Study Reinforces How Much The Internet Has Enabled Content Creators To Make Money

from the everyone-creates dept

A year ago, we wrote about a wonderful study that showed how the internet and its various platforms were (contrary to the stories that the legacy entertainment industries keep spreading) enabling more content creators to make more money than ever before. That study, by the Re:Create Coalition has just published an updated version of that study, again showing how important the internet has been in enabling creative people to make money from their creations.

Somewhat hilariously, some of the “complaints” I’ve seen from legacy copyright industry lobbyists is that it shows a fairly small amount of earnings per individual. But that’s actually the whole point. The study itself is not about major stars. It is focused directly on small independents who previously would have made absolutely nothing:

This study also focuses on independent creators, distinct from mainstream artists such as Ariana Grande or Dwayne Johnson who generate substantial income flows from their Instagram brand sponsorships, YouTube revenue-sharing and other means.

This is a point that has been frustrating for quite some time that I think is worth calling out specifically. One argument I’ve seen made repeatedly is that the long tail distribution of earning power for content creators is meaningless, since for so many along the curve the total earnings are so low. Indeed, some will argue, the average earnings looks much lower than under the “old” system. But that’s lying with statistics — namely by excluding all of the zeros. That is: under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0. You could not make any money. There was no way to even enter the system if you weren’t anointed (in exchange for usually giving up your copyright and nearly all earnings). But those who point to the old system cut all of those $0 earners out of the equation when they add up the “average earnings.” If you add them back in, you find that the curve is much more democratized. It is possible that some at the upper ends earn less (though I’m not sure there’s evidence of that), but all of the people who previously earned $0 under the old system can earn something under the new system.

Here’s a quick and dirty graph to show what I mean, comparing revenue streams under the new v. the old system. It’s one thing to say that under the old system successful artists made a lot of money — but that only works if you pull out of the average everyone who was blocked out of the system, thereby stacking the deck by changing the denominator in the equation. If you add back in all of those “zeros under the old system” suddenly the equation changes:

And, indeed, that’s what this latest study appears to show. There are lots of creative types down the long tail who are making some money — almost all of which is only enabled by these new platforms. And that raises some significant policy level questions. Is the goal of US copyright policy to encourage lots of people to make new works, including providing some remuneration to lots of those creators, or is it to enable a few gatekeepers to pick and choose the winners under their elitist rules, and block everyone else out. I’d argue that these platforms have done much more for creativity in democratizing the opportunity for almost any creator to make some money, than they have in supposedly “destroying” the ability for legacy gatekeepers to retain their old business model.

And, of course, as I noted last year, this study’s findings are clearly on the conservative side, in large part because they leave out many of the top platforms used by creators today, including Kickstarter, Patreon, IndieGogo, BandCamp, Spotify, Apple, and more (it only looks at Amazon publishing, eBay, Etsy, Instagram, Shapeways, Tumblr, Twitch, WordPress and YouTube). Given how much some of the “missing” platforms are now considered the go to starting places for independent artists, it seems likely that the “undercounting” here is significant, which drives the “traditionalists'” narrative even more off the rails.

The internet has been an amazing platform for creators to make money — and that includes millions of people who probably wouldn’t have made any money in the past. The gatekeepers, such as the RIAA labels and its lobbyists, will sneer at the small sums, but really all they’re doing is reinforcing their gatekeeper mentality. If someone isn’t making a lot of money from this new system, clearly (to them) it’s because they’re “no good.” But, that kinda proves the point: nothing in copyright law or the intention of copyright was for solely supporting the absolute best creators as chosen by gatekeepers.

So, from a policy standpoint, are we trying to enable everyone to be creative — and maybe make some money from their creativity — or are we trying to set up gatekeepers who pick and choose a few small winners and send everyone else home. Perhaps there’s a legitimate policy argument for the latter position, but it’s a pretty blatant lie that those pushing for such a world are “supporting creators.” They are not. They are supporting a small class of creators — but mainly they are supporting the gatekeepers. A policy that truly encourages overall creativity is one that creates platforms that enable anyone to create, to share, to distribute and to make some money from their creations (if they want to try to do so, and there’s a reasonable market for it).

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Comments on “Study Reinforces How Much The Internet Has Enabled Content Creators To Make Money”

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219 Comments
David says:

Well, time to put a stop to it.

Study Reinforces How Much The Internet Has Enabled Content Creators To Make Money

Creators using the Internet for profit are to a good degree out of control of the collection societies unlike, say, CD production facilities. Those creators don’t contribute their fair share to the collection societies responsible for their legal representation and lobbying, and consequently are leeching off other, more responsible creators.

Blank media in responsible jurisdictions are levied because they can be used for copying copyrighted content. It’s similar to how bullets are levied to recompensate the next of kin of victims of gun violence. In a similar vein, IP packets need to be levied because they could contain copyrighted content.

Vote yes for a society that does not take culture for granted or inherited or shared or public. We don’t want to return to the stone age where people could just walk into a cave if they wanted to look at wall paintings.

Anonymous Coward says:

"That is: under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0. You could not make any money. There was no way to even enter the system if you weren’t anointed (in exchange for usually giving up your copyright and nearly all earnings)."

I don’t follow. The average earned here is $400, right? Are you suggesting that no one could make $400 per year from their art before the internet? That’s nonsense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

What another dingdong would talk like that?

Literally anyone else in this same comment section? You know, since that’s what they are. Your logic-fu is weak old man.

And I suppose I could list them all off (RIAA, MPAA, Hollywood, etc…), or call them by the slang term MAFIAA. Actually MAFIAA is much shorter and says basically the same thing. Would you prefer I use that? How about MAFIAA thugs and thieves? Ooooh I like that one. Copyright thugs? Old men who can’t adapt to new technology and scream at kids to get off their lawn? So many possibilities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Liar.

Also, proof please. Name at least an equal amount of artists (music, actors, film makers, authors, or otherwise) who prior to the internet made the same amount of money on their own without being signed to a major label, industry, or publisher. I mean, that is what you’re saying. Therefore history should be rife with an equal number, or more, of people who made money with their art on their own, prior to the internet, than those who got "signed" or "noticed" by gatekeeper companies.

I’ll wait.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Sanford made a claim of fact — “[L]ots of people made similar dollar amounts per year with their art. I did.” — and refused to cite a single name, including his own, that could back up his assertion. He wanted us to believe him without any proof. Asking for proof that can verify a claim of fact is not a “strawman”, it’s goddamned common sense.

A. Jed Cheddar says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Well up to "A Stephen Stone's" usual standard:

Either name names or stop writing checks your cowardly ass can’t cash, Sanford.

You are contradicting that no one made more than ZERO dollars before the Internet.

Congrats. Smashed through all previous low-intellect sheer gainsaying with a record that should stand for some time.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Let’s re-read the sentence in question again:

That is: under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0.

Can you pick out the one word in that sentence that you, Sanford, and the other trolls are ignoring because it puts the entire sentence into context?

HERE, LEMME SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU:

That is: under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0.

The entire point of that sentence is that pre-Internet artists who did not go through gatekeepers could expect to make literally nothing from their works. Did some of those artists get lucky enough to earn some money? Absolutely. Did any of those artists get lucky enough to earn the kind of money they would have earned if they had gone through a gatekeeper? If so, I have yet to see anyone naming names.

