Too Much Ownership Can Be Bad For The Economy

from the going-beyond-what-should-be-owned dept

When we talk about intellectual property around here, one of the popular responses from those who disagree with what we say is that "property rights are a central tenant of capitalist economies, and you're trying to take away property rights." That's not quite true. Property rights are indeed an important part of capitalist economies, and we are supporters of property rights -- but only for things where property actually makes sense and is necessary. The whole reason why property rights exist in the first place is to manage the efficient allocation of scarce resources -- that is to make it clear who controls a specific scarce resource. Property rights don't make much sense when a resource isn't scarce, because there need not be any question of how to best allocate it, since anyone who wants it can have it. In those cases, adding property rights actually makes the market less efficient by limiting the allocation.

With that in minds, it's great to see that there's apparently a new book that touches on this very subject. Against Monopoly points us to economist Tyler Cowen's brief review of a new book called: The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives. The book apparently focuses on the "tragedy of the anti-commons," which is the situation when too many limitations are placed on how certain goods can be used. Sounds like an interesting book to add to the collection of books recognizing the economic problems that can come with putting property rights where they don't belong.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    Tenet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Capitalist Joe, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    This sounds like some kind of leftest dogma.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jul 9th, 2008 @ 12:59pm

    Goods are no longer sold.

    Its unfortunate that most discussions concerning the concept of property rights are from the perspective of the content producer and their attempts to aggrandize their so-called property rights. Usually they scream how stronger property laws are needed to fight all those pirates who are supposedly stealing from them. Witness Mike's recognition of this issue with: "too many limitations are placed on how certain goods can be used." Unfortunately too many people fall for this pirating "red herring" not realizing that they are being suckered.

    In reality, many companies through FUD are attempting to eliminate the concept that goods are actually sold to the buyer. Instead they claim that you are either "leasing" or "licensing" the use of that product. Thus the consumer is denied the property right that would normally go with those goods. From the perspective of the consumer, our property rights are being abolished.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    BizModel, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 1:04pm

    Extend Ownership to Streets

    I want to own the street in front of my house. This would relieve the government of the expense and trouble of maintaining it. It will extend the ownership economy, and make me an enteprenurial businessman (which we all know we need more of) instead of a wage slave like I am now. Of course, I will have to put up a toll booth and charge anyone who wants to pass by. This will also provide employment as toll collectors to otherwise unemployable low lifes. Since I'll have to provide them with expensive benefits, it will cost about twenty bucks a clip to the 20 or so people who live beyond me. Once my neighbor figures this out, he will want the same deal, and so on all the way up the street, so it will probably cost the guy at the end of the street about $400 bucks everytime he leaves the house. It's a small price to pay, especially since I'm not paying it. I'm submitting a patent application on this idea so I'll get royalties on all the other toll booth operators in the neighborhood.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    Intellectual property has nothing to do with property rights. Patents and copyrights are limited monopolies granted solely at the discretion of governments.

    To illustrate this point, the US constitution does not give a right to physical property. That's one of those inalienable rights, which means it is not granted by government.

    However, because monopolies such as copyrights and patents are not inalienable, the Constitution had to specifically grant them because, without such grant, they simply would not exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    you sound like a moron

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 1:49pm

    Patents and copyrights are limited monopolies granted solely at the discretion of governments.


    you use the word discretion loosely.

    To illustrate this point, the US constitution does not give a right to physical property. That's one of those inalienable rights, which means it is not granted by government.


    Who grants ownership to physical property then?

    However, because monopolies such as copyrights and patents are not inalienable, the Constitution had to specifically grant them because, without such grant, they simply would not exist.


    Naturally there is the inalienable advantage of creating/inventing a product and being the first to market.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    dilly bong, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    Are you a crack head?

    Just because we've had three consecutive criminals in the office of president allowing Monopoly's to exist (probably presidential payoffs) - doesn't make ownership bad. How f'n stupid. If proper regulations are followed in a capitalist society, then ownership is a GREAT thing. We however have criminals in the office of president and through out congress. Makes me wanna vomit.

    What a crock of SH*T.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Extend Ownership to Streets

    Actually you do own the street in front of your house ... however, when you bought your house it likely came with the easement granting the city to use it for a street. (And, for example, if you didn't have a paved sidewalk and the city decides to put one in, they're going to send you the bill.)

    Anyway, I'm sure your easement wording says you can't charge for crossing. Too bad. But if you owned, say, a shopping center, you could certainly charge people to drive, walk or park. Not legal problem there. Might be other problems though ... like no customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 9th, 2008 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Are you a crack head?

    Just because we've had three consecutive criminals in the office of president allowing Monopoly's to exist (probably presidential payoffs) - doesn't make ownership bad

    I'm not sure what the last three presidents have to do with any of this.

    And no one said ownership is bad. The point is that ownership where it doesn't make sense is bad.

    If proper regulations are followed in a capitalist society

    Regulations and capitalism are things that don't often go together.

    then ownership is a GREAT thing

    We agree that property rights are important. The question is how far those property rights extend.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    There Are No Unscarce Resources

    My time is scarce. Just because something I created can be easily copied doesn't mean that it didn't cost me anything to create it. If I created it it seems like I should be able to receive compensation for it, if that's what I want.

    So this is the flaw in your argument that I haven't seen you address to my satisfaction yet. You've suggested that there could be some round about, indirect sort of compensation like contests/lotteries or "creating a viewing event" for the "official" versions of a thing. It seems to me those kinds of solutions are not encumbered by copyright now. If there are such business models they can be accomplished now. Perhaps with Creative Commons licensing.

    I agree that there are problems with copyright and patents as they are currently constituted. I just haven't seen any good alternatives proposed yet. (I may have missed them as I don't read widely on this subject. I'm too busy keeping my creative skills sharp and up to date.) So please feel free to enlighten me or point me to a place of such enlightenment.

    Warmest regards,

    Rob:-]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    haha, right.... as opposed to the right-wing dogma which is capitalism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 9th, 2008 @ 4:53pm

    Re: There Are No Unscarce Resources

    My time is scarce.

    Yes indeed. In fact, that's a great scarce resource that you can charge for.

    Just because something I created can be easily copied doesn't mean that it didn't cost me anything to create it.

    Again, I've never said otherwise.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070315/013313.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articl es/20070322/024237.shtml

    You seem to be confusing what I have said. There are ALWAYS scarcities, as you note. But there are also infinite components. The problem is when you try to charge for the infinite components, rather than the scarcities that are connected to them.

    If I created it it seems like I should be able to receive compensation for it, if that's what I want.

