Things I Was Wrong About

from the fun-stuff dept

A friend just sent me a great blog post by Kevin Kelly where he talks about some online things he was completely wrong about -- including products or companies he thought would flop that succeeded, as well as those he thought would succeed which went nowhere. He starts with the example of The Sims, which he thought would flop, but which just sold its 100 millionth copy. In looking through his list he notes:
Sadly I can detect no pattern to my mis-predictions. In some cases, I did not anticipate improvements and advances that would remake a pathetic first version into a truly cool tool. In others I anticipated advances that never came.
It got me thinking about which predictions or trends I totally missed on, and thought it might be fun to post some of them here. In Silicon Valley, people are so focused on the future, they don't look back often enough. Besides, it's healthy (and a bit cathartic) to review your mistakes every once in a while. I'll admit that on some of these it took some serious thinking to remember my initial feelings about them, as my opinions have changed. Anyway, feel free to think through some of your own in the comments.
  • Google. Now, to be fair, I always thought that Google was a great offering, and I was one of the early adopters and users of the search engine. What I didn't understand was how the company would make money -- and why Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia would put $25 million into a company that had no revenue and no clear path to revenue. Given the founders rather vehement claims that advertising on a search engine was bad (and, yes, they were vehement about this early on), I thought the company would struggle to find a business model. In fact, it did struggle for a little while... but once the company figured it out....
  • RSS. While we at Techdirt were a somewhat early adopter in providing an RSS feed, I wasn't much of a believer in the technology for a while. I had been using various "multibrowser" systems that would load up a bunch of websites in a huge long list -- and that seemed like a perfectly efficient system for me to use. I was on the record saying I thought RSS was too confusing for most people -- and I still think it suffers from some of those problems, but it's become tremendously successful -- due, in large part, to the user-friendliness of various RSS readers, starting with Bloglines and moving on to Google Reader and the various customizable home page solutions.
  • Skype: It launched to a ton of hype and I wasn't buying any of it. There were already a bunch of voicechat products on the market, and there had been for years. I just didn't see what was all that different about Skype. To be honest, I'm still not sure what was so different about it -- but it got users, and for the most part "it just worked." Never underestimate the power of those two things.
  • The web itself: I first heard about "the world wide web" in early 1994. I had been using email, usenet and gopher for a while before that. While I knew that the web was something special, as soon as I first tried out Mosaic in 1994, I didn't think it would become this big of a deal. In fact, I just assumed that the world would move on to something else after a few years. After all, after the web came along, gopher pretty much died out, and I assumed that some new offering would come along and make the web obsolete, just as the web did to gopher.
  • The original Napster: While I actually only played around with Napster briefly (at the time I had no broadband connection), I thought that it would revolutionize the music industry. In a way, it did, but not the way I expected it to. I honestly thought that (1) Napster would be found legal and that (2) the recording industry would quickly realize what a useful tool it would be for distribution and promotion of music. Boy, was I wrong on that one.... Though, to be fair, at the time, there were plenty of others who felt the same way. It's only in retrospect that people now say that Napster was obviously illegal.
  • Intelligent Agents. I had done a research project in college about some of the work being done on intelligent computer agents, and I really thought the technology had a lot of promise. I figured that well before now, there would be virtual assistants everywhere, doing things and making people's lives more efficient. Turns out the technology never really worked all that well, and at best, most of the early efforts in the space moved on to things like collaborative filtering.
Well, that's the quick list I came up with. Like Kelly, I'm not sure there's a real pattern there, but it doesn't mean I can't learn from my mistakes.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    erstazi, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 9:01pm

    ...

    Good Post! Personally, I didn't think iPods would be so popular when there are other products that are less expensive and offer more functionality and "bang" for the buck. *Boy* I was wrong. (:

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Yoorah, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 9:54pm

    ^
    When Sony's Hi-MD (1GB) Minidisc recorders came out, I thought that they would blow away flash-based MP3 players for ever. Darn, I sure was wrong. :(

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 10:20pm

    I havent been wrong with any predictions. I accomplish this by declining to make any predictions. Accordingly, my investments trickle upwards just ahead of inflation with the rest of the market.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2008 @ 11:21pm

    I second that, Yoorah. I loved the MDs and Hi-MDs.
    I mean 50-60 hours of battery life on a single double a?

    oh well.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Tim, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 12:09am

    Great post

    Great post, Mike. More people should do this kind of a retrospective.

    I remember the Merc's Greyhound "news agent" (I think it was just a keyword search) that led me to find Techdirt, from a mention in GMSV.

    My big misses? I personally believed in the mobile web in the 1990's, when it was impossible (19.k was fast), then stopped believing in it right before it became possible.

    Hope to run into you sometime soon.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 12:43am

    My introduction to Google

    Wow, this is an interesting post, and really gets you thinking about what has truly occurred in the previous decade. Like yourself, I was introduced to many of these offerings through social networking.

    Of all of the items listed, I have to comment about Google- It was introduced to me in late 1997 by a Network Engineer who worked at Global Crossing at the time. So I was catastrophically late to Church and I decided to hang out in the Bookstore and Coffee area. After filling up with a 4-shot caffeinated beverage (Not a morning person) I struck up a conversation with the manager of the bookstore. We chatted about Linux implementation at some telco company.

    He mentioned that "Google is a great search engine for linux stuff... They just came out with this new algorithm and man-- If they ever go public, I will take out a second mortgage on my house for them. I looked at the patent, and hey, this IS DIFFERENT than any other dot com company"

    He went on to say that he would cash in his Global Crossing shares for GOOG.

    So, what did old Chef do? Well, I didn't listen to him. "Take out a second mortgage? Hah! That's nuts!"

    I thought "It's a technology company without ownership of really any asset or product. It's a marketing thing... Pi-number shares?"

    Somehow I was included in pre-purchase opportunities, and passed... I thought I would let the market decide what the stock was worth, and buy a few shares the following week. Yes. This was a year before IPO... When Google thought it was worth under $70 a share.

    I made a big mistake. Whenever you hear about technology from a friend at Church... Connect the dots.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 12:58am

    Additional info

    So maybe someone will realize that to create a microchip requires a completely clean environment, something that can't be attained by a mere mortal, and they will realize the implied importance of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMOkfI7wCrI

    Maybe they will remove common names from search results? Hmmm...

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    A.L.F., Apr 19th, 2008 @ 3:44am

    The Web itself.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm pretty sure this web thing is a passing fad, and will collapse under its own weight in a year or two. Netware will rise again!

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 6:01am

    Re: My introduction to Google

    off-topic:
    uhh...didn't you say you got this tip because you missed church? How do I connect the dots that are not in the same book.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Jake, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Personally, I thought HD-DVD and Blu-Ray would eventually come to coexist once dual-format players hit the market, or at least that the format battle would last long enough for said players to become widely available; as it is, I recall hearing rumours of a prototype but no more. I also expected TiVo to do better in this country than it did, failing to anticipate that Sky would build the same functions into its digital satellite decoders.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Charming Charlie, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    He came to church late and didn't go into where the service was being held. Probably bigger than a one room church. Kudos for the post Mike. I think it took a little bit'o'balls considering the main part of your business model is selling analysis through the Insight Community. However it was something I wondered about in many posts, since so many of them have the following format: This just happened. Like I've been saying for years, this is stupid, and the major players are wrong.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 8:42am

    I can only hope that in some future article you will consider the posibility that digital data is not an infinite resource as you so often state. It is only infinite if you factor in that an unlawful copy is contained in your definition of infinite.

    Likewise, I can only hope that in the future article you will consider the possiblity that the term "progress" in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution was not intended to limit its scope to merely economic progress. At the time of its adoption progress was generally viewed as promoting the communication of ideas in both the sciences and useful arts, and that encouragement of such communication would be facilitated by the proviso that any rights granted therefor would be exclusive, but for only limted periods (except, as history teaches, copyright law where I suspect that some future Sony Bono Act will once more be crafter to extend the "limited period" to some even later date.)

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    OH Darn!

    I read the title "Things I Was Wrong About" and for a moment I thought Mike Masnick was going to admit about all the opinions he was wrong with - darn ;)

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    kamikyo, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 12:12pm

    Re:

    MLS, making the use of something illegal or putting artificial limits on it wouldn't make it less infinite to supply, or suddenly increase its cost of manufacture. Once it is digital there is no additional cost for each copy - an infinite supply.

    I don't see that Mike has anything to 'fess up to here.

    If you choose to limit what you distribute to the market that is your choice, but it doesn't change the fundamental economics. Its not about debating the morality of someone copying a file, its about convincing the owners of the copyright that they can potentially make much more money by freely distributing the content they produce to a wider market and selling related products to that wider market. Mike hasn't been questioning their moral or legal rights, he's questioning their good business sense.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    monk, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 1:14pm

    Some insight

    FTA: "Sadly I can detect no pattern to my mis-predictions..."

    ok, I think there IS a pattern:

    Humanity wants to grow intellectualy - it seems to be a natural force. Each individual wants to grab information and to communicate (share information) with each other.

    Therefore, Google, RSS, Skype, the Web itself, Napster and Intelligent Agents, as well as the Gutemberg's press, the telephone, radio, TV... everything that enables us to grab and share information will spread out through the world, crossing cultures and boundaries - and will become a success, one way or another, sooner or later.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 2:44pm

    Jesus Mike, the World Wide Web?

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    duodave, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 3:22pm

    I was wrong too

    Hmm. I'm not above humble pie either.

    I thought DSL would never make it, being overly wrought with technical requirements and other issues.

    I never understood the draw of console gaming, when one could own a perfectly good PC. Gee, I seem to have been off-base on that one.

