"Value" is a purely subjective human emotion. One man's trash is another man's treasure. This fact makes trade possible and mutually beneficial. When two people voluntarily agree to trade, it means that they value the things traded in reverse order. Both parties expect to derive a benefit of the bargain.
A Poor Argument For IP
proponents of intellectual property have tried to support their
position by noting that IP infringements will tend to reduce the value
of their property. For example, if I created a song, and you made copies
of it without my permission, then my existing copies would be worth
less on the market. Hoppe and others have correctly noted that one
cannot have a property right in the value of a thing.
fact that unauthorized copying might reduce someone's individual
valuation (or the market valuation) of the original is not a valid
argument in favor of IP.
Not an Argument Against IP Either
the subjective nature of value is not an argument against IP either. To
see why, let's apply the same logic to physical property. Making
additional copies of a bicycle will increase the supply, thus reduce the
value of the previously existing bicycles. Does this mean that property
rights in bicycles are invalid? Of course not.
Value = Use
get to the bottom of how subjective valuation correctly applies to
copyright, consider this: value is synonymous with (or very closely
related to) "use". When I use something, I am in that moment deriving
value from it. My value. My subjective value.
people can use the same one thing in two very different ways. For
example, a little toddler will use a pair of baby shoes to protect her
feet while learning to walk. After she's outgrown them, her mother will
use the shoes as a keepsake. Same shoes, different use.
We can see
that "use" is just as subjective as value. Thus, one cannot presume to
know what "using" a thing even means to another.
What Does "Interfere" Mean?
necessity for property rights applies to rivalrous things. Rivalrous
means that use by one interferes with use by another. Clearly, one
cannot presume to know what "use" even means to another person, for
"use" is every bit as subjective as "value". Until we understand what
the individual means by "use", we have no basis whatsoever to form an
opinion as to whether somebody else's use does or does not interfere.