    And I want someone to pay me $1,000,000 for saying hello. But that won't happen. Markets don't work based on what one side wants, but the interaction between supply and demand -- and if supply is infinite, price gets pushed to zero.

    So this is the flaw in your argument that I haven't seen you address to my satisfaction yet.

    Check the links above. Let me know if that addresses this enough for you.

    Yes, there are always scarcities. And that's exactly what you charge for.

    You've suggested that there could be some round about, indirect sort of compensation like contests/lotteries or "creating a viewing event" for the "official" versions of a thing.

    No. It's not indirect or roundabout. It should be very direct and clear. But it should be for the scarcity, not the abundance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Yosi, Jul 9th, 2008 @ 11:11pm

    Property have nothing to do with "managing" resources

    Mike, your idea about "managing scarce resources" is naive at least. Property right is very basic human instinct. Talk to 2-3 years old, and you will learn that children declare property rights "it's mine!" even in situation with plenty of "resources". Property rights can be [i]used[/i] to manage resources, but that's not where they (rights) comes from. People who write a song or book, were saying "it's mine" long before invention of copyright. Now, even if you have property rights to something this doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want with this "something". You can own the car, for example, but you have to drive it by the rules. You can own the land, you build according to local law. And so on. Property right does not mean complete and unrestricted use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:07am

    Re: Property have nothing to do with "managing" resources

    Mike, your idea about "managing scarce resources" is naive at least

    Just because you disagree with it, does not make it naive. If you want to debate on the points, that's fine. Throwing out random insults hurts your argument, because it suggests you lack a basis for it and resort to insults of your opponent instead.

    Property right is very basic human instinct.

    Sure. Because instinctually humans recognize that there are scarce resources that need to be allocated.

    Talk to 2-3 years old, and you will learn that children declare property rights "it's mine!" even in situation with plenty of "resources"

    Those are scarce goods that they are claiming ownership over. That supports my position, not yours. The fact that there are many scarce resources doesn't change things. They want ownership over those scarce resources. However, if another kid hums a tune, that same 2-3 year old isn't going to shriek out "it's mine!" because that 2-3 year old does not sense the loss associated with someone actually taking something away from him.

    Property rights can be [i]used[/i] to manage resources, but that's not where they (rights) comes from.

    You're wrong. That is the basis of property, no matter what you think. It may not have been explicit, but if you look at societies where abundance was the rule and there wasn't fighting over scarce resources, property rights are treated extremely differently.

    People who write a song or book, were saying "it's mine" long before invention of copyright.

    Were they? That's simply not true for the most part. The history of both song and literature is of songs and stories passed along from one person to another with no "ownership" of the stories or songs themselves.

    Now, even if you have property rights to something this doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want with this "something". You can own the car, for example, but you have to drive it by the rules. You can own the land, you build according to local law. And so on. Property right does not mean complete and unrestricted use.

    I'm not sure what that has to do with anything here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 2:07am

    property vs IP

    Hi Mike

    "Property rights are a central tenant of capitalist economies, and you're trying to take away property rights." That's not quite true."

    IP is recognized as property by the world's nations and what you are trying to do is take away those rights. Until the concept of IP becomes history, people will keep levelng that accusation against you. Of course, you can keep saying "that's simply untrue."

    "Property rights don't make much sense when a resource isn't scarce, because there need not be any question of how to best allocate it, since anyone who wants it can have it."

    I disagree. Property rights make sense regardless of whether the resources are scarce or not. There are many countries where huge tracts of land are occupied by just a handful of people. Have they done away with property rights? Should they?

    Property rights assign a value to a particular resource that may rise (land, gold) or fall (cars, white goods) over time. Why should creative work be any different, simply because we have the Internet now?

    "In those cases, adding property rights actually makes the market less efficient by limiting the allocation."

    How do you justify making the market more efficient by removing the property rights of those who create the market?

    Also, won't it act as a disincentive to those in the creative business if you take away their power to benefit from their work? I mean, why would Spielberg bother making a film if he fears people around the world will watch it but won't pay him?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 2:44am

    Re: property vs IP

    IP is recognized as property by the world's nations and what you are trying to do is take away those rights.

    Did you read the rest of my post? Have you looked at what is covered in this book?

    I disagree. Property rights make sense regardless of whether the resources are scarce or not. There are many countries where huge tracts of land are occupied by just a handful of people. Have they done away with property rights? Should they?

    No, those are still *scarcities*. That land is still rivalrous (i.e., taking it away from someone means they have less of it -- that's not the case with an infinite good). The fact that huge tracts of land are occupied by just a few is fine. That's part of the *allocation* of those *scarce* goods.

    But we're talking about infinite goods.

    How do you justify making the market more efficient by removing the property rights of those who create the market?

    Why not try reading the actual research presented in the book discussed in this post?

    The point is that property rights make markets LESS efficient when it's infinite goods. So the justification is quite obvious: removing false limitations on the market makes it more efficient.

    Also, won't it act as a disincentive to those in the creative business if you take away their power to benefit from their work?

    Cram, you confuse me. We've discussed this at least 20 times, and you repeat this statement and I say the same thing every time:

    We are NOT taking away the power to benefit from their work at all. I'm not sure why you keep claiming that. As we've pointed out, those who embrace these economics tend to do BETTER.

    I mean, why would Spielberg bother making a film if he fears people around the world will watch it but won't pay him?

    Sure he would, if he saw the business models that would help him continue to make money, such as the ones we discuss around here all the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 4:07am

    back again

    "IP is recognized as property by the world's nations and what you are trying to do is take away those rights.

    Did you read the rest of my post? Have you looked at what is covered in this book?"

    Let me get one thing clear. You want IP to go away, right? All creative work goes into the public domain as soon as it is created. Am I correct or have I misunderstood you? If yes, aren't you taking away a creator's right to decide who should consume his work and how? I was responding to your statement that people are falsely accusing you.

    "I disagree. Property rights make sense regardless of whether the resources are scarce or not. There are many countries where huge tracts of land are occupied by just a handful of people. Have they done away with property rights? Should they?

    No, those are still *scarcities*. That land is still rivalrous (i.e., taking it away from someone means they have less of it -- that's not the case with an infinite good). The fact that huge tracts of land are occupied by just a few is fine. That's part of the *allocation* of those *scarce* goods."

    Ok. So scarcity need not always be the ratio of resources and number of people seeking to utilize them. Fair enough.


    "How do you justify making the market more efficient by removing the property rights of those who create the market?

    Why not try reading the actual research presented in the book discussed in this post?

    The point is that property rights make markets LESS efficient when it's infinite goods. So the justification is quite obvious: removing false limitations on the market makes it more efficient."

