What started as a seemingly innocent argument over the control of the domain name ronpaul.com is turning out to be one of the best dramas the liberty movement has seen since Jesse Benton screwed over his grandfather-in-law last year. Lew Rockwell, a personal friend of Ron Paul and a champion of anarcho-capitalism, came to the Paul’s defense by claiming that Paul is legitimately using the mechanism put forth by the private Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and therefore is in the right. What is yet to be seen is Rockwell’s justification for considering ICANN, a government create corporation, legitimate while he considers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two other government created organizations, illegitimate, and fascist, creations. Either way Lew Rockwell’s post has lead the owners of RonPaul.com to believe Lew Rockwell is actually behind the attempted seizure of their domain. I expect the plot to thicken over the next week or so.
Through all of this drama I’ve found one summary that explains the entire situation succinctly:
So, we must ask what it means to “own” your name. Can “the” Ron Paul use his name to identify himself? Certainly. No one has interfered with that.
Can “the” Ron Paul control the use of his name so that others may not use it? Certainly not! Ron Paul has no right to tell other parents surnamed Paul that they may not name their child “Ron.” And he has no right to sue the other 100+ Ron Pauls in the United States, telling them that they may not use that name.
Here in a nutshell is the distinction between “use” and “control,” a distinction which many “intellectual property” advocates tend to blur. Ron Paul owns his name in the sense that he may use it as he sees fit — for his medical practice, for his political campaigns, or even to market the Ron Paul Supercharged Dildo if that is his fancy. And no other Ron Paul has the right to stop him, as embarassing as it might be for them.
McElroy’s use of the term Ron Paul Supercharged Dildo ended this argument and, quite successfully, destroyed any argument that Ron Paul has a legitimate monopoly claim to his name.