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Why Are We Letting An Obsolete Gatekeeper Drive The Debate On Anything?

from the simple-questions dept

Rick Falkvinge has a nice column pointing out how disruptive innovation works: obsolete middlemen are innovated away. He uses the example of ice men: the folks who would deliver ice to be used in “ice boxes” prior to electricity and the refrigerator becoming common. But, of course, technology made such people obsolete:

There were many personal tragedies in this era as the icemen lost their breadwinning capacity and needed to retrain to get new jobs in a completely new field. The iceman profession had often been tough to begin with, and seeing your industry disintegrate in real-time didn?t make it any easier.

But here are a few things that didn?t happen as the ice distribution industry became obsolete:

No refrigerator owner was sued for making their own cold and ignoring the existing corporate cold distribution chains.

No laws were proposed that would make electricity companies liable in court if the electricity they provided was used in a way that destroyed icemen?s jobs.

Nobody demanded a monthly refrigerator fee from refrigerator owners that would go to the Icemen?s Union.

No lavishly expensive expert panels were held in total consensus about how necessary icemen were for the entire economy.

Rather, the distribution monopoly became obsolete, was ignored, and the economy as a whole benefited by the resulting decentralization.

As he notes, we’re now going through the same sort of disruptive innovation today, with many who slavishly rely on copyright as a business model for content distribution coming to terms with their own obsolescence. Yet, rather than be ignored and go away and let the economy benefit as a whole, they’re pulling a different sort of trick. They’re falsely convincing politicians, the press and even some of the public that rather than representing obsolete distribution mechanisms, they represent the content itself. It’s why you hear the recording industry referred to incorrectly as “the music industry.”

But the truth is that the main advantage these particular gatekeepers had was in distribution. They controlled the gates to distribution, and knew they could charge huge rents to get through. Copyright was merely the mechanism that built the gates, but the fact that there was a gate at all was a function of technology. Now technology has done away with that, and opened up the playing field wide. So wide that gates are meaningless, and the real focus needs to be on enabling content providers to do amazing things to stand out in the wide open field. But that’s got nothing to do with copyright.

Unfortunately, the industry is pretending that it has everything to do with that. What they’re really looking for are laws not to build back up the gate of copyright — but to take us back into history, whereby the walls of limitations are back up and people have to go through the gates. That era is over. But what’s truly amazing is that we still think the gatekeepers matter here. They don’t. There was no refrigerator fee and we shouldn’t have to set up special systems to re-animate the dead corpse of an obsolete distribution model that the recording industry was built around.

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Comments on “Why Are We Letting An Obsolete Gatekeeper Drive The Debate On Anything?”

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84 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They had a chance, they saw the future coming and sued it.
They called it Napster.
Then they twisted it into a shadow of itself, and were shocked people didn’t line up for what they turned it into.

Once the old guard dies off, they have a shot at someone new blazing a path into the digital age…
There is also a chance that none of the cast of regular ACs will wander in and make an ass of themselves…

But I can dream damnit!

The Logician says:

The actions of these gatekeepers are born largely out of fear. Fear of obsolescence, fear of losing control, fear of losing money, and fear of change. Other factors in their actions are greed, stubbornness, and self-imposed ignorance. All highly illogical responses to the inevitable advancement of technology. Illogical, but understandable, given their motives. They will not relent of their own will, not until all other choices are stripped from them. And perhaps not even then.

Jay (profile) says:

Small thought exercise

“But the truth is that the main advantage these particular gatekeepers had was in distribution. They controlled the gates to distribution, and knew they could charge huge rents to get through. Copyright was merely the mechanism that built the gates, but the fact that there was a gate at all was a function of technology. Now technology has done away with that, and opened up the playing field wide. So wide that gates are meaningless, and the real focus needs to be on enabling content providers to do amazing things to stand out in the wide open field. But that’s got nothing to do with copyright. “

I don’t agree that copyright is a function of technology. If anything, copyright has been a function of law, litigating economic shifts in the marketplace. Samsung is forced to comply with the law imposing a V-chip into their device. They also are forced, by law, to implement chips to prevent playing Region 2 DVDs in the US. The law forced people to have limited choices in how they were able to consume media, which has been the basic point of the copyright wars.

