How many unthoughtful Libertarians does it take before it’s realized that an infinite multiplication of personal rights without government to balance competing interests and assure the enforcement of rights only guarantees a return to the Hobbesian State of Nature?
Quo usque tandem abutere nostra patientia … ?
Libertarians seem particularly fond of defending an untrammeled right to property, but their fondness for the idea of property stops short of intellectual property in the form of copyright, trademark, and patent rights.
I suspect that more than a few law professors would go screaming nuts (right to their local police station), if I parked my RV in their backyard and started inviting a few friends over to enjoy the view, even if it’s just to share a bit of the prof’s organically grown, backyard reefer. Libertarian law professors are fond of real property and the right to grow reefer in their backyards. Nevertheless, they get damn ornery when someone’s trying to protect his intellectual property, say a copyright.
What happens when you try to protect your copyright in a written work or photograph on the Internet? You send a Takedown Notice to the website owner, his ISP, and the search engines, e.g., Google and Yahoo. And in accordance with Federal Law (the DMCA), the objectionable material is removed from the website, ISP, and the search engines; yet not without consequences to you, the copyright holder. For example, Google on its DMCA page states:
Please note that a copy of each legal notice we receive is sent to a third-party partner for publication and annotation. As such, your letter (with your personal information removed) will be forwarded to Chilling Effects (http://www.chillingeffects.org) for publication.
And publication of your Takedown Notice by Chilling Effects, operated by libertarian law professor Pamela Samuelson at Boalt Hall, the law school at University of California, Berkeley, brands you an enemy of 1st Amendment freedom of speech! In other words, if you assert your rights, Pamela Samuelson and her crew of idealistic student volunteers at Chilling Effects are guaranteed to retaliate. Rights without freedom from vicious retaliation in the public media by an organ of the legal establishment (Boalt Hall) are not rights.