    I was addressing your post. Not what's written in the book. Haven't had the time for that. Anyway, my point was that if you are going to take away the property rights, what about the immediate losses to the creator? If copyright disappears, anyone can publish Harry Potter. Where does that leave the publisher and the author? Of course the market becomes more efficient because anyone anywhere can access the book, but what about the losses?

    "Also, won't it act as a disincentive to those in the creative business if you take away their power to benefit from their work?

    Cram, you confuse me. We've discussed this at least 20 times, and you repeat this statement and I say the same thing every time:

    We are NOT taking away the power to benefit from their work at all. I'm not sure why you keep claiming that. As we've pointed out, those who embrace these economics tend to do BETTER."

    BUT YOU ARE. That's why I keep coming here and keep pointing out what I think you are missing. By freeing a work of copyright, you are essentially taking the power to profit from it and giving to the whole wide world. Therefore the pie becomes smaller. You still haven't answered a question I keep raising: why should some guy be allowed to profit from my work without compensating me? Why should a TV channel be allowed to telecast a film I make without giving me something in return? You may say that won't be the case. I ask what if? How do you plan to recoup an investment?

    "I mean, why would Spielberg bother making a film if he fears people around the world will watch it but won't pay him?

    Sure he would, if he saw the business models that would help him continue to make money, such as the ones we discuss around here all the time."

    Then why hasn't he? Do you mean to say Spielberg is unaware of the changing landscape and is unwilling to jump at a chance to make ten times more money and reach 100 times more viewers? If he hasn't, surely there must be a reason or two.

    None of the business models you have discussed make sense for the movie industry. Film making is risky and expensive business. The dynamics of both production and consumption are quite complex. And doing away with copyright will only create more problems for the industry, though it will tremendously benefit the consumer. People who "embrace the economics" will be doomed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re: Extend Ownership to Streets

    Might be other problems though ... like no customers.

    That's the exact point I was going to make. You could charge people $20 to pass in front of your house, but I'm pretty sure they'd just find a way around it. And the guy at the end of the street would just start turning left instead of right (unless you live in a cul-de-sac). Your costs will outweigh the income and you'll go bankrupt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Not Ima Fish, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    Re:

    you use the word discretion loosely.

    Exactly how do you mean that? You can't FORCE the government to grant you a patent.

    Who grants ownership to physical property then?

    You missed the "inalienable right," bit, I guess? It's not granted, it simply is. At best a government can protect or attack that right, but there's no granting involved.

    Naturally there is the inalienable advantage of creating/inventing a product and being the first to market.

    So there's an advantage to meeting a need. What point are you trying to make?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:36am

    Re: back again

    You still haven't answered a question I keep raising: why should some guy be allowed to profit from my work without compensating me?

    Why not? Cases where you can't build on the work of others and make are profit are the exception, not the rule.

    I profit from the work of Lenovo all the time when I develop websites on my ThinkPad. I've paid them once for the laptop. I don't pay the engineers royalties (at Lenovo, Intel, etc...). Do companies pay architects royalties when operating in buildings they've designed? Do pizza delivery guys pay a cut to their car manufacturers? Do university or college graduates pay their professors a cut when they apply the knowledge from their classes on the job?

    The question isn't "why" but "why not?" If there's a reason in some cases, why doesn't it apply to the types of cases above?

    (Plus, the "why" is because they'd be better off, as evidenced by those artists who are taking advantage of more efficient economic models.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    The Mad Prosecutor, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:48am

    Even the title of the book is incorrect

    As Judge Markey pointed out decades ago...

    "Nortron begins its file wrapper estoppel argument with "Patents are an exception to the general rule against monopolies...". A patent, under the statute, is property. 35 U.S.C. § 261. Nowhere in any statute is a patent described as a monopoly. The patent right is but the right to exclude others, the very definition of "property." That the property right represented by a patent, like other property rights, may be used in a scheme violative of antitrust laws creates no "conflict" between laws establishing any of those property rights and the antitrust laws. The antitrust laws, enacted long after the original patent laws, deal with appropriation of what should belong to others. A valid patent gives the public what it did not earlier have. Patents are valid or invalid under the statute, 35 U.S.C. It is but an obfuscation to refer to a patent as "the patent monopoly" or to describe a patent as an "exception to the general rule against monopolies."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    The Mad Prosecutor, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:54am

    It all comes down to this...

    those that want to take what other people create, but do not want to abide by the wishes of the creator, want weak intellectual property rights. Every infringer, if they are honest, must admit this. Whether they want the song to listen to, the picture to incorporate into their website to profit from, etc., it all comes down to the "I want it" by the infringer.

    We cannot determine, definitively, whether X amount of protection does or does not lead to more or less innovation, etc. This, again, the infringer must be honest about. So, those who respect property rights are forced to offer strong intellectual property protection, giving the benefit of the doubt to the creator. Again, the infringer can only counter with the "I want it" argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:00am

    Re: It all comes down to this...

    Who is the creator of a mash-up, the mixer or the original artists? Copyright puts up barriers to creating mashups, therefore hampering innovation and creativity. Same thing for remixes, fan videos, etc. Can you dispute this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    The Mad Prosecutor, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:02am

    If person two does not have permission to use person one's work in their (person two's) work, then person two should not use it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    Re:

    You didn't answer the question. Who's the creator of the mash-up, remix, fan video? You can't tell me the creator of a work changes based on who gives who permission to do what.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Chris Brand, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Property rights and IP

    What most of the proponents of strong IP rights seem to miss is that they're in direct conflict with property rights.

    Every right that a copyright holder has is one less thing I can do with the copy that I buy from them. So more rights for copyright holders means less rights for the owners of property.

    Note that I'm in favour of some form of copyright, but I think it needs a very strong justification because it is taking away rights from property owners.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: back again

    "You still haven't answered a question I keep raising: why should some guy be allowed to profit from my work without compensating me?

    Why not? Cases where you can't build on the work of others and make are profit are the exception, not the rule.

    I profit from the work of Lenovo all the time when I develop websites on my ThinkPad. I've paid them once for the laptop."

    The ThinkPad is merely a tool. How can you compare a tool with an original work? Using your own example, buying a ThinkPad only gives you the right to use it, and if need be sell it in the secondary market. You are not given the right to pirate the ThinkPad and profit from it. Similarly, when you buy a book, you have every right to read it, lend it, donate it to a library, sell it in a flea market. What you are not allowed to do is copy the text, print thousands of copies and sell in the marketplace.

    "I don't pay the engineers royalties (at Lenovo, Intel, etc...)."

    Of course not. That's because you are not in the business of making money off the core technology of these companies. You are merely a customer who's bought their product.

