Scott Adams' Pointy Haired Views On Copyright

from the whose-cognitive-dissonance-was-that? dept

I've been quite busy lately and haven't had a chance to get much work done on the latest post about economics in the absence of scarcity, but it seems like Dilbert creator Scott Adams has picked up on a piece of the topic. dcm writes in to let us know: "Sounds like Adams has been reading your blog. He mentions a few reoccurring themes from your many entries, but comes to the opposite conclusions. Being a copyright owner, he sees it from a different perspective. I don't think I suffer from cognitive dissonance as he says, but that maybe that is the cognitive dissonance speaking. What do you think?"

It's an interesting read, and his description of the position statement of those who don't believe copyright infringement is the equivalent of stealing is almost word for word along the lines of what we generally say. However, where Adams gets confused is when he gets down into analogy land. He uses an argument about borrowing someone's underwear, cleaning it and putting it back -- but that's a bad example and not at all analogous. Also, the use of underwear and the idea of wearing someone else's is designed to make people react emotionally, not logically. The problem is that the analogy isn't at all valid, since the underwear is a scarce good -- and even if someone else takes it and cleans it, wearing it has a real "cost" to the original owner. The underwear is worn down slightly, the owner cannot wear it at the same time if he wanted to and there is, of course, that emotional cost of knowing someone else is wearing your underwear. However, a much more analogous situation is that someone learns that you wear one kind of underwear and makes a similar pair for themselves. In fact, to make it even more analogous, say that someone has created a special replicating machine that allows you to replicate the style of anyone's underwear that you like. That's what's happening. Suddenly, it doesn't seem nearly as bad.

The bigger problem with Adams' essay, however, is that he seems confused about how markets work. He complains that the "loss" created by infringement is the creator's right to control how a work is marketed. Unfortunately, there is no such right. If I build a chair and someone buys it, then they can then market it however they want. The creator doesn't retain control. Or, if you want to get even more specific, if I build a chair and someone else likes it and builds their own similar chair, again they can market it however they want. In fact, as we were just discussing, this is pretty much how the fashion industry works -- and it's working out quite well there, creating all sorts of incentives for continual growth, creativity and innovation. Once a product is out in the market, the original creator no longer gets to keep control over it.

Finally, it's quite weak of Adams to then pick some very poorly thought out defenses of copyright infringement and use that as evidence that everyone who disagrees with copyright policy has cognitive dissonance on the issue. It's a blanket way of brushing off all criticism without addressing the actual points. All in all, Scott Adams is an intelligent and thoughtful guy -- so it's too bad that his argument on this particular topic wasn't more compelling.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Chair man, Apr 16th, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    one question.... can i therefore replicate a chair that i have and sell it for profit...

    if so then why cant i replicate somthing like a cd and sell it for profit...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2007 @ 11:54pm

    Those who live in glass houses.

    You criticize Adams for using an emotional argument with the underwear analogy and yet you belittle his arguments by saying that he is "confused" by this and "confused" by that.

     

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    Andy, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 12:16am

    compete with free and immediate

    Adams says you can't compete with free and immediate. One way to complete against free and immediate is by being free, immediate and authoritative.

    Open source projects compete on (at least) these three aspects all the time. If an authoritative project isn't free or has slow development, one will pop up that is immediate (or at least faster release cycle) or free. If there are numerous forks that are equal in freedom, price, and development speed, causing market confusion, one will, eventually, rise up and be authoritative (usually though increased marketing or developer mindshare).

    Usually, being authoritative isn't even something you can obtain easily. It has to do with brand recognition, track record/history, and consumer adoption.

    I wonder how many more sales of the print version of Adams' book (to use one of his examples) would result by actually _undercutting_ free and immediate by putting the book up, for free, on his website when or before it's published and providing a link right next to it that says 'buy the print version now!'. As the creator and copyright owner, he's effectively the only one that can do that.

     

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    Joshua, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 12:22am

    Re: Those who live in glass houses.

    Would it have been better to just come out and say "Scott Adams was wrong about this"?

    Saying he is wrong implies that he was incapable of generating the correct answer, which I am told can be insulting (I personally don't understand why that would be insulting).

    While saying he is confused implies that he overlooked some aspect of the issue and just has not yet figured it out.

    Which is worse? Being told you had all of the information and were still wrong or being told that you just don't seem able to grasp the issue? Either way it will seem insulting and emotionally based to *someone* out there.

    Is there a way to say that someone is wrong politely?

     

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    Dale Flannery, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 12:33am

    Get a life

    Scott is just a shit-stirrer who likes to inflame passions and stand back to watch the conflagration. And he has sound business reasons for doing so. So, since you are not a reader of the dilbert blog, like dcm is, you swallowed his bait, hook line and sinker.

     

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    Isotopian, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 12:38am

    Scott Adams

    Is a trained hypnotist, after all. He likes to use subliminal effects and hypnotic induction in his writing. It's actually quite tricky if you know to look for it.

     

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    Rick, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 12:40am

    Why do you have to be 'polite' to tell someone they are wrong?

    If someone is unable to deal with criticism - harsh, constructive or otherwise, they need to move back in with their mommies and grow up.

    It's become far too politically correct to not offend anyone, which in turn limits our abilities and options. Life is not about limits and tip toeing around issues so nobody gets offended - especially when they are wrong.

     

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    Dennis, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 12:55am

    “I agree with your analysis of your hallucinatio

    Scott Adams does not put forth what he believes on his blogs (in general). He puts for thought experiments and asks what you think of them. He enjoys reading the responses, especially the ones by people who totally misrepresent what he said or what he believes. From his blog a few days later:

    "
    My New Favorite Response

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people, if not most, have sharp disagreements with what they hallucinate to be my opinions.
    ...
    Anyway, I’m trying out my new favorite response to the people who get angry over their hallucinations of my opinions:

    'I agree with your analysis of your hallucination.'"

    As has already been said, he likes to stir up shit. He also likes to stir up peoples minds and he enjoys seeing what comes out afterwards.

    The reason I enjoy reading his blog is that he doesn't make an argument to be right, but to see what comes out of it. It's fun. Sometimes it gives you a new perspective on things. But to take it as a serious analysis is to miss the point completely. I found the Techdirt analysis of his idea (not his belief necessarily) informative and thought provoking.

    Interestingly, your chair example holds up only if you don't agree not to resell that chair by contract--just as with a software license. Of course, no one would buy a chair with that condition and they would rightly be shocked at the idea. Which shows how out of sync with the rest of the market copyright is.

     

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    Geeb, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:17am

    Kinda missing his point...

    ...The underwear is worn down slightly, the owner cannot wear it at the same time if he wanted to and there is, of course, that emotional cost of knowing someone else is wearing your underwear...


    This is a pretty weak criticism of Scott Adams' argument. He set up the original analogy to make it clear that the owner hasn't been inconvenienced (presumably he was wearing other underwear at the time), and the degree of erosion the fabric would suffer is so trivial as to be irrelevant if, as per the analogy, we're talking about a single incident.

    The emotional cost was the important one, and it was the whole point of the original analogy. I would imagine that a musician whose new album is distributed via bittorrent ahead of the release date would find rather more common ground with Adams' analogy than with your hypothetical style replicating device, as it is his entire creative effort has been duplicated, it's not just some other performer doing an impression. It's the emotional loss of someone else getting a free ride from your efforts that Adams is highlighting. It would therefore have been useful if you had addressed it, rather than trying to reframe the argument in terms of real physical damage.

    It wouldn't really have been all that difficult to focus on his real point, either - "it hurts my feelings" isn't a phenomenally persuasive economic argument, especially when accompanied by such a blatant strawman fallacy ("those against state-supported intellectual monopoly claim that they are doing me a favour by publicising my work more widely").

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:41am

    RE: Kinda missing his point... by Geeb

    Jesus Geeb. Punch yourself in the face. Do it now Geeb. Punch yourself right on the nose. Anybody who can say with a straight face that copyright infringement is analogous to wearing somebody elses underwear should get punched in the face... daily... possibly by midgets so he can bend down to get the face beating. And if he doesn't he gets socked in the balls.

    Are you seriously saying that artists feel emotional distress when people admire their work so much they want to obtain it, be it through piracy or not? What are you fucking nuts? The key word here is exposure, without exposure artists may as well just hang up their collective hats and jerk off to nurse porn 24/7.

    If you're an artist and you put your work out there and NOBODY gives a shit, nobody pirates your crap. Not even china (who would pirate nose puppies if they could). Then, and only then should you feel emotional distress.

    Fucking underwear. That is the most weak argument ever presented in the entire history of weak arguments.

    Stop mucking about, there is no IRATE without PIRATE.

     

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    Geeb, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 2:19am

    Re: RE: Kinda missing his point... by Geeb

    Anybody who can say with a straight face that copyright infringement is analogous to wearing somebody elses underwear
    Seems it's not just Scott Adams who can roll out a strawman fallacy in order to keep a good temper tantrum on the boil!

     

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    H Lancroft, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 2:32am

    DirtyTech

    So what happens if I, say, want to setup a web site named DirtyTech, which posts my views on technology. It also, of course, will include your articles word-for-word. After all, once they're are on the web they're "non-scarce" and can be replicated at will.

    At any rate, with a few well-placed ads and cross-posts on other sites I'm sure over time I can build a following, and, in the process, a tidy little business with Google ads and banners and some affiliate links. Probably won't do as well as yours, but it should keep me in pocket money. (Although on second thought, I have a decent fund I can tap into to buy traffic. Hmmm... maybe it won't take as long as I thought.) I can also piggy-back on a server used for another site, so I'll have no hostiing costs.

    I'll also "re"-sell discounted research reports to those who may want them. After all, "once a product is out in the market, the original creator no longer gets to keep control over it."

    Now, they are looking at my ads and not yours, and bumping my page views and not yours, and buying my reports, and not yours, but all of this shouldn't be an issue, since in all likelyhood you would never have "sold" those people in the first place. They might never have visited in the first place, or gone to some other site instead.

    You might believe that with your content they would have been "your" customers, but any such claim of financial loss is obviously imaginary. After all, how could you, or anyone, know for sure?

    Since I often have problems thinking up topics, this seems like a good solution to me. Especially since I have no qualms about taking credit for someone else's work.

    But then again, the amount of work you put into your articles and posts and reports is irrelevant, isn't it? IIRC, production costs have no bearing on content once it's been produced.

    I'll be back to check your answer. I need to visit GoDaddy and see what domains are available...

     

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    NotAVictim, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 2:49am

    Is it a crime? Is it victimless?

    "I understand the point that copyright violations are different from theft of physical property, but is it a victimless crime?"

    Here we come back to this point again. Linking victim and crime.

    Scenario 1:
    I read people palms and tell the future.
    Someone else comes along and reads their palms.
    I've lost palm reading customers.
    Is it victimless? (No damn it, I'm the victim!) Is it a crime? (no)

    Scenario 2:
    Government wants to encourage palm reading as a commercial activity, so it creates a guild of palm readers.
    I am a member, someone else who isn't a guild member comes along and reads their palms.
    I've lost palm reading customers.
    Is it victimless? (No damn it, I'm the victim again) Is it a crime? (Yes)

    In both cases it's not victimless, I AM THE VICTIM WITH THE LOST CUSTOMER, but in scenario 2, it is also a crime.

    My point is, just because there is a victim, it doesn't follow that a crime was committed.

    I chose palmistry because it's a low rated skill and so not worthy of legal protection. It requires low investment in learning the trade and so it is easy to recover the costs.

    If you spent 100 million making a movie, you have a different view of copyright, but you should never forget that copyright is a special legal construct of restricted extra rights SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENCOURAGING THE PRODUCTION OF NEW WORKS.

    Not a *property* right at all, a legal construct to encourage new works. A TRADE, A DEAL, A BALANCE,
    We get new works, you get some exclusive rights to that reproduce that work.

    I lose some rights, you gain some rights, that balance is set so that you can make some money and encourages you to make more works.

    Since Scott Adams is rich, the balance is set, if anything too far in his favor. A perfect free market would have him just covering his costs.

    What is wrong with me printing off a dilbert cartoon and sticking it on the wall of my cubicle? If you think I should pay for the right to do that, then how can you quote other peoples works or use other people's cartoon ideas without ALSO paying them for their contribution?

    BALANCE.

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 3:50am

    Re: DirtyTech

    So you're basically saying competition is copyright infringement. In fact, that's pretty much what most companies also want to believe. In the same vein Google, Yahoo, Altavista, Web Crawler (add any other search engine) are copies of the same basic idea. Here's where quality of service and innovation comes into play, people go to the search engine they feel most comfortable with because of the quality it delivers. If its shit people will leave. So go ahead, start your DirtyTech, if its popular I'll visit it, if I like it I'll even drop TechDirt in favor of your own site. But chances are it won't, it'll suck as badly as you do in real life. That's why TechDirt doesn't give a shit. Chances are you'll just promote interest in the original, much cooler site.

