An idea for the moment.

A can of Diet Coke cannot be duplicated like the recording of a song can. This distinction allows a libertarian to become a pirate.

The idea of what constitutes “property” is entirely based in the concept of justice and enforcability. Consider three cases:

A vacuum cleaner
A particular vacuum cleaner’s design
The concept of a vacuum cleaner

A vacuum cleaner can be possessed, stolen, and recovered. It is a paradigm case of what can be owned, and the nature of this ownership is clear and understandable.

A car’s design can be patented, but the ownership of this intellectual property is, to some extent, difficult to enforce. The proliferation of vacuum cleaners that look like the Dyson DC25 is a clear indication that, when innovation occurs in an industry, competitors will mimic, approximate, dupicate, or steal these innovations, and will do so in a way that comes as close as they are able without violating copyright and patent law. The question of the aforementioned mimicry is where the argument occurs, but there is no obvious answer that applies to most particular cases as there is in the question of vacuum cleaner ownership and theft. Even where some violation is identifiable, restoration is extremely difficult (if not impossible), and restitution is arranged in its stead.

The very idea of a vacuum cleaner, the idea that air pressure can be manipulated as a means of applying force to objects, is something absurd to claim ownership of, and even if such an assertion could be defended, to enforce or arrange restitution is nearly impossible.

So my question is: Can a consistent political philosophy include a definition of property where a distinction as to what is and is not property rests between the first two cases above?

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