Without those laws, Samsung could make a choice to allow such a chip. But now that the law has forced all marketers to do the same thing, it makes the market less effective to support a small industry.

It might be better to say “Copyright was merely the mechanism that built the gates, but the fact that there was a gate at all was a function of law.”

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Small thought exercise

@Lobo

“Copyright was merely the mechanism that built the gates, but the fact that there was a gate at all was a result of the available technology.

This is still somewhat offbase from the point…

We’ve had the technology to allow a DVD player play in two or three regions. However, because of law restraints, consumers are worse off. Those that travel between Europe and the US, can’t get a DVD player that would work with just a switch between NTSC and PAL. There’s been a number of limits in regionalization that I can’t sit here and begin to describe that make the market worse than it could be. Copyright has done one thing quite well. That is being the antithesis to a free market.

“I took that to mean that gates were enabled by the limitations of past technology. Your average person/artist/whatever simply wasn’t capable of being there own distribution chain.”

This seems a lot more what I was thinking. The only thing stopping further advancements right now is the law and the threat of disproportionate punishments for civil offenses such as infringement.

Anonymous Coward says:

most creators of multimedia are not live performers, basically their motivation to create is the end product, the “recording of the creation” – making their passion and efforts worthless will NEVER fly and we will fight to make sure of that, besides there are LAWS against that called copyrights – until the law changes we have every right to fight for our rights – The Iceman didn’t have laws to protect his rights or it would have been a smoother transition instead of extinction – WE WILL NOT GO OUT LIKE THAT!

The Logician says:

Re: Re:

Live performance is but one scarcity, AC #7. There are plenty of others that can be monetized in leiu of digital copies which by their very nature cannot be contained. Nor can they be monetized in the old way, because as basic economics clearly states, when supply is infinite and the cost of reproduction is at or near zero, price is naturally and unavoidably driven to zero.

Thusly, you cannot rely on selling digital copies. At least, not for very much. But as self-published authors of ebooks have found, pricing a digital copy extremely low can bring in some sales. Even so, if your content is not of sufficient quality as perceived by those who consume it, you will not profit by it as well as you could. To be effective in the new digital marketplace, you must have good quality, reasonable price, no DRM or other artificial limitations, transparency, and authenticity.

Jeff Rowberg (profile) says:

Re: Re: Economics of Copyright

That is EXACTLY the same argument I just made here:

The Economic Impossibility of Copyright in a Digital World

There are indeed much more promising ways to capitalize on content. Trying to sell identical copies of infinite resources won’t work anymore, whether anyone thinks it should or not. It just won’t.

Jeff Rowberg (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Economics of Copyright

True, it will be interesting to see what developments technology brings to adjust to the realities of the market. However, it would surprise me if there will ever come any viable way to monetize access to digital content, since as soon as one guy has it, all of a sudden it can be infinitely redistributed for free again. This is what is causing so much market disruption now.

It will always be true that if you can view something digital on your own machine, you can by definition also record it with the right knowledge and skill. There isn’t any way around that.

But maybe I misinterpreted what you meant by “monetizing access to the content.” If there’s something besides the content there, like maybe a valuable members-only community forum, or opportunities to meet the creators, or some other non-infinite component, that should work. But monetizing access to content purely for the content itself won’t.

Jeff Rowberg (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Economics of Copyright

Netflix isn’t doing it wrong, because they are adding something of value to the pure content: namely, a huge amount of convenience, as well as a very unique process for tracking what you watch and predicting movies that you’ll like.

