Copyright And Its Harm On Culture

from the understanding-culture dept

A bunch of folks have sent in Cory Doctorow's essay on why he considers himself a "copyfighter," noting that sharing content is what creates culture -- and the attempts by Big Content to block sharing of content are effectively an attempt to stomp out culture, such that only they can determine what is culture (or so they believe).
Content isn't king: culture is. The reason we go to the movies is to have something to talk about. If I sent you to a desert island and told you to choose between your records and your friends, you'd be a sociopath if you chose the music.

Culture's imperative is to share information: culture is shared information. Science fiction readers know this: the guy across from you on the subway with a gaudy SF novel in his hands is part of your group. You two have almost certainly read some of the same books, you've got some shared cultural referents, some things to talk about.

When you hear a song you love, you play it for the people in your tribe. When you read a book you love, you shove it into the hands of your friends to encourage them to read it too. When you see a great show, you get your friends to watch it too -- or you seek out the people who've already watched it and strike up a conversation with them.
I would go even further than Doctorow does. I'm less concerned about the impact on culture, as I am on the impact on communication itself. Communication is at the heart of pretty much all economic activity -- and thanks to technology, these days, pretty much all communication involves some sort of "copying." Yet, because a rather recent industry was built up on the idea that "copying" was rare and was only done on professional built content, it's now trying to shut down and stomp out new means of communication just because, as a part of its nature, it allows for the copying of professional content as well. Yet, in doing so, they're slowing down basic communications, and with it, the core of economic activity and growth.

The attempt to apply ever more draconian copyright laws may appear to be in the interests of those who have relied on such artificial scarcity for years, but the end result is a significant restriction of economic activity, which harms everyone -- including the companies who are in favor of such copyright laws and enforcement. Purposely limiting a market is a dangerous short-term practice that has significantly negative long-term consequences.


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  1.  
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    Reed, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 6:40pm

    Copyrights are against common sense

    I agree whole heartily with this discussion although I have a different slant on why copyrights are just plain silly to begin with.

    People do not create content in a vacuum. They are influenced throughout their life by the experiences they have and the people they meet.

    Furthermore, we heavily rely upon concepts and ideas that were created thousands of years ago. Without the mediums and ideas that came before us we would be nothing.

    Modern corporations want to be able to "own" this intrinsic faucet of humanity and then profit off of it at the expense of our ability to continue to evolve and learn as a culture.

    The whole concept of intellectual copyrights is flawed because of this and as we continue to grow population wise it becomes more and more asinine to allow any single entity to control quite literally what makes us human beings.

    I am not against people being able to profit from their works, I am against those people preventing others from learning and using their works as they see fit. I feel sorry for people who have enough arrogance to believe they truly "created" something all by themselves in a vacuum without any influences. They are missing what is means to be part of humanity.

    Everyone truly does owe their thoughts and creations to the human race. It is not to their individual ingenuity, creativity, or intelligence that makes their content or ideas special it is everyone else who experiences, learns, and develops new a better ideas. That is what IP law should promote.

     

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  2.  
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    eleete, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Copyrights are against common sense

    Well Said.
    I would like to add, that the terms on copyright are excessive too. 120 Years for Corporations, or the life of the artist plus 70 years is extremely excessive. This comes at the expense of the public domain and impedes the freedom of creation and innovation. That is true lack of common sense. Wouldn't it be a great world if we were all paid on those terms ? What would the economy be like then ?

     

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  3.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:15pm

    Corporate Language Control

    They want to control our language. If you look at the sheer number of language elements contained in the entire set of all intellectual property, soon they will basically control and own everyting on the internet.

    Our ability to exchange ideas freely will eventually be totally compromised. This is thought control at its finest and must be stopped. The process is already being automated so that CopyRight bots scour the internet for possible infringements. Free Expression is gone. Big Brother has arrived. 1984 is now.

    You're damn right to point out that this is about communication. The internet is a communications medium. It facilitates the free exchange of ideas between net users.

    There is no way that I'm going to let some mega-corporation that sells me underwear control my thoughts because it owns some copyright on what I express. No way in hell.

    This is a killing situation for ideas on the internet. Internet Users are not the same as publishers. We are a unique legal entity. We are in a renaissance of idea exchange with the internet. Someone needs to tell these corps where to go.

    I propose we start a New Free Speech Movement. What do you think? Let's take back the internet...

     

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  4.  
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    eleete, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Corporate Language Control

     

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  5.  
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    eleete, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: Corporate Language Control

     

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  6.  
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    eleete, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Corporate Language Control

     

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    KB, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    The Faucet of humanity

    "Faucet of humanity"? Sounds like a Monty Python sketch... but hurrah, I agree.

     

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  8.  
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    angry dude, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:36pm

    f******* techdirt punks

    Mikey keeps domain name techdirt.com all for himself
    but wants other people to give up their copyrights and patents
    Give up your domain name, Mikey, to set an example

    But you won't, of course
    All of this talk is just a bunch of bullshit for techdirt lemming punks
    freeking idiots

     

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  9.  
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    eleete, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:39pm

    Re: f******* techdirt punks

    And that's what you got out of the post ?

     

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  10.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:50pm

    www.netfreespeech.com

    yeah, I started a blog on this language control issue.

    www.netfreespeech.com

    check it out, let me know what you think.

    I honestly think its time for a new free speech movement. Things are only going to continue to get out of hand.

     

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  11.  
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    Griffyn, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 7:54pm

    music for me

    If I was sent to a desert island, I'd choose music over my friends. What sort of person would force their friends to a desert island? A sociopath, that's who.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    sheesh

    A domain name has nothing to do with copyright. Trademark is even a stretch.

    AD, lets try and keep on topic, ok ?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 9:31pm

    A "utopian vision" that is so full of contradictions and misinformation that I am hard pressed to know even where to begin critiqueing the points being made.

    Mr. Doctrow speaks of encouraging interpersonal discourse, but it is difficult to square such discourse with the widespread uploading of copyrighted works to the world at large. No entertainment content provider who is a member of groups such as the RIAA and the MPAA have ever seriously worried about sharing content among a small social group. Books are loaned all the time. CDs/DVDs/VCR tapes/LPs/etc. have always been shared on a limited basis and content providers have not lost any sleep at night because of such sharing. However, it is quite another matter when suddenly sharing expands from a close knit group to the world at large. The former is but a drop in the economic bucket of a content provider's financials, but the latter is quite another matter. It does impact the bottom line.

    Yes, there are examples of some who have tried out new business models that do not depend upon copyright law in the manner it has been historically utilized. Creative commons is one example. Others have decided to eschew the law altogether. Perhaps someday these models will make wider inroads into content distribution...but that someday is well into the foreseeable future. Until then, it is getting a bit old to hear the constant refrain of persons who rationalize unlawful copying and distribution for the most specious of reasons. "The content providers have made more than enough money, not to mention they are screwing the artists." "By copying and distributing I am giving them free exposure, so they should be grateful." "I get paid by the hour for work done. Why should an artist get paid for work they did a long time ago?" These ridiculous arguments continue ad nauseum.

    It is nice to know that persons like Mr. Doctrow exist and act upon the principles they hold near and dear. Ours is not, however, a one-size-fits-all society, and other equally principled people hold contrary views. To extoll Mr. Doctrow's principles and demean those whose principles may happen to differ with his is manifestly unfair.

    Copyright law is far from perfect, and in some instances is downright draconian. Rather than villifying it, perhaps some of its detractors might consider using their mental prowess and articulate ideas/suggestions to try and strike what they believe might be a fairer balance between the the creative and user communities.

     

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  14.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 10:20pm

    Re: CopyrightTards Sleepwalking To Their Doom

    A "utopian vision" that is so full of contradictions and misinformation that I am hard pressed to know even where to begin critiqueing the points being made.

    Go on. You know you want to.

     

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  15.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 13th, 2008 @ 10:58pm

    Re: f******* techdirt punks

    It amazes me that angry dude keeps making these claims despite the fact that it's been explained to him, repeatedly, the difference between scarce and infinite goods. The fact that he keeps repeating his obviously false statements, without actually responding to the points we've raised, again shows that he has no real argument.

     

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    Mike (profile), Nov 13th, 2008 @ 11:02pm

    Re:

    "The content providers have made more than enough money, not to mention they are screwing the artists." "By copying and distributing I am giving them free exposure, so they should be grateful." "I get paid by the hour for work done. Why should an artist get paid for work they did a long time ago?" These ridiculous arguments continue ad nauseum.


    I don't believe Mr. Doctorow made any of those arguments.

    You are setting up a straw man, but I guess when you have no actual argument, that's the way it works.

    On your final point, however, I believe that you are missing the point (no surprise). The reason people point that out isn't because of jealousy, as you imply, but because it's fundamentally economically inefficient to get paid multiple times for work done a while ago.

    It's just dangerous to base your business model on such things.

    To extoll Mr. Doctrow's principles and demean those whose principles may happen to differ with his is manifestly unfair.

    Odd. No one is "demeaning" anyone. We're pointing out basic truths. If you want to show that those truths are incorrect, go ahead. But you have not. You have simply said that the old way is the good way because it's the old way.

    Copyright law is far from perfect, and in some instances is downright draconian. Rather than villifying it, perhaps some of its detractors might consider using their mental prowess and articulate ideas/suggestions to try and strike what they believe might be a fairer balance between the the creative and user communities.

    Funny. You say that as if we never make suggestions.

     

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  17.  
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    mike allen, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: f******* techdirt punks

    eleete when you been in a while you will get use to this brainless moron (and a few others grammar teachers) who have nothing to say but just pick on mike.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Copyrights are against common sense

    "Furthermore, we heavily rely upon concepts and ideas that were created thousands of years ago. Without the mediums and ideas that came before us we would be nothing."

    Well, okay. Thanks for calling. Copyright doesn't protect "concepts and ideas", and it doesn't last for thousands of years.

    What probably will last for thousands of years? People using the word "mediums". (Which, I suppose, works out in the end, since it means people who talk to ghosts.)

     

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    bikey (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 12:22am

    culture

    Another long forgotten detail: people the world over knew about (and even admired) America through its films - they were cheap to see and everyone could watch them. It was indeed culture, not content. Now films (at least if reliant on legal distribution) have gone the way of education - get it if you have the money, otherwise eat cake (or worse).

     

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  20.  
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    James Brynildsen, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 1:21am

    culture vs content

    It seems a bit obvious none or few of you value the fact that one person has taken the time to "create" the collective piece of content you feel you have ownership of because you are also a human. That's BS! With that logic I can come take everything you own on the ground is community property.

    Culture is not content. Culture does revolve around communication. But arts and sciences drive culture's communication. Without humans using the arts and sciences there is nothing worth talking about thus no culture.

    The idea that my hard work is free is for the taking is a thief's mentality. Whether my work is built on 8 years or 50 years of being a human has no relevance on my right to protect my livelihood and the time I have invested coming to my conclusions. One piece's value is not solely based on the time it took to put it down in words or put it to canvas.

    Influences do not mean each influential person or entity has partial ownership. If that was the case NO ONE could make a living at ANYTHING! Or rather we could only barter and trade for goods and services.

    Sharing ideas is free communication! Stealing content (someone else's tangible work) is not. There is a difference. That's why they call it plagiarism.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 1:29am

    "I don't believe Mr. Doctorow made any of those arguments.

    You are setting up a straw man, but I guess when you have no actual argument, that's the way it works."

    I don't think he was referring to Doctorow. It seemed to me he was referring to many people here who use such arguments to justify piracy (or whatever you want to call it). I think you are in too much of a hurry to accuse him of setting up a strawman. But I guess that's the price one pays for not agreeing with Mike Masnick.

    "The reason people point that out isn't because of jealousy, as you imply, but because it's fundamentally economically inefficient to get paid multiple times for work done a while ago."

    I don't see how it is "fundamentally inefficient" to get paid multiple times. Writing is not the same as plumbing; I don't see why they should be treated equally. Assume I write a book, which sells thousands of copies a year over 20 years. The publisher makes money by selling those copies over 2 decades: I get my share of those profits through royalties, which is ensured through copyright. How is this "fundamentally inefficient"?

    And "work" here is very different from "work" as in the stuff you and I do. This "work" is something that could have great repeat value, something that the seller can make money off over a period of time. The true market worth of a book could be 10 million bucks (assuming 500K copies sell at $20 apiece over 10 years). But the author and publisher won't get the work's entire worth instantly, unlike a plumber. That's the logic behind getting paid multiple times. It's nothing but sheer jealousy that's at work behind the argument that people shouldn't get paid multiple times for ssomething they did a while ago.

    "We're pointing out basic truths. You have simply said that the old way is the good way because it's the old way."

    So are you saying the old way flouted basic truths? Because the old way did work fine for a long time.

    "Funny. You say that as if we never make suggestions."

    All the time I see you go hammer and tongs at copyright, calling for its abolition, urging everyone to give away their creative work free and make money elsewhere - not for once suggesting that maybe copyrght reform is the need of the hour and not coyright removal.

    Even when it has been pointed out to you that lack of copyright could lead to Big Business exploiting the artist (as in movie studios not paying authors a dime), you refuse to even entertain the idea that perhaps copyright does serve some purpose, it does benefit some creative artists, it does ensure that some creative guys don't get exploited.

     

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  22.  
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    cram, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 1:30am

    Btw, previous post was mine.

     

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    46, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 2:26am

    Why would i want to sentence my friends to a life on deserted island? With me? Sure, some company is nice, but one can't be that egoistic.

     

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  24.  
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    Douglas Gresham, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 2:57am

    Re:

    Just wanted to quickly address a couple of points:

    I don't think he was referring to Doctorow. It seemed to me he was referring to many people here who use such arguments to justify piracy (or whatever you want to call it). I think you are in too much of a hurry to accuse him of setting up a strawman. But I guess that's the price one pays for not agreeing with Mike Masnick.

    The argument was that mass sharing of works is not beneficial because it's piracy and that the so-called "tired arguments" were a reason it should be ignored. It turned the discussion from "you're endorsing the cultural and creative benefits of sharing" to "you're endorsing nasty evil piracy" in order to try and shore up the case being made. That, my friend, is a straw man.

    So are you saying the old way flouted basic truths? Because the old way did work fine for a long time.

    You mean when we didn't have the Internet allowing for instantaneous, free, worldwide distribution of information? The 'old way' is dependent on the distribution channels being scarce, not the content.

     

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  25.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 3:22am

    Re: culture vs content

    It seems a bit obvious none or few of you value the fact that one person has taken the time to "create" the collective piece of content you feel you have ownership of because you are also a human. That's BS! With that logic I can come take everything you own on the ground is community property.

    Hmm. You might want to try that line somewhere else, where you won't be immediately shown to be ignorant.

    As we have pointed out repeatedly (I'm guessing you're new here?), there's tremendous value in the creation of the content. That's why we suggest many new business models that helps them capture that value.

    It has nothing to do with "community property" so I'm not sure where you got that idea from. It has to do with fundamental economics of abundance and scarcity. It's not community property (which implies shared property). It's content that can be copied infinitely, so that everyone can have as much as they want.

    hat's BS! With that logic I can come take everything you own on the ground is community property.

