Jaron Lanier And Gobbledygook Economics

from the that's-not-actually-true.-at-all. dept

Okay, okay. So many people have been submitting Jaron Lanier's latest Wired opinion piece, which is really an excerpt from his new book, Who Owns the Future?, that clearly it needs some sort of response. As you may recall, Lanier trades on his cred as an early-digerati-turned-contrarian to sell lots of books about just how awful the digital world is these days. Of course, any competent look at his claims almost always shows an incredible amount of flat-out wrongness to such a level that it defies belief that Lanier could honestly believe what he is saying.

If one hoped that his latest work would be a trip back towards reality, they will apparently be sadly disappointed. Instead, unfortunately, it appears that Lanier has moved even further away from an accurate model of how the world works, instead preferring to tell us all how he thinks the world works, despite the fact that reality, and all of the data, contradicts his beliefs. I am actually in the middle of (re-)reading a book about the history of economics, and there's a great section on two of the earliest economists, Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo, who both constructed some of the earliest "economic models," which predicted that we were a doomed species (and very soon). Both were extremely incorrect, in part because they failed to understand the basic economic nature of knowledge and how it creates increasing returns, but rather could only see a world in which diminishing returns resulted in inevitable end of all of civilization within a period of probably just a few decades.

Lanier's predictions remind me very much of David Ricardo, in particular. Despite the evidence of new wealth creation from industrialization, Ricardo dismissed it all as a passing fad, and rather was sure that we were in a complete death spiral due to diminishing returns to land. Ricardo's main problem was that he really only focused on one variable in the market, and more or less refused to look at the market ecosystem as a whole. Furthermore, in looking at a single variable -- in Ricardo's case, the price of corn -- and then extrapolating that if it was going up, it would go up forever, and suddenly people wouldn't be able to afford food anymore and society would collapse.

With Lanier, we see something similar, in that he extrapolates out the amount that people pay for music, and assumes that (1) forever will it go down and (2) that this spiral downward will have ripple effects throughout all of society. The problem is, as with Ricardo, the basis of nearly everything he states is not true.
When copying is easy, there is almost no intrinsic scarcity, and therefore market value collapses.
As we have explained many times before, Lanier is confusing price and value. The price of something may decline, but that does not mean the value of it declines. Two quick examples should demonstrate this. All of us value air quite a bit. So much so that we would all die without it. Air has, effectively, infinite value to nearly all of us, save the miniscule population who wish to commit suicide by way of suffocation. And yet, the direct price that we all pay for air tends to be zero in most cases (scuba divers being one tiny exception). The price is certainly not correlated with the value.

My second example may be more directly clear for those who refuse to see air as a product. The price of computing has declined precipitously for decades, while the power behind the computing has increased even more tremendously. This is often referred to as Moore's law, which has continued to hold true for decades, and is likely to continue to for quite some time. The computers we all have today are vastly more "valuable" than the computers we had 10 years ago. They do much more. They enable much more. And yet, these newer computers are all almost certainly less expensive than their comparable past offerings. We do not see anyone begrudging that the "value" of computers is declining because, obviously, that would be silly and nonsensical. Price and value are two separate economic variables. They may interact in interesting ways, but people will only purchase a good if the value to them exceeds the price. This is the basic nature of economics. We buy when the value exceeds the price. To argue that a declining price automatically means a decline in value is simply incorrect.

Similarly, Lanier's complaint that a lack of scarcity is the problem is, once again, not supported by reality. What is clear is that for every abundance, new scarcities are created. An abundance of content leads to a scarcity of attention, for example. The challenge for anyone facing a market in which one product shifts from being scarce to being abundant is to find the related scarcities, but Lanier seems to ignore the fact that such a thing is possible.
What matters most is whether we are contributing to a system that will be good for us all in the long term. If you never knew the music business as it was, the loss of what used to be a significant middle-class job pool might not seem important. I will demonstrate, however, that we should perceive an early warning for the rest of us.
It is unclear exactly which "significant middle-class job pool" he is discussing, but as we recently noted, employment in the music and movie business recently reached an all time high.
Copying a musician's music ruins economic dignity. It doesn't necessarily deny the musician any form of income, but it does mean that the musician is restricted to a real-time economic life. That means one gets paid to perform, perhaps, but not paid for music one has recorded in the past.
So much to unpack in this one bizarre paragraph. First, I have no idea what "economic dignity" means. I have not heard the term before, and it seems to have no real meaning. It appears that Lanier is arguing that having to work for a living is some how undignified, which is quite a condescending and elitist statement to everyone else in the world, nearly all of whom work for a living and rely on the fact that they work each and every day to earn money. The vast majority of the world does not get paid for work they did in the past, but the work they do today (though their past work can often influence how much they can get paid today). This actually seems rather dignified to me, but that's a personal perspective. I fail to see how people having to work to earn money is somehow an affront to society.

And, of course, that already assumes that when someone copies music, it means that a musician is "restricted to a real-time economic life." Once again, the actual data refutes Lanier's basic claims. Why Wired would publish something that is factually incorrect -- and easily proven so -- is beyond me. There are plenty of musicians, for example, that disprove this basic claim. Jonathan Coulton is not living a real-time economic life in having to make sure he gets new money everyday, even as he allows fans to copy his music. Neither is Alex Day, or Amanda Palmer or Corey Smith or the long, long, long list of others we can point to who don't mind people copying their music, but have found reasonable ways to make decent (and sometimes quite impressive) sums of money from their fans. Of course, when confronted with this proof that his argument is completely bogus in the past, Lanier's response -- incredibly -- is to state that all of these artists are lying.
It is one thing to sing for your supper occasionally, but to have to do so for every meal forces you into a peasant's dilemma: The peasant's dilemma is that there's no buffer. A musician who is sick or old, or who has a sick kid, cannot perform and cannot earn. A few musicians, a very tiny number indeed, will do well, but even the most successful real-time-only careers can fall apart suddenly because of a spate of bad luck. Real life cannot avoid those spates, so eventually almost everyone living a real-time economic life falls on hard times.
First of all, as we noted above, none of those musicians are singing for their supper at "every meal." They all have very significant buffers. Case in point, Amanda Palmer recently had to cancel a bunch of shows to tend to a friend who had health issues.

However, there is a larger point here, which is this: Lanier seems to imply that in the past, every musician was able to live comfortably off the sales of their music, and none had to work daily to make a living. This is, by any stretch of the imagination, laughable. It was under the old system that only a "very tiny number indeed" were able to do well. And the rest made nothing and were flushed out of the system. What we have today is a system with much more opportunity to build a career, and to control that career. Furthermore, the idea that if you can't perform live, you cannot make money is simply untrue. Look at the example we pointed to of Alex Day above. He doesn't perform live, but has built a very nice career for himself. Artists today are raising money via new methods like Kickstarter that don't require them to tour (though, certainly, some tie their campaigns to touring). The idea that if people are copying your music you can only make money from performance is simply not true.
Meanwhile, some third-party spy service like a social network or search engine will invariably create persistent wealth from the information that is copied, the recordings. A musician living a real-time career, divorced from what used to be commonplace levees like royalties or mechanicals, is still free to pursue reputation and even income (through live gigs, t-shirts, etc.), but no longer wealth. The wealth goes to the central server.
Again, this is an incredible (by which I mean incorrect) rewriting of history. Under the old system, in which there were gatekeepers, the vast majority of the income went to the record labels, and not to the artists. And note that Lanier does not explain why you cannot get "wealth" from other means. He just states it as true. And yet, as we've seen time and time again, many artists who embrace new models have become quite wealthy doing so. And tons of artists trying to make it under the old model did terribly.
Please notice how similar music is to mortgages.
Wait, what?
When a mortgage is leveraged and bundled into complex undisclosed securities by unannounced third parties over a network, then the homeowner suffers a reduced chance at access to wealth.
Let me double down on the "wait, what?" statement from before. Let's be frank here: this is not true. First of all, a mortgage (a liability) is nothing like a song (an asset). When a mortgage is "leveraged and bundled into complex undisclosed securities by unannounced third parties over a network" is has no impact whatsoever on the homeowner's "chance at access to wealth." None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. That's because nothing directly changes for the homeowner. They still have to pay their mortgage. And the mortgage is not an investment in wealth, it's a liability.

The securitization of mortgages is a completely different issues, having to do much more with insurance, which later turned into speculation. But, again, this has nothing whatsoever to do with music, because Lanier seems to be comparing apples to orangutans.
To put it another way, the promise of the homeowner to repay the loan can only be made once, but that promise, and the risk that the loan will not be repaid, can be received innumerable times. Therefore the homeowner will end up paying for that amplified risk, somehow. It will eventually turn into higher taxes (to bail out a financial concern that is "too big to fail"), reduced property values in a neighborhood burdened by stupid mortgages, and reduced access to credit.
Lanier is pointing out the serious issue of systemic risk from an interconnected and overly centralized banking system, combined with crony capitalism that seeks to prop up the system. But, again, that's completely unrelated to anything having to do with music. In fact, if you really wanted to use this analogy, it would likely go in the other direction. Because unlike the banking system, what we've seen in the music industry is a less monolithic, less interconnected, more distributed, more open system that has allowed for greater innovation and value creation spreading out to the nodes, rather than being hoarded in the center.
Access to credit becomes scarce for all but those with the absolute tip-top credit ratings once all the remote recipients of the promise to repay have amplified risk. Even the wealthiest nations can have trouble holding on to top ratings. The world of real people, as opposed to the fantasy of the "sure thing," becomes disreputable to the point that lenders don't want to lend anymore.
I've completely lost track of the analogy here, because there is no actual analogy. I'm guessing that he's now arguing that the labels are the banks, so... are we supposed to be rooting for the banks here? Should we want the record labels to be considered "too big to fail"? The analogy is so confused that we're left wondering who we're rooting for here.
Once you see it, it's so clear.
Clear as mud.
A mortgage is similar to a music file. A securitized mortgage is similar to a pirated music file.
No. They're nothing alike. They're about as unalike as you could possibly imagine.
In either case, no immediate harm was done to the person who once upon a time stood to gain a levee benefit. After all, what has happened is just a setting of bits in someone else’s computer. Nothing but an abstract copy has been created; a silent, small change, far away. In the long term, the real people at the source are harmed, however.
Except, again, that the two situations aren't even close to analogous.