    Be your own MAN, a PIRATE has hair on his knuckles!

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: RE: Kinda missing his point... by Geeb

    Seems it's not just Scott Adams who can roll out a strawman fallacy in order to keep a good temper tantrum on the boil!

    More weak from the pwner of lame. Are you bleeding yet Geeb? If not, punch yourself harder.

    Ladies do you want adventure? Daring? Open Seas? Scurvy? Date a Pirate! TODAY!!!

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 4:05am

    Re: Is it a crime? Is it victimless?


    Since Scott Adams is rich, the balance is set, if anything too far in his favor. A perfect free market would have him just covering his costs.

    What is wrong with me printing off a dilbert cartoon and sticking it on the wall of my cubicle? If you think I should pay for the right to do that, then how can you quote other peoples works or use other people's cartoon ideas without ALSO paying them for their contribution?

    BALANCE.


    Fucking right on! You sir, are an eloquent specimen with the heart of a true Pirate. I salute you!

     

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    TG, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 4:05am

    I left a somewhat detailed and lengthy comment on Adams' blog on why he was wrong about the copyright issue and his flawed analogy, but then I read the next post about cognitive dissonance and asked him to remove my post again.

    It became quite obvious that he was more interested in making fun of people than in the topic at hand. It was not an attempt at a sincere exchange of views, it was a finger-pointing exercise where he could ridicule everyone else.

    I'm surprised Techdirt took it seriously.

     

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    Geeb, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 4:09am

    Re: Re: DirtyTech

    > Be your own MAN, a PIRATE has hair on his knuckles!

    Oops, sorry everyone, my bad. Didn't mean to feed the troll - must have missed the sign on cage.

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re: Re: DirtyTech

    Oops, sorry everyone, my bad. Didn't mean to feed the troll - must have missed the sign on cage.

    Haha, dont worry Geeb, everybody still thinks you're a loser. Including your mom.

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DirtyTech

    Also... PIRATES RULE the seven seas!

     

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    The Swiss Cheese Monster, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 4:35am

    "...is almost word for word along the lines of what we generally say."

    Is he plagiarizing?

     

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    nonuser, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:08am

    Re:

    I think he's serious about the copyright violation topic, although his analogy of swiping underpants was more than a little goofy. I recall making the analogy here of borrowing a book from Border's from a large stack of identical copies, then sneaking it back in saleable condition two weeks later. Maybe that's why nobody has offered to syndicate my work (another reason is that I can't draw).

    As for cognitive dissonance, you can see it clearly on sites such as Slashdot, when articles about DRM cracking and IT offshoring to India are posted on the same day. Watch where the majority sentiments are and which posts get modded up so they are expanded by default. Software and digitial content should be free... but where is the Bush administration when it comes to protecting good paying American jobs? It's laughable that they don't see they are advocating their own economic interests in each case. Maybe it comes down to defending one's lifestyle.

    Of course, I'm sure I do the same as well, as it's easier to see other people's failings. Now why did that cop single me out when dozens of cars where whizzing by at 75 mph...?

     

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    Wolfger, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:11am

    artists vs. piracy?

    Have you ever noticed that the only artists who speak out *against* piracy are the ones who are already rich and famous? Sure... the system worked for them, so they don't see any problem with it. Never mind that it's 5 kinds of broken, and that somewhere along the way they probably benefited from unauthorized distribution of their stuff without even realizing it.... I mean seriously, would Scott Adams have sold as many books if his comics weren't illegally photocopied and posted in offices around the world? I seriously doubt it.

    And the underwear analogy was incredibly weak. And honestly, if it didn't involve physical intrusion into my house, I'd be okay with somebody borrowing my undies and returning them clean. But as Mike points out, Scott is deliberately trying to make the argument emotional rather than rational. Because, I suspect, he realizes he can't win a rational argument on this topic.

     

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    Cixelsid, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:28am

    Re: artists vs. piracy? by Wolfger

    I mean seriously, would Scott Adams have sold as many books if his comics weren't illegally photocopied and posted in offices around the world?

    The answer is no and I win a vowel.

    And the underwear analogy was incredibly weak.

    Yes it is. Some people (and by some people I mean Geeb) cant seem to grasp that. I guess maybe blind fanboism is to blame but seriously, what the fuck? Underwear? Gimme a break.

     

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    StuCop, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:32am

    Re: Chairman

    by Chair man on Apr 16th, 2007 @ 11:51pm
    one question.... can i therefore replicate a chair that i have and sell it for profit...

    if so then why cant i replicate somthing like a cd and sell it for profit...

    ------------
    you can...grab your guitars, keyboards and drums and get in the studio...be the next boy band or post-grunger or whatever...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...however uncreative that may be...that's why we have nickleback...

     

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    DocJ, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:37am

    You people (TechDirt writers) crack me up. You're exactly as Adams describes. And you're so self-deluded you can't even see it.
    TechDirt has become a good source of comedy over the last couple years.

     

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    Peter, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:02am

    "I mean seriously, would Scott Adams have sold as many books if his comics weren't illegally photocopied and posted in offices around the world?"

    That may be true, but there is a big difference between copying one cartoon and putting it in your office for a handful of coworkers to see and making an exact copy of the entire book and giving it away for free.

    Lending a CD to one friend so they can listen and see if they like it is the same as posting the cartoon (it's a just a sample of the whole product). Making an exact copy of the book and giving it to them gives them no incentive to purchase the book themselves. Why would they, they already have it?

     

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    Fudouri, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:17am

    Some quick points

    Scott Adams has said numerous times that he is perfectly okay with people emailing his comics around.

    Scott Adams is saying there is a cost, and its an emotional one. Techdirt and Dilbert are making the same point, only one feels the emotional cost is important, the other doesn't.

    The reason why only big names complain isn't because they are big. Its because you have to be a big name to get your complaints public. Small no-name bands complain too, they just aren't heard. It takes "not caring about copyright" to get into the news for small groups.

    The goal of the underwear analogy is to look ridiculous, but make you think. I would say "underwear replicator" is an even more ridiculous analogy.

     

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    Kilroy, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:23am

    re: DirtyTech

    I agree with the post by H Lancroft. It is morally wrong for someone to profit from plagiarizing someone else’s work, be it words, music or software.

    The reason so many analogy’s break down (including Adams’) is because they try to compare this situation to something in the physical world and the come back is always the same line about scarcity.

    That’s why this needs to compared with plagiarism and not theft. Plagiarism is wrong and there are real consequences for it. People lose their jobs over it.

    Now, this situation SEEMINGLY gets grayer if you don't profit off the plagiarism because you just spread it around for free. However, just because you didn't try to market it doesn't mean you didn't plagiarize it. You copied something then offered it away on your terms, not the copywrite holder’s. Could this lead to a drop is sales of the original product? Probably, yes. The mere fact that pirated work COULD gain more notoriety and COULD lead to MORE sales simply can’t be the business model for all intellectual property and it is not being done by consent of the copywrite holder which makes that argument wrong.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:31am

    Re: Is it a crime? Is it victimless?

    But copyright violation is not just healthy competition like with your palm readers... It's more like one of those palm readers psychicly reading another's mind and what he's going to say to every customer, then standing someways off and shouting at any that approach the tent of the other palm reader "I can give you the exact same fortune for a few bucks less." Comparing something like mp3s to the physical often makes no sense, and any analogy can be thought of from both perspectives.

    Also, Scott Adams isn't upset when you post a cartoon around your office; it's when you reprint the cartoon and profit off of it. A little more reasonable.

     

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    John Bonaccorso, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:37am

    Scott Adams' Pointy Haired Views On Copyright

    Right up front, I created a site and technology platform that addresses this issue....I want you all to know right up front....check out www.9thxchange.com....i have been to Hollywood on many occasions and spoken to heads of Disney, MLB, NBA, Sony, etc....and they STILL just dont get it. Why shouldnt consumers be allowed to RESELL their digital purchases like we can RESELL a chair.....well, since the laws state you cant, we created a solution we are offering that ALLOWS people to legally RESELL items, while we capture and pay the copyright holder on each RESALE....we believe that this is a decent solution that bridges the gap between piracy and copyright holders...it is not the ONLY solution...but we believe most people are honest and would love to LEGALLY RESELL their digital products....and should be able to...I am going to contact Scott Adams and see what he says abou that.... Comments?

    John

     

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  32.  
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    Wizard Prang, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:37am

    Mee too

    that copyright is a special legal construct of restricted extra rights SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENCOURAGING THE PRODUCTION OF NEW WORKS.

    Well said sir. Nice to see that someone has been reading the Constitution.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 6:37am

    Re: Some quick points

    Why is an "underwear replicator" a ridiculous analogy? What's the difference between that and right-clicking on an .mp3 file, making an exact copy of it, and emailing it to a friend?

     

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  34.  
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    EH, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 7:04am

    Copyright infringement

    One thing that is true is that we should all have the freedom to make poor business decisions. I don't think you would get much argument on the subject of whether or not record companies (for example) *should* allow people to freely download their music. The argument is whether or not they should be *forced* to allow people to freely download their music.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 7:13am

    So what happens if I, say, want to setup a web site named DirtyTech, which posts my views on technology.

    Take Dorpus with you, M'kay?

     

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    chris (profile), Apr 17th, 2007 @ 7:49am

    Re: DirtyTech

    I have no qualms about taking credit for someone else's work.

    no where in p2p, or you tube, or any other "infringing" activity that the content industry is so scared of does someone take credit for someone else's work.

    pirated copies of windows all still say microsoft on them. even cutomized slipz like the ones from eXPerience still say microsoft on them.

    when i download an episode of "lost" or whatever from BT, the "pwnzr crew" isn't passing the show off at thiers. they want you to know they released it, yes, so you recognize how leet they are, but no one expects you to think they made the show.

    that is the problem with calling this stuff theft.

    it's unauthorized, it's unappreciated, and it might be illegal, but it's not theft.

    if i jack you for your car, you need to come up with another car somehow. if it was a $20,000 car, you are now out $20,000 unless you get the car back in the same condition as before. that's theft.

    if i publish your book with my name on it, that is theft. i am getting paid for your work and you aren't. letting my friends read my copy isn't theft.

    if you worked your ass off on a book report in college and got an A, and i made copies of it and handed them out to people saying "H Lancroft wrote this paper and got an A, check it out!" that isn't theft.

    the people all know you wrote it. they *might* even ask you to write more.

    "but what if someone tries to hand it off as their own and get an A too?"

    well, thanks to all those copies i handed out, it's pretty easy to prove that your paper is the original.

    even if you told me to stop handing out your paper, a rational argument would be "why not? it's a great paper! why don't you want people to read it?"

     

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    ConceptJunkie (profile), Apr 17th, 2007 @ 7:54am

    Re: Those who live in glass houses.

    Yes, but he provided good reasons to back it up.

    That's not belittling at all, but drawing a conclusion based on the statements Scott Adams made.

    Essentually, he said "He seems confused because his arguments don't make sense." And then gives detailed reasons why. It seems that either you have extremely thin skin, or you are confusing debating and name-calling.

     

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    Peter, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: DirtyTech

    even if you told me to stop handing out your paper, a rational argument would be "why not? it's a great paper! why don't you want people to read it?"

    It doesn't matter why I might not want other people to read it, it's my paper and I can do what I want with it.

    That's the point here, the content belongs to the copyright holder and they can do with it as they please. Just because you like it and think others should read/watch/listen to it, doesn't give you the right or permission to distribute it on the copyright holder's behalf. If I want to create content with absurdly restrictive DRM on it, that's my right. Just like it's your right to not buy it or watch it or listen to it.

     

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    Mark, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:15am

    "Intelligent and thoughtful"

    Remember, this is the same "intelligent and thoughtful guy" who, in an interview some years back, said "there are two types of people in the world: the ones who are creative and become engineers, and everyone else, who go into the service industry." No doubt that sort of observation requires a special form of cognitive dissonance that Scott Adams can call his own.

    I enjoy the strip and read it to this day, but I learned a long time ago not to pay much attention to what comes out of Adams' mouth.

     

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    Jackson, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    I think Scott Adams is right

    Copyrights make intellectual property more valuable, which increases the incentive to create new and interesting work.

    Your argument that only physical goods should be protected ignores the vast amounts of time and effort people put into creating things(probably because you put so little thought into your blog posts).

    At some point if these rights are continually infringed, people will stop designing things. Please explain how you expect this copyright-free society to work.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    To sum up this riveting conversation:

    "Money is STILL the root of all evil."