But consider for a moment that Netflix will lose much of its convenience value once the market fully adjusts to the fact that digital content duplication has no cost. As bandwidth costs decrease and speeds increase, the convenience of Netflix will not be as alluring as it is today. It will still be there, convenient for its rating and recommendation system and for its centralized, easy-to-navigate streaming (and physical) media library, but it will not be the same as it is today.

evileye says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Economics of Copyright

It’s quite sobering to imagine the day when p2p software comes pre-installed in every computer sold. Then any album or movie or tv-series episode or book or video game can hope to sell exactly one copy, after which it will be freely available for all the world.

It’s hard to see how much of the current industry can exist then. Sure, there will be amateurs recording music and producing youtube videos (without the support of professionals, professional studios, equipment or software mind you).

Fortunately, there has already been quite a lot of content produced professionally already, we’ll be quite happy passing that around for the rest of our lifes even if nothing new is created on that level ever again.

Jeff Rowberg (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Economics of Copyright

Have you browsed around Kickstarter lately and seen the plethora of creative works being made with significant monetary support?

It is entirely possible to obtain payments or contracts for payment on delivery for a creative work before the actual work is done. It is right to want to be paid for your work. However, the way to do this based on solid economics and the fact that information cannot practically be controlled (i.e. owned) is by negotiating compensation for the work you will do, not by demanding payments for work you already did and then permanently set the marginal cost of which to $0, economically speaking, by publishing it.

Kickstarter itself is not a panacea here, but the idea behind it is. Contract payments for people who want creative works done in advance from the people who stand to benefit from them, either as consumers or as value-added resellers. This can still be very lucrative, although it won’t be as much as it often is now with the exploitation of government-granted monopolies.

The very notion of “selling copies” of something infinite should make people scratch their heads, but it doesn’t. Usually. Yet.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Rights? What rights? You don’t have the right to make money, you don’t have the right to force people to pay for your works.

Maybe you’re getting confused; copyright is a vary misleading word. A simple way to keep it strait; when you hear the word copyright, replace it with copy-privilege. Same with intellectual property; it’s more like intellectual output.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

most creators of multimedia are not live performers, basically their motivation to create is the end product, the “recording of the creation” – making their passion and efforts worthless will NEVER fly and we will fight to make sure of that, besides there are LAWS against that called copyrights – until the law changes we have every right to fight for our rights – The Iceman didn’t have laws to protect his rights or it would have been a smoother transition instead of extinction – WE WILL NOT GO OUT LIKE THAT!

With that bad (and bad tempered) attitude you surely will.

I certainly won’t be having anything to do with your output after that little display.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

and how about if we all break laws whenever we please? serving your personal beliefs doesn’t always serve the community and the community is built upon laws and the enforcement of those laws – you my friend, like a lot of other self serving individuals need to think about the community and how to change things the correct way (through the system)instead of breaking the laws and/or just whining about it

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So you are saying you are something like a studio engineer (or cover artist, or videographer). So if you are valuable to quality recording still (likely so there is a learning curve to most things) then you find a way to be employed by your skills. You work directly for artists, not distributors. Distributors are the middle man here, not you if you are providing valuable services. If you can’t see the future coming, technology is getting better and more user friendly. Artists don’t need studios as much. They don’t need promoters as much. Some may choose to not use traditional venues as well. What they do need is revenue strategies, not allowances from a parent.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“””most creators of multimedia are not live performers, basically their motivation to create is the end product, the “recording of the creation” – making their passion and efforts worthless will NEVER fly and we will fight to make sure of that, besides there are LAWS against that called copyrights – until the law changes we have every right to fight for our rights – The Iceman didn’t have laws to protect his rights or it would have been a smoother transition instead of extinction – WE WILL NOT GO OUT LIKE THAT!”””

All I hear is:
Bark! Bark bark! Bark bark bark! Bark!

dwg says:

Re: Re:

I thought that “passion” was its own reward…? And if your “motivation to create [sic] is the end product, the ‘recording of the creation’,” then (1) nobody’s stopping you from doing that, and (2) you’re admitting that you’re not creating anything if your “creation” is a “recording of the creation.”