At least in the past, we could argue that Lanier was simply making bad assumptions. But with this piece it's gone beyond bad assumptions into what appears to me to be gobbledygook economics. Making some weird statements that make no sense and have no support or basis in reality, and then declaring a to equal b and the case is closed.

It almost makes me wonder if the whole thing is merely a form of performance art or a sort of practical joke, in which Lanier seeks to see how many people he can fool into actually agreeing with an argument that clearly has no logical thread or real basis. But, as a serious piece of market criticism, it is simply not believable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    Wait, have we found one of our trolls? Cause the analogies seem on par with what we see here eh?

    But really, he's not comparing oranges with orangutans because both are real. I'd say he's comparing red gnomes with 1up green mushrooms from Mario. Maybe the relation between them is that he inhaled too much spores from the latter and started seeing the former. Then he wrote all this bs.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:22am

    Well, you can see he's going to dive straight into the idiot pool with this sentence:

    "When copying is easy, there is almost no intrinsic scarcity, and therefore market value collapses."

    When copying is easy, there is no intrinsic scarcity - that much is true. Which is why any alternative examination of this trend has pointed out that this is exactly why said scarcity is no longer a solid basis for a business model. The labels' major problem is that they counter on that scarcity to be infinitely true, and have failed to adapt to a reality where that's not the case.

    It's pretty well proven that artificially trying to force a scarcity where none intrinsically belongs (be it via time windows, region restrictions, etc.) is bound to fail. Any moral argument trying to fallaciously compare infringement to stealing goes out the window when no legal option is available (how can there be a "lost sale" if the product isn't on sale?).

    So, the way forward is to focus offering on those things that either do have scarcity (merchandising and shows, among many other things), or to offer things that have a greater tangible value. This may be a service or something not directly related to the music, but if the labels aren't willing to reduce their prices to attract more customers then they have to offer things people will pay for. Your song may have some intrinsic value, but if I value a copy of it at 60c and you refuse to offer it to me for less than $1.20 then there's never going to be a sale, piracy or no piracy.

    I won't go into the other quotes, since my relatively light knowledge of mortgages and securities would likely make any counter-analogy equally flawed. But it's clear that everything he's saying is either based on faulty pre-assumptions or an attempt at rewriting history to pretend that all musicians had great careers under the labels before those evil pirates came along. That's a pathetically silly fantasy.

     

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:30am

    I like when you post about economics, Mike, since it's your strong suit. And I'm not surprised you took on this guy's claims since they were easily refuted as he obviously has no economics background. But I have a few comments.

    Once again, the actual data refutes Lanier's basic claims. Why Wired would publish something that is factually incorrect -- and easily proven so -- is beyond me.

    I often wonder the same about your site, Mike. You have total noobs tackling complex legal issues that are far beyond their grasp. The same holds true for you. A recent example is where you claimed, as you have claimed many times before, that trademark law is only about "consumer protection." It is about consumer protection, but it's also about protecting markholders. I can easily demonstrate this both as an historic and doctrinal matter, but you refuse to ever acknowledge the point or to engage in a frank discussion about it. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you're going to rip apart the inaccuracies that others report, why are you so unwilling to discuss your own? Why you post stuff that "is factually incorrect -- and easily proven so -- is beyond me." Do you just not care about the truth? That what it looks like to me.

    There are plenty of musicians, for example, that disprove this basic claim. Jonathan Coulton is not living a real-time economic life in having to make sure he gets new money everyday, even as he allows fans to copy his music. Neither is Alex Day, or Amanda Palmer or Corey Smith or the long, long, long list of others we can point to who don't mind people copying their music, but have found reasonable ways to make decent (and sometimes quite impressive) sums of money from their fans.

    Yes, you love to pull out those exceptions and pretend like they're the rule. What about my brother who just published a book? What about my friend the Hollywood cameraman? Why about my friend the composer? They can't tour like Palmer. What about them? How does your fantasy world where there's no exclusive rights work for them?

     

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

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:41am

      Re:

      I love posts like this. You berate Mike for getting things wrong, but you will neither state how he's wrong nor provide examples. You just expect us to take the word of an anonymous commenter "because I'm right", yet attack Mike for doing the same when he provides not only a verifiable set of credentials, but also the sources for where he's drawing some of his ideas and examples.

      You may disagree with his opinions, and you're free to counter them. But the tactic you use is stupid and will never work.

      "What about my brother who just published a book?"

      What about him? What's his book? Fiction or non-fiction? His business model? His strategy? Is he successful in the modern world where eBook purchases are increasingly the way most people consume books? Is he embracing the eBook format, or is he ignoring it hoping people will buy £30 hardcovers instead? Is he allowing everyone to buy his book, or restricting it artificially? Is he successful with his publication? What's his strategy going forward?

      "What about my friend the Hollywood cameraman?"

      What about him? If he's union, his wage on union productions doesn't change depending on how the film is eventually distributed.

      "Why about my friend the composer?"

      What about him? What area does he work in? Does he work digitally or with orchestras? Does he work in niche markets or pop? Is he finding increased work from the growing numbers of independent musicians, films, games and other productions that require his talents?

      Your examples are sadly lacking, and again prove nothing in the face of the documented . Anonymous anecdotes are anecdotal, even if you did bother to give any real information to look at. But you didn't.

      Stop posting vague crap that doesn't even start to counter any of the points in the article, and give us something to discuss. Details are important.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re:

        I love posts like this. You berate Mike for getting things wrong, but you will neither state how he's wrong nor provide examples.

        Huh? I point out the errors all the time. I even gave an example in my post (how Mike pretends that trademark law is ONLY about protecting consumers--it's not). And my point still stands that he's questioning how Wired could let this guy make that post, when Mike himself has hired a bunch of guys to write articles about complex legal issues they don't begin to grasp. An example comes to mind where Zachary (what happened to him? Hope he got canned 'cause that guy is dumb.) wrote an article about trademark law pulling out the old "moron in hurry" test which is not an actual legal standard to argue that there was no confusion and thus no trademark violation. The issue there was dilution, not trademark infringement, so confusion was irrelevant. How could Mike let someone post an article that was 100% wrong in spotting the relevant legal issue? It's hilarious that Mike is questioning Wired when his own house is so completely and terribly out of order. The irony is awesome.

        You may disagree with his opinions, and you're free to counter them. But the tactic you use is stupid and will never work.

        I counter them all the time, yet Mike is too dishonest to discuss his views (and mistakes) in the comments.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          how Mike pretends that trademark law is ONLY about protecting consumers--it's not

          Actually it is. Although many people try to pretend otherwise because it suits them.

          If trademark law was intended to protect companies (except as a byproduct of protecting consumers) then the concept of a trademark being lost because it had become "generic" could not exist.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Actually it is. Although many people try to pretend otherwise because it suits them.

            If trademark law was intended to protect companies (except as a byproduct of protecting consumers) then the concept of a trademark being lost because it had become "generic" could not exist.


            The fact that generic terms can't be marks doesn't disprove that trademark law is not also about protecting markholders. That makes no sense. Just because the protection to markholders isn't infinite doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That would be like me arguing that since markholders are protected from dilution, that proves that consumers don't benefit from trademark law. In short, trademark law protects both consumer and firm since it (1) reduces information costs, and (2) allows firms to internalize goodwill.

            It protects consumers from confusion and deception as to source, sponsorship, and affiliation of goods and services. It provides information information to consumers as the identity and origin of the goods and services so consumers can assess the likely quality. And it reduces consumer search and transaction costs. These are all pro-consumer reasons for trademark.

            It also protects a firm's goodwill in the mark. It encourages quality and discourages deception. It prevents other competitors from passing off the firm's goods and services as their own. And it serves as a marketing and advertising device These are all pro-markholder reasons for trademark.

            If you go back to the common law and look at the sources of modern trademark law, you'd see that benefiting both consumers and markholders alike has always been a part of trademark law. And those purposes are not mutually exclusive. Mike, naturally, pretends like it's only about protecting consumers. He has some weird (intentionally wrong) notion that IP rights are only about benefiting the public directly. It never ceases to amaze me how he can ignore the fact that IP rights also benefit their holders (which in turns benefits the public). I don't get it. I guess he HAS to pretend like that's reality so he can continue his (blind) campaign against intellectual property.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You almost had a decent comment there...then the last paragraph devolved into an attack. So close!

               

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

              •  
                icon
                John Fenderson (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

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

                Not only did it devolve into an attack, but an attack that is entirely and obviously incorrect. There was one correct statement in there, though...

                I don't get it.


                That much is obviously true, or he wouldn't have written the rest of that paragraph.

                 

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

        •  
          identicon
          AC Unknown, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Who should we trust? The one who puts his name out there for everyone to see? Or the one who hides behind a mask and goes "trust me"?

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            cpt kangarooski, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's an ad hom -- just because someone posts anonymously or pseudonymously, that alone doesn't make what they say wrong.

             

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

        •  
          icon
          techflaws (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Huh? I point out the errors all the time

          Huh? You fail at this all the time.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          PaulT (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 3:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Huh? I point out the errors all the time"

          Do you? Including evidence and reasoning as to why he might be mistaken, not just the "I'm wrong because I say so" crap? It's a shame you post anonymously, because otherwise you'd have a comment history I could check, but if the above is any indication of your normal tactics I doubt you've proven anything of the sort. Unless you wish to identify yourself and your credentials, you won't get very far with presenting your opinion as fact without any additions evidence of details.

          "I counter them all the time, yet Mike is too dishonest to discuss his views (and mistakes) in the comments."

          Oh, you're that moron. Perhaps if you kept your childish obsession in check, you could debate everybody else here, an international audience of people with varying views who could debate the facts and do so in front of people who might also learn from the discussion.

          Did you ever think of that, rather than whining that your crush isn't talking to you directly on a public forum where he's done just that in the past? Mind you, it would require facts and citations, not "I know someone, I won't prove it but you have to believe me" rubbish like that you're spouting above (and refused to answer my points on, I notice).

