I don't consider myself to be a libertarian, though I tend to agree with libertarians on many policy issues (to be clear: I don't consider myself anything
politically -- not even the dreaded "independent"). However, the split among libertarians over intellectual property rights fascinates me. There is a large group of libertarians who are against intellectual property rights (or, at least in favor of weakening them drastically). And then there's another camp that are very much in favor of intellectual property rights (and for making them much stronger). It's one issue where there's a huge split. The reasoning is pretty straightforward. Libertarians are big property rights supporters. Those who think IP is real property tend to be supporters of the system. Those who realize it's not at all like regular property have problems with the system. See Stephen Kinsella's presentation
for a good overview on why intellectual property, such as patents and copyright, does not seem to match up with libertarian philosophy.
However, don't tell that to the guy running on the Libertarian Party ticket for the Vice President slot, Wayne Root. Tim Lee
points out that Root appears to be your garden variety patent hoarder who has been successfully forcing a bunch of online sports betting websites to pay up
over a patent
that seems to very broadly cover an online prediction market (a concept that has been both talked about and been around for quite some time). Not that the party has even the slightest chance of getting anywhere, but I guess it's safe to assume that the Libertarian Party's platform won't have much about patent system reform this year.