    If we all lived in a society where everybody worked to the betterment of mankind and there was no money or greed to be concerned with, then everything would indeed be free and immediate and whatnot. The point it, as long as people think they can get something for nothing, there will always be a piracy problem. There is simply no way humanly possible to thwart it. I say just accept it, get on with your life, and continue producing original works worth buying. If it is worth buying, people will buy it. Maybe not as many as you would like, but they will.

    Part of the problem with piracy is the difference in price. Do I think a CD is worth $18? Heck no. Would I say it's worth $10 or maybe even $12? Yes. Same goes for movies and software and all other digital content. How many people think Microsoft Office should cost hundreds of dollars? Not many. If software like that was capped at a maximum price of $200, people might think a lot differently about the whole pirating thing, because it would be much easier to believe that they're getting their money's worth from the product. If companies stopped being so greedy and started caring about giving the customer a worthwhile piece of content for a reasonable price, I think the situation would be quite a bit different than it is now.

     

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    Namowrepus, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:40am

    ...

    It's just a blog...not an essay...sometimes people try to read into things more than they should and this is a perfect example. You must just like to hear yourself talk...idiot.

     

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    YouKnowNothing, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:48am

    Re: I think Scott Adams is right

    Copyright is a relatively new construct. Music, art, literature, etc. were around LONG before there was copyright, and they would still exist and new stuff would still be created if copyright was abolished. Why? Because true artists are compelled to do what they do by something inside them, and do it for the sheer sake of creating something.

    Copyrights are also supposed to be for a limited time. In the United States I believe it was originally 14 years. I think 50 years from the time it is first put into a tangible medium is plenty of time, with an optional one-time renewal of 25 years.

    Also, I think intellectual property should be subject to property tax, just like any other property.

     

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    me, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 9:53am

    It's a new model

    If a company designs a new car, it costs them a lot of money, resources, etc. Those are one time costs. Reproducing the car costs much less, but the costs are still significant. Over time, the company will recoup their one time costs and make a profit on the car.

    The music industry currently operates the same way. A band expends time and effort to create some new music. Those are the one time costs. The music was then reproduced either on vinyl, cassette or cd, distributed and sold. Those were the recurring costs.

    This is the model of business that the RIAA has been trying to legislate into perpetuity just as they've managed to legislate copyrights into perpetuity. Many of their one time costs have been going down - studios are cheaper to build, more people have expertise in recording, etc. Their recurring costs have also been falling. What the web in general and p2p and mp3 and all of these other technologies have done though is drop thier recurring cost to just about zero.

    I recall a quote somewhere that said "if you can't compete with free, you can't compete at all". What free duplication and distribution has done is created a disruptive shift in the business of monetizing music. Movies, books and software are also in line for this shift, but music is first. Software actually dealt with it once before.

    What it means is that the old way of making money from music isn't viable anymore. The law should not be used to prop up an outmoded business model. I've talked to young bands that have new ideas. They distribute their music for free on the web. Their business model is to sell concert tickets, t-shirts, posters, and even some cd's. But instead of DRMing and crying about the pirates, they're using the free distribution pipeline to create a wide word of mouth style marketing strategy rather than the traditional big record contract method. They're realistic about the money they'll make and maybe that's the biggest difference...

    The days of the multi-million dollar contract may be over. The days of big record companies may also be over. It's not to say that you can no longer make a fine living as a musician, you just might have to tone down your tastes from that Beverly Hills mansion and the Ferrari.

    A new paradigm always brings pain for the old guard and opportunities for those wise enough to see them.

     

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    Fudouri, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 10:19am

    Talking past each other

    Two sides seem to be talking past each other.

    Scott Adam's Point: Piracy is bad as your taking something away from the creator. It should be the creators choice whether ot make it free or not.

    Techdirts point: DRM is bad as a person should be allowed to legally do whatever they want with what they bought.

    I think both sides can easily agree that if you bought something legally, you should be able to do what you want with it, but you should have bought it legally in the first place.

    When you create the music. It should be up to you whether you want it spread for free or not. It should not be the choice of others. In the same vein. If someone has bought the mp3 of a song, it doesn't mean they have the right to copy it and give it to all their friends, it does mean that they can give that single copy of an mp3 to anyone they want (which current DRM would not allow).

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 17th, 2007 @ 10:30am

    Re: DirtyTech

    So what happens if I, say, want to setup a web site named DirtyTech, which posts my views on technology. It also, of course, will include your articles word-for-word. After all, once they're are on the web they're "non-scarce" and can be replicated at will.

    Yup. And as we've said repeatedly, we have no problem with people taking our content and reposting it. It's funny how many people come here, like yourself, and assume you've found some "gotcha." You haven't. There already are about 10 sites that copy Techdirt, post for post. Some of them give us credit. Some of them don't. We don't go after any of them.

    Here's why:

    1. None of those sites get any traffic. By itself, they offer nothing special.

    2. If anything, it doesn't take people long to read those sites and figure out that the content is really from Techdirt. Then they just come here to the original source. So, it tends to help drive more traffic to us. That's cool.

    3. As soon as the people realize the other sites are simply copying us, it makes those sites look really, really bad. If you want to risk your reputation like that, go ahead, but it's a big risk.

    4. A big part of the value of Techdirt is the community here. You can't just replicate that.

    5. Another big part of the value of Techdirt is that we, the writers, engage in the comments. You absolutely cannot fake that on your own site.

    So, really, what's the purpose of copying our content, other than maybe driving a little traffic our way?

    So, if you really want to, I'd suggest it's pretty dumb, but go ahead.

    You might believe that with your content they would have been "your" customers, but any such claim of financial loss is obviously imaginary. After all, how could you, or anyone, know for sure?

    You seem confused about our business model. We sign people up to provide them specific content *going forward*. In other words, that content is scarce before it's provided. Once that content is provided, we really don't care what's done with it. However, you can't replicate our ability to provide insight going forward. So go ahead. Copy all you want. Our business model is proofed against that, and about the only thing you'll do is either get more people interested in Techdirt... or make yourself look like a bunch of uncreative copycats. I don't see how that's beneficial for you, but if you want to try...

    Since I often have problems thinking up topics, this seems like a good solution to me. Especially since I have no qualms about taking credit for someone else's work.

    You misread what I said. I never said I have no qualms about taking credit for someone else's work. There's a very big cost if your caught. Your reputation (a scarce good) gets destroyed. I don't understand why you'd take the risk, but if you want to...

    But then again, the amount of work you put into your articles and posts and reports is irrelevant, isn't it? IIRC, production costs have no bearing on content once it's been produced.

    Again, you've misread our position. All of our past work simply helps promote our ability to do future work. So if you want to help promote our past work, PLEASE do. Thank you!

    I'll be back to check your answer. I need to visit GoDaddy and see what domains are available...

    How'd it go? Please let us know once you've set up the site.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 10:52am

    how about this analogy?

    Instead of comparing ip to underwear, i have decided to start a website with my own advertising and business. The focus of the website will be all the techdirt articles. Each hour my website will mirror the articles and comments appearing on techdirt. I will of course credit techdirt for its hard work and labor, but will sell my other tech services around these articles. The reader will have no need to go to your site, because he will be able to read them on mine. You of course should have no problem with this, because you can compete with "even freer." And since im not really "stealing" anything from you, there is no problem right?

     

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    Flatulent MOnkey, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: I think Scott Adams is right

    But in those times the ABILITY to copy was extremely limited due to lack of technology/means. Therefore the need for copyrights was probably not perceived.

    Also don't overlook that most artists were paid for their (irreproducible). A "Patron of the Arts" was known as someone who paid for the privelege to enjoy an artist's work. And usually it was for a period of time and not just by piece.

    So the "holier than thou" argument of doing it only for the love of creating doesn't really hold up so well.




    Copyright is a relatively new construct. Music, art, literature, etc. were around LONG before there was copyright, and they would still exist and new stuff would still be created if copyright was abolished. Why? Because true artists are compelled to do what they do by something inside them, and do it for the sheer sake of creating something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 10:55am

    Re: how about this analogy?

    or maybe it can be packaged better, have a better search and index, then techclean.com can charge for access. of course there are some who will not realize they can get this for free, so they will pay techclean.com.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 17th, 2007 @ 11:04am

    Re: how about this analogy?

    Instead of comparing ip to underwear, i have decided to start a website with my own advertising and business. The focus of the website will be all the techdirt articles. Each hour my website will mirror the articles and comments appearing on techdirt. I will of course credit techdirt for its hard work and labor, but will sell my other tech services around these articles. The reader will have no need to go to your site, because he will be able to read them on mine. You of course should have no problem with this, because you can compete with "even freer." And since im not really "stealing" anything from you, there is no problem right?

    Look at the comment right above yours. I already answered that. Go for it. It will backfire for a variety of reasons I explain above, but if you can make it work, go for it.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 17th, 2007 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: how about this analogy?

    or maybe it can be packaged better, have a better search and index, then techclean.com can charge for access. of course there are some who will not realize they can get this for free, so they will pay techclean.com.

    Yup. Go for it. If you can do a better search and index that will just encourage us to improve our search.

    As for charging for the stuff we're giving away for free, good luck with that. But, if you can make it work, good for you. Thing is, people will soon figure out that we're offering that content for free (and faster) and that we're also involved in the discussion (which wouldn't be the case for what you sell) and then you're going to have some *very* angry customers on your hands. I'm not sure why you'd want to risk that, but it's your business decision to make.

     

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    Petréa Mitchell, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    Remember, this is the same "intelligent and thoughtful guy" who, in an interview some years back, said "there are two types of people in the world: the ones who are creative and become engineers, and everyone else, who go into the service industry."
    If you think that's bad, check out the last chapter of The Dilbert Future. (Unless you're easily angered by pseudoscience, in which case, please just forget you ever read this comment.)

     

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    Wyndle, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 11:58am

    Re: artists vs. piracy?

    Have you ever noticed that the only artists who speak out *against* piracy are the ones who are already rich and famous? Sure... the system worked for them, so they don't see any problem with it. Never mind that it's 5 kinds of broken, and that somewhere along the way they probably benefited from unauthorized distribution of their stuff without even realizing it....

    To further your case, Metallica benefited from unauthorized distribution of their songs. When they were first starting up, they sent a demo tape to several places and at least one of them made copies to pass out to friends. By the time they got thier first club show they had a huge fanbase. Metallica had rabid fans before they released an album or performed live due to unauthorized distribution. With P2P and bittorrent, their example could go into hyperdrive in today's world.

    Another point in favor of your case. An unsigned band recorded a CD on their home equipment and one of their friends leaked a copy to the local radio station. One of their songs got played by accident and by the end of the month that band had a record deal. I don't want to name any names in this case to protect certain persons.

     

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    His Shadow, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Those who live in glass houses.

    Pointing out that someone is confused is not an emotional argument.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    Adams blogs for publicity

    I think Scott Adams blogs to start comment wars that end up getting his site and him publicity. After all, he offers his own book Gods' Debris in e-book form for free and encourages you to distribute it to your friends. Seems to me Scott Adams follows TechDirts line of thinking in using non-scarce resources, the e-book, to promote a non-scarce resource, his reputation.
    This makes sense, since he makes quite a bit of money from speaking engagements, and not just from dilbert merchandise.
    I got that he was more concerned about the ability to control what happens to creative content after it is out of the creators hands, rather than the monetary aspect. However that would be a strange extra right for owners of intellectual property seeing as how people who create physical products do not have the same right.

    In regards to the comment about a lack of copyright in the past, few arts were for mass consumption in the past. Theatrical arts were consumed by the most number of people, and stealing other people's works word for word was abundant. That was offset though by the fact that in most countries public theatres had to have permission from a government agent to operate so there was still a source of artificial scarcity imposed by law.

    In the end, intellectual property is an artifice of government, so laws governing it need to take into account all people, not just those at the top. Those who claim to have a right to complete control over their creative work, and those who claim a right to partake of others creative work are ridiculous and should be laughed at. It's fine to debate the issue, but it is not an issue of rights or morality. It is an issue of policy that should take into account the views of the people. If the people of the United State want to scrap intellectual property completely or strengthen it or adjust it, it is the duty of the lawmakers to do so even if they think it is the wrong decision, because intellectual property is not a right, it is not enumerated in the constitution or Bill of Rights.
    The largest problem in the issue of intellectual property right now is the perception that intellectual property laws were written for an elite group of people who held sway, legally or illegally it doesn't matter, over lawmakers and ignored the will of the people at whose discretion the government is allowed to exist. One of the principles in the declaration of independence is that people have not just a right, but an obligation to rebel when the government oversteps its authority. This not an endorsement of breaking the law, but an observation that I believe is a major force behind it. We are not a country that blindly follows the rule of law.

    In the end, the attempts to strengthen intellectual property laws are what I think has caused a lot of the backlash against it. Bad analogy time: If there's enough beer at a party for everyone to have two beers, and a guy grabs three for himself without asking anyone if he can have their beer, he gets beat up.