    I thought when Apple moved to Intel chips we'd have the Mac OS available for every PC. Seems Apple's had a little joke on us here.

    I never figured Youtube would go anywhere. Who would bother to make videos, let alone entertaining ones?

    I thought camera phones were the worst idea ever. And I never thought people would abandon land lines altogether.

    I never thought the pron industry would be the #1 money maker on the internet.

    I never thought I would have a myspace or facebook account.

    Anyone else have some admissions?

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 3:25pm

    I thought the Amiga would become a huge hit. Sadly, I underestimated Commodore's stupidity.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 3:29pm

    I never thought mobile phones would be anywhere near as popular as they are now.

    I mean sure, I figured a lot of people would have them, but I reasoned that the only people who would have any real use for one would be travelling salesmen, managers who move between stores/company buildings and the like.

    *Man* was I wrong on that one. It's rare to find someone who doesn't have a mobile phone, and near impossible to find someone who has *never* had one. Even most kids have one nowadays, right down to pre-teens. Crazy.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Tony, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 3:36pm

    The WEB

    Well Mike, If it's any consolation, You might still be right about the WEB. You're timing was just a bit off. It seems our friends at CERN (for their purposes) have built a bigger and better network. It's called The Grid, and it's just a matter of time before it's ingress points replace the Internet's NAPs.

    Just a thought.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    anne, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 3:46pm

    WWW it will last six months, that's all

    Funny. By 1994 I was an online veterano and I was highly offended at the whole world wide web concept. Pictures? Blah. Sound files? Double blah. Pictures and sound were for losers and weaklings. I was as offended by the concept of www as I was with the first modem card I bought that didn't have dip switches.

    I was a Gopher afficionado, and Archie and Veronica were close personal friends of mine. The closest I came to www was my lynx browser. Text, baby. That's where it's at. Pictures and sound are for the losers who subscribe to America Online. This www thing, won't last very long, because real men (and women) use command prompts. A group of fellow techies and I used to get together and make fun of America Online users. Some people make jokes about ethnic minorities. Our jokes were all about AOL users, and how stupid they were.

    I still think AOL subscribers are stupid morons, but other than that, I guess the web is here to stay, you think?

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    wyly, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 5:25pm

    I can see how one could believe the record companies would learn how to utilize Napster as a legal distribution vehicle via a subscription model (which Napster is today), but how could anyone possibly have thought the original version was legal? I cannot understand how the bittorrent and other P2P sites get away with enabling people to accumulate copyrighted material without paying the rightsholders today. It is a shameful disgrace that digital files are "shared" among absolute strangers by the billions. There's nothing wrong with ripping a disk and emailing a file here and there to one's mates, but that's not what is going on with P2P. The music industry is imploding because of this and if you think new music is bad today just wait until P2P takes ALL the money out of music. I sincerely hope Congress steps up and outlaws P2P before that happens. If not, the same thing will happen to movies and then software. When the software geeks start feeling the pressure of piracy maybe then all the self righteous indignation about how content should be free will dissipate. Until then it's bloody embarrassing to listen to the lame arguments in favor of it.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Nasch, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Re: ...

    You weren't alone about the iPod, Slashdot didn't think much of them either. That page may take approximately forever to load, so I'll just post the (now famous around /.) summary: "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." I do admire the editors for leaving that post as is to be mocked for all these years.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Deego, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 7:20pm

    What I was wrong about...

    I never thought advertising would become a primary means of funding projects on the web vs. subscription models.



    I am fearful for the future of copyright too. When I was in college I was a scofflaw like the rest of my mates on morpheus, napster, and kazaa downloading with reckless abandon. Now I realize that now that this has become a very very mainstream activity instead of a techie phenomenon, it is absolutely killing the ability of anyone to make a living on creativity save a very select few that can make it virally. Authors, musicians, movie production companies, software, I'm starting to see that digital theft is killing the ability of these industries to step outside of the popular comfort zone and promote people that might have a shot at succeeding but aren't a sure thing. Eventually, if we don't see a copyright revolution to balance out the willingness of the masses to digitally steal material vs. the necessity of artists to make money for their efforts (indeed the open source revolution might kill a lot of non-specialty software development without circumventing copyright) - something is going to have to give and the last thing we need right now, is more industries shrinking.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    anne, Apr 19th, 2008 @ 10:36pm

    I have a memory to add. Circa 1995, the tech homies and I, all early adopters of all things online, some of us veteranos going back to the online world of the 1980's, went as a group to see 'The Net,' Sandra Bullock's movie.

    We howled out loud, foot-stomping snorting guffaws as Bullock easily accessed a public-terminal at a convention, and went online with warp speed. We were all in the know, tech insiders who knew that kind of warp speed was impossible in a 33.6 world. Fast-forward five years, and I had inexpensive high-speed internet in my own home. So much for being able to see the future in my crystal ball.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Scogostology, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 3:17am

    Things I Was Wrong About

    It takes an intelligent man to make wrong predictions like you did. At least it means your brain is not dead. It just is incapable of predicting a trend that would take off and be a success. Keep trying and some day, your predictions would start to be successful.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 3:22am

    Boo-yah! Furthest wrong!!

    I may have scoreboard in this area.

    Before I got my first computer (and last brand-manufactured one, a Tandy), I remember talking to a sales geek at Radio Shack, enthusiastically pontificating about how this whole internet thing must be "democratizing interpersonal communications, making everyone equal without regard to age, looks, status or economic class". When I remember that conversation today, I visualize the guy with a thought balloon containing the word "Noob." *sigh*

    And that wasn't even the worst. A few weeks after I'd gotten that first computer online, I remember sitting at the computer, chafed and reflective and thinking "Man, there's so much porn online, and for free, that pretty soon people will just stop caring about it at all!"

    Try to be farther wrong than that... :rueful face:

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    scott, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:10am

    things I was wrong about.

    I was also wrong about many things. Fast to conclude without a stand back and blend the com to a global level. Good / Bad / Or Collateral. I needed and was shown WE CAN'T ALLWAYS GET WHAT WE WANT! BUT IF TRY SOMETIMES, YOU'LL FIND YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED!! "stop-drop-n-roll" cause at one point or another. We all needed to be FIRED!

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    I hear ya on the Web

    I remember Archie, WAIS, Veronica, and gopher all taking their turns as the hot killer app that was finally going to bring everyone to the net. I was pretty surprised too when the Web suddenly did go mainstream.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Rich, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 9:35am

    How about Firefox?

    And don't forget Starbucks! It's not the web, but ... ;-)

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    PJ, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 9:52am

    things I was wrong about

    I liked the sound Intelligent Agents too, and mesh webs.
    I never thought that Blackberry would get far or SMS (well I didn't think it would STILL be a success)
    I thought Fon would do better too.
    The pattern? I think that simple things executed well are successful. Complex things, and cutting edge, typically don't, or take a lot longer!

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    I can only hope that in some future article you will consider the posibility that digital data is not an infinite resource as you so often state.

    That's not an opinion or a prediction, that's a fact...

    It is only infinite if you factor in that an unlawful copy is contained in your definition of infinite.

    Not at all. It is, by its very *nature* an infinite good. It is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. It's infinite. That's not an opinion. It's a description.


    Likewise, I can only hope that in the future article you will consider the possiblity that the term "progress" in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution was not intended to limit its scope to merely economic progress.


    Again, this is incorrect. I do not say progress, by itself, can only be economic. I say "progress of the sciences and the useful arts" means economic progress.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    I can see how one could believe the record companies would learn how to utilize Napster as a legal distribution vehicle via a subscription model (which Napster is today),

    No, I never thought they'd make it a subscription service. I thought they'd recognize it as a promotion and distribution platform and would focus on using it to make artists more famous, at which point other things could be sold.

    but how could anyone possibly have thought the original version was legal?

    LOTS of people did... including BMG who invested lots of money into Napster. Many people viewed Napster as merely a communication tool that helped people promote music. Right up until the court's decision, many people believed that it was perfectly legal. People were using it to find and promote new music. Some musicians embraced it in a big way. It was perfectly reasonable to think that it was legal.

    I cannot understand how the bittorrent and other P2P sites get away with enabling people to accumulate copyrighted material without paying the rightsholders today.

    Well, until the terrible Grokster decision, there was no crime of "enabling" copyright infringement. There's only copyright infringement. And if those sites aren't infringing themselves, then they're not breaking the law.

    It is a shameful disgrace that digital files are "shared" among absolute strangers by the billions.

    How do you figure? The artists who have embrace file sharing have found that it INCREASES their popularity and allows them to sell much MORE in terms of concerts, albums and merchandise. It's a fantastic promotional system.

    The music industry is imploding

    Not at all. No way, no how. The *recording* industry may be imploding, but not the music industry. More musicians are making music today than at any time in the past. More musicians are making *money* from music than at any time in the past. More money is being made on concert revenue than at any time in the past. Even more musical instruments are being sold today than at any time in the past. Every part of the music industry *except* the business of selling plastic discs is doing well.

    if you think new music is bad today just wait until P2P takes ALL the money out of music.

    But it's not taking money out of music. It's helping bands promote themselves and make more money through complementary goods (including concerts, access, and many other things). It's GROWING the market. Just not for CDs.

    I sincerely hope Congress steps up and outlaws P2P before that happens.

    No you don't. Beyond for the reasons I just mentioned, outlawing P2P would outlaw half of what you do online. Skype? Gone. Google? Gone.

    If not, the same thing will happen to movies and then software

    Ah, right. The movie industry, which just had its best year ever, despite whining about piracy. The movie industry isn't threatened by piracy. It's threatened by its own inability to create an experience people want.