    "Do companies pay architects royalties when operating in buildings they've designed? Do pizza delivery guys pay a cut to their car manufacturers? Do university or college graduates pay their professors a cut when they apply the knowledge from their classes on the job?"

    People pay for the building, people pay for pizzas, students pay fees. That's all they are expected to. Why do you expect writers and filmmakers to give away control over their work when no one may pay them.

    "(Plus, the "why" is because they'd be better off, as evidenced by those artists who are taking advantage of more efficient economic models.)"

    The model may work for musicians, but won't for writers or filmmakers because the dynamics of the businesses are different. Doing away with copyright will only destabilize their livelihoods. And if they will be better off, why not leave it to them to make the choice now? Writers are free to publish in the public domain. Why do you insist it's time to rethink the need for copyright to exist?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:07pm

    "Who is the creator of a mash-up, the mixer or the original artists?"

    You'll always have someone arguing how much of the original work is left remaining as recognizable and used to a point where it's not a new creation but a "compilation" of sorts. I would think that you would need to have the permission of the artists who are providing the original components that come together as a new composition as a "compilation"

    So maybe a new designation as "compilation" who be helpful in that regard. As long as there's no deception about where the source material comes from, and is credited, there shouldn't be a problem.

    What happens if you create a new recipe that uses brand name foods to create that new recipe? Is that new recipe, using components of other branded food items a new creation? Could a big name brand sue a person who used their food item in a new recipe, without giving them credit?

    What if you create a new software that uses components written by other programmers? Do you credit them as creators of the new software? Or as providing components as part of a new software?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Well, the fact that you're using Brand Name foods in your recipe IS giving them credit. And, in fact, you're directing more people to that brand, if they want to enjoy your recipe. Are you implying that you think it would be reasonable for Kraft to sue me because I told people to use their products? The same thing with most mashups and videos: the songs are credit in and of themselves, unless you're talking about a cover -- and then where's the point where my act of performing is my own?

    But you're missing the point: if you don't let me make my mashup because of Copyright -- if you say, "you can't use that, it's mine!" -- then you're stifling creativity and innovation. You're preventing the creation of something that, in the absense of copyright, would be created. You don't think that's a problem?

    It's necessary here to point out that, as has been repeated multiple times on TechDirt, removing Copyright doesn't deny content producers from making money. It just changes the mechanisms by which they can do so. So if getting rid of copyright leads to more creation of more content while still allowing artists to monetize their work, why is this not a good thing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:28pm

    Re: back again

    Let me get one thing clear. You want IP to go away, right? All creative work goes into the public domain as soon as it is created. Am I correct or have I misunderstood you?

    I don't *want* anything. I think that there is enough evidence that the economy functions better without monopolies.

    If yes, aren't you taking away a creator's right to decide who should consume his work and how?

    Let me ask you a question: when you take the chair that you have in your living room and sell it, haven't you also taken away the creator's right to design who should consume his work and how?

    Haven't had the time for that. Anyway, my point was that if you are going to take away the property rights, what about the immediate losses to the creator?

    What about it? Did we fret when we took away the monopoly rights of sugar monopoly owners? No, because people recognized that that expanded the market for sugar massively and allowed the sugar plantation owners to make much more money.

    What about the already MASSIVE losses to everyone but the IP owners from the fact that this IP is locked up? You are ignoring the other side of the equation.

    If copyright disappears, anyone can publish Harry Potter. Where does that leave the publisher and the author?

    That leaves them with a still very lucrative franchise on their hands with plenty of business models for monetizing it. I'm not sure what your point is, other then you like the existing monopoly structure and don't care at all about all the limits it places on others.

    Of course the market becomes more efficient because anyone anywhere can access the book, but what about the losses?

    Those "losses" you speak of are meaningless. You ignore the losses that everyone else is facing in paying monopoly rents. You ignore the fact that getting rid of monopolies enlarges markets and opens up new opportunities for the original creator to profit.

    . By freeing a work of copyright, you are essentially taking the power to profit from it and giving to the whole wide world.

    I give up. I have pointed out, repeatedly, that this is not the case. In removing the copyright you INCREASE the opportunities to profit.

    You still haven't answered a question I keep raising: why should some guy be allowed to profit from my work without compensating me?

    Why should you be allowed to sell that chair you have? That's the same question. I would think that it doesn't need an answer other than the obvious one.

    Why should a TV channel be allowed to telecast a film I make without giving me something in return? You may say that won't be the case. I ask what if? How do you plan to recoup an investment?

    There are a million different ways to recoup that investment. We keep pointing them out. You seem to keep blocking that out. You have this ridiculously static view of the world with no recognition that there are other business models out there.

    None of the business models you have discussed make sense for the movie industry.

    Um, what? Of course they make sense. The movie business has NEVER really relied on copyright. It's always been about selling seats, not content. This is no different.

    Film making is risky and expensive business

    What does that have to do with anything?

    And doing away with copyright will only create more problems for the industry, though it will tremendously benefit the consumer.

    If it tremendously benefits the consumer, then it tremendously benefits the industry as well. There is no economic world where a beneficial result for the consumer doesn't also mean a beneficial result for the market.

    People who "embrace the economics" will be doomed.

    There is not a single shred of economic historical evidence to support that. Every industry that has embraced the natural economics of that industry has thrived.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Re: It all comes down to this...

    those that want to take what other people create, but do not want to abide by the wishes of the creator, want weak intellectual property rights. Every infringer, if they are honest, must admit this. Whether they want the song to listen to, the picture to incorporate into their website to profit from, etc., it all comes down to the "I want it" by the infringer.

    We cannot determine, definitively, whether X amount of protection does or does not lead to more or less innovation, etc. This, again, the infringer must be honest about. So, those who respect property rights are forced to offer strong intellectual property protection, giving the benefit of the doubt to the creator. Again, the infringer can only counter with the "I want it" argument.


    Um. No. This is so far wrong I don't even know where to start. I don't "want" anything. I'm merely pointing out how the economy can be more efficient. Your claim that this is all about people trying to "not abide by the wishes of the creator" is not at all true in most patent cases. Most cases involve independent invention, which has nothing to do with that at all.

    And, you are wrong to say whether or not certain protections lead to less or more innovation. Considering all the studies out there, comparing nations that have and did not have patents and those that compared nations that didn't have patents and then added patents and the studies that look at how weaker patent statutes compare to stronger ones, and again and again and again: a fairly compelling picture comes out of it. You can, absolutely, show how patents can hinder innovation.

    It has nothing to do with "I want." It has everything to do with letting the market more efficiently allocate products and ideas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    If person two does not have permission to use person one's work in their (person two's) work, then person two should not use it.