Next time, try arguing in good faith, you gotdamn asshole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Technically I didn’t call you any names. Calling you a liar is not calling you names. I’m saying you are lying and if you want me to believe you, you have to back it up with facts.

I can say "I’ve been to the moon and back and have the space rocks to prove it!" but that doesn’t mean I actually have.

So, proof or it didn’t happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

No, but then I never claimed to, did I?

Stop trying to put words in other people’s mouths.

You said:

Obviously, lots of people made similar dollar amounts per year with their art.

If you truly believe that you should be able to come up with a plethora of people who made the same amount of money as signed artists. I’m not aware of such a large number who did so, therefore I’m calling BS on you. But please, feel free to prove me wrong and enlighten me.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I have nothing more to say to you

And yet you immediately follow this up with a reply to the person who replied to you.

As I told the stalker-ish ex-gf who kept loudly proclaiming, over and over and over again for months and month, that she was going to break up with me and NEVER TALK TO ME AGAIN!!! (long after I had broken up with her,) "I’ll believe it when I don’t see it."

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Fine then. This was not clear from your sentence construction, and possibly influenced also by your restated strawman here.

You can play out all you want, but exposure, and therefore opportunites, were far more limited before it became easy to get ones own content on the web. Further, some prefer to be "studio bands" and not play the same thing repeatedly forever. It is easier to do more of that for far more people because of the internet without being beholden to publishers and distributors, and no cost for physical media and the time spent trying to hawk one’s wares in person. There were always a lot more people worth a listen who one never heard, and who made 0 for it, prior to contemporary technologies which enable this now. They can put their hard work in differently, or better as time allows, rather than competing for live venue time, which is far too scarce for the number of artists who exist. (Also, playing live is difficult for one-person multi-instrument acts, and for people who don’t have the schedules who allow for it if they can’t be full-time artists yet, or who are not at all comfortable in public.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The average earned here is $400, right?

Um, no actually. Nowhere in the article does it state that. You are the only one stating the average earned is $400. Amazon publishing numbers alone are higher than that. eBay numbers higher still. (Don’t believe me? You could read the actual report.)

Are you suggesting that no one could make $400 per year from their art before the internet?

Misleading and putting words in people’s mouths. But the majority? If you were an actor, film maker/writer, author, or music artist prior to the internet, yeah, good luck making any kind of money outside of getting noticed and signing with any of the major entertainment companies.

Seriously, tell me how many movie and music artists, alone, who have made money by self-publishing their work on the internet would have made an equivalent amount, or any, money prior to the internet? To say nothing of book publishing. Unless you already had money to have your books physically made up, printed, and distributed, yeah authors who didn’t get a publishing contract made jack shit. Now, anyone can write a book and self-publish on the internet and have a chance at making some cash.

That’s nonsense.

The only nonsensical thing here, sir, is your blatant rejection of facts and reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Happy to chat with you, but if you’re going to be belligerent and call me names. What’s the point of that?

From the study: "16.9 million independent, American creators earned a baseline of $6.8 billion"

$6,800,000,000/16,900,000 = $402.

The claim being made is that, "under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0."

That’s nonsense. It’s not "literally $0."

To the point that the internet has created new opportunities, I agree.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Well considering that the AC in question was implying that TD as a site was dying off ("imploding"), you’re responding to the wrong inference.

But even then, please show me how a few nutters on the site imply it is "imploding". There are nutters on every site. So has every site on the internet "imploded" then, in your opinion?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

From the study: "16.9 million independent, American creators earned a baseline of $6.8 billion"

If you average all of them, yes, that’s what you come up with. But here let’s take a look at some other averages from the same study. I’ll use 2017 numbers since they are at the top of the list:

Amazon publishing
177,042 creators made a total of $220,447,368 for an average of $1245 per creator.

eBay
23,797 creators made a total of $36,974,301 for an average of $1554 per creator.

Youtube
2,187,107 creators made a total of $4,004,000,000 for an average of $1831 per creator.

I could go on.

Additionally those are only averages. Some people made lots more, some made lots less, some were in between. Also, it doesn’t take a lot of people making very little to drag that average down. That’s the funny thing about averages, you have to be careful how you interpret those averages. If you’ve ever been in college, you should know this. One F can drop you almost an entire GPA point.

The claim being made is that, "under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0."

Exactly. You could expect to make literally $0. But that is expectations. Some people got lucky. Most did not. Therefore, you could expect to make nothing.

That’s nonsense. It’s not "literally $0."

See above.

To the point that the internet has created new opportunities, I agree.

Agreed. And I’ll add extended old opportunities to a much wider range of people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But that’s not what he said. He claims: "That is: under the old system, if a gatekeeper didn’t let you in, your expected earnings from your creativity was literally $0. You could not make any money. There was no way to even enter the system if you weren’t anointed (in exchange for usually giving up your copyright and nearly all earnings)."

He’s saying that people couldn’t make money before. That’s not true.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Maybe not directly and universally, but as a general rule, it is true: Prior to the Internet, the earning opportunities for artists of all kinds were limited based on whether the gatekeepers of media would give you a shot. A local band, for example, might have made a few hundred bucks a year playing local bars and whatnot — but they would never have had a chance at making much more than that unless a record label signed them to a deal (which would ultimately be more beneficial to the label). The pre-Internet media landscape was one where the major gatekeepers ruled and the independent artist was left to languish in obscurity.

Now we have no more gatekeepers in that regard. Musicians can ply their trade through SoundCloud, YouTube, and numerous other platforms. They no longer need to kiss a record label’s ass to find an audience. And, if they are good enough at the music and the marketing, those musicians can make a fair amount of money on their own — maybe not record label, world tour, “I’m on a boat, motherfucker” money, but a living wage at the least.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

your expected earnings

Key words here. Expected earnings is not "actual" earnings. Under the old system it was nearly impossible for people to make money without being contracted to a gatekeeper; some rare people got lucky but most did not. THEREFORE, if you chose to do it on your own, you could EXPECT to probably not make any money.

So yes, Mike is technically correct and his statement is accurate.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Are you suggesting that no one could make $400 per year from their art before the internet? That’s nonsense.

No-one? No.

Drastically less than are able to do now? Yes.

Before open platforms allowed for authors, musicians and artists to share their work with more people that those immediately around them, the opportunity for making money off your work on a larger scale was basically ‘Go through one of the gatekeepers on whatever terms they offered, and if they decide to pass you by well, sucks to be you.’

Before sites and services like Smashwords and Amazon’s self-publishing ebook store opened up, you either signed with a major publisher or the only people likely to read your stuff were friends and relatives, neither of which were likely to be buying a stack of pages from a printer(especially not at the cost that would take for a novel). After self-publishing became more viable however suddenly anyone can write up a short story or full blown novel and put it up for reading/sale, with people from around the world as potential buyers.

Likewise with musicians and sites like Bandcamp. Before platforms like that you either signed to a label on whatever terms they offered, or the only people who were likely to hear you were locals. After new platforms showed up you’ve got a potential global audience to listen/buy, and with much better terms.

A. Jed Cheddar says:

Re: "That's [not mere] nonsense, it's MM's tricks."

I don’t follow. The average earned here is $400, right? Are you suggesting that no one could make $400 per year from their art before the internet? That’s nonsense.