    When the software geeks start feeling the pressure of piracy maybe then all the self righteous indignation about how content should be free will dissipate.

    You do realize that software piracy is older than music piracy? And the geeks figured out how to deal with it? They changed the business model and adapted. They built business models that didn't rely on selling the bits, but in selling access or advertising or services. And they're doing quite well.

    Until then it's bloody embarrassing to listen to the lame arguments in favor of it.

    If by "lame arguments" you mean "basic economics" then I'm sorry you did poorly in your econ class, but it might help to understand where the market is heading.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 11:13am

    Re: What I was wrong about...

    it is absolutely killing the ability of anyone to make a living on creativity

    Again, why do you say such a thing? We've seen more people are able to make money from music today than ever before. Every part of the music business is cheaper to participate in. It's cheaper to create music. It's cheaper to promote music. It's cheaper to get people to pay you for whatever it is that you're selling (concerts, access, writing new songs).

    There are plenty of ways to make a living in music where file sharing HELPS.

    Authors, musicians, movie production companies, software, I'm starting to see that digital theft is killing the ability of these industries to step outside of the popular comfort zone and promote people that might have a shot at succeeding but aren't a sure thing.

    Oddly, the world doesn't believe that statement, because there are more people than ever before engaged in those activities. They're not using the traditional routes to distribute and promote it, but that's because P2P means they don't have to sell their souls to get their content out there -- and then there are tons of business models that allow them to make money.

    Eventually, if we don't see a copyright revolution to balance out the willingness of the masses to digitally steal material vs. the necessity of artists to make money for their efforts (indeed the open source revolution might kill a lot of non-specialty software development without circumventing copyright) - something is going to have to give and the last thing we need right now, is more industries shrinking.

    Have you not noticed that the open source industry didn't shrink the software field, but made it explode? Almost every online application you see is based on open source software. The software industry is much bigger today than it was and that's THANKS to open source software.

    Sure, the business models are different, but don't think that online applications aren't software. Don't think that Google isn't software.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Wrong predictions

    "Try to be farther wrong than that... :rueful face:"

    In 1974 I was paying my way through university as a part time computer programmer and I made a conscious decision to not pursue computer programming as a career because I reasoned that soon businesses would have all the software they needed (e.g. every business would have an accounting program and would not need another one) and demand for computer programming would dry up. I continued to be a part time programmer until I finished a post graduate degree in something else and moved on.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re:

    You have been quite consistent in saying that once a work is created, the costs for this are sunk costs and from that point forward the production of the work as a digital copy is a zero cost effort that transforms it into an infinite resource. I will not quibble over "zero", though I do believe it is not accurate. I will, however, challenge your definition of "infinite". Were the works in the public domain I would of course agree with you. But the simple fact is that many are not in the public domain. Copyright law does not exist so that an author can recover sunk costs and a modest stipend over and above such costs. It exists to afford the author an opportunity to market and sell the work, and thereby realize a future income stream. The sale and distributions of such works are no different than the sale and distribution of any other product. Price it right and "they will come". Price it wrong and sales go down the tubes as customers turn to other sources. To be conciliatory however, I do strongly agree that the term of copyright has lost entirely the concept of "limited times".


    And NO, progress as used in the Constitution does not mean only economic progress. In many instances that is obviously a side benefit, but to limit it to just the mantra you espouse does not recognize that progress can and does embrace more than just economic progress...unless, of course, you define any form of communication between individuals as somehow an economic matter, no matter how tenuous that relationship might be.

    One final note. I am troubled to no end that you continue to castigate those who use the web to sell digital content. You keep saying this is a business model doomed to failure, exhorting those who practice such a business model that they are much better off giving content away, and then offering other value added things such as services, etc. Have you considered that some persons do not want to pursue your business model, and instead choose to use their time and energy to craft useful works that they then choose to sell as a product? These persons generally do not rest on their past laurels. They constantly refine their product, add new ones, etc. The business model you advocate most certainly works for many who create digital content/products, but it can hardly be said that this should be the universal model. Each situation is different depending upon the wants and needs of each business.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    me, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: My introduction to Google

    With push-pins and string, how else?

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    me, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Re: WWW it will last six months, that's all

    Everyone makes fun of AOL users, no one will fault you for that.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Re Napster, virtually all who actually practice the full gamut of copyright law found the eventual decision remarkably unremarkable. Napster was not a case of first impression. It was merely another set of facts implicating a well established legal doctrine that virtually ensured Napster's predictable demise. Grokster tried to hide behind a technical aspect of copyright law...the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. The likelihood of it prevailing was a long shot at best, and the court had little difficulty seeing behind the charade being promoted by Grokster. The court looked at the evidence presented at trial, and it could not have been more clear that Grokster was facilitating an internet superhighway which it darn well knew was travelled in large measure by those intent on acquiring freebies of copyrighted material.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    me, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re:

    I was going to call wyly a douchebag and such, but you have done a far better job than I ever could. Ah well, guess that's why you have a cool job and I don't.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    "Sure, the business models are different, but don't think that online applications aren't software. Don't think that Google isn't software."

    That part at the end made me smile a little. Google provides remote applications - Gmail, Google Docs, etc. Remote applications are a field where predictions are always wild. There's always a crowd saying they'll never work, and another crowd saying they're the way of the future.

    It seems to go in spurts. Remote applications work well until they run into a barrier, and then a desktop application comes out to fill the gap. And then the technology improves, and then remote applications are feasible again. I think you're going to see a major surge in the popularity of OpenOffice and the like, and then something will change, and then you'll see the popularity of Google Docs rise again. That's always been a funny part of the industry.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    me, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    I think I'll vote for you in the elections, Mike.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    Open source and freeware is a good thing. It gives those like MS, Adobe, Corel, Symantec, etc. a real run for their money and increases the availability of useful software to the masses. However, I have as yet to see any significant inroads open source has made against traditional software companies. Linux? Nice for techies, but not for the average user. OpenOffice? Nice set of useful apps, but still not a serious contender...and still lacking an email app integrated into the suite of apps. I use open source and freeware, but my mainstays are still those apps marketed in the traditional manner precisely because the are better integrated and more useful for my needs. Open Source still has a long way to go before it can be deemed a legitimate alternative.

    BTW, I find Pirate Bay abhorrent...a bunch of whinny "me generation" techies who like to thumb their noses at those who happen to believe that copyright law does serve a useful purpose. I paid for my copy of Photoshop. If someone else wants a copy they should do the same.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You have been quite consistent in saying that once a work is created, the costs for this are sunk costs and from that point forward the production of the work as a digital copy is a zero cost effort that transforms it into an infinite resource.

    This is factually so. I don't see what you can quibble with in that statement.

    I will, however, challenge your definition of "infinite". Were the works in the public domain I would of course agree with you. But the simple fact is that many are not in the public domain. Copyright law does not exist so that an author can recover sunk costs and a modest stipend over and above such costs.

    I'm not talking about *copyright law*. I'm talking about the *fundamental* nature of the content. This is without regard to copyright law.

    It exists to afford the author an opportunity to market and sell the work, and thereby realize a future income stream.

    Again, my point about it being infinite has *nothing* to do with copyright law.

    And NO, progress as used in the Constitution does not mean only economic progress.

    On this, we need to agree to disagree, though, again, I don't see how you have progress of the useful arts and sciences that is not, in itself, also economic progress.

    you define any form of communication between individuals as somehow an economic matter,

    MLS, if the founders wanted to merely promote any form of communication, patents and copyrights were the worst way to do so. Copyright, by its very definition LIMITS the communication between individuals.

    They said, quite clearly, that it was to promote the progress of the useful arts and sciences. There is no definition of that that I can think of that doesn't involve economic progress (by which I mean, growing the overall economic pie). It's not progress of either the useful arts or the sciences if the economic pie isn't increased by the end result.

    I am troubled to no end that you continue to castigate those who use the web to sell digital content.

    It's not castigating. It's pointing out the fact that it's a very risky and unsustainable business model. You're free to continue trying to use it, but don't come whining when it eventually fails.

    Have you considered that some persons do not want to pursue your business model, and instead choose to use their time and energy to craft useful works that they then choose to sell as a product?

    Yes, I've considered it. But that doesn't change the economic reality. Honestly, your question reads like "Have you considered that some persons do not want to work for a living, and instead choose to lie about and hope that people give them money?"

    These persons generally do not rest on their past laurels. They constantly refine their product, add new ones, etc.

    Indeed, but if you're selling buggy whips in an automobile world, you're going to be in trouble. I'm merely pointing out that these are buggy whips.

    The business model you advocate most certainly works for many who create digital content/products, but it can hardly be said that this should be the universal model.

    1. I am not advocating *a* business model. I am explaining the economics at play. That leads to MANY different business models.

    2. I have never said this *should* be the universal model. Beyond pointing out that I'm discussing the *economics* not choosing a particular business model, I'm not saying *SHOULD* anything. I'm explaining what IS.

    It's like explaining gravity. I'm explaining the very real economic forces that exist. You are saying, but some people don't like gravity. Well, that sucks for them, but it doesn't change gravity.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    Re: The WEB

    You might still be right about the WEB. You're timing was just a bit off. It seems our friends at CERN (for their purposes) have built a bigger and better network. It's called The Grid, and it's just a matter of time before it's ingress points replace the Internet's NAPs.
    The World Wide Web and the Internet are not the same thing.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Re Napster, virtually all who actually practice the full gamut of copyright law found the eventual decision remarkably unremarkable.

    Um. Not so, but nice try. There was a ton of debate over it, and many felt that it was an awful decision, that put way too much weight on Napster, despite the fact that the company didn't actually infringe anything itself. Many copyright experts were quite upset by the decision.