    If that were the case, then nothing would ever get done. Do you have the permission of the authors of every book you've ever read to make use of their ideas? Otherwise, you certainly cannot speak from what you've learned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: back again

    People pay for the building, people pay for pizzas, students pay fees. That's all they are expected to. Why do you expect writers and filmmakers to give away control over their work when no one may pay them.

    You're making the false assumption (and this has been pointed out to you REPEATEDLY) that no one pays them. The point is that there are many business models by which they do get paid.

    The model may work for musicians, but won't for writers or filmmakers because the dynamics of the businesses are different.

    Are you honestly saying that basic economics does not apply to writing and filmmaking? You are saying that they violate the basic tenets of economics?

    I'm sorry but you're going to need to supply some evidence there.

    Doing away with copyright will only destabilize their livelihoods.

    Just as doing away with sugar monopolies "destablized" the sugar monopolists. But once they realized how the market expanded they were pretty happy about it.

    Why do you insist it's time to rethink the need for copyright to exist?

    Because, repeatedly, the use of copyright is being used to BLOCK others from making important content. It's being used to create a very real LOSS to society and to other creators.

    You focus only on what is here, not what is already lost.

    Look at the example laid out in the link above. This great documentary cannot be seen because of copyright. Isn't that a problem?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:58pm

    A world without Copyright

    Mike, you say that more money can be made by content industries by eliminating copyright. Well, considering that copyright has been around for over 200 years in this country, and obtaining a copyright and exercising it is elective, not compulsory, why do you suppose people still obtain and exercise copyrights to their works if all they are doing is relinquishing the gobs of money you claim that they could make? I mean, if no one is forcing these people to obtain copyrights, why do you suppose they still obtain them if all it does is cause them to lose money?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 2:25pm

    Re: A world without Copyright

    Mike, you say that more money can be made by content industries by eliminating copyright. Well, considering that copyright has been around for over 200 years in this country, and obtaining a copyright and exercising it is elective, not compulsory, why do you suppose people still obtain and exercise copyrights to their works if all they are doing is relinquishing the gobs of money you claim that they could make? I mean, if no one is forcing these people to obtain copyrights, why do you suppose they still obtain them if all it does is cause them to lose money?

    There are a few different factors. First off, the 200 year issue is meaningless here, because it's only in the past few years that the ability to make infinite copies of the work has come about thanks to digital technologies. So the promotional aspects of infinite goods wasn't really an issue until just recently.

    Second, there are folks like yourself who have falsely drilled into people's minds the idea that they should "own" content. Thus they get into moral arguments where none need to exist, about how that content is their's and they need to "protect" it.

    Finally, and most importantly, for those who have succeeded already, copyright is a tool to continue to make money without having to do any new work. In other words, it's a tool of the already successful to keep down the market for new works. So it's appealing not as an incentive for creation, but as a market controlling mechanism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:09pm

    bad penny

    "If yes, aren't you taking away a creator's right to decide who should consume his work and how?

    Let me ask you a question: when you take the chair that you have in your living room and sell it, haven't you also taken away the creator's right to design who should consume his work and how?"

    Blaise made the same point and I have refuted it. Once you pay for a chair, the ownership is transferred to you. You are free to do whatever with it. Same is the case with books. You are free to use them, lend them, resell them. What you are not allowed to do is make a business out of selling multiple copies of the books without prior permission.

    My beef is with commercial exploitation of work without compensating the creators, which I FEAR will become widespread when copyright is removed altogether.

    "Haven't had the time for that. Anyway, my point was that if you are going to take away the property rights, what about the immediate losses to the creator?

    What about it? Did we fret when we took away the monopoly rights of sugar monopoly owners? No, because people recognized that that expanded the market for sugar massively and allowed the sugar plantation owners to make much more money."

    I don't see how sugar, a commodity, or any other commodity can be compared with creative work or work with IP. Because, in the commodities business, the issue of who gets to profit by selling scarce goods derived from infinite goods does not arise. Because the goods are not infinite.

    "What about the already MASSIVE losses to everyone but the IP owners from the fact that this IP is locked up? You are ignoring the other side of the equation."

    I haven't touched upon that aspect because I don't know enough to comment about it.

    "If copyright disappears, anyone can publish Harry Potter. Where does that leave the publisher and the author?

    That leaves them with a still very lucrative franchise on their hands with plenty of business models for monetizing it."

    "Plenty of business models"? What better business model could there be for a writer than to print a book and sell copies of it? Care to elaborate?

    "I'm not sure what your point is, other then you like the existing monopoly structure and don't care at all about all the limits it places on others."

    Ha. You keep referring to copyright as "existing monopoly structure" which I have disagreed with earlier, and do so now too. Because the "monopoly" you speak of is equivalent to property rights for creative work. I don't see anything wrong with that.

    What I don't understand is why you say all limits ought to be removed. What gives others the right to not have any limits placed on them as far as creative work is concerned?

    "Of course the market becomes more efficient because anyone anywhere can access the book, but what about the losses?

    Those "losses" you speak of are meaningless. You ignore the losses that everyone else is facing in paying monopoly rents."

    How are they meaningless, pray? A loss is a loss is a loss. China is a classic example of how much money is being lost because there's no concept of copyright in that country. Are you saying authors should simply find some other ways of making money, and let any publisher crank out copies of their work and line his pockets?

    "You ignore the fact that getting rid of monopolies enlarges markets and opens up new opportunities for the original creator to profit."

    But we are not talking about market monopolies here. Why do you keep pretending that just because an author has a right to decide who publishes his work, it constitutes a market monopoly? The sugar analogy you keep using is a true example of a market monopoly. But in that case there was only one product. In publishing there are million different products. How can you then state that there is a market monopoly in the world of publishing? Your definition of monopoly seems to be very different from common parlance.

    ". By freeing a work of copyright, you are essentially taking the power to profit from it and giving to the whole wide world.

    I give up. I have pointed out, repeatedly, that this is not the case. In removing the copyright you INCREASE the opportunities to profit."

    Perhaps I should have worded it more precisely. Copyright removal gives others too the power to profit from my work. And it creates more opportunities for OTHERS to profit from my work, with the real possibility that I may not get a share of those profits.

    "You still haven't answered a question I keep raising: why should some guy be allowed to profit from my work without compensating me?

    Why should you be allowed to sell that chair you have? That's the same question. I would think that it doesn't need an answer other than the obvious one."

    No, it's not the same question. That's simply untrue (goodness, I am sounding like you). I have made this point: Using or selling ThinkPads or chairs in the secondary market is not the same as unauthorized commercial exploitation of a creative work.