You can’t be new, must know Masnick’s schtick.

I’ll just go on to what The Maz left out:

1) NEW GATEKEEPERS like Youtube and Facebook:

2) which Masnick asserts can arbitrarily "deplatform" you if don’t meet their unknown — but "leftist" — standards;

3) and in conspiracy with all other "platforms", advertising, and payment processors

4) SO THAT you not only get ZERO dollars but are without ANY possibility of it on the Internet.

THAT’S the de facto TOTAL CONTROL / NO ALTERNATIVES corporatized system which Masnick advocates.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

  1. YouTube and Facebook are not the end-all, be-all gatekeepers of the Internet; artists can freely set up their own websites and use those third-party platforms as a way to advertise said personal sites.
  2. Yes, a website’s owners/operators are under no legal, ethical, moral, personal, or professional obligation to host UGC/third-party speech that the owners/operators do not want associated with that website. Cite the law, statute, or court ruling that says otherwise.
  3. What proof do you have that YouTube and Facebook are conspiring with all other platforms for speech and expression — including Tumblr, Twitter, SoundCloud, individual Mastodon instances, Vimeo, Streamable, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon’s e-publishing business, Smashwords, DeviantArt, FurAffinity, Picarto, Twitch, and even goddamn 4chan — as well as payment processors and advertising companies to…whatever it is you think they’re doing?
  4. See #1.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "That's [not mere] nonsense, it's MM's tricks."

You can’t be new, must know Masnick’s schtick.

I’ll just go on to what The Maz left out:

1) NEW GATEKEEPERS like Youtube and Facebook:

2) which Masnick asserts can arbitrarily "deplatform" you if don’t meet their unknown — but "leftist" — standards;

3) and in conspiracy with all other "platforms", advertising, and payment processors

4) SO THAT you not only get ZERO dollars but are without ANY possibility of it on the Internet.

THAT’S the de facto TOTAL CONTROL / NO ALTERNATIVES corporatized system which Masnick advocates.

But why can’t you actually argue the point of the article, that more people now have the opportunity to make money via the Internet then existed in the pre-internet way? YOU CAN’T so you always have to bring up bullshit strawman arguments without providing proof, then somehow you magically think you’ve won the argument

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: "That's [not mere] nonsense, it's MM's tricks."

"1) NEW GATEKEEPERS like Youtube and Facebook:"

Which do not control 100% of the internet, no matter how hard you wish they did.

"2) which Masnick asserts can arbitrarily "deplatform" you if don’t meet their unknown — but "leftist" — standards;"

Do you honestly think that people weren’t removed from platforms before the internet? Do you not realise that the right-wing cesspools you frequent do exactly the same thing?

"3) and in conspiracy with all other "platforms", advertising, and payment processors"

Little fascist snowflakes like yourself are free to set up Nazi versions of the same if you wish. Nobody has a right to use any of them if they violate the terms of services.

"4) SO THAT you not only get ZERO dollars but are without ANY possibility of it on the Internet."

Only if you’re a whining failure. Successful people find a way without demanding they have some kind of right to use other peoples’ platforms.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'Clearly if they were a REAL writer they'd be signed with us.'

The gatekeepers, such as the RIAA labels and its lobbyists, will sneer at the small sums, but really all they’re doing is reinforcing their gatekeeper mentality. If someone isn’t making them a lot of money from this new system, clearly (to them) it’s because they’re "no good." But, that kinda proves the point: nothing in copyright law or the intention of copyright was for solely supporting the absolute best creators as chosen by gatekeepers.

The elitist mentality of ‘if you’re not making piles of money it’s evidence you’re rubbish’ is part of it I’m sure, but the bigger ‘problem’ for them is that all the money being made isn’t going through/to them, and in fact people are able to make money completely independent of them without giving them so much as a cent. That is likely the bigger reason to dismiss all the creativity on display and the money made: If it’s not making them money, then it doesn’t count.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 'Clearly if they were a REAL writer they'd be signed with us

The public was the one who kept demanding publishing and record deals even after the internet made them obsolete, mostly as a status marker.

In that sense, the public is responsible for these gatekeepers in the first place. If people didn’t play follow-the-winner (as defined by publishing and record deals), the internet would have put an end to the gatekeepers two decades ago. Blame people who are obsessed with perception of status, not the companies who serve that demand by conveying status to those they sign.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 'Clearly if they were a REAL writer they'd be signed wit

The public was the one who kept demanding publishing and record deals even after the internet made them obsolete, mostly as a status marker.

Citation please. Also ignores the fact that these companies have been working very hard to give that impression to the public so they don’t realize there are other options.

the internet would have put an end to the gatekeepers two decades ago

The options being discussed didn’t exist two decades ago. They do now, and they are putting an end to gatekeepers which is why the gatekeepers are freaking the hell out about it and trying to pass this kind of legislation to keep from having to compete and change their business model.

Blame people who are obsessed with perception of status, not the companies who serve that demand by conveying status to those they sign.

I place blame where blame is due. Unlike you and A13.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If we’re to take the prescriptivist route, then "virii" was never correct. "-us" sometimes pluralizes to "-i", but never to "-ii". The only time you’d see a plural end in "-ii" would be a case where the original word ended in "-ius". ("Genii" is an acceptable plural for "Genius", but only if you’re using it in the djinn/genie sense, not the sense of a person who is particularly smart or capable. English is weird.)

If "virus" followed the "-us" -> "-i" pluralization rule, then the plural would be "viri", not "virii". However, it’s more complicated than that.

Wikipedia (citations and formatting omitted):

The English plural of virus is viruses. In most speaking communities, this is non-controversial and speakers would not attempt to use the non-standard plural in -i. However, in computer enthusiast circles in the late 20th century and early 21st, the non-standard viri form (sometimes even virii) was well-attested, generally in the context of computer viruses. Viri is also found in some nineteenth-century sources.

While the number of users employing these non-standard plural forms of virus was always a proportionally small percentage of the English-speaking population, the variation was notable because it coincided with the growth of the web, a medium on which users of viri were over-represented. As the distribution of Internet users shifted to be more representative of the population as a whole during the 2000s, the non-standard forms saw decline in usage. A tendency towards prescriptivism in the computer enthusiast community, combined with the growing awareness that viri and virii are not etymologically supported plural forms, also played a part.

Nonetheless, the question of what the Latin plural of virus would have been in ancient times turns out not to be straightforward, as no plural form is attested in ancient Latin literature. Furthermore, its status as a second declension neuter noun ending in -us and not of Greek origin obscures its morphology, making guesses about how it should have been declined difficult.

cpt kangarooski says:

Is the goal of US copyright policy to encourage lots of people to make new works, including providing some remuneration to lots of those creators, or is it to enable a few gatekeepers to pick and choose the winners under their elitist rules, and block everyone else out.

Neither. The twin goals of copyright are 1) to encourage the creation and publication of as many works as possible, which but for copyright would not be both created and published; and 2) to limit any restrictions on the public with respect to those works as much as possible, as rapidly as possible, that the works may be enjoyed, used, copies, distributed, and used as the basis for derivative works as much as possible.

It’s acceptable to trade some of the satisfaction of one of these goals temporarily to increase the satisfaction of the other, such as by granting copyrights, but only where the gain to the public from doing so outweighs the harm caused to the public by doing so.

