly i don't have it anymore

11 comments to Rivalrous vs. Non-Rivalrous

  • […] is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at Mimi and Eunice » IP. View original post. Nina Paley is a creative artist and anti-copyright innovator. She is the creator of the animated […]

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  • […] I failed to respond here, but should have: water is rivalrous, culture is non-rivalrous. Comparing culture to aquifiers is the whole problem. If you divert the river, my village doesn’t […]

  • Nina, bear in mind that the act of physically seizing the CD is unethical in both cases – irrespective of whether a new copy is produced or the stolen copy is returned.

    People are naturally at liberty to produce copies of their own, legitimate possessions – not to burgle or steal from others in order to do so.

    If you have bought a CD or been given one then you are naturally at liberty to produce as many copies of your own property as you wish. This liberty is what copyright is supposed to suspend.

    Even without copyright people still have no liberty to pick each others pockets or snatch people’s possessions from their hands, even if they return what they’ve copied afterwards.

    The ‘you still have a copy’ aphorism is facile.

  • S

    Fitch, taking the cartoon that literally is completely antithetical to the underlying point it’s making. Please think your comments out more clearly before posting them.

  • Kid


    It’s not about taking the comic “that literally”. A great many intellectual property abolitionists DO agree that you should be allowed to copy what you do not own. Which is nonsense.

    If you give me a copy of your CD, or you sell me a copy of your CD, you transfer ownership of that copy to me. It is then mine do with as I wish, including copying. That follows the logic of property as we have known it for thousands of years.

    Copyright and patent are called “intellectual property”, but they don’t follow the logic of property. Under copyright, when you sell me your CD, you retain at least partial ownership of it, allowing you to place restrictions on various uses I could make of it. The “sell but retain ownership” is what makes copyright so evil, not ownership in ideas per se.

    You should not be allowed to copy what you do not own. I’d call that stealing just the same.

  • A great many intellectual property abolitionists DO agree that you should be allowed to copy what you do not own. Which is nonsense.

    How would this apply to photographing a billboard I see by the highway? I don’t own it, but I just copied it.

  • The natural right concerned is privacy – the physical boundary of the spaces and objects you occupy, inhabit and can secure.

    A billboard’s image is not private, but public to you (has to be, else you not see it) thus you are naturally at liberty to copy what you can see. The billboard’s material may well be private and so you can’t access it to touch it or remove it.

    Only the privilege of copyright created in 1709 interferes with what you’d be able to do naturally (it annuls your natural right to copy).

    If someone had a painting in their cellar you’d have to burgle them in order to make and remove a copy of it, thus violating their right to privacy. IP nihilists (unlike IP naturalists) say that all the burglar would have done is trespass, that the removal of a copy of the painting is insignificant. I’d say it was theft of intellectual property.

    And so you should be able to work out the difference between the injustice of copyright that says you can’t make copies of what you own (even in the privacy of your own home) without the approval of a copyright holder (not necessarily the author or artist), and the justice of protecting an individual’s privacy, their natural exclusive right to the intellectual works in their possession.

  • […] las sindes, los hijos de perra (Neruda dixit, ojo, que no sólo ellos saben leer). Desde luego, el artista capta el espíritu de todos ellos como si de un maestro cualquiera de la vieja Florencia se tratase. […]

  • peperren

    Imagine the same drawing saying: if you give me a copy of the master of your recording, we both have two copies of the master, and the artist finally answering: You haven’t worked, neither invested in this master!

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