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Ask HN: Anyone researching a peaceful abolition of copyrights and patents?
12 points by breck 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments
Nearly twenty years ago I started reading things from people who were saying we need to abolish copyright and patent systems or society could get a lot worse.

The bad news is I think a lot of the predictions from two decades ago have come true.

The good news is I think there is a lot more data and a small but growing number of people to start taking up this cause in a serious way.

I haven't read too much on how the USA could go about peacefully abolishing copyrights and patents and transitioning to a world where every child has access to the world's best information, regardless of where they were born.

As much as the vengeful side of me would like to see people like the RIAA punished, I really could care less if we came to some type of last payoff to the #ImaginaryPropertyRegime, because I think when we get rid of #ImaginaryProperty we will see an economic miracle perhaps unlike any other, so giving people in that industry some type of small parachute I'd be fine with.

I'm looking to fund/support serious researchers in the policy world who are studying this.

Anyone know of any?

I'm looking to give out unrestricted grants between $1,000 and $25,000, though I will ask for an email in writing that the researcher will make their outputs available on GitHub or GitLab in the public domain.

Email is in profile if you are interested or know of someone who would be.






I can't remember names offhand, but there are economics research papers arguing that reward competitions are better economically than patents etc. I think some of them appeared in PNAS for example.

Patent system is a religion, it is easy to abolish, as any cult. It just has captured politicians and the microphone who "believe" in it.

There was a book written by an american who researched the justification for the patent system. I will try to find the title.

I am not sure how, although I agree to abolish copyright and patents; copyright and patents are bad idea.

(Note: I live in Canada.)



I've supported EFF as long as I can remember, but I don't think they will ever come out and say it—we need to #AbolishCopyright and #AbolishPatents. Reform is impossible. The systems are fundamentally bad and unjust. Some people might say "but our founding fathers legalized it!", yes, but they also legalized human slavery and didn't allow women to vote. I don't think #ImaginaryPropertyLaws were nearly as big a problem as they are today. It's only thanks to the Internet and computing that the opportunity cost of #ImaginaryPropertyLaws has grown to catastrophic size.

EFF I think has a broader mandate and I can't blame them for not taking the correct position on this issue. It's a huge issue and they have a big portfolio already.

If a group of people at EFF splintered off to found a new non-profit dedicated solely to #AbolishingCopyright and #AbolishingPatents, I would support and donate to that.



Yeah, and I think that's a step in the right direction, but not far enough. We need to #AbolishPatents, no qualifiers.

Software patents are stupid too but the truly grotesque patents are in medicine. Nothing is more responsible for the opioid epidemic than the billions in incentives Purdue had to patent and then falsely market Oxycontin. Check out the docs from 1996, patents were the key to their business model. If they had no patents there would have been no incentive for them to get millions addicted to a harmful drug. Patents created monopoly profits and brought out the worst in human behavior.


GSK was the company buying the influence of Mr Cameron to remove the CJEU out of patent law in the UPC project, and software patents in particular.

A person in the room said "the enemy of the software industry is now BigPharma"


Read into Georgism, I think that those communities might interest you

Thank you. You are not the first to mention Georgism to me, so I think there is something there and I am reading more and more about it, however I think I may be a bit too old for that and that might be even further ahead of my time.

Another person talked to me about some type of new type of currency system, even further ahead of crypto, but again, probably too far ahead of my time. Each generation has their cause.

I'm actually a strong proponent of real property rights. I think a legal assignment of responsibility over atoms is a good engineering solution to the problem of scarcity. My issue is just with "Intellectual Property" laws, which any 10 year old can quickly figure out is a complete oxymoron (You *cannot* have property laws and copyrights/patents—they are completely contradictory).

When I talk to some younger folks about bigger new economic ideas, I do recognize that those things could be much more important, but frankly I'm much better geared at this point to try and tackle the #ImaginaryProperty problem (having worked on this for ~ 2 decades), and hopefully that will make things a bit better for the next generation, and then I'm hopeful the next generation will work on fixing the biggest inequities that are facing them, as countless generations before me have done.


I expect that the interesting intersection for you will be the generalised position on abolition of monopolies. As copyrights and patents are monopolies on intellectual property, landownership is a monopoly on land. That the vocabulary, arguments, and culture around Georgism even without adopting policy on property monopolies, could be useful. Even though, I tend to like the land Monopoly policies in georgeism, I don't know if there is much value in being a purist in any ideology.

That being said, the hacker in me is always trying to take an ideology and figure out how to break it. I imagine that that is a dominant philosophy in communities like this.


Another place might be interesting is looking into "pirate party" organizations. Pirate party movements try to enforce natural economic restrictions on property. If it can be digitalized and distributed, then old market rules of supply and demand no longer apply. Pirate party groups aim to move towards market cost that reflects real-world restrictions of the market

Great idea! If anyone knows of any particularly great organizers in the Pirate Party, please let me know!

I know that one of the hosts of SrslyWrong used to be part of the Canadian pirate party. I love the content they put out, I do not know how involved they still are.



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