The number of authors is irrelevant, though it may be loosely related to the number of works. And it’s nice to have a lot of authors, all else being equal.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"The twin goals of copyright are…"

Wrong. Copyright has ever only had one goal. Preserving the gatekeeper role of large publishers.
Tentatively it DID spring from a political-religious censorship tool which had the dual use of also prohibiting distribution of inconvenient and undesired information.

The spiritual ancestors of copyright aside – medieval church heresy law and Queen Anne’s statutes – current copyright has never been about either enriching the author/creator or enriching the public. No matter what it states on the label, the net effect of these laws have always been about distributor protectionism.

The most prolific periods of culture creation came during periods where copyright did not, in fact, exist. That should tell us most of what we need to know about the proportionality of a set of laws which try to persuade us that pressing ctrl-V magically mints sustainable currency.

Gary (profile) says:

The Goal

The one and only goal of Copyright is en enright the public good, not corporations. Love copyright? The you love corporations. Currently all the copyright money goes to corporations – and continues for a virtually unlimited time. All that money by-passes the actual creators under a legacy system rulled by a few gate keepers.

Article I Section 8. Clause 8 – Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution. [The Congress shall have power] “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Goal

The basis for the study’s results is that the internet allows an individual to reach a global audience instantly, and inexpensively.

No one but me has ever made money off my copyrights, except for those companies that enable the publishing company I set up to ensure I’d get 100 percent of any revenue my work generated. I didn’t care if it was a lot or a little, just that it would not reach the greedy hands of the "legacy corporations" (who actually aren’t that bad if you have a hit).

Books are often tools to promote other businesses so any examination of piracy issues has to take that into account. Some books are just disguised ads whose authors intended for them to be "pirated."

The internet is a great backbone for creators. Masnick seems to think Google, Facebook et al. becoming that backbone is a bad thing, but the cost of compliance is spread much more thin, returning money to the creators. It’s just an umbrella layer designed to handle all the legal issues, thus freeing the artists to do their thing and create.

This is what happened with Google. Creators don’t have to worry about marketing or anything else. They get what the market will pay them for ads and pay 68 percent to the creators. This can vary widely due to market volatility. Google’s role is therefore much more like Sotheby’s (auctioneer) than as a curator. Compliance with Article 13 is just a necessary evil for them. They’ll be fine and any creator too small to have their own site can build their audience through the big companies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The Goal

My copyrights aren’t worth nothing. If you want to lie and name-call, don’t expect a civilized debate. Pirates build a much bigger mailing list because they give away large numbers of pirated works, versus just a few.

As for competing with free, newspapers couldn’t compete with Craigslist’s free classifieds, which makes journalism much more difficult since Craigslist doesn’t offer that.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Goal

"Pirates build a much bigger mailing list"

So, you neither have a clue how piracy works, nor anything of value beyond a spam list. Tell me, genius – how do pirates build a mailing list, when they ask for exactly zero information before you download? This isn’t your scam operation where you harvest personal information to use in your con tricks, they don’t build lists.

"newspapers couldn’t compete with Craigslist’s free classifieds, which makes journalism much more difficult"

Then, they need a different finance model. Sorry dude, business doesn’t work by sitting around waiting for the stragglers to catch up when they become unsustainable.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Goal

"Sorry dude, business doesn’t work by sitting around waiting for the stragglers to catch up when they become unsustainable."

We have copyright to reverse that trend though. Bobmail is just a bit miffed that said reversion is inefficient and above all, does not appear to include him among its beneficiaries.

Apparently, though, that will happen as soon as his oft-repeated prediction comes true and everyone who’s ever downloaded a file from the internet is hauled off in chains.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Goal

My copyrights aren’t worth nothing. If you want to lie and name-call, don’t expect a civilized debate.

And which copyrights would those be? Yeah, I thought so.

Pirates build a much bigger mailing list because they give away large numbers of pirated works, versus just a few.

Pirates don’t build mailing lists, not the ones who download, and not the ones who upload. Literally is incompatible with piracy in every sense.

As for competing with free, newspapers couldn’t compete with Craigslist’s free classifieds, which makes journalism much more difficult since Craigslist doesn’t offer that.

Ads and journalism are two separate things, and one does not imply the other. Journalism papers and newspapers can and do compete with free. But many of the larger ones refuse to adapt to the new world and change their business model and hence whine about losing money.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Masnick seems to think Google, Facebook et al. becoming that backbone is a bad thing

It is, though. As proven by the “Goodbye Big Five” video essays by Kashmir Hill, taking out just one of the “Big Five” (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) presents a lot of challenges to using the Internet, never mind cutting out all five. For example: Blocking Amazon alone — not just amazon.com, but all Amazon servers and all of its associated services — also means blocking all of its webhosting, which means any site that uses AWS for anything is broken by default.

Giving those companies even more power will turn the Internet into a crumbling wall held together by tape and glue and maybe a few sticks in strategic holes: One bad move, and the whole thing comes crumbling down in an instant. I could not fathom any reason for giving those companies even more power and putting the Internet in that precarious a position. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if Twitter were to suddenly shut down tomorrow, then scale that by several factors and you might have an idea of what would happen to the Internet if one — just one! — of the Big Five suddenly went dark.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Imagine the chaos that would ensue if Twitter were to suddenly shut down tomorrow"

Endless free entertainment from the toddler in chief’s meltdown?

As for the rest of your comment – the question is, what is the solution? How would you propose getting more people to use, say DigitalOcean instead of AWS or Azure without completely undermining the free market? Then, how do you ensure that you’re not just replacing one giant with another?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

As for the rest of your comment – the question is, what is the solution?

Decentralization would be a good start. Not just of services such as AWS, but of the Internet in general. We all made a mistake in letting (at least) Google and Amazon centralize as much power as they have gathered; reducing that power by moving away from their services would definitely help the Internet remain stable.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

*" "Decentralization would be a good start."

OK. So, how do you make that happen?"*

Shutting down the big five might work. If there’s something the online netizenry are good at it’s coming up with a new solution once the old one’s broken. Or, in this case, actually start using any of the multiple proofs of concept which never caught on since the old version still worked.

"I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that there’s not really a positive solution I can see that doesn’t cause bigger issues than the one you’re trying to overcome."

Although that may be true it’s similarly true that we could be manning the barricades of common sense for generations against the endless legion of gormless lusers. At the risk of sounding a bit like a classical old BOFH it might be well past time to actually let the idiots pushing for these "solutions" reap the full rewards of their actions while the saner heads engineer or implement more robust solutions.

Having much of the online economy burn to the ground may provide a highly needed example of WHY being an idiot in politics and/or allowing idiots into politics is not a good idea.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Shutting down the big five might work."

OK, so you want a precedent where the government can just shut down any company deemed too big? That seems rather worse than the current situation.

"If there’s something the online netizenry are good at it’s coming up with a new solution once the old one’s broken"

…and when "too many people" choose to use that replacement? They will do exactly that, you know. Especially since you just burned the old economy to the ground and people need to eat. They’ll go for the quickest, easiest solution, not painstakingly design the perfect system from the ground up.

"Having much of the online economy burn to the ground may provide a highly needed example of WHY being an idiot in politics and/or allowing idiots into politics is not a good idea."

If you think they’re learn the right lesson from that, you’re a much bigger fool than they are.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

OK. So, how do you make that happen?