So, to sum up: you’re not really saying someone is stopping you from doing what you’re passionate about doing–just that you’re pissed that your revenues from doing so might be drying up. Which tells me what you’re really passionate about–the money; not the “creation.” Be honest: you’re a parasite and a non-creator. The sooner you own that, the better. Otherwise, prove me wrong and follow your passion: go record those creations for free.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The Iceman didn’t have laws to protect his rights or it would have been a smoother transition instead of extinction…

Umm. It was a smooth transition. The Icemen quietly retooled themselves and reentered the workforce in other industries.

What we have going on now is anything but a “smooth transition” with the entertainment gatekeepers. You really think criminalizing large swaths of the population and pissing off your entire customer base to no end is smooth? It looks a lot more like kicking, screaming and throwing temper tantrums to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you want to “make your own cold”, nobody is stopping you. But in the case of content, few are making their own cold, they are just using cold created under the system run by the “obsolete gatekeeper”.

What is truly sad is that people don’t seem to realize the source of their “cold”. Maybe if they did, they wouldn’t be in such a rush to shoot the ice truck driver.

The Logician says:

Re: Re:

You fail to understand, AC #11, that new culture comes from old culture. Everything is reused. There is nothing unique. All content is derived from previously existing content. Therefore, restricting culture as the current form of copyright does only hampers the creation of new content. It does not help it in any way.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Have you not been paying attention? The people that are getting beaten over the head with the copyright club the hardest are the ones making their own cold. The artists getting screwed by the gatekeepers we’re talking about. That’s one of the reasons the gatekeepers are dying, creators are starting to ignore them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

They aren’t making their own cold, that’s the trick. They are taking ice out of the ice chest, hiding in the back of their new “fridgething” and claiming that somehow they are magically making cold. They aren’t, they are just using the old cold and claiming it as new.

If they actually made their own cold, nobody would give a rats ass. But since they are just playing games and using what was already there and claiming is as new and as they own, they get slammed over the head.

It’s amazing you guys fall for this crap.

The Logician says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Again, AC #35, you fail to grasp that there is no new culture that can be made without old culture. There is no content of any kind that has never been built without using inspiration and remixing of old content. You cannot name a single work that was created in a vacuum without any influence of any kind from any other works.

Creativity does not care about laws or copyrights. It will do what it must to express itself, even if it means ignoring the desires and restrictions of those who would seek to exploit it rather than embrace it. Such as yourself, for example.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I grasp that completely. What you guys don’t grasp is there is a difference between “old culture” as a set of references, and “old culture” as a set of recording used as beat tracks for “new culture”.

One requires that you actually (gasp) interpret the style in your own way, using your own skills to reproduce in your own manner the unique things that you extracted from culture. The other is using a photocopy machine to copy a book and claiming it as your own.

What passes for “new culture” is shocking really. It’s amazing to see people supporting it like mad here, while tossing verbal bombs are Hollywood for doing re-makes of movies. Holy crap, you guys are so two faced.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Ooh, I have to admit, this…
It’s amazing to see people supporting it like mad here, while tossing verbal bombs are Hollywood for doing re-makes of movies. Holy crap, you guys are so two faced.
was quite a zing. AC really dropped the gauntlet on a lot of the attitudes on display here. For real. Any retorts?

Zot-Sindi says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

i have one

their totally missing the point on the hollywood remakes, we don’t bash them on remaking but the hypocrisy of it

they preach how bad it is to reuse content yet there they are… reusing… content

and it’s apparently OK to do so as long as you have the rights, then it’s “original” it’s “new”

don’t have the rights? oh, too bad! you unoriginal scum! stop reusing content!

of course, all that would require real comprehension skills to figure out and i realize trolls don’t generally posses those skils… well, they do, what they want to comprehend for their convenience

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I’m thinking of a story of an ancient, immortal race of beings (aliens far out in space from us) who created a corps of varied abilities and shapes, but with a common strong will of mind. They gave each member of the corps a device to wear that distilled and concentrated this power of will. Not magic, merely technology far advanced beyond our own.