          "An example comes to mind where Zachary... wrote an article"

          Oh, and your best example of an article where Mike was wrong is one he didn't write, which you refuse to link to so that others can see your claims for themselves. At best, you can claim he's as guilty by association as Mike, but other than that it's not really proof of anything - and your lack of citations and specifics still pull that toward the "I'm right you're wrong" bullshit that will never convince anyone of anything. Not a good example of "proof", I'm afraid.

          Cite the article, cite your reasons that you think he was wrong, agree that others may have differing opinions and debate the evidence. Through this you might convince people. Presenting half-formed memories of threads you once read and vague outlines of people you claim to know will not. Is it really that hard?

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:45am

      Re:

      I can't be arsed with your "debate me" crap but I will call out the bullshit in your final paragraph.

      Currently your "brother" gets what 10% of his sales? Yeah copyright is really working for him. As for your composer buddy he gets rights but almost no credit/reputation and your camera man gets nothing.

      3 Examples of people being shafted by the creative industries and you're trying to use them as an example of why it's good at the minute? At least I think that's what you meant, your final question is a bit off..

       

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re:

        Copyright is working great for my brother. He's got a nice advance on his new book that he uses to pay his bills and feed his family, and more money will be coming along soon now that the book is published. He was able to quit his job as a professor to fulfill his dream of being a writer. His last book did quite well. Without the artificial scarcity of copyright, I don't think this would have been possible for him. Copyright has allowed him to become a professional author--not some hobbyist.

        My composer friend makes money from copyright as well. Not sure why you think he gets no credit or reputation. He has a great reputation and is sought after for his works and his conducting skills. The guy is good. I've never met anyone who can score a symphony in his head. It's amazing.

        My cameraman buddy feeds his family because of copyright. Without copyright, the films he works on wouldn't get the tens of millions in funding that they need to produce them. This money is recouped via copyright licenses. No need to beg for money on Kickstarter. They produce products that are highly valuable and highly sought after. Many here need them so badly that they're willing to break the law to get them.

        Mike thinks everyone can just CWF likes JoCo and Palmer. That's a joke. Some people can, like already famous people who perform constantly, but copyright permits an entire industry to survive of people who aren't those types of touring stars.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Copyright is working great for my brother. He's got a nice advance on his new book that he uses to pay his bills and feed his family, and more money will be coming along soon now that the book is published.

          He needs to look at his contract carefully to see if that last bit is ever likely to happen...

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Richard (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          My composer friend makes money ...It's amazing.
          Copyright is working great for my brother.... His last book did quite well.
          My cameraman buddy ... produce products that are highly valuable and highly sought after.


          Seems your family and friends are far more talented and successful than you are!

           

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

          •  
            icon
            Richard (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            ps I don't believe that they actually exist...

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I don't believe it either.

              As they say on the internet, "Pics or it didn't happen."

               

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

              •  
                icon
                Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:18am

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

                There's really no reason to doubt that AJ is telling the truth about his friends and family. Lots of people have found a way to succeed under the current system. And lots more are finding a way to succeed as we move to a new system. I'm sure he's telling the truth -- he just has a tragic lack of imagination, and a surprising lack of faith in these people's actual value, if he thinks they would all fail miserably without copyright.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Ninja (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:40am

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

                  Wholeheartedly agree. I *THINK* he wouldn't go as far as make up family members and friends.

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:58am

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

                    I wouldn't put it past him. He's a voluntary spokesman for the RIAA, and their alphabet incestuous brotherhood. They have to pay students to look like supporters. Is there a standard to which they won't stoop when you consider that their army consists of characters like Andrew Crossley and Evan Stone?

                     

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

                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                       
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:48am

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

                      I wish I got paid to post here. But sadly, I don't. I actually post what I believe and I don't have corporate masters who sponsor me. Mike can't stand that since he only knows how to attack people's credibility when he can't attack their reasoning. I remember three years ago when Mike tried to discredit me by saying I "abused the law for profit." I'm still waiting for Mike to back that up with even one iota of proof. LOL! There will never be any proof because it's not true. Nor will he ever admit that he was lying when he said it. I love this place. Never seen anyone so opinionated yet so scared to discuss his opinions. It's awesomely epic.

                       

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

                      •  
                        icon
                        Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:03am

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

                        Are you going to name these friends, at least the author and the composer? Can you give us links to their works?
                        Here's one difference between you and Mike, one that is VERY IMPORTANT. Mike says "Copyright isn't needed by all artists, and here's a list of successful artists who've succeeded without it". You say you have a brother and a friend...but don't name them.
                        Basically...Mike is providing evidence to back up his statements and you aren't. Citation needed, for the 5 billionth time.

                         

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

                        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                           
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:18am

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

                          Nope. No links, no names, nothing. I guess you can go on believing that no one earns a living because of copyright. Nothing would change your mind anyway.

                           

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

                          •  
                            icon
                            Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:26am

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

                            Really? And who are you to speak for me? I'm a man of evidence, who loves having his viewpoints challenged.
                            By the way - not once have I ever said no-one earns a living because of copyright. It is true that copyright has enabled some people to earn a living - Walt Disney comes to mind, but the problem is the massive amount of harm done to society so as to enable a small group of people to make money.
                            Anyway, by not revealing who these nebulous friends of yours are, who desperately need copyright to survive, you have just admitted that your argument lacks any strength at all. Mike at the least is able to point to real people and say "Look at these people! They can earn a living without relying on copyright!" What about you? You do realize by now that in order to participate in a debate, you need evidence to back up your arguments. You simply can't expect the people on the opposite side of the table to take it on faith that you do have a brother and friends who can only earn a living on copyright.

                             

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

                            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                               
                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:35am

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

                              OK, look at this: http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-movies-of-the-week-130429/

                              How does making it illegal to download "Jack Reacher" et al. cause a "massive amount of harm . . . to society"? You're a "man of evidence." Show me the evidence.

                               

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

                              •  
                                identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:40am

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

                                Ricola.

                                 

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

                              •  
                                icon
                                Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:42am

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

                                Whenever presented with ways copyright harms society, you counter that they are the minority, and we are ignoring the legitimate uses of the law.

                                And now you present evidence which says: "hey look! those legitimate uses are totally ineffective at achieving their goal!"

                                I don't see why anyone needs to respond to that. You've already made our point quite well.

                                 

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

                                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                   
                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:48am

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

                                  Well, if you're hyper-focusing on a small segment of the larger picture and completely ignoring all the positives, then I'd say your view isn't balanced and it's right to point that out. Do you consider TD to EVER present a balanced view of copyright, considering the positives and the negatives? If so, please point me to even one article where the positives are explored. See my point?

                                   

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

                                  •  
                                    icon
                                    Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:01pm

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

                                    History professors pretty much focus only on the evils of Nazism and yet for some reason, never focus on the positives.

                                    Tell me...why do you want talks to be balanced? Why must they be? Are you only going to take Techdirt seriously if they praise copyright? Why should they? It's their speech, they can say whatever the fuck they want to say (oh hey, another case of speech being restricted in the name of copyright!)

                                     

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

                                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                       
                                      identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

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

                                      I don't care if TD is critical of copyright. Criticism is great. But criticism that hyper-focuses on certain small things while ignoring the bigger picture doesn't make sense to me. For example, God forbid one single DMCA notice be filed in (arguably) bad faith. Mike would have a field day. Possibly a whole series of articles over the one notice (e.g. Lenz). But then no articles about the millions of legitimate notices that represent people having their rights violated on a massive scale. Just put things into perspective, or else it's just extremist nonsense.

                                       

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

                                      •  
                                        icon
                                        Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:13pm

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

                                        So you don't care when speech is improperly censored? I care even if it's just the one Youtube video being blocked wrongly - that's still one too many. Free speech and the ability to make speech are the cornerstones of a just and democratic society, yet speech is being silenced all for the sake of copyright.
                                        Should Neil Gaiman be satisfied when his awards show was cut off mid-broadcast simply because the millions of other DMCA notices are correct?
                                        Should LittleKuriboh be satisfied his Youtube channel gets taken down on a regular basis simply because other DMCA notices are correct?

                                        No! I in fact am proud of Mike always highlighting the abuses of the DMCA and other copyright laws. He shows that copyright is far too easily abused to silence people and that that is a massive problem.

                                         

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

                                  •  
                                    icon
                                    Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

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

                                    Our position has always been clear: there are far more negatives than positives, and whatever "positives" there are could be better accomplished by a system that relied less on copyright -- so while they may be "positive effects", they are not points in copyright's favor. Dog food has the positive of being food, but that doesn't win it any points against steak.

                                     

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

                                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                       
                                      identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

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

                                      The "our" and "we" thing is creepy. Like a cult or something. I don't think you (plural--less creepy when I do it) have even come close to proving that there are "far more negatives than . . . positives." That would require even acknowledging the positives and discussing them, and then comparing the two sides of the ledger. All I see is categorical, unsubstantiated claims--like this comment from you that the negatives are greater. Perspective. Try it, you might like it (but probably not, apparently).

                                       

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

                                      •  
                                        icon
                                        Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:14pm

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

                                        The "our" and "we" thing is creepy. Like a cult or something.

                                        Yes, a publication having an editorial position on something is super creepy, and also totally unheard of.

                                         

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

                                      •  
                                        icon
                                        Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

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

                                        Why would it be creepy? Leigh works for Techdirt. Therefore, it's correct for him to say we.

                                         

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

                                        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                           
                                          identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:43pm

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

                                          You mean writes for free and gets an allowance from his parents.

                                           

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

                                      •  
                                        identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

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

                                        Not sure if serious...

                                        "Our" easily refers to the editors at techdirt, who may not all have the same views, but have a general consensus on at least a few points.

                                        Negatives applies to anything in excess, copywrite is currently in a state of excess, nobody NEEDS life + 70 years, it is a negative at this point, locking up culture far longer than is necessary.

                                        Thus the "positives" of Copywrite are intrinsically tied to the excess of them, and become negatives. No comparison of the "two sides of the ledger" is needed, a balanced equitable approach is not necessary when one side grossly outweighs the other.

                                        This is like creationists asking for a fair and balanced argument against evolution. You can believe in creationism, but lets not pretend that any kind of debate between the two would need to focus equally on the evidence of each.

                                         

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

                                      •  
                                        icon
                                        techflaws (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:15am

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

                                        The "our" and "we" thing is creepy. Like a cult or something.