Webhosting companies could find ways to make hosting cheaper over longer periods of time. Domain registrars could do the same. You yourself could spread the word about decentralized protocols such as Mastodon and not-Big5 services such as Protonmail. (Though, to be fair on this point, a lot of services still rely on at least one of the Big5, be it through AWS or Microsoft-owned GitHub or something else.) An even better idea would be to set up a forum/messageboard for a niche subject and limit how many people can sign up — which is, ultimately, the primary issue with moderation vis-á-vis social interaction networks and UGC-centric websites such as DeviantArt. Doing what we can to keep SINs/UGC sites large enough for a community to form but small enough to avoid having it become a centre of “power” (whatever that may mean) is, for my money, an ideal to strive toward.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

An even better idea would be to set up a forum/messageboard for a niche subject and limit how many people can sign up 

Elitism and exclusion at its best.

The big centralised companies are where they are today because they do not limit sign ups, and only through off people who ignore the rules.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

Elitism and exclusion at its best.

…so what? You can go make your own forum/messageboard/Masto instance with blackjack and hookers and more Futurama references.

The big centralised companies are where they are today because they do not limit sign ups

And therein lies the problem: They now have millions — if not billions — of users. Moderation of a userbase that large is impossible from a practicality standpoint. That is one of the reasons why you get fuck-ups like false-flag DMCA notifications and bannings based on reportbombings. Twitter is a complete shithole thanks (in part) to the size of its userbase; if it were several orders of magnitude smaller, it would at least be manageable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Not everybody has the time or skill necessary to set up and manage a forum, so what you are advocating is a form of elitism which will lock the majority of people out of any discussion. You will also fragment knowledge, and make it much harder to find.

You solution does not scale, and would eliminate such useful works as Wikipedia, and forums like StackExchange. I have no wish to back to an Internet of gopher sites, where it could take all day not to find what you were looking for,

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Not everybody has the time or skill necessary to set up and manage a forum, so what you are advocating is a form of elitism which will lock the majority of people out of any discussion.

Are you…operating under the assumption that every person who uses a forum has to be a server admin?

You will also fragment knowledge, and make it much harder to find.

That is a tradeoff, yes, though the flipside is that it can be a lot more difficult to separate high-quality content from low-quality content on a larger platform.

You solution does not scale, and would eliminate such useful works as Wikipedia, and forums like StackExchange.

I’m not sure how that follows. I don’t think Stephen is making an absolutist argument that every website with a large userbase should be broken up, though he’s welcome to speak for himself.

I have no wish to back to an Internet of gopher sites, where it could take all day not to find what you were looking for,

And this is a straight-up strawman.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Are you…operating under the assumption that every person who uses a forum has to be a server admin?

No, but I am assuming that fewer are capable that would be required to fill the demand. Also, site limiting as proposed ends up as a form of elitism, those who belong to the small fora get good information, while everybody else is limited to large sites missing most of the quality information. What is your ideal size of a forum, because you need one server admin per that many people who are online, which is half the worlds population and rising?

That is a tradeoff, yes, though the flipside is that it can be a lot more difficult to separate high-quality content from low-quality content on a larger platform.

It can be much harder to find the platforms with the quality content when there are hundreds of thousands to search. It is easier to winnow content on a large platform that it is to discover which platform to look at in a highly distributed system, hence my comment about not wanting to go back to the search problems exemplified by gopher systems, which by the way also dealt with a much smaller amount of data.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

No, but I am assuming that fewer are capable that would be required to fill the demand.

Assuming based on what?

It takes a hell of a lot of people to maintain major social networking sites. Entire data warehouses, all over the world. And that’s just talking about the server admins, even before we get into the software developers and the moderators.

Also, site limiting as proposed ends up as a form of elitism, those who belong to the small fora get good information, while everybody else is limited to large sites missing most of the quality information.

I think Mason’s idea of capping a community at a specific and arbitrary size misses the mark; however, I believe the best communities naturally settle around a relatively small size.

I always tended toward a live-and-let-live approach in the days I was moderating a forum; if I were doing it today, I’d have a much more aggressive "ban the assholes" approach.

Nevertheless, you seem to be operating under the assumption that if you can’t post to an online forum, that means you can’t access its content. That’s…not how most online forums work.

What is your ideal size of a forum, because you need one server admin per that many people who are online, which is half the worlds population and rising?

I’m not sure I understand the question.

A robust online community can have several hundred active users with a handful of moderators, and none of the people running it need be server admins themselves; lots of hosting packages include forum software that can be maintained from a GUI, without the customer ever needing to use a command line.

Obviously you need a server admin somewhere up the chain, but even a small hosting outfit can handle hundreds of websites with just one or two admins.

And of course that’s just where we are today, right now. You are correct that the online population is growing, but you seem to be assuming that ease-of-use for setting up an online platform will remain static.

I’m not old enough to remember Gopher, but I have set up a LAMP stack myself. That level of technical skill is certainly useful to have, but it’s not a necessary component in setting up a website. Tools like Plesk aren’t perfect, but they’re a damn sight better than what you had to do twenty years ago, and I see no reason to think they can’t continue to improve. Especially in a hypothetical scenario where developers made a concerted effort to make smaller platforms a more attractive option.

No, I really don’t think the major barrier to getting people to switch from Facebook and Twitter to other, smaller platforms is that other platforms are too complicated. I think it’s a matter of vendor lock-in. People like the services they’re already using — or, even if they don’t like them, that’s where their friends are. The psychological challenge of getting people to quit the websites they already use is far greater than the technical challenge, IMO.

It can be much harder to find the platforms with the quality content when there are hundreds of thousands to search.

In my experience, when people are looking for something on the Internet, they type it into a search engine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

A robust online community can have several hundred active users with a handful of moderators

And knowledge gets spread across thousands of such fora, making it hard to find, and even harder for people to gather a collection of knowledge that enable an advance in some field.

The other problem with small fora, solved by the more centralised service, is that it becomes difficult for people to manage their interactions with the multiple fora that they are part of. Keeping up with friends and interests through three or four services is one thing, dealing with a dozen or more small fora is a completely different problem. Centralised service mean most of your friends gather in one place, lots of small fora, and it becomes difficult to remember where to go to contact a particular individual.

And while Facebook and Google have large staffs, they have tens of thousands of users per employee, if not more.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12

knowledge gets spread across thousands of such fora, making it hard to find

This is why we have search engines.

even harder for people to gather a collection of knowledge that enable an advance in some field

This is why we have various forms of note-taking/info-sharing applications in addition to Wiki applications/websites that can centralize such information.

Centralised service mean most of your friends gather in one place

The trade-off, however, is the dependency that centralized service creates. What happens to all those connections if the service goes down temporarily, never mind permanently?

while Facebook and Google have large staffs, they have tens of thousands of users per employee, if not more

That is…not really a point in their favor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

knowledge gets spread across thousands of such fora, making it hard to find

Because the common knowledge gets repeated thousands of times, search results get swamped with similar results, but minor variations in what is assumed and what is explained make a big difference to general usefulness. Also, part of the usefulness of the likes of stack exchange is that a response thread to a question can be redirected to an earlier thread dealing with the question, and this happens because there is a good chance that someone familiar with the earlier question looks at the latter question. This is a rare occurrence in distributed fora, because very few people answer questions in multiple fora.

