Thursday, April 14, 2011

IP Abolitionism; or, JSTOR Can Go Take A Flying Leap

The Four Historical Phases of IP Abolitionism: read all of it, but here's the gold:

"As Roderick Long notes in his 1995 article The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights (one of the first sallies of Phase 4), 'Though never justified, copyright laws have probably not done too much damage to society so far. But in the Computer Age, they are now becoming increasingly costly shackles on human progress.'

"The digital information/Internet age made the problem of IP more obvious and serious, which led to our current modern resurgence of libertarian IP abolitionism, a position which seems to have grown and become dominant in the last 10 years, as [is argued] in The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism.

"The case against IP is today especially clear to Austrian-, anarchist-, and left-libertarians, and has intensified and grown significantly in recent years, and shows no sign of abating. The libertarian IP proponents are on the ropes and dwindling in numbers, or so it seems to me."

I have a beef with the JSTOR database administrators. My institution is a dues-paying participating member. Our students' IT feeds pay for their access to the system. I may research and download articles, as may my students. But Heaven forbid that I actually make one step easier for my students to (within a password-secure environment) access materials to which they already have paid access. So no HTML-converted PDFs for my students; they have to go through the permalinks and re-enter their passwords (again and again), which is a royal pain to my distance-ed students.

Oh well. The Internet is Carl Becker's revenge. Peer-reviewed journals are in ICU already. JSTOR can go take a flying leap.

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