A Brief Note on Ad Hominem Attacks on the TLF

by on May 8, 2007

Crosbie Fitch, Scott Carpenter & Enigma_Foundry.. I don’t know exactly what it is you have against open debate about IP issues, but as someone who both works at PFF and who gave birth to this blog many years ago while at the Cato Institute, let me at least try to briefly dissuade you (and others) of any nonsensical notion that there is some sort of grand conspiracy going on here by PFF / IP Central people to control the Tech Liberation Front.

First, if you’d bother reading the “About Us” note at the top of the TLF, you’d notice that this blog is not a one-man or one-issue show. It’s intended to be a clearinghouse of ideas to give the world a flavor for what various libertarians in a wide assortment of think tanks are thinking and saying about technology policy.

Second, libertarians have deep differences over copyright policy. Obviously, Tim Lee and Solveig Singleton stand on opposite ends of the spectrum. I’m somewhere in between. And everyone else who contributes to this blog has his or her own opinion. As I wrote in a 2002 Cato Institute book I edited on this subject (“CopyFights”), there is no clear “libertarian position” on copyright and IP matters. The movement is all over the board on the issue and this blog features contributions that reflect that intellectual schizophrenia.

Third, I would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from engaging in vicious personal attacks against those who contribute their views on these matters. Despite the alleged, neo-conspiratorial “strange web” you guys speak of between the TLF and PFF, the reality is that PFF has no control over the TLF. Zero. Zip. Nothing. Nadda. Every scholar and commenter is free to post whatever they want here. Tim’s view’s on copyright, DRM, and DMCA certainly dominate here because he writes the most on the issue and he is the most aggressive of all our bloggers. Nothing that Tim says on the matter is ever edited or censored in any fashion. Nor are the comments you guys and many others make edited or excluded. Then again, neither are the opposing views of Solveig or anyone else. Do you think we’d be better off stifling all debate on this issue and telling Solveig or others with conflicting views to go buzz off? Why can’t we debate these things here on the TLF in a mature, adult fashion?

I hope you guys (and others) will take what I have said seriously because we certainly welcome your contributions to the TLF, but I would hope those contributions would not be done in such poor taste in the future.

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