    The likelihood of it prevailing was a long shot at best, and the court had little difficulty seeing behind the charade being promoted by Grokster.

    Yikes, MLS, that is revisionist history by a long shot. Grokster wasn't just "relying on the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA." It was relying on straight common sense, that an application that links you to all different kinds of works, some infringing, some not, shouldn't be guilty of infringement itself.

    You do realize that under the Grokster decision, Google could also be found guilty of infringement? It was a terrible decision and to pretend it was ho hum is simply incorrect.

    it could not have been more clear that Grokster was facilitating an internet superhighway which it darn well knew was travelled in large measure by those intent on acquiring freebies of copyrighted material.

    Ah, more revisionism. The question wasn't whether or not what others did with the tool, but whether the tool itself should be illegal. You don't blame the printing press for violating copyright law, you blame the individual who copied something in an unauthorized manner. What the court did in Grokster is it outlawed the printing press.

    It was a terrible decision.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    BTW, I find Pirate Bay abhorrent...a bunch of whinny "me generation" techies who like to thumb their noses at those who happen to believe that copyright law does serve a useful purpose.
    Typical MLS. Doesn't really sound very objective, does he? Name calling is the province of those with nothing better to say.

     

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

  48.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    BTW, I find Pirate Bay abhorrent...a bunch of whinny "me generation" techies who like to thumb their noses at those who happen to believe that copyright law does serve a useful purpose.

    Well, I'm not going to comment on how the Pirate Bay actually feels about thing, but I'm curious, MLS, why you would complain about a search engine, and if you could explain what's different between the Pirate Bay and Google in terms of copyright law?

    Google makes no statement on the legality of the content it points you to. Neither does the Pirate Bay.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Jake, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    Creative Works and Money

    Why does it have to be a bad thing that writing music and movies and so forth might be 'relegated' to something that people do because they [i]enjoy[/i] it, any financial reward being merely a bonus rather than the sole objective?

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just like economics are a fact of life, the same is true of copyright law. In a world without copyright law I would easily agree with you on many of your positions since they are, after all, basic economic principles. But, one cannot ignore the impact of our laws, and particularly those that relate to the conduct of commerce. You are indeed fortunate in that this site serves in part as an entree to your consulting services business. You "give away" the site and hopefully get clients in return. Not everyone is in the services business. Some merely sell content that they labored long and hard to create. Not to be argumentative, but just what you have the font seller (an article a few days ago) do besides continually create fonts (hardly laying around and not working) and provide them under license to end users? What business plan would work for him? Your position seems to be that digital content is so easily copied that how he conducts business will ultimately prove to be a losing proposition because he can not police use once a digital copy is provided to someone. But in saying this it seems to me what you are in essence doing is simply lending credence to what pirates are doing. Is this not somewhat akin to saying a law is being broken so often that we should simply take it off the books since we can not prosecute all of the wrongdoers?

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Many people talked about these cases, but for the large majority of those heavily involved as lawyers in copyright law the outcomes were almost certain...hence my comment that they were remarkably unremarkable.

    Merely FYI, the facts of each case typically dictate the outcome. In both Napster and Grokster the evidence was clear that they were each on the wrong side of the law.

    Google is a totally different matter on the facts.

    Revisionism is rewriting history. If you want to use the term in relation to the two cases, you should first read the applicable court decisions. After all, they should be considered a part of the historical record.

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    Pirate Bay was started by a group self-described as being anti-copyright. The entire site reflects that view, and the ridicule it heaps on copyright holders who contact it merely serves to prove the point.

    Do not get me wrong. I do like the P2P concept for many reasons. I do not like, however, those who use it primarily for the purpose of getting something for nothing when those persons know darn good and well they are uploading and downloading legally protected content.

     

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

  53.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just like economics are a fact of life, the same is true of copyright law.

    Not at all. The laws of economics are not something man made -- just like gravity isn't man made. Copyright law is man made. If you can't see the difference between the two, I'm not sure what I can do for you.

    But, one cannot ignore the impact of our laws, and particularly those that relate to the conduct of commerce.

    When have I ever suggested we ignore the laws? I'm merely pointing out that they go against basic economic principles, and folks will eventually realize they can get more economic progress without them. This is no different than those who fought against mercantilist policies of the 18th century, and eventually realized they were better off without them.

    Your response? But the laws are the law and therefore it's all good. Sorry, but I don't buy it.

    Not everyone is in the services business.

    If you're in the content business, you are in a services business, whether you realize it or not.

    Not to be argumentative, but just what you have the font seller (an article a few days ago) do besides continually create fonts (hardly laying around and not working) and provide them under license to end users?

    He can keep designing fonts, there's nothing wrong with that. And he can keep selling his ability to make fonts. What he shouldn't expect is that if he sells something that can be infinitely copied that the business model for them won't disappear.

    What business plan would work for him?

    I don't know enough about his particular business to make a direct recommendation, but everyone who's business we have looked at closely we've been able to make reasonable recommendations. In the font business, I would imagine his ability to keep making new fonts is a big selling point. If I were a company like Adobe or Microsoft, I'd pay a good font designer to keep designing new fonts for my software, for example, as it makes my software more valuable.

    Your position seems to be that digital content is so easily copied that how he conducts business will ultimately prove to be a losing proposition because he can not police use once a digital copy is provided to someone. But in saying this it seems to me what you are in essence doing is simply lending credence to what pirates are doing.

    Not at all. The piracy aspect of it is secondary. It does hasten the demise of a business model, but it's hardly the main reason. The piracy aspect just highlights how the content itself *is* infinite (no matter how often you choose to ignore it), and that there are others who will make use of that aspect as part of their business model.

    When everyone else gives away free fonts and you're the one guy trying to sell them, how well do you think that works?

    Is this not somewhat akin to saying a law is being broken so often that we should simply take it off the books since we can not prosecute all of the wrongdoers?

    No. What I'm saying is that the law isn't necessary and doesn't serve it's purpose. Despite what folks like yourself say, there's little evidence that copyright (or patent) law is necessary to promote the progress of the science and the useful arts. In fact, we all too often see both the sciences and the useful arts inhibited by patent and copyright law.

    I think that's a problem.

    You, clearly, do not. But, then again, I get the sense you make your living related to those laws, so perhaps that has something to do with.

     

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

  54.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Many people talked about these cases, but for the large majority of those heavily involved as lawyers in copyright law the outcomes were almost certain...hence my comment that they were remarkably unremarkable.

    Then we associate with different types of folks. The lawyers I know were all pretty surprised by both results, as they both seemed to go very much against the Betamax precedent.

    Merely FYI, the facts of each case typically dictate the outcome. In both Napster and Grokster the evidence was clear that they were each on the wrong side of the law.

    Again, it was not clear at all, and I still think the courts got them both wrong. I'll also note you didn't answer my question about why they should be found guilty when they just provided the tool, but did no infringing themselves.

    Why do we not outlaw the printing press?

    Why didn't we outlaw the VCR?

    Google is a totally different matter on the facts.

    How?

    Revisionism is rewriting history. If you want to use the term in relation to the two cases, you should first read the applicable court decisions. After all, they should be considered a part of the historical record.

    What makes you think I have not?

    Nice trick to not answer my question, but instead imply I haven't read the decisions.

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    Pirate Bay was started by a group self-described as being anti-copyright. The entire site reflects that view, and the ridicule it heaps on copyright holders who contact it merely serves to prove the point.

    When did ridiculing copyright laws become illegal?

    Do not get me wrong. I do like the P2P concept for many reasons. I do not like, however, those who use it primarily for the purpose of getting something for nothing when those persons know darn good and well they are uploading and downloading legally protected content.

    Sure. That's also why I do not use any sort of thing like the Pirate Bay and I don't use content in an unauthorized manner. I, personally, don't think it's the proper thing to do. But that doesn't change what I have to say, and it doesn't change the facts of the case.

    You seem to be letting your emotions determine what the law should be, and because you don't *like* the Pirate Bay's opinions, you seem to think it's somehow illegal.

    The law, as you well know, doesn't work that way.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    rkme, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 4:09pm

    must of been right alot!

    I just read Tech Crunch's top 100 tech bloggers and I see you are number 7. very nice and congrats to you!

     

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

  57.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 4:10pm

    Re:

    Kudos for the post Mike. I think it took a little bit'o'balls considering the main part of your business model is selling analysis through the Insight Community.

    Why did that take balls? The whole point of the Insight Community is to get multiple perspectives from multiple people -- in part so that you can understand all the reasoning, rather than assuming one person is always right.

    Whoever tells you they're always right is clearly lying.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    Do not get me wrong. I do like the P2P concept for many reasons.
    Oh do you really now? You sure could have fooled me. So tell us, just exactly which P2P networks do you currently like?

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    BillDem, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

    MLS lives in the past

    MLS fervently wants to save the dying business model of selling a zillion identical digital copies of something that was created once and costs essentially nothing to duplicate. This means a file that sits on a server and can be downloaded as many times as people choose to download it. Saving that business model isn't realistic.

    The reality is, the consumer decides what business model will be successful, not the owner of the content. Period. They vote with their money. Consumers are now smart enough to know that it costs microscopic fractions of a cent (for bandwidth) to sell another copy of a file sitting on a server. Paying even 99 cents for the right to download it is starting to become ridiculous, particularly when restrictions are placed on whether you can use it on all of the devices you own.

    Here is the bottom line: If you stick with a model the consumer doesn't support, you will fail. You can hate that reality all you want, but it is still a reality. Mike has been trying to point this fact out.

