Norman (N.) Stephan Kinsella (born 1965) is an American intellectual property lawyer and libertarian legal theorist. His electronically-published works are primarily published on his blog and websites associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute and anarcho-capitalist organizations.
Born in Prairieville, Louisiana, he attended Louisiana State University where he earned Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in electrical engineering, and a Juris Doctor (JD) from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center. He also obtained an LL.M. at the University of London. Kinsella is general counsel of Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. of Sugar Land, Texas.
A practicing intellectual property attorney and former adjunct professor of law at South Texas College of Law, where he taught computer law, Kinsella is actively involved with libertarian legal and political theory, and is adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute as well as the former Book Review Editor for the Institute's Journal of Libertarian Studies. He is also a contributor to the news and opinion blog LewRockwell.com.
Kinsella's legal publications include books and articles about patent law, contract law, e-commerce law, international law and other topics. Kinsella has also published and lectured on a variety of libertarian topics, often combining libertarian and legal analysis. Kinsella's views on contract theory, causation and the law, intellectual property, and rights theory (in particular his estoppel theory) are his main contributions to libertarian theory.
In contract theory, he extends Murray Rothbard's and Williamson Evers's title transfer theory of contract linking it with inalienability theory while also attempting to clarify that theory.
Title-transfer theory of contract Kinsella sets forth a theory of causation that attempts to explain why remote actors can be liable under libertarian theory. He gives non-utilitarian arguments for intellectual property being incompatible with libertarian property rights principles. He advances a discourse ethics argument for the justification of individual rights, using an extension of the concept of estoppel.
- KinsellaLaw, Stephan Kinsella's legal website
- StephanKinsella.com, Stephan Kinsella's libertarian website
- List of publications
- Archive of Kinsella commentary from LewRockwell.com
- Symposium: "Do patents and copyrights undermine private property?" Ilana Mercer, Stephan Kinsella, and James DeLong. Insight Magazine. 21 May 2001.
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