                                        Bullshit.

                                         

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

                              •  
                                icon
                                Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:46am

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

                                Well let's see...for one, legal copies of the movies invariably come with DRM. If we're talking about Blu-ray movies, it can often mean a hefty price tag on top of the movie if you're trying to play it on your PC (happened to me, I bought a Blu-ray drive for my PC a few years back, popped in a disc, but was gobsmacked when I found out I had to buy one of three or four software programs just to play the movies. I had bought the drive, I had bought the discs, now I was being told I had to pay again just to play the damn things).
                                Over-enforcement of copyright law has led to massive abuses, where people are facing fines and internet service restrictions of one kind or another, all based on accusations. Six Strikes is all based on accusations, nowhere does it mention punishments after a succesful conviction in court.
                                HADOPI's first case was hilarious. A man was proven innocent when his ex-wife walked into the court-room and said she did it...yet he had to pay up anyway.
                                We've got awards shows being live-streamed via the internet being DMCA'd mid-broadcast because clips of various shows are being shown - when the guy who basically wrote those shows is just about to step up on stage and collect his award.
                                We've got people facing economic ruination for sharing a few dozen songs. If you constantly want to conflate copyright infringement with theft, why don't you argue that the punishments should be more in line with theft? Charge her triple the price of the CDs and let's be done with it.
                                Vast swathes of Youtube is completely inaccessible to Germans, because GEMA wields its copyright hammer. Sure, a German could always use a VPN or a proxy server, but that's extra money and effort just to view what has not been declared illegal.
                                Hell, it's hard, to downright impossible, for the average person to record gameplay footage from their games console at 1080p. Yes, we can always go 1080i, but for some reason, the p is important. That's where the buck stops. I won't be surprised if, once the Playstation 4 launches, it still won't allow anyone to record 1080p through HDMI...even while it has a single button on the controller devoted to nothing other than recording footage and live-streaming it! What happens if/when 4K becomes the norm? Will 4K be similarly blocked off?

                                Basically, people are being prevented from doing rather mundane taks, all for the sake of someone else's copyright.

                                 

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

                                •  
                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 5:55am

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

                                  A great argument for multi-region (or region-free) DVD/BluRay players, eh?

                                   

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

                                  •  
                                    icon
                                    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 9:14am

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

                                    I think you misunderstood or more than likely, I didn't explain well enough what I meant about Blu-ray on PC. It's HDCP, the DRM placed on Blu-ray discs. For some reason, you can play DVDs with any player, even free programs like Media Player Classic or VLC, but Blu-rays are protected by HDCP and the decrpytion keys needed by software to be able to play BR-discs are not given to open source programs like the above. If the VLC developers released a program update that allowed them to play commercial BR discs without having paid the BR consortium first, they'd be sued out of existence. It wasn't anything to do with what region my discs were, it was due to the copy protection; which I totally didn't expect, after all, as I said, I'd been able to play DVDs for years as long as I had bought the required hardware first. I had never had to worry about the software.

                                     

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

                              •  
                                icon
                                techflaws (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:17am

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

                                Show me the evidence.

                                You first. What evidence shows that "all the positives of copyright" you keep yapping about couldn't be achieved without the current draconic regime?

                                 

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "My cameraman buddy feeds his family because of copyright. Without copyright, the films he works on wouldn't get the tens of millions in funding that they need to produce them. This money is recouped via copyright licenses."

          Money is fronted in the hope the investors (be they private or a studio) will make it back.
          The cameraman makes his fee no matter how well or badly the movie does at the box office.
          Copyright has nothing to do with your friend's employment, boy.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Copyright is working great for my brother. He's got a nice advance on his new book that he uses to pay his bills and feed his family, and more money will be coming along soon now that the book is published. He was able to quit his job as a professor to fulfill his dream of being a writer. His last book did quite well. Without the artificial scarcity of copyright, I don't think this would have been possible for him."

          One book enabled him to pay all his bills and feed his family?
          Wow, he's doing better than Strephen King!
          I gotta know the title of this hot-selling, torrid tome!
          What is it?

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Fifty shades of earl grey

             

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

          •  
            identicon
            JEDIDIAH, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

            The dirty truth of old school publishing....

            If you know someone that is making a mint as a creator then both of you are very lucky. Most artists never even get accepted by a publisher. If they are lucky enough to get accepted by a publisher, they may never strike it big enough to pay back their advance. Chances are, they will have to do their own marketing as the publisher won't lift a finger for them.

            Authors like King and Rowling are lottery winners.

            Even seemingly well established authors end up doing their own promotion schlepping to cons of various kinds and making a pittance in the process.

            The old system isn't really what it's cracked up to be.

            This becomes readily apparent if you actually bother to seek out the talent and listen to them.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

              Re: The dirty truth of old school publishing....

              The big advances seem to go to the rich and famous, who are reluctant to expend their own money. They want paid before they employ a ghost writer.

               

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I gotta know the title of this hot-selling, torrid tome!
            What is it?


            It doesn't have pretty pictures, so I don't think you'd like it.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I gotta know the title of this hot-selling, torrid tome!
              What is it?

              It doesn't have pretty pictures, so I don't think you'd like it."

              Yeah, I never liked "Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

               

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

        •  
          icon
          PaulT (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 3:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh dear. I doubt you know any of the people you claim to know. You just spout bullshit assumptions, some of which are easily proven false, attack Kickstarter as "begging" (I bet a bank loan or foreign pre-sales are OK with you though, right, even though they're ultimately the same thing?), and launch numerous logical fallacies.

          Not only are you so blinded by your obsessions that you can't see the points others are making, you're doing a piss-poor job of defending your own stance - which relies on at least 2 blatant lies or distortions.

          Then, you have to attack Mike at the end. Stop obsessing over him and address the rest of us - why are you either a liar or so poor at discussing things you claim to have first hand knowledge of? Why do you refuse to debate the very people who those friends of your are trying to convince to give them money to fund their living.

          As ever, I bet you don't name those people, because if they're as dumb and obnoxious as you, I'd make sure none of my purchases fund anything they're involved with. But, they probably don't exist outside you're tiny, obsessed little mind anyway.

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:47am

      Re:

      Not every author will be successful at earning a comfortable living from their writting alone. This was true 30 years ago, it was true 10 years ago, it was true 10 days ago, and it's true now. Nothing has changed.

      You're not seriously going to argue that without copyrights no one will need to film anything and therefor cameramen will be out of a job... are you?

      Not every composer will be successful at earning a comfortable living from their music alone. This was true 30 years ago, it was true 10 years ago, it was true 10 days ago, and it's true now. Nothing has changed.

      So... Any other silly examples you want to blurt out without thinking?

       

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

      •  
        icon
        PaulT (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:01am

        Re: Re:

        Oh I'm sure he's got many "friends" in similar positions (who he will refuse to identify, of course).

        The silly thing is that with those examples he completely misses a few points. Nobody's saying that touring the only way to make money, it's just the most obvious (and one that the musicians have traditionally made more money from than from selling records). Some musicians have found other ways to make money (including some of those in the examples given).

        Even if they were, he managed to try to counter talk of the music industry with 2 examples that have nothing to do with music. The film and publishing industries have some similar problems in the face of changing marketplaces, but they're vastly different industries and business models. The cameraman especially - those are the kinds of guys who already have to work for a living rather than expecting royalties from work 20 years ago to feed them.

        Even his one example that fits - the composer - is also silly. Whether musicians tour or not, composers are always required. Someone has to write the songs for touring musicians - and often in today's world it's not the musicians themselves. Someone has to compose and arrange music for films, TV and games, not to mention stage shows, etc. The fact that bands might have to do a bit more touring shouldn't affect the role of songwriters and composers too much. Unless their entire career depended on living off the royalties from copies of former work rather than doing anything new, of course, but there's no sympathy for that kind of attitude.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          horse with no name, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Of course, you ignore that the only reasons that artist can tour at a level of making the big money is because of their albums. Without content, they are just cover bands.

          Cause and effect, something you clearly don't grasp.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What's an album? Is that like a really long song?

             

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

          •  
            identicon
            Joe Dirt, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I know many bands that tour and have no album. They tour locally, regionally, and nationally. All of their music is original and they all make a decent living. I also know several bands with several albums each who have no money and have to work a day job to support themselves.

            Which of the above is "cause and effect" example above?

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              horse with no name, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You forget the gap between decent living and stardom. As a musician you can make a living playing weddings and bar mitzvahs. That doesn't make your special, it just means you got paid. They make a decent living too. Don't forget to buy their tour shirts and swag!

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2013 @ 1:02am

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

                So you want us to fund people we don't know so they can purchase diamond-studded swimming pools? Eh, count me not interested.

                 

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

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:17am

      Re:

      And as others pointed out you refuse to "easily demonstrate this both as an historic and doctrinal matter". Oh master of the universe enlighten us. Oh wait, you can't because trademark is mainly to protect both consumers and the company from misappropriation of their mark. We are waiting patiently for you to point the flaws on the articles with consistent, evidence based responses. But all you do is resort to ad homs and non-points. Actually, just like this time.

      Yes, you love to pull out those exceptions and pretend like they're the rule.

      To quote the article " or the long, long, long list of others we can point to who don't mind people copying their music, but have found reasonable ways to make decent (and sometimes quite impressive) sums of money from their fans." We know you are a spoiled brat and attention-whore (sorry guys, I'm feeding him for a greater good) but he can't just keep citing every single example of musicians that meet the criteria. There are tools for you to enrich your knowledge and dispel this exception notion. When something stops being an exception for you? Because there are thousands of musicians getting their music known and making money out of it but no, for you they are all exceptions. Maybe when all humanity decide to make music and make money you'll stop with the 'exception' bullshit?

      What about my friend the Hollywood cameraman? Why about my friend the composer?

      They are not even the focus of Jaron's original rants but why not take non-points into the mix eh? I'll just ignore the cameraman, he creates nothing, he's hired to convert a live performance into a video. If anything the animators and visual-effects people are much more entitled to some copyrights than any cameraman. And even so I'd like you to cite any animator that holds any rights to what they animate providing they weren't the ones who came up with the idea (like the guy from Ice Age squirrel). Please, I'm waiting.