     

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    His Shadow, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Get a life

    That's a nice defense, but it's garbage, commonly used by Usenet trolls to deflect criticism of a particularly insipid or stupid train of thought.

    "I was only kidding" or "lighten up, I'm just trying to piss you off".

    The fact that you are employing this defense of Scott's ineffectual analogies indicates you know it's crap.

     

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    His Shadow, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:33pm

    Re: "Intelligent and thoughtful"

    "I enjoy the strip and read it to this day, but I learned a long time ago not to pay much attention to what comes out of Adams' mouth."

    AOL

     

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    Sanguine Dream, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 1:51pm

    All these analogies...

    I'm all for trying to simplify a situation in order to help people understand but copyright infringment analogies have gotten to the point where the analogy itself becomes the topic of discussion instead of what the analogy was trying to simplify.

    If someone would clear up all these analogies I think people would have a much better understanding of copyright infringment.

     

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    rEdEyEz, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 2:34pm

    Oops, whoa, dude. I've soiled your breeches.

    ...But fear not, as the original content remains intact, and credit is given where due.

    As consolation, my accidental/unintended contribution, (when viewed in the absence of emotion), ultimately serves you - as an affirmation; as a true measure of your generosity.

    I have not sullied your reputation, but in your stead, I have garnered and reinforced future support for your continued success.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 3:35pm

    Dirtytech sounds really wrong... i dunno bout you guys but i certainly wouldnt visit there...

    however if that person made a site lets say: Tech-dirtz and just replicated the stories here... but pimped out the visual layout

    hell yeah i would visit that...

     

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    Dale, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Get a life

    Thanks for pointing out my behaviour might be likened to that of a usenet troll. That is a compelling argument on your part. For the record: YOU are agreeing with ME, that Scotts statement was crap designed to find what insects will come swarming around the stink. And now you and me are buzzing about it. :-)

     

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    RandomThoughts, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 5:40pm

    Mike, I know I am late to this party, but I am in New Jersey and have been bailing water out of my garage since yesterday. I usually don't promote products, but Lowes sells a 16 gallon wet/dry vac that you can hook up a garden hose to and pump water out. Comes in handy when you have a 1,000 gallons of water in your basement. Don't have to empty the tank. I would have got the 20 gallon model, but they were out.

    Anyway, The poster that asked you if you would mind “stealing” articles from Techdirt asked the wrong question. The question that should have been asked is “Would you be OK with me signing up for your corporate intelligence feeds and then posting your feeds and analysis on my website where I can either give free access or charge for it?”

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:03am

    Re:

    Anyway, The poster that asked you if you would mind “stealing” articles from Techdirt asked the wrong question. The question that should have been asked is “Would you be OK with me signing up for your corporate intelligence feeds and then posting your feeds and analysis on my website where I can either give free access or charge for it?”

    RandomThoughts, I saw you posted the same thing to your blog, and I responded there. I think you misunderstand our business. We do not provide general "feeds" for clients. We provide custom analysis for each client based on their specific needs. Often, the analysis is so custom that it isn't particularly useful to others.

    We have no problem if our clients post the content we provide them publicly. In fact, if that helps promote what we've done for them, that's great. They pay us to create custom analysis, and we do so. Once we're paid, why should we care what they do with the content?

    However, while you're interested, if you would like to become a client, please do let us know, and we'll see if we can help provide analysis for you.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re:

    where I can either give free access or charge for it

    Oh, I should add that we've had clients that charge for access to our content as well. For a while (though, this is no longer the case) we had one of our customers who was reselling our content along with some of their own content, and they made quite a bit of money on it. We did fine ourselves -- and we actually got more business out of it. When those clients found out the content originally came from us and we do custom work, they came to us to see if we could do more custom work for their specific situations, rather than the stuff they were getting from our other customer.

    Worked out great for us.

     

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    Analogy Police, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    Your entire argument...

    You offer an analogy: "If I buy a chair, I can go ahead and build a new chair and resell it. This is how the fasion industry works"

    This analogy is flawed: When you build a new chair, you have created something of value. You need materials, you need time and labor to create it. Once you sell it you no longer have it, and must build a new one to sell it again. You aren't allowed to put the same label on it as the original, because you didn't design it.

    If you upload an MP3 ripped from a cd you bought to a file sharing site, you have created nothing of value, yet you have removed the value from the original owner. The owner no longer has the ability to sell that thing, because an exact copy is available for free... and you can keep doing that forever, you have no resources to lose when you do it again.

    You must be confused.


    There, I've used your entire argument to debunk your own argument. See how useless your article is?

     

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    Misanthropic Scott, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 8:42am

    Fashion Industry as an Analogy

    You said, "this is pretty much how the fashion industry works". Sort of. Actually, this is exactly how numerous lawsuits in the fashion industry are started. Not being a copyright owner myself, but recognizing the value in the creativity of others, I must say that your logic leads you to be a common thief. Nothing more. Just a thief. If that's OK with you, fine. But, at least do not be a hypocrite as well.

     

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    Calvin, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 8:55am

    No win situation

    I don't think you are ever going to get everyone on the same page on this topic. How about this as a start...

    If I researched, designed and built a chair, I have the right to sell it to anyone, in anyway I please. It makes good business sense for me to sell that chair for enough to at least make my original and recurring costs back, but I can do it for less, even free, that's my choice. The buyer of that chair also has a choice, they can keep it, use it, burn it, or even sell it. But once they sell it, they don't have it anymore, it's been transferred. I am not bothered by that, I have been compensated for 1 chair and there is 1 chair out there, whoever has it. That's fair, that's consumerism, love it or hate it. Now, if the first buyer had the ability to exactly replicate my chair, via magic wand or some other low cost solution, they did not buy the right to distribute any more than the 1 they bought. It is colorfull commentary at best, that if they distribute *my* chairs that I eventually profit from it. That wasn't what they bought. They bought 1 chair. I am not entitled to tell them what they do with that chair, who they can let sit in the chair, give it away to, or even if they paint it or anything similar. They can even disect the chair, and build one thats errily similar. As long as it doesn't cross the line of duplication, they are within their rights. I would be within my rights to allow or even encourage use of the magic wand to distribute my chairs, heck it might help promote them, and sell more. But it's my right to sell the product as 'for distribution' or 'not for distribution' not the buyer, and it's the buyer's to say if they should support a seller that doesn't fall in line with their free chair philosphy.

    Now I am sure that critics will argue the magic wand and that wood for chairs isn't free, but those aren't the point. The point is that when companies are selling you music/software, they do so with the intention for you to be the consumer and/or one-time re-seller, not the distributor. If you wanted to be a distributor, it's your choice, but you should present yourself as such and see if they want your business.

     

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    chris (profile), Apr 18th, 2007 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re: DirtyTech

    It doesn't matter why I might not want other people to read it, it's my paper and I can do what I want with it.

    and that sort of juvenile thinking is why the music industry is killing itself.

    if you need to keep control of something for the sake of control, especially when that control is detrimental to your continued success, then you deserve to fail.

    in fact, the sooner you and "artist" like your self fail, the sooner artists who will give us what we want can have the opportunity to succeed.

     

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    Laughing-Fry, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 9:45am

    I don't think your argument is entirely valid, either. Take your chair example: if I build a chair, and someone likes it, and they take the trouble to study it, buy building materials, learn chair-making well enough to build it, and then build a copy for themselves, that's still a substantial amount of effort, and I don't care if they market that. With music, this would be like writing a cover of a song. Someone else may have written it, but it still takes time and money to buy/rent an instrument, learn how to play it in general, and then learn how to play that song.

    What's going on in the copyright industry is more like I build a chair, then someone comes up with a cloning machine, starts handing it out free to other people, and then all those people come up, zap my chair with their cloning machine, and walk off with a chair that they've neither paid for or worked for in any way.

     

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    Mike, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 9:51am

    disagree

    We talk about songs that get "played out" in the same way that underwear gets worn out. Great works of art are not as common as sports posters... etc. Adams is talking about the point of distribution control. If you're selling a chair, you might not have contorl over whether somebody else can resell it. However, if your chair design is patented, then you can stop somebody from simply copying your design. Similairly, you do get to choose who you sell the chair to in the first place. Under your assumptions, all artists would produce work, and then never gat paid for producing any work, becuase if they sold one copy of the song, or poster, or piece of art, it would immediabtely be available for free distribution all over. How its this logical?

    I agree that as a consumer I would LOVE to have access to all the latest songs, movies, and various types of downloadable content. Just becuase I would enjoy ownership and use of other's property doesn't mean I am given that right.

     

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    Huzzak, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    It is great that you don't care if people duplicate and distribute your content freely, but why should you be able to decide what to do with the things that other people have created? Do you really believe that if the music industry could make more money by distributing its content for free that they wouldn't do that? What exactly is the motivation of this greedy, money-hungry business?

    I guess it is a question of your right to get things for free vs. their right to make money (or, I guess, foolishly lose money) off of the things that they make.

     

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    Ur Face, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    (Let's assume this is a wood chair that is not created by a mold) Because the chair you replicate will not be an exact copy - it will have your own improvements and imperfections all over it. If you were to replicate a CD, but add in your own voice overs, talking before and after songs etc, well then, now it's your art and you can do whatever you like.

    The CD's you are talking about however, are exact copies and are therefore someone elses art - which is not yours to distribute as you see fit.

     

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    Pierre, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 11:13am

    IP

    Here is a good reason why intellectual property should be protected.

    As a software developer, there is nothing I would like better than to turn out the highest quality software, as long as I could be compensated for it.

    Does anyone really think that the millions of lines of code that went into a typical major application is worth the piddling $100+ the consumer pays for it?

    Let's start with a basic premise: quality is worth money. I'm sure we agree that a Hyundai (or whatever passes for a cheap car in your neighbourhood) costs less than a Porsche or BMW because the Porsche is better designed and better built. Better design means more experienced and brilliant engineers, more talented designers; better built means more skilled and dedicated assembly-line workers. All these people demand more money. Hence the Porsche company commands a higher price for their Carreras, 911s, whatever.

    The same should be true of software. If a company invests great care in desiging a better operating system, or a better word processor, that never crash, and always have helpful help and meaningful error messages, how much do you think that would be worth? I'll give you a hint: the military do in fact get top-quality software for their jets and rockets. They get software that almost never fails, and does exactly what it is designed to do.

    Do you know how much this software costs? $50 per line of code.

    Translating into everyday terms, a bullet-proof operating system would cost you, at a rough guess, $5,000 per copy.

    Now I have no doubt some people would be happy to pay $5,000 for a stable OS. However, there are many people who couldn't afford this amount.

    (Yes, I know Linux is free. Having struggled with it for the past couple of years, I can tell you first hand it's not consumer-ready.)

    So what would happen? In any other field (automobiles, stereos, TVs, restaurant meals, housing) people who can't afford quality just put up with less and shut up.

    But in the software field... well, they just make a copy of someone else's software, and enjoy the full benefit of top-of-the-line quality, without paying for it. I wager even you couldn't resist obtaining a $5,000 OS for free.

    How long do you think a software company would last if their product cost millions to make, and they only sold a few copies at $5,000? Why they would go broke, of course.

    This is the crux of the software dilemna: except in a few specialized cases (commercial or embedded software), the maximum price for software is the monetary equivalent of the nuisance value of duplicating it.

    In consumer software, this is in the range of $19-$29.

    The digital world turns the economics of quality upside-down: in traditional models where quality is supported by price, the market pays the price if it wants the quality.

    In the digital model, a perfect copy of the merchandise costs virtually nothing, and undercuts the legitimate market, putting a cap on the maximum that can be charged for a product.

    There is a built-in limit to how much time, effort and expense a company can invest into a mass-produced product. This cap is equivalent to the "nuisance value" defined above. It is not reasonable for the consumer to expect warranties and liabilities that go way beyond what the manufacturer receives from sales of the product.

    The music and movie industry are wrestling with the consequences of easy digital duplication. They have taken a different route to protecting their intellectual property.

    I challenge anyone to come up with a business model where the software developer that invests great expense in building a quality product, can obtain full compensation from the market segment that values his quality.

    Whose fault is it anyway? Simple: it's the consumer who copies and pirates software that forces the price down and therefore the quality to remain low. Any analysis that does not take this into account is simplistic.

    It is naïve to think that most developers are not struggling to make ends meet and stay in business (Microsoft notwithstanding).

    The advent of Web- and subscription-based software models promises to turn things around by making it impractical to copy software. Time will tell.

     

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    jon, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 11:43am

    dodgy chair analogy

    The chair analogy works better as:

    suppose you had a machine which could exactly replicate some physical object like a chair. Imagine that you saw a really nice chair that you wanted but it cost money. So you borrow one from a friend/from the creator/from some library. Then you replicate it and return the original. THe creator doesn't get compensated at all but you still get the product.