This is why we have various forms of note-taking/info-sharing applications in addition to Wiki applications/websites that can centralize such information.

One is private curation, and the other is a structured forum, with a large editor base. Wikipedia is so useful because it is the general Wikipedia, while a dozen or more similar Wikipedias would be less useful as it would take more time to read a dozen similar articles, only one or two which have the nugget that you are actually looking for.

The trade-off, however, is the dependency that centralized service creates. What happens to all those connections if the service goes down temporarily, never mind permanently?

Often, people use two or three social media sites because they suite immediate needs in different ways, and they integrate, for better or worse, different levels of social connectivity. Also all increased distribution does is reduce the number of people impacted by a server outage, the impact on those affected is the same.

Now, for social media, I do think a home server federated system for family and close friends would give better privacy and control for the more personal stuff, and should rely on IP addresses and the hosts files for it implementation, and existing systems for general social interactions. That is go distributed and small where it has a benefit, and stay centralised where that is a benefit.

while Facebook and Google have large staffs, they have tens of thousands of users per employee, if not more

Well, having one person for a thousand or fewer users on a forum, and assuming people are on multiple fora, leads to a requirement for one person in a hundred or less to be an administrator on some forum. That does not scale well.

While software exists, or can be written to make using distributed social system easier, setting up and maintaining which fora to connect to is a burden most people find to be more that they can deal with. It also rune into the same problem as Usenet, conversations can become more complex and harder to follow because of propagation delays, which also drove many people to a centralised platform.

Network effects, and reduction in repletion favour centralized systems, because they are so much more convenient to use, and become hubs where people go first when looking for answers, entertainment, or to try and find a lost friend.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

That means you grew up with a highly distributed Internet, unlike the majority of people who are now online. You are probably quite competent at finding and configuring to make you online life convenient, unlike the majority of non-technical users.

A vast number of people who are now online would panic if required to enter a URL to set up a client, heck some think that the way to get to facebook is to type Facebook into Google, and click the link, because they have not discovered bookmarks.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

We had technically illiterate users in the ’90s, too; we called them AOLers.

You’re taking the very baseline of technical competence and (1) assuming that it’s representative of the majority of people who are now online and (2) implying that social platforms should be based around this minimum level of competence, and any other drawbacks that they bring to the table are worth the tradeoff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Re:

Why should systems be designed for elites only? Using any particular social platform is optional, and the highly distributed ones are out there. T.V. programming is designed for mass appeal, with all that that entails. Should it be designed to appeal to the Intelligentsia and drive away all other viewers?

To a large extent, anybodies experience of the Internet is largely influenced by where they go, and who they follow. The big social media sites are like any large metropolis, some parts are very good, while others are parts to be avoided like the plague. Also, for those that want, the smaller federated services are also out there, and nobody is forced to join the big social media sites. Also, all of them allow users to curate their own experience of the site, choosing who or what to follow, but that is not good enough for some people, who would destroy what they do not like, rather than simply ignoring it. Better curation tools would be nice, but they will not solve the problem of some people looking for things to be outraged about, or to use as excuses to push for censorship and political control.

Their are problems with many companies that are on the Internet, but is has nothing to do with size, but rather to do with the domination of marketeers and their desire to gather every bit of information they can for targetted marketing purposes. Now that is a problem that needs tackling, as I doubt that the increases in sales, if any, are worth the costs to society that the data gathering creates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:17 Re:

(2) implying that social platforms should be based around this minimum level of competence, and any other drawbacks that they bring to the table are worth the tradeoff.

How else do you design to attract the maximum number of users. Which is what the major platforms have done.

Also, to argue that platforms should be better moderated because…. is to invite governments to require platforms to control what can be posted, and that leads to increasing censorship.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:18 Re:

and any other drawbacks that they bring to the table are worth the tradeoff.

Yeah, you keep ignoring the second half of that sentence.

Also, to argue that platforms should be better moderated because…. is to invite governments to require platforms to control what can be posted, and that leads to increasing censorship.

Oh dear God, you’re one of those clowns who doesn’t understand the difference between platform moderation and government censorship. Here, have an xkcd link, you damned nitwit.

You are arguing in bad faith. You have presented a false dichotomy (as if the only two levels of computer experience are "does not know how to enter an URL into the location bar" and "elite"). You continually assume that both technology and user knowledge are static things, unchanging, frozen in amber, rather than things that are changing constantly; when I explicitly called you on that, you ignored me. And you have presented the mutually contradictory premises that (1) end users wouldn’t be able to find other platforms because they don’t know how to use search engines and (2) end users wouldn’t be able to find other platforms because they only know how to find websites by using search engines.

Further, your repeated descriptions of end users as helpless, panicky, and incapable of learning crosses the line from populism into condescension. You aren’t just being dishonest in your arguments, you’re being downright insulting toward the people you claim to champion.

Before I leave you, I will ask you this:

Who’s the real elitist here: the person advocating for smaller community interactions, or the person insisting that we need Zuck and Jack to help us because "the majority of people who are now online" are not competent to figure out how to access more than two websites?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

I don’t think Stephen is making an absolutist argument that every website with a large userbase should be broken up

I am not, I promise. My suggestion is that working from where we are now toward a less centralized Internet is a direction worth looking at. Breaking up Twitter and Facebook and other social interaction networks, no matter what form that takes, is nowhere near worth the trouble. But getting people to naturally move away from those large, general use, “everybody sees something different on their feed” SINs to more specialized forums/messageboards would both dilute the power of the aforementioned SINs and help create smaller, more manageable communities. Whether that helps lower the level of vitriol and shit-slinging across the Internet is all theoretical; then again, it couldn’t hurt to try.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

What you say is noble, but not really an answer to the question. There is plenty of competition to these services, and there are certainly already advocates out there for the alternatives. A lot of that competition already offers better value for money than the giants. But, that obviously hasn’t stopped consolidation among those companies, and what you’re suggesting probably wouldn’t even start to make a dent.

The question is – how do you actually make people change their service providers en masse, enough so that the size of these companies is less concerning, but without setting dangerous precedents for interference with law abiding services for arbitrary reasons? Bearing in mind that with things like Google search and AWS, they dominate because they’re easy and reliable, not because those companies did anything underhanded to block out competition.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

how do you actually make people change their service providers en masse, enough so that the size of these companies is less concerning, but without setting dangerous precedents for interference with law abiding services for arbitrary reasons?

You make them cheaper and easier to use. An alternative to AWS that is both less costly and designed with a mindset of “this is precisely what someone new to all this needs to do if they want to get things running, they can dig into the nitty-gritty details later if they want” could damn well put a dent into AWS’s reach and ubiquity.

BTW, where the hell is this shit about “blocking out competition” coming from? I didn’t suggest that, I didn’t think that, and I sure as shit didn’t intend to imply it if you think I did.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"You make them cheaper and easier to use."

They have. But, for many reasons a lot of people stick with AWS. How do you get them to switch?

"BTW, where the hell is this shit about “blocking out competition” coming from?"

Your entire point appears to revolve around forcing people to use something other than the companies in questions. Given that normal competition is already in place, how else do you do this?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

But, for many reasons a lot of people stick with AWS. How do you get them to switch?