      As for the composers they are not born famous. If I compose a song right now and knock the doors of any label asking them to publish it for me they'll laugh and dismiss. First you have to put your work in the wild. When you get well-known enough you'll be paid good sums of money to compose songs. And it's no different from an engineer that does spectacularly right and gets rewarded with high earnings because of that. They don't get paid repeatedly for the same project over and over and over. Newsflash: the creators now need to work like everybody else to get their earnings. I know it's hard for you to accept a reality where effort has to be put constantly in generating your product (music, etc) in order to keep earning money. But it's reality, it's how everybody functions.

      How does the real world work for you? Or would you rather remain in your fantasy world where the artists are paid ad nauseam (through several generation) for a few months of work?

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:22am

      Re:

      You sure like to hear yourself talk.

      You cite a bunch of stuff that you say is wrong and yet, you offer no evidence to refute Mike's comments.

      Yeah, in my 50's, I may be a noob on many things but I do take the time to read this site and many more. I suspect that you are deliberately downplaying the audience Techdirt has as uninformed. And yet, I counter that this site and others like it, are followed by people that care about the subject material. You're here for that reason too, correct?

      While I get your overall point, you do a poor job of laying a support foundation for your observations and comments.

       

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:24am

        Re: Re:

        My point is that Mike has guys who are completely unqualified to discuss complex legal issues attempting to tackle complex legal issues. It's hilarious that he puts down Wired for doing the same thing that he does. Actually, Mike is even worse than Wired. At least Wired follows the basic rules of journalism, and the staff writers are far more qualified than Mike's band of writers such as Marcus and Zachary. The piece on Wired was clearly labeled as "opinion," which is industry standard practice for such posts. When challenged, Mike can only spout out slimy excuses like that he isn't a journalist but occasionally does journalism. What does that even mean? How are we to know when he's doing journalism and when he's just making stuff up? We can't know. Mike wants to be taken serious at all times, yet he's not willing to do the work it takes to be taken seriously as a journalist. When he completely misses the mark--which happens alarmingly often--he has more weasel words about how it's OK for him to present as fact that which is not because someone might correct him in the comments. I can't make this stuff up.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Saying he is not a journalisht that does journalism is the same thing as labeling techdirt as opinion since that is the difference: A journalist gathers facts and relays them in as unbiased manner as possible while opinion pieces frame the facts within the writer's worldview(which requires doing some degree of journalism to be a valid viewpoint)

          So basically you just accused mike of being honest

           

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
             
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How can we tell when Mike is stating an opinion or stating a fact? We can't. He presents many, many things as facts. And when they turn out not to be facts, he goes "that's OK 'cause the comments section." Sorry, but that's a complete joke. There's a way to present an opinion as an opinion. Mike doesn't do that.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You can clearly tell the facts because he links to sources that aren't techdirt. Studies, court documents ect

               

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

            •  
              icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              TechDirt is an opinion blog. EVERYTHING on it is opinion and commentary on other news sources. And you know this.

               

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                 
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

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

                That's not at all true. Mike presents things as fact all the time. He does so in this very article.

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

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

                  And why can't opinion be based upon fact? You're argument makes no sense at all.

                   

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You grow a pair of balls and fact check yourself?

              Sheesh, you want mike to do everything for you?

               

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                 
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

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

                No, I want Mike to check his own facts and to do basic journalism if he's going to have a blog where he "does journalism" from time to time.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

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

                  So you're convinced he's lying to you, yet you keep coming back for more?

                   

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

                •  
                  icon
                  That One Guy (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

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

                  Right, I'm going to do you a huge favor here.

                  You know those blue, slightly bolded bits of text that are scattered in the articles on the site? Those are called 'links', and you can click on those to go to the original sources that the articles here are based upon. On the original articles, you will usually find either the evidence you are looking for, or more of those 'link' things that point to the evidence.

                   

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

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

                More like they know they are right, and believe that anyone who checks out the facts will have to agree with them. Therefore any one offering a different opinion has not checked out the facts.

                 

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

        •  
          icon
          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why do you feel that the writers aren't qualified to discuss complex legal matters?

          We don't have laws just for the sake of having laws. Laws exist to benefit society. Just because someone cannot site an obscure piece of case law doesn't mean they are not qualified to discuss and comment upon complex legal cases and how the impact to society can be good or bad. The writers at Techdirt might not be qualified to argue a case in front of a judge, but this isn't a courtroom. And who are you to make that determination, anyway? Karl regularly trounces you when you attempt to argue legalities.

          Notice that in the story, Mike never claims that Lanier can't write books about economics. Mike simply refutes Lanier's crazy ideas with evidence and citations.

           

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
             
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Why do you feel that the writers aren't qualified to discuss complex legal matters?

            They butcher the doctrines. Just like Mike read this guy's piece and cringed (he conflated price and value!), I cringe when I read some of the pieces on TD. It's not surprising that they get basic things wrong. It's surprising that Mike questions Wired when he himself does the same thing with his writing staff.

             

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

        •  
          icon
          Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "My point is that Mike has guys who are completely unqualified to discuss complex legal issues attempting to tackle complex legal issues."

          Okay...Techdirt staff! Sound off! List your name and college degrees here!

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:26am

      Re:

      "You have total noobs tackling complex legal issues that are far beyond their grasp"

      Like you, boy?

      "I can easily demonstrate this both as an historic and doctrinal matter, but you refuse to ever acknowledge the point or to engage in a frank discussion about it."

      Why do you need Mike to personally "acknowledge" you, boy?
      Need validation?


      "Yes, you love to pull out those exceptions and pretend like they're the rule."

      The self-publishing route is rapidly becomign the rule, boy.

      "What about my brother who just published a book?"

      Is he doing his job and promoting it, boy?

      "What about my friend the Hollywood cameraman?"

      What about him?
      He's "work for hire".
      Weekly or hourly fee, no residuals.
      Only an idiot would think otherwise.
      You an idiot, boy?

      "Why (sic) about my friend the composer?"

      It's up to him to secure the best possible deal with either a performer or studio.
      What does Mike have to do with that, boy?

       

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:18am

        Re: Re:

        I saw the word "boy" and immediately knew it was you and didn't bother to even read your post. If you'd like me to read your posts and have a discussion with you, drop the "boy" stuff and let's have a discussion. I won't respond to you ever again or ever read a thing you say until you do. Bye.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          The Groove Tiger (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So you only debate him if he's nice to you.

          Kudos, now you understand how it works.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            AJ's ego could never understand how that works.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The "boy" thing just creeps me out. I can take all sorts of abuse (and on TD I most certainly do), but I draw the line at certain things.

               

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

              •  
                icon
                John Fenderson (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

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

                Actually, I agree. I cringe when I see the "boy" thing. It's incredibly, and unnecessarily, demeaning. It also carries with it a ton of very objectionable cultural subtext.

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:42pm

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

                  "Actually, I agree. I cringe when I see the "boy" thing. It's incredibly, and unnecessarily, demeaning. It also carries with it a ton of very objectionable cultural subtext."

                  If the object the word is directed at is non-white (particuarlyl African-American), it's demeaning.
                  However, note there's no way to know (not does it matter) who is what ethnic or racial group on this board.
                  In this case, the "cultural subtext" is merely indicating the object to be juvenile or immature (at the very least, lacking in judgement).

                   

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

                  •  
                    icon
                    nasch (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:31am

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

                    If the object the word is directed at is non-white (particuarlyl African-American), it's demeaning.

                    It's demeaning if it's directed at anyone other than an actual boy. If it's knowingly directed at an African-American it's also racist. Either way it has no place in a sensible discussion, just like any ad hominem.

                     

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

              •  
                icon
                techflaws (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:23am

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

                but I draw the line at certain things.

                Which somehow does not include deriding Mike?

                 

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "How can we tell when Mike is stating an opinion or stating a fact? We can't."

          Actually, "we" can, boy.
          "We" do it by reading the whole article.
          You do know how to do that, don't you boy?

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I saw the word "boy" and immediately knew it was you and didn't bother to even read your post. If you'd like me to read your posts and have a discussion with you, drop the "boy" stuff and let's have a discussion. I won't respond to you ever again or ever read a thing you say until you do. Bye."

          Typical of someone who can't answer talking points intelligently, so he looks for something unrelated to use as an excuse to not respond (and then complains when no one responds to him).
          AC, shall I call you "coward" instead of "boy"?

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Coward is fine. Boy creeps me out.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 5:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The big moral-high-horse average_jackass is creeped out by a boy! My impressed demeanour of his distinct pwniness over the evil overlord Masnick is shaken. Shaken, I tells you!

               

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Turn this around. Mike's saying this to you but replace "boy" with "debate me".

          You are the worlds biggest hypocrite.

           

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
             
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Something about "boy" just rubs me the wrong way. It's creepy. If only there were some word I could say or not say that would get Mike to have a substantive discussion. That would be great! Let me know if you figure it out. As far as I can tell, he's just a dishonest wimp.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If only there were some word I could say or not say that would get Mike to have a substantive discussion."

              It's called asking politely and being satisfied with what you get. If he doesn't respond, then tough. You're living proof that bitching about it for years won't help.
              Oh wait... You want a magic button. Something that just magically does something for you without you having to think about it. You think that if you just say a certain word, it'll be like the Emperor saying to his clone troopers "Order 66" and he'll be compelled to respond, irregardless of whether he wants to or not.

               

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                 
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

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

                He (you) don't respond because he's too scared to get down off the soap box and discuss things productively. It's not just with me--it's with anyone who dares to challenge his extremist rhetoric. Mike don't do details. He do preachin'.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

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

                  Since you believe this to be true, your repeated demands for debate are almost as creepy and objectionable as "boy". You already have your answer. To continue to harp on it is just unproductive badgering.

                   

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

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

                  Why would Mike even resort to puppet accounts?

                  Your answer: Some variation of "So it looks like more people agree with him"

                  To which I respond with "Mike has a very large legitimate and real reader-base. He understands fully well the scarcity of a good reputation so knows better than to risk using puppet accounts".

                   

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

                •  
                  icon
                  That One Guy (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

                  Why oh why do you continue to lie...?

                  AJ, for someone always claiming that everyone else is lying, you sure do it a lot yourself.