    You really ought to learn the difference between scarce goods and infinite goods. Otherwise you look pretty foolish as you do here.

    The idea that my hard work is free is for the taking is a thief's mentality.

    No one said your hardwork is free for the taking. We said that you're limiting your opportunities by locking up your content with copyright. Quite different. But you didn't bother to read what we wrote. You just spewed.

    Whether my work is built on 8 years or 50 years of being a human has no relevance on my right to protect my livelihood and the time I have invested coming to my conclusions. One piece's value is not solely based on the time it took to put it down in words or put it to canvas.

    Who "protects" their livelihood? Most people EARN their livelihood.

    Influences do not mean each influential person or entity has partial ownership. If that was the case NO ONE could make a living at ANYTHING! Or rather we could only barter and trade for goods and services.

    Total strawman, but nice try. No one said anything about partial ownership. Wherever did you get that idea?


    Sharing ideas is free communication! Stealing content (someone else's tangible work) is not. There is a difference. That's why they call it plagiarism.


    Wow. Talk about clueless. Copyright infringement and plagiarism are two different things. And neither is theft.

    If you can't even get your basic definitions straight, I'd suggest you do a little learning before speaking up.

    Theft: Taking something away from someone, without their permission, such that they no longer have it.

    Copyright infringement: Making a copy of a work that is covered by copyright, without authorization (and outside of fair use rules).

    Plagiarism: Copying someone else's content and claiming it as your own.

    All three are different. To claim that they're all the same is very, very wrong.

     

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  26.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 3:29am

    Re:

    I think you are in too much of a hurry to accuse him of setting up a strawman. But I guess that's the price one pays for not agreeing with Mike Masnick.

    A strawman is an argument that we did not make to knockover. The argument presented was one we did not make. It was a strawman.

    I don't see how it is "fundamentally inefficient" to get paid multiple times.

    Then I would suggest a refresher course in basic economics.

    Writing is not the same as plumbing; I don't see why they should be treated equally.

    That, my friend, is a strawman. Who said it was the same as plumbing or treated the same?

    Assume I write a book, which sells thousands of copies a year over 20 years. The publisher makes money by selling those copies over 2 decades: I get my share of those profits through royalties, which is ensured through copyright. How is this "fundamentally inefficient"?

    Well, you are selling scarce goods (books) which is more efficient, so again, we're talking about different things. But if you're talking just about selling the content, it is quite economically inefficient -- and if the history of economics has taught us anything, it's that economic inefficiencies don't tend to last.

    So are you saying the old way flouted basic truths? Because the old way did work fine for a long time.

    The old way was when there was widespread scarcity. That scarcity is gone.

    As per usual, you seem to falsely be assuming that this is what we want to happen, as opposed to a simple explanation of what is happening. You can whine and complain about the old way all you want. Economics doesn't care.

    All the time I see you go hammer and tongs at copyright, calling for its abolition, urging everyone to give away their creative work free and make money elsewhere - not for once suggesting that maybe copyrght reform is the need of the hour and not coyright removal.

    Hmm. I talk about copyright reform quite frequently. Please to not lie about my positions.

    Even when it has been pointed out to you that lack of copyright could lead to Big Business exploiting the artist (as in movie studios not paying authors a dime), you refuse to even entertain the idea that perhaps copyright does serve some purpose, it does benefit some creative artists, it does ensure that some creative guys don't get exploited.

    "Pointed out to me"? It has not. You have made that argument, but you have failed to substantiate it. Instead, when you made those claims, I pointed you to evidence that your claims were not true.

    So, on the whole, I'm not sure why you insist on repeating those false claims.

     

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    cram, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 3:59am

    "A strawman is an argument that we did not make to knockover. The argument presented was one we did not make. It was a strawman."

    The argument presented is one that many have made here. That's what he's referring to. Of course you didn't say so in your post, but many others have done so in this blog in the past.

    "I don't see how it is "fundamentally inefficient" to get paid multiple times.

    Then I would suggest a refresher course in basic economics."

    Thanks for the advice. Perhaps you could explain it to the likes of Penguin and Knopf, and convince them that authors need not get paid multiple times.

    "Writing is not the same as plumbing; I don't see why they should be treated equally.

    That, my friend, is a strawman. Who said it was the same as plumbing or treated the same?"

    If they are not the same, why do many people (I'm not saying you are) in this blog think writers, like plumbers, should be paid only once? Can someone clear the air on this, please?

    "Assume I write a book, which sells thousands of copies a year over 20 years. The publisher makes money by selling those copies over 2 decades: I get my share of those profits through royalties, which is ensured through copyright. How is this "fundamentally inefficient"?

    Well, you are selling scarce goods (books) which is more efficient, so again, we're talking about different things. But if you're talking just about selling the content, it is quite economically inefficient -- and if the history of economics has taught us anything, it's that economic inefficiencies don't tend to last."

    How are we talking about different things? Copyright protects the author's right to make money from scarce goods, because in the absence of copyright, publishers would not be required to pay royalty.

    "As per usual, you seem to falsely be assuming that this is what we want to happen, as opposed to a simple explanation of what is happening. You can whine and complain about the old way all you want. Economics doesn't care."

    And you, as usual, assume that I am whining and complaining about the old way.

    "All the time I see you go hammer and tongs at copyright, calling for its abolition, urging everyone to give away their creative work free and make money elsewhere - not for once suggesting that maybe copyrght reform is the need of the hour and not coyright removal.

    Hmm. I talk about copyright reform quite frequently. Please to not lie about my positions."

    Can you state our position clearly? Do you want copyright reform or do you want copyright abolition? I am still not clear as to what your position is.

    "Even when it has been pointed out to you that lack of copyright could lead to Big Business exploiting the artist (as in movie studios not paying authors a dime), you refuse to even entertain the idea that perhaps copyright does serve some purpose, it does benefit some creative artists, it does ensure that some creative guys don't get exploited.

    "Pointed out to me"? It has not. You have made that argument, but you have failed to substantiate it. Instead, when you made those claims, I pointed you to evidence that your claims were not true. So, on the whole, I'm not sure why you insist on repeating those false claims.

    Goodness, Mike. Please note the word "could" in my statement. All I did was point to a possibility. How can that be construed as a claim? Did I ever say movie studios WILL not pay authors a dime? Now that could qualify as a claim (and you would be justified in lammbasting me for making a false claim)? I clearly said lack of copyright "COULD" lead to a situation where studios do not pay the author. It is a futuristic scenario, a fictional scenario because copyright removal is not a reality as yet. And what is your evidence that this will definitely not happen? You don't have any such evidence simply because copyright removal has not happened yet.

    I think you are unable to entertain my arguments because it knocks at your theory that copyright removal will benefit everyone.

    Over to you.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 5:11am

    Re: Re: f******* techdirt punks

    You have invented a theory to make yourself sound correct. Why are you the only one that seems to be pushing infinite goods? I have searched the internet high and low and besides you there are a couple of other people that are pushing it, but in general, the rest of academia does not seems to not use this theory.

     

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    Roger, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    Need for balance

    An interesting and heated discussion!

    It strikes me that there is a need for balance. Yes, creators who claim copyright have derived their inspiration from the rest of humanity and previous history. And yes, copyright laws as presently framed seem excessive.

    But those creators also deserve to make a living, and to charge for their products and services.

    So that's the balance we have right now.

    If their creativity becomes part of the commons, what business model do they have?

    An ideal society would perhaps set aside a portion of the common wealth to provide for such creativity and support the creators. (This is the basis of an artistic community whose goods are not readily reproducible.) But until such a utopia emerges, copyright will be a necessary evil, I'm afraid.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Sounds good; free music, movies and digital photos (and all things digital) for everyone! Count me in! Heck, those scumbag musicians can work for free! Of course, not having money they will have a hard time buying instruments and studio time. But the heck with logic; I want free stuff.

     

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    angry dude, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: f******* techdirt punks

    Mikey wants artists and musicians to give up their work and then make up for the financial losses by selling T-Shirts (!!!!), LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTs of T-shirts....

    Hillarious

     

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  32.  
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    eleete, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:08am

    Re: Need for balance

    "An ideal society would perhaps set aside a portion of the common wealth to provide for such creativity and support the creators. (This is the basis of an artistic community whose goods are not readily reproducible.)"

    Is this to suggest that sharing 'wealth' is Utopian and divine, but sharing art is not ?

    I don't think anyone here wants to see copyright abolished, rather curtailed. Recently it is being used as a club on consumers and those who want to share things. Perhaps if the terms were brought down to a reasonable level, say 5 to ten years for corporations and individuals. Then things could be protected for limited terms and slowly join the public domain. If you can't make money within 10 years on your creation, perhaps one should look elsewhere for financial returns. Utopian would be that we all got paid, perhaps equally, to work for a year or so, collecting for 120 years or the rest of our lives plus 70 years more for our children. Sounds Great, but not possible to me.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re:

    My comments were not directed to techdirt and its principals, and to the extent that seemed to be the case it most certainly was not my intent.

    Rather, I was attempting to raise some talking points for those who comment on the techdirt articles, and in the process of doing so continually vilify content providers.

    Techdirt's articles are easily recognized as being based on economic principles separate and apart from the law, and usually in the context of explaining why it is believed that the law does not reflect basic economics and human proclivities. Patent and copyright law are certainly not the only examples of disconnects between basis economics and what a law purports to accomplish. Noting but one example, governmental land use planning as a legal process makes patent and copyright law look like mere child's play.

    Merely as a suggestion, perhaps techdirt might consider at some future date an article(s) on governmental regulation of scarce goods in manners that consign basic economic principles to the dust bin. The California Coastal Protection Act is but one of many examples that immediately come to mind. While I recall techdirt has touched on it in the past, business regulations (licensing, etc.) also stand quite high on my list. The article concerning "car pooling" is one particularly egregious example.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 7:08am

    Once again, the real victims in the whole copyright mess are individual creative artists who no longer stand a chance to earn money from their creative works.

    Doctorow conveniently points the finger at big business copyright holders, while easily forgetting who the real creators of content are.

    Let's see how much cultural singing and dancing there is when creative artists stop creating.

    Doctorow is one of many of the internet generation who think that content grows on trees.

     

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  35.  
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    TDR, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 7:50am

    Those who give money as the only motivation for content creators to create fail to understand the basic nature of the creative process. The payoff for a real artist isn't in the financial return, it never is. It's in the very act of creation, of taking an idea and expressing it and sharing it with others for mutual enjoyment. Getting paid for it is nice, but not truly necessary. The creative process of painting, of writing, of composing, the feeling of seeing that idea take form and shape, is the real thrill. Thinking of the money only constipates the process.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    What a crock! So artists have pure motives and would make music/paintings/movies for free if they had too. I hear it is pretty comfy under bridges in SoCal; maybe life on the street wouldn't be so bad?

    Artists are not special, they are people and people want/need money to get by. Would they do it for less money than the millions top stars make? Yes, many do. Would they do it for free? No way.

     

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  37.  
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    David Charles, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Re: The Faucet of humanity

    Perhaps the internet is the Faucet of Humanity since it is the medium upon which the exchange of ideas occurs.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 8:39am

    Mike is CHEAP thats all there is to it

    Talk about a straw man argument...

    and thanks to technology, these days, pretty much all communication involves some sort of "copying."

    Then you go on to defend communication. At no point when I am speaking to someone to I COPY anything. Speach is the predominate form of COMMUNICATION unless you are computer. Wow that's an angle I hadn't thought of, has anyone actualy ever met MIKEbot?

    Face it Mike you are CHEAP, you don't want to pay for music so you try to come up with ideas so you can get someone else to foot the bill for you.

     

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  39.  
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    TDR, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 8:45am

    I've written more than a few stories that I know will never be published, AC, but I don't regret doing so. I learned from it and got better as a writer as a result. And there were many readers who enjoyed what I had written, much as I enjoyed writing it. You forget, people were telling stories, making music, and drawing art long before copyright ever existed, and without expecting anything in return. People still do so today. Trying to exert Nazi-like control over one's creation is the true idiocy.

    Tell me, AC, have you ever created anything? As in art? Literature? Music?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 8:57am

    Re: #39

    If I create something I am the OWNER of that something. If I choose to sell it, it's my decision not someone elses. If I choose to give my music away it's MY decision not someone elses. If I don't create the music it doesn't exist, the fact that music has been around for millenia does not defend the fact that it doesn't exist until it is created. Professional musicians earn their living from their music, just as you must surely earn money for doing something. Who are you to tell the musician, you music isn't worth anything because I can copy it? How did that become ok in this society? Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    You assume an idea can in fact be owned - that very assumption is flawed, however. And you're confusing ideas with their forms of expression, ie music, literature, art, etc. Those forms of expression are, in truth, merely tools to express ideas. Ideas can't be stifled or restrained - they will find their way out regardless, sometimes painfully. And you're confusing worth with the ability to share. Art has worth because it can be shared, not in spite of it. It is created to be shared, not hoarded.

    And you never answered my question.

     

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  42.  
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    angry dude, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    punky

    did you get your weekly allowance check from your mom ?

     

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  43.  
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    anymouse government worker, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Perhaps Plumbers should = Musicians

    The whole concept of being paid for work performed in the past needs to be eliminated. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be fairly compensated for their work, but fair != life + 70 years.

    Lets turn things around and look at it the other way, assume your main drain line gets plugged somehow. You now have abundant supply of water, but no efficient means of removal, sinks back up, toilets stagnate, you can't wash, can't run water, can't flush. So you hire a plumber to come in and 'fix' things, you pay a one time fee, however if we change our mentality to match the music industry, then the 'service' the plumber provided wasn't a one time service of 'clearing a clog' (clearing the clog may have been a one time event, but the plumber was really providing the service of 'continued drainage'), then every time the sink is turned on or the toilet is flushed after the plumber performs their service, they should be compensated again, right? Every time something drains after the plumber has performed his work is something that would not have been possible without his service, so he should be fairly compensated as long as drainage continues, correct?

    Greed is killing this country, and the worst culprit is our own government. How long are 'we the sheeple' going to stand for this 'puppet show' of a Republic before we stand up for ourselves (using the efficient and effective communication means available to us today) and kick these clowns to the curb?

    "We the people, in order to form....." nevermind, go back to pointing at the other side and making assumptions based on 'political affiliation', that's what the government wants, and that's why we are stuck with a 2 party system, as long as the sheeple are busy fighting amongst themselves over the 'lesser of 2 evil' candidates, the 'real' people in power can go back to their corporate jets and pull another couple billion out of the government's pocket while we aren't looking (is that a billion in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?)...

     

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  44.  
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    angry dude, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:56am

    Mikey is a f****** tool

    T-shirts everybody !!!

     

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  45.  
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    angry dude, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re: Perhaps Plumbers should = Musicians

    Blya, da ty mudak

     

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  46.  
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    DanC, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Re: Mike is CHEAP thats all there is to it

    Then you go on to defend communication. At no point when I am speaking to someone to I COPY anything. Speach is the predominate form of COMMUNICATION unless you are computer.

