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Intellectual Property Does Not Protect Creative Rights

mises.ca / FEE.org / AUGUST 4, 2017

The phrase “creative rights” is one of the great misnomers. No one can take from you the right to be creative, and that right certainly isn’t granted by some government office. And yet, the phrase is commonly invoked as a synonym for “intellectual property,” laws, which are laws that actually stop creative people from freely marketing the products of their labor.

Once you realize that “intellectual property” laws are completely unnecessary, there is no going back. You see that innovation happens despite them, not because of them. You see that they actually slow down innovation by inhibiting information flows and stifling competition with government grants of monopoly privilege.You see just how artificial they are too, imposing scarcity where it need not be. Shared information is essential to the market economy; IP is a fundamental attack on sharing and hence on the well functioning of economic life.

All of this seems obvious once you see it but people still resist. Why do people continue to support “intellectual property” despite all the evidence that it is not necessary and actually fails in the same way as other forms of mercantilism? It’s a hard topic that requires a lot of thought.

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