                  Mike has already said quite clearly why he refuses to debate or discus things with you, and it has nothing to do with being a 'coward', and everything to do with how immature you act when you don't get the answers you want:

                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120818/01171420087/funniestmost-insightful-comments-week -techdirt.shtml#c1210

                   

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

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

                  Extremist rhetoric LoL

                   

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:48pm

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

                  "He (you) don't respond because he's too scared to get down off the soap box and discuss things "

                  When you have your own blog, girl, then we'll talk about it.
                  (You said you didn't like "boy"...)

                   

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Something about "boy" just rubs me the wrong way. It's creepy."

              To anybody with a high school (or better) education, your thought processes are "creepy".
              But if it'll make you feel better, I'll call you "girl".
              That better, girl?

               

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "As far as I can tell, he's just a dishonest wimp."

              So what does that make you, girl?

               

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You said that about Rikuo too, at the end of last year, and yet you still respond to him..

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121228/17371721518/innovation-optimism-opportunity-all-coming -together-to-make-real-change.shtml#c1231

          *shrug* No skin off my back, though.

           

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
             
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You said that about Rikuo too, at the end of last year, and yet you still respond to him..

            http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121228/17371721518/innovation-optimism-opportunity-all-c oming -together-to-make-real-change.shtml#c1231

            *shrug* No skin off my back, though.


            I've long suspected that Rikuo is one of Mike's many puppets. I typically don't read his posts, but sometimes he's interesting and worth talking to. Great job digging up that post. I'm impressed.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Nope. In fact, if you want to twist it another way, Mike is MY puppet. I pay HIM. Alright, it's a paltry $15 a month, but that's still income he's receiving from me and the other insiders.
              Just look at our vastly different writing styles. It's been proven that it's very difficult for people to consciously write different ways.
              Sadly, there is no proof that I'm not a puppet. Even uploading a photo of my passport won't help because it's not like my passport is named Rikuo.

               

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

  •  
    icon
    David Gerard (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Jaron Lanier: Why people should pay more attention to me and not Web 2.0

    When I noticed myself getting mean online I thought, ďSomething has gone terribly wrong.Ē It was obvious the rest of the ARPAnet had a social problem, not just me being some sort of asshole.

    My book You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto is ruffling virtual feathers across the ARPAnet. And so it should, because I invented virtual reality. Wikipedia, which is a tissue of lies, says so. Prospect magazineís Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll lists me. Also, my hair is much better than yours. And Iím fifty. According to Wikipedia, so Iíd better change my birthday.

    Today, the web is a bland place. Itís all user-generated content ó silly clips on YouTube, spiteful anonymous comments on blogs about my books, endless photographs of people at a bar with their friends or up a mountain with an ironing board. It was much better back in the early days of the ARPAnet, before we let the commercial users on. These words will mostly be read by numb mobs composed of people who are no longer acting as individuals. You know, the peasants. Virtual reality is far more ennobling, but you never hear people talking about that any more.

    The ARPAnet only creates banal mashups of old culture. Salvagers picking over a garbage dump. Only the old-world economy of books, films and newspapers creates original content like Lawnmower Man or Battlefield Earth. Everyone knows that real artists have no influences. This stuff the kids are into these days is just noise!

    The ARPAnet is also killing music, according to my good friends at the RIAA. Did you know thereís no music in Spain any more? Itís true!

    Will we ó meaning I ó be able to live off our brains in the future, or will we just have to give our creative works away for free? If we canít live off our brains then weíll need a form of SOCIALISM just to survive. WIKIPEDIA IS COMMUNISM! Until the Wikipedia Corporation finally builds a good interface, for goggles and power-gloves.

    Open source and open content are a cancer. The dogma I object to is composed of a set of interlocking beliefs and doesnít have a generally accepted overarching name as yet, so Iím going to call it Digital MAOISM, which is COMMUNISM. Update, five years later: Here is a detailed retcon explanation of why I was not just trolling for headlines by calling Wikipedia COMMUNISM, but was speaking precisely and you just werenít thinking hard enough: [snip 10,000 words]

    Also, you should get into virtual reality more.

    (You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto is published on papyrus scroll and hand-illustrated by monks. You cannot have a copy until you have fought your way up the mountain and proven yourself worthy.)

    http://newstechnica.com/2010/02/27/jaron-lanier-why-people-should-pay-more-attention-to- me-and-not-web-2-0/

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:39am

      Re: Jaron Lanier: Why people should pay more attention to me and not Web 2.0

      Oh my, sir, you are obviously much better than most of humanity. Cheers!

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:14am

      Re: Jaron Lanier: Why people should pay more attention to me and not Web 2.0

      That is amazing. Write it out, add a few plot-twists and you have a bright future in writing scrolls! What mountain are we talking about here? I might be interested in obtaining it.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      The Groove Tiger (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:11am

      Re: Jaron Lanier: Why people should pay more attention to me and not Web 2.0

      Will the monks teach me to fus ro dah?

       

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

  •  
    icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:52am

    Written during a full moon perhaps?

    The arguments Lanier makes remind me of an old statistical correlation fallacy: If we plot on a graph the frequency of ice cream sales to the frequency of rapes over time we see that ice cream sales cause rape because as the frequency of rape goes up so do ice cream sales. These graphs match so the conclusion is of course: ice cream sales cause rape.

    Reality is that the frequency of rape increases as the weather gets warmer and not surprisingly ice cream sales do as well. Correlation does not prove causality.

    Lanierís claims are even more convoluted. Perhaps he wrote this during a full moon so he could claim lunacy when confronted with the facts.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Atkray (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:35am

      Re: Written during a full moon perhaps?

      Looking over his writings I don't get the impression he is too overly concerned about facts.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:30am

      Re: Written during a full moon perhaps?

      The guy appears to be an expressionist artist. Expressionism is all about conveying a feeling and his metaphors seems designed to do that. What I am getting is almost exclusively negative feelings. Mortgage is negative to all people. Ruining economic dignity is again a negative economic metaphor.

      All in all, I would say the guy is in a situation where economy is occupying his brain a lot. He is very negative and at times it ventures into frustration from negativity.

      I think, as a work of art, it is fair cause it lacks some cohesion at times.

      Seeing it as anything other than an expressionist short story is simply unfair. The content is lacking any sourcing or logical cohesion to be even worth a debate.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        MrWilson, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:11pm

        Re: Re: Written during a full moon perhaps?

        What I keep seeing is that he criticizes different types of technology and internet movements for causing wealth concentration and taking opportunities away from the middle class, but a lot of what he criticizes is open to the middle class to use and participate in and make money at if they're clever enough (like open source technology and wikipedia) or is cheaper than the big corporate offering (like android instead of iphone), and a lot of what he's worked on or worked for or advocated for (Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, expensive music) is all corporate wealth creation stuff.

        In this latest article, he's basically arguing that paying less for an infinitely reproducible entertainment good with virtually no post-production overhead is a bad thing for the poor and the middle class because the economy will tank, but the poor and middle class can save money by spending less on entertainment goods in order to buy more of what they actually need more. They can put more into their mortgages and student loan debt and retirement instead.

         

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

  •  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:07am

    It is one thing to sing for your supper occasionally, but to have to do so for every meal forces you into a peasant's dilemma: The peasant's dilemma is that there's no buffer. A musician who is sick or old, or who has a sick kid, cannot perform and cannot earn.
    Why should being an 'artist' be different from any other line of work? I've yet to see any job that doesn't have this 'peasants dilemma'. If you take more than an extremely limited amount of time off at any job, do you still get paid? Some jobs--like commission based sales--are even worse, don't work--don't get paid.

    It always amuses me that the defenses for a failing business model are insulting to the very people they are trying to convince that it has to be this way or civilization will collapse--or something.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      JEDIDIAH, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

      Cry me a river.

      If anything, the "peasants dilemma" for an artists is far less problematic since the work is mostly intellectual. You are not doing any hard labor and you're not using your body up by age 40 to the point where you need to go on disability.

      Even the physical aspects of art and performance are generally of far less impact.

      Musicians have to work as long as the rest of us?

      Cry me a river.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    One obvious question...

    Why should anyone own the future?

    This just seems like a book written from someone supporting "guild politics".

    He wants to support a publisher access world where the only ones that control creation are the ones that have the means of production. Since copyright is a mercantilist tool to suppress innovation, he can't say that it benefits the old mercantile system where the record labels had the power to control content. Hut no matter how you look at this, it marks him as both a Luddite and a person ignorant of economics.

     

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

    That has little to do with this piece, but NEITHER this Lanier nor Mike have ever had to actually labor to EARN a living, so BOTH their opinions are complete hooey.

    This is an argument between leisured academics. I'd like to put both on a desert island and let them try to discuss notions while they hunt for and prepare their own food. It's the only way they'd ever learn what real economics is like for the majority.

    Besides that, as usual Mike vaguely mentions bankers, then ignores the debt slavery and surveillance society being built every day. -- And by the way, Iceland wisely rejected the banker's schemes to saddle them with phony debt. They threw some bankers in jail, which is the only way to deal with them. -- For example, I'm sure you've all heard of credit default swaps. Estimates for the amount range from 600 to 1500 TRILLION. But total annual production is only around 60T, so the bankers have made up phony debts that can NEVER be repaid, and by it intend to enforce austerity on populations like Greece, where people are already starving. -- While The Rich use phony money to buy up physical assets at depressed prices. -- And not content with taxes that transfer wealth from poor to rich, they're now raiding bank accounts as in Cyprus. Next up is US pension plans, besides that you can forget about Social Security. -- Oh, and the US gov't is STILL giving over 80 billion a month to bankers. The stock market is high not because of industrial production, which is declining, but simply because they're printing more money and making up more phony debt.

    Point is that Mike pontificates about irrelevant crap like the notions of someone obscure, while every day bankers are diverting our real wealth, hollowing out the US, stripping our assets, and installing a police state.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:30am

      Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

      "That has little to do with this piece, but NEITHER this Lanier nor Mike have ever had to actually labor to EARN a living, so BOTH their opinions are complete hooey."

      Leeching off Mike to collect fees from your corporate masters isn't "hooey", boy?

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:37am

      Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

      This is an argument between leisured academics. I'd like to put both on a desert island and let them try to discuss notions while they hunt for and prepare their own food. It's the only way they'd ever learn what real economics is like for the majority.

