Creation Does Not Equal Ownership

from the thinking-does-not-make-it-so dept

I'm quite often confused by those who consider themselves big supporters of pure free market capitalism, but who also are adamant believers in the importance of intellectual property. Perhaps the largest group of such folks are the so-called "Objectivist" followers of Ayn Rand. Capitalist Magazine is running an Objectivist defense of the recent ProIP law that was recently signed into law despite basically being a government handout to the entertainment industry. Stephen Kinsella has responded to many of the points made in the original article, and picks up on a key point that many defenders of intellectual property always pull out in their defense:
The creator of content owns the content because he created it through his own labor, and you should always own the fruits of your own labor.
The problem is this just isn't true and never has been. Simply providing the labor does not equal ownership. As Kinsella notes in his response:
His argument? "If a baker bakes a loaf of bread, he therefore owns it." And likewise, for "music, movies, software." But note the mistake here Johson makes: "If a baker bakes a loaf of bread, he therefore owns it." The "therefore" is the giveaway: he says this because he thinks of the creation of the loaf as the act that gives rise to ownership. Then this leads to the analogy with other created things, like music. But creation of the loaf is not the reason why the baker owns it. He owns the loaf because he owned the dough that he baked. He already owned the dough, before any act of "creation"--before he transformed it with his labor. If he owned the dough, then he owns whatever he transforms his property into; the act of creation is an act of transformation that does not generate any new property rights. So creation is not necessary for him to own the resulting baked bread. Likewise, if he used someone else's dough--say, his employer's--then he does not own the loaf, but the owner of the dough does. So creation is not sufficient for ownership.
Exactly. Creation alone does not grant property rights if none existed prior to that transformation. I would even take the argument a step further. Even if you own something due to the fact that you created it, once you have given away or sold that product, you no longer have ownership of it -- and claiming you do actually removes property rights from the lawful owner.

That is, if I make a loaf of bread, and then sell it to someone, I no longer have control over that loaf of bread. I cannot tell the new owner that he can only make French toast with it and cannot feed the bread to the pigeons. That's for the new owner to determine. I certainly cannot tell him that he cannot take the bread and try to resell it or even give it away to others. That's part of the free market. Yet, intellectual property enthusiasts do want to remove these property rights from the recipients of copies of the original good. Despite their claims of being property rights supporters, they are actually the opposite. They are trying to deny property rights to any recipient.


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  1.  
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    Cygnus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:12am

    I'm quite often confused by those who consider themselves big supporters of pure free market capitalism, but who also are adamant believers in the importance of intellectual property.


    This is perhaps the single statement you have written with which I agree the most strongly. You are confused on this issue.

    I tend to agree with John Locke's labor theory of property. Kinsella's argument against that labor theory of property amounts to "nuh uh".

    Putting that aside, intellectual property is completely outside the ambit of that argument. The labor involved does not transform a thing into another thing. A song is not like a chair. It is not tangible. It is, quite literally, capable of creation from nothing.

    As such, the transformative argument against the labor theory is quite inapplicable in the case against intellectual property rights.

     

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    angry dude, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:31am

    another nonsence piece of writing from Mikey

    Mikey was dropped on his head when he was little
    After that he stopped making any sence
    Poor boy

     

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    Anne, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:32am

    We creators of "intellectual property" tend to forget that the property generally has to be transformed into something tangible before it can be transferred to someone else. Especially if we intend to make money off of it.

    I may write a story or a song, but someone else sees to the formatting of that story or song into a book or a CD or sheet music or even into a digital file to be posted to the Web. Those people have to be paid, too. Their contributions are as "create-ive" as are mine and it's not just "my" work.

    If I choose to do my own tangible formatting, then I have less time to produce purely intellectual work. I suppose I could travel around singing my untransformed songs or reading my stories to audiences and never sell autographed CDs or books.

     

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    Mrrar, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:34am

    re: Cygnus

    "As such, the transformative argument against the labor theory is quite inapplicable in the case against intellectual property rights."

    qed, it's impossible to steal something which is immaterial.

    Thankyou for proving the point ;)

    In other words, the language you use to describe 'intellectual property,' ie, as being 'stolen' or 'sold' or 'traded' or whatnot is just as illegitmate as comparing a piece of intellectual property to a chair, or a loaf of bread.

    Mike isn't arguing that a song is like a loaf of bread, Intellectual Property Rights advocates do, which Mike doesn't agree with. He then goes on to illustrate (using the words of another) *why* it's not like a loaf of bread.

    When you create the bread, the material you start with is owned by someone.

    When you create an idea, the material you start with is owned by no one at all. It's nonexistant. When you say it can be stolen, when you say you can own that idea, then you're trying to make this idea a material object, which it isn't.

    You can't own something immaterial, though you can profit from your creation of that immaterial object. eg, Henry Ford can profit from the idea of the Assembly Line, but his profit doesn't lay in _selling_ that idea.

    Similarly, you can create a song, and while you can ask people to pay for it, ultimately, once the idea is out there, the song is out there. You can find other material or service-oriented ways to profit from that idea, but the idea is still just that; an idea.

     

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    SpacePirate, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Own it?

    College Boy 2: "No, man, I'm just saying... I'm sayin', if-if you own beachfront property, right, do you own, like, the sand and the water?"

    College Boy 3: "Nobody owns the water. God owns - it's God's water."

    -Super Troopers

     

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  6.  
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    Veebles, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Creation does not equal ownership.

    I've been trying to tell my parents this for years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:44am

    I never knew that dough and music had anything in common.
    Great analogy completely flawless. All analogies tend to be completely flawless.

     

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    Dave, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    Lots of companies make dough off of other music!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 9:55am

    bread != music

    All this bullshit just to justify stealing music off the internet.

     

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    Hulser, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    Putting that aside, intellectual property is completely outside the ambit of that argument. The labor involved does not transform a thing into another thing. A song is not like a chair. It is not tangible. It is, quite literally, capable of creation from nothing.

    What is called intellectual property is most certainly not capable of being created from nothing. In fact, many of the arguments against IP -- or at least for the reform of IP -- is based an the premise that you can't create something from nothing. In other words, the creation of intellectual property is so dependent on prior works that in all too many cases, it's nonsensical to assign ownership to someone because they merely transformed an existing idea.

    Following on the bread example, if a baker comes up with a "new" recipe for bread, he can sell the bread, he can establish himself in the market as the original maker of the bread, he can try to make the bread as appealing to his customers as he can to prevent copycats from cutting into his profits. But he can't claim ownership of the recipe. Even if, by some miracle, it really was a recipe for bread that had never been discovered before, he didn't come up with the recipe in a vacuum. He would have had to use existing recipes as a foundation. He would have stood on the shoulders of giants to make his creation.

     

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  11.  
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    jonnyq, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    So:
    The argument was based on a false premise.
    The counter proved that, even by that premise, the argument is false, as Mike pointed out
    But since the premise is false in the first place, Mike is wrong for countering it?

    That's some faulty logic there - even when IP enthusiasts use premises that are ... less false ... there are still valid counter-arguments - those would be separate blog posts, however.

     

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    Mr Paul, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:05am

    you say "That is, if I make a loaf of bread, and then sell it to someone, I no longer have control over that loaf of bread. I cannot tell the new owner that he can only make French toast with it and cannot feed the bread to the pigeons."

    Actually, you **can** put restrictive covenants on your loaf of bread. It just needs to be made clear in the terms of the sale. You'll need documentation to enforce it. You probably will have to charge a lower price for it on the free market, but if I want to make french toast, this might be just the deal for me.

    This happens all the time in real estate. Many land owners donate the right to develop their property to a land trust, who promises not to exercise that right. The property loses a great deal of its value, because if sold, the buyer cannot develop it. Because it loses its value, the property taxes are reduced (much to the town's dismay). The owners are happy because they get lower taxes, they get to hold on to their land, and they know when Junior inherits it, he can't build that Nascar track he dreams about.

    What I've often puzzled about is what happens to that right to develop. If the land trust is in a financial pinch, can they sell it to a third party? I would hope that contingencies like this are documented along with the donation - for example, I would think that the original owners would want a right of first refusal if the land trust could sell it. What about if the land trust wants to build an office or a nature center? What happens if the land trust folds? Too bad I'm not a real estate lawyer...

     

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    big picture, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Cygnus

    More crap thinking. Every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before. If the so called creator had not been taught by the social structure in which he was born and lived, NO MUSIC. If he happened to be born into an aboriginal society he may have ended up playing on a Digery Do, with no recording rights at all. This is all about the selfish rights of the individual versus the rights of society at large. In other words Americanism, the thing that America tries to foist on the world and that the terrorists do not seem to like, have you ever wondered why?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:12am

    When you leave the "P" out of "IP" all you are left with is "I". And "I" want to benefit from my work.

     

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    Hulser, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    bread != music

    Do you understand the concept of the analogy? Apparently not. Here's a clue: it does not mean that "bread = music".

    All this bullshit just to justify stealing music off the internet.

    Since you can't understand simple concepts like the analogy, I'll put this in simple terms.

    1) It's not stealing if you illegally make a digital copy a song from the Internet. It's still illegal, but it's infringement, not stealing.

    2) Mike is not justifying the activity of illegal downloading. Just because someone points out the flaws in the current application of intellectual property or suggests alternative workable solutions, doesn't mean that they advocate illegal activities.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Cygnus

    What? Americans didn't invent the idea of IP. And who really cares what terrorists like or dislike; they are terrorists. Who said the terrorists ideologies are right anyway?

    Have you ever considered the idea that the terrorist leaders don't really believe in anything but causing trouble? You don't see them dieing for their cause do you?

     

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  17.  
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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Re: another nonsence piece of writing from Mikey

    "After that he stopped making any sence"

    You said it, not Mike.
    Without so much as a little punctuation, I can see why he makes no "sense" to ya.

     

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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Cygnus

    In other words Americanism, the thing that America tries to foist on the world and that the terrorists do not seem to like, have you ever wondered why?

    Well, actually I have never wondered why. They think our women are harlots because they do not cover their heads with scarves, and we eat pork, and we fail to worship Mohammed. Those things seem to be enough for them. Attacking someone because they do not believe the same as you do; i.e., attempting to foist your beliefs on the world.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re:

    Mike is not directly justifying breaking the law but he is arguing that is should not be illegal. He is arguing for free music and all other things digital. He feels that things should be free because they didn't cost anything to reproduce yet cost doesn't always have a direct influence on price.

     

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  20.  
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    Chase, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:23am

    You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    The major fault of the analogy is that a loaf of bread cannot be duplicated to be consumed an infinite number times. If a machine existed to copy the loaf to be resold again and again, I'm sure the baker would expect the right to own the copies or prohibit the copies from being made.

     

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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    "I just want to buy a doughnut, we do not need to bring paper and ink into this transaction" Mitch Hedberg

    I like the concept, but when I purchase a loaf of bread, I would generally tend to refuse to sign a contract as to its use. Similarly with music. No, I don't consider 'opening' the CD case a contractual agreement either.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Cost is irrelevant

    He feels that things should be free because they didn't cost anything to reproduce yet cost doesn't always have a direct influence on price.

    The post is about the nature of ownership, cost has nothing to do with it.

     

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  23.  
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    Newbie, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Re: another nonsence piece of writing from Mikey

    NonsenSe.

    SenSe.

    Who again was dropped on the head?

     

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  24.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Cygnus

    More crap thinking. Every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before.

    Yeah, right on. Every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before. Take Einstein's theories of relativity as an example. He built on what came before. Wait a second. The established scientific community did not believe his theories because they were completely different from the theories that came before. In fact, Einstein's theories simplified leads you to the theories that came before, therefore, Einstein wrote chapter 2 of physical theories (chapter 1, the unified field theory, is a work in progress), so all those other guys (Newton, etc.) that came before Einstein owe Einstein for their theories. Einstein's arrogance in thinking that he had come up with a macroscopic theory of which earthbound theories were a simplification was just too much for many physicists of his day to take.

    So much for the "every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before." There are many creations that deliberately contravened the shoulders of what went before, thus coming up with something unexpected.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:30am

    Easily Mr. Kinsella's most poorly reasoned missive.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:31am

    Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    True, you can't duplicate the loaf of bread. Nevertheless, the analogy holds. I would advocate that if in infinite good exists there can be NO property right to that good. A property right emerges from the physical scarcity of that good where one can have a clear and defined property boundary.

     

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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    Well copyright law says that you can profit from that work with a complete monopoly on it. Your entire life plus 70 years, you or your heirs may collect. That's an awful lot to promise the "I" in your statement. Should there be no such good for the public domain ? I am all for an artist, creator, inventor to secure those rights "for limited times". Lately however, that has been increasing more and more. Without things falling into the public domain, we can continue to artificially "create" things and charge for them, even though they are merely transformed, but not considered derivative. Even if I were to look at only the 70 years after the death, is that not extensive in today's day and age? If you can't make your living after 5-10 years after producing a song, should you perhaps seek other ways to make a living ? Are the 'limited times' fair ?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:32am

    Re: Cost is irrelevant

    Yes, and the law says the IP creator has ownership. So why does Mike continue to rant against IP? Maybe because he doesn't have any "I"?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I feel that invading people's privacy to prevent sharing should be illegal and should be considered a terrorist activity. I'm all for prosecuting for piracy, but I believe that piracy should be defined as profiting from copyright infringement. All the entertainment industry is trying to do is legalize extortion, its much more profitable than dealing with those pesky artists constantly whining to be paid the money that was collected on their behalf :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He feels that things should be free because they didn't cost anything to reproduce yet cost doesn't always have a direct influence on price.

    No, he shows that things will become free because they didn't take anything to cost. If You sell X at $5 for no cost someone else can undercut you and sell it for $4 at no cost. The logical conclusion is that someone sells it for $0 for no cost.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Stealing

    "All this bullshit just to justify stealing music off the internet."

    To steal something requires taking from someone else. Which also means they lost something. If you take something from someone, they no longer have it.

    If you never paid for the music, then you never took their money because it was never theirs in the first place.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What if I steal from the rich to give to the poor taking nothing for myself; is that still not theft? Oh wait, the Dems do that all the time only they take a little for themselves.

     

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  33.  
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    Corey O, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:42am

    IP

    In your example, the baker in fact DOES own the fruits of his labor and should. The focus should not be the physical output. His mutual agreement with the bakery owner means that his product of his labor is the salary in which he is paid.