    It's still not exactly the same as Adams original point. Ultimately it comes down to this:
    We live in a capitalist society,
    People create to be compensated
    If you want to consume it you pay for it

    If you want to create for free you don't charge
    If you want to consume it you donn't pay

    Don't confuse the two modes of creation. i.e. it's not up to the consumer to force a creator who wants to be paid to give their stuff away for free.

    If you only want to consume free stuff, only consume the free stuff, don't consume the stuff that requires compensation. You shouldn't mind not getting content from people who want paying because you're supporting an ideal and they'll get the idea when everyone agrees with you.

     

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    Andrew, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 12:46pm

    dumbass

    Adams just posted a rebuttle to this article today. I suggest you check it out.

    Oh, by the way, I just copied and pasted this into my own personal blog and took credit for it. Too bad you don't believe in copywrite violations.

     

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    Lyon_Lee, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 1:21pm

    Your poor analogy

    Creating a chair and ripping and burning a CD or DVD is completely different. If you physically built a chair (no matter who designed it, original or stolen) you've put it together with your own hands. You've paid for the physical pieces of wood. But when you're copying an intangible form, such as music, you're not going out and getting a band together, writing a song nearly identical to the original piece. You're taking the data on a disc and copying it to another disc. Hell, you wouldn't have even written the program that allowed you to copy the disc, it would come with the computer you bought.
    Now, personally, I don't have that big a problem with filesharing, and strangely enough, I don't have that big a problem with copy-protection software either(as long as it doesn't screw up my computer). I've never downloaded gobs of gigs onto my hard drive because I really like a song. If I ever come across a band I particularly enjoy, I might.
    In fact, occasionally I hate Copy-Protection software, because it inevitably prevents me in some small way of enjoying the music I purchased, i.e. burning it into a playlist onto a CD, since I don't have an iPod, or even copying it onto my computer where I listen to everything.
    But for the first time, through Scott Adams's post, I saw the other side of the argument. Yes, his underwear analogy was bad, perhaps even slightly disgusting, but mostly humorous, but the argument surrounding the analogy had merit. That's what you should be focusing on in his piece. Not his drawers.

     

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    Steve, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    Throughout all this people have primarily been focusing on problems in the applicability of the analogies be it cloning chairs or borrowing underware. The point of the copywrite is not to restrict my personal use of something you have purchased but rather to stop an individual from purchasing something and then reproducing an identical product and distributing it without the artists consent.
    If I go purchase a book and then proceed to copy it onto my computer and release it to the WWW it is still not my work even though I put in my effort to trasfer it into a digital medium. I really havent stolen any thing from the author because maybe none of the people who recieve the e-book would ever have purchased a print edition, or maybe I acctually helped the author because some of the new audience which now has access to the work acctually admire it enough that they purchase the copy. But, it is not anyone's descision other than the author(or whoever owns the rights to the work) to realease the work to that audience.
    If I recieve a DVD rip of 300 for example, burn copies of it, then go and hand them out to random people it cannot reasonably be argued that that distribution is not taking something away from list of individuals and companies who that the concept of that film and turn it into the product which you can then legally purchase off of some store's shelf. Sure they will still make money from the units which they sell but those people who I gave essentially an exact copy are not going to go purchase it and therefore I have taken something tangible away from the people who created that product which I reproduced.
    You have a right to decide to distribute your product for free or allow those who purchase it to redistribute it as they see fit. In that case you make the income to support yourself and your family through other means such as advertising. But, if I chose to release my work or product as its own means of creating my source of income it is my right, not someelse's who obtained my work, to decide what is done with it.

    Certianly there are problems with many DRM methods in use today, but that is not an excuse to say that becuase what someone decides to protect there work with is messed up gives you the right to steal that work.

     

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    Pyce, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Is it a crime? Is it victimless?

    Umm - I'm a Dilbert fan and read Scott Adams' blog daily so yes I'm a bit biased.

    I'm here only because he had the link in todays blog but as long as I'm here I felt I should help you guys out.

    "What is wrong with me printing off a dilbert cartoon and sticking it on the wall of my cubicle? If you think I should pay for the right to do that, then how can you quote other peoples works or use other people's cartoon ideas without ALSO paying them for their contribution?"

    Answer: Nothing, Answer given by Scott Adams: Nothing. Scott actually says on REPEATED occasions that he does not oppose personal use like that.

    If you're going to argue against his arguments then go nuts (he encourages it) but at least try to stick to the facts and argue against what he says and not what you hallucinate his opinion is.

    Ironically this fits the exact saying that he write the other day.

    I agree with your analysis of your hallucination.

     

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    Luna, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 3:38pm

    Wow...

    Could you have been pickier about this? Seriously, to write a whole rant on that is just crazy.

     

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    freeWilliam, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:24pm

    Entertainment

    Not sure you caught the point of Scotts blog.
    Scott Adams post is for entertainment. It is amusing, his wildly inaccurate analogies are part of his entertainment value.
    What he does achieve is to get people thinking and talking about the issues involved in topics that are worthwhile whilst entertaining them. that beats dull blogging any day... (look at the number of comments he gets and you may see the point)

     

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    freeWilliam, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: DirtyTech

    "even if you told me to stop handing out your paper, a rational argument would be "why not? it's a great paper! why don't you want people to read it?""

    And one rational answer may be "I have changed my opinion based on new research and you are causing me humiliation by distributing that crap".

    To claim you are doing someone a favour by distributing their intellectual property for free is self serving bullshit.

     

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    Barney, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 6:29pm

    Copyright

    It's entirely different to whittle a chair out of a lump of wood. Thus copying someone elses work.

    Than to press "copy" on your CD burner. or "Scan" on your scanner.

    One requires work and effort, equivilant - if lacking the artisitc flair of the original. The other can be done by a trained monkey.

    Leaning forward on your fat ass to press "burn" costs less than producing an album.

     

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    JCz, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:55pm

    Re:

    can i therefore replicate a chair that i have and sell it for profit
    if there is some kind of copyright on the chair you can defnitly not replicate and sell it for profit - same as with the cd why are some people do not understand that copying and selling a cd is something like stealing. Maybe they just should produce a cd on their own and watch as others duplicate and sell ...

     

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    frntk, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Re: DirtyTech

    Maybe the best way to setup this analogy is not talking about a site, say DirtyTech, which people will not "use" in the same way they would "use" TechDirt - because they eventually find out that it's not the real thing... and they care about it, so they go to the original source.

    So put it this way and let us know what you think: Instead of setup DirtyTech, I set up a site which people will use in the *exact* same way they would use the original one. I know the analogy breaks a little here, because of authors participating in the discussion, etc. but the point is that if users/buyers/listeners/whatever would use the copy instead of the original, and they don't care about it... then you start losing.

     

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    ExceptThat, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 11:40pm

    Re: DirtyTech by chris on Apr 17th...

    Except that no one is selling the book report, so that's not an accurate analogy to a commercial product like Scott Adams' work.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 18th, 2007 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: DirtyTech

    Instead of setup DirtyTech, I set up a site which people will use in the *exact* same way they would use the original one. I know the analogy breaks a little here, because of authors participating in the discussion, etc. but the point is that if users/buyers/listeners/whatever would use the copy instead of the original, and they don't care about it... then you start losing.

    That doesn't make any sense. How can you say that you could set up a site for people to use in the same way, when a big part of what people come here for is the interaction with the authors?

    And, honestly, if someone sets up a site that does a better job catering to readers with our content, that just gives us incentive to improve what we do here.

    As I said, there are already about 10 sites that copy Techdirt content and they get no traffic. They rotate, because after a little while, people realize that there's no benefit to them in copying our content.

    However, if you really think you can do a better job with it, no one's stopping you.

     

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    frntk, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 12:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DirtyTech

    That doesn't make any sense. How can you say that you could set up a site for people to use in the same way, when a big part of what people come here for is the interaction with the authors?

    Hehe, I know it doesn't. That' why I said the analogy breaks there...

    But I also said that the point is that if music listeners don't care about the differences between copy and original, then the creator starts losing. That's what happens with music and other types of content, not websites. Specially when their value doesn't come from the content alone.

    However, if you really think you can do a better job with it, no one's stopping you.

    I know.

     

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    regenschein, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:12am

    interesting point

    Mike,

    So, if I follow the oiginal posts argumentation, I can now copy your whole post and put it onto my own blog to generate some traffic, right?

    Since you don't have any control of how your work is marketed anyhow, I can happily pass it off as my own work without you feeling bad about it, right?

    Don't worry, I won't. Although I could use the extra traffic...

     

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    Cheyne, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:22am

    Fair argument, but i don't think you quite have the analogy and patent concepts down pat...
    better luck next time mate

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:39am

    Re: interesting point


    So, if I follow the oiginal posts argumentation, I can now copy your whole post and put it onto my own blog to generate some traffic, right?


    I'm guessing you did not read the comments above.

    Yes, you may copy my post on your own blog and generate traffic... if you can.

    Since you don't have any control of how your work is marketed anyhow, I can happily pass it off as my own work without you feeling bad about it, right?

    Yup. That is correct.

    I'm not sure why you think this is some sort of "gotcha." I've explained this repeatedly (in this very thread!), so I'd suggest you read up a little before you think you've somehow got me.

    You may copy our content. You may copy it and pretend we didn't write it. It's stupid and will probably backfire, but if you want to do it, go ahead.

    Here's why it's not that intelligent: first of all, you probably won't get much traffic with it. So it's sort of a waste of time.

    Second, even if you do get some traffic with it, enough people will recognize that you simply copied what was written here and it will damage your reputation. That's pretty difficult to repair, but if you don't mind your reputation being damaged, go ahead.

    Third, the people who realize that the original was written here will wonder why they should bother reading your site when you're just copying other sites. Instead, they'll just start reading Techdirt -- so that's *GOOD* for us. Thanks!

    Fourth, even if they don't realize it was originally written at Techdirt and think you actually wrote it, part of what brings people to Techdirt is that we, the writers, will discuss things and engage and backup what we write. That won't happen on your site. Sure, *you* can comment, but you can't speak to what we wrote, because you clearly don't understand it (or you wouldn't have incorrectly assumed that we'd somehow have a problem with copying our content).

    So, once again... at least once a week someone makes this claim that I would somehow be offended if you copied our content. And every time I explain I do not care. It will either backfire on you or help us -- potentially both. There are already about 10 sites that copy our content post for post... and they get no traffic. People know to come directly to us instead.

    So, congrats on repeating an argument we've already debunked.

     

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    Oli, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:46am

    Copyright

    "by Chair man on Apr 16th, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    one question.... can i therefore replicate a chair that i have and sell it for profit...

    if so then why cant i replicate somthing like a cd and sell it for profit..."

    You would be legally leaving yourself open to legal recourse from the original designer if you did that.

    On a more on topic note.

    I know copyright infringement is wrong, downloading music is wrong etc etc. The reason people do it is plain obvious, its cheaper easier and has a low risk level (Viruses and being caught stealing). It doesnt matter how you try to justify yourself, taking something that is free is stealing (Hence i have stolen on occasions)

    What the music industry needs to do i compete with the balance and take a fall in their share price while still being profit making.

    They need to make the tracks much cheaper, the cost of physically making distributing and stocking the songs is gone, so why they keep trying to charge £10-£15 an album is beyond me. Songs from legit sites are gaurenteed high quality, virus free and usually a speedy download, making them highly accessable and much less frustrating.

    Some money could be recouped via advertising, if the music industry got as many advert viewers as tehre are illegal downloaders they would be rolling in it. They just need to realise that unless they innovate and adapt to the new world they will die when one of the other music companies realises what can be done.

     

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    Scott, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:59am

    Re: Re: DirtyTech

    no where in p2p, or you tube, or any other "infringing" activity that the content industry is so scared of does someone take credit for someone else's work.
    Maybe not, but there's plenty of examples in P2P, youtube- even chain emails and websites, where people are either wrongly credited or not credited at all for their work. (For example, Weird Al Yankovich gets credited for pretty much any parody song, Banksy gets credited with any graffiti art that uses stencils etc. etc.)

     

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    regenschein, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 2:21am

    Re: Re: interesting point

    Mike,

    thanks for your elaborate answer. Which, unfortunately seems to be quite far off the point I wanted to make.

    I'm quite aware that ripping content from here to post it on my blog has absolutely no economic value. Mostly because I don't even have a blog. But do I really need to spell out the general question of how you would feel if I take something you create and do with it as I see fit?

    Oh, and you were right, I didn't read all the comments before posting. Didn't know that was required. Now that I have browsed a few of the comments I really tend to wholeheartedly agree with DocJ in post 26 and go back to reading Scott Adams blog. At least he is intentionally funny...