      Erm Blue, most of humanity stopped the hunter gatherer thing a while back.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Trails (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:54am

      Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

      I agree, Mike totally would suck at discussing his notions while hunting. He would probably also not be able to discuss his notions while suffering from bubonic plague. Ahh the good old days.

      It's amazing the things Mike can't do. I had a leaking faucet once and sent Mike an email demanding he come and fix it. He hasn't yet, totally undercutting any economic argument he makes. It's still leaking Mike, what the fucking fuck? How can we take your points about price vs. value seriously if you don't show up at my house with a wrench and fix my goddamned faucet?

      Also, one time, I kidnapped Tim Cushing, and tried to make him pilot a small jet plane. I won't get into the gory details but suffice it to say he was awful. It was almost as if he had no pilot training whatsoever.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Ninja (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

        "I mailed* Mike and asked for a pony for Xmas. He never gave me one." - out_of_the_blue

        *as in, snail mail since he seem incapable of signing up to anything in the internet.

         

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:25am

      Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

      Good stuff blue, except for your usual anti-mike diatribe. Another reason they print all that money is to bankrupt the rest of the world. Their reasoning is that they think the US of A can outlast the rest of the world, their own citizens be damned.

      Borrow a truckload of money while the dollar is high. Flood the world market with dollars. The dollar falls precipitously and boom goes the nitro; money for nothing and chicks for free. That's just a small piece of the plan but you can see where it's going. All in all it's an evil empire using the monetary system for warfare.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

        you would be a valuable member of this community if you could get beyond your knee jerk perceived need to bash mike in every post. I agree with about 40% of what you say and think, on some topics, you are quite insightful.

        When I disagree with you it is usually because of your inability to see the problem with copyright, patents, and trademark law as it exists. Your other views are not too far off the mark, usually. Oh well, this is something I've had to come to grips with in the last month or so after being floored by your observations on a few salient posts that hit home for me.

        Maybe you're brainwashing me but keep it up, just lose the anti-mike shit and you'll, more likely than not, gain a few more converts. I feel somewhat silly siding with you at all, ever, because of the caustic attacks you throw mike's way but you take knowledge where you can get it, even if you have to sort through the chaff to find it.

         

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

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:13am

      Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

      "but NEITHER this Lanier nor Mike have ever had to actually labor to EARN a living, so BOTH their opinions are complete hooey."

      Really? That's the best you can do? Say "ooh, they've never worked!!! LOL!"
      Ya know what...I'm not going to bother. It is plain as day that what you uttered is false. Why is it you don't bother trying anymore?

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Alana (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:41am

      Re: Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

      "That has little to do with this piece"

      I think you just described every post of yours ever.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Jason Lanier

    "Old man shouts at clouds."

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:59am

    When I read or hear of Jaron Lanier, I picture his dreads flopping as the sweat pours from his corpulent doughy body as it shakes from exhaustion in his attempt to dig a ditch.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Gnudist, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    I think Jaron is on some plan to kill off humanity by overloading our brains with his stupidity

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    Economics

    Economics is meant to be descriptive not prescriptive. Therefore when you can't make money by following an economic model, you are meant to change the model, not force the world to behave according to your model.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:14pm

      Re: Economics

      Economics could be somewhat prescriptive if the models took into account reality instead of leaving integral pieces out.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    If mortgages were like music files, don't you think the banks would have found a way to copy them already?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    JL and Masnick each write opinion pieces. Which one is most firmly based in everyday realities?

    Stop lying to yourself.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Ben (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Mayor

    To paraphrase one of my favorite child-characters: "[Jaron Lanier] is the mayor of Crazy Town"

    Assumptions based on wishful thinking, any those wishes aren't very good.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Jaron Lanier is living proof of the danger of researching virtually reality, he has gone virtually insane.

    One can probably say he is living in his own reality by now.

    I learned to make butter the other day, after a lifetime not knowing how to do it, I finally learned that if you collect milk from a cow and let it sit over night it will separate into milk and cream, and if you skimm the milk and shake it, for about 5 ~ 10 min you get butter, OMG all producers of butter will go bankrupt now.

    How about how to make margarine?
    I learned that too, get any 300 ~ 500 ml of vegetable oil(coconut oil is ok too) and mix it until it gets white then add 2 tea spoons of eggs yolk and mix it until the Lecithin(emulsifier) acts upon it, the industrial form is different though, it uses hydrogen with a catalysts the catalyst material in general is a heavy metal, and I hope all the reactions take place otherwise you could be eating some very nasty leftovers.

    OMG the margarine industry is fucked, I got the knowledge for free and am passing it along for free how will they sell margarine now?

    What would happen to hat makers if anybody could make them in their basements?
    Oh wait they already are doing it.

    Youtube: How our Floppy Hats are made

    You think those people making hats get royalties from the people who use those to make their money? I mean if a Mr. Lanier weres a hat in a public and it is being used to enhance his appearance and making him a profit shouldn't he be paying the hat maker or he will just steal the work of the hat maker without "due" compensation to the original producer?

    This crap gets crazy fast.
    I could go own, there are billions of other people who actually have to work for a living are they all without economic dignity, how are they gonna work when laws forbid children from working? Is child labor now ok? Did Mr. Lanier just made the case for child labor? never mind, when people get old they can't work anymore how will they survive? oh that is right they all heard the story about the grasshopper and the ant, heck even Disney has its own version of it.

    Mr Lanier has gone batshit crazy now he virtually lost it.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    dennis deems (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    the value of art

    Art has value when people experience it and think about it. If nobody experiences or thinks about it, then a work of art has no value. Copying, then, far from diminishing the value of a work of art, contributes to its value.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:58am

      Re: the value of art

      This is the best description of art I've ever seen. Art isn't made to make money. It's made to communicate ideas.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Trails (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

        Re: Re: the value of art

        While I agree with what Dennis said above, not sure I agree with what you've said. A great deal of art is made with primary intent being profit. Further, I don't think there's anything wrong with that (those I've noticed anecdotally that this type of art is less appealing to me personally, that doesn't mean it isn't art).

        What Dennis has said is true (imo), art's value is increased by people considering and appreciating it. However, value != price, so people valuing it, in and of itself, does not imply profit, or even revenue.

        The crux of the issue is then how to monetize this. That's a lot of what this site talks about. "Legislating away the internet so we can maintain monopoly on distribution" is a common approach, fraught with problems (as supporting evidence, see, for example, Techdirt in its entirety).

         

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

        •  
          icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: the value of art

          Okay, I'll grant that art is made to make money, and that doesn't change it's value, nor that it deserves the money. All art does not need to be monetized either.

          The people who are upset by the internet are people who feel everything has a dollar sign attached to it and nothing of value should be experienced or enjoyed for free. They feel they deserve something for having created something, which is natural I guess, but not a guarantee.

          Yet thanks to the internet, the entire world can enjoy something and the artist can communicate that experience largely because it is free.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: the value of art

            Yet thanks to the internet, the entire world can enjoy something and the artist can communicate that experience largely because it is free.

            Thanks to the same Internet, and free distribution, they have a greater chance of finding enough fans to sustain their artistic endeavours. If they give their fans a way of paying them, and their work is good enough to attract enough fans, they will be able to make a living. Letting a work circulate for free is often the best way of building the fan base.

             

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: the value of art

            "I'll grant that art is made to make money..."

            Some people do it just for the hell of it, with no consideration as to it's potential monetary value.
            Does that frighten you?

             

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    "Therefore the homeowner will end up paying for that amplified risk, somehow."

    SOMEONE will pay for that amplified risk. But why assume it's going to be the average homeowner? If taxes go up, those are going to be income taxes, not property taxes. And "future access to credit" means a lot less for someone who already HAS their mortgage.

    The proper person to pay for the amplified risk is the person who introduces the risk. So if someone with bad credit has more trouble getting a loan, I'm OK with that. You can't give everyone a 4% mortgage, and it's foolish to try.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    mmrtnt (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Master Control Program

    Meanwhile, some third-party spy service like a social network or search engine will invariably create persistent wealth from the information that is copied, the recordings. [...] The wealth goes to the central server.

    I want to get my hands on one of these "Central Servers" so I can start making mad cash giving away copies of valueless recordings.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    A few points:

    I think instead of air, a better analogy would be water. Water is free (OK, technically it's paid for with taxes, but those taxes had gone away with the "advent" of bottled water) yet people still pay for it (even in cases where it shown not be any more or less safe, or have any real taste difference to tap water).

    in that he extrapolates out the amount that people pay for music, and assumes that (1) forever will it go down and (2) that this spiral downward will have ripple effects throughout all of society. The problem is, as with Ricardo, the basis of nearly everything he states is not true.

    Among the many issues here is also the fact that what a person pays and what a person spends can often be two entirely different things. If an album used to cost $10, and I bought 50 of them a year, that would be $500. But if they are only $1 then I am only $50. Assuming I am only buying 50 albums. However, suppose I am still spending $500 a year, except I'm getting 500 albums instead of 50. What I pay (per unit) and what I'm actually spending (in total dollars) can be quite different values.

    Plus, I'd much rather give 10 people $50K than one person $500K. Sure everyone has that dream of making the "big score", but at the end of the day, who has to pay for all the people left destitute because a few people found a way to corner all the money? That's right, the people with all the money.

    It is one thing to sing for your supper occasionally, but to have to do so for every meal forces you into a peasant's dilemma: The peasant's dilemma is that there's no buffer. A musician who is sick or old, or who has a sick kid, cannot perform and cannot earn.

    Talk about hubris on top of conceit. First off, a lumberjack who is sick or old can't chop down trees, a farmer who is sick or old can't plant and harvest his field, a doctor who is sick or old can't properly care for his patients. Yet, for some reason, because being able to write something I might like to read, or sing something I might like to listen to means mean you automatically get paid every time someone choose to read it or listen to it?

    This argument may (may) have held a bit more sway when creative content was much more limited, as were the people who created it, but frankly the job of the market now is not to create the content, but to find way for me to find the sort of content I want to consume (because somebody is already creating it).


    A few musicians, a very tiny number indeed, will do well, but even the most successful real-time-only careers can fall apart suddenly because of a spate of bad luck. Real life cannot avoid those spates, so eventually almost everyone living a real-time economic life falls on hard times.