    If you share information or an idea with someone by talking to them, that data was copied. Both parties now have the information because it was communicated.

    Face it Mike you are CHEAP, you don't want to pay for music so you try to come up with ideas so you can get someone else to foot the bill for you.

    You accuse someone of creating a straw man, and then proceed to make baseless attacks. You obviously have little to no idea what you're talking about, so resorting to petty insults is probably your best course of action. Far better than educating yourself, certainly.

     

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  47.  
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    DanC, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: #39

    If I create something I am the OWNER of that something.

    That's almost certainly true with physical works. Intellectual works are a different matter altogether.

    If I choose to sell it, it's my decision not someone elses. If I choose to give my music away it's MY decision not someone elses.

    Copyright gives you the capability to accomplish this - without it you wouldn't have the ability. That being said, however, nobody said that it wasn't your choice.

    Who are you to tell the musician, you music isn't worth anything because I can copy it?

    You're confusing value with price. Something can be both valuable and free.

    How did that become ok in this society? Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.

    You've tried to defend your position with two straw man arguments and the equivalent of "but it's not fair" without providing an explanation for why.

     

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  48.  
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    DanC, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    Artists are not special, they are people and people want/need money to get by. Would they do it for less money than the millions top stars make? Yes, many do. Would they do it for free? No way.

    So music would completely disappear if no one was paid to make it? For someone attempting to provide a reality check, you're seriously in need of one yourself.

     

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  49.  
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    LostSailor, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Doctorow's wrong.

    Content isn't king: culture is. The reason we go to the movies is to have something to talk about.

    Well, in a word, no. The reason we go to movies, read books, and listen to music is not so we have something to talk about, it's because we're entertained, enlightened, moved, transported, educated, and more. That we might talk about it with friends and family, that we might use the experience of absorbing content as "tribal" identity, that we might share our experience of content with others is separate from that experience.

    Content is how culture is communicated. Content may not be king over culture, but neither is culture king over content: they are co-regents.

    Communication is at the heart of pretty much all economic activity -- and thanks to technology, these days, pretty much all communication involves some sort of "copying."

    I'd agree that communication, that is the "information trade" is at the heart of modern economic activity, but I don't necessarily agree that "all communication" involves copying except in the broadest sense, over which copyright holds no sway.

    Copyright is intended to "promote the useful arts" by protecting the economic value of content. I'll readily agree that the term of copyright has obscured this fundamental basis for copyright, and reform is needed (though likely extremely difficult to achieve), but even with long copyright terms, communication of culture has not only not been impeded, but has exploded.

    ...a rather recent industry was built up on the idea that "copying" was rare and was only done on professional built content, [is] now trying to shut down and stomp out new means of communication

    This overstates the problem by an order of magnitude. No one is trying to "stomp" out the internet as a means of communication...anyone is free to communicate their own ideas or even the ideas of others as widely and often as they want. Even using portions of someone else's specific and particular expression of an idea is not only allowed, it's done all the time. I've copied Mike's words here for the purpose of critique, which is clearly fine under copyright.

    Because if copying on the Internet were ended tomorrow, it would be the end of culture on the Internet too.

    Doctorow's wrong here, too, to claim that YouTube, LiveJournal, Flikr, etc. would disappear if they could not use any copyrighted material whatsoever (he's also ignoring fair use). They would still survive and I would think prosper, and perhaps advance culture even more, by getting users to actually create their own material. If all YouTube does is endlessly recirculate clips of "industry" material (along with usually worthless commentary), it's not doing anything to advance culture.

    Culture isn't made by people copying and recirculating other people's specific work, it's made by unique creative efforts.

     

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  50.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    You seem like an intelligent fellow. Perhaps you can come up with a solution that strikes a balance which would allow us to freely exchange ideas and at the same time protect copyright holders. I know when I blog and use images or videos I usually contact the creator of the image directly and ask them permission before using them. I can't help but think though, is all free use of copyright harmful to the copyright holder? Isn't it to some extent free advertising?

    It seems as though lawyers are needed to resolve disputes when copyright issues arise. Most of your average web users cannot afford lawyers fees so they are at an unfair advantage in defending themselves against large corporations that simply wants to censor them. These cases can take a long time to resolve and there are usually many appeals. Hiring a lawyer for this amount of time takes a lot of money. Therefore again, the average web-user is disadvantaged. Also, what happens when its a lobby group using intellectual property law to censor someone's viewpoint that they do not like?

    So how do you avoid the economic prejudice involved in copyright disputes? Mega-corporations can hold out forever in court but the average web-user certainly cannot afford to do that.

    Again, I defer to your expertise on this matter.

     

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  51.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:11am

    Re: culture

    Now thats going back quite a while! But you may have a point here.

     

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  52.  
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    A. Smith, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:14am

    There is no such thing as intellectual property

    You cannot own an idea any more than you can own a color or a scent.

    Copyright, Patents, etc. they all share the same basic flaw. You can't own a thought. And now that sharing information is easier than ever, those archaic constructs can, and should, be destroyed. And, I believe that within a generation - they will be.

     

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  53.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    Thanks for the advice. Perhaps you could explain it to the likes of Penguin and Knopf, and convince them that authors need not get paid multiple times.

    What do you think we're trying to do? And, it's not about "getting paid multiple times." It's about understanding economic forces and how to maximize revenue.


    If they are not the same, why do many people (I'm not saying you are) in this blog think writers, like plumbers, should be paid only once? Can someone clear the air on this, please?


    You are asking two separate questions. Just because writers and plumbers are different, doesn't mean that different economics apply to them.

    Until you can show me why the economics that impacts plumbers somehow doesn't apply to authors, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say your whole plumber thing is, yes, (again) a strawman.

    How are we talking about different things? Copyright protects the author's right to make money from scarce goods, because in the absence of copyright, publishers would not be required to pay royalty.

    Uh, no. Copyright makes an infinite good into an artificially scarce one.

    You don't need "protection" to sell scarce goods.


    Can you state our position clearly? Do you want copyright reform or do you want copyright abolition? I am still not clear as to what your position is.


    I want whatever encourages the creation of the most content. To date, I have seen no evidence that copyright helps that. So I believe that it's *likely* the best solution is to get rid of it altogether, but I'm fine with reform in the meantime.

    Goodness, Mike. Please note the word "could" in my statement. All I did was point to a possibility.

    A possibility that we have shown you is unlikely. Yet you still insist on it.


    I think you are unable to entertain my arguments because it knocks at your theory that copyright removal will benefit everyone.


    No, I have "entertained" your arguments plenty. The problem is that the don't seem to match with reality.

     

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  54.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:18am

    Re:

    Sounds good; free music, movies and digital photos (and all things digital) for everyone! Count me in! Heck, those scumbag musicians can work for free! Of course, not having money they will have a hard time buying instruments and studio time. But the heck with logic; I want free stuff.

    Uh, did you not notice the part of the business model where this lets the musicians make more money?

    Come back when you've actually read what we've written.

     

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  55.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:21am

    Re: Mike is CHEAP thats all there is to it

    Face it Mike you are CHEAP, you don't want to pay for music so you try to come up with ideas so you can get someone else to foot the bill for you.

    Uh, no. I actually have no problem paying for music. Just last night I sent nearly $200 to a small indy label for a whole bunch of CDs, and I sent that money happily.

    My point has always been about showing folks how to embrace basic economics to make MORE MONEY before those basic economics run them over. You can keep pretending that the old way will work, but as other artists figure out ways to embrace the new way and make more money, you're going to be in trouble.

    It has nothing to do with what I want. It's all about understanding economics.

     

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  56.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: #39

    If I create something I am the OWNER of that something. If I choose to sell it, it's my decision not someone elses.

    But once you sold it, don't they have the right to do what they want with it as the owner?

    Or do you not actually understand ownership?

    Professional musicians earn their living from their music, just as you must surely earn money for doing something.

    That is incorrect. Money doesn't pay. People pay. People make up the market, and the way you make money is by delivering a product *THAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR* to the marketplace.

    All we are pointing out is that, given the economics of the marketplace, it is dangerous for musicians to expect that people will keep paying for music. There are MANY other things that they can make money off of -- in fact, which they can make more money from.

    Who are you to tell the musician, you music isn't worth anything because I can copy it?

    No one is saying that. Please understand the difference between "worth" and "price." Air is worth a lot to you, but you don't pay a penny for it.

    PRICE is determined by the intersection of supply and demand. If supply is infinite, then... price is going to go to zero. That's just basic economics.

     

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  57.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So are you saying that if there are more extreme cases of the departure of law from economic principles that we should be less inclined to raise our concern for issues that do so to a lesser degree? [not that I agree that the copyright issues mentioned thus far represent less of a departure from what you've mentioned]

    This is about protecting the free exchange of ideas. Humanity has come through the dark ages were religions and monarchs had absolute say over what was and was not heresy. Now we are facing a similar situation with this censorship issue resulting from intellectual property laws (except this is happening on a massive scale as the internet is everywhere and thus affects everyone) are we not? At least if you're "car pooling" you are still free to exchange ideas.

    Is there a way for intellectual property holders to strike special deals with web-advertisers to monetize their stuff? Can infringment in this senario actually benefit the intellectual property holder as it would lead to greater proliferation of said property? Again, I differ to your expertise. In any case, I don't think that stomping on individual internet users is the answer. We need to be able to exchange ideas freely. Don't forget the internet is the Faucet of Humanity. :)

     

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  58.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: f******* techdirt punks

    You have invented a theory to make yourself sound correct.

    I have not "invented" a theory. I am taking basic economics and explaining what is actually happening.

    Why are you the only one that seems to be pushing infinite goods? I have searched the internet high and low and besides you there are a couple of other people that are pushing it, but in general, the rest of academia does not seems to not use this theory.

    The phrase is one that I came up with, yes, but the concepts are widely discussed. In academic circles it mostly focuses on things like "non-rivalrous, non-excludable" goods. There is widespread discussion on it.

    I'm sorry for trying to make it easier to understand, but that doesn't make it incorrect.

     

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  59.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: There is no such thing as intellectual property

    Wow. I must say that respect your boldness in this matter!

    But what about patents?

    I wonder what new privacy measures would be implemented by corporations in a world with no intellectual property laws? Secrecy would become a really big deal, if everything on the internet was unprotected, there would be a very large effort by companies to silence their employees online speech. What do you think?

     

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  60.  
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    DanC, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    Perhaps you could explain it to the likes of Penguin and Knopf, and convince them that authors need not get paid multiple times.

    You're using a legal argument in an attempt to deflect a point of basic economics, without addressing efficiency at all. You're not even discussing the same thing at this point.

    If they are not the same, why do many people (I'm not saying you are) in this blog think writers, like plumbers, should be paid only once? Can someone clear the air on this, please?

    The reason is relatively simple - people in both professions should be paid for the work they perform. Why should a writer be paid multiple times for the same work?

    How are we talking about different things? Copyright protects the author's right to make money from scarce goods, because in the absence of copyright, publishers would not be required to pay royalty.

    Copyright does not protect scarce goods. A book is not protected by copyright, the content is. The book is a scarce good, the content is not. Therefore, discussing the sale of a physical object like the book is different than discussing the sale of content.

    And what is your evidence that this will definitely not happen? You don't have any such evidence simply because copyright removal has not happened yet.

    And your evidence that this mythical unsubstantiated future will occur is....? If you're going to use a hypothetical scenario to compliment your argument, it helps to have some facts or reasoning to back it up with.

    I think you are unable to entertain my arguments because it knocks at your theory that copyright removal will benefit everyone.

    Your argument is basically nothing more than "hey, maybe it won't work out the way you think it will" without providing any reason why. There's no rational reason to consider your argument if you can't support it.

     

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  61.  
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    angry dude, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    beer time... almost

    just one more hour to shit on Mikey's shitty blog

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re:

    "Why should a writer be paid multiple times for the same work?"

    Perhaps it would help if you would explain why they should not. You may work as an employee for 1000 hours, for which you receive compensation and, perhaps, benefits for those 1000 hours.

    An author writes for 1000 hours without pay and without benefits. How should he/she be compensated so that there is some measure of equivalency between your 1000 hours and their 1000 hours?

     

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  63.  
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    chris (profile), Nov 14th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    A "utopian vision" that is so full of contradictions and misinformation that I am hard pressed to know even where to begin critiqueing the points being made.

    cory doctorow is THE authority on copyright reform. this is not his first article on the subject. his authority comes partly because he has put more research into the subject than just about anyone (except, maybe these two), but mostly because he is a writer who makes his living giving away digital copies of his work.

    he talks the talk better than anyone because he walks the walk.

    you can read his other copytight essays here (for free):
    http://craphound.com/content/download

    and while you're there, you can download electronic versions of his fiction novels that he makes freely available using the creative commons license.

     

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  64.  
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    DanC, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: There is no such thing as intellectual property

    Secrecy would become a really big deal, if everything on the internet was unprotected, there would be a very large effort by companies to silence their employees online speech.

    Secrecy is already a really big deal - that's why many companies have nondisclosure agreements in place with their employees. The question is whether it would become a bigger deal...and I can't say that I see it happening. The way many patents are written these days, you would gain more information on an invention by reverse engineering it than trying to decipher the patent.

    As for silencing the online speech of employees, nondisclosure agreements cover most of what can't be revealed already. Other than that, a business doesn't have any right to control what an employee says, online or otherwise.

     

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  65.  
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    DanC, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps it would help if you would explain why they should not.

    That's fairly simple actually - the current structure could not exist without copyright laws and defies the inherent nature of intellectual work.

    An author writes for 1000 hours without pay and without benefits.

    You just described part of the problem.

    How should he/she be compensated

    By taking advantage of the scarce resources, including the actual creation of the work, readings, signings, lectures, etc. There are plenty of ways to be compensated for your work that do not require copyright.

    Unfortunately too many people seem unable to grasp any business model other than the current status quo, and insist that viable alternatives cannot work.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    Re: There is no such thing as intellectual property

    A. Smith ... copyright never has been about protecting a thought or idea. Copyright protects only the fixed, specific expressions of a thought or idea.

    I'm not taking a side in this comment, just clarifying terms.

     

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  67.  
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    cram, Nov 14th, 2008 @ 10:58pm

    "Perhaps you could explain it to the likes of Penguin and Knopf, and convince them that authors need not get paid multiple times.

    You're using a legal argument in an attempt to deflect a point of basic economics, without addressing efficiency at all. You're not even discussing the same thing at this point."

    I was trying to be sarcastic there, guess I didn't succeed. Anyway, the point I was trying to make is: People here keep talking about basic economics all the time, without addressing the fact that industries like publishing seem to be thriving despite not following your advice on free models. And are likely thriving because copyright exists: if it didn't -
    a) there wouldn't be competition to secure rights to an author's work
    b) authors are unlikely to get advances if the book is to be placed in the public domain

    Book sales are brisk across the world. Authors are getting unprecedented amounts of money as advance. The market is huge and getting bigger. What, pray, is the incentive to abolish copyright?