     

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    Cristiano, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 4:34am

    Not a chair!

    A chair? Are you comparing intelectual property to chairs? Who is making bad analogies now? Hahaha...

    BTW, if you make a different design for a chair, you may copyright that, and no one else could make one without having your consent. But, in this case, it is the design, not the chair, that is being copyrighted.

     

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    Rod, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 5:38am

    Re: Scott Adams' Pointy Haired Views On Copyright

    Well actually, John, you CAN resell. If I buy a CD, get tired of it and sell it, that's ok. You can buy plenty (or sell your own) at amazon.com. What you cannot do is copy the CD, keep your own and sell the copy, since someone has already paid to have the exclusive right to do that. Your solution, John, seems to be a perfectly legal and interesting way to commercialize digital material - I'm definitely going to look into it.

    Now, Techdirt's article mentions if you buy a chair and make your own, you can sell it - why not music or film or cartoons? Well, again: you CAN, if you ACTUALLY make your own. Which means, as another commenter wrote, getting the instruments, going to the studio and recording. Or a camera, or paper and pen. Comparing this with fashion is, I'm sorry to say, showing very little knowledge of the fashion industry (well, a tech site -- what would one expect? lol! We're not known for our fashion sense!). What is done in the fashion industry is copying a style, replicating a trend, which for the untrained eye is the same as carbon-copying - but actually isn't. They build on other designers' ideas (i.e. Beatles/Oasis, or Johnny Carson/Letterman, or James Bond/Max Steel and so on). The 'Original' vs 'copy' battle is another story - as Cixelcid has said, if the copy is good, the public will migrate. All the Auto companies know that, being an industry which is solely based on copy (same parts, same structures, etc.) and derived from basically three original car makers. The American ones know it better than most, since they suffered severe consequences of ignoring that and getting their asses kicked by the Japanese. But it doesn't make it anymore legal to make a product at home and sell it as a BMW or Ford or Toyota.

    The underwear analogy was brilliant, since ANYONE can relate to it (well, anyone who wears underwear, anyway). The argument that an artist has no emotional connection with his work can only come from someone who is not an artist. I'm a writer and musician, and could not possibly produce anything half decent if I didn't put my soul into it. It is my creation, and it feels pretty much like having a child - and dude, don't try to even touch my baby, I'll kill you, your family and piss in your graves. Would YOU be 100% rational if someone takes your child? How could you possibly try to rationalize something like this?

     

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    Rod, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re: Some quick points

    Because, AC, it does not consider something which would be fundamental in this specific example: brand. If you sell it as a "Anonymous Coward Undies" that's ok: you produced it (based on someone else's creation, but still). But if you go and sell it as an original Calvin Klein, it's a crime. Simple as that. =)

    But I'll risk saying record companies don't care much about a Joe mailing a song to another Joe. That does not harm their profits. But when "Brilliant Joe" creates Napster, and MILLIONS of Joes stop buying CDs because their available online... well, do the math! ;)

     

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    If you're going to write, do it right, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 8:06am

    Weak text - many fallacies

    "There's a very big cost if your caught" -- Well, actually, it's spelled "you're". So much for "quality content".

    As a second point, I totally agree with Rod and Pierre. As the first one goes, you tried to make an analogy using the fashion industry - understandable, given the apparent similarities. And to most readers, might even go unnoticed. But to a more educated reader it's obvious that you ignore (either on purpose or because you're really clueless) details of the industry. If it's intentional, it really shows a weak argument – omitting information to make a point. If it was accidental, no harm done – but I think it would be better to talk about things you understand. As for the second one, I noticed you haven’t written a reply to his topic. Is it because it makes too much sense and was written by someone who obviously knows what he is talking about?? Do everyone a favor and read it again. What the heck, you should POST it on Techdirt. It deserves it. It’s easy to write answers to analogy-writing readers, but it’s a little tougher to argue a fact-based point, isn’t it?

    I was going to just stop there, but your answer to H Lancroft, was rude and deliberately off-topic. Mike, you keep saying “go for it”, “try it”, “good luck with that” and “let us know how it goes”. Very arrogant and not elegant at all, dude. No one is actually saying they WILL do anything. But I wonder if you would have the same opinion if the site H Lancroft mentioned actually brought free added value using your articles. He might, for example, understand more about different market segments and argue the points better, thus creating a more attractive and intelligent debate. And his site might not pass the work on as his own (no risk of damaging the reputation), and not use only Techdirt’s material, but include articles from many different reputable tech websites - all in one place, in an easy-to-read format. It doesn’t take people long to figure out, as you love to say, that it’s more interesting to go to one place where everything is available (think “department stores” – there is a reason why they worked). And suppose he gets together a team of consultants and offers an interesting package of “custom analysis”. Now you got someone using taking your public and taking your clients – all that with the use of your posts.

    You mention that a big part of the value of Techdirt is that you, the writers, engage in the comments. But I’m sure not all posts are interesting to all readers. A place where I can read them, and other tech sites’, and just read the debates on the topics that interest me sounds like a good idea. So, supposing 50% of your public are interested by any given topic, you would soon get 50% the hits. Of course, given the readers from the other tech sites who had never heard of Techdirt and will get interested, you *might* recover some of that traffic. Let’s use an optimistic 30%. Would you be that arrogant with 20% less traffic and a drop in revenues? How would you feel about a website that manages to do that? I think that’s the most pertinent question. It’s not a matter of being “offended”. You’d feel flattered, naturally, if people thought your texts were so good they’re worth copying. But business-wise, you (and anyone else, and rightly so!) would be pissed off. Don’t deny it. I know you want to be rational, so just accept it. There, there… wasn’t so hard now, was it?

     

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    Thomas, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 8:18am

    So then it's ok for me

    to copy Tech dirts material and publish it om my own site?

    maybe market it some and steal your readers and watch you loose your income(the ad's). How You feel 'bout piracy now? HAR HAR HAR (Pirate laghter)

     

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    Peter Colovas, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 10:13am

    Re: Anonymous Coward on Apr 17th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    If we all lived in a society where everybody worked to the betterment of mankind and there was no money or greed to be concerned with, then everything would indeed be free and immediate and whatnot

    Wow! you've never heard of communism? tried that in many countries...didn't really work did it?

    The profit motive is one of the strongest incentives to produce anything that there is. Without it much of what we have today wouldn't exist.

    The main thrust of most people's arguements against copyright is that "copyright violation is not wrong because I don't want it to be". That's great, but still wrong. If I decide to make CPU, I can copy intel's design, go buy a fab, and start churning them out. I have invested the money, and i have taken a design. Since, as many of you think, a design is not a physical object, it's more like a document, I have done nothing wrong, correct? not quite, because that design in intellectual property, just like a song or a blog or a book. The law says that Intel can come and sue me for every gain I've made from pirating that design, and the law IMHO is morally correct. I don't see how taking a book or song without paying the copyright holder is any different that stealing a design or physical item. Someone has put effort and intellegence into their work and it is their legal and intrinsic right to do with it as they please.

    If you think that a CD is too expensive then you are free to not buy it, but at least be honest and admit that when you download something that is pirated you are stealing.

     

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    Randy Litz, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 12:51pm

    Re: I think Scott Adams is right

    As a performer and sometime songwriter myself, I have no objection to reasonable copyright laws myself. Notice I said REASONABLE. As I understandit, Thomas jefferson acknowledged that creators of intellectual property should be compensdated for their work FOR A TIME. As I rcall, he mentioned a span of 25 years after which the work would then become public domaiin. As I rmember the original US copyright laws works in question were copyright for the life of the original creator plus 25 years after his/her death. Subsequent revisions allowed for one renewal and now it seems that copyright holders can renew several times. I agree with Jefferson's original premise. I tseems unraesonable that copyrights should extend to an almost unlimited number of the creator's descendants. Hank Williams has been dead for 55 years yet thanks to the revised cpyright laws, most of his songs that should by now be in public domain are still under copyright by some publising house or other. Another problem arises with teh method of obtaining permission to record a work in question. If a performer wishes to be completely legal, he must first pay a minimum amount of money to a copyright clearing house before thw work is even recorded or sold and before any profit from the sale ofa nay such recorded work is realized. Unlike the investment in a musical instrument which can be resold if the performer is unsuccessful in his musical endeavor, once the copyright fee is paid, it is non refundable and the unsuccsessful performer is out the money. A much fairer way to insure fairness for all concerned is the application of what is referred to as "comulsory license" whereby the performer pays the appropriate copyright holder ona contigency basis only for the actual number of copies of the recording sold based on a statutory fee scale. In this way, the copyright holder can be justly compensated but the performer would not be unjustly penalized.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: interesting point

    But do I really need to spell out the general question of how you would feel if I take something you create and do with it as I see fit?

    Hmm. I thought I answered that for you. If you thought what I had done was valuable enough to make use of yourself, why should I complain? That's awesome...

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:07pm

    Re: So then it's ok for me

    Man. People clearly do not read the comments here.

    So then it's ok for me to copy Tech dirts material and publish it om my own site?

    Yes. Absolutely.


    maybe market it some and steal your readers and watch you loose your income(the ad's). How You feel 'bout piracy now? HAR HAR HAR (Pirate laghter)


    As I said above, go for it. It's not particularly intelligent, but if that's what you want to do.

    It won't take long for people to realize you're simply copying, and then they'll come to us instead, knowing that we're the original. So you'll bring us more readers. We won't be "losing" any income. And, if you can actually do a better job attracting people, then that's great. That just gives us incentive to improve the product.

    How many more people are going to keep making this dumb argument?

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Weak text - many fallacies

    As the first one goes, you tried to make an analogy using the fashion industry - understandable, given the apparent similarities. And to most readers, might even go unnoticed. But to a more educated reader it's obvious that you ignore (either on purpose or because you're really clueless) details of the industry

    Which details? I'm willing to respond to specific criticisms, but just claiming I ignore realities without explaining which makes it difficult for me to figure out if I really did make a mistake or not.

    As for the second one, I noticed you haven’t written a reply to his topic. Is it because it makes too much sense and was written by someone who obviously knows what he is talking about?? Do everyone a favor and read it again. What the heck, you should POST it on Techdirt. It deserves it. It’s easy to write answers to analogy-writing readers, but it’s a little tougher to argue a fact-based point, isn’t it?

    Actually, with over 100 comments, it's pretty difficult to reply to all of them. I had missed Pierre's, but you are correct that it's well argued. I'll discuss it after I finish responding to you.

    I was going to just stop there, but your answer to H Lancroft, was rude and deliberately off-topic. Mike, you keep saying “go for it”, “try it”, “good luck with that” and “let us know how it goes”. Very arrogant and not elegant at all, dude.

    How is that arrogant? The arrogance was in assuming that he had a "gotcha" in that I would be upset if my stuff was copied. And the fact is I wouldn't be. I'm actually really happy when that happens, because it means people think what I wrote is worth copying. That really is fantastic.

    No one is actually saying they WILL do anything.

    Sure they are. A few people did exactly that.

    But I wonder if you would have the same opinion if the site H Lancroft mentioned actually brought free added value using your articles. He might, for example, understand more about different market segments and argue the points better, thus creating a more attractive and intelligent debate. And his site might not pass the work on as his own (no risk of damaging the reputation), and not use only Techdirt’s material, but include articles from many different reputable tech websites - all in one place, in an easy-to-read format.

    There are lots of sites that do that. In fact, if you go to Bloglines, they do exactly that and its FANTASTIC. Do you know that we have over 36,000 readers who view our content solely in Bloglines. Bloglines reprints every word we write, so there's no reason for people to come directly to the site. Plus they aggregate it with lots of other worthy sites. Hell, I read my *own* site in Bloglines. So if H Lancroft can create an aggregator that adds more value and gets more readers, that would really be fantastic.

    Did we get upset at Bloglines? No. Instead, we got the founder of Bloglines to join our board of directors. I'm not promising we'd do the same for H Lancroft... but I think that pretty clearly shows how we feel about those who reprint our content and aggregate it in a valuable way.

    And suppose he gets together a team of consultants and offers an interesting package of “custom analysis”. Now you got someone using taking your public and taking your clients – all that with the use of your posts.

    Again, easier said than done, but competition is competition. I'm confident that we can continue to out innovate those who copy our business model.

    So, supposing 50% of your public are interested by any given topic, you would soon get 50% the hits.

    Except that's not at all what happens. In fact, the more people copy our stuff, the more our traffic increases. So, you're making a huge assumption here that doesn't play out in reality.

    Would you be that arrogant with 20% less traffic and a drop in revenues? How would you feel about a website that manages to do that? I think that’s the most pertinent question.

    Well, that would only apply if we actually got 20% less traffic and if it actually impacted our business. The facts are the opposite. Our traffic only increases.