    Except for the fact, as was pointed out, that this is exactly how the system used to work, and how the industry is trying to keep it. I know/have known numerous musicians (and authors) who have/had to live "real time economic lives" (often in fields outside, or in addition to their chosen craft) not because of lack of talent, but often because the system was set up to prevent them from achieving a certain level of success.

    Copying a musician's music ruins economic dignity. It doesn't necessarily deny the musician any form of income, but it does mean that the musician is restricted to a real-time economic life. That means one gets paid to perform, perhaps, but not paid for music one has recorded in the past.

    Which is exactly how the rest of society works. A farmer doesn't get paid again for the food I eat, he has to produce new food for me. A doctor doesn't get paid again for setting my broken leg, he has to set my other broken leg. What people like this simply refuse to understand is the whole point was never to allow infinite profitability, but to offer some short term protections while, like the farmer, the worked on "harvesting" their next "crop".

    If you never knew the music business as it was, the loss of what used to be a significant middle-class job pool might not seem important.

    That is because it is not important, at least not to society at large. Because history is littered with "the loss of what used to be a significant middle-class job pool", typically because technology has created what ended up being an equal, or in most cases a much larger, "significant middle-class job pool" (as an example, the economy didn't collapse because the countless telephone switching operators went away).

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

      Re:

      "(as an example, the economy didn't collapse because the countless telephone switching operators went away)."

      I was literally about to reply with that very same example. It's Luddite thinking. Imagine if telephone switching operators had the same powers and influence that the MPAA and RIAA enjoy today. They would have shut down any advent in telephone technology, to the point where more than likely the mobile phone would never have been invented. After all, why bother inventing a new technology if the incumbents can just sue you out of existence before you can even get out on the field?
      The MPAA and RIAA have tried to shut down the very same technologies that end up benefiting them, because of two fears.
      1) That people other than them would profit off of them
      2) It's a new technology, something new they have to work with, to adapt to. Why bother expending effort learning how to work with something new when you can just sic your lawyers on the inventors and stick what what you know?

      The notion that maybe society can benefit massively from these new technologies never crosses their mind.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        teka (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:28pm

        Re: Re:

        IIRC the Bell System did exactly that for many years. Claiming to have utter control over your phone and everything all the way through. The response was a pause-button on technology. Plug something else in? not allowed. Rest the phone (which we lease, never sell) on some other device to use the system in a new way? Lawsuit.

        (they lost that last one in the end and eventually splintered. And people innovated, the system advanced!)

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 5:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "(they lost that last one in the end and eventually splintered."

          Actually, they were forced to divest.

           

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

  •  
    icon
    uRspqF7L (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:39pm

    price vs value

    your discussions of price vs value do not reflect the way those concepts are understood in economics, and fail on the face of themselves. Nice shout-out to Ricardo, but if you've read him you should know that Lanier is talking about economic value, not value per se. "Economic value is a measure of the benefit that an economic actor can gain from either a good or service." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_%28economics%29

    Air is currently a non-scarce commodity that nobody buys and sells. Its price is $0 and its *economic* value is $0. You are talking about its raw value to yourself and me, but that is not economic value, and Lanier's argument, which I believe is correct, is about economic value. The value-to-me of things, like the intangible value of a photograph of my family members, is not at issue, and that is where the value of air belongs in today's world.

    Your second example fails as well, and is remarkable for its hot-headedness. The correct unit that an economist analyzes there is not "a computer," but the units of processing power that Moore's law is supposed to be describing. Both the price and the value of a few cycles of CPU time have *plummeted* since the 1970s. In the 1980s 800k of RAM on a floppy disk was worth .50 or so depending on the year; today that 800k is essentially worthless. Its price and value are nearly though not completely identical.

    Unfortunately your rabid equation of "economic value" with "value to me" or "usefulness to me" makes you blind to the simple truth of Lanier's analysis and the many facts in the world that bear it out. You are working very hard to devalue stuff that (unlike CPU cycles or MB of memory) are scarce not in the material but in the act of creation.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: corporations are required by law to maximize their profits and have many smart (even "web-smart") economists and analysts on board, as do the banks that hold shares in them. If companies really could make *more* money by giving their stuff away, they would not only be doing it, they'd *have* to do it. That the largest IP corporations today are doing their best to prohibit free distribution of their products is actual evidence that your entire line of argument is on its face incorrect. Not that this fact will stop you and your followers from ridiculing principles you appear not even to understand.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

      Re: price vs value

      "corporations are required by law to maximize their profits"

      Wait wait wait wait...required by law?
      I can understand the motivation to make a profit, everyone does. I can understand the people in charge of a corporation, the Board of Directors and such, wanting to make a profit - if they succeed, the company is stronger and they personally may end up having their contracts renewed.
      But...required by law? First off...how would you determine if some corporation was in violation of this "law"? If they were tanking? Well, that could simply be because of market forces. Do you call the cops and say "Company XYZ isn't being as ruthless as they possibly can, go arrest their executives!" If a company's execs don't do their jobs and the company fails, well then, that's the market for you. The shareholders hired the wrong people and paid the price. The salaried employees knew there was no 100% chance their employer would be around forever.

      I'll be nice. I'll give you a chance to reword that statement, to expand on it, to explain it. Because, on it's face, it is just plain ridiculous.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Gwiz (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

      Re: price vs value

      That the largest IP corporations today are doing their best to prohibit free distribution of their products is actual evidence that your entire line of argument is on its face incorrect.

      That's a useless metric really. Like you said above corporations want to maximize their profits and that's the only thing you have proven. Horse buggy manufacturers did their best to prohibit automobiles and the dairy industry tried to outlaw margarine. It's not evidence, by any stretch of the imagination, that horse buggies or butter are economically better (or worse for that matter) at all.


      ...corporations are required by law to maximize their profits...

      What law are you talking about? I've never heard of such a thing and I've seen plenty of corporations do utterly stupid things that negatively affect their profit margins all the time. The only ones they've had to answer to is the stockholders. Please explain what you are talking about here.

       

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
        identicon
        horse with no name, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:54am

        Re: Re: price vs value

        If we were talking about moving from buggy whips to cars, you might have a point. Here were are moving from buggy whips to bullrushes and switches, it's hard to see the actual progress except that they perhaps cost less.

         

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

      Re: price vs value

      The law you are referring to is putting the interests of the shareholders first.

      This may or may not coincide with maximizing profits.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: price vs value

        But is that an actual law? I can understand the shareholders hiring a CEO and other executives and stipulating in their contracts that shareholder interest must come first, but an actual law?

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: price vs value

          It's the law, the CEO CANNOT do anything that the shareholders don't want.

          http://smallbusiness.chron.com/legal-relationship-between-shareholders-ceos-33637.html

          S tuff like this.

           

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

          •  
            icon
            Rikuo (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: price vs value

            Huh. Never knew that. Well, thanks for the link. Unless someone else wants to counter, I'll have to believe you. I do still find it a bit weird that the CEO owes a loyalty to the shareholders that is somehow separate from his contract, but hey, I'm not a lawyer.
            Oh, and trolls? That should be proof in and of itself I'm not Mike. Mike has a degree in, can't remember what now, but as a business owner, he'd be well aware of the legal duties of a CEO. He'd have no reason to ask what I just did.

             

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

          •  
            icon
            Gwiz (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 11:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: price vs value

            It's the law, the CEO CANNOT do anything that the shareholders don't want.


            I think you are incorrect here. The article you pointed to talks about the "legal obligations" of a CEO. Those would be enforced with legally binding contracts, not something codified into law. And the terms of the contracts could and would differ from company to company.

            So no, I don't believe that there is a "law" that says this. But, I could be wrong.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2013 @ 2:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: price vs value

              Not sure if you can see this, but I'm pretty sure it's law.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiduciary

              Fiduciary responsibility applies regardless of whether a contract exists.

               

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

              •  
                icon
                Gwiz (profile), May 2nd, 2013 @ 2:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: price vs value

                Fiduciary responsibility applies regardless of whether a contract exists.

                Ok. I get what you are getting at here. You are talking about what is called the "business judgment rule" here in the US and is based on case law.

                But those rulings really don't have all that much teeth in reality. Basically, US courts have pretty much tried to stay out of these issues and will dismiss the cases fairly readily if the CEO has some marginally rational reason for his actions. The case needs to be blatantly egregious for it go much further than that.

                So your statement of "It's the law, the CEO CANNOT do anything that the shareholders don't want." still doesn't ring all that true in the real world.

                 

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

    •  
      icon
      btrussell (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:44am

      Re: price vs value

      Increase shareholder wealth, not profits.

      Goodwill, for example, can increase wealth without an increase in profit. Any expenses to achieve the goodwill may reduce profits.

      In this context, wealth is long-term while profits are short-term.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 8:07am

      Re: price vs value

      That the largest IP corporations today are doing their best to prohibit free distribution of their products is actual evidence that your entire line of argument is on its face incorrect.

      I'm not sure Mike has ever argued that the IP maximalist corporations could make more money by giving their stuff away, he has been saying that about artists. There's a big difference.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 2:40pm

    Jaron must have missed the other news on Wired like Samsung spanking Apple's in profits.

    http://www.wired.com/business/2013/04/samsung-is-spanking-apple/

    Funny enough Samsung uses a free OS(i.e. Android).

     

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

  •  
    icon
    mudlock (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Malthus, and Borlaug and Hubbert

    We interrupt your tech discussion to argue about the analogy used in the set-up:

    If it weren't for Norman Borlaug, there's a good chance Malthus would've been right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

    And if M. King Hubbert was right, Malthus may turn out to have been right anyway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._King_Hubbert

     

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

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 10:32am

      Re: Malthus, and Borlaug and Hubbert

      If it weren't for Norman Borlaug, there's a good chance Malthus would've been right.

      If you believe nobody else would have come up with a similar solution.

      And if M. King Hubbert was right, Malthus may turn out to have been right anyway.

      Not sure of the connection. You're referring to peak oil? Malthus was talking about food, not energy, but even if you generalize his predictions there are other ways to get energy. There could be a rocky transition, but it doesn't seem reasonable to think the population will collapse due to lack of fossil fuels.

       

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


Add Your Comment

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

Close

Email This