    "Why should a TV channel be allowed to telecast a film I make without giving me something in return? You may say that won't be the case. I ask what if? How do you plan to recoup an investment?

    There are a million different ways to recoup that investment. We keep pointing them out."

    Come on Mike, you are handwaving again. What ways are you talking about? Screening them in theaters? How novel! Special edition DVDs? Sure, no one thought of it before.

    And you persistently refuse to address one point I have raised over and over again: what about international and TV rights? Do you realize that they account for hundreds of millions of dollars a year? Do you also think that if copyright goes, theater owners and television channels around the world will continue to pay Hollywood studios money to beam their films?

    "None of the business models you have discussed make sense for the movie industry.

    Um, what? Of course they make sense."

    Because you say so? Classic Mikespeak. If they make sense, why hasn't the industry adopted it? The industry has some serious problems to resolve, but copyright removal will not help in improving the situation.

    "The movie business has NEVER really relied on copyright. It's always been about selling seats, not content. This is no different."

    What the...? You sell the seats only if you have the content that you can control. I think you have just contradicted yourself.

    And anyway, how does copyright removal help in improving the film-going experience? Can that experience not be improved in the existing copyright-in-place scenario?

    "Film making is risky and expensive business

    What does that have to do with anything?"

    I guess it doesn't, when you are not the one pumping 50 million dollars to make a film.

    "And doing away with copyright will only create more problems for the industry, though it will tremendously benefit the consumer.

    If it tremendously benefits the consumer, then it tremendously benefits the industry as well."

    That's a false assumption. MP3s have tremendously benefited the consumer, but they have hurt the recording industry.

    "People who "embrace the economics" will be doomed.

    There is not a single shred of economic historical evidence to support that. Every industry that has embraced the natural economics of that industry has thrived."

    Is there single shred of evidence that supports your theory that the publishing and movie industries will be better off if they decide to say bye-bye to copyright?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:17pm

    another point

    hi mike

    "Finally, and most importantly, for those who have succeeded already, copyright is a tool to continue to make
    money without having to do any new work."

    What's wrong with that? Why do you want creative people to be like the rest of us, forever running to stand still, forever being asked to do our best, being paid only when we actually do something and not for something we did 5 years ago? I see you are not the only one stating this in this forum.

    I don't have any problem with creative guys milking what they churned out years, or even decades ago. That alone should be reason enough to retain copyright.

    "In other words, it's a tool of the already successful to keep down the market for new works."

    How so? If that were the case, we shouldn't have seen so much new work in the past 100 years. I don't see how granting copyright to a book or movie will somehow restrict new stuff from sprouting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 8:00pm

    points i missed out

    hi again

    just saw a couple of more points.

    "People pay for the building, people pay for pizzas, students pay fees. That's all they are expected to. Why do you expect writers and filmmakers to give away control over their work when no one may pay them.

    You're making the false assumption (and this has been pointed out to you REPEATEDLY) that no one pays them. The point is that there are many business models by which they do get paid."

    READ my statement again. It says no one MAY pay them. And your grand talk of several business models doesn't hold water because they choose to ignore the control over the key scarce good for authors, the printed book. Please enlighten me how it's better for an author to put all his creative work into the public domain, let anyone publish it and make money without sending a dime back to him, and still hope to pay the bills.

    "The model may work for musicians, but won't for writers or filmmakers because the dynamics of the businesses are different.

    Are you honestly saying that basic economics does not apply to writing and filmmaking? You are saying that they violate the basic tenets of economics?"

    Basic economics? Yes. Your brand of basic economics, no.

    "Why do you insist it's time to rethink the need for copyright to exist?

    Because, repeatedly, the use of copyright is being used to BLOCK others from making important content. It's being used to create a very real LOSS to society and to other creators."

    Very valid point. Now I'd like to throw it back at you. Can't we fix the problems in copyright to addresss such issues? Is copyright removal the only solution to UNBLOCKING others from making important new content? Would love to know your thoughts on that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 11th, 2008 @ 12:22am

    Re: bad penny

    Blaise made the same point and I have refuted it. Once you pay for a chair, the ownership is transferred to you. You are free to do whatever with it. Same is the case with books. You are free to use them, lend them, resell them. What you are not allowed to do is make a business out of selling multiple copies of the books without prior permission.

    Hmm. Well, that's you twisting reality. Once you buy something, you ARE able to do what you want with it -- including making copies and selling the copies. Why can't you do that with content?

    My beef is with commercial exploitation of work without compensating the creators, which I FEAR will become widespread when copyright is removed altogether.

    Again, we've already discussed this in great detail. You have no reason to fear. If there's demand for the content, business models manifest themselves. It's just basic economics.

    I don't see how sugar, a commodity, or any other commodity can be compared with creative work or work with IP.

    A monopoly is a monopoly. When it comes to economics, there's no difference.

    "Plenty of business models"? What better business model could there be for a writer than to print a book and sell copies of it? Care to elaborate?

    One where the content creates more value and allows the writer to make more money and produce more content.

    What I don't understand is why you say all limits ought to be removed. What gives others the right to not have any limits placed on them as far as creative work is concerned?

    Basic economics. Basic economics tells you markets work more efficiently (i.e., become larger) when there aren't limitations.

    All of those limits are harming content.

    How are they meaningless, pray? A loss is a loss is a loss.

    That's a broken windows fallacy. Based on your reasoning, we should all be breaking windows to make sure glaziers are making money. If not, how do you explain that "loss" to the glazier?

    The point is that a more efficient outcome is better for everyone -- which is why we don't go around breaking windows.

    Copyright is a bunch of broken windows.

    China is a classic example of how much money is being lost because there's no concept of copyright in that country.

    Huh? What's being "lost" in China? Who's missing anything? Do you realize that China is currently a huge market that companies are shoving each other aside to get into?

    But we are not talking about market monopolies here.

    We are. If you don't recognize that then this discussion is meaningless.

    We've had this discussion repeatedly. It's a waste of time to continue. I cannot do much to explain things to you if you continue to deny reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    cram, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 2:29am

    final

    "Blaise made the same point and I have refuted it. Once you pay for a chair, the ownership is transferred to you. You are free to do whatever with it. Same is the case with books. You are free to use them, lend them, resell them. What you are not allowed to do is make a business out of selling multiple copies of the books without prior permission.

    Hmm. Well, that's you twisting reality. Once you buy something, you ARE able to do what you want with it -- including making copies and selling the copies. Why can't you do that with content?"

    WHAT? Mike, that's called piracy. You aren't allowed to buy something and make copies of it and sell it in the market. That's exactly what copyright acts against.

