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How Intellectual Property Rights Address Economic 'Scarcity'

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CoreyBaum

CoreyBaum

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In their attacks on the validity of patents and copyrights, Rothbardian anarchist libertarians and even the Chicago school of economics claim that such IP rights are invalid because private property rights only apply to resources that are tangible and therefore "scarce," scarce" meaning that there is a finite number of units of that resource on the market at any given time. Since intellectual property is intangible, they claim, patents and copyrights protect creations that are not "scarce."  Such an argument on the part of IP's opponents overlook that what IP protects are specific original designs, that scare resources must be inputted to create such original designs at a cost to the inventor or artist, and thus such original designs as no less scarce than the resources inputted to create them. The following 3 myths shall be rebutted:

1. "IP is a claim of ownership over a general category of product, and patents are a government-enforced monopoly over a whole industry."

2. "Multiple parties working independently of one another can, without knowing of each other, arrive at the exact same invention at the exact same time. But only one of these parties will win the patent; the others are forbidden from producing units of their own independent invention."

3. "Private property rights only properly apply to goods that are tangible and therefore 'scarce.' IP being intangible precludes it from being legitimate private property."

Prepare for the truth.

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