    It’s not a matter of being “offended”. You’d feel flattered, naturally, if people thought your texts were so good they’re worth copying. But business-wise, you (and anyone else, and rightly so!) would be pissed off. Don’t deny it. I know you want to be rational, so just accept it. There, there… wasn’t so hard now, was it?

    Well, again, you're making assumptions that are wrong. Business-wise, we keep growing, because more people discover us, often because others are doing a great job promoting our content. So, no, business-wise (and I am CEO of the company) I am not pissed off.

    The thing is, I've set up my business model by understanding this, so that people copying our content doesn't hurt us. It's a business choice. If others make a bad business choice in setting up their business models in ways that aren't protected, that's their mistake. But don't assume that because others have bad business models, our business model is negatively impacted.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 19th, 2007 @ 1:42pm

    Re: IP

    As a software developer, there is nothing I would like better than to turn out the highest quality software, as long as I could be compensated for it.

    Indeed.

    Does anyone really think that the millions of lines of code that went into a typical major application is worth the piddling $100+ the consumer pays for it?

    Well, that depends on how you define "worth." Worth and value are funny concepts in economics, and they're often used to obscure an economics argument, not clarify it.

    It is true that the value that people get from the software is often greater than $100. That's why they're willing to pay the $100. But, it's also true that the value of your $30,000 car is greater than the $30,000 or you wouldn't buy it. I'm not sure what sort of point that proves.

    Let's start with a basic premise: quality is worth money.

    Yes, quality is worth money if you can convince people that there's value in that quality.

    I'm sure we agree that a Hyundai (or whatever passes for a cheap car in your neighbourhood) costs less than a Porsche or BMW because the Porsche is better designed and better built. Better design means more experienced and brilliant engineers, more talented designers; better built means more skilled and dedicated assembly-line workers. All these people demand more money. Hence the Porsche company commands a higher price for their Carreras, 911s, whatever.

    There are a lot of assumptions in there that are not necessarily true. Porcshe and BMW may be better not because their engineers are better, but because the company has decided to target a higher end luxury market, and therefore focused more on quality. That's a business decision, but hardly reflects the quality, skills and dedication of the workers at the company.

    The same should be true of software. If a company invests great care in desiging a better operating system, or a better word processor, that never crash, and always have helpful help and meaningful error messages, how much do you think that would be worth? I'll give you a hint: the military do in fact get top-quality software for their jets and rockets. They get software that almost never fails, and does exactly what it is designed to do.


    There's a huge fallacy here. You seem to be assuming that there's a fundamental "quality" value that determines price and that's simply wrong. Each individual consumer makes a value decision and determines what a product is worth to him or her and whether or not the price is above or below that. That has nothing to do with fundamental quality. It has everything to do with marginal benefit compared to marginal cost.

    There are many reasons why military software costs more that have nothing to do with what you stated...

    Do you know how much this software costs? $50 per line of code.

    Cost of development has nothing to do with price on the market. If I can build the worlds most fantastic car, but it costs me $100 million to build it, even if the value of that car is $100 million in "fundamental quality" most individuals won't be willing or able to pay that much, because the value to them, marginally above the competition, isn't nearly a $100 million.

    Translating into everyday terms, a bullet-proof operating system would cost you, at a rough guess, $5,000 per copy.

    Again, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Price is not based on fixed cost, but marginal.

    How long do you think a software company would last if their product cost millions to make, and they only sold a few copies at $5,000? Why they would go broke, of course.

    No. Not of course. They only go broke if they have a really bad business model, where they don't recognize how they can capture money from a really fantastic OS. Red Hat makes a ton of money off of a free OS called Linux. IBM makes a *TON* of money off of a free OS called Linux. So, no, you don't go broke unless you have a bad business model.


    The digital world turns the economics of quality upside-down: in traditional models where quality is supported by price, the market pays the price if it wants the quality.


    No. Again, I'd suggest that you may want to review your economics, because this is not true. Traditional economics applies to software just as it applies to anything else.

    I recently wrote this piece that explains how the economics doesn't break down when you have an infinite good like software vs. a tangible good like a car:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070215/002923.shtml

    In the digital model, a perfect copy of the merchandise costs virtually nothing, and undercuts the legitimate market, putting a cap on the maximum that can be charged for a product.

    Again, you're making a bad assumption that the "legitimate market" isn't valuing the product at zero. Basic economics tells you it should. Supply & demand... supply is infinite, marginal cost is zero... price will eventually be driven to zero.

    There is a built-in limit to how much time, effort and expense a company can invest into a mass-produced product. This cap is equivalent to the "nuisance value" defined above. It is not reasonable for the consumer to expect warranties and liabilities that go way beyond what the manufacturer receives from sales of the product.

    No, that's false. It's only true if the company has a bad business model that doesn't understand the nature of infinite goods and how to profit from them.

    You're thinking too narrowly here, that a company that creates software has to directly sell that software, rather than selling additional ancillary products around that software that the software makes much more valuable.


    I challenge anyone to come up with a business model where the software developer that invests great expense in building a quality product, can obtain full compensation from the market segment that values his quality.


    Easy. We point to examples all the time. What you do is you use the software as promotion for something that is not infinitely available. This could be services around the software. It could be consulting. It could be implementation. It could be custom work. It could be lots of things. Linus Torvalds has done quite well for himself thanks to his work with free software.

    Whose fault is it anyway? Simple: it's the consumer who copies and pirates software that forces the price down and therefore the quality to remain low. Any analysis that does not take this into account is simplistic.

    No. That's wrong. The market is simply setting the proper price. You may not *like* that price, but it doesn't mean the market is wrong.

    It is naïve to think that most developers are not struggling to make ends meet and stay in business (Microsoft notwithstanding).

    If you have a bad business model, don't blame others for it. Fix your business model.


    The advent of Web- and subscription-based software models promises to turn things around by making it impractical to copy software. Time will tell


    Actually, web and subscription based software is a great example of developers creating a new business model that recognizes the reality of infinite goods. They're charging for access, which is not infinite.

    So, actually, this disproves the rest of your post. There *are* business models for software developers. that allow them to make money.

     

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    Matt Wardman, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 4:19pm

    Scott Adams is right

    >The bigger problem with Adams' essay, however, is that he seems confused about how markets work. He complains that the "loss" created by infringement is the creator's right to control how a work is marketed. Unfortunately, there is no such right. If I build a chair and someone buys it, then they can then market it however they want. The creator doesn't retain control.

    You hole your own boat below the waterline when you complain about Adams using a physical analogy for an intellectual product, then do the same yourself.

    The fact is that an author DOES have the right to control the distribution of their content - subject to the laws in force.

    If you choose to give your content away for free, that is you doing precisely that - it is your right to choose to make the content public.

     

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    Big Dave, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 4:20pm

    The pot calling the kettle black...

    You criticize Adams' underwear-borrowing analogy, and describe him as "confused", and then you launch into your own totally confused denial of his right to control the marketing of his work, and give us an even more pathetic analogy to copyright infringement.

    When Adams talks about controlling the marketing of his work, he is not talking about controlling the secondary market for physical objects that were legally obtained in the primary market. If someone were to purchase one of his books and then resell it to someone else, Adams would certainly not complain that his copyright had been infringed. He is talking about artistic and intellectual property. He is talking about the unauthorized copying and distribution of the contents of the book -- something that absolutely does diminish the commercial value of his work in the primary market, and robs him of the right to control the distribution of his work in that primary market. You go on to claim that such a right does not exist, and yet it's existence is quite plain to see for anyone who does not choose to ignore it. Adams and his publishers do control the number of copies of the book that are printed and offered for sale, and they can print as many or as few copies as they want, and they cannot be compelled by the market to print more than they choose to print. That is their right, and the right exists regardless of whether you acknowledge it, and it is protected by law.

    There is no question Adams' underwear analogy was a lame one, but the chair analogy is even further off the mark. You cannot build a replica of a chair without investing the materials and the labor required to build it. When you are done, you have a chair that is similar to the original chair, but is not the original chair, and if you sell it, you are not selling the original chair, you are selling your own chair -- that physical object that is the product of your own investment of materials and labor. There is not even a remote resemblance to copyright infringement in that analogy. Now if, on the other hand, you claim the design of the chair is your own, or if you label the replica identically to the original and try and sell it as an example created by the manufacturer of the original, then you have committed an offense that is beginning to get into the same area as copyright infringement. That is because you have stolen the intellectual property represented by the chair's design, or you have stolen the brand identity of the original chair. Those are each an example of something that has commercial value but is not a physical object, and the theft and sale of either, just like copyrighted material, is against the law. Thus, your claim that the maker of the replica chair can "market it however they want" is absolutely false, and is only true in your own mind because you are completely ignoring or unable to comprehend that the original chair represents other kinds of property than just the materials and labor that went into its construction.

    Artistic and intellectual creations are property, and they can have commercial value in and of themselves, even if they are not physical objects. Artistic and intellectual property can have a rightful owner, and other people do not have any rights to that property without the consent of the rightful owner, no matter how much they want it, or how poor they are. Copyright laws protect that kind of property, and they are as valid and justifiable as the laws that protect you from having someone kick down your door and take your personal possessions. You can try to rationalize the theft of artisitic and intellectual property any way you want, but it is theft nonetheless, and it is not a victimless crime.

     

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    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2007 @ 11:35am

    Re: The pot calling the kettle black...

    When Adams talks about controlling the marketing of his work, he is not talking about controlling the secondary market for physical objects that were legally obtained in the primary market.

    He is absolutely talking about that. Someone gets access to the content, and then begins distributing it in the secondary market... it's just that they're distributing it for free by allowing others to make copies.

    He is talking about the unauthorized copying and distribution of the contents of the book -- something that absolutely does diminish the commercial value of his work in the primary market

    You are making an assumption (a common one) that isn't necessarily supported by the evidence. There's an awful lot of research showing that copyright actually limits the size of a market, and you can make the market much bigger by removing it and letting the market set the proper price for the content and ancillary works.

    Adams and his publishers do control the number of copies of the book that are printed and offered for sale, and they can print as many or as few copies as they want, and they cannot be compelled by the market to print more than they choose to print. That is their right, and the right exists regardless of whether you acknowledge it, and it is protected by law.

    Yes, copyright law exists -- but the point wasn't about distributing the primary work, but copies of the work. So, again, I go back to the chair analogy. If someone copies the chair, can they not sell it?

    There is no question Adams' underwear analogy was a lame one, but the chair analogy is even further off the mark. You cannot build a replica of a chair without investing the materials and the labor required to build it.

    Ok, right back to the chair analogy. You'll note in the article I discussed what about a situation where you had a magical replicator machine. Would that be illegal? According to you it would be. But think about how ridiculous that is. Imagine if you had a machine that could increase the resources of the world... and you want to make it illegal? You want to make fewer resources available? Why?

    Now if, on the other hand, you claim the design of the chair is your own, or if you label the replica identically to the original and try and sell it as an example created by the manufacturer of the original, then you have committed an offense that is beginning to get into the same area as copyright infringement

    No. That's trademark infringement, which is quite different. Trademark infringement serves a purpose that is quite different than copyright. Copyright serves to create incentives to create the content. Trademark isn't about incentives, but about consumer protection. It's about protecting people from buying product A believing it's product B. That's very different.

    That is because you have stolen the intellectual property represented by the chair's design

    No. You have not stolen anything. You have infringed on intellectual property, but that's not stealing. Go read the Dowling decision in the Supreme Court to learn why.

    However, as we noted, if you look at industries like the fashion industry, they actually have become much BIGGER because designs are infringed upon all the time. Why? Well, it forces people to keep on innovating and growing the market. And, if a designer is copied, it actually *helps* them by promoting the value of their work.

    Artistic and intellectual creations are property

    They are not property like tangible property. The fact that you can copy them without the original creator losing anything is a huge difference. The fact that they revert to the public domain after a period of time is a huge difference. Claiming that they are property is false. It's a myth made up by those who use the term "intellectual property" to hide the fact that artistic and intellectual creations are not actually property.

    they can have commercial value in and of themselves, even if they are not physical objects

    I never denied they can have commercial value. In fact I believe they can have tremendous commercial value -- but that basic economics says that commercial value is in promoting other products and services.

    Copyright laws protect that kind of property, and they are as valid and justifiable as the laws that protect you from having someone kick down your door and take your personal possessions.

    So you believe, but there are reasons why it should not. Traditional property law is to protect you from losing a scarce resource. Copyright law doesn't do that. You don't lose anything if someone copies your content.

    You can try to rationalize the theft of artisitic and intellectual property any way you want, but it is theft nonetheless, and it is not a victimless crime.

    I am not rationalizing theft, because there's no theft at all. You can keep claiming it is, but neither the Supreme Court nor reality agrees with you.