    "The reason is relatively simple - people in both professions should be paid for the work they perform. Why should a writer be paid multiple times for the same work?"

    I think I stated earlier that the work the two do is not the same. I also explained why an author should be paid multiple times: it is actually determined by the market. I write a book that sells x number of copies over y number of years, which ensures the publisher a certain return on investment, and the author gets a share of it. It's actually payment in instalments. A plumber's work, although a one-time task, is determined by the market as unworthy of multiple payment.

    "Copyright does not protect scarce goods. A book is not protected by copyright, the content is. The book is a scarce good, the content is not. Therefore, discussing the sale of a physical object like the book is different than discussing the sale of content."

    And how do you sell the content? As a printed book, I guess, which is the established way of profiting from the content. I don't see how discussing a book and content are two different things. And if anyone can convert my content into the sought-after scarce good, how does it benefit me? It certainly benefits the publisher, who doesn't have to pay me anything, and the consumer, because content would become available free online.

    "And your evidence that this mythical unsubstantiated future will occur is....? If you're going to use a hypothetical scenario to compliment your argument, it helps to have some facts or reasoning to back it up with."

    How does one substantiate the future? I can try using historical evidence. How many publishers of Jack London have paid the author's descendants a share of their profits? How many movie studios have paid Jane Austen's family for making movies out her work? Let me guess - 0. Does that reasoning sound good enough to presume that publishers and movie studios will use every trick in the book to screw authors out of any payment?

    "Your argument is basically nothing more than "hey, maybe it won't work out the way you think it will" without providing any reason why. There's no rational reason to consider your argument if you can't support it."

    Maybe it won't work? Do you have any idea how much revenue is lost due to lax or non-existent copyright enforcement in other parts of the world?

    The day a movie releases in Hollywood, pirated copies of the same are available freely in the streets of Bangkok and Jakarta, accounting for millions of dollars of lost sales a year.
    American music is used in many Indian films without paying the original creators a dime. A great many Indian films are straight ripoffs of Hollywood and foreign films. Tons of music is available in pirated DVDs for a pittance.

    Click on www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070806/news_lz1n6harry.html
    to know what's going on in China.

    That's all the reasoning I can give to support my argument against copyright removal.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    DanC, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:23am

    Re:

    I also explained why an author should be paid multiple times: it is actually determined by the market.

    That's simply not true. Market forces did not create copyright law, which is the mechanism that allows an author to be paid multiple times.

    A plumber's work, although a one-time task, is determined by the market as unworthy of multiple payment.

    Again, incorrect. A plumber's work is not capable of being copyrighted, therefore the opportunity is not present. The market doesn't enter into the equation of determining multiple payments.

    Once again, you're trying to use the law to counter basic economics so you can ignore the actual point being made.

    I can try using historical evidence. How many publishers of Jack London have paid the author's descendants a share of their profits? How many movie studios have paid Jane Austen's family for making movies out her work? Let me guess - 0.

    First, you probably should provide a reason why the author's descendants should receive an income from work they didn't do. After all, your stance indicates that you're against others profiting off the end result of an author's work without compensation. Why should the author's descendant's be any different?

    In any case, the point is to use a different business model - obviously if you try to rely on the "give it away and pray" model, you're going to be sorely disappointed. You're basically stating that if you try to use the existing business model without copyright, that business model will fail. That doesn't validate your argument in any way, however, because the whole point is that the business model would need to change.

    Maybe it won't work? Do you have any idea how much revenue is lost due to lax or non-existent copyright enforcement in other parts of the world?

    Disregarding the fact that you can't lose what was never received, no, I don't have any idea how much revenue copyright holders could have earned compared to what was earned. And I daresay you don't either; there are too many factors involved in that equation to come anywhere close to resembling an accurate figure. But you continue to base your assumptions on the continuation of the current system in the absence of copyright. Because of this misunderstanding, you're propping up straw man arguments.

    You make it sound like there's no way to make money without copyright, which is blatantly false. You can make just as much money, if not more, without copyright as you can with it. But you obviously can't accomplish it the same way; different business models are required.

    That's all the reasoning I can give to support my argument against copyright removal.

    So your argument is that without copyright, the existing business models based on copyright would fail. No kidding - nobody said anything to the contrary.

     

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  69.  
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    cram, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 7:23am

    "That's simply not true. Market forces did not create copyright law, which is the mechanism that allows an author to be paid multiple times."

    Simply not true? Copyright ALLOWS an author to be paid multiple times, but it is the market that DETERMINES how much, if at all, an author actually gets paid - because his earnings are directly related to how many copies of his book the market is willing to buy, and at what price. How do you think JK Rowling became so rich?

    Using Rowling as a hypothetical example: Imagine if the Harry Potter series were copyright-free. Assuming there's a market for 1 million copies of each book in the series, won't a sizeable percentage of those books be low-cost paperbacks published by houses that may not send her a dime? Is that scenario impossible? Won't Rowling then stand to lose some (or a lot) of the money she's been able to make thanks to copyright?

    "A plumber's work, although a one-time task, is determined by the market as unworthy of multiple payment.

    Again, incorrect. A plumber's work is not capable of being copyrighted, therefore the opportunity is not present. The market doesn't enter into the equation of determining multiple payments."

    Incorrect? Why, because you say so? A museum curator's work, or a sound engineer's, or a nurse's, is not capable of being copyrighted either - does that mean they all make the same amount of money? If the market doesn't determine how much you and I make, I don't know who does!

    "Once again, you're trying to use the law to counter basic economics so you can ignore the actual point being made."

    Please stop using "basic economics" as a shield against any arguments I make, as though that's the only thing matters and the law doesn't count for much. It shows you as one out of touch with basic reality, the world we live in, where the market plays a great role in determining your lifestyle, and in these troubled times, your livelihood as well.

    "First, you probably should provide a reason why the author's descendants should receive an income from work they didn't do. After all, your stance indicates that you're against others profiting off the end result of an author's work without compensation. Why should the author's descendant's be any different?"

    You're driving off into a tangent. I was trying to drive home the point that works in the public domain are being used for free by Big Content, I wasn't trying to make a case for descendants receiving income for something they didn't do (that's a separate issue concerning the length of copyright, which experts of the caliber of Mike Masnick are already talking about).
    My point was that authors would be justified in fearing that Big Content will leap at the first chance to use their work and not pay them, because if there's one thing the big companies love, it's snatching money from the little guy. Copyright is a protection authors have from such greedy corporates.

    "In any case, the point is to use a different business model - obviously if you try to rely on the "give it away and pray" model, you're going to be sorely disappointed. You're basically stating that if you try to use the existing business model without copyright, that business model will fail. That doesn't validate your argument in any way, however, because the whole point is that the business model would need to change."

    Wow. This is precisely the problem! You don't like the current model, so you want everyone to drop it. Are you saying both models cannot co-exist? I ask you: what incentive does an author have to drop the old one? In the existing model, there's no need to give it away nor pray; if your work is good enough, or if a publisher thinks it is good enough, he will pay you upfront for sole rights to make money off it. And you will be guaranteed a steady stream of income over a period of time (it's like interest payments on an investment).

    Now why would any author want to move to another model where he has to go the extra mile, sometimes to the extent of selling T-shirts:-)? Also, authors who want to try the new model are free to do so, but why should everyone be forced to drop the old one, simply because it doesn't suit your convenience? Shouldn't I, as an author, be free to choose my model?

    "Disregarding the fact that you can't lose what was never received, no, I don't have any idea how much revenue copyright holders could have earned compared to what was earned. And I daresay you don't either; there are too many factors involved in that equation to come anywhere close to resembling an accurate figure."

    You can't lose what was never received? WTF...do you even know what I am talking about? Sorry for the swearing, but I very clearly stated that there's a huge thriving pirated DVD market in the streets of Asia. People are buying DVDs at a dollar apiece from bootleggers, not a cent from that goes to the copyright holders. This is not like a million guys downloading an MP3; to call that a loss of revenue would be fallacious, but what I am talking about is actual sales of scarce goods, stuff that people are willing to pay for, every day! I don't have an accurate figure either, but I can state confidently that all of it was revenue lost by the copyright holders, who keep making the classic mistake of letting pirates win through pricing.

    "But you continue to base your assumptions on the continuation of the current system in the absence of copyright. Because of this misunderstanding, you're propping up straw man arguments."

    Here we go again. If you disagree with someone, immediately bring in basic economics or accuse him of propping up strawmen! Great strategy. But please enlighten me on just one point: in my old copyright-reliant system, an author relies on selling scarce goods in the form of printed books; in your great new model, he does something totally different and revolutionary - he gives away the content free and makes money through...selling scarce goods in the form of printed books. Wow! Too cool! Now just what's the difference?

    "You make it sound like there's no way to make money without copyright, which is blatantly false."

    You're now trying to put words into my mouth. Sorry, nice try though. I never said the only way to make money was through copyright.

    "You can make just as much money, if not more, without copyright as you can with it. But you obviously can't accomplish it the same way; different business models are required."

    Of course, probably the first thing you have said that I agree with. Now, perhaps you can enlighten me on whether the existing and your great new models can co-exist. (I don't think it has been proven that you can make as much or more money with the new model, but I don't want to quibble. Perhaps it's true).

    "That's all the reasoning I can give to support my argument against copyright removal.

    So your argument is that without copyright, the existing business models based on copyright would fail. No kidding - nobody said anything to the contrary."

    Wow again! How clever of you! Of course, the existing model could fail without copyright in the case of movies and publishing, unlike music, where it is failing despite the existence of copyright. It all boils down to how content is consumed. People are happy to throw out their newspapers and compact discs, but have not yet come around to throwing out their printed books. New business models are welcome, but the old one's not about to wither away yet. So, would you now please allow us poor authors the freedom to choose the model that we think has the greater chance of keeping the home fires burning?

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    If I may be so bold as to suggest a business model, perhaps you should become a plumber's apprentice to secure a real-time salary, write books in your spare time and forego recreational activities and vacations, immediately release your book in digital form so that it can be shared via P2P (thereby making a significant contribution to "culture"), hope that some downloaders like it enough to let you make some money from selling "scarcities", and then use as your epitaph "I wrote it, they really liked it, but I still died broke".

     

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  71.  
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    cram, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re:

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  72.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 15th, 2008 @ 3:44pm

    Re:

    Simply not true? Copyright ALLOWS an author to be paid multiple times

    Right by putting in an artificial protectionist policy that SHRINKS the market. This is pretty straightforward stuff.

    How do you think JK Rowling became so rich?

    By exploiting monopoly rents. That's hardly an endorsement of copyright. It's more of a condemnation of it.

    Do you know how many writers DID NOT get rich because a system of copyright distorts the market such that JK Rowling exploits it at the expense of others?

    Using Rowling as a hypothetical example: Imagine if the Harry Potter series were copyright-free. Assuming there's a market for 1 million copies of each book in the series, won't a sizeable percentage of those books be low-cost paperbacks published by houses that may not send her a dime? Is that scenario impossible? Won't Rowling then stand to lose some (or a lot) of the money she's been able to make thanks to copyright?

    Uh, you're making a ton of assumptions there, most of which miss the point. You are assuming in the absence of copyright that Rowling wouldn't adopt a different business model that allows her to profit.

    Trent Reznor came up with a way to make sure people still paid him a ton of his albums, despite releasing them for free as CC-licensed music. What's to stop Rowling from doing the same thing?

    Nothing. But you seem unable to comprehend that there are other business models out there.

    We shouldn't all suffer because cram can't think creatively.


    Incorrect? Why, because you say so? A museum curator's work, or a sound engineer's, or a nurse's, is not capable of being copyrighted either - does that mean they all make the same amount of money? If the market doesn't determine how much you and I make, I don't know who does!


    No one said that the market doesn't determine worth. The PROBLEM (as was clearly explained to you multiple times, so I'm not sure why we're explaining it again) was that copyright puts an ARTIFICIAL bounty in the middle of this, allowing SOME authors to artificially benefit, while destroying the market for many more. It's called monopoly rents. Learn about it.

    Please stop using "basic economics" as a shield against any arguments I make, as though that's the only thing matters and the law doesn't count for much.

    Um. It is what matters. Your inability to understand that is your problem.

    My point was that authors would be justified in fearing that Big Content will leap at the first chance to use their work and not pay them, because if there's one thing the big companies love, it's snatching money from the little guy. Copyright is a protection authors have from such greedy corporates.

    Again, you're basing it on the idea that other business models don't develop.

    Wow. This is precisely the problem! You don't like the current model, so you want everyone to drop it.

    Not so. We want the gov't to stop FALSELY propping up one business model that creates a few winners at the expense of many others. I can't see how you think that's fair.

    Now why would any author want to move to another model where he has to go the extra mile, sometimes to the extent of selling T-shirts:-)? Also, authors who want to try the new model are free to do so, but why should everyone be forced to drop the old one, simply because it doesn't suit your convenience? Shouldn't I, as an author, be free to choose my model?

    Sure you should be free to choose your model, but you SHOULD NOT have the gov't picking which model it supports.

    That's the problem.

    You can't lose what was never received?

    That is correct.

    People are buying DVDs at a dollar apiece from bootleggers, not a cent from that goes to the copyright holders. This is not like a million guys downloading an MP3; to call that a loss of revenue would be fallacious, but what I am talking about is actual sales of scarce goods, stuff that people are willing to pay for, every day!

    Based on this definition of "loss" then if you buy a pizza instead of a sandwich, the cost of the pizza is now a "loss" to the sandwich shop. Can you see why that's a problem?

    People make a buying decision. That's not a loss, it's a business model issue.

    I don't have an accurate figure either, but I can state confidently that all of it was revenue lost by the copyright holders, who keep making the classic mistake of letting pirates win through pricing.

    Yup. It's a business model issue, not a "loss."

    But please enlighten me on just one point: in my old copyright-reliant system, an author relies on selling scarce goods in the form of printed books; in your great new model, he does something totally different and revolutionary - he gives away the content free and makes money through...selling scarce goods in the form of printed books. Wow! Too cool! Now just what's the difference?

    See, you're missing the point: we're not saying it's "revolutionary." In fact, that's why we keep bringing up basic economics. This is basic stuff. The DIFFERENCE is that in our model, the gov't isn't propping up one model with monopoly rights.

    So, would you now please allow us poor authors the freedom to choose the model that we think has the greater chance of keeping the home fires burning?

    But if the gov't props up the model, what happens is exactly what's happening in the music and movie industry, which is those guys take over the legislative agenda and make it much harder for other business models to survive.

     

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  73.  
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    James Brynildsen, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: culture vs content

    Yes, I am new here and I am not an attorney or trained in legalize. Clueless... hmmm not exactly. I will guess by the way you spout out this crap you are an attorney of some kind.

    Fact still remains, I know my work is not free for the taking just because it can be easily replicated. That is stealing, period! Using, replicating, and or redistributing my work without my permission is illegal. If I grant some entity the rights to do it that is different. It is my right to decide how my work is exploited and how much it is worth to me to allow that to happen.