You do your best to show how the service is better than AWS. If they refuse to convert, so be it. Which reminds me…

Your entire point appears to revolve around forcing people to use something other than the companies in questions.

“Force people to do something”, my pasty White ass. I have never advocated for forcing people to change from Big Five services/multi-million-user SINs to something smaller. My arguments are couched in the old cliché about taking a horse to water: You can show people something better than the Big Five/the popular SINs, but they have to make the leap themselves.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

"You do your best to show how the service is better than AWS"

Many people do. But, so long as there’s a familiar brand and ecosystem many people will choose the big supplier over the "best" one if they’re good enough for purpose. That’s why Windows dominates the desktop OS market and IBM had such a hold on hardware, etc. "Nobody ever got fired for using IBM", they’d say, and that’s going to remain true of any of these big services until something truly disruptive comes along. It doesn’t matter how many times you say "product X is better and cheaper", someone’s got to sign off on the move…

I understand your sentiment, but if you’re depending on market forces and advocating for the better stuff you’re not going to get any sea change in the near future unless people are forced to move somehow. Until then, the way that human nature and modern capitalism work is that most people are going to gravitate to a small number of major players, and the best you can do is have effective regulation step in if and when they abuse the power they have gathered. Until then, it doesn’t matter how good, say the Linux desktop experience is, people are sticking with Windows for the foreseeable future whether we like it or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Facebook, Google, and the Amazon we see today didn’t even exist in 1997, and the internet was just fine. Censor-proof USENET was actually thriving, as were AOL chatrooms. AOL didn’t want people using their service for business purposes and terminated accounts when they should have been giving everyone keywords instead. They’d have become the walled internet if they had done that. They could even have become Paypal by crediting and debiting user balances for commerce, and taking a cut. Their stock cratered because they didn’t do this.

These companies aren’t going anywhere. They already function as umbrellas for many very profitable companies. Before them, we had thriving e-mail "listservs" and communities found each other by "viral" e-mail and message-board postings.

Within a year or two, we’ll see the real impact of Article 13, not the ones being predicted by those who lean to one political side or another.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Facebook, Google, and the Amazon we see today didn’t even exist in 1997, and the internet was just fine"

You might as well be saying "the automobile didn’t exist and transportation was fine" for all the relevance that makes to the current internet.

"Their stock cratered because they didn’t do this."

No, it cratered because their audience outgrew their restricted service, they spent craploads of money acquiring services that didn’t make much sense for them to own just before the bubble burst, and they bet everything on dialup at a time where broadband was where the market was going.

"Within a year or two, we’ll see the real impact of Article 13, not the ones being predicted by those who lean to one political side or another."

Why do you see this as a partisan issue?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Before them, we had thriving e-mail "listservs" and communities found each other by "viral" e-mail and message-board postings.

All on a much smaller Internet, where outside of AOL, it was the playground of a few technology competent people. That Internet did not scale well, which is why Google, Facebook and others have become so successful.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"All on a much smaller Internet, where outside of AOL, it was the playground of a few technology competent people."

That tends to be a main issue with the arguments posited by "bobmail" – or the thousand-and-one nicknames all miraculously having the exact same flawed idea.

Scale. The man simply doesn’t understand that we’re not talking about a few hundred people. We’re talking about billions.

And if he can’t wrap his head around the fact that a solution which works to keep a small corporate intranet with a thousand accounts in total WILL NOT WORK when it’s scaled up to a user base of billions then we’ve already lost all hope of having a sensible debate with the guy.

I’m sure in his mind it all makes sense, since, going by his previous arguments, he doesn’t realize that no one, not even Google, can employ the thousands of monitors required to make a small operation work under article 13.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Facebook, Google, and the Amazon we see today didn’t even exist in 1997, and the internet was just fine.

LOL! You’re a funny man.

Censor-proof USENET was actually thriving, as were AOL chatrooms.

And then they died and were replaced by better applications.

Their stock cratered because they didn’t do this.

No, actually, AOL failed BECAUSE they tried to be a walled garden. Nobody wants that crap, and when open platforms came along to compete with AOL, everybody said "screw you" and moved to open platforms.

These companies aren’t going anywhere.

Maybe. Not for a while at least.

Before them, we had thriving e-mail "listservs" and communities found each other by "viral" e-mail and message-board postings.

And you want to go back to that?

Within a year or two, we’ll see the real impact of Article 13, not the ones being predicted by those who lean to one political side or another.

Yes we will. And when that happens we will all be here to say "I told you so".

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Goal

"Google’s role is therefore much more like Sotheby’s (auctioneer) than as a curator. Compliance with Article 13 is just a necessary evil for them. They’ll be fine and any creator too small to have their own site can build their audience through the big companies."

That would be true if the analogy made sense. It doesn’t.

Last I checked there was no law on the table which enabled any would-be copyright troll to sue Sotheby’s senseless if what they sold abided by the first sale doctrine, which is what article 13 tries to do in the digital world.

Similarly if a craftsman builds something and sells it through sotheby’s no one gets to sue sotheby’s simply because the crafted creation has enough similarity to a pre-existing work to trigger an automated trawler (which reacts due to both works being made of wood, or being roughly rectangular).

Article 13 kills the independent’s ability to market online. Hell, it prevents anyone not willing to expend massive resources from using an online platform. Which is what the MPAA/RIAA/Etc discovered, resulting in them now trying to get the EU to pull article 13 since it won’t automatically target only Google.

And that you can state differently with a straight face only means that you either lived your life in a cave, somehow missing all the ways copyright trolls have abused the ever-loving shit out of every new badly written enforcement law over the last twenty years or so.

Or you are aware of that history and are lying through your teeth, once again trying to sell yet another useless enforcement mechanism.

The irony here is that as usual where copyright enforcement suggestions are concerned, even if article 13 passes in it’s current form the victims will number ONLY among the legitimate actors. Pirates will not be impacted at all.

So in the end you don’t enforce any copyright with these laws. All you do is try to roll the entire public media scene back to the 70’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The Goal

The DMCA works fine, and Article 13, at worst, will turn big internet companies into an umbrella for indies to make money, much as they already do on these platforms due to distribution and the copyright protection they offer. Without the DMCA, these platforms wouldn’t exist at all since they’d be liable for all the infringement their users insist on committing.

Section 230 is abused far worse than the DMCA, as it allows for people to harm others’ directly.

Article 13 will not stop creators from making money, but it will stop pirates from taking their work.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Goal

"The DMCA works fine"

lol

"Section 230 is abused far worse than the DMCA, as it allows for people to harm others’ directly."

Well done, you just confirmed you still don’t know what section 230 is. Perhaps you should try reading it some time.

"Article 13 will not stop creators from making money, but it will stop pirates from taking their work"

You have that the wrong way round. It won’t stop anything, but it will make legal activity far more difficult.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Goal

The DMCA works fine

You should be a comedian.

Article 13, at worst, will turn big internet companies into an umbrella for indies to make money

No it won’t. It will cause the big internet companies to not allow anyone to use their platforms for fear of someone misusing it and the big companies being held liable for something they didn’t do. You really haven’t read the text of the order have you?

much as they already do on these platforms due to distribution and the copyright protection they offer.

I’m sorry, what copyright protection do they provide? None. If you’re talking about things like ContentID, that has absolutely nothing to do with indie creators making money. In fact, more creators LOSE money due to bad ContentID takedowns than anything else.

