Another Consistent Anti-Monopolist

Another Consistent Anti-Monopolist.

Friend Tucker:

I feel like thanking you for your persistent fight against numerical odds, on the patent, copyright, question. Would have offered my feeble lance (pen) to assist you; but that I saw it was occupying space to the exclusion from Liberty’s usual bill of fare of much spicy and interesting matter. But comrade Lloyd comes gallantly to your side, and, it seems to me, to the utter rout of the opposing champions.

Your illustrations might be carried to any extent. If the inventor of the revolving millstone had perpetual property in his applied discovery, all the world would now be tributary to his posterity. The same would be true of the man who made the first application of clothing; so that indeed the right to do the slightest thing would depend, as Mr. Bilgram seems to imagine it now does, on getting someone’s permission; and the man could do nothing till he had first obtained the assent of the one authorized by the collectivity to grant it. Some one might prove that it was his ancestor who had first drawn breath, and so no one be allowed the right to imitate him, without paying a royalty.

I think an author who made authorship a profession would be compensated for the extensive free publication of his earlier works by the increased demand for future contributions from his pen, and which he would be able to hold as private property, until his publishers, or the general public, had agreed to pay his price for them. Doubtless the unlicensed publication of Spencer’s Social Statics, in this country, accounts, in a degree, for the extent to which his partially authorized editions of later works have here been circulated and read.

The author has always the power to enforce his normal right of ownership by requiring that his book be published by subscription, a method which is still resorted to under legal copyright.

Anent the Mutual Bank: I hope to be able to understand it, when it is put in operation; but am unable now to see how credit based on a legalized monopoly can benefit such as have no interest in the monopoly or save them from rent, tariff, and patent right tax. Yes! I knew you meant the single-tax men; but some might think you classed all land reformers together. Really, I think the mutual bank would be likely to remove land monopoly sooner than George’s tax.

J. K. Ingalls

Glenora, N. Y., February 12, 1891.

This article is part of a debate: Property in Ideas.