    Maybe all this talk is strictly about the written word... my work isn't. But I still don't agree with the presented concepts and belief that they whole copyright system needs to be ditched. It has issues. But not enough to toss it out the window.

    Based on the posts, comments and responses I've read on this site I don't see you have an open mind or ear to your reader's points of view what so ever. You make up your mind and its casted in metal. You respond like a hurt child lashing out without need. You obviously have social issues to work out. But I'd first work on that definition of "ownership". Or is that you've never been ripped off in your life? Is that it? Probably is...

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 8:22pm

    This is why I voted for Barack Obama in both the primaries and the general election. He's a true populist that will do what's best for the working people of America, not the corporate fat cats unlike (cough, cough, cough) Bill Clinton did.

    With regards to the increasing absurdity of the IP field, I don't know what Obama will do. While I doubt he will make an effort to reverse the trend of absurdity, at least he will make an effort to see to it that IP laws don't become even more ridiculous and pro-corporate under his term.

    Corporate IP entities are nothing but greedy, selfish and hypocritical. How many times do we hear of big pro-IP companies getting sued or in trouble for violating copyrights or patents themselves? It's all hypocrisy and greed.

    What we have in this country today is not capitalism, but corporatism, an extremist offshot of capitalism. The uber-corporate system we have is to capitalism what the KKK is to Christianity or al-Qaeda is to Islam.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 9:13pm

    Re:

    The following portions of Mr. Obama's "Technology Plan" were taken from his campaign website. They were subsequently replicated on his new website, but were removed as the site is undergoing maintenance.

    "Protect American Intellectual Property Abroad: The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that in 2005, more than nine of every 10 DVDs sold in China were illegal copies. The U.S. Trade Representative said 80 percent of all counterfeit products seized at U.S. borders still come from China. Barack Obama will work to ensure intellectual property is protected in foreign markets, and promote greater cooperation on international standards that allow our technologies to compete everywhere."

    Looks to me as if it will business as usual both under US national law and foreign treaties currently being negotiated. It seems to me this does not provide much solace to those who long for a substantial re-write of US Copyright law. Given that it starts out with MPAA stats, it is clear what organization is actually running this freight train.


    "Protect Intellectual Property at Home: Intellectual property is to the digital age what physical goods were to the industrial age. Barack Obama believes we need to update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated."

    The first sentence says it all, which will doubtless give Mr. Masnick great pause for concern...and particularl in view of equating what are in essence digital goods with physical goods.

    "Reform the Patent System: A system that produces timely, high-quality patents is essential for global competitiveness in the 21st century. By improving predictability and clarity in our patent system, we will help foster an environment that encourages innovation. Giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation. With better informational resources, the Patent and Trademark Office could offer patent applicants who know they have significant inventions the option of a rigorous and public peer review that would produce a "gold-plated" patent much less vulnerable to court challenge. Where dubious patents are being asserted, the PTO could conduct low-cost, timely administrative proceedings to determine patent validity. As president, Barack Obama will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration."

    Clearly this is pablum for the masses. Every President has said he will provide the USPTO with needed resources, and every President has abyssmaly failed to do so. Interestingly, I saw this very language in an academic paper by a professor who I will leave unnamed. It reads nice, but in fact it is largely gobbledygook and bears little relationship to reality. Congress has consistently failed to enact patent reform (what I have termed "deform", to Mr. Masnick's consternation, because it does virtually nothing to address the real issues underlying the problems associated with the current system at the administrative and judicial levels. Moreover, given the virtual "lovefest" between the leaders of the Democratic Party and groups such as the MPAA and the RIAA, the likelihood of meaningful change lies somewhere with a range spaning "zilch" and "nil".

    In summary, those who may harbor beliefs that change is on the horizon are in for a very unpleasant surprise.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    DanC, Nov 15th, 2008 @ 10:32pm

    Re:

    Simply not true? Copyright ALLOWS an author to be paid multiple times, but it is the market that DETERMINES how much, if at all, an author actually gets paid

    Yes, the market determines how much an author is paid. But it doesn't determine whether the author is paid repeatedly for the same work; copyright law does that.

    Won't Rowling then stand to lose some (or a lot) of the money she's been able to make thanks to copyright?

    If she attempts to maintain the same business model without the protection of copyright, then yes, she would most likely face lower book sales (not a loss of money, as you incorrectly state).

    Incorrect? Why, because you say so? A museum curator's work, or a sound engineer's, or a nurse's, is not capable of being copyrighted either - does that mean they all make the same amount of money? If the market doesn't determine how much you and I make, I don't know who does!

    It may help if you were consistent with what you're trying to say. I never said that the market doesn't determine salaries - that's a straw man you created. I said that your contention that the market is directly responsible for rewarding multiple payments for the same work is false.

    Please stop using "basic economics" as a shield against any arguments I make, as though that's the only thing matters and the law doesn't count for much.

    Then please try discussing the economics instead of throwing up examples of current business models that would fail without the legal protection of copyright, since they are irrelevant to the topic.

    I was trying to drive home the point that works in the public domain are being used for free by Big Content

    Um, works in the public domain are being used for free by everyone, not just Big Content.

    Wow. This is precisely the problem! You don't like the current model, so you want everyone to drop it.

    The current model is more focused on protectionism than on promoting the progress of the arts. That being the case, I believe it would be in an author's best interest to investigate alternative business methods that do not rely on a government crutch.

    Also, authors who want to try the new model are free to do so, but why should everyone be forced to drop the old one, simply because it doesn't suit your convenience? Shouldn't I, as an author, be free to choose my model?

    I don't believe I ever said that authors should be forced to drop their current business model, for my "convenience" or otherwise. But copyright law isn't a business model, so advocating for its removal or limiting isn't "forcing" a choice on the author.

    in your great new model, he does something totally different and revolutionary - he gives away the content free and makes money through...selling scarce goods in the form of printed books. Wow! Too cool! Now just what's the difference?

    Not sure where you've been, but selling scarce goods isn't new, different, or revolutionary. As for what the difference is, by selling scarce goods instead of relying on copyright, an author can ensure that his work is available to a much greater audience. And the author can in turn make more money by selling scarce goods to that audience.

    You can't lose what was never received? WTF...do you even know what I am talking about? Sorry for the swearing, but I very clearly stated that there's a huge thriving pirated DVD market in the streets of Asia.

    Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. And the situation you provided is an example where piracy has decreased the number of potential legitimate sales that could be made. But "lost revenue" is not an accurate description, because they never received money for the pirated products.

    Here we go again. If you disagree with someone, immediately bring in basic economics or accuse him of propping up strawmen! Great strategy.

    Every example you've provided has been based on a continuation of current business models, stating that they would fail without copyright laws. Since I'm not disagreeing with you on that notion, I fail to see why you keep bringing them up. As for the strawman arguments...stop making them, and I'll stop pointing them out.

    Wow again! How clever of you! Of course, the existing model could fail without copyright in the case of movies and publishing, unlike music, where it is failing despite the existence of copyright.

    Despite your poor attempt at sarcasm, it wasn't a particularly clever observation on my part, but it was, I believe, an accurate summation of your argument.

     

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  77.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 16th, 2008 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re: Re: culture vs content

    Yes, I am new here and I am not an attorney or trained in legalize. Clueless... hmmm not exactly. I will guess by the way you spout out this crap you are an attorney of some kind.

    No, not an attorney. What gave you that idea? The reason I suggested you were clueless was the fact that you appeared to be nearly totally ignorant on some very basic concepts, such as the difference between theft, infringement and plagiarism. Plenty of folks are confused about theft vs. infringement -- but it's pretty rare to find someone who thinks plagiarism equals copyright infringement.

    Fact still remains, I know my work is not free for the taking just because it can be easily replicated.

    Actually, the fact remains that no one said your work was free for the taking. That's why I suggested you read up before making an argument like that.

    What we're saying is that if you actually bothered to understand the basic economics we're talking about, you might learn how to make more money by CHOOSING to free up your work.

    That is stealing, period!

    *sigh*

    It's not. It might be infringement, but it is not stealing. Period.

    Using, replicating, and or redistributing my work without my permission is illegal

    Well, maybe. It might be copyright infringement (which is not stealing). Or it might not be. It could fall under fair use rules. I would suggest that you take some time to understand this before replying again. This is not difficult stuff.

    It is my right to decide how my work is exploited and how much it is worth to me to allow that to happen.

    No one said otherwise, so I'm not sure why you have your back up here.


    Maybe all this talk is strictly about the written word... my work isn't. But I still don't agree with the presented concepts and belief that they whole copyright system needs to be ditched. It has issues. But not enough to toss it out the window.


    Fair enough. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But, so far, you have shown that your opinion is based on poor knowledge. I would suggest you spend some time learning about these concepts before making up your mind.

    Based on the posts, comments and responses I've read on this site I don't see you have an open mind or ear to your reader's points of view what so ever.

    That's entirely untrue, but thanks for insulting your host. If I had no open mind or ear, why would I leave the comments open and discuss stuff in the comments. However, having studied these issues for well over a decade, what I DON'T have patience for are uninformed people spewing falsities and myths without bothering to actually understand.

    I apologize if you felt I didn't listen to you, but I did. I just disagree with you. Learn to back up your points and maybe you'd get a more welcome reception. But, as it stands, you wrote stuff displaying significant ignorance plus some reading comprehension troubles, since you attributed to me statements I did not make.

    You make up your mind and its casted in metal.

    Not at all. How do you think I came to the opinion I have now? It's changed quite a bit over the years, thanks to readers who actually were able to make sensible arguments and back them up with evidence. If you did either of those things, you'd find my mind is hardly "casted in metal" (sic).

    You respond like a hurt child lashing out without need.

    How so? By pointing out that you don't seem to know what you are talking about? I don't think so. I think I responded more like an adult, pushing a child to do some studies before challenging what the adults were talking about.

    But I'd first work on that definition of "ownership".

    I'm quite clear on ownership. Where do you think I'm confused?

    Or is that you've never been ripped off in your life? Is that it? Probably is...

    That depends on your definition of ripped off, doesn't it?

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    "If she attempts to maintain the same business model without the protection of copyright, then yes, she would most likely face lower book sales (not a loss of money, as you incorrectly state)."

    And why would she want to throw away the existing model for one that will likely lower book sales and her revenue through book sales? She will have to make up for that loss through other avenues. And she can pursue these avenues even under the existing system.
    Also, what's to stop a Hollywood studio from making a Harry Potter movie without paying her anything? Are you of the opinion that Hollywood should have a free run on books and that authors should have no protection against Big Content?

    "I was trying to drive home the point that works in the public domain are being used for free by Big Content.

    Um, works in the public domain are being used for free by everyone, not just Big Content."

    Um...but the fact is Big Content stands to gain a great deal in a copyright-free world becaue they will not be obligated to pay any writer. Perhaps you think that is not an issue, but I am sure many authors do. So does the law, thankfully (oops...sorry to bring in the law when it's irrelevant here).

    "The current model is more focused on protectionism than on promoting the progress of the arts. That being the case, I believe it would be in an author's best interest to investigate alternative business methods that do not rely on a government crutch."

    Thanks for stating your stance very succinctly; it's admirable, even though I disagree with it in parts. And by the way, do you seriously believe we haven't made much progress in the arts in the 100-150 years copyright has been around?

    "I don't believe I ever said that authors should be forced to drop their current business model, for my "convenience" or otherwise. But copyright law isn't a business model, so advocating for its removal or limiting isn't "forcing" a choice on the author."

    It certainly is, becaue if copyright goes, they will be forced to adopt your model, won't they? You leave them with no choice, because you are unwilling to let authors choose their model, simply because you believe copyright law has no place in today's world. I ask you again: do you think both models can co-exist? I believe they can, simply because authors are free to choose the new model even in a world where copyright is still around. Live and let live.

    "Not sure where you've been, but selling scarce goods isn't new, different, or revolutionary."

    So why are you pretending that your model is something new and worthy of replacing the old one, which relies pretty much on the same principle of selling the same scarce goods?

    "As for what the difference is, by selling scarce goods instead of relying on copyright, an author can ensure that his work is available to a much greater audience."

    They are already selling the same scarce goods that you want them to, and to a pretty wide audience. Where is the difference? They can sell all scarce goods in both models. What is the incentive to choose your model?

    "Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. And the situation you provided is an example where piracy has decreased the number of potential legitimate sales that could be made. But "lost revenue" is not an accurate description, because they never received money for the pirated products."

    In an assured market, say, for 10,000 DVDs of Dark Knight on day one, how is it not lost revenue if that need is met by pirates instead of me, the authorized seller? I don't understand how you can claim it isn't lost revenue. They pirated products were sold AT the expense of my DVDs. If the pirated copies weren't around, that revenue would have been mine.

     

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  79.  
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    cram, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Hi DanC

    That comment was from me.

     

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  80.  
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    cram, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 7:57am

    Hi Mike


    "How do you think JK Rowling became so rich?

    By exploiting monopoly rents. That's hardly an endorsement of copyright. It's more of a condemnation of it. Do you know how many writers DID NOT get rich because a system of copyright distorts the market such that JK Rowling exploits it at the expense of others?"

    The fact that she became rich becaue the market thought se should be rewarded for her magnificent imagination is a condemnation of copyright? Rowling exploiting market at the expense of others? I just don't understand. Could youi please elaborate?

    "You are assuming in the absence of copyright that Rowling wouldn't adopt a different business model that allows her to profit. Trent Reznor came up with a way to make sure people still paid him a ton of his albums, despite releasing them for free as CC-licensed music. What's to stop Rowling from doing the same thing?"

    That's comparing apples and oranges, despite basic economics, because how content is consumed plays a great role in determining what scarce goods can be sold in today's digital age. Perhaps Trent doesn't mind Hollywood using his music without paying him, but surely all authors - including Rowling - wouldn't want that (I'm assuming corporates are evil bastards). Hell, even Doctorow doesn't allow commercial exploitation of his work (according to Wikipedia).

    "Nothing. But you seem unable to comprehend that there are other business models out there. We shouldn't all suffer because cram can't think creatively."

    Come one, I'm not in the business of thinking creatively. That's the job of experts like you and DanC. But does that mean I lose my right to criticize it or suggest that perhaps both models can co-exist? And if the current model works fine for me, why should I not run with it?

    "No one said that the market doesn't determine worth. The PROBLEM (as was clearly explained to you multiple times, so I'm not sure why we're explaining it again) was that copyright puts an ARTIFICIAL bounty in the middle of this, allowing SOME authors to artificially benefit, while destroying the market for many more. It's called monopoly rents. Learn about it."


    Please, sire, teach me! Copyright allows ALL writers to benefit. How does it destroy the market for other original work?

    "Please stop using "basic economics" as a shield against any arguments I make, as though that's the only thing matters and the law doesn't count for much.

    Um. It is what matters. Your inability to understand that is your problem."

    And your inability to look at anything else - including the law - is also a problem.

    "My point was that authors would be justified in fearing that Big Content will leap at the first chance to use their work and not pay them, because if there's one thing the big companies love, it's snatching money from the little guy. Copyright is a protection authors have from such greedy corporates.

