Ideas Are Not Property, On Dismantling IP

This was originally posted on Porcupine Musings.

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously this past week that human genes may not be patented. That was a good decision. However those in support of this ruling are by and large hypocrites. They vociferously decried the negative consequences of upholding such patents (limiting research, higher costs, limited choice) but then fail to acknowledge these same deleterious consequences occur for ALL patents. It’s not like these bad things don’t occur for “legitimate” patents but do occur for “illegitimate” ones. Patents are the problem, not their “legitimacy.”

So what are patents (and copyright) (aka Intellectual Property or IP)? Quite simply they are a state granted monopoly for a fixed period of time during which the presumed creator has an exclusive right to do with their creations as they see fit. The hope is that in providing, as a reward, a period of monopolous profits such entities will be incentivized to expend resources in creation and thereby benefit mankind. This unquestioningly presumes that risk should be subsidized by the state. [Read more...]

Supreme Court Rebukes EPA In Landmark Property Rights Case

Property rights in America are sinking to the bottom of a regulatory swamp. The biggest threat to property rights is unchallenged bureaucratic decisions that command property owners to do the bidding of the EPA while not allowing those citizens the opportunity to be heard.

One couple caught in this legal quagmire is Mike and Chantell Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, where they bought property in 2008 to build the home of their dreams. They secured all of the necessary permits and began work to fill the land and to prepare the site for the construction of their lake home. But three days after they began work a group of EPA wetland cops made a visit and in no uncertain terms ordered the Sacketts to cease and desist their activities.

Obviously, the Sacketts were taken aback by the EPA command. To complicate matters EPA’s own National Wetlands Inventory did not include the Sackett property as a wetland. To that, the EPA officials only shrugged and said that makes no difference: your property is still a wetland.

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