Without the DMCA, these platforms wouldn’t exist at all since they’d be liable for all the infringement their users insist on committing.

No, Section 230 makes them NOT liable for any user infringement. A13 and A11 would reverse that.

Section 230 is abused far worse than the DMCA, as it allows for people to harm others’ directly.

If you mean it holds those actually responsible for committing infringement responsible and doesn’t allow you to sue a hosting company who DIDN’T commit the infringement, then yes, exactly. And no, Section 230 is hardly abused at all, if ever. It’s all about defense, not offense. 230 doesn’t allow you to go after anyone, it does prevent people coming after you for things you didn’t do. DMCA allows you to actively go after other people, despite whether they are guilty or not. You might want to actually read it sometime.

Article 13 will not stop creators from making money, but it will stop pirates from taking their work.

No, it won’t. If you think A13 will magically stop piracy, you are delusional. Piracy will exist until the end of time. There is no way to ever stop it. Much like murder, fraud, and lying. You’ll never stop it.

cpt kangarooski says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Goal

No, Section 230 makes them NOT liable for any user infringement.

No it doesn’t. It protects service providers from liability for other sorts of things, such as defamation, but it specifically excludes copyright. The safe harbor for copyright infringement is 17 USC 512, which was enacted as part of the DMCA.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Goal

"The DMCA works fine…"

Nope. Not even copyright enforcers believe the DMCA works fine at all. At least pay atention to what your own side has to say.
Let alone the rest of the world which gets to read about one copyright troll outfit after the other abusing the DMCA while ever more judges start learning that it’s a law so ripe for abuse that it has become the new black for third-rate tort lawyers.

Didn’t you read about Prenda? I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of material there about in what ways the DMCA utterly fails in both proportionality and common sense.

"and Article 13, at worst, will turn big internet companies into an umbrella for indies to make money, much as they already do on these platforms due to distribution and the copyright protection they offer."

Nope.

Article 13 will explosively raise costs for those online platforms for every account they allow. Which means youtube is gone as an avenue for indies, and any other indi now needs to put up a hefty premium – or take a hefty loan – in order to be represented.

That’s the minimum unavoidable consequence which puts us smack dab straight back into the land of indentured servitude artists used to complain unceasingly about back in the 70’s.

Again, you claiming otherwise simply means you’re avoiding all the known facts in favor of your own personal opinion.

"Without the DMCA, these platforms wouldn’t exist at all since they’d be liable for all the infringement their users insist on committing."

Only because the DMCA makes those platforms accountable without any need of proof.

"Article 13 will not stop creators from making money, but it will stop pirates from taking their work."

I can safely claim that article 13 will not affect nor impact ANY pirate. You’d be better served paying a voodoo priest to cure piracy – it’d be cheaper and just as effective. Article 13 will not, in fact, be able to even take down a torrent index page – even if those were still necessary which they aren’t.
Neither in technology nor in law does article 13 impact filesharing of any kind, in any way. Please DO tell me why on earth you’d think otherwise.

Because that you believe otherwise is as divorced from reality as hearing someone claim that outlawing gravity will abolish the need for airlines.

There is, on the other hand, ample evidence that article 13 will prevent creators from making money, by actively denying them a route-to-market outside of some major gatekeeping corporation. Hence putting all the power right back into the hands of major publishers. Which is the main reason and utility of article 13. It’s what it was made for.

So once again, Bobmail, I’m afraid we’ll have to make up our minds on whether you’re lying or just tragically deluded.

Anonymous Coward says:

I used to enjoy this blog, when it was all about police and drug lords and stuff, but this tech is boring and makes my brain cavity sore. Why can’t Mike Masnick focus on my interests, and on policies that will increase my political power?

And where do I go to buy TechDirt’s mailing list? Some of y’all need life coaches, like, real real bad.

Anonymous Coward says:

The old legacy companys ready to to go back to the 80,s ,eg if you want to make money from music you have to sign up with cbs,sony, etc
They dont care about 100 thousand artists who get paid from patreon ,youtube,twitch etc

The old companys want maybe 100 big stars ,big sellers like in the 80s,
madonna,whitney houston etc
So they don,t care if the the new eu directive wipes out 1000,s of websites
and stops most small artists ,creators making a living ,
They don,t care about someone who makes 100k a year from patreon or youtube .
Even taylor swift had to get a new contract in 2018 to get ownership of her master recordings .
The old companys just want to deal with artists who sell millions
and are only licensed through them .

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

All these indies aren’t going anywhere. They could band together as a co-operative to defray the compliance costs, but most will just leave that to Google and Facebook.

I made more money before the gatekeepers showed up, but piracy destroyed a lot of the revenue for the industry as well as my niche. I now make more off YouTube but not as much as before, though the trend is such that YouTube revenue will keep improving over time. It is the medium of the future, as is Patreon, because Patreon saves the cost of webhosting while also handling compliance issues.

This is the proper use for big tech. Cleaning up search by eliminating piracy and defamation is a good step. Perhaps some of these companies are overvalued because they won’t be able to keep their current UGC model, but they aren’t going anywhere, and the many artists already under their umbrella (including me) are just fine with them handling the business side and sending a payment every month, at literally the same minute on the same day. It’s a great system, actually, one which has made billions for indies who literally answer to no one, and who have 100 percent creative control, plus access to a global audience. Couldn’t ask for anything better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Counterarguments are not refutations.

My experience with the large tech companies as umbrellas for creative talent has been very positive. No one has to wait to be "signed" to make money like in the old days. Many celebs used to appear on game shows to pay bills.

You may not like Article 13 but it won’t "break the internet."

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Counterarguments are not refutations.

Except when said counterarguments include facts that refute everything you say. Which multiple people have provided over and over and over and over…..

No one has to wait to be "signed" to make money like in the old days.

Then why do you want to destroy it?

You may not like Article 13 but it won’t "break the internet."

Many of us have explained, in detail, why it will do exactly that. You can’t pass legislation that doesn’t follow the set technical limitations of a system (the internet in this case) and expect things NOT to break.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I made more money before the gatekeepers showed up

How old are you? Several hundred years old?

This is the proper use for big tech. Cleaning up search by eliminating piracy and defamation is a good step.

Literally impossible and a waste of time, money, and resources. The proper use for big tech is to innovate and provide new and better ways of doing things. Not play copyright cop for industries who refuse to get with the times.

who have 100 percent creative control, plus access to a global audience. Couldn’t ask for anything better.

And yet here you are arguing away to try and destroy it.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Enforcing copyright law is the only "adjustment" most creators need, and doing so will not destroy the internet.

It will if you expect to enforce copyright in a way that makes even the slightest bit of infringement — even infringement that would be legally protected by the principles of Fair Use — an illicit act worthy of visiting consequences upon both the infringer and the platform.

Go take a look at Imgur’s front page right now, then ask yourself just how many acts of infringement you see and how many of those people you want tossed in jail. Now go to Twitter and look at how many GIFs from untold numbers of media properties are used across the service; how many of those people should end up in jail? Better yet, go looking on Twitter for people quoting movies, TV, music lyrics, literature, and more — all of it infringement, all of it worthy of swift and harsh consequences (according to you). How many people have to be jailed for the Internet to be infringement-free? Just how far will you take your holy copyright crusade?

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