    Again, you're basing it on the idea that other business models don't develop."

    That's handwaving! You have not addressed the point: how can I ensure Big Content will not go ahead and make a movie and without paying me?

    "Not so. We want the gov't to stop FALSELY propping up one business model that creates a few winners at the expense of many others. I can't see how you think that's fair."

    But everyone's free to choose the copyright-free model. One who does won't be affected by one who doesn't. How is that unfair? On the contrary, if copyright goes everyone is forced to accept your model. Is that fair? It's not about whether authors can make more money or reach a wider audience - it's about choice and control over their work.

    "Based on this definition of "loss" then if you buy a pizza instead of a sandwich, the cost of the pizza is now a "loss" to the sandwich shop. Can you see why that's a problem?"

    I give up! Mike, those pirated DVDs were/are sold AT the expense of authorized DVDs. It's not pizza vs sandwich. If those pirated DVDs were not around, the authorized ones would have sold. It's as simple as that.

    "People make a buying decision. That's not a loss, it's a business model issue."

    It's a pricing issue, actually. Because the law won't do anything about it. The only way corporates can fight piracy is with price; sometimes, it may not be enough to cover costs of operations, which is why some companies throw in the towel and leave the scene.

    "But if the gov't props up the model, what happens is exactly what's happening in the music and movie industry, which is those guys take over the legislative agenda and make it much harder for other business models to survive."

    I don't see how other business models are affected by the current system. After all, an author is free to give away his work, put it in front of a global audience online, start his own imprint, sign books, interact with his audience, etc...all without the so-called copyright crutch. How will his business be affected by the government protecting some other writer or publisher?

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re:

    Just an observation and nothing more. Every business model ultimately depends upon a "government crutch", the most ubiquitous being contract law.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    "If the pirated copies weren't around, that revenue would have been mine."

    In truth, not every pirated copy represents a lost sale. However, one would have to have his head buried in the sand to not believe that at least some portion of pirated copies represent lost sales of authorized copies by an author.

     

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  83.  
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    Dave Charles, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 5:43pm

    Ad-Sense Kickback for copyright holders

    "If the pirated copies weren't around, that revenue would have been mine."


    Would there be a way for Ad-Sense to detect whether or not something is copyrighted on the page where an ad is being displayed and then provide a small kick-back to the original copyright holder? Should this not be easy to implement from a technical standpoint?

    In this way content providers and copyright holders might actually welcome 'infringment' (or use of their copyrights) since having a greater proliferation on the internet would potentially increase their Ad-Sense kickbacks. I wonder if Google could implement this in a way that didn't put a serious dent in their bottom line.

     

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  84.  
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    DanC, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 7:14pm

    Re:

    Also, what's to stop a Hollywood studio from making a Harry Potter movie without paying her anything? Are you of the opinion that Hollywood should have a free run on books and that authors should have no protection against Big Content?

    Copyright does not exist to protect authors. It exists to promote the progress of the arts.

    but the fact is Big Content stands to gain a great deal in a copyright-free world becaue they will not be obligated to pay any writer.

    Another fact is other authors stand to gain a great deal in a copyright free world because they won't be obligated to license works that can be used as the basis for new works.

    And by the way, do you seriously believe we haven't made much progress in the arts in the 100-150 years copyright has been around?

    For someone that's accused me of trying to put words in his mouth, you certainly seem more than comfortable doing it yourself. As per usual, I didn't say or imply anything of the kind. Progress in the arts has progressed, more in spite of copyright than because of it. The point is that copyright has slowed down that progress, not stopped it.

    It certainly is, becaue if copyright goes, they will be forced to adopt your model, won't they?

    I didn't present a business model. Selling scarce goods by itself isn't a business model; business models are built upon the concept of utilizing scarce resources.

    So why are you pretending that your model is something new and worthy of replacing the old one, which relies pretty much on the same principle of selling the same scarce goods?

    I explicitly stated it wasn't a new idea, so the pretending you're accusing me of never occurred.

    If the current model relied on the selling of scarce resources, then copyright wouldn't be necessary to support it. But that isn't true - the current model relies on copyright to remove the right of the public to do what they want with the purchased content.

    They are already selling the same scarce goods that you want them to, and to a pretty wide audience. Where is the difference? They can sell all scarce goods in both models.

    The difference is that without copyright, others can take advantage of the author's finished product to create more works. And the author would be able to do the same.

    how is it not lost revenue if that need is met by pirates instead of me, the authorized seller? I don't understand how you can claim it isn't lost revenue. They pirated products were sold AT the expense of my DVDs.

    Revenue is income - if you didn't receive the income, you can't lose it. If your actual income fails to meet your potential income, you didn't magically "lose" the difference.

     

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  85.  
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    DanC, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    The only way corporates can fight piracy is with price

    I realize you directed this comment at Mike, but this statement is incredibly, ridiculously wrong. You can combat piracy through a variety of methods; iTunes does it by providing the convenience of having an all-in-one location for purchasing music, organizing the music, playing the music, and transferring the music to an iPod.

    Another method is providing an incentive for a legitimate purchase. For example, when Iron Man was released on DVD, Target had a special case available. Some DVDs include coupons for discounted movie tickets, etc.

    Price is only one way to combat piracy, not the only way.

     

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  86.  
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    cram, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:37pm

    "Copyright does not exist to protect authors. It exists to promote the progress of the arts."

    Copyright's mandate may be the promotion of the progress of the arts, but it also serves to protect the authors. Removing copyright takes away the little guy's defence against Big Business.

    "Another fact is other authors stand to gain a great deal in a copyright free world because they won't be obligated to license works that can be used as the basis for new works."

    Why don't you address my point directly? Your point is certainly valid - that's one of the advantages of doing away with copyright. But what I am referring to is the disadvantage: Big Content can get away with paying authors nothing. Is that a clear and present danger or not? Isn't that something authors would be worried about?

    "For someone that's accused me of trying to put words in his mouth, you certainly seem more than comfortable doing it yourself. As per usual, I didn't say or imply anything of the kind."

    Hey, cool! I'm sorry if I came across as trying to put words in your mouth. That sure wasn't the intention. You keep stating copyright's main purpose is promoting the progress of arts, and I personally think there has been enormous progress - you think it's inspite of copyright, I think it's also because of it. To each his own.

    "It certainly is, becaue if copyright goes, they will be forced to adopt your model, won't they?

    I didn't present a business model. Selling scarce goods by itself isn't a business model; business models are built upon the concept of utilizing scarce resources."

    But when you take away copyright, some business models will likely fail. And I don't think the existence of copyright harms models built on keeping the work copyright-free. I believe just as proprietary and open source software co-exist, copyrighted and free works can live and thrive together.

    "If the current model relied on the selling of scarce resources, then copyright wouldn't be necessary to support it."

    Are you saying the current model does not rely on the selling of scarce resources? Have I understood you correctly? Copyright is necessary to support the current model because the creator would cease to have control over his work and determine how he profits from it.

    "But that isn't true - the current model relies on copyright to remove the right of the public to do what they want with the purchased content."

    Copyright only removes the public's right to profit from an author's content in an unauthorized fashion. I don't find that objectionable. There is something called fair use. And it is called fair use mainly because there is unfair use, such as commercially exploiting an author's work and screwing him out of payment.

    "The difference is that without copyright, others can take advantage of the author's finished product to create more works. And the author would be able to do the same."

    Valid point. We see that already happening in China, where there are several Harry Potter novels written by local guys for an audience that can't have enough of it. I don't know if that's a good thing.

    "Revenue is income - if you didn't receive the income, you can't lose it. If your actual income fails to meet your potential income, you didn't magically "lose" the difference."

    And why didn't I receive that income? Because someone else did. It's a clear case of one profiting at the expense of another - zero sum game. If my actual income does not meet my potential income, it's because of the pirates -- I don't see how you can claim I didn't "lose" that money.

     

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  87.  
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    cram, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Hi DanC

    I made that point in reference to DVD piracy in Asia, where price is king. If you can't beat the pirates with price, you might as well go home. It's as simple as that. Different markets need different strategies - my statement may be "incredibly, ridiculously wrong" in the Western context for DVD sales, not in Asia, where it's pretty much price all the way.

     

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  88.  
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    DanC, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 11:27pm

    Re:

    Copyright's mandate may be the promotion of the progress of the arts, but it also serves to protect the authors.

    Protectionism is the method copyright employs in an attempt to achieve the goal of progressing the arts. If copyright was working as it was intended, the goal would supersede the method. But that isn't the case - all too often we see copyright used to stifle creativity for generations.

    Removing copyright takes away the little guy's defence against Big Business.

    On a slight tangent, the David vs. Goliath IP myth needs to die. The "little guy" isn't always the innocent victim, and the "Big Business" isn't always the evil villain. But situations involving both copyrights and patents often get painted that way in order to garner sympathy for the "little guy" whether it's warranted or not.

    Big Content can get away with paying authors nothing. Is that a clear and present danger or not? Isn't that something authors would be worried about?

    Exploitation of the content is something that can be taken advantage of by the author, whether the author is paid directly by "Big Content" or not.

    Are you saying the current model does not rely on the selling of scarce resources? Have I understood you correctly?

    Yes, you did, and I explained why. That isn't to say that the current model doesn't employ the selling of scarce resources; it does. But the current model is reliant on copyright to remove the rights of the consumers to their purchased content.

    If my actual income does not meet my potential income, it's because of the pirates -- I don't see how you can claim I didn't "lose" that money.

    Because you never "had" that money. You cannot lose something you never possessed.

     

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  89.  
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    Eldakka, Nov 16th, 2008 @ 11:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: f******* techdirt punks

    My 1 unit of economics was a long time ago. But I believe they used the term "Public Good" to refer to these 'intangibles'. The classical example is the Public Good of 'defence'.

    The entire nation benefits from having a defence force. The fact that a nation has a defence force is a deterrant for other nations to leave you alone. It imposes a level of peace and stability. Therefore everone benefits from it and therefore everyone 'uses' it. However one person cannot 'use it up' such that there is less for another person to have.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would ask the opposite question; would music go away if everyone had to pay for it? Nope, actually it thrived quite well on a for-pay model. So the cry for free music now or culture will die doesn't make sense.

    So how is that for a reality check?

     

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  91.  
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    chris (profile), Nov 17th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    Of course, not having money they will have a hard time buying instruments and studio time. But the heck with logic; I want free stuff.

    the price of producing content is fast approaching zero. in the past you needed a soundproof room, a truckload of instruments, and a platoon of sound engineers. today you can make music and video with a macintosh and a camera or synthesizer. in the future, all you will need is a smart phone.

    in time, the open source stuff (http://ubuntustudio.org) will mature, and moore's law will push the price of hardware (computer and AV) down to the point that you can produce studio quality media at little cost and with little expertise.

    the current price structure is based on the idea that you need industrial equipment (printing presses, disc presses, TV and movie studios) to make media. thanks to digital delivery via the internet, the price is quickly approaching near zero.

    when an artist can self produce, self publish, self promote, and self deliver, what other costs are there?

     

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    angry dude, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    "when an artist can self produce, self publish, self promote, and self deliver, what other costs are there?"

    None indeed, if you are a homeless punk you are...

    Plenty, if you are a middle class american with family:
    rent or mortgage, heating, electric, phone bills, food,
    car and car insurance, gas for your car, health insurance, education for your kids.... etc. etc. etc.

    Go live with your mommy, punky

     

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  93.  
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    TDR, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 9:02am

    Why do you assume any aspiring artist has no other job, angry dude? It's much more likely that, like most people, they have a regular 9-5 type job and they do their creative work in their spare time. A lady at my work, for example, does a lot of drumming in her spare time and has even put together a couple CD's all by herself, so don't tell me it doesn't work. The day job takes care of the everyday bills until the artist has made enough with their creative work to leave it. Or did you think that every artist has only ever done their art and nothing else ever?

     

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  94.  
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    angry dude, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 9:28am

    Re:

    "The day job takes care of the everyday bills until the artist has made enough with their creative work to leave it"

    And how an artist can ever make enough (other than selling T-Shirts with Mike Masnick's pictures, of course :-) if you want him to give up his stuff for free on the internet ?

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    For this discussion to make sense, we need to define some terms. Infinite - the number of requests you receive to do work for free. Finite - the number of requests you receive to do work for pay.

    So, a musician puts our free work and guess what; he receives a multitude of requests for more free work. He bases his next work on his previous work and now tries to charge for them and guess what? You guessed it, nobody will pay for it because it was free the first time.

     

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  96.  
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    DanC, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re:

    And how an artist can ever make enough (other than selling T-Shirts with Mike Masnick's pictures, of course :-) if you want him to give up his stuff for free on the internet ?

    You continue to simplify the concept to "selling t-shirts", despite being shown, repeatedly, that you're wrong. To continue making the same claim at this point is nothing more than lying, or a stellar example of willful ignorance. I sincerely doubt it's the latter.

     

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  97.  
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    DanC, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    So, a musician puts our free work and guess what; he receives a multitude of requests for more free work.

    Exactly - he creates a larger audience which he can then sell scarce goods to.

    He bases his next work on his previous work and now tries to charge for them and guess what? You guessed it, nobody will pay for it because it was free the first time.

    Since no one is advocating the business model in your overly-simplified scenario, it's confusing as to what point you're trying to make.

     

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  98.  
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    angry dude, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Dude

    What can be simpler than selling T-Shirts ?
    Hah ?

     

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  99.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    No, he creates a larger audience who wants more free work. See, free leads to free. Free almost never leads to pay.

    Has anyone actually determined that the "new model" is going to make the musician/actor/photographer more money than the current model? Can you really sell enough t-shirts, concert tickets, etc to out earn selling that stuff and songs/CDs? Remember, you can sell all that stuff today and the songs. Take away the song sales, are you really going to make up the lost sales in goods that you were already selling along with the songs?

     

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  100.  
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    DanC, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, he creates a larger audience who wants more free work.

    You didn't understand what I wrote. Selling scarce resources does not mean giving the music away, but then turning around and trying to charge for it the next time around. After creation, music is not a scarce resource.

    See, free leads to free. Free almost never leads to pay.

    Can you provide anything to back this statement up? There are artists experimenting with business models that directly contradict your statement.

    As I said, the business model in your example isn't being advocated by anyone, so I'm not sure why you brought it up.

    Remember, you can sell all that stuff today and the songs. Take away the song sales, are you really going to make up the lost sales in goods that you were already selling along with the songs?

    As I said before, giving away the music creates a larger audience to sell those scarce goods to. Will everyone in that larger audience purchase something? Of course not - but then again, it's doubtful they would have purchased anything in either scenario (if they had even heard of you).

     

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  101.  
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    DanC, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What can be simpler than selling T-Shirts ?

    As I said, your summation of the argument to "selling t-shirts" is incorrect, and you've been shown repeatedly why you're wrong. Your insistence at ignoring those explanations demonstrates that you're only real purpose is to spread misinformation and lies.

