This is a response to "In defense of intellectual property
laws" by smartalix, who argues that intellectual property laws are necessary for authors of material that is easily copied to make a living. The problem with this is that lots of people make money producing pornography even though intellectual property rights are not enforced for that kind of material. Also, European authors, like Charles Dickens
, ended up making more money from selling books in America when intellectual property wasn't policed than they did selling books in Europe, where
IP existed. Whats actually happening is that people who distribute cheap copies of your work are advertising the author. Its counter-intuitive, but the people who copy your work and distribute it to other people are more useful to the author than are the people who paid you to produce it. That people are aware of your work is critical to an authors success. If enough people are aware of an author's work, then only a tiny fraction of people who have a copy of your work need to pay the author in order to make a living. And enough people will be paying you for it. Since the quality of the copy is guaranteed when its bought from the author. That's really important to some people. But the big money comes from the next book or episode that you produce. A lot of people can't stand to wait even a day for something they want. They'll pay to get it first. So that's the argument that IP isn't necessary.
But the case against IP is not simply that it is really expensive to enforce. IP slows the dissemination of new technologies and drugs and stifles innovation. Jonathon Hornblower would likely disagree with you that intellectual property helps new authors and inventors to profit from their work. James Watt, who was awarded one of the first patents for inventing the steam engine, argued that Jonathon Hornblower's independently designed and superior steam engine infringed the Watt patent. The legal battle destroyed Hornblower. The problem is that established firms can exploit the complexity of IP to prevent new inventors and authors from profiting from their work. So IP laws are not only not necessary for people to profit from their original work, but actually make it harder for a new inventor to win market share from an established firm.