Intellectual Property : Control and Property

Several IP advocates have asserted that one's complete control is an essential feature of property.

Contradictory Assertion

This conception however contradicts the ways in which Propertarians treat property, ownership, titles, and theft. While control may assist in determining a property right, control is certainly not the only source or indicator of who the 'rightful' owner is. If a 'thief' acquire property against an owners consent, perhaps means of through stealth, coercion, duress, or false pretenses, most Propertarians consider the rightful title to be of the original owner, and not the thief who currently possesses and control the subject of ownership.

Property is Normative

Further, this concept misunderstands the very nature of property. Property is a normative concept, not a descriptive concept. If property were descriptive, then discussing ownership, rightful ownership, or property systems would be entirely irrelevant, and instead one should be using a phrase like "possession" rather than "property" to describe a normative, legal, ethical, or ought-case.

Intangible Property Control

Intangible entities can be controlled, though the obligation for securing that is primarily on those who seek that security. The types of control, security, and enforcement mechanism are highly dependent on the type of intangible-entity under consideration. For more reading about IP control which does not depend on a monopoly government, continue reading "I.P. Without the State".

Independent Creation?

The author cannot speak for all possible intangible ownership norms, however recognizes that a balanced or libertarian styled intangible property norms would only imply ownership over what one produces.1 In order for that ownership to be violated, a person must somehow use or interact with that owned-intangible. If one does independently create, without in any way using or violating said owned-property, even if the finished result appears identical, the ownership of the 'first' creator does not include the invention of the second creator.

Due to issues of practicality, the author recognizes that 'ideas' and non-unique concepts are generally unlikely and unproductive to treat as an owned exclusive intangible, and that demonstrating violation would be difficult to impossible - and as such, exclusive ownership over intangible-entities that may be independent-invented may not be commonly granted, respected, or enforced.

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