Any comic fan or recent movie-goer will doubtless recognize this description of the Green Lantern, yes?

No. I was talking about the Lensmen series written by E. E. “Doc” Smith back in the ’30s and ’40s, some of the earliest space opera (and origin of a lot of science fiction ideas that have been copied so often they’re now terribly clich?).

Seems to me that Warner has just done a movie that’s a story that’s been recycled twice.

This is the kind of “originality” we’ve been legislating protection for, that copyright apologists insist must be protected from other people “stealing” them.

For the record, this similarity has been noted in Wikipedia, and apparently the originators of the Green Lantern deny having read the Lensman books. It’s possible they were influenced indirectly, or that they really thought it up independently. Any science fiction aficionado (or anybody who reads, or pays attention to what happens in real life!) is going to pick up a lot of ideas either way. While this does mean part of my argument could be technically incorrect, it doesn’t really invalidate it. In fact, the fact that they may have been influenced indirectly makes it stronger — such ideas become part of the culture that storytellers build on. Come to that, it’s quite possible that Edward Smith found his inspiration in the same or similar places as Schwartz and Broome.

If this had happened this decade, under the current laws and litigious culture, would Edward Elmer Smith have sued DC Comics… and won? In spite of the fact that they apparently didn’t actually copy the basic elements of his story, but came up with them independently?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But in the case of content, few are making their own cold, they are just using cold created under the system run by the “obsolete gatekeeper”.

If that was true then you would be able to detect it using a thermometer connected to “your” cold (it would get warmer.

Thing is – when someone makes a copy of your work – it leaves your work unchanged.

Anonymous Coward With A Clue says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is aimed at Anonymous Coward (comment 22)

“Incorrect you just doubled the supply. Supply and demand says that you just lowered the market price of the original.

Welcome to reality.”

Actually, while you did just double the supply, and even then that’s debatable, you didn’t lower the market price of the original, but the market VALUE. Welcome to reality. It might be semantics, but it’s how it is. Because the reality is that while there might now be a copy of said original, the original is still there. And while it’s value is THEORETICALLY lowered (as per your comment, which isn’t based on fact as far as I can see), it’s price isn’t.

If I were to go online and search right now for whatever the most popular movie is, and then find a copy of said movie and get it, would I then be able to go to the theater (if it’s a movie still in theater) or to a store and purchase a dvd/blu-ray (if it’s a movie already out on dvd/blu-ray) and buy a ticket/purchase the dvd for a lower price? The answer is a most definite “no”. It would still cost the same amount for a ticket to the movie, or the dvd would still be at the same price as it were even without there being a copy, regardless of it’s theoretically lowered value.

As for the “it’s debatable” part in reference to doubling the supply, like I said, it’s debatable. If you made a copy of a movie from a dvd, you aren’t doubling the supply of the original. I.e. making a complete and total duplicate of the movie, case, etc. You’re making a digital copy of the movie, and just that. So it’s not really doubling the supply of the original, as per what you mean. Again, might be talking semantics here, but that’s how I roll. Specifics. Deal in them or watch people turn what you say around on you and make you look like a fool.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“””Incorrect. You just doubled the supply. Supply and demand says that you just lowered the market price of the original.”””

Holy smokes, do you really believe that??? I mean, really? You think that somehow the “market” just “knows” that a copy of something has been created and automatically prorates all other copies accordingly? Are you actually that blindingly dense?

“””Welcome to reality.”””

Dude, I love an ironical statement as much as the next guy, but this is just too much, you’re killing me. I’m shocked you can even communicate with us at your far level of remove from reality.