    In this modern digital age, consumers are moving toward supporting artists who use those unlimited digital downloads as promotional materials. They support those artists by attending their concerts, buying their merchandise, clicking on ads on their web sites, and many other means.

    You can wish for the old days of ripping people off with $16 CD's that cost 35 cents to produce, but wishing won't turn back the clock. The artists who embrace the 21st century are the ones who will succeed in the future. If you can't live with the realities of this modern digital age, you will fade into non-existence with the rest of the CD-pressing dinosaur record labels. *shrug* It's up to you.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:07pm

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

    I have to my knowledge never made any sort of a statement that "progress", whether using your definition or mine, would be curtailed without patent and copyright laws. In fact, I do recall at one time making the obvious observation that most who invent and most who author do so without even thinking about these laws or ever try to enforce whatever rights they may have. That is their business model and they seem quite content. There are others, however, for whatever reason do feel that the laws are important for their commercial activities. Who is to say who is right? Certainly not me since the two views have coexisted quite comfortably for a long period of time.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but unlike gravity economics and law are both the creation of man.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What I was wrong about...

    Perhaps you should read what I say a bit more closely. What I did say is that Pirate Bay was started by an anti-copyright group, and its stance against copyright law is repeated throughout the site. My reference to "ridicule" was merely to note but one example of the site's disdain from the law. It is not illegal to have disdain, but I do have many reservations about taking anti-copyright views and turning them into a vehicle for encouraging and enabling people to engage in wholesale copyright infringement.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:33pm

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

    "What makes you think I have not?"

    Many, not all...but many, of the comments made repeatedly on this site. Merely by way of example, discussions pertaining to the concept of "property" do not accurately reflect that "property" is a creature of law, and as such can be more broadly construed than the limited meaning you continually assert.

     

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

  63.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:38pm

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

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but unlike gravity economics and law are both the creation of man.

    You are wrong. Economics is not a creation of man. It is explaining the forces that determine how resources are allocated. It is describing natural forces, the same way physics has terms that describe natural forces.

    People don't use economics to explain how things should be. They use it to explain why things happen.

     

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

  64.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:43pm

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

    In fact, I do recall at one time making the obvious observation that most who invent and most who author do so without even thinking about these laws or ever try to enforce whatever rights they may have. That is their business model and they seem quite content. There are others, however, for whatever reason do feel that the laws are important for their commercial activities. Who is to say who is right? Certainly not me since the two views have coexisted quite comfortably for a long period of time.

    That's quite a cop out. Does that mean you had no problem with rules that gave one group a monopoly over products in the 18th century? After all, it was the rule of law and it was beneficial to their commercial activities?

    Of course, it was harmful to the wider economy and most of society, but... you know, it "coexisted quite comfortabley for a long period of time."

     

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

  65.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:47pm

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

    Many, not all...but many, of the comments made repeatedly on this site.

    The fact that I disagree with you makes you think I haven't read a couple of judicial decisions?

    Merely by way of example, discussions pertaining to the concept of "property" do not accurately reflect that "property" is a creature of law, and as such can be more broadly construed than the limited meaning you continually assert.

    We are not talking about property as construed by law, but what property actually is and what it's meant for.

    There's a reason that property is set up the way it is by law, and it was for economic reasons, the better and more efficiently handle the allocation of scarce resources. The extension of any kind of "property rights" to non-scarce goods only shows a misunderstanding of economics and the purpose of property.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:49pm

    Re: MLS lives in the past

    "Here is the bottom line: If you stick with a model the consumer doesn't support, you will fail. You can hate that reality all you want, but it is still a reality. Mike has been trying to point this fact out."

    This is hardly insightful given that it is an immutable fact of commerce that has existed since the dawn of man. What is being discussed here, however, is an almost elitist notion that somehow digital goods do not deserve to receive the deferrence accorded to non-digital goods. I keep hearing the all too familiar refrain "Hey, they cost diddly to make, so why should they be charging anything for them? It is a consumer rip-off and digital goods sellers should be shunned as money grubbers." But, cannot the very same thing be said for the pharma industry. After all, the medications only cost pennies to make.

    Perhaps I am a dinosaur as you so eloquently note, but the last time I looked it was what a buyer and seller agree that determines the price of goods, and not the cost of making the goods themselves.

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 5:53pm

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

    I will remember this next time I see two zebras haggling over the terms of a purchase and sale contract.

     

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

  68.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: MLS lives in the past

    What is being discussed here, however, is an almost elitist notion that somehow digital goods do not deserve to receive the deferrence accorded to non-digital goods.

    Huh? Not at all. We're saying the EXACT OPPOSITE. What we're saying is that digital goods do deserve the EXACT same opportunities as tangible goods -- and that's for the market to set the price through supply and demand. What IP does is puts in place a gov't monopoly to artificially change that market.

    That's not the case with tangible goods.

    But, cannot the very same thing be said for the pharma industry. After all, the medications only cost pennies to make.

    And if you don't realize why this has caused so many problems in our health system, stay tuned. That's the subject of a future post...

    but the last time I looked it was what a buyer and seller agree that determines the price of goods, and not the cost of making the goods themselves.

    And no one is trying to stop a buyer and seller from agreeing to a price. But just because you might find one sucker to buy a chair for $1,000,000 it does not mean that's a sustainable market. We're talking about the aggregate, where the intersection of supply and demand determine the price, and your basic economics will tell you that the cost of making the good VERY MUCH has a say in what that price will be.

     

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

  69.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 6:24pm

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

    I will remember this next time I see two zebras haggling over the terms of a purchase and sale contract.

    Very snarky, MLS, but equally incorrect.

    If you don't think the laws of supply and demand don't impact the animal kingdom, then you need to watch a bit more Animal Planet. Things may play themselves out using different "currency," but it's very much economics at play.

    Economics is just a question of allocating resources. That takes place in the animal kingdom as well as it does within humans.

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Scorpiaux, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Actually, you were right

    "I honestly thought that (1) Napster would be found legal and that (2) the recording industry would quickly realize what a useful tool it would be for distribution and promotion of music. Boy, was I wrong on that one...." - Mike

    The recording industry has always distributed and promoted music. You just left off your real contention that the recording industry should just give away for free what it distributes and promotes. That is simply your idea of a "new business model." Your idea is that giving your creations away will lead to untold riches well above the current business models which operate on the proposition that you make money by selling your creations, not giving them away. But what do I know? Mike Masnick "over at" Techdirt claims the opposite.

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    Namagem, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    It's funny...

     

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

  72.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: My introduction to Google

    didn't you say you got this tip because you missed church? How do I connect the dots that are not in the same book.

    Interesting question. Maybe I left a few key facts and story out- My Church was a few blocks from Columbine HS, and the following year, we had a horrible tragedy.. As Assistant Youth Pastor, I had a lot of additional responsibility on my hands. I saw how the internet and websites were easy scapegoats, and how Eric and Dylan didn't have a way to "vent" their frustrations with others. Since then, I have always made myself available for "my flock" - Friends, relatives, family and even people I don't know too well.

    Sometimes people need someone to talk to, you know? Technology is over rated and lacks that human aspect.

    Following the issue, many people were quick to blame the internet, blame parents, blame schools. No, I say-- Blame everyone-- for not taking 5 minutes out of your day to ask "Hey, man, What's Wrong?"

    Big fences make great neighbors? Meh..

    How well do you know your neighbors? It's a Societal Problem.

    /soapbox

     

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

  73.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 8:25pm

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

    MLS,

    I like you, but Mike is right. In order to execute, especially in the digital age, you need a business strategy which is e-business focused. Problem is that few companies have moved their company from paper to an e-business strategy. Consider MPAA members who still have librarians managing their catalog. Possibly you come from one of these companies.

    MLS, To quote an old boss- "What the he11 is the goal? What are you doing, spending 70% of your time documenting.. Is your goal to write a book? Are you going to publish that? Just turn control over to the new generation who understand and know this technology".

    Don't get a big head about this, but again, It's a cultural/generational issue, where the baton can't/won't be passed because people don't understand the technology.

    This in itself is extremely sad.

     

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

  74.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 8:37pm

    Re: things I was wrong about

    And don't forget Starbucks! It's not the web, but ... ;-)

    Your right. Howard Schultz is a personal hero, right behind Björn Bayley, that is. Heh. Those Swedes are a crazy group of people.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: MLS lives in the past

    "Huh? Not at all. We're saying the EXACT OPPOSITE. What we're saying is that digital goods do deserve the EXACT same opportunities as tangible goods -- and that's for the market to set the price through supply and demand. What IP does is puts in place a gov't monopoly to artificially change that market."

    Please explain who will be the one providing the "supply" for a digital good. You seem to suggest the notion that once a single copy of a digital good is placed into commerce then it is fair game for all to copy and use.

    To reiterate one more time, patents and copyrights do not confer a monopoly. There is a significant difference between a patent covering a new invention and a royal charter granting exclusive control over a staple article of commerce. With the former a consumer is not denied alternate choices. The same can not be said of the latter.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 20th, 2008 @ 9:10pm

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

    I happen to like you as well, but do not agree this is a generational issue. As new technologies emerge new opportunities are presented. Where the difference appears to lie is in how certain of the products resulting from these new technologies should be treated once they enter the marketplace. I happen to believe that if you sell a widget you should get paid for that widget, and if you sell a copy of a song/movie/software you should get paid for that copy. As to the latter, if you are dumb enough to price it too high, of if you bundle it with other content that no one wants, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

    The person selling specially designed, scalable fonts is in my view a good example. His fonts are not the bitmap stuff that floods the internet. They are are different in numerous respects (3-D, gradients, controllable transparency, etc.) and targeted to a specific market niche. He runs a small shop, and it costs him and his suppliers time and money to create the fonts. To call him one who is apparently stuck in a time warp between the old and new ways of doing business I happen to believe is an unfair accusation.

