An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr Bezos,

Thank you for your email of today’s date asking for assistance in your conflict with Hachette. I hope this letter helps.

All human conflict can be solved by strict observance of private property rights. Here is the recipe to follow:

1. Every person is the private owner of his own physical body.

2. Every person is the private owner of all nature-given goods that he has perceived as scarce and put to use by means of his body before any other person.

3. Every person who, using his property above, produces new products becomes the private owner of these products provided that, in the process of production, he does not physically damage the body or goods owned by another person.

4. Once a good has been first appropriated or produced, subsequent ownership in it can be acquired only by means of a voluntary transfer of its property title.

As the owner of the scarce private property known as, you should have the exclusive right to control what products you list for sale and at what prices. Such rights may be restricted by the terms of a contract you voluntarily agreed to with a vendor like Hachette.

For its part, Hachette is the owner of its own scarce private property like its paper book inventory, plant, property and equipment. They should have the right to have conversations, collude and to make voluntary agreements with any party they choose including competitors. I strongly object to your suggestion that they be denied this right of association because the government, who ironically obtains all of its resources by the means of legalized theft (eg. taxes and currency debasement), has called collusion illegal.

I further strongly object to Hachette relying on government intellectual monopoly laws that claim ideas, inventions, songs and stories are scarce goods and are a category of private property. Ideas are not property. Unlike the scarce web address, for example, a hundred people can use the children’s story I wrote at the same time without taking the idea away from me in the slightest. Accordingly, in my opinion, or anyone else should be able to distribute ebooks, digital music and any other non-scarce good for whatever cheap price they choose. Authors may wish to supplement their lost royalties by keeping their day jobs rather than cheering for the imprisonment of copyright freedom fighters.

Yours truly,

Arthur Krolman

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