    Secondly, selling is just a simple contract. Stipulations can be included. A person should be able to sell his property as he sees fit. The owner sets the terms and if the buyer does not agree then they walk away. If Techdirt was sold to Google, they could stipulate that Techdirt never turns into a fashion blog. It is the owner's property to contract out as he wishes.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Cost is irrelevant

    Regretfully, the law is unfair and should be repealed. When a person buys a good, they are entitled to property ownership rights and the seller losses their property rights.

     

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    YoMamma, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Yeah, let's do everything the terrorists like.

     

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  36.  
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    SomeGuy, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    But that's less the point than what Mike talks about here. Let's say you're a Baker, and such a machine which can copy loaves of bread exists. We'll call it "The Internet" to make the analogy obvious.

    Ordinarily you would spend all day baking and get, say, ten loaves to sell. But now you have The Internet, and you can make infinite loaves of bread to sell. You decide that now you'll bake ONE loaf and just sell copies your whole life, and you'll still just make ten loaves a day because that was good enough before and you liked the way business went back then.

    Imagine that you have a competitor who also bakes bread and also has The Internet. But HE decides he'll make infinite loaves and give them away to whoever wants them. Who's going to buy any of your loaves now?

    Mike isn't arguing that we should take from Artists against their wishes, he's just pointing out that eventually The internet is going to change the game, and unless you change with it you're going to be left behind. When other musicians are giving away copies of their music for free, why are people going to buy your music? You're going to be undercut by the competition.

     

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    unreal, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    A song is not created in a vacuum. "music" is not owned, nor are the notes or the culture and environment that may have given rise to the inspiration.

    "Art" the is the intellectual act of manipulating stuff that already exists into something different. Sometimes it's new. Most of the time it's very like something someone else has already done.

    I think the main thing that must be looked at is the reason for copyright law to exist in the first place. It was to spur people to share their "art".

    Perhaps it doesn't need to be spurred any longer.

    Maybe society no longer needs copyright.

     

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  38.  
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    He wrote the songs..., Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    A song is not like a chair. It is not tangible. It is, quite literally, capable of creation from nothing.

    Quick vocabulary lesson... From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

    Tangible

    1 a: capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch : palpable b: substantially real : material

    2: capable of being precisely identified or realized by the mind

    3: capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value

    All of which, by definition means music is VERY much tangible. Also, (and I'm speaking as a musician/composer/arranger) music is not created from nothing, anymore than words are created from nothing. Music is the arrangement of notes, or tones. Those tones exist in nature and are owned by NOBODY. The notation for those tones (I.E. sheet music) dates back to the 9th century and Pope Gregory (hence the term Gregorian Chants). Leonard Bernstein, in his final interview before he passed away, was quoted as saying that any composer (that's someone who 'creates' music) is the sum total of his lifetime listening experience. Great composers (to use your narrow view of the world) 'stole' from each other, from popular tunes of the times, from folk songs (who 'owns' those BTW?), and other historical music (like Gregorian chants, and hunting tunes). Did any of JS Bach's 21 children sue Mozart or Haydn for 'royalties' from them 'stealing' from him?

    I'm not saying that the songwriters/singers/recording artists/etc.. should not be fairly compensated, but IP law does NOTHING to ensure that, it is the companies that MARKET the music that make money on IP law, not the actual 'creators'. So if you're going to make an arguement that people should get paid for their labor, make sure you're fighting for the right people!

     

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    SomeGuy, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    It might better be argued that property rights are only reasonable when there's a scarcity to be managed, and that they simply don't make sense when applied to an infinite good, but that point's been made here before...

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re:

    I would dispute 3, and note that 1 doesn't apply to "music" so much as the soundwaves beating against your eardrums...

     

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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:54am

    Re: IP

    A person should be able to sell his property as he sees fit.

    Ok, I got a million of these....
    Would you buy a car that could only be driven on certain roads and not others.

    Would you buy a refrigerator with restrictions of no meat or dairy ?

    Would you buy clothes that you could only wear on Fridays ?

    At some point there shall be a limit to what is done after the transaction. For things like land or labor, contracts make sense, but for music ? Questionable territory for a guy who used to record off the radio onto cassette tapes. Is that a generation of pirates ? Perhaps, but I think we are gradually losing rights more so than gaining. Is that the world we wish to advocate ? Fighting for fewer rights, pushing more rights to narrow groups of profit motivated individuals ? Sorta counters what education is all about, but we will see what time reveals.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:57am

    Favorite quote:
    Americans have been taught to be driven by emotion and to cast off thinking as a restrictive straightjacket. That is where the hippies came from.

     

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    bigpicture, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    To every action there is a corresponding reaction, whether you understand that or not. There is even a reaction to those that BELIEVE they are morally right, irrespective of whether they are or not.

    The individualistic nature of intellectual property concepts, versus the concept that in the end creation is by society and culture. Take any individual who created anything, and if he had been born in a different society would the creations have been the same? Say Michelangelo born to Genghis Khan.

     

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    Anonymous Coward #42, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:58am

    This argument is flawed, because you're comparing apples to oranges. In the case of baking a loaf of bread, you're dealing with a tangible substance. If you own the raw materials, you inherently own the finished product as well, unless you have a specific agreement to transfer ownership of the finished product in the process.

    However, music isn't created from raw materials. It is created solely out of sound waves, which NOBODY can own. Therefore, what CAN be owned is the particular way in which sound waves are arranged to form a unique piece of music. This is what intellectual property and patents are all about, ownership of something other than a physical object of some kind. Things like software and music are intangible things. In reality, they are only ideas or thoughts that are represented on tangible objects, such as CD-ROM discs, and they are nothing without an external means of interpretation (i.e. a computer processor interpreting code or the human brain interpreting sound waves).

    Just owning a disc or other medium that a representation of sound waves exists on doesn't mean you own the sound waves or the unique way of creating them. However, that should not mean that the rightful owner (i.e. creator) of the music inherently has or should have ultimate control over the music either. This is the gray area we keep getting lost in. Basically what this amounts to is that we keep trying to nail down right and wrong to finite little rules on a piece of paper that simply cannot account for the vast amount of variables in the whole situation. It really all comes down to the honor system and common sense. Unfortunately, both of those terms have little meaning in today's society.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re:

    "1) It's not stealing if you illegally make a digital copy a song from the Internet. It's still illegal, but it's infringement, not stealing."

    IANAL

    As far as I know its not illegal to download at all.
    You have the permission of the owner (the person your downloading from) to obtain this copy. So it is not infringement on your part.
    However, the person that gave you the copy had no right to do so and they have infringed on the real owners IP.

    The RIAA/MPAA likes to use the word download when they really are only getting people for making available (ie uploading).

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In theory, theory and reality are the same. In reality, theory and reality are different. Things will never drop to $0 cost because nobody will make it for free. Therefore, as profits decline, producers drop out of the market. Thus stopping it from ever hitting $0.

     

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  47.  
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    d, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Take Einstein's theories of relativity as an example. He built on what came before. Wait a second. The established scientific community did not believe his theories because they were completely different from the theories that came before.

    Really now? And calculus was new too? You don't get to be selective about the way you apply "what came before." If there was no Newtonian physics developed already, it is highly unlikely that Einstein would've gotten far at all. A lot of his theories were created based on the fact that the established framework did a decent job in explaining many phenomena, but had gaps that his theories filled in. No pre-existing framework = no gaps to fill in with new theories.

    Oh, and looking at your patents, you certainly are the one to talk about "every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before." That seems to be the only way you are getting any of them.

     

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  48.  
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    jonnyq, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re:

    "All of which, by definition means music is VERY much tangible"

    No, by those definitions a particular live performance may be considered "tangible" or maybe even a distinct copy of it.

     

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    your leave, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Re: 44. Anonymous Coward #42

    I like pretty much everything you said.

    However, music isn't created from raw materials. It is created solely out of sound waves, which NOBODY can own. Therefore, what CAN be owned is the particular way in which sound waves are arranged to form a unique piece of music. This is what intellectual property and patents are all about, ownership of something other than a physical object of some kind. Things like software and music are intangible things. In reality, they are only ideas or thoughts that are represented on tangible objects, such as CD-ROM discs, and they are nothing without an external means of interpretation (i.e. a computer processor interpreting code or the human brain interpreting sound waves).


    I'm finding that the posters who seem to have the best understanding of the nature of creative music are also the posters who aren't leaning strongly to either side of the argument.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Ok, I got a million of these....
    Would you buy a car that could only be driven on certain roads and not others.

    Would you buy a refrigerator with restrictions of no meat or dairy ?

    Would you buy clothes that you could only wear on Fridays ?




    No, I wouldn't. Nor would I buy them, and then moan baout the restrictions being unfair. It's the seller's right to put conditions on the sale, it's the potential buyer's right to walk away if they don't agree to the terms.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: IP

    "Ok, I got a million of these....
    Would you buy a car that could only be driven on certain roads and not others.

    Would you buy a refrigerator with restrictions of no meat or dairy ?

    Would you buy clothes that you could only wear on Fridays ?"

    If I could buy the fridge for $10 versus paying $100 then yes, I would do it.
    If I could buy the clothes at a massively reduced rate then yes, I also would do it.

    The point is how much is that restriction worth to you.
    For example you can't ride a bike on a highway (at least were I live). You still buy bikes.
    Free market is what is supposed to determine these things and it usually comes down to cost.

     

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  52.  
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    Albert, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    When we survey our lives and endeavors we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings. We see that our whole nature resembles that of the social animals. We eat food that others have grown, wear clothes that others have made, live in houses that others have built. The greater part of our knowledge and beliefs has been communicated to us by other people through the medium of a language which others have created. Without language our mental capacities would be poor indeed, comparable to those of the higher animals; we have, therefore, to admit that we owe our principal advantage over the beasts to the fact of living in human society. The individual, if left alone from birth would remain primitive and beast-like in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly conceive. The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not so much in virtue of his individuality, but rather as a member of a great human society, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave.

     

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    Platypus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:20am

    The source of confusion

    ...is the assumption that only resources that become part of the finished product matter, and that everything else - especially labor - counts for nothing. Thinkers since Locke (at least) have rejected that idea, and in fact such rejection is the very basis for Locke's Second Treatise. The baker owns the bread not because he owned the ingredients as because he provided the labor that turned a lower-value item into a higher-value one. (He also contributed the amortized cost of equipment, the premises, training, any contractual arrangements sustaining the bakery, etc. but let's not muddy the waters too much lest the slow-witted pundits get left behind.) Shares of ownership and shares of created value should, in a truly free market, be roughly proportional. In other words, if you increase something's value by 90% then you deserve 90% of the proceeds from its sale, whether we're talking about real estate or bread.

    How does this apply to intellectual property? The physical resource cost is next to nothing (blank CDs are cheap and distribution over the net even cheaper), so the bakery analogy simply falls flat on its face. The people who added value are the people who contributed labor (designers, coders, etc.) and the people who contributed capital (computers, office space, and so on). Those people own the result, which they may then sell or rent as they please, and as it happens what they do is more like renting than selling. Users get a license, with limits, not complete ownership. Their free-market choice is not to rent, to find someone who will sell outright or to do without. There is no moral or legal basis for saying that people who freely chose to purchase a license can then turn around and claim full rights of ownership. They never owned anything, either by contract or by contribution.

    I'm not defending the current system, by the way. In fact I think it's pretty broken, but the way it's broken is not the way Masnick says it's broken. If you want a real critique, you have to look at why both workers and consumers seem to have so few options regarding intellectual property, how both markets came to be so constricted, and so on. The problems with intellectual property are inevitable consequences of how we have constructed our contract and property law, our capital and labor markets, etc. Without understanding the causes (for which I recommend _Silent Theft_ as a starting point) attempts to address a single symptom are sure to be fruitless.

     

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  54.  
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    Platypus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:20am

    The source of confusion

    ...is the assumption that only resources that become part of the finished product matter, and that everything else - especially labor - counts for nothing. Thinkers since Locke (at least) have rejected that idea, and in fact such rejection is the very basis for Locke's Second Treatise. The baker owns the bread not because he owned the ingredients as because he provided the labor that turned a lower-value item into a higher-value one. (He also contributed the amortized cost of equipment, the premises, training, any contractual arrangements sustaining the bakery, etc. but let's not muddy the waters too much lest the slow-witted pundits get left behind.) Shares of ownership and shares of created value should, in a truly free market, be roughly proportional. In other words, if you increase something's value by 90% then you deserve 90% of the proceeds from its sale, whether we're talking about real estate or bread.

    How does this apply to intellectual property? The physical resource cost is next to nothing (blank CDs are cheap and distribution over the net even cheaper), so the bakery analogy simply falls flat on its face. The people who added value are the people who contributed labor (designers, coders, etc.) and the people who contributed capital (computers, office space, and so on). Those people own the result, which they may then sell or rent as they please, and as it happens what they do is more like renting than selling. Users get a license, with limits, not complete ownership. Their free-market choice is not to rent, to find someone who will sell outright or to do without. There is no moral or legal basis for saying that people who freely chose to purchase a license can then turn around and claim full rights of ownership. They never owned anything, either by contract or by contribution.

    I'm not defending the current system, by the way. In fact I think it's pretty broken, but the way it's broken is not the way Masnick says it's broken. If you want a real critique, you have to look at why both workers and consumers seem to have so few options regarding intellectual property, how both markets came to be so constricted, and so on. The problems with intellectual property are inevitable consequences of how we have constructed our contract and property law, our capital and labor markets, etc. Without understanding the causes (for which I recommend _Silent Theft_ as a starting point) attempts to address a single symptom are sure to be fruitless.

     

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  55.  
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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: IP

    A different observation would be... Riding my bike on a freeway is not very intelligent as injury is more likely there. But no seller of my bicycle will restrict me. We have laws in place that make it wrong, but the seller sells more bikes with fewer restrictions. More restrictions mean he must lower the price or make fewer sales. Also there will always be other outlets to purchase the bikes without any restrictions.

    Perhaps buying and moaning about it is not right. When new technologies come along and present a new situation (drastically lower redistribution costs) a new way of thinking must emerge. I hardly think anyone who has bought a copy of MS Windows has sat down and read the license agreement, have you ? I will bet my soul that you have violated those in several ways but have failed to moan ?

    As for free market, what chance does free market have when the polluticians who are being lobbied by the monied interests are setting the rules of the game ? It is rigged for the content holders not the creators, not the consumers. A third party injected into the situation for the purpose of profit. Where does the overwhelming majority of the profits from music go these days ? Whose pockets are lines most heavily ? They paid to receive that advantage.