    I will readily admit that far too many of the dinasour generation are basically technologically clueless. For whatever assurances it may provide, I am most certainly not in this category. Change is inevitable and one is foolish to not embrace it, but there is a constant that was ingrained in me as a child...if you use something that is not freely given away you must pay for it.

     

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

  77.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: MLS lives in the past


    Please explain who will be the one providing the "supply" for a digital good.


    The people creating it just as before, but they'll be getting paid via a different business model. Rather, in many cases it will be the same business model, though realized slightly differently.

    What you may not realize is that the models I'm talking about have always been there.

    When you buy a CD, you are buying the scarce good (the disc itself) that is made valuable by the infinite good (the music).

    When you go see a movie, you are buying the scarce good (the seating space in the theater) that is made valuable by the infinite good (the movie itself).

    The "problem" these days is that the industry didn't quite realize this and is running into trouble when the scarce good disappeared. They have every opportunity to find the other scarce goods made more valuable by the infinite goods, but they have chosen not to (in most cases) out of stubbornness, laziness or inertia.

    You seem to suggest the notion that once a single copy of a digital good is placed into commerce then it is fair game for all to copy and use.

    Yes, so all you need to do is find out what those infinitely shared goods make more valuable, and sell *that*. It's really not *that* difficult. But, then you have a true win-win situation. Those who make the content are greatly rewarded for it. Distribution and promotion is easier and cheaper. In fact, your biggest fans promote you for free, by passing on your content, making whatever scarce product you're selling more valuable.

    To reiterate one more time, patents and copyrights do not confer a monopoly.

    You can state it over and over again, and each time you do, you are incorrect. They were even called monopolies originally. Considering you're the one who keeps going back to what the original authors really meant with copyright and patents, at the very least you must admit that even they originally referred to them as monopolies.

    They are monopolies. It's an exclusion of anyone else to produce the same thing, granting a *monopoly* on the holder.

    There is a significant difference between a patent covering a new invention and a royal charter granting exclusive control over a staple article of commerce.

    How so?

    With the former a consumer is not denied alternate choices. The same can not be said of the latter.

    I would argue otherwise. It is no different than a royal charter. Hell, if you didn't want sugar, you could sweeten your food with honey, right? Or, as patent system defenders would note, why wouldn't they just create some *new* kind of sweetener. Is that what patents are supposed to do?

     

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

  78.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 20th, 2008 @ 10:39pm

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

    I happen to believe that if you sell a widget you should get paid for that widget, and if you sell a copy of a song/movie/software you should get paid for that copy.

    If you can sell it, you mean.

    As to the latter, if you are dumb enough to price it too high, of if you bundle it with other content that no one wants, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

    But that's the point. Basic economics tells you that such a good will be priced at $0 eventually. It's just the basic "physics" of pricing. Pricing it above $0 is pricing it to high... and you have no one to blame but yourself.

    I'm not sure why you have so much trouble with this. You seem to understand the fundamental point that if you charge too high you're going to have trouble in business.

    Why do you get so upset, then, when we explain *why* anything over $0 is too high? It's fundamental economics.

    To call him one who is apparently stuck in a time warp between the old and new ways of doing business I happen to believe is an unfair accusation.

    It's the same thing as the guy who sells a chair ofr $100,000 and wonders why no one else gives him the same price. It's an unsustainable business model.

    Change is inevitable and one is foolish to not embrace it, but there is a constant that was ingrained in me as a child...if you use something that is not freely given away you must pay for it.

    Sure. But, let's say that everyone else is giving away the product for free. Will you still go to the one vendor who charges?

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 12:00am

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

    There are too many dependancies today. People fighting for their 2% of the pie. MLS, it seems you work too hard, and don't know what to fight for. So be willing to let the next generation re-invent the business model, but share what didn't work.

    As they grow, they inherently know what they need to fight for. The goal should be to set them up for that so they can succeed, however in business, it seems the Gen X-ers et al, seem to want to see their siblings not succeed.

    You can learn a lot from your past. Even if it means you need to sit down with Bjorn when he invites you to his house. What an awesome family... Those Swedes really know business.

     

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

  80.  
    identicon
    cram, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 12:19am

    Wrong and right

    Interesting debate.

    Mike

    What about creative artists whose only scarce good are their creative work? JK Rowling's only scarce good are her Harry Potter books. And she and her publisher make tons of money simply because people are willing to buy the printed books. Even if the entire Potter canon is available as public domain, people would still buy the printed books simply because for a whole lot of people, that's convenient.

    But that's hardly the case with music. Especially because of its brevity. Almost everyone consumes music in its natural unit form, the track. And tech has reduced the cost of distributing music mainly because of the pirates. This does not justify their act, which is what I think you are trying to do.

    Somehow, you are not according music the same importance as other creative arts, which are not similarly hampered by advances in technology that reduce the cost of making copies to virtually zero.

    In another post you brought up the case of WSJ which is not "part of the conversation" because it keeps all its material behnd a firewall. Perhaps all the insight and valuable information is the scarce good that it wants to profit from, because even if everyone is giving away financial info for free, no one has what WSJ does. And that makes it scarce, and which is why they are most likely to continue with their subscription-based business.

    PS: You guys are doing a fantastic job. I'm an avid Techdirt reader.

     

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

  81.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 21st, 2008 @ 12:29am

    Re: Wrong and right

    What about creative artists whose only scarce good are their creative work?

    That's impossible. Any creative artist has plenty of other scarce goods -- such as access to the artist, time, the ability to create new works of art. All of those are scarce goods that can be sold.

    JK Rowling's only scarce good are her Harry Potter books.

    No. Those are the only scarce goods she's selling now. That doesn't mean those are the only scarce goods she has.

    But that's hardly the case with music. Especially because of its brevity. Almost everyone consumes music in its natural unit form, the track. And tech has reduced the cost of distributing music mainly because of the pirates. This does not justify their act, which is what I think you are trying to do.

    No. I'm not defending or justifying unauthorized use in the slightest. I'm saying that more and more artists are recognizing that they can use *authorized* free distribution and promotion to their advantage. And they are. And that will leave those who want to charge in a bit of hot water.


    Somehow, you are not according music the same importance as other creative arts, which are not similarly hampered by advances in technology that reduce the cost of making copies to virtually zero.


    How am I not according music the same importance? In fact, the majority of the examples and explanations I give around here *are* focused on music:

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


    In another post you brought up the case of WSJ which is not "part of the conversation" because it keeps all its material behnd a firewall. Perhaps all the insight and valuable information is the scarce good that it wants to profit from, because even if everyone is giving away financial info for free, no one has what WSJ does. And that makes it scarce, and which is why they are most likely to continue with their subscription-based business.


    You're talking about an artificial scarcity. Information, by its nature, is an infinite good. Not a scarce good. I agree that the WSJ is trying to keep it scarce, but artificial scarcities do not last.

     

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

  82.  
    identicon
    About to Retire from IT, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 1:29am

    Video Conferencing

    I'm one of those grey matter guys (the hair, not the stuff under it) who thought that video conferencing was going to take the world by storm. Everyone would be asking Uhura to put the calls up on the video screen and every meeting room would have a screen at the end that extended into another meeting room on the other side of the world. Every PC would have a camera on top.

    I enthusiastically installed my first PictureTel system in 1989, to a somewhat lukewarm reception. Tried to get people to use various iterations of video conferencing ever since. Just didn't happen.

    Perhaps now with Skype video chat things will change, but I'm not waiting around for it. I'm retiring, but I am taking my webcam with me.

     

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

  83.  
    identicon
    cram, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Wrong and right

    "JK Rowling's only scarce good are her Harry Potter books.

    No. Those are the only scarce goods she's selling now. That doesn't mean those are the only scarce goods she has."

    But that's exactly my point. She doesn't need to sell anything for the rest of her life. That's how musicians and music companies used to operate; they were rewarded for their creative work. Now they cannot hope to get rewarded for composing a beautiful piece of music, because no one wants to buy a CD anymore.

    "No. I'm not defending or justifying unauthorized use in the slightest. I'm saying that more and more artists are recognizing that they can use *authorized* free distribution and promotion to their advantage. And they are. And that will leave those who want to charge in a bit of hot water."

    I don't see how "free distribution" can help the artist. Earlier, TV and radio promoted musicians, but people still went out in droves to buy records or CDs of their favorite bands, which made the musicians rich. That model is doomed only because tech has made it easy to make copies and no one can do a damn thing about piracy, regardless of how many kids the RIAA goes after. Radiohead tried something experimental, but will it work for all bands?

    "How am I not according music the same importance? In fact, the majority of the examples and explanations I give around here *are* focused on music."

    What I meant was you seem to suggest, almost always in the case of musicians, that they should embrace the "give it away free and explore ther avenues" approach. Would you suggest a poet or painter or photographer or writer do that?

     

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

  84.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 21st, 2008 @ 1:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong and right

    But that's exactly my point. She doesn't need to sell anything for the rest of her life. That's how musicians and music companies used to operate; they were rewarded for their creative work. Now they cannot hope to get rewarded for composing a beautiful piece of music, because no one wants to buy a CD anymore.

    Hmm. I think you missed my point. They absolutely ARE rewarded for their creative work, because that creative work increases demand for those other scarce goods I pointed out.

    I don't see how "free distribution" can help the artist

    You don't see how getting the music into the hands of more people can help the artist?!? Go read that link I put in my last comment. Or look at what many, many musicians are doing today in embracing free music to give themselves a much larger audience to whom they are able to sell scarce goods, like concert tickets.