     

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    Erin, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 4:18pm

    Flaws in Analogies

    There are a few bits in your analogies that don't match up exactly, either. Analogies are rarely, if ever, perfect, and that's true for everyone, but since we've brought up the flaws in Adams' arguments, there are a few in these counter-analogies as well.

    For example, you mention the underwear replicating machine that clones the borrowed underwear. In Adams' analogy, the owner of the underwear stands for someone who benefits from a product (tangible or intangible) that they "own" in the sense of having created it. in your analogy, the owner is literally just the owner of the underwear and doesn't stand for anything else anymore. the creator of the underwear (who is the person the underwear-owner stood for in Adams' analogy) is still hurt by the replicating machine because he may make less money from his original creation because replicas can be obtained for free. i'm not saying that's wrong, right, or indifferent, but it shows that the counter-analogy does not actually address Adams' original point.

    The analogy about rights to the control of marketing a product also don't quite match up, since in your analogy you say that once a person -buys- a chair or makes it himself, he can do whatever he wants with it. But I think in Adams' original argument he was referring to things that had been taken for free in the first place, not ones that had been purchased or re-created to look similar. Again, I'm not saying this proves one side or another of the copyright debate, just showing that all analogies can be pointed out to have flaws.

     

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  109.  
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    LRM, Apr 21st, 2007 @ 10:32am

    scott adams copyright coment

    concerning your Scott Adams comment:

    Do you even take the time to read AND understand the underlying point being made in his blog entries?

    From you comment, I see an anal retentive person lashing out because someone stole his underwear joke.

    Learn to ENJOY what you read - maybe then you will see the full spectrum of the writers intentions.

    Just as Scott said, I say, an anology is imperfect by nature.

    One must shut ones mouth and open ones eyes and ears before true understanding begins.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2007 @ 11:02am

    Copyrights

    After reading Mr. Adam's blog, I have to say you both make a very good point. I agree that Mr. Adam's anology is not a exact interpretation of what happens when someone violates a copyright law, but niether is yours. Making a machine that copyies that person's underpants seems ike a victimless crime. The mistake in this anology is that you said that the underpants were a unique pair, so there is onjly one person who can own them. WIth music there can be own unique song but hundreds of people may want to buy it. THe car example has the same problem only one person can own the car, well hundreds can own the rihts to listen to a song. Because when you buy music thats what you buy, the right to play the song.

    When you violate a copyright you really do take money from the person who created that thing. Because every person that violates this law is one less payment the creater recieves. Even when you buy phsical property you are paying for more that just the material, you pay for all the time put into creating that product. So when you take a creators right to control the marketing of there product, you take away there right to control there paycheck. Would you want someone else controling YOUR paycheack?

     

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    Bart Fields, Apr 21st, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    Your feud with Scott Adams

    Your chair analogy (since we are picking on analogies) may be a good one, but if so one might reasonably draw a different conclusion. It has been held to be illegal to copy someone else's chair just because you like it. See http://www.winston.com/siteFiles/publications/06_26_2006ClientNewsletter_v1.htm#HermanMiller. I enjoy your blog-- keep plugging away.

     

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  112.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2007 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re: The pot calling the kettle black...

    "He is absolutely talking about that. Someone gets access to the content, and then begins distributing it in the secondary market... it's just that they're distributing it for free by allowing others to make copies."

    But the whole point is that when I go purchase a book, CD, ect.(or whatever the item may be) I am only purchasing the rights to that copy and not the rights to reproduce it and use those copies for anything other than personal use.

    "You are making an assumption (a common one) that isn't necessarily supported by the evidence. There's an awful lot of research showing that copyright actually limits the size of a market, and you can make the market much bigger by removing it and letting the market set the proper price for the content and ancillary works."

    If I decide to distribute my work for free even if every single human being on the planet gets it that still gets me no closer to putting food on the table and a roof over my head. Maybe there are times where the expansion of the number of people exposed to my products overwhelm the need for the income normally produced and then I will freely distribute the product but that is the creator's decision not the consumer's.

    "Yes, copyright law exists -- but the point wasn't about distributing the primary work, but copies of the work. So, again, I go back to the chair analogy. If someone copies the chair, can they not sell it?"

    Well isnt the point of the copyright that you can not

    "According to you it would be. But think about how ridiculous that is. Imagine if you had a machine that could increase the resources of the world... and you want to make it illegal? You want to make fewer resources available? Why?"

    There is a vast difference in using your hypothetical device to increase dwindleing natural resources and using it to replicate someone elses creative work. Be it a chair or be it an .mp3
    By the way excellent strawman argument, just have to love those ways to make it sound like those who disagree with you are out to get the rest of humanity. I'm suprised you didnt compare the poster to Hitler.

    "No. You have not stolen anything. You have infringed on intellectual property, but that's not stealing. Go read the Dowling decision in the Supreme Court to learn why.

    However, as we noted, if you look at industries like the fashion industry, they actually have become much BIGGER because designs are infringed upon all the time. Why? Well, it forces people to keep on innovating and growing the market. And, if a designer is copied, it actually *helps* them by promoting the value of their work."

    The Dowling decision only states that copies of copyrighted materials can not be treated a stolen goods, but the distribution of them is still a violation of the law.
    Even in the fashion industry that infringment is not the exact replication it is adaptation. Just because there is a copyrighted design for an internal combustion engine doesn't mean that I violate that copyright by producing my own design for a different internal combustion engine.

    "They are not property like tangible property. The fact that you can copy them without the original creator losing anything is a huge difference."

    Yes, the creator does not lose anything when you purchase a copy from him/her or someone who they allow to distribute it and then rip the CD for example on to your computer so that you dont always need the physical CD in your drive to play it. But, they do lose something if you go hand out copies you make, they lose potential paying customers.

    "but that basic economics says that commercial value is in promoting other products and services."

    How is a song or book which I have thought up only valuable to promote other things? Therefore how does an individual whole only produces "artistic creations" survive?

    "Traditional property law is to protect you from losing a scarce resource. Copyright law doesn't do that. You don't lose anything if someone copies your content."

    The mere existance of the copy takes nothing away from the creator but the distribution of it without the creators consent does.

     

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  113.  
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    Robert, Apr 23rd, 2007 @ 2:46pm

    Here's the point:

    Jesus Geeb. Punch yourself in the face. Do it now Geeb. Punch yourself right on the nose. Anybody who can say with a straight face that copyright infringement is analogous to wearing somebody elses underwear should get punched in the face... daily... possibly by midgets so he can bend down to get the face beating. And if he doesn't he gets socked in the balls.

    Are you seriously saying that artists feel emotional distress when people admire their work so much they want to obtain it, be it through piracy or not? What are you fucking nuts? The key word here is exposure, without exposure artists may as well just hang up their collective hats and jerk off to nurse porn 24/7.

    If you're an artist and you put your work out there and NOBODY gives a shit, nobody pirates your crap. Not even china (who would pirate nose puppies if they could). Then, and only then should you feel emotional distress.

    Fucking underwear. That is the most weak argument ever presented in the entire history of weak arguments.

    Stop mucking about, there is no IRATE without PIRATE.

     

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  114.  
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    Robert, Apr 23rd, 2007 @ 2:53pm

    Another point (Entirely by me, I swear)

    So i've basically misinterpreted you as saying competition is copyright infringement. In fact, that's pretty much what most companies also want to believe. In the same vein Google, Yahoo, Altavista, Web Crawler (add any other search engine) are copies of the same basic idea, and since anyone will be a musician if they don't make money out of it, this is totally relevant!

    Here's where quality of service and innovation comes into play, people go to the search engine they feel most comfortable with because of the quality it delivers. If its shit people will leave. And people will definitely pay for something they can get somewhereelse for free, that's how we work. We want to pay money for things, rather than getting it without working for it.

    So go ahead, start your DirtyTech, if its popular I'll visit it, if I like it I'll even drop TechDirt in favor of your own site. But chances are it won't, it'll suck as badly as, for example Cixelsid does in real life. That's why TechDirt doesn't give a shit. Chances are you'll just promote interest in the original, much cooler site. And this is still a relevant analogy, since I'm PAYING to see a mirror site of this. I wouldn't want to see this for free, would I?

    Be your own MAN, a PIRATE has hair on his knuckles!

    Ladies do you want adventure? Daring? Open Seas? Crabs? Date a Pirate! TODAY!!!

     

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  115.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2007 @ 7:14pm

    There's a minor flaw in your underwear analogy. It works great if the original person with the underwear dosen't have any stake in said underwaer. But if they are selling underware and instead of buying the underwear you love so much you just copy it, he looses the money you would have paid him for the underwear (yes looses).

    Now I am going to make a rudimentary mistake by putting forth a weaker argument which I will be ridiculed for and thus allowing you to ignore my above argument.

    If indeed nobody is hurt by copyright infringement why are there laws against it, and why are those infringed against taking action agains infringers? (and there's another thing for you to exploit, a wonderful open ended question. Have fun, but don't discount me.)

     

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  116.  
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    Erik J. Heels (profile), Jul 27th, 2007 @ 1:02pm

    Legal Dilbert Reprints

     

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  117.  
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    barren waste, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    Another Two Cents

    First of all, I do not think that internet piracy (read infringements of copyright law) are a big problem. You can effectively "own" a book/movie/music cd by rechecking it (freely) from the local library or for a fee of two dollars or so from the new companies that have no time limit on thier rentals. Not only that, but music and movies can be recorded from your home theater/tv/radio. The internet is simply doing the same for literary compositions. It's not piracy, it's library.

    "But Barren, the library paid for it's copies." So did the person or persons posting the literary work. Somebody had to purchase a copy in order for the content to be scanned and posted.

    Problems with resale of intellectual property? Used bookstores/musicstores/gamestores/moviestores resell intellectual property all the time. It is not illegal for me to buy a copy of Eric Flint's "Gust Front" (yes, I know that the book is available as a free e-book) and then sell it to a resale store. If I can convince the owner that it's a collector's item I can even make profit off the deal. However, it is illegal for me to keep the book and scan a copy onto the net and share it with my friends....even though I can legally loan or give them the book....hmmmmmm.

    Let's take a look at the definition of theft. "In the criminal law, theft (also known as stealing) is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. As a term, it is used as shorthand for all major crimes against property, encompassing offences such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, mugging, trespassing, shoplifting, intrusion, fraud (theft by deception) and sometimes criminal conversion. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny." In other words, I didn't say you could have that, give it back. However, once the artist has sold his work, it no longer belongs to him. It belongs to the person or persons who purchased it. It's thiers to give or sell as they see fit, as long as they don't claim the work as thier own. And a thing freely given is not stolen.....

    And lastly, the copyright laws are not set up to encourage competition or protect the creater of the works in question. Most of the laws deal with who can and cannot make money off from the properties. These laws protect the conglomerates who distribute the work after it has been created. Who cares how many companies distribute your new Sci-Fi Mystery Thriller? The more the merrier. As long as you get paid for the effort you put into creating it, does it matter to you who distributes it? Then, once it's been sold, why should you have any say in what the new owners do with it? You sold it, it's not yours anymore. You don't get to tell the people who bought your car where or when they can drive it.

    The problem is not with people distributing material freely on the net. The problem is two-fold. First, plaigerism. Should be illegal, and is. But the biggest offenders of this are business people, not John Q. Public. Second, the pittance the conglomerates award the people with the talent. The lions share of the profit should go to the artist, without who, no money could be generated. An artist can market his/her own work. A conglomerate can't market what it doesn't have.

     

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  118.  
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    boris brownfield, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    pants is pants

    "this is pretty much how the fashion industry works -- and it's working out quite well there, creating all sorts of incentives for continual growth, creativity and innovation. Once a product is out in the market, the original creator no longer gets to keep control over it."

    Growth, creativity and innovation are not strengthened by "borrowing" from other artists, no matter how much money is to be made by doing it. Figures this is a business column, focused on making money by any means available, including theft of intellectual property, and turning its back on legality and the ethical issues of said thievery. Maybe the analogy should have been "stealing someone's underwear, dying it black and calling it your own."

     

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  119.  
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    Joanne Kacer Overstreet, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: I think Scott Adams is right

    Randy, If you knew me at Queens College, when you played Irish Ballads on guitar, please contact me. Thank you.

     

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  120.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Jun 14th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DirtyTech

    But I also said that the point is that if music listeners don't care about the differences between copy and original, then the creator starts losing. That's what happens with music and other types of content, not websites. Specially when their value doesn't come from the content alone.

    The analogy still works for music. There may be no difference between the copy and original of any particular audio recording, but there's no difference between the original and a copy of any post on Techdirt either.

    However, Techdirt and good musicians both have the ability to continue to produce quality material in the future.

    Also, in the same way that a "scarce good" such as the community here is not copyable, neither is an artist copyable. A cover band won't provide the same experience as the real band.

    The creator only loses if they limit themselves to selling a copyable product.

     

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