    "My beef is with commercial exploitation of work without compensating the creators, which I FEAR will become widespread when copyright is removed altogether.

    Again, we've already discussed this in great detail. You have no reason to fear. If there's demand for the content, business models manifest themselves. It's just basic economics."

    Yeah, anything you say.

    "I don't see how sugar, a commodity, or any other commodity can be compared with creative work or work with IP.

    A monopoly is a monopoly. When it comes to economics, there's no difference."

    Of course. Since the nations of the world don't understand such "basic economics," they still cling on to copyright. Where are the economists when we need them?

    "Plenty of business models"? What better business model could there be for a writer than to print a book and sell copies of it? Care to elaborate?

    One where the content creates more value and allows the writer to make more money and produce more content."

    You are getting better and better at this. Put together words like content, value creation...hey presto, we are all thought leaders.

    "What I don't understand is why you say all limits ought to be removed. What gives others the right to not have any limits placed on them as far as creative work is concerned?

    Basic economics. Basic economics tells you markets work more efficiently (i.e., become larger) when there aren't limitations."

    No limits! Communism has no limits at all because everything's owned by the government. There are no property rights. Perhaps that's the way forward for all of us.

    "How are they meaningless, pray? A loss is a loss is a loss.

    That's a broken windows fallacy. Based on your reasoning, we should all be breaking windows to make sure glaziers are making money. If not, how do you explain that "loss" to the glazier?"

    That's simply untrue. Because breaking windows causes artifical demand for the glazier's service. That's not my reasoning at all. Why do you go off on a tangent? Oh I forgot, you're just being yourself. I say "A's good," you say "But B's not bad."

    "The point is that a more efficient outcome is better for everyone -- which is why we don't go around breaking windows."

    Copyright is a bunch of broken windows."

    Wow! So anyone who creates a work of art is, in your definition, breaking windows and unfairly demanding that he be allowed to protect his work?

    "China is a classic example of how much money is being lost because there's no concept of copyright in that country.

    Huh? What's being "lost" in China? Who's missing anything?"

    Wake up, Masnick. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being lost due to the rampant piracy of books, software and movies in China. There's an entire ecosystem of publishers and buyers who all derive their business and enjoyment from content created by someone sitting somewhere halfway across the world, and who's not seeing a dime of it. Do you even have any idea what goes on in the rest of the world?

    "Do you realize that China is currently a huge market that companies are shoving each other aside to get into?"

    Not for content. Because there's virtually no copyright protection. All the companies who are heading there are going for white goods.

    "But we are not talking about market monopolies here.

    We are. If you don't recognize that then this discussion is meaningless."

    Of course, if you insist that everything's a monopoly simply because you say so, then any debate is meaningless.

    "We've had this discussion repeatedly. It's a waste of time to continue."

    Please, don't exert yourself. Save yourself the trouble. I know it's hard to keep handwaving all the time, bringing up the same old hackneyed buggy whip and sugar monopoly stuff. Especially when people ask troublesome questions for which your answer is, of course, more handwaving. It certainly is a waste of time.

    "I cannot do much to explain things to you if you continue to deny reality."

    I don't know what reality you are referring to; it only seems to exist in Planet Masnick. Where everyone makes more and more money by completely ceding control over their work. I await the day when someone will make a movie and release it copyright free and still end up with several million dollars in profit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    stv, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 7:20am

    stop the shilling!!!

    Unlike natural resources, inventions are created my mankind. They did not previously exist. If creators cannot protect their work, they will not work. You cant allocate what you don’t have. Figure it out, Mao.

    When corporate America agrees to not use our inventions without consent, American inventors and small entities will agree to stop suing them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 11th, 2008 @ 11:34am

    Re: final

    WHAT? Mike, that's called piracy. You aren't allowed to buy something and make copies of it and sell it in the market. That's exactly what copyright acts against.

    We were talking about physical goods. If I buy a chair, and see how it's made, I can make my own copy of the chair and sell it.

    Yeah, anything you say.

    Ok, can you point to a single historical example where it's NOT true that demand has lead to business models?

    Of course. Since the nations of the world don't understand such "basic economics," they still cling on to copyright. Where are the economists when we need them?


    There has been very little study on the economics of IP until the last 20 years or so. There were some breakthroughs in economic thought on information in the late 80s and early 90s and the impact of those breakthroughs are just starting to make it through into wider thought. If you want a better understanding of some of that thought, I'd suggest the book "Knowledge & the Wealth of Nations" by David Warsh. It takes you up to about 1995 or so. What's happened since then has been even more interesting.

    You are getting better and better at this. Put together words like content, value creation...hey presto, we are all thought leaders.

    Do you have an actual response? Or whenever you can't understand what I am saying, you're going to claim that I have said nothing. That's not very convincing.

    Wow! So anyone who creates a work of art is, in your definition, breaking windows and unfairly demanding that he be allowed to protect his work?

    Please learn what the broken windows fallacy is. Otherwise you're making yourself look foolish.

    Wake up, Masnick. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being lost due to the rampant piracy of books, software and movies in China.

    Again, I ask (specifically) what is being *lost*? What you are saying is that money is not being made. That's different than a loss. There was no guarantee of money to be made in China. This is a marketing problem, not a legal one. Content companies may not have figured out the right business model yet, but that's only a matter of time. In fact, as we've discussed before, there are content providers doing quite well in China by embracing these new business models.

    There's an entire ecosystem of publishers and buyers who all derive their business and enjoyment from content created by someone sitting somewhere halfway across the world, and who's not seeing a dime of it. Do you even have any idea what goes on in the rest of the world?

    Yes, I'm *quite* familiar with what happens -- especially in China. It seems that you are not, however. Do you recognize how content creators in China have learned to take advantage of this distribution system?

    Not for content. Because there's virtually no copyright protection. All the companies who are heading there are going for white goods.

    Um. You are showing again that it is you who doesn't know what's happening in China. There's a massive effort underway by content providers to get into the Chinese market. It's simply too big to ignore. Go to Shanghai or Beijing and visit all of the big content companies trying to establish a foothold.

    Please, don't exert yourself. Save yourself the trouble. I know it's hard to keep handwaving all the time, bringing up the same old hackneyed buggy whip and sugar monopoly stuff. Especially when people ask troublesome questions for which your answer is, of course, more handwaving. It certainly is a waste of time.

    If someone had a valid response to either of the very accurate responses, I would stop using it. But so far, your answer is "but, but, but those don't count 'cause I don't like them." The truth is soooo inconvenient.

    I don't know what reality you are referring to; it only seems to exist in Planet Masnick. Where everyone makes more and more money by completely ceding control over their work. I await the day when someone will make a movie and release it copyright free and still end up with several million dollars in profit.

