Saturday, February 20, 2016

"Intellectual" "Property" "Rights" Is Not For Jews

The other kids were enjoying the corn dogs, they sure looked tasty, but the mom simply said to her son "They're not for Jews."   End of story.

I so prefer to discuss anything with hard-core whatever, especially religion, because the "radical" (root) followers are the team to beat in a discussion/argument.  Reformed whatever, liberal, whatever just too lite and unsporting to engage them. Right-wing extremism is just as tedious for their earnestness.

Now comes an article, mostly in Hebrew but with enough notes in English to catch the drift, and that is, Judaism has no use for "intellectual" "property" "rights" (IPR).  As one rabbi said long ago - " ‘the rivalry of scholars increases learning’"  With monopoly, as in IPR, there can be no rivalry.

In the English parts below, there are some interesting anti-IPR arguments I had not considered before.  One sees how Rothbard could use his esoteric (Judaism) training to come up with such convincing anti-IPR arguments.

Here are tantalizing notes in English, and I've asked the author if a English translation is coming (some 50 pages total) but have not heard back.  You'll note as in any good argument, both sides are presented, but clearly the tendency is toward freedom and not lockdown.

“As we all know, the Jewish music business has been plagued withunauthorized copies. Many are copying & file swapping etc. Especially lately,with the advent of MP3, where its very easy to transfer many songs in splitseconds. Our livelihoods are at stake. I have been pondering how to tackle thisfor a very long time, & I'm sure everybody else was also thinking, how to stopthis robbery of our livelihoods By the way, I just heard today, that there is ayungerman in Lakewood that transfers songs to IPOD for FREE. When askedwhy, he said that Reb Dovid Cohen says its muttar. Whoever can dosomething about that, should do so ASAP. [...] I recently came across a Seferby the title of Emek Hamishpat Volume 4 ‘Zechuyot Yotzrim’ its a 500 pageSefer detailing all the Shitos concerning copying. Anyway, there is a Nusachin that Sefer, that, according to the Mechaber of that Sefer, Harav YakovAvrohom Cohen, will prohibit copying according to ALL of the Rabbanim”.44ולאור האמור עד ,Kalashnikover_Rebbe על דבריו אלה נכתב הטוקבק הבא בידי המכונהכאן קשה לומר ששאלותיו מופרכות (המילים העבריות והיידישאיות מופיעות בגופן נטוי):“I’m not saying that it is mutar to copy and distribute music, Jewish orotherwise (although I have yet to hear a CONVINCING argument that it isMOMISH assur), but this incessant whining and ‘the sky is falling’ scaretactics does NOT help recruit me to their cause, if anything it has the oppositeeffect [...] Also in terms of this ‘Rental Agreement’ I find it hard that talmeidichachamim came up with it. There are many problems the heart of which itdoes not specify what is being discussed here. What is the ‘property’ involved,is it the actual physical CD, or is it the information on the CD which thenleaves the realm of physical and becomes an intellectual property rights issuewhich is what was so vague in halacha to begin with. If it is a rental of the discmomish (which is the mashmaous of the agreement) for listening purposesonly there are several problems/loopholes:1. The entire distribution network from owner to supplier to individualmerchant to final customer needs to accept this new ‘system’.1b. Inherent in the system is the condition that the item not be transferred toanyone else, or ‘sublet’ so to speak, so how can the stores even sell it to thecustomer. Are they acting as real estate agents for the distributors who areshluchim of the owners who employ the artists? If not the agreement is nulland void from the very start and is little more than a farce to scare frum yiddeninto not copying music.1c. there is a refund clause in the agreement which says that a defectiveproduct will be replaced by ‘the renter’. WHO exactly is the renter? The storewhere I bought it, the distributer? The record label, the artist? All of them?Who is renting this to me exactly?2. According to the rules of the rental, I am not even allowed to use the disc asa coaster or trivet or even sukka decoration and it may be problematic for meto destroy/sell the disc as I do not own it. I find this hard to stomach.3. If the rental agreement is on the physical disc, if I make a copy for personaluse, such as burning a backup CD, ripping it to my iPod, storing it on mycomputer, making a copy for the CD player in the car, etc.. the issur ofcopying would NOT APPLY to the new copy/format of the music as it waslegally made according to the rental agreement, and that agreement applies tothe original item alone.There is more but you get the basic point. If these people want to play halachicgames to ‘protect their parnossa’ we can play them just as well to find ways toget around their ‘thumb raising’ sevoras [...]”.

“It should be made clear once more that even the sources adduced abovewould furnish no firm legal ground for patent-right [...] I may note here that Ihave found nothing in the vast literature of Rabbinic responsa directly bearingupon the question of patent-right”.62

“In the Talmud there is nothing directly referring to a right of this kind[=copyright] [...] it is not quite certain that the ancient teachers would have“but whether this was due to a feeling of opposition : 61 הרצוג, בעמ' 128 . על המקור הראשון הוא העיר.to the hoarding art in general, or rather of sacred art, can hardly be clear at this hour of the day”“however, is hardly an indication of a tendency to discourage patent-rights, for medicine :
אני מדגיש עובדה זו משום שדומה שלפחות אצל אחד הכותבים בני ימינו, .is a means for saving life”המתאמץ להצביע על הכרה ישירה של המשפט העברי בזכויות היוצרים, המקורות שציין הרב הרצוג.23– 52 ; כתר, בעמ' 21 – נהפכו למקורות שאפשר להסתמך עליהם. ראו אישון א', בעמ' 5162 הרצוג, בעמ' 132 (ההדגשה במקור).עמיחי רדזינר קניין רוחני: עיונים בינתחומיים192favoured such protection, for they accorded no protection against competitionto school-masters and scribes of holy scrolls, their motto being kinathsopherim tarbeh hokhmah (Baba Bathra, 21b), ‘the rivalry of scholarsincreases learning’”.63
I find it fascinating how even when people become convinced IPR is unmitigated evil, they still make an exception for medicine.  Clearly special pleading, but the universal brainwashing on this topic is a tribute to what mal-credit can do to an economy, pay to render even the most adept scholars (whoever is making the claim) wired for error.

And the "new capitalism" as outlined in the TPP is upping the ante on the false economy of IPR.
In its revised form, the only criminal provision that a country is exempted from applying in those circumstances is the one to which the footnote is attached—namely, the ex officio action provision. Which means, under this amendment, all of the other criminal procedures and penalties must be available even if the infringement has absolutely no impact on the right holder's ability to exploit their work in the market. The only enforcement provision that countries have the flexibility to withhold in such cases is the authority of state officials to take legal action into their own hands.
Like Ayn Rand, most Americans first support an understanding of IPR that simply is not there in either law or practice, they worship a chimera, and then defend this erroneous conception as existential.  It is funny.

But in Judaism, IPR is a non-starter, it's not for Jews.  Glad to hear of it, something (else?) both Islam and Christianity can learn from their elder brothers.  The sooner the better.

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends.


Anonymous said...

Try copy and pasting the article text in Google Translate:

Machine translation isn't often perfect though.

John Wiley Spiers said...

Thanks for the tip, but with Hebrew all I get is a hash... Hebrew to English... not even problematic English... more transliteration than translation...