     

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  56.  
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    Xiera, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:31am

    Something from nothing

    People are missing some very important points here:

    1. Drop the bread analogy. It does not work at all. For one, bread is consumable. Once it's used, it ceases to exist. Try using a chair as an analogy.

    2. Drop the chair analogy. It does not work at all. A chair can only be in one place at any given point in time. You can give the chair to someone else, but then you no longer have it. Even if we stick with the chair analogy, you CAN reproduce a chair and do whatever you want with the clone. This is perfectly legal.

    3. The only tangible, finite resource that is consumed when creating music (for example) is digital storage space, and even this can be redeemed simply by deleting the music (or whatever). So, copying a music file is akin to going to Home Depot, buying some wood, and building the chair. There are two costs here: the wood and the time. The equivalent in digital music are: the space on your hard drive (or other storage device) and the time. The supply of storage space tends to be infinitely large (at a low cost), and the cost of time tends to be infinitely small. The total cost of reproducing digital music, then, becomes extremely small.

    4. If you purchase a chair, you own it. It is yours and you may do whatever you want with it. If you reproduce a chair, the clone is yours and you may do whatever you want with it. You may sell it (if someone is willing to pay for it), you may give it away, you may keep it for yourself.

    If you purchase music, you own it. It is yours and you may do whatever you want with it. If you reproduce music, the clone is yours and you may do whatever you want with it. You may sell it (if someone is willing to pay for it), you may give it away, you may keep it for yourself.

    5. "But people aren't purchasing music, they're stealing it." Incorrect. For there to be a digital copy of the music, someone must have purchased it (or the creator gave it away to someone). If the then-owner of the music decides to make a copy, that is his choice and he may do so because he purchased the music. If the owner of the new clone of the original music wishes to sell or give away said clone, he may do so because he owns it.

    The only situation in which one could "steal" music is when one person takes (not reproduces) a copy of the original music from an owner without the owner's consent. Bear in mind here that the owner of the product is whoever has the physical (or digital) copy of the music, not the original creator of the original music. Back to our analogy: one could go home and create a copy of your chair. He owns his copy and you still own yours. However, if he takes your chair (or a copy thereof that you also own) and you no longer own it, and he does all of this without your consent, that is "theft". It does not matter if La-Z-boy knows about it and consents or not because they no longer own the product.

    6. "But intellectual property laws encourage innovation." Actually, this is a fallacy. This is similar to the fact that patent laws don't actually encourage innovation any more. Innovation is currently driven by trying to woo consumers. What makes our vacuum better than theirs? Mine has wheels that can turn in all directions. (They actually have these now!) What makes my music better than someone else's? People enjoy listening to it more.

    7. "So how are artists supposed to make money?" Develop a different business model. I don't work for the music industry, but if they wanted to pay me, I'm sure I could come up with something. Or they could just read some of Mike's previous suggestions and, rather than whining about the anti-IP nature of his posts, they could learn a thing or two about how to make money.

    -----

    That said, I cannot remember the last time I downloaded a song -- 4 years or so now? And this from someone who can rarely find the music he listens to in stores. (I have to order it online, what a PITA.) I'll play along with the music industry for now, but, to be honest, it actually hurts the artists more than it helps them. I won't buy a CD unless I know I like the music, and if I have no way of listening to their music...

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    I fully understand actions and reactions so your comment about terrorists makes no sense. There are always going to be people who disagree with others. Some are extreme. So who cares what the extremists think? Can't live our lives in fear can we?

     

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  58.  
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    Baloney Joe, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    No he wouldn't, he would find a way to profit in the face of such a machine, or he would bake cookies.

    The music industry needs to find a way to adjust to changing markets, like every other industry in the world...save the motion picture industry.

     

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  59.  
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    Noah Callaway, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    "So much for the "every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before." There are many creations that deliberately contravened the shoulders of what went before, thus coming up with something unexpected."

    You're doing satire, right?

    Please read this article on the origins of the theory of relativity: http://home.att.net/~numericana/answer/record.htm

    Einstein, like all scientists before have, have most certainly stood on the shoulders of giants. As do artists, programmers, bakers, and all other walks of life.

     

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  60.  
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    Lickity Split, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:46am

    Re:

    This argument is flawed, because you're comparing apples to oranges. In the case of baking a loaf of bread, you're dealing with a tangible substance. If you own the raw materials, you inherently own the finished product as well, unless you have a specific agreement to transfer ownership of the finished product in the process.

    Has anyone ever read a recording contract? For 99.9% of artists it is a work for hire. They may have created it but they do not own it, just like the employee baker...

     

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  61.  
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    SFG-Tie Guy, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:56am

    Creation does not equal ownership.

    For anyone who works in IT, the idea that you own the work that you created doesn't exist. Most companies state all works created by employees belong to the company (doesn't necessarily apply to non-work related hobbies eg, if you are in a band and work at an IT company).

    Creation != ownership when you work for a company.

     

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  62.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    This argument is flawed, because you're comparing apples to oranges. In the case of baking a loaf of bread, you're dealing with a tangible substance. If you own the raw materials, you inherently own the finished product as well, unless you have a specific agreement to transfer ownership of the finished product in the process.

    But that's not the point that IP maximalists are making. They're claiming that "creation equals ownership." The point of this post shows that's not true.

    However, music isn't created from raw materials. It is created solely out of sound waves, which NOBODY can own. Therefore, what CAN be owned is the particular way in which sound waves are arranged to form a unique piece of music.

    How can that be owned? Don't you see how that's problematic? Owning an arrangement of soundwaves?

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:01pm


    Has anyone ever read a recording contract? For 99.9% of artists it is a work for hire. They may have created it but they do not own it, just like the employee baker...


    Bingo!

    It's easy to bash intellectual property rights when the "owner" is the record company. The whole recording industry definitely isn't making friends with the general public right now.

    To those looking to destroy intellectual property rights: have you thought about its role in other industries? Besides music, I haven't heard anyone else argue about intellectual property in any other field. Literature? Film? Illustration? Photography?

    Yeah, the RIAA sucks. They're literally suing ten-year-olds. But is that cause for attacking intellectual property? Or just the RIAA?

     

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  64.  
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    Twinrova, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:01pm

    If you thought confusion was bad before...

    "He owns the loaf because he owned the dough that he baked."
    Given this logic, the owner still doesn't own the dough, because it was made by other ingredients.

    Those who own the ingredients also don't own the dough because they bought them from the farmers.

    The farmers own the land, thus, they own the ingredients, right? Think again. They purchased seeds to grow the ingredients, so they don't own the bread either!

    Damn, this can go on forever, so I'll stop here.

    I absolutely agree with the statement once a product is sold (whether it's a chair or a copy), it no longer belongs to the party which sold it.

    I can't understand why business doesn't understand this. Businesses that build houses don't claim the house is still theirs once it's built so why do others have an issue with this?

    I'm all for recognizing the baker made the bread, but I don't believe the baker should generate revenue from the design of the bread, but instead do so over the time and ingredients it took to make the design.

    The entire issue of IP stems from idiots not understanding you can't own a design. Anyone can make a chair. Anyone can make music. To say you "own" the design of either is stupid.

    Artists make their money on the product, not the design of the product. When a business "invests" in the artist, they feel they own what the artist produces, aka, the design but what they really "own" is the time the artist must commit to future endeavors.

    At any rate, this entire IP issue is getting out of hand. Now hardware makers are stating you can't do what you want to the product you purchased. Gaming consoles are now being shut down if the company that produced them determines you, THE OWNER, modified the console. WTF!!!

    The only way this all ends if you, reader, spreads the message to others by telling them not to buy products of companies who believe they own ideas.

    Until then, this entire conversation is pointless.

     

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  65.  
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    Bob, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    The problem with the "scarcity = property rights", is that you are talking about physical property, where copyright is directly talk about non-physical property. There is a scarcity of good musicians. It is not the cost to reproduce that is at issue, but the cost for the musician to create the music. This musician is a scarce commodity. What is his value? The market can make that determination. If he is good, then maybe the fruits of his labor (the music he created, not the CD it is stored on) is worth quite a substantial amount. If he does not earn enough to get by in life, he may never create music again. That is an acceptable result, even though as a society we may be less well off because of it.

    What if it cost $500,000 to create an album of music. Would you pay $500,000 for the 1 CD that was created? Maybe if you were extremely wealthy you would. But in all likelihood no one would put up the money for that CD. But what if you priced the CD at $5, would 100,000 people buy it. This is far more likely. What if only 1 person bought it and copied it and gave it for free to everyone? Would the music get produced? It would not because the musician would lose $499,995. If only there was some way to allow for cheaper art by mass distribution but would still allow for the artist to get paid for the cost of creating the art. Oh, there is, it is called copyright.

    What the framers of the US Constitution wanted (although only some of them wanted it) was to provide a market to content creators seeing that creative arts and sciences would benefit all of society. They created this market by instituting copyright. This is the actual right we should be talking about. It is not a natural law right, it is not a physical law right, it did not "emerge", it is a created right but it is right none-the-less. You can disagree with the right, that is fine, but you cannot say it is not a right. It is a right created by law.

    I happen to agree with the right, but disagree with how that right has been transformed. This right, this copyright, creates a market that allows for people to get paid for their creative (in the sense of art) output. It does not intersect with the rights that exist for physical items. They are vastly different concepts. The term "Property" is merely the term for the idea of the thing someone owns. A thing can certainly be non-physical. This is what is so strange about this argument. Forget the physical item issues, as copyright has nothing to do with physical items. It has everything to do with items that have a close to zero cost to reproduce. This right was developed long before digital distribution, but still applies. The right has nothing to do with the cost of reproducing the content, but the cost of producing/creating the content to begin with.

    An author wants to produce a work of fiction. It takes her 1 year to do so. In that 1 year, she is not able to be gainfully employed because she wants to write the book. She is taking some amount of risk in writing the book. She most likely took this risk because the laws of her country created a market for her in which she could make money selling access to her ideas and story. The book is printed and is sold in a store. The physical book belongs to the person that bought it. He may sell it to someone else, he may destroy it or he may give it away. However, the ideas and story conveyed in the book do not belong to him. Say he takes this book and copies all of the pages by hand and binds the pages into a book. Does he have a right to sell that copy? Does he have a right to give away that copy? I say no, and current copyright law agrees with me. Even though his copy did not destroy the original, he did not have the right to send the ideas to someone who did not purchase them. How is this different than giving the book to someone else? It has to do with access. Access to the idea is what is being regulated. The fact that the idea is conveyed in a physical form has nothing to do with it. The book purchaser purchased not the book exactly, but access to the idea. This access was in book form. That which is read cannot be unread, but when he gives the book away, he is giving away (or lending) the right to access the idea to someone else. The right of access is what was sold. However, if he made a copy of the text, he now is no longer lending/giving away/selling the one right of access which he purchased, but he is making a copy of that access and giving it away. By making a copy he now has 2 rights of access, when he only purchased one. He stole the right of access from the one person that could give it, the author. Again steal is not used in the way as for physical items, but to express an idea.

    When examining copyright, let completely ignore physical constraints and costs, but the cost to the artist. Is it better that we have some way for people to earn a living by creating art and having the common person have access to the art. Or is it better that no (good) art is produced or only extremely wealthy people can have access to art, because there is no other way for an artist to make money?

    The creation of a market is to provide sellers and buyers an opportunity to exchange items of value. The scarcer the good the more value it has. Easy to duplicate but very hard to produce art, has a value to the artist. However, if it is easy to reproduce, the value for which the artist can get for it is going to be greatly diminished. The cost to the artist will be too great and the artist will no longer produce art. To overcome this issue, copyright creates a mechanism that allows for the artist to create scarcity by controlling access to the art or idea.

    As I said, not all constitutional framers wanted copyright. Would we still have art, music, literature? Probably. Would it be good? Maybe. Would we have access to it? Maybe only the wealthy. Analogies that relate physical with non-physical are bound to failure. The concepts of rights between these items are vastly different. But let me confuse things. A sculptor carves an amazing piece of art out of marble. He sells the sculpture for $1 million. Is he selling the marble? To some degree. Is he selling the labor? Sort of. Or is he selling access to his idea of art. Yes, this is it. Does he have the right to restrict the sale of drawings of his sculpture? Yes, because it is not the labor or the marble he is selling, but access to the idea. The medium that the idea is expressed in is not the important part, but the idea itself. If a musician makes a CD to sell, it is not the CD that is important but the music. If he sells access to his music via digital download, it is not the file (the medium) but the idea that he is selling. If the musician wants to sell only a single access to that idea, does he have the right? Yes, and he could express that via Copyright given by the US Constitution or via the right to make an enforceable contract. In addition he can sell the right to limit access to someone else, where he then no longer has the right to sell access to his idea.

     

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  66.  
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    Mrrar, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Just to add to what others have said before-- Einstein did indeed build on what came before.

    His observations built upon the already existing Physics, and required that physics as it was understood on a human scale (newtonian physics) to be there before he could create physics on an astronomical scale (Relativity).

    Moreover, Einstein's math was built on Hyperbolic geometry, which in turn built on 2000 years of attempting to prove Euclidean geometry, which only proved to be fruitless. Furthermore, at the same time Einstein realized that hyperbolic Geometry could be used to _describe_ his theories mathematically (ie 'bending' of space/time), Hilbert realized it as well.

    Both raced to be the first to publish their findings.

    Einstein won that race.

    You know what's really amusing?

    You used Einstein as an example for Intellectual Property arguments, when he gave his ideas to the world to use as they wished. lol.

    Don't use Science as an example for Intellectual Property, because in Science, people are CREDITED for their theories, and then those contributions IMPROVE science as a whole. Those scientists then benefit indirectly from their theories when following that academic model.

    So, really, if you want to use Einstein (and science) as an example for why Intellectual Property through exclusivity is a _bad_ idea (eg using your theorem in my proof), then you've done very well! but if you're going to use it as an explanation for why Intellectual Property is a good idea, i suggest looking elsewhere..

     

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  67.  
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    Mrrar, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:27pm

    Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    "He owns the loaf because he owned the dough that he baked."
    Given this logic, the owner still doesn't own the dough, because it was made by other ingredients.


    Except he.. bought the dough.
    When you create a song, what do you buy beforehand? Nothing. It's creating from nothing.

     

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  68.  
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    DanC, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Cost is irrelevant

    Yes, and the law says the IP creator has ownership.

    No, it doesn't. The law says that ownership is assigned to the patent or the copyright, not to the work itself. There is a distinct difference.

     

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  69.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    Well then, if that is really true I guess those shoulders the creator was standing on were really, really short.

     

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  70.  
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    Platypus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    It's created from labor, Mrrar. Labor is the term we use for individual effort, enterprise, creativity, etc. and it is the single resource that is *most* deserving of reward via ownership. Every other resource existed before us, and can only become ours by exchange for labor. Far from being "nothing" labor is *everything* when it comes to creating value.

     

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  71.  
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    Platypus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    It's created from labor, Mrrar. Labor is the term we use for individual effort, enterprise, creativity, etc. and it is the single resource that is *most* deserving of reward via ownership. Every other resource existed before us, and can only become ours by exchange for labor. Far from being "nothing" labor is *everything* when it comes to creating value.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    "If you purchase music, you own it. It is yours and you may do whatever you want with it. If you reproduce music, the clone is yours and you may do whatever you want with it. You may sell it (if someone is willing to pay for it), you may give it away, you may keep it for yourself."

    This is incorrect. You have purchased the right to one copy of that piece of music--not the right to copy (except for your own archives) and certainly not the right to distribute.

    For the sake of simplicity, I'll focus only on the artist.

    If you follow this path to justify your desire to get music for free, you'll remove a large incentive for artists to create it.

    They create a work that you could not have created yourself, your only input is to find a way to copy that novel work. The artist has only sold it to you for your use. By distributing it, you usurp their right to be compensated for their work.

    The work is the unique pattern of sounds you bought the rights to a copy of, with the terms that you won't distribute.

    You haven't bought the song. You've bought a copy for your own use. If you bought the song outright, then you'd have the right to distribute or do whatever you wanted.

    However, that would be very, very expensive. The artist would be giving up their rights to it.

    The rights to a piece of music are not reassigned to you when you buy a CD, only that copy.

    Everything else is just posturing to justify getting something for nothing, and pretending to have some knowledge of law and economics.

    Your model is that people get to take whatever they want if they can find a way to copy it. While a new model is desirable under those circumstances, many have chosen to take it by force.

    You are stealing. You are denying the just compensation to the people who own the rights to a work. You are keeping money that is theirs under the law. Because there is no physical artifact, it is simply harder to prove.

     

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  73.  
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    Platypus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:37pm

    Unsurprisingly, Techdirt's comment-post code seems to have some problems. Blame the double posts on them, not me, since I only clicked the button once.

     

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  74.  
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    Platypus, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:37pm

    Unsurprisingly, Techdirt's comment-post code seems to have some problems. Blame the double posts on them, not me, since I only clicked the button once.

     

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  75.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    No pre-existing framework = no gaps to fill in with new theories.

    You posit that the gaps were necessary for the theory to exist. Why? Yes, it is true that Einstein was trying to understand why certain phenomenon did not fit existing theories. How did he go about doing that? He essentially said, gee, what if I do not assume that the current theories are correct, and instead start from scratch (i.e., forget about the gaps because they are messing me up - start over again)? What do I end up with?

    As far as calculus is concerned, it is merely a tool. By that token, Leonardo Da Vinci was standing on the shoulders of giants when he sculpted the Pieta because he was using a hammer and chisel. Well gosh, I can see that the creators of the hammer and chisel were absolutely critical to Da Vinci's skills.

    Oh, and looking at your patents, you certainly are the one to talk about "every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before." That seems to be the only way you are getting any of them.

    Really? So you are an expert on creativity? I guess you could just as easily have invented the things I have because to you they are just so darn readily obvious. Have you missed your calling as a great engineer? Or are you already?

     

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  76.  
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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    Re:

    If we agree that the effort or work should be paid, then for how long Platypus? Is it fair to say that if I work very hard for a year (or make it 5? or 10?) should I then keep getting paid? Should I keep getting paid for my entire life, and when I die be able to will that 10 years of work to my children so that they can keep collecting ? How could we sustain that?

     

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  77.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    To justify copyright, we usually hear assertions such as:
    1. "What if it cost $500,000 to create an album of music."
    2. An author wants to produce a work of fiction. It takes her 1 year to do so.

    In theory, we live in a free-market system. If you produce a product and their is no market for it, too bad. You threw the dice and lost. It is not the intent of the free-market system to guarantee someone a lively-hood.

    I would even advocate that if you are a true artist, you wouldn't even be motivated by money. Yes, that is a bit extreme, but there are people who are willing to produce with no expectation of making money.

    My point - if you can't make money with your art you will need to find another method of making money to pay for your living expenses.

     

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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 12:58pm

    Re:

    I blame techdirt for all the ones they got right, not the one that is double posting.

     

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  79.  
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    MichaelM, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:02pm

    Owning Creations

    In his war against IP, Stephan Kinsella has said: "One homesteads an unowned resource by being the first to possess, use, emborder it, because these give the appropriator an objective link to the property, a better connection to it than any latecomer." [http://blog.mises.org/archives/007614.asp]

    Note the use of the comparatives in "a higher claim" and "a "better connection" to the entities homesteaded that implicitly acknowledges the shaky ground on which that original link to the ownership of the physical entities is held to rest. This is the Achilles Heel of the anti-IP claim that only stuff and never ideas can be property. Actually, it is exactly the reverse that is true.

    This inversion is the natural consequence of attempting to define political principles in a philosophical vacuum. Politics is a branch of philosophy - one that follows and is dependent on ethics. While the science of ethics defines the code of values proper for the life of a human individual, politics is the science that applies that code in the context of the individual's life in a socio-economic society of many individuals living and interacting together over the long-range in a particular geographical region.

    The impasse over the opposing positions clearly signals a difference at a more fundamental level that must be dealt with first before any resolution and agreement is possible. This explains the "us vs. them" syndrome that concerns Frank. The Objectivist position on property rights is firmly rooted in and inseparable from ethics, a consideration non-philosophical libertarian pragmatists evade and avoid. Consequently, while arguments between them can be informing, they are otherwise now and forever futile. No political principle can be validated without the support of a valid ethics.

    The pertinent ethical principle rests on two facts: 1. that the quality and quantity of a human being's life is contingent on the application of his ideas and actions to existence. 2) that being volitional, all men are fallible. Consequently, the primary ethical prerequisite in the service of one's highest value - one's life - is intellectual and physical autonomy. It is the political concept of property that recognizes in a socio-economic context the application of that autonomy to the entities of existence.

    The right to property is not a right to the entities themselves. There is no ethical principle deriving from the nature of man that can establish a moral claim to control an entity in the absence of any application of ideas and actions to it. A property right is the right to control the use of unowned entities because they are the repository of the product of an autonomous application of ideas and actions to existence to which there is a valid moral claim.

    In regard to time limits on the ownership of intellectual property it is necessary to distinguish between the transfer of material objects embodying applied ideas from the ideas that can be further applied in the future. Material wealth requires continuing efforts of heirs to it in order to sustain its value (good management, investment, etc.) thus earning in their own right that property. The value of intellectual property does not, so to protect it into perpetuity would be to guarantee a benefit of unearned wealth.

    A cutoff at 50 years after the death of the creator would protect his ability to benefit from the value he created by guaranteeing to any prospective purchaser of his rights that the value would not evaporate if the creator died shortly after the sale was completed.

    Here too, time limits are a recognition of the fact that ownership devolves not from the stuff of existent objects, but from the human actions they embody in the absence of which no value would exist.

    And that phrase is the ultimate source of ownership. The investments of time, mental labor, and physical labor are necessary, but they exist in abundance and cannot produce a value without an idea. The idea is that which constitutes an addition to the sum of all human knowledge and capacities accumulated throughout history that benefits all mankind.

    IP is the means of a moral government to guarantee exclusive disposition to a creator of the values he creates. The definition of such values is: that which, but for the creator's efforts, would not exist.

    ------------------------
    Compiled from my replies in the vigorous debate in progress over Kinsella's article at Mises.org: http://blog.mises.org/archives/009002.asp

     

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  80.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:04pm

    Re:


    To those looking to destroy intellectual property rights: have you thought about its role in other industries? Besides music, I haven't heard anyone else argue about intellectual property in any other field. Literature? Film? Illustration? Photography?


    Do a search on this site. We've addressed why IP doesn't make sense for every one of those. But thanks for making false assumptions.

     

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  81.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:06pm

    Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    Lonnie E. Holder wrote:

    Well then, if that is really true I guess those shoulders the creator was standing on were really, really short.

    The main pair of shoulders that Einstein was standing on were those of Newton. You know, the one who came up with the saying "standing on the shoulders of giants"...

     

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  82.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Cygnus

    Lonnie E. Holder wrote:

    You posit that the gaps were necessary for the theory to exist. Why? Yes, it is true that Einstein was trying to understand why certain phenomenon did not fit existing theories. How did he go about doing that? He essentially said, gee, what if I do not assume that the current theories are correct, and instead start from scratch (i.e., forget about the gaps because they are messing me up - start over again)? What do I end up with?

    Einstein did not “start from scratch”. He simply took a fresh look at some aspects of what had already been done. Example: Maxwell’s equations; he didn’t throw those away, he built on them and made them stronger. He didn’t come up with the Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction; that had already been derived from Maxwell’s equations. His Special Relativity theory was mainly a simpler way to visualize a whole bunch of phenomena that had already been known.

    And as for his contributions to quantum theory—now there’s one monumental example of collaborative work in action. No single person was the “mastermind” of quantum theory—it was made up of contributions from Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, Noether, Feynman and loads of others. Who is the baker who should “own” this particular loaf of bread? Nobody.

     

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  83.  
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    Oren, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Hopefully this makes sense....

    "That is, if I make a loaf of bread, and then sell it to someone, I no longer have control over that loaf of bread."

    Um... are you kidding?

    First of all, let's try a better analogy. I'd say that, for example, a musician selling their songs (in whatever format, whether LP, CD or MP3) are not selling the song itself (like the baker selling the bread), but are instead selling the packaging of their song (more like selling a bag to hold the bread). The buyer can smell the bread, and maybe taste the bread, but does not own the bread, cannot resell the bread, and cannot redistribute unlimited copies of the bread. They can, however, let others smell and taste the bread, and they can re-sell the bread along with the bag it came in. So, we take it back to IP - you buy the latest crappy pop song from Amazon, DRM-free. You can listen to it, you can copy it and email it to your friends (or really the whole world) and, though this isn't legal in today's world, you have not done anything with the actual IP. Just the package for the IP. You see, it isn't the music which is an infinite good, but the digital packaging of that music.

     

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  84.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    The problem with the "scarcity = property rights", is that you are talking about physical property, where copyright is directly talk about non-physical property.

    Sure. We agree that they are fundamentally different. So why is it that copyright supporters, such as yourself, say we should treat the non-physical, infinite good, the same as a scarce resource?

    The entire purpose of property rights was to define boundaries of goods where scarcity means not everyone can own it. But if everyone can get their own copy, at no additional cost, there's simply no need for porperty rights. It makes no sense.

    There is a scarcity of good musicians. It is not the cost to reproduce that is at issue, but the cost for the musician to create the music. This musician is a scarce commodity. What is his value? The market can make that determination.

    First of all, we never said that musicians or the creation of new music wasn't a scarce good. In fact, we've discussed, at length, that it often makes sense to charge for that.

    And you are right, the market should make the determination. So why do we interfere with the market making that determination by setting up gov't-backed monopolies?

    What if it cost $500,000 to create an album of music. Would you pay $500,000 for the 1 CD that was created? Maybe if you were extremely wealthy you would. But in all likelihood no one would put up the money for that CD. But what if you priced the CD at $5, would 100,000 people buy it. This is far more likely.

    But that's a *business model* decision, not a legal one. It's not one that politicians or gov'ts should be involved in. Without gov't backing, if it costs $500k to create an album, artists would come up with ways to make that work. In fact, we've already seen it. We recently wrote of a band that raised capital in exchange for equity, allowing the band to pay off its investors via concert revenue, rather than by selling the album itself. Or, even better, we've written about plenty of experiments where bands get fans to PREPAY for the creation of the album (which, as you noted, is a scarce good). Then they give those fans special priveleges (another scarce good) that makes it worth their while.

    The point is there are plenty of business models that don't require this nasty little gov't-backed monopoly called copyright.

    What if only 1 person bought it and copied it and gave it for free to everyone? Would the music get produced? It would not because the musician would lose $499,995. If only there was some way to allow for cheaper art by mass distribution but would still allow for the artist to get paid for the cost of creating the art. Oh, there is, it is called copyright.

    You're making a huge (and wildly incorrect) leap here that the only such business model is copyright. There are other business models that don't require copyright.

    When examining copyright, let completely ignore physical constraints and costs, but the cost to the artist. Is it better that we have some way for people to earn a living by creating art and having the common person have access to the art. Or is it better that no (good) art is produced or only extremely wealthy people can have access to art, because there is no other way for an artist to make money?

    Again, you make this same, ridiculous, assumption that there is no way to make money sans copyright. That's wrong. We've been showing for years that there are many other models.

    The creation of a market is to provide sellers and buyers an opportunity to exchange items of value. The scarcer the good the more value it has.

    No. Scarcity has little to do with value in most cases. It impacts *price* but price and value are different.

    However, if it is easy to reproduce, the value for which the artist can get for it is going to be greatly diminished. The cost to the artist will be too great and the artist will no longer produce art.

    That's why we just saw Trent Reznor release his music for free and make millions of dollars in doing so... Oh whoops, that actually proves you're wrong.

     

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  85.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    You, sir, are doing satire, right?

    I append this quote from the site you referenced:

    "Einstein later added the adjective "special" to describe this initial theory, in contradistinction to the 1915 theory of General Relativity, his relativistic theory of gravitation (of which Einstein stands as the undisputed sole author)."

    The site you referenced noted that Einstein used mathematical tools developed by others in his theories of relativity, but as with an analogy I made earlier, the hammer and chisel were but tools for Da Vinci when he created the Pieta. Somehow, seeing the hammer and chisel as being "the shoulders of giants" is just a bit of a stretch for me.

    Similarly, development of a mathematical equation may be incredibly awesome, but unless someone recognizes the value of that equation it is little more than a philosphical novelty. Einstein recognized what those equations meant, how to tie them together, and how to fix the errors in theory left by others in his theories of relativity (as did Poincaré during his parallel, independent development of the theory of special relativity).

    Given how much the others missed in their little bits and pieces, and the work that Einstein (and Poincaré) did, perhaps standing on the shoulders of particularly short midgets would be a better phrase.

     

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  86.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    Unsurprisingly, Techdirt's comment-post code seems to have some problems. Blame the double posts on them, not me, since I only clicked the button once.

    Thanks for the insult. Normally when people find bugs, they send us the details, and we work to figure out what's the problem. Instead, you chose to insult us. Very friendly of you.

    Anyway, considering that it's only you where the double posts are occurring, and everyone else seems perfectly able to post single posts, there appears to be an awful lot of evidence that the problem is not, in fact, on our end.

    However, rather than take that stance, I'll ask you nicely to provide any details you can concerning your comments, so we can figure out if this is a bug that we can address.

     

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  87.  
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    John Bennett, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    property

    Property and the set of rights that attach to it are the creation of the state. It can define, enforce, and adjudicate it. And the state can change those rights. It is that simple.

     

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  88.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Cygnus

    From the web site http://home.att.net/~numericana/answer/record.htm

    "Einstein later added the adjective "special" to describe this initial theory, in contradistinction to the 1915 theory of General Relativity, his relativistic theory of gravitation (of which Einstein stands as the undisputed sole author)."

     

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  89.  
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    d, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    He essentially said, gee, what if I do not assume that the current theories are correct, and instead start from scratch (i.e., forget about the gaps because they are messing me up - start over again)?

    Actually, most of his work closed the gaps or reconciled existing frameworks (like mechanics and electromagnetism). He did not start from scratch and on a macro scale many of his theories/findings actually matched up with pre-existing works such as Newtonian physics.

    And calculus is no mere chisel. You can make a statue by using toothpicks if you so desire and have the time, but going away from calculus to describe physics? People are trying that, but are yet to succeed. You must have forgotten one of the people credited with creating basis of calculus. Hint: his name was mentioned here.

     

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  90.  
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    John Bennett, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    property

    Property and the set of rights that attach to it are the creation of the state. It can define, enforce, and adjudicate it. And the state can change those rights. It is that simple.

     

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    pawn, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:32pm

    "What if it cost $500,000 to create an album of music."

    How could it possibly it cost that much to make an album? I have friends who made professional sounding albums for less than $1000.

    To compare apples to apples, you need to develop the cost to write the songs, and the cost to play and record it. Your mistake was including the cost of the RIAA execs and lawyers to defend IP rights.

    Also, this argument isn't just about "stealing music". This argument is about the nature of innovation in America. If innovation becomes increasingly limited due to IP, our country will begin to fall behind technologically (you could argue we already have). This should be an important issue, but people constantly dismiss it because they are comfortable with the status quo.

     

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  92.  
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    John Bennett, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:33pm

    property

    Property and the set of rights that attach to it are the creation of the state. It can define, enforce, and adjudicate it. And the state can change those rights. It is that simple.

     

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    Anon2, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:34pm

    First, I want to applaud Platypus at 11:20 and Bob at 12:02. IMO, they both pretty much nail it.

    There are so many problems with this entire exchange, but some are just too painfully clear for me to ignore.

    For instance, we have a pretty long exchange about IP without a single person using the word "Expression." And yet, that is precisely what IP is based on. Ideas are not copyrightable, only the expression of those ideas is protected by copyright. That's why all of you can sit around thinking and imagining all sorts of stuff, all day long, and not own a single thing. Indeed, it's not simply the expression of an idea -- it's the *fixed* expression of an idea. You have to fix it in some medium before you can assert any rights in it. Have an idea for a book or story? Write it down. Don't blather about it, because then someone else will write it down and you'll be crying about how they stole your idea. Once you fix it in some medium, you have created something -- you've taken your idea, figured out the best way to express it (say, writing), taken a pen with ink, put it to paper, used some form of language, combined the elements of that language in a unique way, and effectively transformed a variety of inputs into an expression of an idea protected by copyright.

    This is not something new. It is not even necessarily the product of a statute (our Copyright Act). It was not suddenly thought up by the Continental Congress, either. As someone pointed out up there, it was John Locke and some other philosophers, whose works the Founders were very much familiar with, who figured it out and expressed it in a way that made sense, but the notion can be traced back even further into the mists of time.

    Next flaw I see over and over again: parts of this system are broken, so let's toss the whole system; it's obviously out-moded. Not true. Clearly, there are elements of how Copyright Law, or IP law in general, that are in light of certain technological advances, in need of revision. But these concepts have withstood the test of time even as there have been numerous shifts and twists and advances. I've seen plenty of aspects of the law that, over time, became increasingly difficult to apply to developments that were not foreseen, but except in a few pretty narrow areas, the laws were with some effort and thought adapted and revised in ways that both made sense and still served their original purpose.

    With respect to IP, this is very clearly the case, and it's inherently lazy for people to say, "hey, we're now in the digital age; too bad for those musicians and writers and artists who put so much time and energy into expressing their ideas and feelings and innermost emotional lives in interesting ways, let them figure out another way to make a living." To me, this is utterly silly and here's why:

    Copyright does not depend upon the scarcity of anything. It's not a loaf of bread (although I have problems with the whole loaf of bread discussion for other reasons as well). Nothing about the origins or purposes of copyright law, or any other part of IP law, ever was dependent in the least upon the scarcity of some good. As someone up there pointed out quite well, IP law is not and never was intended to mirror other forms of property laws; and it's probably just an historical accident that we have inherited the word "property" in that context. It's an analogy, but a rough one at best.

    And yet . . . it does work. The fundamental concept -- that if I have ownership over some defined bundle of rights, I may control those rights, distribute those rights, grant access to those rights or to any part of the bundle, put restrictions on any of the above, etc. -- is remarkably similar whether we're talking about real property or intellectual property.

    So what's happened now that has all of a sudden given rise to such a ruckus. Ideas are being expressed with bits and bites instead of ink and paper. So what? The medium might be different, but the inherent nature of what is being protected -- someone's expression of an idea -- has not disappeared. The writer is now simply using a keyboard to manipulate electrons which in turn are, via packets of "data" flowing at the speed of light, transmitted to others in a way they can understand.

    I honestly fail to see the logic in any of these arguments that somehow digital media and communications have so utterly transformed the landscape as to warrant a completely new way to parse out and assign various rights in a creator's expression of an idea -- be they a writer, or artist, or musician or whatever. When you purchase a recording of Musician X performing a composition he wrote (to keep things simple), you are not buying that composition, nor are you buying his performance of that composition; you have not, and never, ever have, purchased the music, nor do you own the music. You own a copy of that expression, but that is not the entire bundle of rights that went along with it. Never has been that way. You merely have acquired rights in a limited set of the broader bundle of rights owned by whomever owns the copyright in that recording. You can listen to it, you can play it, you can sell your copy of it, but you can't make multiple copies of it and distribute them, because you never acquired the right to do that.

    This is really simple contract principles writ large. I don't see how anyone can consider themselves at all a believer in free markets, or capitalism, or the like, and fail to grasp this utterly basic principle.

     

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  94.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:37pm

    'Do a search on this site. We've addressed why IP doesn't make sense for every one of those.'

    You've argued why you THINK those things should not be bound by IP.

    "To justify copyright, we usually hear assertions such as:
    1. "What if it cost $500,000 to create an album of music."
    2. An author wants to produce a work of fiction. It takes her 1 year to do so."

    This is not an argument for IP, but an argument for a level of compensation and not relevant.


    "In theory, we live in a free-market system. If you produce a product and their is no market for it, too bad. You threw the dice and lost. It is not the intent of the free-market system to guarantee someone a lively-hood."

    Not sure how this is relevant. The co-opting of a single license of access to a particular work into multiple licenses is a denial of payment to the owner of that work.

    'I would even advocate that if you are a true artist, you wouldn't even be motivated by money. Yes, that is a bit extreme, but there are people who are willing to produce with no expectation of making money.'

    It's not extreme. It's silly. Yes some people do expect to be paid for creative work. Someone who buys a CD participates in that contract.

    'My point - if you can't make money with your art you will need to find another method of making money to pay for your living expenses.'

    That's fine, if the person's art isn't selling because no one wants it. If they're not making a living because people have redefined the license to mean what they want it mean, so they won't have to pay for it--that is simply stealing.

    Or in the case of downloading, accepting stolen intellectual property. You're taking it from someone who does not have the right to give it to you.

    Again, most of what is said in this regard is just to muddy the waters to justify the fact that you want to get something for nothing. Not only that, you want to be free of the guilt that should go with that attitude by proclaiming that what you're doing is justified.

     

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  95.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:46pm

    Clash Of The IP Rights

    What if the bread was made from a patented strain of wheat? Does the owner of the wheat patent get to tell the baker what they can do with the bread?

     

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  96.  
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    Vincent Clement, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:46pm

    Re:

    One of the arguments the RIAA uses to support draconian IP laws is that it is required so that content creators can earn a living.

    But like you say, the owner of the create work is the record company. The content creator don't see a cent of the money from fines and lawsuits.

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re:

    It doesn't really matter if the artist makes a living or not.

    If you are misusing a license for a particular work, the owner of that license has the right to enforce their copyright.


    Artists can work around the record companies. Those parts of the model are changing. However, saying that IP laws should no longer apply because they are easy to circumvent is not a a good argument.

    Nor does the RIAA's poor argument about artists making a living negate the value of having IP over a particular work.

     

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  98.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Cygnus

    I missed another of your points I wanted to comment on. With regard from "starting from scratch," Einstein built his theory from ground zero. In fact, starting from ground zero caused him some problems because he eventually had to reconcile previously proven mathematics with his theories, and Maxwell's equations did not fit. However, he was able to use the equations of others when he recognized (in spite of errors left by the developers of those equations) the potential value those equations had in his theory. He was never constrained to accept any of these equations as valid except to the extent that he could fit them together.

    In fact, he rejected Maxwell's equations because he was unable to get Maxwell's equations to fit what he seemed to be observing empirically (according to Maxwell's equations, the speed of light can drop to zero). Eventually, Einstein determined that Maxwell's equations needed a correction (the covariance modification of Maxwell's equations) to be operative relativistically.

     

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  99.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    d:

    Well, except he did start from scratch. Then he began building the math that would explain what he was observing. Yes, he did make corrections (for example, finding that Maxwell's equations required a correction to fit into relativity), but he was building up a theory doing his best to keep an open mind along the way.

    As he built his theory he was verifying that when simplified his theory would yield previously obtained results (not the other way around - there is fundamentally no way to go from Newtonian mechanics to relativity since Newtonian mechanics eliminates relativistic effects).

    True, calculus is no mere chisel. On the other hand, as one of my physics professors advised our class many decades ago, mathematicians know math, physicists know what it means. Theory is a wonderful thing, but the crux of knowledge is knowing how to apply it, and that was a significant part of Einstein's genius.

     

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  100.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Please point out to me where I used Einstein as an example for Intellectual Property arguments. I merely was responding to the notion that all things are built on the shoulders of giants, and that there is, by extension, no original thought.

    I do not confuse SCIENCE (which is not patentable, I might add) for intellectual property arguments. Do not ever confuse the two and do not imply that I did.

     

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  101.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    Newton? Really? All this time I thought Einstein's first point was that Newton was in fact wrong when things approached the speed of light, which forced Einstein to rethink how to approach minor details like gravity, space and time. In fact, I also thought that once Einstein developed his math, he showed how making terrestial assumptions simplified his math to that narrowly applied math of Newton. But maybe I am wrong.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:14pm

    Huh?

    John,

    I happen to believe quite heavily in the EPR Paradox (Where EPR is Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen)

    It's application to ideas, Patents, Copyright, or whatever the devil you want to call it opens a very interestingly new thought experiment. So when you expand the EPR Paradox to a higher level- ideas- it isn't unreasonable to believe an idea can exist with two people at the same time, but interpretation and it's usage to solve problems may differ

    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

    So who is right?
    Well, all parties. But unfortunately, things are getting too complex, and to determine fault, I believe one needs to derive intent of the original IP filing. Was the intent of claiming the IP driven by pushing a industry forward or to derive short-term profit? (read: Patent Trolling) A litmus test for this would probably include proactive ability to secure licensing agreements, distribution plans to end customers, and/or quantity of legal threats.

     

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  103.  
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    Iron Chef, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Huh?

    Here's a link to the paper for the adventurous.

    http://archive.nqeprints.com/95/1/1935_Einstein_Podolsky_Rosen_(Physical_Review_1935 ).pdf

     

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  104.  
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    Willton, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Clash Of The IP Rights

    What if the bread was made from a patented strain of wheat? Does the owner of the wheat patent get to tell the baker what they can do with the bread?

    That would depend on the terms of the sale, wouldn't it?

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re:

    "The point of this post shows that's not true."

    No, the point of Mr. Kinsella's post is that in his opinion it is not true. Just because he says so does not make it so.

     

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  106.  
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    angry dude, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 3:28pm

    Re: another nonsence piece of writing from Mikey

    i am angry dude, and i suck dicks.

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward #42, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re:

    No, it's not problematic. If you can't own a unique song, how the heck are you supposed to be make a living off of it? It's a particular melody and, quite often, unique lyrics. Such a thing is no different than a painter who creates a magnificent painting using his own style of brush strokes.

    I think what we need to do here is define ownership. What the artist ultimately owns is creator rights. Though a song may be sold, and the new owner of the song may do with it what he so chooses within the boundaries of the contract, the song itself remains the work of the artist. That type of ownership can never be altered by any law. Any "ownership" rights beyond that must be dictated by a contract of some sort. If the artist wishes to give his work away, so be it. The same goes for charging money for it. Other things like terms of use can also be dictated, such as restriction for public viewing, and so on. These things are not inherently wrong.

    In the example of the hired baker, the raw materials may not be his, and the finished product may also not be his, but the baked goods are his in the sense that it was his work that created them, not the work of any other bakers in the same shop. His work is what he owns, not the product itself, and this ownership is inherent, no matter what you're doing. It's his bread because he baked it, but because he baked it for his employer with employer-owned ingredients, he has no right to dictate what happens with it.

    Ownership of the product, on the other hand, depends entirely on the situation in which it was created. If a music artist signed a contract stating that content ownership belongs solely to the record label, then the artist has no ownership rights other than the right of claiming that they wrote the song. But if an artist is not bound within a contract, and write a new song of their own accord, that song is theirs and theirs alone. It is up to them to decide how or even if it gets distributed.

     

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  108.  
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    d, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Einstein built his theory from ground zero.

    I am guessing you are referring to General Theory of Relativity. Considering that he built upon works presented to him by an Italian mathematician among others(you can look up the name) that's quite a statement. It's also interesting why is it that Einstein's ideas did not appear in say, 700 B.C. Greece. Lots of smart dudes back then, none of them came up with a similar theory. I wonder why...

     

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  109.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, it's not problematic. If you can't own a unique song, how the heck are you supposed to be make a living off of it?

    Um. Many, many, many, many ways, a lot of which we've been detailing on this blog for years.

    Start here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml

    You don't need to "own" the song. You simply need to use the song to make things you actually do own more valuable -- such as your time, or access to you, or your ability to create new songs.

    I think what we need to do here is define ownership. What the artist ultimately owns is creator rights. Though a song may be sold, and the new owner of the song may do with it what he so chooses within the boundaries of the contract, the song itself remains the work of the artist. That type of ownership can never be altered by any law. Any "ownership" rights beyond that must be dictated by a contract of some sort. If the artist wishes to give his work away, so be it. The same goes for charging money for it. Other things like terms of use can also be dictated, such as restriction for public viewing, and so on. These things are not inherently wrong.

    I see absolutely no rationale for the above. All you're saying is we need to restrict user rights because you're too lazy to come up with a good business model. I don't buy it.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    It is quite entertaining to read the ebb and flow of arguments concerning intellectual property.

    Of course, it is useful to keep in mind that no matter what is presented at this site the law of patents and copyrights is not going to magically disappear as some here so vocally advocate.

    Thus, argue if you will about scarce v. infinite, marginal cost to produce, tangible v. intangible, etc., etc....but at the end of the day it proves to be little more than an exercise in typing skills on a blog.

    Copyrights and patents have been around for centuries, and I fully expect this will hold true during our lifetimes, and those of our children, and those of our childrens' children, and.....

     

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  111.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 5:28pm

    Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    If a machine existed to copy the loaf to be resold again and again, I'm sure the baker would expect the right to own the copies or prohibit the copies from being made.
    Wow. So what about when Jesus multiplied the five loaves to feed all those people? You think he violated the rights of the bakers, huh? Would you call him a thief also?

     

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  112.  
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    eleete, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    Noooo, of course not, Jesus was a pirate.

     

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  113.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Though I know you are asking a rhetorical question, we might also ask why the theory for the laser was developed a good 60 or more years before we were able to actually demonstrate a laser was possible. The theory for television transmission was developed long before it was demonstrated. Sometimes you have many of the pieces, but it takes someone (or a group) to put it all together.

    Einstein did a marvelous thing. He began with the basics (essentially, nothing), and started putting pieces together. He did get hung up because he was gluing together various pieces to see how they fit (and got confused when Maxwell's equations did not work because of c, and also got confused because of problems with Newton's equations - but that could happen to any genius), but it seems that philosophically much of the theoretical work could have been done in 700 B.C., just not the math that went with it. After all, there were other principles described by the Greeks long before we had the math to thoroughly explain the principles.

     

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  114.  
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    Ricky Barnes, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 6:13pm

    Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    Being a long-time admirer of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of objectivism, I'm compelled to say I agree with your points here as they have been argued and I'm quite certain Ms. Rand would agree with your argument as well. If an individual creates a new thing from materials of which they clearly had ownership, ownership has not been transferred to another. If they create a new thing from materials of which they did NOT have ownership, the owner of the materials also has ownership of the new thing. Once ownership of the thing is transferred to another, that new owner ought to have clear liberty to do as they wish with the thing they rightly own. In the case of so-called "intellectual property", say a book, a song, a graphic design, although the creator of the contents of the book, the specifics of the song, of the design, etc. reserves the right to be named as creator of that intellectual property, i.e., alter the artistic composition in anyway they choose as its creator, physical copies of said design, once purchased by another ought to be the sole property of the purchaser provided they do not claim to be the artistic or intellectual creator of said property, do not make additional copies of the item for profit thus taking from the creator the right to reproduce their own work for profit - unless, of course, the original creator has granted such permissions - and transfer ownership of said property with the original creative work intact. All in all, what Ayn would have protested is the acquisition of an artistic or intellectual work to pass off as one's own creation. I believe she would also have protested the duplication of such work for profit without the expressed permission of the original creator to do so. I believe she would have agreed that the artist or intellectual must necessarily reserve the right to make copies of their own work and profit from those copies without having that right taken from them by another without their consent. She would have agreed, however, that ownership of each copy belongs with the purchaser. That ownership of a physical copy of said work does not imply ownership of the artistic or intellectual content for the purposes of duplication. There are many who believe that once they have purchased a copy of an artistic or intellectual work they are free to duplicate it at will. Rand would have disagreed. Ownership of a copy does not grant ownership of the right of duplication. That right is reserved to the creator unless they specifically state otherwise. If duplication rights are granted, then ownership of a copy also means ownership of duplication rights. Of course, to purchase an artistic or intellectual property and then to add value to it by creating a derivative artistic or intellectual work ought to afford the creator of such derivative work the same rights as the creator of the original work FOR THE VALUE ADDED ONLY, not for the value of the original work.

    Admittedly, these issues are not the area of my expertise, however, as an artist and writer myself, once I sell a copy of a design or a piece of writing, although I believe the purchaser has the right to sell the copy purchased to another thus relinquishing ownership of the copy, I do not automatically grant them permission to copy the copy to give away free or for profit. As the content's creator, I reserve that right for myself unless I state otherwise. To copy a purchased copy - to make a new property of my artistic or intellectual work - without my expressed consent steals from me the right of duplication of the work I created. For someone to do so is to take a thing without giving in return. That is deliberate harmful theft, not fairness. It is brutish socialism. It is the belief in the supremacy of the "many" over the individual. It is the belief that the property of one is the "fair" property of anyone who comes along who desires it and takes it without consent. It is the walking through an open door and raiding the cupboards simply because one can. It is the belief that one ought to do a thing simply because one CAN do a thing. Rand would have adamantly disagreed with that point of view.

    "Can" and "ought" are not equal.

     

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  115.  
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    DanC, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 6:34pm

    Re:

    Nothing about the origins or purposes of copyright law, or any other part of IP law, ever was dependent in the least upon the scarcity of some good.

    If you honestly believe this, then you simply don't understand how copyright law works. Copyright law takes a non-scarce good and places a legally protected artificial scarcity on it. Without scarcity as a factor, there's no reason for copyright to exist.

     

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  116.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    To copy a purchased copy - to make a new property of my artistic or intellectual work - without my expressed consent steals from me the right of duplication of the work I created.

    You cannot steal something from someone who has not lost anything. You still retain the original works, thus nothing was stolen from you.

    That is deliberate harmful theft, not fairness. It is brutish socialism.

    Yikes. No. It is not socialism. We just explained this:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081121/0323212915.shtml

    Socialism is about communal ownership. We're talking about pure free market capitalism, where there is not communal ownership, but everyone can "own" their own copy.

    It is the belief that the property of one is the "fair" property of anyone who comes along who desires it and takes it without consent.

    Again, no, this is wrong. The entire purpose of property is to allocate SCARCE resources. Since the resource is scarce you need to properly allocate it, to avoid conflicts over ownership and to create proper incentives.

    When a good is abundant, there is no question of property, because there IS NO CONFLICT. This is not about collective ownership. It's about supply (as in supply and demand), and how that allows individual ownership.

    It is the walking through an open door and raiding the cupboards simply because one can

    Again, no. That would involve scarcities being taken (meaning less for others). That is very much theft and a violation of property rights.

    Rand would have adamantly disagreed with that point of view.

    And that's why Rand was very, very wrong on that point.

     

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  117.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    So then you think that Einstein was reared in a Vacuum? That there were not other contemporaries or predecessors with which he conferred or referred? That there was not Michaelson and Morley, that there was not a Lorentz, a Poincare, Gerber, Hilbert or Max Planck. You think that it was Einstein who invented Calculus? What about guys like Newton and Leibniz, where were they? That's Americanism again, most of these folks were European. Maybe you should read "Out of my Later Years" to determine just who Einstein gives the credit to. I think that I still have a copy around here somewhere. http://home.comcast.net/~xtxinc/MainPage.htm

     

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  118.  
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    bigpicture, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    So then you think that Einstein was reared in a Vacuum? That there were not other contemporaries or predecessors with which he conferred or referred? That there was not Michaelson and Morley, that there was not a Lorentz, a Poincare, Gerber, Hilbert or Max Planck. You think that it was Einstein who invented Calculus? What about guys like Newton and Leibniz, where were they? That's Americanism again, most of these folks were European. Maybe you should read "Out of my Later Years" to determine just who Einstein gives the credit to. I think that I still have a copy around here somewhere. http://home.comcast.net/~xtxinc/MainPage.htm

     

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  119.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    I fail to recall that I ever said that Einstein invented calculus. What I said (or tried to say) was that Einstein started thinking about the behavior of light without attempting to be influenced by the math that existed at that time. I suspect (without proof, unfortunately) that it was this approach that enabled Einstein to recognize that Maxwell's equations and Newton's mechanics both contained errors.

    As for Lorentz, Hilbert (who came darn close to coming up with the theory of special relativity, just a bit behind Einstein) and the others, Einstein recognized pieces of the math he needed for relativity. Yes, those bits and pieces were developed by someone else, but the number of people who were able to put those pieces into a coherent theory was limited to a couple of geniuses. Lorentz had these beautiful transformations, without recognizing the value they had. Poincare had the corrections for Maxwell's equations. You can spell out the list of bits and pieces and the individual histories of each of these small pieces. However, the beauty of what Einstein did remains. He was able to look outside the box and piece it all together into a coherent theory.

    In spite of what he did, and the sole credit he received for general relativity, it took The Establishment to recognize his work, and even he felt those theories were incomplete or inadequate.

    As for the "shoulders of giants," sure, take that stance. However, if that is true, they were mostly blind giants wondering around in the dark, waiting for someone to shine a light that put it all into perspective. Einstein remains one of the two greatest geniuses in the history of mankind (with Newton being considered by most scientists as the greatest).

     

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  120.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 7:29pm

    Re: Re:

    "If you honestly believe this, then you simply don't understand how copyright law works. Copyright law takes a non-scarce good and places a legally protected artificial scarcity on it. Without scarcity as a factor, there's no reason for copyright to exist."

    Actually, the individual to whom your comment was directed is correct.

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's his bread because he baked it,
    In that case then no one should be allowed to eat the bread because they would be destroying his property.

     

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  122.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    Except he.. bought the dough.
    When you create a song, what do you buy beforehand? Nothing. It's creating from nothing.
    You seem to know very little about copyright law. A song that is not fixed in some physical medium (e.g. a recording) cannot be copyrighted and the physical medium cannot be "creating from nothing". In other words, you cannot create something that can be copyrighted from "nothing".

     

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  123.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the individual to whom your comment was directed is correct.

    Actually, the individual to whom the comment was directed is incorrect.

     

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  124.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the individual to whom your comment was directed is correct.

    Actually, MLS, Dan is correct, and you and the original commenter are wrong.

    The entire purpose of copyright law had to do with scarcity.

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:44pm

    Re:

    But these concepts have withstood the test of time even as there have been numerous shifts and twists and advances.
    No, time has shown how faulty they were and as time progresses the evidence only grows as to how wrongheaded they are.
    With respect to IP, this is very clearly the case, and it's inherently lazy for people to say, "hey, we're now in the digital age; too bad for those musicians and writers and artists who put so much time and energy into expressing their ideas and feelings and innermost emotional lives in interesting ways, let them figure out another way to make a living."
    Like those poor buggy whip makers who had to find another way to make a living when the automobile came along. That's the way free markets work. There are plenty of ways to make money with music that don't involve government protected monopolies.
    And yet . . . it does work.
    In the same way that the centrally controlled monopolies of the old Soviet Union worked: for the ones too lazy to compete.
    I honestly fail to see the logic in any of these arguments that somehow digital media and communications have so utterly transformed the landscape...
    They haven't. Like communism, copyright was always a bad idea.
    ...but you can't make multiple copies of it and distribute them, because you never acquired the right to do that.
    Thanks to copyright.
    I don't see how anyone can consider themselves at all a believer in free markets, or capitalism, or the like, and fail to grasp this utterly basic principle.
    I don't see how anyone can consider themselves at all a believer in free markets, or capitalism, or the like, and still argue for the system of government backed monopolies known as copyright.

     

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  126.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:50pm

    Re:

    If they're not making a living because people have redefined the license to mean what they want it mean, so they won't have to pay for it--that is simply stealing.
    Copyright infringement isn't stealing. Going around saying that it is is lying.

     

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  127.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:28pm

    Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    To copy a purchased copy - to make a new property of my artistic or intellectual work - without my expressed consent steals from me the right of duplication of the work I created.
    No, it doesn't. You can still make copies. That hasn't been taken away from you.
    For someone to do so is to take a thing without giving in return. That is deliberate harmful theft, not fairness.
    It may be copyright infringement, but it isn't theft.

     

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  128.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 5:30am

    Redefining License Terms

    "If they're not making a living because people have redefined the license to mean what they want it mean, so they won't have to pay for it--that is simply stealing."

    Its the content producers that have been stealing from the consumer by depriving the consumer of the property rights that normally would accrue to them when they buy the content. Furthermore, as new technologies have emerged, such as being able to copy a CD onto an MP3 device, the content producers claim that this fair use by the consumer is somehow unauthorized.

    Finally, if someone can not make a living because of technological/business reasons, to bad. The auto industry has been laying off workers because less workers are needed to produce a car (technology) and cars are not selling (business).

     

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  129.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're missing a key point here, though... That is, we all agree that NEW WORKS need to be paid for. The question is just how to pay for it. The current modle requires that copies of already-created works be sold in order to fund further works, but that's not the only or the best modle to work from.

    One a song is made, it's really easy to make copies. in fact, an artist needs to do practically nothing, because The Internet will make the copies for him. If he's smart, he'll let that happen. His music will reach much further than his competition, and if he can harness that he'll be able to build a fan base that will fund his future creations.

     

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  130.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Of course, there's dispute on whether "making available" infringes on IP rights...

     

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  131.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Such a thing is no different than a painter who creates a magnificent painting using his own style of brush strokes.

    Such a thing is very different. The painting is a physical, scarce object. You can't (easily) copy a painting. Even another painter using the same techniques would in all likelihood been unable to duplicate the work -- even the original artist would have a hard time.

    Of course, there are ways to make print copies, which is why prints sell for a lot less than original artwork.

    "Music" doesn't have the same limitations, unless you're talking about a particular live performance, or possibly a pressed CD. That physical objects might have similar dynamics as the artist's masterpiece.

     

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  132.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 7:01am

    Re: Something from nothing

    Is it illegal for someone to bring their own wood, copy your chair, and take their wood-turned-chair home without letting you know?

     

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  133.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps the difference of opinion lies in how the term "scarcity" is being used in these comments.

    There is nothing in the proceedings leading to the enactment of the Constitution, nor in the enactment of the first Copyright Act in 1790, that from the perspective of a lawyer is seemingly tied to "scarce goods".

    From the perspective of an economist it may be that economic theory suggests such a tie-in.

    It is possible that each position is correct, but dependent upon which side of the fence one happens to be situated.

     

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  134.  
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    Mojo bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re:

    "1) It's not stealing if you illegally make a digital copy a song from the Internet. It's still illegal, but it's infringement, not stealing."

    If you take something that's not yours, and don't pay for it, that's stealing; if you do all of the above and then sell the item,or provide it to a third party that's infringement.

    I think arguments against IP rights are every bit as ridiculous as the notion of property itself. my native ancestors laughed at the concept. Look where they are now.

    IP rights, when they work as intended, are a big reason why the lion's share of innovation comes from Western cultures; without it, dumbass communists couldn't sit at computers and type their manifestos, they'd be scratching them into a rock with another rock.

     

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  135.  
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    DanC, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    From the Copyright Act of 1790:

    An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, Charts, And books, to
    the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.


    The securing referred to in both the act and the Constitution is the application of artificial scarcity to a non-scarce good. Thus, copyright is inextricably dependent on the issue of scarcity for its existence.

    It is possible that each position is correct, but dependent upon which side of the fence one happens to be situated.

    The only way I can see the opposing position to be correct is if you ignore how copyright actually works. While neither the act or the Constitution explicitly give scarcity as the foundation for copyright law, they likewise fail to state why intellectual works need to be secured in the first place. Of course, the answer is obvious; if the works are not secured, anybody could make a copy of the work due to its non-scarce nature.

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    ."That's why we just saw Trent Reznor release his music for free and make millions of dollars in doing so... Oh whoops, that actually proves you're wrong."

    And Trent Reznor was able to do so because he already had a large fanbase, which he was able to obtain through the use of promotional money provided by a record company; money earned from the exploitation of the copyrights of Mr. Reznor and others.Had Mr. Reznor not formerly chosen to share copyright in his original works, I expect he'd have been hard-pressed to distribute this music to so many millions, regardless of price. Let's try an experiment: come to my studio and make a record, and then see how many people you can give it away to and how you can monetize that. If Mr. Reznor's business model works for him, it oughtta work for you, too, right?

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    People aren't buying my music; they're buying a representation of my music in a fixed storage medium+some snappy graphics and artwork. When they download, (legally or otherwise) they're getting a poor, watered-down approximation of my music, sorta like using a crappy cassette boombox to record it from an overmodualted FM radio signal. I do hope it inspires them to come hear the real thing or buy the version over which I have some quality control...

     

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    nasch, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    "but it seems that philosophically much of the theoretical work could have been done in 700 B.C., just not the math that went with it."

    The math isn't "what went with it", the math is IT! Without the math, Einstein's theories are just some kooky ideas. You cannot reasonably and knowledgeably state that Einstein could have done his work even if no science or math had ever come before to lay the groundwork. It's an absolutely ridiculous statement, and I hope you know that it is. He was a genius, and he did things nobody else was doing and maybe nobody else could have done. And he also relied on the work of other geniuses to do it.

     

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    nasch, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    You seem to be changing your argument from "Einstein didn't need anything from anybody and created his theories from scratch" to "Einstein was a genius and one of the greatest scientists ever". One of these is stupid because it's completely wrong, and the other one is stupid because it's completely obvious. Which kind of stupid do you want to be? ;-) OK that was a little harsh, but seriously, it looks like you've completely changed tack here, and in a couple of comments you explicitly acknowledge that he built on the work of others. So are you done with that argument then?

     

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  140.  
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    nasch, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you take something that's not yours, and don't pay for it, that's stealing;

    Sometimes (you need to add "without authorization" otherwise taking a free sample piece of cheese is stealing). If I download a song that was illegally uploaded, I didn't take anything from anybody, because they still have it. If I hack into a label's server and download their entire catalog, I still didn't take anything from them, because they still have it. I may have infringed copyright, and I certainly broke computer access laws, but I didn't commit theft.

     

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    DanC, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    Had Mr. Reznor not formerly chosen to share copyright in his original works, I expect he'd have been hard-pressed to distribute this music to so many millions

    The "It'll Only Work For" rebuttal system

    Step 1. If it works for an established artist, claim it would never work for a small, independent artist.

    Step 2. If it works for a small, independent artist, claim it would never work for an established artist.

    Rinse and repeat.

    If Mr. Reznor's business model works for him, it oughtta work for you, too, right?

    There are plenty of business models that can be built on leveraging non-scarce goods. You're making the false assumption that Trent Reznor used the only one available to arrive at the false conclusion that if that model doesn't work for you, then you can't leverage free goods.

     

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  142.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You can't duplicate a loaf of bread

    And Trent Reznor was able to do so because he already had a large fanbase, which he was able to obtain through the use of promotional money provided by a record company; money earned from the exploitation of the copyrights of Mr. Reznor and others.Had Mr. Reznor not formerly chosen to share copyright in his original works, I expect he'd have been hard-pressed to distribute this music to so many millions, regardless of price. Let's try an experiment: come to my studio and make a record, and then see how many people you can give it away to and how you can monetize that. If Mr. Reznor's business model works for him, it oughtta work for you, too, right?

    *sigh*

    Can I call Masnick's Law?

    We've pointed out plenty of smaller artists who have done MUCH better thanks to embracing these concepts. No, they didn't make millions of dollars on their first go, but they did much better than they did under the old model.

     

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    Harry Binswanger, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 10:44am

    To stand on shoulders, you have to stand

    What is being overlooked regarding creation is that the creator makes something new out of what came before. Einstein took the preceding physics and mathematics and created new value from it. That next step was not taken by the other employees in the patent office where Einstein worked, it was not taken by the bartender in his pub, it was not taken by "society," it was taken by Einstein. (If Poincare independently took some new steps in this direction, the same applies to him.)

    Every new thought begins in the mind of one individual. If several people, nearly simultaneously, come up with that new thought, then it begins in those few minds--it never emerges from "society."

    From Roark's speech in The Fountainhead:

    "We inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival."

    Copyrights and patents are two different cases. Copyrights are *conditions of sale.* The buyer is put on notice: "all rights reserved." If he agrees to that contract of sale, he is bound by it.

    (The poster who said the creator retains the right to make copies himself, even while others are making unauthorized copies, misunderstands what the creator's right is: it is the creator's right (under contract of sale) to control others' copying that has been violated by unauthorized copying.)

    Patents, on the other hand, protect the material implementation of the creator's idea: the embodiment of, and commercial value of, what he has created. An idea *as such* cannot be owned, but the material embodiment of it in a patented implementation can be (and should be).

    The fundamental issue here is one that Albert raised, and no one, unfortunately, has challenged. He wrote:

    "The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not so much in virtue of his individuality, but rather as a member of a great human society, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave."

    That is a statement of pure collectivism. It is self-refuting: Albert's statement has to apply to itself, which means his view of the individual as a social product is merely the expression of his "social conditioning," not something that can claim objective truth.

    "Society" is only a number of individuals who interact. "Society" does not create anything, only individuals do. And to create, they must begin by *independently* thinking through and understanding what the previous generation of independent thinkers (not "society") have achieved. Again, "what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking." To take the next step, to create a new value, the innovator or artist has to first-handedly take that material, understand it, and originate something of value.

    The theme of "The Fountainhead" is that the source of each new value, large or small, is the independent thinking mind. This is what copyrights and patents protect.

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    When I create a song, what do I buy beforehand? Try thirty thousand dollars worth of instruments and recording gear, twenty years' worth of music lessons plus the rather expensive education required to be able to properly use the recording gear.

     

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    DanC, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you take something that's not yours, and don't pay for it, that's stealing; if you do all of the above and then sell the item,or provide it to a third party that's infringement.

    Your definitions are completely wrong. Taking something (and thereby depriving the rightful owner of its use) without permission is stealing. Copying something without the permission of the copyright or patent holder is infringement.

    I think arguments against IP rights are every bit as ridiculous as the notion of property itself.

    So....you're pro-IP, but anti-property? Either you have a serious typo in your statement, or that's a failed attempt at sarcasm.

    without it, dumbass communists couldn't sit at computers and type their manifestos, they'd be scratching them into a rock with another rock.

    There's so many things wrong with this little unfounded, and quite frankly uneducated rant that I'm not sure it's worth the time to respond to.

     

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    DanC, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    When I create a song, what do I buy beforehand? Try thirty thousand dollars worth of instruments and recording gear, twenty years' worth of music lessons plus the rather expensive education required to be able to properly use the recording gear.

    Which is why the actual creation of the music is scarce. After creation, none of those costs are involved in the reproduction of that music.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: If you thought confusion was bad before...

    If you invest money on a business venture you are not guaranteed a return on that investment. If you produce a product that people want, they will buy the product if it is reasonably priced and conveys value to them.

    If there are no potential customers willing to pay for your product, for whatever reason, you just made a bad business decision. Did you do your "due diligence" to determine if a market existed? The free-market is not about "guaranteeing" that your investment costs will be recovered.

    Can't make money, well make it a hobby and you can still contribute your gifts to society. Psychic income, better than no-income.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: Owning Creations

    Thank you.

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    "What if it cost $500,000 to create an album of music."

    How could it possibly it cost that much to make an album? I have friends who made professional sounding albums for less than $1000.

    A typical major label release costs upwards of 1.25 million dollars, $250,000 of which goes for promotion alone. In the eighties and nineties, there were maybe thirty or forty albums produced that cost over $500,000 to make. Recording budgets are much smaller today, but a record with a $1,000 budget probably isn't worth the disc it's stamped on, 'cause $1,000 will just about buy a thousand manufactured discs.

     

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  150.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 12:27pm

    Re: To stand on shoulders, you have to stand

    (The poster who said the creator retains the right to make copies himself, even while others are making unauthorized copies, misunderstands what the creator's right is: it is the creator's right (under contract of sale) to control others' copying that has been violated by unauthorized copying.)
    No, you misunderstood the comment. Copyright supporters often make exaggerated or even false claims in an attempt to support their position. In this case one such supporter had falsely claimed that when someone else copies a work then the original creator can no longer make copies. That is a clearly false statement attempting to exaggerate the situation and paint the original creator as some kind of victim that they are not. Hence the comment pointing out that falsehood. Now you have trotted out some strawman argument about unauthorized copying and copyright. Nowhere did the comment claim, as you imply, that unauthorized copying does not violate copyright. Clear enough?

     

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  151.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    Creator's Rights

    If I'm the first one in line/queue for something, should I be able to demand a toll from those who queue up after me? I think so. After all, I created the line by being first, didn't I? Never mind that the person behind me would have created the same line if I hadn't been there first. I was first and that's all that matters.

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    "this is really simple contract principles writ large. I don't see how anyone can consider themselves at all a believer in free markets, or capitalism, or the like, and fail to grasp this utterly basic principle.,

    You are correct, scarcity has absolutely nothing to do with this argument, which I believe is more about ethics than economics.

    Writers typically assign a portion of their rights to another party for purposes of monetary exploitation, it's no different from an oil lease. For a copyright to have any value, a lot of people have to labor to make it so, and that labor doesn't stop when the artist finishes a work, nor even when he dies. Many people apart from the creator of the work share in the income from that work, which can continue producing revenue for decades. If a publisher doesn't pitch the song for broadway and movie deals, keep it in the public ear by soliciting new cover versions, continue to add value, the song is forgotten, and it dies and takes the value of the copyright with it.

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    "You cannot steal something from someone who has not lost anything. You still retain the original works, thus nothing was stolen from you."

    Syntax aside, that doesn't work, for me. By that argument, an industrial spy that breaks into a research facility and takes photos of the schematic for your microchip design hasn't stolen anything. Horsesh*t.

     

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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    "to copy a purchased copy - to make a new property of my artistic or intellectual work - without my expressed consent steals from me the right of duplication of the work I created.

    No, it doesn't. You can still make copies. That hasn't been taken away from you.

    For someone to do so is to take a thing without giving in return. That is deliberate harmful theft, not fairness.

    It may be copyright infringement, but it isn't theft."

    Not until you give my work away; at that point, what you've stolen is my opportunity to sell the work to the person you gave it to.

     

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  155.  
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    Mojo Bone, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Creator's Rights

    "If I'm the first one in line/queue for something, should I be able to demand a toll from those who queue up after me? I think so. After all, I created the line by being first, didn't I? Never mind that the person behind me would have created the same line if I hadn't been there first. I was first and that's all that matters.

    If that line is at the patent office, then I'll agree with your post. But as has been pointed out above, patents and copyrights are different, and exist for different reasons.

     

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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Hopefully I will not need to rehash this entire argument from the beginning.

    Einstein began from scratch. He started by thinking about the behavior of light. He initially was unconcerned about any of the math necessary to describe that behavior, but that was the direction he went.

    Once he understood the conditions that the thought needed to be met to describe the behavior of light (no math required), he began trying to understand the math necessary to describe that behavior.

    While he was busily trying to figure out the math, fixing errors in Maxwell's equations, Newtonian mechanics, and others, he put together a nice coherent explanation for the general theory of relativity and the special theory of relativity (the second of which had competition which confirmed his results).

    So, which of my statements is stupid because it is completely wrong?

     

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  157.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    You Can Make Money Without Copyright

    "For a copyright to have any value, a lot of people have to labor to make it so, and that labor doesn't stop when the artist finishes a work, nor even when he dies. Many people apart from the creator of the work share in the income from that work, which can continue producing revenue for decades."

    When stuff enters the public domain, such as Shakespeare's plays, you can still make money producing the work. In fact, without copyright, many more people would be able to produce the work, make money and share the wealth.

    Copyright essentially creates a monopoly tollbooth that excludes others from making an income from that work unless they cough up the "licensing" fee.

    To be clear, I don't have a problem with copyright, provided it is very limited in duration. But to keep babbling that copyright is necessary since "a lot of people have to labor to make it so, and that labor doesn't stop when the artist finishes a work, nor even when he dies." is pure bunk.

     

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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    I disagree that the "math is IT!" If the math was "IT," likely Maxwell, Newton, Lorentz and others would not have made the errors they did in their equations. A significant part of Einstein's genius was to be able to figure out the constraints without resorting to the math, and then begin building a theory that met the constraints. I believe it was his ability to work out the requirements before focusing on the math that enabled him to find and correct the mathematical errors of those who came before him.