     

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  102.  
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    LostSailor, Nov 17th, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is one of the problems when a theoretical economic model bangs up against reality. The anonymous poster brings up this problem as I have in other threads, but have never really gotten a response to.

    The reality is that most musicians, whether with a recording label or not, that are working musicians--meaning that they spend most of their time and at least attempt to derive most of their income from their music--are already leveraging the "scarce" goods whether they be special commemorative CDs, concerts, special events, "face-time" with fans...and, yes, t-shirts. These sales constitute a significant revenue stream, along with whatever they can get for sales of their music.

    More established artists and bands are already doing this on a larger scale than the up-and-coming musician.

    Mike's "infinite goods" model says that "free" music will expand the audience and musicians will make "more" money on the scarce goods. In theory, that's great, and while there are a handful of examples where a musician has "made money" by giving away the music, there is little real-world evidence so far that the market can be expanded enough to make up for the revenue forgone by giving the music away. And because there are limits on how many concerts one can give, and already resistance to high concert ticket prices, making use of the "infinite goods" model by giving away the music seems to require a musician to accept less income.

    Now there will invariably be some commenters who will say "hell, they make too much money anyway" but that is completely irrelevant.

    The model probably has the most likelihood of even limited success with music, but runs into even more trouble when applied to other entertainment industries such as films or books.

     

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  103.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 17th, 2008 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is one of the problems when a theoretical economic model bangs up against reality. The anonymous poster brings up this problem as I have in other threads, but have never really gotten a response to.

    Why do you keep saying "theoretical economic models"? It's not theoretical. It's quite real. That's why we keep showing examples.

    The reality is that most musicians, whether with a recording label or not, that are working musicians--meaning that they spend most of their time and at least attempt to derive most of their income from their music--are already leveraging the "scarce" goods whether they be special commemorative CDs, concerts, special events, "face-time" with fans...and, yes, t-shirts. These sales constitute a significant revenue stream, along with whatever they can get for sales of their music.

    Yes, but the point is you don't "leverage" scarce goods. You sell them. You LEVERAGE infinite goods to make the scarce goods more valuable and expose them to a wider audience. Very few musicians are doing that.

    More established artists and bands are already doing this on a larger scale than the up-and-coming musician.

    Again, they're not leveraging the free part of it.

    Mike's "infinite goods" model says that "free" music will expand the audience and musicians will make "more" money on the scarce goods. In theory, that's great, and while there are a handful of examples where a musician has "made money" by giving away the music, there is little real-world evidence so far that the market can be expanded enough to make up for the revenue forgone by giving the music away.

    There are plenty of examples that show musicians making much MORE money. Trent Reznor definitely did so. On the smaller end, Maria Schneider did so as well.

    And, if you step back to the macro level there's a ton of evidence that removing protectionism, you greatly expand a market. We've yet to see a market shrink when you removed protectionist policies, so I'm curious as to why you somehow think this particular market is different.

    And because there are limits on how many concerts one can give, and already resistance to high concert ticket prices, making use of the "infinite goods" model by giving away the music seems to require a musician to accept less income.

    Not at all. You can play larger venues, or more targeted venues to maximize revenue. Jonathan Coulton has shown exactly how that works.

    However, there's much more to it than that. You're entirely focused on the existing batch of musicians, ignoring how the old system basically made NO MONEY for the vast majority of musicians. The models we talk about would allow many more musicians to make a living, such that the vast majority of musicians would make more than they did in the past -- such that many more could find a sustainable living that way.

    There is a chance that those at the top, who most significantly abused the monopoly rents *might* lose some money, but I've yet to see a model that proves that, and I think the success of "big acts" like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead in embracing these models shows that it's certainly possible to make a lot more money at the top as well.


    Now there will invariably be some commenters who will say "hell, they make too much money anyway" but that is completely irrelevant.


    Indeed. It's completely irrelevant. Not sure why your brought it up.

    The model probably has the most likelihood of even limited success with music, but runs into even more trouble when applied to other entertainment industries such as films or books.

    Heh. Again, please explain why the same factors that work on every other industry suddenly fail to work in industries you choose? I'd say the burden of proof is on you.

     

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  104.  
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    LostSailor, Nov 18th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do you keep saying "theoretical economic models"? It's not theoretical. It's quite real. That's why we keep showing examples.

    I keep saying "theoretical" because economic models usually are theoretical. This model is the basis for a number of different business models, but it is not strictly speaking a business model in and of itself. Yes, you have cited a handful of examples of how some people are testing this model in the real world, but there will have to be much wider experimentation in order for this to be seen as a viable business model for an entire industry over the long run. The model is also "theoretical" because it posits certain facts--such as giving away music freely will increase audience--for which there is little empirical evidence (more on that below).

    Yes, but the point is you don't "leverage" scarce goods. You sell them. You LEVERAGE infinite goods to make the scarce goods more valuable and expose them to a wider audience. Very few musicians are doing that.

    If you are a musician, your primary product is music; once you give away your primary product, it essentially ceases to be the primary product and becomes a marketing tool for other products. In today's market, musicians are still selling their primary product (recorded music) and using that to leverage sales of other items and services. Concerts could be considered a hybrid of a primary product and ancillary product, but concerts are in many ways a completely different business than selling recorded music and in many ways are methods of promoting sales of recorded music.

    There are plenty of examples that show musicians making much MORE money. Trent Reznor definitely did so. On the smaller end, Maria Schneider did so as well.

    Making more money? More money than what? While exact one-to-one comparisons are largely impossible, you still have to compare both sales and income data across several different sales models to assert that musicians are making more money by giving away music (and selling some) than by selling all their music.

    Actually, it's not clear that Reznor made more money. He certainly made some. It's not clear that Radiohead made more money, as I've not seen them release these figures. Reznor has said in interviews that he was somewhat disappointed in the results of some of these efforts.

    The point is that these handfuls of experiments don't necessarily validate the model, though they are a good start. But if the aim is to turn the entire recording industry to this model, there will have to be much more experimentation and validation before the industry is going to voluntarily surrender a significant portion of $10 billion in revenues.

    And, if you step back to the macro level there's a ton of evidence that removing protectionism, you greatly expand a market. We've yet to see a market shrink when you removed protectionist policies, so I'm curious as to why you somehow think this particular market is different.

    Your using "protectionism" a bit too broadly, I think. Yes, when "protectionist" barriers such as import quotas or taxes are removed, allowing the free flow of goods at market prices markets expand. But it's a stretch to say that selling music (with the implicit protection of copyright) is "protectionism" in the usual sense.

    To make this claim, you'd have to show that the availability of music is restricted from reaching the market in some way. It isn't. From broadcast radio, satellite radio, internet streaming, Starbucks, etc., music can be heard quite widely already. Music is available for sale quite widely. The only protectionist barrier you want to remove is price, which really isn't much of a barrier.

    You often use the example of air being the ultimate "infinite" good: everyone needs it but no one pays for it. I think that's inaccurate. Water would be a much better example. Though not strictly "infinite," in most industrialized countries, it is essentially infinite and mostly free. But while I can turn on the tap and get water essentially for free, the bottled water industry in the U.S. is over $11 billion--more than the music industry. Why is music different?

    Not at all. You can play larger venues, or more targeted venues to maximize revenue. Jonathan Coulton has shown exactly how that works.

    Again, this is essentially a different business, with it's own attendant costs and logistics. But this still doesn't get around the fact that you can do all of this--large venues, targeted venues, etc.--while still selling music rather than giving it away.

    However, there's much more to it than that. You're entirely focused on the existing batch of musicians, ignoring how the old system basically made NO MONEY for the vast majority of musicians. The models we talk about would allow many more musicians to make a living, such that the vast majority of musicians would make more than they did in the past -- such that many more could find a sustainable living that way.

    The vast majority of musicians, either professional or semi-professional, are making money, else they couldn't sustain their business. For musicians, dealing with record labels can be a painful experience, but the musicians do get paid, and the recording companies do provide a service with targeted marketing and promotion. Can musicians do this themselves? Sure, but the recording companies still have more clout.

    That said, there is nothing stopping a new generation of musicians from doing exactly as you advocate. Indeed, if your economic model is to be effectively translated into sound and sustainable business models, this is the likely route. But you are advocating more than that: you frequently call the "old" model obsolete and even dangerous. It is neither. And it's going to continue for quite some time, even if revenue continues it's slight declines.

    There is a chance that those at the top, who most significantly abused the monopoly rents *might* lose some money, but I've yet to see a model that proves that, and I think the success of "big acts" like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead in embracing these models shows that it's certainly possible to make a lot more money at the top as well.

    I'll leave off the misleading "abuse of monopoly rents" for another thread, where I'm sure it will come up again. But as I mentioned above, "big" acts like Reznor and Radiohead have yet to show that they're making "more" money. Reznor's disappointment with the experience releasing Saul Williams' album last year was in the very small percentage of people who were willing to pay even the low price of $5 compared to those who downloaded without paying.

    Your model is predicated on the "fact" that free distribution of music will necessarily expand the audience to the extent that even if only a small fraction of fans ever pay for other "scarce" goods, the volume will make up for most, if not more, revenue that would have previously come from sales of recordings. (The theory also posits that freely distributed music makes the "scarce" goods more valuable, but that's not necessarily so--it mostly at best exposes those goods to a wider audience that may or may not be predisposed to pay for it.)_ That's still the theoretical part. An equally likely scenario is that as more and more people are accustomed to getting music for free, there will be resistance to paying a premium (or paying at all) for other goods, causing musicians to scramble to make a living doing other things than making music.

    Indeed. It's completely irrelevant. Not sure why your brought it up.

    I brought it up because, as noted above, it's possible that musicians will make less money or have to work much harder at non-music parts of the business under your model. And the comment seems to come up often enough that it bears repeating that it's irrelevant.

    Heh. Again, please explain why the same factors that work on every other industry suddenly fail to work in industries you choose? I'd say the burden of proof is on you.

    I wouldn't necessarily agree that "the same factors...work on every other industry" but there are definite qualitative differences between music, films, and books that make the success of your model in the latter two industries much more difficult.

    Recorded music is by nature more easily distributed and "consumed" because it's in small increments and can be used in more mobile and flexible places and ways. Essentially, it's more portable. It's also consumed differently than film or books, since it can be enjoyed as a secondary activity (playing music while doing other things, such as walking or driving, or having a conversation). Recorded music is also relative cheap in terms of production cost per unit. Finally, your model has more of a chance to succeed here because there are more ancillary product that could potentially be sold to make up for free distribution of the recorded music.

    Films and books are, by contrast, not as portable and command one's attention for longer periods of time and cannot be enjoyed as secondary activities. They are also more costly to produce. There are also much more limited opportunities for selling ancillary product.

    Most films cost tens of millions of dollars to produce. Books can take a year or more to write and months beyond in production (and I'm not referring to printing and binding costs for physical books, but manuscript preparation, design, editing, proofing, etc.)

    Freely distributing films and trying to recoup both costs and profit by selling the "theater experience" is highly likely to have a greater failure rate than music: if you're able to download and watch a new film at home or on your computer, the bar is much higher to entice you into the theater to pay for what you already have for free. Any "extras" that might be available in the theater (IMAX version, 3-D (which can be replicated at home), or the participatory experience of seeing a film as a group) are already available in the current model.

    What else is there to sell? Access to the actors? Most already do junkets and since any time spend on such activities would mean less time to actually make movies, the actors would need to be paid, jacking the "price" of access too high to be of use as a revenue stream.

    Here, you'd be much more likely to simply eat into box-office revenue without a viable revenue stream to off-set the loss.

    In books, at least until hardware improves, widespread adoption of reading digital version of books is unlikely. Ebook sales have grown slowly in the last 18 years or so and while not an insignificant part of the business, it's not a major revenue stream and seems to be confined to certain types of books (non-fiction, business, and science fiction). Digital books have been hyped imminently replacing physical books since the early 90s and it hasn't happened yet.

    What has happened with books, is there is anecdotal evidence that in certain market segments (such as science fiction), free downloads can generate sales of physical books, but there has been no real empirical study of whether this is a phenomenon that can be broadly extended.

    Now, when talking about books, I'm talking primarily about what are called "trade" books: general non-fiction and fiction.

    The most change is digital use of printed material is in the academic and professional publishing sphere, where most journals have been primarily digital for many years. Here is where there has been the most activity--and success--in making such material "open access." While fairly widespread in journals, it's still experimental and most major "OA" publishers are using a variety of different business models, from an "author-pays" model (where the author or the author's funding agency pays the costs of publication) or a subvention model, where grant funding covers the cost of running the journal. The next move in this area is going to be in text-books, and, less likely, scholarly monographs. But it's quite unlikely that this type of model can be extended to the trade publishing world.

     

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  105.  
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    Mike (profile), Nov 18th, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I keep saying "theoretical" because economic models usually are theoretical. This model is the basis for a number of different business models, but it is not strictly speaking a business model in and of itself. Yes, you have cited a handful of examples of how some people are testing this model in the real world, but there will have to be much wider experimentation in order for this to be seen as a viable business model for an entire industry over the long run. The model is also "theoretical" because it posits certain facts--such as giving away music freely will increase audience--for which there is little empirical evidence (more on that below).


    Ok. This is wrong for a variety of reasons, that perhaps, explains your confusion.

    1. The explanation we give is of basic economics and how it interacts with ANY market. We're simply applying that to these markets.

    2. Thus the models we talk about are not theoretical and have worked in many, many, many different markets. To date, no one has yet explained why these particular markets that you discuss somehow disobey the laws of economics.

    3. While we have used a few examples, that's to show how it works in practice, not to claim those are the only examples. We could go back in history and look at almost any market and show how these basic economic principles apply.

    If you are a musician, your primary product is music; once you give away your primary product, it essentially ceases to be the primary product and becomes a marketing tool for other products.

    Can you point me to an economic model that gives a damn over what is a "primary product" vs what is a non-primary product? I can't.

    Bringing it up is handwaving. Economics doesn't care what you define as a primary product.

    Making more money? More money than what? While exact one-to-one comparisons are largely impossible, you still have to compare both sales and income data across several different sales models to assert that musicians are making more money by giving away music (and selling some) than by selling all their music.

    Making more money than they did under the previous methods. It's not that difficult. You talk to the musicians and you see how much they made under the old model, and how much they make under the new model. If they adapt the new model properly, I have yet to see a musician who made less.

    Actually, it's not clear that Reznor made more money. He certainly made some. It's not clear that Radiohead made more money, as I've not seen them release these figures. Reznor has said in interviews that he was somewhat disappointed in the results of some of these efforts.

    Radiohead released their figures last month. We wrote about them here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081015/1640202552.shtml

    The band clearly made much money off of this model than on previous albums.

    As for Reznor, you are (once again) incorrect, or speaking from ignorance. The only time Reznor expressed disappointment was with the Saul Williams experiment, which was not particularly well set up (and, for the record, Saul Williams pointed out that he made more money off of that "disappointing" experiment than from his previous album -- and was quite thrilled with it).