Zot-Sindi says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Welcome to reality.

oh dear gracious, i suppose i can say how LUCKY i, or just about everybody except you & the rest of the MAFIAA/copyright supporters i guess that we are NOT in this …weird… reality you have going on

hey can you get me the mental coordinates of it i want to make sure i don’t get sucked into it myself

Loki says:

What many in the content industry fail to realize is that by essentially eliminating the “for a limited time” clauses for copyright, the have also eliminated the desire of most people to WANT to invest in their efforts.

I know a lot of people (at least several dozen I can name personally) who are making 1/3 to a half of what they were making 10-15 years ago because the industries they were working in (some of them with advanced degrees) shrunk or simply no longer exist, and they have to make ends meet by working at Walmart or some gas station for $9 an hour.

Then we hear someone complain they aren’t getting paid for work they did 20 years ago, and they wonder why we go “so what”. Especially since a lot of it is pure, blind luck.

I was at a seminar with RA Salvatore a few years back where he even admitted his success was in large part due not to his talent (as he said he personally knew of a few writers he considered more talented than him at the time) but to just being in the right place at the right time to get his foot in the door. Had he been in a different place at that time, he could just as easily be flipping burgers these days.

On the other hand, I know a band from Chicago called Seventh Omen. For their genre (basically “hair metal”) I think they could just as easily have been just as big as a Great White or a Skid Row if they’d just been in the right place at the right time. Yet they’ve continued to play for years, despite having very professional, well paying “real jobs” (a couple of times a few of the band members have had to walk away from $40-60K jobs to pursue a tour or other music obligations).

In the old world, you had to go through a very small number of gatekeepers to find success, and by controlling all the outlets, they got to make the rules.

What pisses them off now is they have to compete in the marketplace with people and mediums who may actually give the content creators a better deal than the one sided options they used to have.

Just look at MySpace, which was originally designed as a medium for unsigned band. It grew to epic proportions, well beyond just the music. Now you go there and the entertainment industry has their content plastered all over everything, and instead of making MySpace even bigger it largely lost its relevance (though there were other reasons as well) to sites like Facebook.

Another example is eMusic. I was a member for years. Bought literally hundred of albums that had no affiliation with the major labels (almost all of it as good as, if not better than, most of the “mainstream/major label stuff” – the rest being actual “mainstream”/name artists who went the independent route). Recommended the site to many friends (more than a few who joined as well). HAd to give it up for financial reasons (downsizing due to a bad economy) not long before they signed the Sony deal. At the time I had close to 100 albums on my saved for later list. Now you go there and the major label crap is plastered everywhere. Good luck finding independent music that is now mostly buried deep in the back. This has made eMusic largely irrelevant to a lot of people as well.

Nobody cares about the old legacy players who have made themselves, and few select content creators (to keep the masses daring to hope), insanely rich off the back of the vast majority of content creators and consumers. True, without “big media” the number of multi-million dollar content creators might decrease (or it might not) but the likelihood of content creators as a whole being able to make reasonable livings as a whole will likely increase.

evileye says:

As long as we are talking about copyright as a concept (and not distribution models or movie remakes for instance), please remember that a CREATOR OF A WORK HAS THE SOLE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH IT.

No one is forcing any artists to submit to third parties but they are all free to sell their works, or give them away for free (as my band does) or whatever. Sure enough, it is convenient for most creators to sign some of their rights off for someone else to manage, but these basic rights still exist and cannot be canceled just because there is now an easy way to get around them.

“Infinite supply” argument is moot, I might just as well say that the numbers on my bank account are just some bits, and how would it hurt anyone if I make a software that goes and puts those bits in a slightly different order on the bank’s computer. Right?

Jeff Rowberg (profile) says:

Re: Infinite Supply

“As long as we are talking about copyright as a concept (and not distribution models or movie remakes for instance), please remember that a CREATOR OF A WORK HAS THE SOLE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH IT.”

This position assumes that intellectual property is the same as physical property, which a great many people do not believe, and with good reason. Practically speaking, something which cannot be stolen cannot by nature be owned. Ideas, knowledge, or other information cannot be stolen, only duplicated.