    That model is doomed only because tech has made it easy to make copies and no one can do a damn thing about piracy, regardless of how many kids the RIAA goes after. Radiohead tried something experimental, but will it work for all bands?

    Radiohead's specific model won't work, but there are models that will work for all kinds of bands -- as we've pointed out here. Bands both big and small have adopted these models to great effect.

    Would you suggest a poet or painter or photographer or writer do that?

    Yup, absolutely. For all of those folks, obscurity is a much bigger "threat" than piracy. Use the free distribution and free promotion to build up an audience and then there's plenty of stuff to sell.

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    Max Powers, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 1:55am

    Bringing Back Memories

    My parents bought one of the early satellite dishes that looked like it was tracking missiles in CA so I never thought those huge things would ever succeed and become so small for the average consumer.

     

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

  86.  
    identicon
    cram, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 2:02am

    For instance, compare a comic strip creator with a musician. The former can put out all his creative work on the web, give it away free, and still pay his bills because people would be willing to buy his work in printed form.

    Cut to musician: what happens when he puts out his song on the web? Everyone downloads it, goes home. Musician rots.

    I guess much depends on the medium of consumption.

     

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

  87.  
    identicon
    cram, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 2:15am

    "You don't see how getting the music into the hands of more people can help the artist?!? Go read that link I put in my last comment. Or look at what many, many musicians are doing today in embracing free music to give themselves a much larger audience to whom they are able to sell scarce goods, like concert tickets."

    Honestly Mike, how many concert tickets can a band sell? And can all musicians live off concert tickets alone? Don't they have a right to the prospect of making a living through selling their creative work, simply because tech has changed the rules of the game, nay changed the game itself?

    I think what you're trying to say is: get the audience before the pirates get them. Let's keep in mind that it's the pirates who hold the key here, without trying to take the high moral ground by saying we are against unauthorized file sharing and stuff.

     

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

  88.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 21st, 2008 @ 3:06am

    Re:

    Honestly Mike, how many concert tickets can a band sell? And can all musicians live off concert tickets alone? Don't they have a right to the prospect of making a living through selling their creative work, simply because tech has changed the rules of the game, nay changed the game itself?

    Ugh. I've had this discussion a thousand times before.

    1. A musician can sell a LOT of concert tickets if he has a big audience, and you get that big audience by getting MORE fans, and you do that by making it as EASY as possible for people not just hear your music, but promote it to others.

    2. No, I never said concert tickets alone. I said *scarce goods*. There are many. Concerts are just one example. Trent Reznor made millions by offering a *variety* of scarce goods at a variety of prices. That's a big named band. Less well known musicians have done quite well as well. Look at Maria Schneider or Jill Sobule.

    We've pointed this out repeatedly. I don't know why I need to repeat it again.

    3. Yes, they have every right to make a living through their music. All we're doing is explaining the economics for HOW they make that living. Not only that, but it's HOW they make a much better living than the prospects they had before.

    4. If you actually think most musicians made their money from "selling their music directly" you're sadly mistaken. Most musicians have always made money from touring, not from album sales.

    If you look at the basic economics, you'll realize that by using the infinite good (the music) to promote all the scarce goods available you are GROWING your market by using an INFINITE resource. In the past, it was EXPENSIVE to grow your market, because promotion and distribution were EXPENSIVE. Now it's cheap. Because distribution and promotion are effectively FREE. That's a huge deal. It makes it possible for musicians to make more money.

    More musicians today are making money from their music than ever before in history. That's been enabled because of the technological change which says a musician doesn't need to get a record label deal. They can record their songs cheaply. They can distribute the songs for free. They can promote their music and their appearances for free. And they can sell all sorts of scarce goods related to that.

    Any musician who doesn't see it as a huge opportunity has a tremendous blindspot.

     

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

  89.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 21st, 2008 @ 3:09am

    Re:

    For instance, compare a comic strip creator with a musician. The former can put out all his creative work on the web, give it away free, and still pay his bills because people would be willing to buy his work in printed form.

    Sure. That's an example of using the infinite to make the scarce more valuable and then selling the scarce.

    Cut to musician: what happens when he puts out his song on the web? Everyone downloads it, goes home. Musician rots.

    Uh. No. Again, you seem to be ignoring all the scarce goods the musician has to sell (many of which I pointed out already). I'm confused why you're purposely ignoring these.

    Musicians have *always* sold scarce goods, by the way. It's just that the scarce goods are changing. Now, rather than CDs, they can sell concert tickets, or access or exclusivity, or the ability to write new songs. There's any number of models, and we're seeing artists both big and small embrace them and do fantastically well even as naysayers like yourself say it's not possible.

     

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

  90.  
    identicon
    cram, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 4:05am

    Hi Mike

    Thanks for taking the trouble to respond.

    I get your point, but I still disagree (you're exasperated, I know).

    The comic strip creator has the advantage of selling the same stuff that he gives out free online. He doesn't have to go on tour, set up special web sites to hang out with fans...all he has to do is send his stuff to a publisher and wait for the money to roll in.

    But the poor musician and the poor musician alone is called upon (by the likes of you) to look at a whole gamut of other options to make money, simply because tech's grown to such an extent that he can't live off just his music (by which I mean his songs on CDs -- forget the touring, t-shirts and other stuff).

    Do you see my point? The artist can just keep churning out comic strips, the writer stories, and do nothing else and still hope to make millions, but the onus is suddenly on the musician to do a whole lot of other things in order to stay alive. And why? Simply because of the elephant in the room - piracy.

    But for the rampant piracy, and how easy its has become, and how completely blase we all are about digital theft, you wouldn't be spouting the virtues of such a model. You can turn around and take the high ground stating you don't support unauthorized file sharing and all that, but 99.99% of the world's busy ripping files off the net, and they are the reason why you are advocating the "music should be free or download" line.

    Great to have engaged with you. Thanks.

     

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

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 5:29am

    I'm still not sure that what Napster did was "obviously illegal."

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    DanC, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    The artist can just keep churning out comic strips, the writer stories, and do nothing else and still hope to make millions, but the onus is suddenly on the musician to do a whole lot of other things in order to stay alive. And why? Simply because of the elephant in the room - piracy.

    Why are you surprised that two separate industries would need to implement two different business models? You're arguing for maintaining the status quo, which clearly isn't going to happen.

    As for why a musician can no longer survive by selling CDs, the answer is simple - technology has advanced beyond the physical media. CDs are a scarce resource, an MP3 file is not, so another scarce resource is needed. Piracy is just the catch-all excuse that people throw out when complaining about the effects of basic economics.

    99.99% of the world's busy ripping files off the net, and they are the reason why you are advocating the "music should be free or download" line.

    This is the same line of thinking the RIAA promotes, and it's simply wrong. Business models change, no matter how much the RIAA tries to clutch and grab at the old model. Using piracy as a scapegoat is just an excuse to try and delay the inevitable. Technology is driving the change, not piracy.

     

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

  93.  
    identicon
    Greg, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 6:03am

    Re:

    Ladies & Gentemen, meet Lars Ulrich.

     

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

  94.  
    identicon
    Kaiser Wilhelm, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 6:43am

    Things I was Wrong About

    I thought Germany would win The Great War (WW1).

     

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

  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 7:13am

    Mike, when will we see your "I Was Wrong" list? It'll be a long one, I'm sure, so you should get started soon.

     

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

  96.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Can't we all just get along?

    Usually, when two (seemingly) intelligent, (apparently) well-informed and (presumably) well-intentioned people cannot resolve a point of disputation, one finds a disconnect in the definitions of the terms used in the argument.

    MLS uses a simplistic, but morally correct, argument: Someone makes something, you shouldn't get to use it without compensating the producer of that thing. He proceeds by simple logic to call filesharing 'theft'. Simple, inarguable.

    Mike claims that it cannot be theft to obtain a copy of something which costs nothing to produce and the obtaining of which does not reduce the supply held by the producer. Simple, inarguable.

    Where's the disconnect?

    MLS is positing a creative producer of intellectual property who is not compensated when his product is shared.

    Mike is positing massive media conglomerates which seek to CREATE demand for only particular product, controlled by them. THEY compensate the creator, THEY are enriched by control of distribution of the product.

    MLS' scenario is an abstract one. Mike's reflects the reality, and the model that is threatened by filesharing.

    The current model, in which resources of production, promotion and distribution are used more to channel demand to a very few artists who then become very wealthy (NOT, I might point out, based on any real measure of talent or creativity), is not one worth preserving, and I find it hard to believe that MLS is being completely straightforward about his personal financial interest in maintaining this perverse and untenable status quo. His abstract and moral arguments seem misplaced, applied to the current cesspool.

    Sure, let's try and find some way to avoid impoverishing artists. But let's not pretend the "strike-it-rich, winner-take-all" model of a very few highly-promoted "stars" becoming filthy rich is worth preserving. It serves neither art, nor artist nor consumers well.

    If the destruction of this model results in economic hardship for PR flacks, media whores, and entertainment lawyers, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. And I'm confident the generation of creative product will not be harmed thereby.

     

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

  97.  
    identicon
    MLS, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Can't we all just get along?

    "Mike is positing massive media conglomerates which seek to CREATE demand for only particular product, controlled by them. THEY compensate the creator, THEY are enriched by control of distribution of the product."

    I do and have always agreed on this point, though I have never raised it in the past because other points were being discussed.

