Free Markets, Monopolies, and Copyright
Phoenix Center Perspectives No. 14-04
12 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2016
Date Written: June 25, 2014
I present a brief argument against both the use of the “monopoly” terminology for copyright and the related claim that copyright is incompatible with laissez-faire capitalism. To do so, I appeal to authority by looking at the writings of arguably the three most respected and vocal advocates for laissez-faire economics — Ludwig von Mises (mentor of Friedrich Hayek), Milton Friedman, and philosopher Ayn Rand. Given the work of these three, and some modern documents on the issue related to the “monopoly” lingo, I conclude that the arguments that copyright is inconsistent with laissez-faire capitalism and constitutes a “monopoly” are exceedingly difficult positions to defend. As such, the keys to intellectual debate surrounding copyright do not lie in such arguments, but rather rest in a detailed, rational analysis of the trade-offs inherent in specific proposals.
Keywords: Copyright, Free Markets, Laissez Faire, Von Mises, Ayn Rand
JEL Classification: Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation