Discussions About Scarcity vs. Abundance In Copyright From A Century Ago Sound Just Like Those Today

from the history-repeats-itself dept

A reader by the name of Shadow-Slider points us to a fascinating report from a 1897 Copyright Commission in Great Britain in which the report points out how content is different than real property because of the difference between scarcity and abundance. It sounds very much like what we discuss here -- just well over a century ago.
Some of the witnesses whose evidence has been received by Your Majesty's Commission have urged the claim of authors to perpetual copyright, on the ground that the right of an author to property in his published works is as complete and extends as far as the right of any person to any property whatever.

If this analogy were admitted, it appears to me that it would be difficult to dispute the claim of an author to perpetual copyright; but I venture to submit that the claim of an author to a right of property in his published works rests upon a radical economic fallacy, viz., a misconception of the nature of the law of value.

The necessity which is recognize in all civilised societies of conferring rights of private or personal property arises from the limited supply of that for which there is an unlimited demand. It is only from a limitation of supply that there can be any value in exchange.

But supply may be limited either by natural or artificial causes.

Wherever supply is limited by natural causes it is necessary in the public interest to limit the demand, by investing the possessor of the subject of it with proprietary rights, for without them the progressive increase of an unlimited demand operation on a limited supply would lead to the dissolution of society. To whatever extent these rights partake, as they often must, of the character of a monopoly, they do so in virtue of attributes derived from the nature of things, which may be regretted, but must be accepted as inevitable, and which the law is therefore compelled to recognise.

There is no such necessity in the case of those objects which are useful or necessary for mankind of which supply is unlimited. In that which is absolutely unlimited, in the air, in sunlight, in the forces of nature, such as heat, electricity, magnetism, &c., there is no natural exchangeable value, and therefore no property; that which, although absolutely unlimited in itself, nevertheless exceeds all probable or possible demands in exchange, there can be little or no value, and little or no property, e.g., in the sea, in the water of large or unfrequented streams, in the game of a wild country, or in the fish of the sea. It is in fact scarcity which creates value, and renders property necessary. Property exists in order to provide against the evils of natural scarcity. A limitation of supply by artificial causes, creates scarcity in order to create property. To limit that which is in its nature unlimited, and thereby to confer an exchangeable value on that which, without such interference, would be the gratuitous possession of mankind, is to create an artificial monopoly which has no warrant in the nature of things, which serves to produce scarcity where there ought to be abundance, and to confine to the few gifts which were intended for all.
Apparently my own thoughts on this stuff is accidentally derivative of what came way before...


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  1.  
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    TAMTroll, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 7:47pm

    "Apparently my own thoughts on this stuff is accidentally derivative of what came way before... "

    But people never independently come up with similar ideas, which is why IP needs protection. Otherwise, no one would ever come up with any ideas at all and content and innovation would dry up.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 8:07pm

    Re:

    Brilliant!

    A+

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 8:08pm

    Re:

    Uh oh. Have any of the report's authors sued Techdirt yet?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 8:30pm

    1897 UK document in public domain

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    1897 UK document in US public domain

    I think you're free and clear of any "theft" of "intellectual property" in this case. Any document from 1897 is public domain at this point.

    But not if Sonny Bono had had his way: forever minus a day.

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    As an aside, it's pretty amusing that fish, wild game and electricity were thought to be beyond scarcity at the time.

     

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  7.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm sure Mike got the publicity rights all squared away at Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 9:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    While my original comment was sort of lulzy, in retrospect it's rather telling. Imagine that report were created today. If the youngest of those authors was 40, then life + 70 years would likely delay its release into the public domain for 100 years, if not more.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 9:36pm

    I actually think it is too bad that you can't seem to understand that even at that point, they could understand the existence of artificial scarcity. You know, the type of scarcity that makes the movie industry go.

    You could learn a lot if you actually paid attention, rather than just patting yourself on the back for figuring out something that was already long since figured out. I can't wait to hear that you invented coffee next.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    Re:

    Shill bag of crap

     

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  11.  
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    Greedtard (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Re:

    Now, you wouldn't think you could make any money selling shill bags of crap, but you would be surprised. The key in selling shill bags filled with crap is to low ball the goods, just hit the sucker right on the kisser, give it all you've got! You know what they say? If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em, am I right? Every little bit helps.

    You also shouldn't call them shill bags of crap. I prefer calling them: T-Shirts in a Tote Bag!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:33pm

    While it's fun to bait the shills, they are not here to answer but rather to divert you from coming up with good ideas.

    Where was my troll sign?

     

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  13.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:38pm

    AC Shill is at it again.

    I am continually astonished by your ability to say absolutely nothing despite how much you comment. One could put together an entire novel of everything you say and it would probably look very much like a fractal.

     

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  14.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:40pm

    Idea!

    There should be a "shill" button.

     

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  15.  
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    Greedtard (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:46pm

    Re: Idea!

    There should be some kind of pressing fee.

     

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  16.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    *Rant mode engaged*

    By the gods do you LISTEN TO YOURSELF?!

    " You know, the type of scarcity that makes the movie industry go."

    And here's the thing, the major thing that people have been harping on for the past THIRTEEN years since the DMCA has been going on...

    The artificial scarcity is going to move away. It's going to shift. It's going to go poof because of technological breakthroughs that no one industry can predict.

    You have the movie industry and the movie theater industry as the two main examples. There is about to be a very great upheaval because of the various competing factors. I'll name just a few:

    MPAA - caters only to the big guys. But if you're an indie, you're going to be less and less inclined to go to a big company that only looks at you for revenue. The rating system may stay but it's less of a reason for a person to go to the MPAA for a movie rating if they can just post it on the internet.

    Movie theater - What you've FAILED to realize is that the sales of all of those Sony Bravias, the Samsung Smart Series, the Pioneer 3d TVs? That's a little thing called competition. Home theater is replacing the 2D. The 3D might be up for a little while but you need to really think about this... Will 3D sustain the industry for long? No, no it will not. They will have to evolve yet again.

    In both, there are ways for them to sustain their markets which you ACs don't seem to realize when you're spouting off rhetoric at the mouth.

    For the MPAA, they need to dump the "customers are stupid" routine, cater to the indies, and realize that the internet is their greatest marketing tool, not their greatest enemy. They hate piracy. So WHAT? After 10 years, their profits have stabilized at ~1.35 bn every year. They make a lot of money. Controlling the web will NOT bring back the indies that don't want to work with them. It WON'T bring new revenue streams to them. It's four corporations versus the rest of the world. If you want to get technical, since GE owns parts of all of them, it's damn near one corp, to rule them all! They need to realize that newer media is being created Daily without their assistance.

    Did any of them make The Guild? How about Red vs. Blue? Did they make any of the webcomics based on Final Fantasy, Half-Life, Jack Valenti's Mom or any other source of content creation that they would love to get their greedy little paws on to sanction the ever loving crap out of? No, no they did not. So they're bleeding money, artists will leave, and eventually they'll be left to their own devices for their works with little relevance. So they should play nice.

    The movie theater industry. As I said, it has competition and doesn't realize it. I'll assume you already understand the theater industry so as to spare you more reading time. Still, Mike says new business models and here's a few freebies:

    1) Allow more choice of movies in movie theaters. This one says that technically a movie is on loan and can't be shown after so many days. That's BS. There's also the very real FACT that smaller studios can't compete for national airtime when IMAX or Hollywood studios only plays "blockbusters".

    2) More food choices. A movie theater wants my time? Make it an experience I won't forget! Stay ahead of the home theater business. If you're offering the same thing that I can get at home, there's a problem!

    3) Forward thinking. Chris Dodd is a morally bankrupt, dangerously powerful idiot. There, I said it. You want butts in seats? Lower the damn prices of movies. Sell DVDs at releases. Stop thinking in windows and think of how to make the experience better for the customer, not worse.

    I'd go on, but that should be enough for you to digest. What's amazing is that people actually sit here to type about something they know absolutely nothing about. To that, you gain my ire. How about instead of little quibbles, you focus on how to make arguments that progress us forward to the next 100 years?

     

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  17.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re: Idea!

    The point of the shill button is to point them out, not reward their myopic behavior.

     

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  18.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 11:19pm

    Re:

    i have it :)

    (actually, that one is mine... well sorta... you see im one of those freetards that cant seem to make my own stuff and have to steal from hard working avatar designer firms. i figure i am singlehandedly responsible for the loss of over 92.381 trillion dollars and the sacking of 40,000 jobs in the US, denmark and sadly three individuals in Naru which equates to 26.7% of their entire workforce meaning i also have singlehandedly tanked an entire country)


    /on the other hand.. its late and i just may need more sleep is all.

     

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  19.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 11:54pm

    Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    Screw that, it'd make an M. C. Escher painting look like the most rational thing in the world.

     

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  20.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Idea!

    So the money should go to the EFF.

     

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  21.  
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    Greedtard (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 12:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Idea!

    My idea, my money. Let's keep it simple, people!

     

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  22.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 12:38am

    Mirror Images

    Marcus Carab touched on this above, but I think there's an interesting reflection on a few other aspects of economic regulation in that piece.

    In particular: if supply is unlimited, there is no need to regulate demand. But if supply is, in fact, limited, then demand must be regulated in some fashion to apportion those scarce supplies.

    We see this when non-obvious natural limits are identified, and supplemented with significantly more obvious artificial restrictions in an attempt to prevent "Tragedy of the Commons" scenarios (where a resource is exploited to the point of destruction, meaning that nobody benefits any longer).

    The hard part (and the one many folks in the legacy media industries in particular struggle to come to grips with) is identifying cases (such as creative expression) where there really aren't underlying natural limits.

    As long as humans continue to have leisure time (i.e. time not solely devoted to meeting basic physical needs like access to food, water and shelter), we will indulge both our own desire to create and our desire to be entertained by others.

     

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  23.  
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    Frost, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 12:54am

    Re:

    Electricity is, actually, beyond scarcity. The scarcity for that is one of the many, many things that we have artificially induced by using a completely psychotic way to distribute resources, ie money and profit.

    The availability of energy for us to convert into electricity on this planet is functionally unlimited. We're just letting the moneyed interests screw us right now. That's true for the vast majority of all current scarcities - they are artificially induced ones.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 2:27am

    Re:

    The kind of artificial scarcity you are referring to got a lot of people on the guillotine.

    The kind of artificial scarcity you are referring to was one of the reasons the commons revolted so many many times, that is why the queen didn't have the balls to institute a full blown monopoly again but made a little one and called it copyrights because she was afraid of the commons.

    Now you want to institute that again, that is just history repeating itself, lets just hope that this time you people don't get your necks ringed though.

     

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  25.  
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    Red Monkey (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 3:15am

    Is the supply of content really unlimited? A given author can only produce so much in one lifetime. How is this conceptually any different from the earth having only so much oil?

     

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  26.  
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    Modplan (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 3:38am

    Re:

    Scarcity in these instances is defined by the ability to reprint and copy and a work. Supply for a book is how many copies of it there are, who can produce such copies, etc.

    An authors life time cannot be changed by any copyright-like law, and is generally irrelevant to the supply of a particular book except out of transferral of rights and any changes in policy in applying those rights once they've been transferred to the new owner.

    As a matter of course, humans create by their very nature, so yes, technically supply of new content being produced is effectively unlimited.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 3:41am

    Re:

    Have the birthrate of mankind been reduced?
    When has ever the death of a great man stopped anything?

    Did the death of Archimedes stopped math from evolving?
    Did the death of Mozart stopped music creation?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 3:42am

    Re:

    It is unlimited until the day humanity ceases to exist, so for us it is unlimited.

    Because no one will be around to see a world where there is no art.

     

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  29.  
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    cc (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 4:03am

    Re:

    Creation and consumption of content are limited. The copying (publishing) of content isn't any longer, but it used to be as long as copies had to be made on physical media.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 5:06am

    Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    What? What should I say?

    Should I mention that Mike conveniently choses what is and what is not scarce in order to fit his ideals? Should I mention that he fails to look at what is really scarce in the art world (new work) and instead concentrates only on the distribution of copies end of things?

    We could discuss how he thinks that personal time with an artist is somehow valuable, but that the time the artists spends creating new works is somehow unimportant, the there is no scarcity of works in play. Their time is scarce, it seems, but their works and the time required to make them are not.

    I could go on about how he rags on sites like the NYT for putting up paywalls, even though their content is both scarce and unique? Or how he hates on the idea of subscription websites, while profiting from the idea with the "crystal ball" area or whatever it is called here on Techdirt?

    I could also point out that the very things he sells as scarce (like limited edition t-shirts and hoodies) are artificially scarce at best. The limits of each item are arbitrarily set, based on a desire to make people like you think they are getting something special, all the while selling a $5 t-shirt for many times it's true value.

    Even in a world of unlimited digital distribution, the original content is incredibly scarce and valuable. It is what people pay for, not a collection of 1s and 0s, but the scarce original content. Getting stuck narrowly focusing on distribution and forgetting the true value is perhaps the biggest sin.

    Now, how about you actually add something other than insults to the discussion?

     

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  31.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    One at a time we go:
    1) Example?
    2) Again, example?
    3) The crystal ball isn't a paywall or subscription. It is an added bonus, and the people buying are allowed to determine whether or not it is worth the money. That seems to be an argument you don't understand. Consumers should be allowed to make their own decisions on what is worth their money, not the artist and definitely not large corporations.
    4) see point #3, but as a matter of fact all t-shirts costs $5 to make(or less). It's called making a profit. I'm not going to say Mike is doing something wrong when every retailer in the US does the exact same thing.
    5) No one is saying that making stuff doesn't take time, money, sweat and blood. What we are saying is that prices set arbitrarily, and monopolies set indefinitely are wrong. People should be allowed to choose what price they think fair (and the fact that "piracy" was/is rampant tells me that the music and movie industry hasn't hit what people consider fair) and artists and businesses should not be allowed to lock up culture(copyright,trademark) and knowledge(patents) forever. In the end that will kill humanity's future.

    And, frankly, humanity's future is more important than any artist or corporation making money.

    But I'm sure your rose colored glasses just read blah, blah, blah.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous American, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re:

    Electricity is, actually, beyond scarcity. The scarcity for that is one of the many, many things that we have artificially induced by using a completely psychotic way to distribute resources, ie money and profit.
    Wouldn't the money to "do it yourself" be counted as a real scarcity? I'd love to set up a solar array all over my land, but the dollars to do it... oy!
    Or am I missing the point?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 7:03am

    Apparently my own thoughts on this stuff is accidentally derivative of what came way before...

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

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re:

    Actually yeah you're absolutely right, I was thinking about this after I posted the comment. Even the passage above separates electricity from wildlife/fish, basically calling the first true abundance and the second effective abundance.

    It's still amusing with fish and wild game, though :)

     

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  35.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, you've got the point exactly: any apparent scarcity in electricity is actually scarcity of other things needed to produce and harness it. Electricity itself is an abundant resource and, as Frost notes, we probably could eliminate all those secondary scarcities that hold it back if we really tried.

     

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  36.  
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    Unanimous Cow Herd, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Organic Fertilizer: $3.99 /5lb bag.

     

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  37.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    Somehow, that reminds me of the Wheel of Time series...

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    Quote:
    Even in a world of unlimited digital distribution, the original content is incredibly scarce and valuable. It is what people pay for, not a collection of 1s and 0s, but the scarce original content. Getting stuck narrowly focusing on distribution and forgetting the true value is perhaps the biggest sin.


    No moron, what is scarce is the goodwill of people, they won't pay you for being a jackass, they won't pay you to be and aggressive punk, they won't pay you for being a dick.

    That is why nobody buys music anymore, that is why people stop going to theaters and live concerts, because you people are just douches.

    That is why labels will die and anybody who sides with them will suffer the consequences of it.

    Have a nice bankruptcy filling, because you ain't getting my money ever.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Idea!

    There should be a "shill" button

    It's right next to the "adds nothing but calling people shills" button.

    douche.

     

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  40.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    IT's an actual quote - I think, by Hobbes.

     

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  41.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    What? What should I say?

    You might want to try not speaking, because each time you do, you spew ignorance.

    Should I mention that Mike conveniently choses what is and what is not scarce in order to fit his ideals?

    I do not. The definition of what is and is not scarce is pretty clear in economics, and I have not changed it. You have. It's simple. Is the marginal cost of making another copy zero? Yes? It's not scarce. Is the marginal cost greater than zero? Yes. It is scarce. That's all there is to it.

    Why do you lie?

    Should I mention that he fails to look at what is really scarce in the art world (new work) and instead concentrates only on the distribution of copies end of things?

    Also not true. I have pointed out, repeatedly, that the creation of new works is a scarcity.

    Why do you lie?

    We could discuss how he thinks that personal time with an artist is somehow valuable, but that the time the artists spends creating new works is somehow unimportant, the there is no scarcity of works in play. Their time is scarce, it seems, but their works and the time required to make them are not.

    Not true. You are, of course, confusing value and scarcity here, along with multiple other things. But all we're doing is explaining the basic economics that you are ignorant of. It's not that the time to create something is not valuable or unimportant. It is not. In fact, despite your lies, we have explained how and why it is important. However, basic economics -- the kind you ignore -- explains why you cannot successfully, long-term, charge for such goods after they are created and making new copies has a marginal cost of zero.

    I could go on about how he rags on sites like the NYT for putting up paywalls, even though their content is both scarce and unique?

    Content is not scarce. Again, go to the definition above. See it? Right. That's why you're wrong.

    Or how he hates on the idea of subscription websites, while profiting from the idea with the "crystal ball" area or whatever it is called here on Techdirt?

    I'm not against subscriptions. Why do you lie? I've explained how charging for access can make plenty of sense. What does not make sense is locking up content which is not scarce. Notice that with whatever we do with Techdirt, we do not lock up the content?

    Your failure to understand what I say and what I do... and then to pretend I have said or done things different only reflects on your near total inability to comprehend certain subjects.

    I could also point out that the very things he sells as scarce (like limited edition t-shirts and hoodies) are artificially scarce at best.

    Again, a product with a marginal cost greater than zero is scarce. It is not an artificial scarcity. This is basic economics. You should learn some. Of course, you've been posting on this site for years, and we've suggested you take an econ class in the past, but you prefer to be ignorant. It's funny.

    Even in a world of unlimited digital distribution, the original content is incredibly scarce and valuable.

    Again, learn the economic definition. It'll make you look less stupid.

    Now, how about you actually add something other than insults to the discussion?


    Hilarious. Every single thing you wrote above was wrong. And you complain that someone else is not adding to the conversation.

    Dude, seriously. For your own good. Learn some basic economics, or quiet down. You're making yourself look like a fool, and you can't really be that clueless.

     

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  42.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If people had the tools and knowledge to provide their own energy, we would be better off for it. We wouldn't need to continue with centralized power production facilities that use large amounts of toxic materials to make energy 24/7, at which much of it goes to waste during off-peak hours because it's too difficult to shutdown generators and spool them back up as demand for energy fluctuates. That's right, lots of energy goes to waste because they can't stop making it just because it's not at peak demand. That's pollution that doesn't have to be created if we use a decentralized energy production strategy. And It doesn't have to be limited to just one form of production. You can bundle wind, solar, etc. into a combined system that provides energy where any single method alone cannot.

    So back to the topic at hand. Energy is abundant. The universe is literally made of energy. All matter is made of energy. It's the methods of capturing and transporting it that involve scarcities.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is from the Bible. Do a quick Google search and you will find it.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which makes it one of The Oldest Ones In The Book.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    Mike, congrats. You convinced me of everything. So much so that I am not going to post again. Trying to have a discussion with you about anything is pretty much a failure, because (like my ex-wife) you are always right, even when you are most obviously not. Hiding being "economic definitions" is a nice way to avoid facing your own opinions.

    Once you let "marcus" and a few of the other monkeys post, this place pretty much went downhill anyway.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    Good job admitting your inability to support your arguments, TAM.

     

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  47.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    If you act in real life anything like you do on this message board, I'm not surprised she's your ex. Just saying.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Shadow-Slider, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Cool

    I thought Mike would be interested in it.
    Now wonder when or if he is going to post the thing about Barbra Ringer terribly short-sighted reasons about why we needed the 1976 copyright act and seventy five years or life plus fifty

     

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  49.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re:

    "A given author can only produce so much in one lifetime."

    You're mixing 2 different concepts. An artist can of course only produce so much, whatever medium they happen to work in. But that work, once available in a digital form, can be reproduced infinitely and almost instantly.

    An individual's ability to create his art has certainly not been limited, and has most likely been increased many times over in recent decades. However, the old ways of making a profit from it are no longer applicable. One of those ways was reliant on content being scarce (artificially or otherwise). Those days are over.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 7:28pm

    Natural vs artificial scarcity

    So true!
    My thoughts are that all IP today is for too long a time. I do believe that it is reasonable to provide a temporary head start to an inventor, author, etc., and trademark should be allowed to prevent consumer abuse where necessary.

    Today, though, unquestionably IP is used to reward campaign contributors (and blatant payoffs), and we would be better off without it (in that form - I personally refuse to work with people who abuse IP; that's why I am a poor lawyer, economically speaking).

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 7:28pm

    Natural vs artificial scarcity

    So true!
    My thoughts are that all IP today is for too long a time. I do believe that it is reasonable to provide a temporary head start to an inventor, author, etc., and trademark should be allowed to prevent consumer abuse where necessary.

    Today, though, unquestionably IP is used to reward campaign contributors (and blatant payoffs), and we would be better off without it (in that form - I personally refuse to work with people who abuse IP; that's why I am a poor lawyer, economically speaking).

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Patent 40489-0938593812-3948657891 covers this.

    "Reporting and or otherwise providing information to a third party via means of either verbal, written, read, painting sculptures or otherwise anything in a 2 or 3 dimensional form for any reason other than to promote the progresssss of any legitimate artist and or display a true representation..."

    That ones mine- it means I saddle your lawyer.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    PS. I have three lawyer mates and one of them has a boat. Ive never caught fish from my other mates so my conclusion is that lawyers keep the seafood industry going.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2011 @ 11:00pm

    Re:

    I think an interesting view here is that at the time the author thought electricity to be scarce. and presumably not overly important. Lucky we don't have to pay Benny every time we launch a kite and or do anything in modern society..

     

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  55.  
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    Red Monkey (profile), Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 3:22am

    Scarcity of production or distribution

    The supply of content from a given creator remains finite. It is its distribution that has become easier. Since the original argument to the copyright commission presupposed infinite supply, it has no real relevance here.

    Furthermore, the original argument was a rebuttal of the idea of perpetual copyright, not copyright of a finite term.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Roger, Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    I was thinking the same thing. From a psychology standpoint, people that both sarcastically and childishly state others are always right (and then walk away) usually suffer from an intellectual disconnect and thus are unable to see the truth of their own predicament. It is in fact they whom believe everything they say is right and correct, and when feeling threatened typically use the type of response we see here as a means of avoiding that truth. This makes it very difficult for them to have any kind of meaningful long term relationship, whether it be marriage, family, friends, workmates, or even a public forum such as this one. Ask any marriage counselor and they will tell you this kind of personality is the type they deal with most often, and any kind of breakthrough is unlikely without commitment and effort. Quite often the root lies with their childhood and how they were raised. I wouldn't be surprised if one or both of his/her parents suffered from the same personality trait, a trait that can lead a child to feelings of being singled out or blamed, even when there was no wrong doing. Hence why walking away and making statement such as "your always right" tend to become a defense mechanism they may not grow out of. I wouldn't be surprised if he/she suffers from low self esteem as well. I pray they eventually seek out and find the help they so desperately need as this personality type also suffers from a high rate of suicide. While I don't agree with most of what they tend to say, don't let it be said that I don't care.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Roger, Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 5:43am

    Re: *Rant mode engaged*

    I marked your post as insightful because I found it interesting and relatively spot on. It got me thinking and I soon realized that I haven't been to the movie theater even once since buying a big HDTV for my home theater room. In fact I'm having a lot of trouble remembering what the last movie was that I saw at the theater. I'm pretty sure it was Batman Begins, released in 2005. The list of pros versus cons is just too long and compelling, the primary reasons my wife and I don't go to the theater anymore. We even have an unused $25 gift certificate for Cineplex sitting here that is several years old already. Now that should tell you something.

     

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  58.  
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    fairuse (profile), Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 9:17am

    opinion button = shill button

    1st to make sure all know what "the meaning of is is".
    Shill = 22 matches including this post on the date of this post.
    Dictionary said:
    shill | sh il| informal
    noun
    an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an
    enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.


    Comments have {insightful | funny | report} buttons. Adding a button ---> SHILL only gives negative color to opposing positions regardless of the position taken. Plus the code is scarce.
    DOA
    later,
    -d @fairuse

     

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  59.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 7:56pm

    Re: opinion button = shill button

    Hmmm, forgive me but I'm struggling to see your point here.

    By the "22 matches" comment, you seem to suggest that the term is overused, but that means little if the term is in fact true. You then seem to suggest that the idea that a piece of code may be scarce (albeit not true in any way on a web site) might somehow invalidate the concept of certain objections to traditional copyright often suggested on this site. You also seem to suggest that only people who completely agree with TD's points would ever disagree with the moronic points put forward by the ACs here.

    Given that, I would suggest that you're either being deliberately provocative or have a fundamental misunderstanding of the arguments often put forward here. Which is it?

     

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  60.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Cool

    Now wonder when or if he is going to post the thing about Barbra Ringer terribly short-sighted reasons about why we needed the 1976 copyright act and seventy five years or life plus fifty

    Don't know if I saw that one... could you resubmit?

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 8:08pm

    Re:

    "A given author can only produce so much in one lifetime."

    But the collection of all producers can produce more than any single consumer can ever consume in his lifetime. For instance, several hours of video are uploaded to Youtube per minute.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    Sir Louis Mallet's comments were contained in the commission report that was presented to the Crown in 1878.

    I long ago, as have many others associated with copyright law, read the report and took note of the report and all comments thereto, including those by Mallet.

    In the above quoted section Mallet is attempting to explore existing legal theories separate from property law, with his view of propert law being essentially "economics-based", and not "social-construct" based.

    What I found interesting when I first read his comments was that he explored alternate theories such as contract law, and suggested that it might be a more appropriate basis for the preservation of the rights of authors. This does have merit, but at the same time is not without its problems. More particularly, as has been mentioned here before, it would not at all be unusual if the cessation of copyright law was simply replaced by the fertile minds of lawyers and clients alike via the expediency of contracts. If I recall correctly, such a system was explored several years ago by Professor Epstein in a journal article. One of my take-aways from his article was that perhaps there is merit to a copyright system in that it addresses legal rights in a manner that is much more circumspect and defined than would be the case via reliance on contracts.

    Now, contracts are not without their problems, but even so many of the limitations associated with current copyright law (e.g., fair use) would largely be cast aside since First Amendment limitations pertain to federal and state action, in contradistinction to the actions of private parties.

    In a somewhat hamfisted way I am merely noting that shifting from one body of law to another is fraught with the law of unintended consequences. For example, and I do not profess to know the answer since I have not researched the issue, would Congress declining to exercise its power under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 as pertains to "science" leave the states free to enact their own body of law as was the case prior to the Copyright Act of 1976? Obviously, under such a legal regime the First Amendment would once more come to the fore, but at the same time it is not at all clear that the common law of torts could be expanded and applied under general principles of unfair competition. All I wish to note is that the current copyright law does keep both federal and state action in check, and its cessation might prove to be quite problematic over the long run.

    As is sometimes said "The devil you know is better than the one you don't."

    I must admit having a wry smile as I read Mallet's repeated references to "piracy". This is merely an observation, and nothing more should be impled from its mention.

    In sum, while Mallet did struggle with property as a basis for copyright law, it was my view that he did not simply say "it is not property and there are no other legal approaches that would/could pick up the slack".

     

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  63.  
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    fairuse (profile), Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 11:30pm

    Re: Re: opinion button = shill button

    "Given that, I would suggest that you're either being deliberately provocative or have a fundamental misunderstanding of the arguments often put forward here. Which is it?"

    Stirring the pot or as you say, "being deliberately provocative". The only thing that is a puzzle is the increasing us vs them attitude but I may be just noticing it more.

    As for the word shill? It is a word that is usually part of Argumentum ad Hominem. I really don't care who agrees or disagrees with whom. I like to see better dialogue but that is not human nature -- the dialogue will be pretty much, as every forum user/mod knows, "from all points of the compass".

    I'll try to keep a lid on poking folks in the ribs with a stick.
    -d

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Idea!

    So, you're objecting to a "shill" button because it would lower the debate and institutionalize ad homineim attacks?

    I agree, but your use of interesting parting shots suggests you don't agree with yourself.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Howard the Duck, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    Great job at promoting discussion TD. A guy post on here for years, giving the minions fodder for their cannons. He is a scarcity, as there are not many who would face your crew on a daily basis. You insult him and go on about his ignorance, then your attack dogs come at him with a bunch of psycho babble BS. Love the way you connect with fans.

    Sorry, I forgot how profoundly ignorant I am.

     

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  66.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    So wait... I'm responsible for making TAM never post again?

    Do I get a medal?

     

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  67.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    "Love the way you connect with fans. "

    You would consider that person a fan? I think that even if Mike's business model focused on page views then they would be more of a liability than a fan.

     

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  68.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    "While I don't agree with most of what they tend to say, don't let it be said that I don't care."

    It is important to remember that behind every commenter fitting the stereotype of an internet troll there is a person, who may be very troubled. That seems far more likely than the apparently prevalent theory that everyone is a shill. The competing theory would be that non-troubled people actually get a kick out of wasting everyone else's time, but I have trouble believing that anyone could get sufficient pleasure out of such a tediously pointless task (I certainly don't get pleasure from replying to them).

     

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  69.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    "Do I get a medal?"

    We could make you a nice organ grinder monkey hat if you like.

     

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  70.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    A guy post on here for years, giving the minions fodder for their cannons. He is a scarcity, as there are not many who would face your crew on a daily basis. You insult him and go on about his ignorance, then your attack dogs come at him with a bunch of psycho babble BS. Love the way you connect with fans.

    We have absolutely no problem with anyone willing to engage in reasoned discussion.

    However, if you state something from a position of ignorance, are shown how and why you are wrong, and then continues to spew ignorance, do not be surprised if people call you on it.

    We're open to all opinions, but if you get your facts wrong, we're going to call you on it. That's very much about connecting with your fans.

    People who purposely come here to lie and states falsehoods are not fans.

     

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  71.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    "behind every commenter fitting the stereotype of an internet troll there is a person, who may be very troubled"

    So, aren't people here being kind to presume that those people are paid to act in such a pointless and unproductive, hateful way? Given that the alternative is that they're sad, lonely, pathetic people whose only joy appears to be derailing honest discussion among people they disagree with (for often nebulous and stupid reasons), isn't that a kind of a complimentary assumption?

     

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  72.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    "A guy post on here for years, giving the minions fodder for their cannons"

    Assuming he's the same person I'm assuming he is (he's changed logins on a regular basis, finally not logging in altogether, in a pathetic attempt to hide that he's the same poster), I'm yet to see him post a valid point, let alone in vite discussion with those points. He's attacked me on a regular basis as "pirate", he ignores any facts that contradict his preconceived notions, then runs off to another thread when proven conclusively wrong.

    Those "minions" looking for "fodder" are actually people trying to discuss very valid and very important points about the way culture is consumed. Doing what he does in response is idiotic at best. These are not the actions of a healthy individual, and he derails any honest discussion. Most regular posters don't agree with Mike 100% of the time, and it's very possible to see honest debate in these threads. But, when this troll turns up, everyone forgets discussion of the facts at hand and proceed to debunk his moronic and inaccurate rantings.

    It's sad, because it devalues discussion here. But, I'm as guilty of it as anyone else, and I can give a good reason - I don't want casual readers to be taken in by his lies and distortions. I wonder what his excuse for making them in the first place is?

    "He is a scarcity, as there are not many who would face your crew on a daily basis."

    Mike's "crew" is, I presume, made up of people like me: fed up consumers tired of having to jump through hoops to access content, and willing to discuss alternatives to the now-unworkable traditional business models.

    The fact is that the content companies have been making a lot of mistakes, and have been making them for over a decade. People like me want to discuss these mistakes and workable alternatives but, again, he makes it difficult. This is not something that should be commended.

    "Love the way you connect with fans."

    Given that at least one of his alternative logins was most probably "the anti-Mike", a login created solely to contradict everything Mike says no matter how logically or provably correct it was, that's hardly a "fan". If you want to see how he connects with actual "fans", take a look at the weekly posts he invites regular posters and the way he regularly joins in on the conversation here, for examples.

    "Sorry, I forgot how profoundly ignorant I am."

    You've written a paragraph defending one of the site's most notorious trolls, who devalues every thread he posts in. You might be missing some knowledge about the real situation if you think that's a good thing.

     

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  73.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC Shill is at it again.

    "So, aren't people here being kind to presume that those people are paid to act in such a pointless and unproductive, hateful way?"

    I tend to think that being an asshole because of greed is worse than just being an asshole. Maybe you're right in that they could be desperate for cash for a nobler purpose.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Re: Re: *Rant mode engaged*

    "It got me thinking and I soon realized that I haven't been to the movie theater even once since buying a big HDTV for my home theater room."

    I'm wondering if people are actually running mini theatres from home yet. I can imagine that as they tend to do with watching sports, someone will come along and try to make it illegal if it becomes common.

     

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


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