by Stephan Kinsella on May 10, 2011
It is obvious to advocates of liberty that modern communications and technology–cell phones, twitter, texting, video, youtube, email, and the Internet–are crucially important in the fight to delegitimze, expose, and fight against the state. Of course the state always works to hijack and corrupt various institutions and aspects of life in order to increase its control and power. Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in his classic paper Banking, Nation States and International Politics: A Sociological Reconstruction of the Present Economic Order, explains how and why the state insidiously arrogates to itself the control of roads, communications, law and justice, healthcare, money, defense, police, finance and banking, and education.
So it is no surprise that they are coming for the Internet next, under the guise of tax law (it’s “unfair” if Amazon doesn’t pay the sales taxes that brick-and-mortar shops are forced to), prohibitions on gambling and child porn, and, of course, copyright and “piracy.” The latter is probably the biggest threat to Internet freedom, as can be seen in this chilling article: The Pirate Bay: “The Battle of Internets is About to Begin”. The Internet must remain free and unregulated. If Internet freedom disappears, we will lose one of our most crucial weapons against the state. And it will have been because of copyright law, the fascist nature of which is becoming increasingly obvious to all libertarians except for the most stubborn pro-IP holdouts.
I used to think IP was bad, but way down on the list of priorities. But since 1995 or so (see my The Four Historical Phases of IP Abolitionism), IP’s abuses have increased and become more visible. IP does not include only patent and copyright and the other classical and modern forms of IP (trademark, trade secret, semiconductor maskwork, etc.). It also includes defamation law/reputation rights, which, like copyright, also censors speech, and one can even view other statist policies as variants of or close cousins to IP law–such as the state’s prohibition on counterfeiting its fiat currency (this is copyright like in that the state claims the right to make these copies but no one else), and even the drug war (the state can produce drugs or authorize people to do so, etc.). So at this point I’d have to put the state’s insidious and increasingly draconian and outrageous IP policies just behind the other obvious state evils: war, income tax, central banking/fiat money, drug war/police state, and government schools.