    Reznor learned his lesson, though. The only "problem" with the Williams experiment was that it was a "give it away and pray" solution, rather than specifically tying infinite goods to scarce goods. Since then, Reznor has focused his efforts on tying infinite goods to scarce goods, allowing him to bring in nearly $2 million in the course of a couple weeks from the Ghosts I-IV album -- much more than he had made on previous albums.

    Perhaps you did not know about these facts, but there is no question that both bands did much better in embracing these models than they had on previous albums. That is simply not in dispute.


    The point is that these handfuls of experiments don't necessarily validate the model, though they are a good start. But if the aim is to turn the entire recording industry to this model, there will have to be much more experimentation and validation before the industry is going to voluntarily surrender a significant portion of $10 billion in revenues.


    That's a weak excuse. Sure, the old industry can wait, but by the time it realizes how widespread the evidence is, they'll be dead. That, of course, is their problem.

    Your using "protectionism" a bit too broadly, I think. Yes, when "protectionist" barriers such as import quotas or taxes are removed, allowing the free flow of goods at market prices markets expand. But it's a stretch to say that selling music (with the implicit protection of copyright) is "protectionism" in the usual sense.

    It is neither too broad nor a stretch. It is entirely accurate. From an economic standpoint, copyright is no different than a trade tariff. They are, fundamentally, identical.

    To make this claim, you'd have to show that the availability of music is restricted from reaching the market in some way. It isn't. From broadcast radio, satellite radio, internet streaming, Starbucks, etc., music can be heard quite widely already. Music is available for sale quite widely. The only protectionist barrier you want to remove is price, which really isn't much of a barrier.

    Uh. Ok. There is really nothing to say here other than that you are wrong. Price is a tremendous barrier, and the key one in making this market inefficient.

    And the idea that music is not restricted is beyond clueless. Many, many people are highly restricted in what they can do with music they possess.

    You often use the example of air being the ultimate "infinite" good: everyone needs it but no one pays for it. I think that's inaccurate. Water would be a much better example. Though not strictly "infinite," in most industrialized countries, it is essentially infinite and mostly free. But while I can turn on the tap and get water essentially for free, the bottled water industry in the U.S. is over $11 billion--more than the music industry. Why is music different?

    It's not. In fact, I've also used the bottled water example in my discussions. It's a great example that SUPPORTS MY POSITION. The bottled water industry succeeds by providing SCARCITIES that are worth paying for, even though water is essentially free. Those scarcities include things like safety, convenience and reputation.

    If the music industry took a lesson from the bottled water industry, they'd do great. The bottled water industry isn't selling water, it's selling those scarcities.

    Again, this is essentially a different business, with it's own attendant costs and logistics. But this still doesn't get around the fact that you can do all of this--large venues, targeted venues, etc.--while still selling music rather than giving it away.

    Ok. Let's try this again. The whole point is that with the FREE music, you get FREE promotions and that's what increases the size of the market that allows those things to happen.

    You can't do large venues and targeted venues if no one wants to see you perform. Or if a smaller number of people want to see you perform. The reason for using free music is to increase the number of people who want to see you perform. Using a paid model, by definition, LIMITS the market you can reach in the same manner. So, your statement is simply incorrect (a pattern, I see).

    The vast majority of musicians, either professional or semi-professional, are making money, else they couldn't sustain their business.

    Ok. Perhaps I wasn't clear, but you are incorrectly defining the market here. I'm talking about the people who ARE NOT counted as a part of that market, because the CURRENT SYSTEM does not allow them to make money. You are ignoring all of those people.

    What you have set up is a tautology. The people who make money are the people who make money. But you are leaving out all the people who don't make money, but could if the system was different.

    That said, there is nothing stopping a new generation of musicians from doing exactly as you advocate. Indeed, if your economic model is to be effectively translated into sound and sustainable business models, this is the likely route. But you are advocating more than that: you frequently call the "old" model obsolete and even dangerous. It is neither. And it's going to continue for quite some time, even if revenue continues it's slight declines.

    Again, you are ignoring how the current model shifts the balance and actively blocks out some folks from being successful.

    I'll leave off the misleading "abuse of monopoly rents" for another thread, where I'm sure it will come up again.

    It is, again, 100% accurate. If you disagree, I'd like to see you explain how it is not accurate.

    But as I mentioned above, "big" acts like Reznor and Radiohead have yet to show that they're making "more" money. Reznor's disappointment with the experience releasing Saul Williams' album last year was in the very small percentage of people who were willing to pay even the low price of $5 compared to those who downloaded without paying.

    And, again, I already explained and showed how you were wrong. Reznor's experiment with Williams was not even embracing this model, because he did not charge for scarcities. He tried to charge for the infinite good. And, even then Williams noted he made much more money off the album than his previous album, and he chided Reznor for his reaction to it. And, Reznor's followups showed that he appears to have understood how this worked.

    You are wrong. You might want to try admitting it.

    Your model is predicated on the "fact" that free distribution of music will necessarily expand the audience to the extent that even if only a small fraction of fans ever pay for other "scarce" goods, the volume will make up for most, if not more, revenue that would have previously come from sales of recordings.

    No, my explanation of basic economics is predicated on the undeniable fact that removing protectionism does expand a market. It will make up for a change in revenue IF the players in that market properly set up business models to capture some element of that expanded market.

    There is nothing that refutes that, unless you want to disagree with the history of economic growth.

    An equally likely scenario is that as more and more people are accustomed to getting music for free, there will be resistance to paying a premium (or paying at all) for other goods, causing musicians to scramble to make a living doing other things than making music.

    You are assuming, incorrectly, that it is viewed as "paying a premium." If that's the way it's viewed, you have set up your business model incorrectly.

    Films and books are, by contrast, not as portable and command one's attention for longer periods of time and cannot be enjoyed as secondary activities. They are also more costly to produce. There are also much more limited opportunities for selling ancillary product.

    I have yet to see anyone make a convincing argument why the cost of production makes a difference, but ok. I would disagree, by the way, with your claim that the opportunities for ancillary products are limited. They are only limited to those with no imagination or creativity. For others, the opportunities are limitless.

    If you are having trouble coming up with these opportunities, perhaps you'd like to hire us to help you in your specific circumstance.

    Freely distributing films and trying to recoup both costs and profit by selling the "theater experience" is highly likely to have a greater failure rate than music: if you're able to download and watch a new film at home or on your computer, the bar is much higher to entice you into the theater to pay for what you already have for free. Any "extras" that might be available in the theater (IMAX version, 3-D (which can be replicated at home), or the participatory experience of seeing a film as a group) are already available in the current model.

    Um. No, there are plenty of other "extras" that could be offered to entice people to pay. But, why bother thinking when you can insist that there are no other models.

    What else is there to sell? Access to the actors? Most already do junkets and since any time spend on such activities would mean less time to actually make movies, the actors would need to be paid, jacking the "price" of access too high to be of use as a revenue stream.

    So, because LostSailor is too unimaginative to come up with a model, none can exist? I'm glad you don't rule the world.

    I won't reveal some of the models that we're working on with some studios, but trust me, there's PLENTY more that can be done.

    In books, at least until hardware improves, widespread adoption of reading digital version of books is unlikely. Ebook sales have grown slowly in the last 18 years or so and while not an insignificant part of the business, it's not a major revenue stream and seems to be confined to certain types of books (non-fiction, business, and science fiction). Digital books have been hyped imminently replacing physical books since the early 90s and it hasn't happened yet.

    What has happened with books, is there is anecdotal evidence that in certain market segments (such as science fiction), free downloads can generate sales of physical books, but there has been no real empirical study of whether this is a phenomenon that can be broadly extended.


    Actually, we've seen it in a variety of different book segments. The ONLY segments where we haven't seen sales increase due to free downloads is textbooks and cookbooks (or other reference works), but there are ways to come up with models there as well.

    The most change is digital use of printed material is in the academic and professional publishing sphere, where most journals have been primarily digital for many years. Here is where there has been the most activity--and success--in making such material "open access." While fairly widespread in journals, it's still experimental and most major "OA" publishers are using a variety of different business models, from an "author-pays" model (where the author or the author's funding agency pays the costs of publication) or a subvention model, where grant funding covers the cost of running the journal. The next move in this area is going to be in text-books, and, less likely, scholarly monographs. But it's quite unlikely that this type of model can be extended to the trade publishing world.

    When you are shown to be wrong, will you come back and apologize?

     

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  106.  
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    LostSailor, Nov 18th, 2008 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1. The explanation we give is of basic economics and how it interacts with ANY market. We're simply applying that to these markets.

    2. Thus the models we talk about are not theoretical and have worked in many, many, many different markets. To date, no one has yet explained why these particular markets that you discuss somehow disobey the laws of economics.


    Ah, yes, a "basic economic model." Yet, you quite frequently seem to use this interchangebly with business models. And, like other economic models, such as the Austrian school which has given rise to "supply-side economics", it is indeed theoretical. In fact it is pristine and elegant in its simplicity, especially when practical applications don't live up to expectation, it is always the fault of "not understanding the model" or not applying it "correctly." The model is not only pristine, but can never be wrong.

    Which is why most of the posts on this subject involve snarky put-downs when it fails. Actual business is a messy thing, and not quite as pristine as theoretical economic models.

    That said, this may indeed be the way of the future, someday. My interest is more in the practical nature of getting from here to there, if we get all the way there at all.

    Can you point me to an economic model that gives a damn over what is a "primary product" vs what is a non-primary product? I can't. Bringing it up is handwaving. Economics doesn't care what you define as a primary product.

    That's the problem with "economic models," they often ignore practical reality. (For example, state controlled economies of, say, the Soviet Union: a fine economic model that failed when put into practice). I can certainly show you nearly any business model that gives more than a damn about what is a primary product and what is ancillary product. The tech industry especially is littered the the wreckage of companies that focused on the model and not the product. Economics may not care, but business certainly does.

    Radiohead released their figures last month.

    Actually, I was not aware they had released any figure, so thank you for pointing me to them. The article you linked to has a few holes in it, and personally I'd want more detailed data on the In Rainbows experiment and sales of previous albums, but in general, I say good for them. Contrary to what you might think, I applaud this kind of experimentation. However, time will tell whether their particular sales model is sustainable. Still, a worthy effort.

    Since then, Reznor has focused his efforts on tying infinite goods to scarce goods, allowing him to bring in nearly $2 million in the course of a couple weeks from the Ghosts I-IV album -- much more than he had made on previous albums.

    Again, good for him. But I would point out that he did not actually really implement your economic model. From what I've read, only Ghosts I was distributed for free; Ghosts II-IV were sold (albeit with a CCA license). Still, the pricey box set seems to have accounted for nearly 40% of the revenue.

    So, since you seem to insist that people who might disagree somehow owe you an apology (for what, I'm not sure, unless simply debating the issue shouldn't be offensive)), I was wrong about the revenue Radiohead and Reznor generated. My apologies.

    That's a weak excuse. Sure, the old industry can wait, but by the time it realizes how widespread the evidence is, they'll be dead. That, of course, is their problem.

    Actually, Mike, I had to laugh at that. You actually expect a $10 billion industry to turn on a dime, instantly give away their primary product (recorded music) and forgo billions of dollars, when the evidence actually shows that the majority of their market is still quite willing to pay for that product? And that's a "weak" excuse? The recording industry is going to use every tool at their disposal to stay in business and keep making those billions, regardless of the "correctness" of your economic models. And while they're doing that, they will be doing their own experimenting on ways to sustain their business, even if the "price" of digital music is being pushed lower or even to zero.

    It is neither too broad nor a stretch. It is entirely accurate. From an economic standpoint, copyright is no different than a trade tariff. They are, fundamentally, identical.

    As a fundamental nature, they are certainly not identical. You're just wrong here. The intention and effect of each is quite different. A trade tariff is meant to make local goods more attractive than imports or to level the playing field (for example, to off-set price differentials when the imports are subsidized). Copyright encourages the sharing of specific expressions of ideas (not the ideas themselves) by ensuring that the content creator can reap the economic benefit. I've said here several times in other threads that the term of copyright has been unconscionably lengthened, but that doesn't necessarily negate the nature of it.

    That said, both tariffs and copyright clearly have value to an economy, if used judiciously. I still don't agree that copyright is "protectionism" properly understood, but even if it was, that's not necessarily bad.

    Uh. Ok. There is really nothing to say here other than that you are wrong. Price is a tremendous barrier, and the key one in making this market inefficient.... And the idea that music is not restricted is beyond clueless. Many, many people are highly restricted in what they can do with music they possess.

    Uh. Ok. Unfortunately I can't concede to being "wrong" here. Price is not a "tremendous" barrier to music reaching the market. It may be a small barrier in that some people simply don't want to pay for it (or claim they "can't"). It's not infinite market penetration, but your only argument for that being desirable is that it makes the market "efficient." No market is completely efficient and often business make quite a bit of money (which is why they're in business) on inefficiencies.

    And speaking of clueless, please read what I wrote. I made no mention of restrictions on what people can do with the music once they've obtained it, but was talking about restrictions (or the relative lack thereof) on music reaching the market, whether through free radio or sales.

    And, unfortunately, I have a prior commitment this evening, and will have to leave off here. I'll take up the second part of your reply tomorrow.

    Cheers.

     

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

  107.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Nov 19th, 2008 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And, like other economic models, such as the Austrian school which has given rise to "supply-side economics", it is indeed theoretical. In fact it is pristine and elegant in its simplicity, especially when practical applications don't live up to expectation, it is always the fault of "not understanding the model" or not applying it "correctly." The model is not only pristine, but can never be wrong.

    No, it's quite possible to prove the model wrong. We just haven't seen anyone do it yet.

    You make it sound like when we show how someone doesn't apply the model correctly we're making it up. That's simply untrue.

    Either way, it is clear that we disagree, and I don't see much point in going around on this any more.

    You do not think there is enough evidence to support the fact that the basic fundamental economics we see actually works. I, on the other hand, have seen no evidence to show that basic fundamental economics don't work.

    Fair enough. I am quite confident that I am correct here, and until someone presents evidence to the contrary, I'll stick by it. You have every right to disbelieve in fundamental economics, but I see no benefit in continuing the conversation with you. It seems much more productive to help those who want to be helped, as opposed to those who prefer to keep their head in the sand.

    Good luck.

     

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

  108.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Nov 19th, 2008 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree that we're unlikely to agree, though I may pop up to comment in other threads, but will likely leave this topic as debate does not seem to be productive.

    But before ending here, I will comment that I never said that your economic model didn't or couldn't work and I'm not "disbelieving" of "fundamental economics." I do maintain, however, that your economic model is not the only model that is or can be successful, nor is it necessarily the best model in all circumstances. I understand that you disagree.

    I also understand that you seem to take any criticism of the model somewhat personally, at least the tone of your reply to me above has that tenor. As in When you are shown to be wrong, will you come back and apologize?

    I don't see that I would have anything to apologize for. If I am proven wrong, I'll be happy to admit it, but I won't apologize for simply having a different point of view.

    I do appreciate your taking the time to engage it what was a somewhat lengthy reply.

     

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


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