    The problem is you're still thinking that the results have to follow the old business model, where they need to make several million dollars in profit directly from that movie. If the movie becomes big enough, then those who made it are now in demand to create the *next* movie, and will be paid handsomely to do so.

    You keep applying a static world view to a dynamic marketplace.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Nasch, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Even the title of the book is incorrect

    Just because a patent isn't described as a monopoly doesn't mean it isn't one. Monopoly means rule by one. That's exactly what we have with a patent - one person or entity who is given the right to control what happens with an invention. They have monopoly power over that invention. How is it not a monopoly?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Even the title of the book is incorrect

    There is monopoly in an economic sense, and then there is monopoly in an antitrust sense. The latter directs itself to power in a market sufficient to exert control of consumer prices.

    Most lawyers focus on antitrust in defining monopoly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2008 @ 2:13am

    Copyright != Patent

    To address the "copying the chair" argument, Copyright will not prevent the new owner of the chair from copying and selling chairs functioning in the same manner. Under certain conditions, it may prevent slavish copies of the chair, or it may not. A Patent covering a core process embodied in the chair (or directly and unavoidably necessary for its production) would prevent legal copying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2008 @ 2:49am

    One of the friction points

    in this discussion is that it tends to lump together all intellectual properties. There is a distinct difference in the use (and abuse) of patents and copyrights in information and content industries as compared to the applied engineering industries.

    In theory, a copyright(or a patent) is a copyright(or a patent) no matter which industry it is in, and without regard to the intended method by which it is expected to produce profit. In practice the two categories are quite different in terms of valid or profitably abusive use of the non-material property in question.

    The publishing-related industries seek primarily to profit from direct copies of paid-for content, and this defines the infringement they seek to prevent. The engineering-related industries seek primarily to profit from all subsequent uses of a delineated procedure, mechanism, solution, and thus in theory have a much broader potential infringement.

    If a fiction author slavishly copies the plot of another work, without copying the peculiarities of character and setting, without question the work is non-infringing. While such work is generally far inferior to spending an equivalent amount of time and effort producing a unique work from scratch, this scenario serves to highlight the profit model of the publishing industry: creation is the big cost, third-party experiencing of the property only harms the property's value in a fractional statistical sense (if two potential purchasers instead read the book at a library, the potential value is at worst fractionally reduced), and most works are non-subtitutable in a marketing sense. Additionally, if a news company copyrights a report of a given event, this does not (by itself) prevent others from producing, copyrighting, and distributing their own report, even if many of the details are similar.

    The engineering world is quite different: the profit model is primarily realized by forcing future users of the protected concept to pay to use or adapt it, and to make the concept thus protected so broad as to prevent practical alternative solutions. The literary equivalent would be if content creators were able to register and protect stylistic elements, literary tone, the proximate use of certain given words (or even parts of speech), and to charge subsequent users fees or even to arbitrarily refuse to license the usage thus preventing its use.

    Oddly enough, the pharmaceutical industry seems bent on cherry-picking the definitions and protections for "property" equally from information and engineering disciplines, while minimizing the potential fair uses of either. The result, when applied to other fields, is enough to make most software companies blanch and scurry to petition for reduced intellectual property scope.

    It seems to me that there can be no truly workable answer as long as law is made with narrow focus on details and broad application for enforcement. Any law that results in a pure win for one industry will almost inevitably result in significantly greater unintended losses in other industries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Victor, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: back again

    Hmm. Baen Publishing's Webscriptions, Free Library, and a few other innovations would make me think Mike has the right of it.

    Authors, with no compulsion from the Publisher, have the option to place their work, in whole, unprotected format up for free access by anyone with a wide assortment of readers.

    But wait, I hear some say, without DRM, the Author's will starve, because no one will pay for what they can freely obtain.

    Well, David Weber, and several other authors in the Baen stable, have put the lie to that.
    David Weber put his first Honor Harrington book in the Free Library, and subsequently that book went on backorder...

    You get out of customers what you give them.
    Treat them like thieves, the less scrupulous ones will act like it.
    The Honest ones will simply not buy your products/services/etc.

    Actually, here, this is a decent article linking to many of the points made by Eric Flint, another author from Baen.
    Remember, this is a man who makes much of his livelihood from the books he writes.

    http://www.teleread.org/blog/2007/02/24/baens-eric-flint-drm-promotes-piracy/

    Hmm. I guess that's it for me, for now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Dick Harriff, Sep 7th, 2008 @ 11:34am

    IP rights and non-scarce resources

    Techdirt presents an interesting angle on the IP debate. In the first paragraph quoted below, at first glance it is hard to be in disagreement. However, on second glance I think it would discourage much innovation.

    "Property rights don't make much sense when a resource isn't scarce, because there need not be any question of how to best allocate it, since anyone who wants it can have it. In those cases, adding property rights actually makes the market /less efficient/ by limiting the allocation. "

    The problem is one of "ex ante" vs "ex post" rights. For example, I wouldn't create anything if I thought in advance I couldn't recover my costs and a competitive return based upon my investment and the risk of my innovation being unsuccessful. Once the innovation is successful the marginal development cost going forward is zero and thus under the above scheme that idea is no longer scarce and thus customers should get it free except perhaps for the marginal production and distribution cost. Also under that concept no one would have the incentive to innovate if they expected no return on their human capital and development cost

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 7th, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    Re: IP rights and non-scarce resources

    No, I'm afraid the fallacy is on your end.

    For example, I wouldn't create anything if I thought in advance I couldn't recover my costs and a competitive return based upon my investment and the risk of my innovation being unsuccessful.

    This is a fallacious statement. We are not saying you couldn't recover your costs and earn a return. In fact, we're saying that you can earn a better return if you better understand your market, and use the infinite goods to make other scarce goods more valuable.

    The rest of your comment is meaningless, again, because you falsely assume that the only way to make money is directly on selling that infinite good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Wizard Prang, Dec 31st, 2008 @ 1:23am

    Sort of...

    "Naturally there is the inalienable advantage of creating/inventing a product and being the first to market."

    A product, yes. An idea, no.

    This is why the concept of "Intellectual Property" is an oxymoron.

    Remember, the Constitutionally Defined purpose of copyright is to promote progress in the sciences and useful arts. It's implementation is a limited, exclusive right, designed to incentivize creators.

    The copyright lobby deliberately attempts to misinterpret this at every turn as an UNLIMITED exclusive right, which is why 80-year-old books and 50-year-old movies are still under copyright, and downloading a Frank Sinatra song off the Internet is a felony. How does this incentivize creators? It doesn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This