Contradictions of Natural Copyright

Timothy Sandefur has a particularly well-written and well-thought-out post on the contradictions of natural copyright.

A copyright is not a right of ownership; it?s a monopoly. It?s a legal right to prohibit another person from doing something?that is, from republishing the thing that you?ve created. The difference between copyright and ownership is the same as the difference between patenting a machine you make and your ownership of the machine you make. Your patent, like your copyright, goes beyond ownership?it allows you to prohibit someone else from making a copy of the machine. In the case of patents, it?s especially strong, because if another person makes your machine?even if he did not know yours existed at all!?you can use the patent to stop him. I invented something once: a paintbrush where the end of the handle was flat like a screwdriver, so that you could use it to pry open paint cans. Turns out it was already patented. I did not steal the idea?indeed, I created it myself every bit as much as the guy who already had patented it. Yet I was not allowed to make it because it would be ?theft??
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Well argued. Genuine

Well argued.

Genuine property rights are based on the scarcity of a given piece of physical property, and the inability of more than one person to occupy the same place at the same time. Community enforcement of such rights is a natural extension of the individual's right to defend his ownership of the property he is occupying against violent assault.

Where is the "scarcity" in case of a patent? Is there a scarcity of wood, metal, or horse-hair for paintbrushes? And how can you prevent others from duplicating it, with the elements they legitimately own, without calling on the state to invade their property and restrict their freedom?

Intellectual property is theft.