The “right” to control perfect, zero-cost duplication of something infinite has no basis in reality. You do have the right to do whatever you want with the ideas you have, including attempt to sell them. But the moment they are communicated to someone else, the fact that you may have been the originator of that particular information has no impact on the fact that every one who has access to the information has the exactly same thing you do, including the inherent ability to duplicate, modify, and/or spread it, and the same rights to do so (barring contractual agreements that you may have created before communicating said info, which are important to note because they form the basis of how you can still make good money from your creative works without copyright).

‘”Infinite supply” argument is moot, I might just as well say that the numbers on my bank account are just some bits, and how would it hurt anyone if I make a software that goes and puts those bits in a slightly different order on the bank’s computer. Right?’

No. The “rearranging bits in your bank account” hypothetical situation has nothing at all to do with the infinite supply argument, for two reasons. First, the information stored on the bank’s computer is a means of keeping a single record that directly correlates to a quantity of a finite resource (namely, money, though it is hard to argue for its scarcity because of the stupid Fed). That number changes when the quantity of (scarce, limited, finite) money I possess changes; it is not something I or anyone else can modify at will. Arbitrarily changing that number then creates a factual error, and if done on purpose (particularly if it increases) is equivalent to counterfeiting, which is illegal for reasons completely outside of copyright.

Secondly, strictly speaking, I couldn’t care less if someone has my bank account info, or duplicates it a million times and spreads it around everywhere (though bank-related privacy would be a bit of an issue at that point). But the moment anyone besides me alters the information stored at the original source, that’s when I get mad.

Copyright has nothing to do with protecting the original work from direct modification. Copyright infringement does absolutely nothing to the integrity of the original information. Copying your bank account balance into a similar database record on your computer will do nothing to your account. Changing that record on your computer will also do nothing to your account. But changing the original data source will absolutely have an affect.

Nobody has ever said that it’s fine to actually modify original instances of creative works, only that it should be okay to copy them and go from there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Infinite Supply

“a CREATOR OF A WORK HAS THE SOLE RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH IT”

Yes, he does. He can either”
1. burn his work (nobody will have it, EVER MUHAHAHAHA)
2. lock it up forever (maybe someone will discover it after he dies?)
3. SHARE it with the culture that inspired it.

If he choses step three, like it or not, he doesn’t have control. That doesn’t mean he can’t profit from it, but it does mean it belongs to culture now, not just him.
So his choice

kirk says:

Taste and Style

The emergence of the multiple day music festival means that lots of content is exposed to many distribution channels. This was once the exclusive domain of big record labels. Many, many, many performers with many, many, many channels of distribution surrounds the emerging fringes with options. The ability to predict and shape taste and style by fiat of Sony Music is what got lost to SXSW, ACL, Bonneroo etc.

mkibrick says:

Bad Metaphor

Regardless of the sentiment your metaphor comparing the ice delivery industry to the recording (or music delivery) industry is highly flawed. The ice delivery industry died because we no longer needed huge blocks of ice, not because we found another way to get it. Now we have a machine that creates our own ice at home. The need for music has not dropped. If you illegally download or share music, you are still consuming music that you did not create in your own home. If music was generated by a computer then it would analogous to ice.

This does not mean I don’t agree with you, but you need a better metaphor.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Bad Metaphor

I think you’re missing the analogy. People didn’t have ice delivered to their homes because they wanted ice. They got it to keep their food cold. The ice was just the means of doing that. Once they could keep their food cold without the ice, they didn’t keep making huge blocks of ice because they wanted the ice. They just kept their fold cold (and made a little ice for drinks).

Similarly, people didn’t buy plastic discs because they wanted the discs, they bought them to get the music or movies on them. Now the distribution scarcity is gone, so that business model (distributing content) is obsolete. People don’t need help from businesses to get content anymore.

The content *production* business is alive and well (and doesn’t need government distortion of the market to survive), and will continue to be so, because it is not obsolete. It’s just charging for distribution that is becoming harder and harder to do.

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