Cory Doctorow recently announced an experiment to prove that giving away free ebooks works. Michael Stackpole responded with a deconstruction of Cory’s experiment. He makes a number of good points about the experiment, though I think he comes off unnecessarily harsh on Cory personally. And one gets the impression that he feels threatened by the growing anti-IP movement. He has his own (antiquated) business model and bottom-line to protect after all, though I applaud him for being a pioneer in experimenting with ebooks and podcasting. One remark of his in particular, in his second blogpost on Cory’s experiment (“What is Cory Doing Right?“), cuts right to the heart of the matter. I left a comment on his blogpost in response but for whatever reason it hasn’t appeared yet and might never appear [Update: must have been stuck in moderator limbo, it finally appeared] , so I’m reproducing it below:
“For some reason folks think it’s okay to say to a creator of intellectual property that the product of our labors should be free; yet they never convincingly press that argument at a farmer’s market.”
This is because intellectual property is not legitimate property, whereas a farmer’s produce is. You might check out the following:
- Stephan Kinsella, “The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide,” Mises Daily (Sept. 4, 2009).
- Stephan Kinsella, Against Intellectual Property, Mises Institute (2008).
- Roderick T. Long, “The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights,” Formulations Vol. 3, No. 1 (Autumn 1995).
- Michelle Boldrin and David K. Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly, Cambridge University Press (2008).