    Yes, I did reasonably and knowledgeably state that Einstein may have been able to do his work even if the math (not the science) did not exist. Now, he would have been unable to express his work mathematically, but the concepts could still have been correct.

    Think about it. What were Einstein's contributions? The speed of light is a constant to all observers. Okay. Interesting concept. Einstein realized this had to be true before figuring out how the math explained it. Okay, if the speed of light is constant to all observers, then time must change for a moving observer. Again, math is unnecessary to consider this possibility. I will not bore you with additional conceptual details of theories of relativity.

    Einstein created great controversy when he proposed these ideas, and many learned people struggled for a long time after Einstein proposed these ideas. Einstein's "corrections" to Maxwell and others were not accepted for some time (even Einstein said that he did not believe everything he did, and thought there should be more).

    If Einstein had relied on Maxwell's erroneous equations without realizing they were wrong, then he would have had beautiful theories, but no mathematical expression of those ideas. Of course, we laud Einstein because he not only came up with the theoretical concepts, but he then succeeded in showing that there was math to support them.

     

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    DanC, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    Not until you give my work away; at that point, what you've stolen is my opportunity to sell the work to the person you gave it to.

    Wrong again. You don't "steal" opportunity. You can decrease the potential market or decrease potential sales, but it still isn't theft.

    Why is it so important for some people to equate copyright infringement with theft? They're both illegal; pointing out that they're different doesn't somehow magically justify infringement. They're two different crimes to cover two different offenses.

     

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    Harry Binswanger, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 2:46pm

    Right of duplication--did I misrepresent

    Anonymous coward says I misrepresented the issue of rights and copying, but look at this exchange:

    The original:
    "to copy a purchased copy - to make a new property of my artistic or intellectual work - without my expressed consent steals from me the right of duplication of the work I created."

    Your response:
    "No, it doesn't. You can still make copies. That hasn't been taken away from you."

    It cannot be that the intent of the original was to say that he becomes unable to legally copy his own work. The clear meaning is that the theft is his loss of the right *to control others' duplication* of the work.

    And this is correct: the work was sold under the condition that it not be copied. That condition was attached in order to maintain the creator's revenue stream. The contract was broken, and his revenue stream suffers. His lost revenue is stolen from him.

     

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    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Right of duplication--did I misrepresent

    Oh dear, now you are bringing up contract law. Killer bees will swarm from the cracks and sting you to death. RUN!

     

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    DanC, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Right of duplication--did I misrepresent

    It cannot be that the intent of the original was to say that he becomes unable to legally copy his own work. The clear meaning is that the theft is his loss of the right *to control others' duplication* of the work.

    Still not theft, sorry. His right to control the work has been violated, not lost.

    His lost revenue is stolen from him.

    Sigh....you can't lose something you never received. If you weren't paid for it, you don't magically lose the money you never received. So neither one of you is correct.

     

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  163.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Right of duplication--did I misrepresent

    It cannot be that the intent of the original was to say that he becomes unable to legally copy his own work.
    Why not, if that was what was written? Unlike you, I am not trying to put words into the author's mouth. Furthermore, the original author could easily retract or correct the statement if it indeed was not what he intended to say but has not done so. Who are you to say that the author didn't mean what they wrote?
    The clear meaning is that the theft is his loss of the right *to control others' duplication* of the work.
    No, the clear thing here is that you are trying to twist the original author's words to say something that they obviously didn't. Something much more innocuous. Something along the lines of "unauthorized copying infringes copyright". Well, duh! Who said otherwise? You even buttressed that with a strawman argument implying that I thought unauthorized copying didn't violate copyright (which is certainly untrue).

    And no, copyright infringement isn't theft either.

     

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  164.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you take something that's not yours, and don't pay for it, that's stealing; if you do all of the above and then sell the item,or provide it to a third party that's infringement.
    So, if I take a TV that's not mine, and don't pay for it, that's stealing. But, as soon as I sell that TV to someone else it's no longer theft but infringement? I've seen some pretty wacky "infringement equals theft" arguments but that one pretty much takes the cake.

     

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  165.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    Not until you give my work away; at that point, what you've stolen is my opportunity to sell the work to the person you gave it to.
    If you run a pizza shop and I open a competing shop down the street I may reduce your sales "opportunities". That's known as competition, not theft. But elimination of competition is what government granted monopolies, like copyright, are usually all about.

    Saying you can’t compete with free is saying you can’t compete, period.

     

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  166.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re: Creator's Rights

    "If that line is at the patent office, then I'll agree with your post."

    Wow. You are a really extreme.

     

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  167.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Einstein began from scratch.

    Yeah, we all begin from scratch. And then we build on the work of others.

     

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  168.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 3rd, 2008 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand and Objectivism

    Not until you give my work away; at that point, what you've stolen is my opportunity to sell the work to the person you gave it to.

    As others have done a good job pointing out, you cannot "steal opportunity." If so, then all competition would be illegal. Opportunity is *yours* to act on. You may fail, but that's a business model issue, not a legal one.

     

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  169.  
    identicon
    Another Planet, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 1:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    "Yeah, right on. Every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before. Take Einstein's theories of relativity as an example. He built on what came before. Wait a second. The established scientific community did not believe his theories because they were completely different from the theories that came before. In fact, Einstein's theories simplified leads you to the theories that came before, therefore, Einstein wrote chapter 2 of physical theories (chapter 1, the unified field theory, is a work in progress), so all those other guys (Newton, etc.) that came before Einstein owe Einstein for their theories. Einstein's arrogance in thinking that he had come up with a macroscopic theory of which earthbound theories were a simplification was just too much for many physicists of his day to take.

    So much for the "every creation rests on the shoulders of what went before." There are many creations that deliberately contravened the shoulders of what went before, thus coming up with something unexpected."

    Well said. There's also such a thing as EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC that specifically aims to *not* be built upon what has come before. And some of it succeeds in that aim.

     

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  170.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Another Planet:

    Agreed. Yes, midi, synthesizers, drums, guitars, etc. all existed. However, as noted before, these are but tools. People have created music using bottles, pieces of steel, pipes and other miscellaneous stuff. It is not the value of the tool, but the creativity in using the tool that is important.

    I have also recently been reading about the story of Clessie Cummins. His story exemplifies many of the points I have made in the past. He patented a fuel injection system for diesels in the early days of the diesel. Did his invention "block" anyone. Well, no. Why? Because Cummins, Inc. was the only company that tried to use the device, which was troublesome and somewhat unworkable initially. In fact, it took several decades (the patents had expired at this point) before the industry realized that the Cummins fuel injector was the best possible injector, it just needed the "shoulders of giants" to stand on, but the giants had yet to arrive. Well, actually the giants were there, but their shoulders were elsewhere. When they finally moved their shoulders in the direction of the fuel injector, it was improved and became the core of Cummins diesel engines.

     

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  171.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    I think that is an inappropriate generalization. Few people begin from nothing. Geniuses can do that. Most people use what has gone before as a starting point.

    However, you can frequently tell when someone has started from "scratch." These are the people who do something that everyone else says is impossible or will never work. We have a fancy name for this called "thinking outside the box," or "what would we do if we did not already have the solution?"

    There is a group of people who want to think that all invention is obvious or "just" builds on the work of others. Fortunately, the inventors who come up with a way to do the undoable, the contravention of conventional wisdom, the idea that no one saw coming, ignore as may shoulders of giants as possible so they can do what needs to be done.

     

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  172.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cygnus

    Quite the credible source you have here. Christopher Jon Bjerknes has been described as a racist and an anti-Semite. His work has been harshly criticized by historians and scientists.

     

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  173.  
    identicon
    M. Zachary Johnson, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    PRO-IP, Rights and the Roots of Copyright Opposition

    The discussion of my article here has so far omitted my name, M. Zachary Johnson. The Baker analogy is from my article, which you can read on my blog at:

    www.mzacharyjohnson.com/blog

     

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  174.  
    identicon
    cram, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 5:03pm

    Hi DanC

    "His lost revenue is stolen from him.

    Sigh....you can't lose something you never received. If you weren't paid for it, you don't magically lose the money you never received. So neither one of you is correct."

    What about projected income? For instance, a farmer expects to make a sum of money from his crop but it rains just a few days before harvest and his crop is destroyed. Would you still say he didn't "magically" lose revenue because he never received it? Surely he would have received the money if he had been able to sell the crop.

    Similarly, a company that would have received money from the sales of, say, DVDs can claim loss of revenue if its product sales are being affected by counterfeit DVDs.

     

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  175.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:50pm

    Re:

    Hi cram

    I project that you will give me all of your money. If you don't do as I expect, I will claim a loss of revenue. I might even claim that you stole my income.

     

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  176.  
    identicon
    DanC, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 11:24pm

    Re:

    What about projected income? For instance, a farmer expects to make a sum of money from his crop but it rains just a few days before harvest and his crop is destroyed.

    Failing to meet your projected income, for whatever reason, is exactly that - not receiving the desired amount of income.

    Would you still say he didn't "magically" lose revenue because he never received it? Surely he would have received the money if he had been able to sell the crop.

    No, I would say that the farmer really didn't lose revenue. The farmer lost his crops certainly, and will therefore have lower sales. But suffering from lower-than-expected sales is not a loss. It's a simple point of basic logic - in order to lose something, you need to have possessed it at some point. If the revenue was never received, you cannot lose it, since you never had possession of it.

    Similarly, a company that would have received money from the sales of, say, DVDs can claim loss of revenue if its product sales are being affected by counterfeit DVDs.

    And if they claimed that, they would be wrong. If they wanted to be accurate, they could say that the proliferation of counterfeit DVDs contributed to a decrease in sales.

    "Lost revenue" and, by extension "stolen revenue", are misnomers; what they actually describe (as you inferred) is the difference between actual sales and projected sales, not a loss. It is used as a catch-all term for failing to meet potential (for whatever reason, including piracy).

    I continue to fail to understand those who insist on trying to equate theft with infringement - they're both illegal, and stating that they're different doesn't justify one or the other.

     

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  177.  
    identicon
    cram, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 1:26am

    "No, I would say that the farmer really didn't lose revenue. The farmer lost his crops certainly, and will therefore have lower sales."

    I'm sure no farmer would agree with you. He loses his crops, his sales are gone, and yet he can't claim he has lost money. If he did not make any money from the crop, can he not say he has lost money?

    "But suffering from lower-than-expected sales is not a loss."

    How else would you define loss then, especially in corporate terms? Companies don't have money until they have sold their products. And by your definition of loss, a company can never claim losses unless someone actually steals their money. Isn't that what you are saying?

    "It's a simple point of basic logic - in order to lose something, you need to have possessed it at some point."

    Does that apply to companies? Your point of logic is accepted, but I don't think applying such a narrow definition of loss to companies is anything but semantics.

    When companies claim a loss, they are actually talking about lower than expected sales. To argue that they are not accurately stating their case is futile.

    And I don't see how you can say that lower than expected sales is not a loss, especially if the sales decline could have been averted but for piracy.

    "If the revenue was never received, you cannot lose it, since you never had possession of it."

    Suppose the company I work for goes under a few days before payday, can I claim loss of revenue since I was supposed to receive it? Perhaps I can't, since I never had the money in the first place. I suppose I should live happily in the knowledge that I have not suffered any loss.

    "And if they claimed that, they would be wrong. If they wanted to be accurate, they could say that the proliferation of counterfeit DVDs contributed to a decrease in sales."

    And what does a decrease in sales lead to? Lower income, I suppose. And you are saying companies have no right to claim a loss of income in such instances!

    "Lost revenue" and, by extension "stolen revenue", are misnomers; what they actually describe (as you inferred) is the difference between actual sales and projected sales, not a loss."

    I don't see how they are misnomers. If projected sales are down directly as a result of certain factors, preventable or otherwise, how is it not a loss, especially when the difference as accrued to someone else?

    "I continue to fail to understand those who insist on trying to equate theft with infringement - they're both illegal, and stating that they're different doesn't justify one or the other."

    And it continues to puzzle me why you insist on applying such a narrow definition of loss to enterprises, failing to understand that to lose money, one need not always have it in hand.

     

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  178.  
    identicon
    DanC, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    I'm sure no farmer would agree with you. He loses his crops, his sales are gone, and yet he can't claim he has lost money.

    The opinions of hypothetical farmers don't really matter that much to me, but nonetheless - You are describing a net loss, not lost revenue.

    And what does a decrease in sales lead to? Lower income, I suppose.

    Yes, a decrease in sales would lead to lower income. However, the sales were not made, and the income was not received.

    And you are saying companies have no right to claim a loss of income in such instances!

    I'm saying "lost revenue" is an inaccurate description that does not describe the actual situation.

    If projected sales are down directly as a result of certain factors, preventable or otherwise, how is it not a loss, especially when the difference as accrued to someone else?

    I believe the absurd situation presented in a previous comment shows why this logic doesn't work. Anyone can make a projection, accurate or otherwise. If I project that I'm going to win the lottery, and then fail to do so, I can't turn around and claim the prize money as lost income.

    And it continues to puzzle me why you insist on applying such a narrow definition of loss to enterprises, failing to understand that to lose money, one need not always have it in hand.

    You appear to be mistakenly assuming that "lost" revenue is the only way for a company to claim a loss. It isn't, and I never said it was.

     

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  179.  
    icon
    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Dec 9th, 2008 @ 6:37pm

    Ownable Things

    The IP advocates make a number of errors. One is to just look for a property-assignment rule without first asking if the thing they are talking about is an ownable thing in the first place. They just assume that ideal objects (ideas, patterns) are ownable things too. But they are not. The function of property rights is to assign owners to *scarce* things so that they can be used peacefully and productively, without people violently sparring over them. This of course implies that for non-scarce things, there is no conflict problem to solve in the first place. And since rights are enforceable using real, material force, to set up rights in ideal objects necessarily means giving rights in already-owned scarce objects to people who were not their owners (if you gain a pattern right, that translates to a right to control another person's already-owned material property).

    Second, they assume that "creation" is a good property-allocation rule--it is not, not even for scarce goods. Rather, it is embordering, first use, appropriation. If you transform your property into some more valuable arrangement, this is an act of creation but it is not necessary to ownership, since you already owned the factors of production.

     

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  180.  
    identicon
    Glen Hammond, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 7:22pm

    ownership of your creation

    I believe if one creates somthing from a thought it is known as a work of the mind.When this work of the mind is then written in the form of copyright combined with the artistic work of the mind(drawings etc.) and then left unpublished the author retains ownership and secreacy of his work of the mind and becomes legally protected from third party copiers. This gives proof of anteriority in court.

     

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


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