    The music industry, for example, is almost completely controlled by the large media corporations. Sony is but one example. They do take their entire portfolio of copyrighted music and dole it out in dribs and drabs, all the while trying to charge top dollar. When their revenue stream is threatened they promptly charge off to the Congress with their legions of lobbyists and sing the song "Cry Me a River" as they seek to create sui generis legislation over and above what copyright was originally designed to do. The DMCA is one example, albeit that it does have some redeeming qualities in its provisions. The Sony Bono Act is a prime example of the worst emanating from the Congress because of the undue influence of money.

    To varying degrees the same can be said of patent law, but not necessarily because of what the patent law actually says in its statutory language. In fact, I submit it is not the patent law that is broken. It is in part the woefully inadequate staffing of the USPTO, the woefully inadequate tools and the internal policies used by those within the USPTO, and to a lesser, but still significant extent that the arena of patent law has of late drawn a large number of new attorneys who are not adequately tutored to actually know how to do their job. Another factor that I submit is only in its infancy, but could expand to become a significant problem, is the extent to which certain groups are starting to use patents almost as of they are nothing more than negotiable instruments such as stocks, bonds, sale of debt contracts, etc. Even hedge funds are jumping onto this bandwagon. They are not in the slightest interested in using patents to get a foot into the door of the relevant market, they are using them merely as investment instruments where they are betting of a future return...large awards of damages.

    When I raise what might be considered an abstract point, I can assure you that is hardly the case. Time after time I have dealt with the very type of person for whom the copyright and patent laws were initially envisioned. While most of what they have done and seek to protect never hits the financial big time, sufficient numbers of them to realize an economic benefit from having some form of legal protection in hand.

    Patent reform is not about the system being broken. It is in large measure about large business interests that want the system scaled way back so they can preserve their projected future profit projections. To make their point palatable they rely on extreme examples suggesting a need for reform, all the while trying to hide their true intentions.

    I do understand precisely what Mike has been saying, but do have concerns that somewhere in the mix we do not lose sight of the fact that the patent and copyright laws can and do serve useful purposes in those situations for which they were originally intended.

    Re digital goods, I can think of many instances where a digital good can easily be sold as a non-digital good. I will not elaborate (though I can) for reasons of brevity. My sole point on this issue is that I do not believe that converting a non-digital good into a digital format should automatically should automatically change such a good from a scarce to an infinite resource. After all, in many such instances the creator makes such a conversion from one to the other specifically to try and meet preferences expressed by its customers and to take advantage of this medium we call the internet to provide its customers such goods is as timely and inexpensive a manner as possible.

    I hope this clarifies things a bit.

     

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

  98.  
    identicon
    Brandon, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 11:49am

    Free Promo Chapters

    I'm wondering if the music issue can be compared to how book publishers will sometimes allow a magazine or online entity to print an entire chapter, or 2 or 3, out of a new book to entice people to buy the book and read the whole thing. Why can't a musician put out a song or two for free and if people like it, they'll buy the rest of the album? Obviously a big reason that doesn't work is that books tell stories, but I think part of the reason this doesn't seem to work is that the general public has learned that albums usually consist of 2, maybe 3, good songs and the rest are filler and not near as good. Honestly, the main reason I don't buy CD's anymore is because I don't want to pay $13 and only get a couple of good songs. And I still don't quite understand why CD's have to cost as much as they do. In the days of records and cassettes I would buy singles all the time. I had an entire drawer full of cassette singles. Why don't they offer these anymore? Ohhh, because they can make more money by making you buy the whole album instead of one song. But if a musician could somehow begin to convince people that the entire album is as good as the one song they love on the radio, people would be more willing to buy the CD.

    This brings me to something I though for sure would take off. I have in my life encountered a couple music stores that would let you bring a CD up to a bar-like counter and listen to the whole thing (not just 30 second sound bites). Why this never caught on I'll never know. I know 30 seconds is a decent chuck of a 3 minute song but I've never understood sometimes why they chose the 30 seconds they did and it can be really hard to get a feel for a song in just 30 seconds. I thought stores like this would be popping up everywhere but instead places like Borders and Barnes & Noble and Amazon went with just 30 second clips.

     

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

  99.  
    identicon
    CVPunk, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 11:52am

    musicians and big labels

    I keep seeing these arguments about the musician basically "starving" because people are pirating the music instead of buying the cd. Do you people actually believe the artist is making that much off of the sale of a cd? For each $18 cd you buy the artist sees maybe 9 cents of that purchase. Why do you think the artists have to tour and sell other scarce goods at the merch tables at each venue? Most "true" fans will still purchase LP's, CD's or whatever an artist puts out... but for you to actually think the only way for them to survive is off of cd sales alone... you are sorely mistaken. The ONLY thing a big record label provided to an artist was wider distribution... but now that the artist can get that themselves through the internet the big labels are suffering... hence the suing of people for so called "pirating".

     

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

  100.  
    identicon
    Get Rich, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Can't we all just get along?

    MLS uses a simplistic, but morally correct, argument: Someone makes something, you shouldn't get to use it without compensating the producer of that thing.
    I've made lots of things in my life, however, I don't still get paid every time someone uses them. But you say that it is "correct" that I should? Well, that sure sounds good to me and I could really use the money right now. Not only that, but I'm just plain tired of working too. So how should I go about collecting my money? And should I collect only from those who actually used the stuff I made or should everyone have to pay because they might have or might someday use it? I'm kind of leaning towards everyone having to pay, kind of like with the blank media tax or the ISP surcharges the RIAA/MPAA have suggested.
    He proceeds by simple logic to call filesharing 'theft'. Simple, inarguable.
    You say that it is "inarguable" that it is theft, but in that case I'm not sure how I should report it to the police. Which should I claim, that I was burgled or robbed? Can I claim both? And I just remembered that I also have theft insurance. Should I file a claim with my insurance company too? Maybe that would be the easiest way to go: I get my money from the insurance company and let them try to get their money back from all those "thieves" that stole everything from me.

    Thanks for being so understanding of my situation and pointing these things out to me and I look forward to your guidance on the questions I posed above.

     

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

  101.  
    identicon
    known coward, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Great topic and though

    Let see there is so much I was wrong about

    ATM: I thought ATM would go to the desktop and then to all the electronic devices in the home. ATM would be built into web browsers and the browsers would set up and tear down calls based on the information being retrieved with different qualities of service for voice, video and data information. Also the house would have one address and the appliances would have station identifiers that would identify what they were and be hooked in to the house circuit, and communicate over whatever protocol they needed over ATM to get out of the house.

    Web based advertising: Why would anyone put a banner ad on a web page, I did get it for a search engine, where people are looking for options. I never got it for any other pages.

    Which leads too Google’s business model, I had no idea how they would make money or why anyone would invest in them.

    I thought gopher was the best thing since sliced bread.

    One thing I still do not believe in:

    Mobile TV,

    One thing I still do believe in:

    The PBX.

     

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

  102.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Can't we all just get along?

    @MLS:

    Thanx for the thoughtful response. You're clearly not one of the pocketbook trolls who attempt to bedevil Mike, and your points are considerably more sound.

    I can only refer to a point made (and mostly ignored in the midst of the entertaining back-and-forth between you and Mike):
    [quote]
    Creative Works and Money by Jake on Apr 20th, 2008 @ 2:28pm
    Why does it have to be a bad thing that writing music and movies and so forth might be 'relegated' to something that people do because they enjoy it, any financial reward being merely a bonus rather than the sole objective?

    We must concede the fact that the production of art is a human impulse that has its own internal rewards for the artist, unlike, forinstance, the production of tongues for tennis shoes, or x-number of board feet of structural lumber. The production of art, unlike tongues for tennis shoes, will not cease absent compensation.

    Or, to the point I am edging towards: Why should it be millions for some, nothing for the 99%, as we too often see in all artistic endeavors in America?? (as the brother and brother-in-law of Broadway wannabes and aspiring actors living in NYC and LA, I have seen that the correlation between talent and the winner-take-all success of a long Broadway run or starring role is, if not inverse, certainly in no way proportional!)

    Whatever compensatory model we eventually come up with for artistic producers, I sincerely believe it can be better for both consumer and artist than the current one...which anachronistic distortion of capitalistic ideals must needs be demolished, a stake driven through its heart, the body burned, the head cut off, and the mouth stuffed with garlic and buried at a crossroads beneath a silver cross. Or sth similar. :-)

    I do realize that by merely pointing out a "most desirable result", I make no legal, moral or even logical argument with regards to what the model of compensation should actually be. I would hope that the reverse "argument from results" would inform the debate at some point, though.

     

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

  103.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 6:54pm

    can't we all just get along?

    @ Get Rich

    Gee, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic about the concessions I made about MLS' points or if you really really really want some retroactive cash.

    I COULD have made the statement more clear, saying that "under certain presumptions about and/or limitations of the terms of argument it follows that" or "given the historically accepted concepts of capitalistic exchange, if follows that" or any of a number of qualifying, clarifying or quibbling phrases, but I thought it was easier to just admit that PUT THE WAY MLS (and others) PUTS IT, it's easy to see the logical conclusion that sharing copyrighted files is, indeed, theft.

    The reason I did this was to explore the disconnect between his and Mike's viewpoints, since they both kinda made sense to me.

    Sorry if this led to any confusion.

    Oh, and sorry 'bout the cash you didn't get paid.

     

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

  104.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 8:48pm

    Crazyness of American Business

    The crazyness of American Business can be summed up in a few words:

    "In the US we find the label requirements are crazy. It is almost as if we had to label a bookcase with the warning 'do not eat this bookcase -- it can be harmful to your health'."

    -Bjorn Bayley
    VP North American Expansion IKEA (1985-1990)

     

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

  105.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Apr 23rd, 2008 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Re: Can't we all just get along?

    Slow down, MLS. You'll burn yourself out.

     

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


Add Your Comment

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

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.