If You Can't Understand The Difference Between Money And Content, You Have No Business Commenting On Business Models

from the please-shut-up dept

I've been noticing a really silly trend lately, of copyright maximalists trying to "debunk" people who actually understand the economics of content, by trying to sarcastically equate money to content and then saying, "if it's okay to copy content then isn't it okay to copy money?" It's an argument stemming from pure ignorance, mixed with an unhealthy dose of smugness, and we should try to pop this bubble before it goes much further. In order to do so, let's take a look at a picture perfect specimen of this sort of argument from (of course), an IP lawyer (who else?) named James Gannon, who wrote "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Copy," all about copying money. It's getting passed around by various copyright maximalists with comments about how "brilliant" it is.

It's brilliant only if you don't understand all of the following: money, economics, copyright, business and value. If you understand any of those things, you might recognize that the analogy makes no sense. Misunderstand all of them... well, then I can see how this argument might make sense. It's also not a very original argument, because we see it all the time and it's been debunked before. But now that it's rising in popularity, let's dig in a little and see if we can explain how utterly ridiculous the comparison is.
Gutenberg did not invent the printing press so that it would be controlled in the hands a few rich and powerful central bankers who desperately cling to outdated business models. With the advent of digital technologies, everyone can and should be free to copy their own money.
I see what you did there. Of course, here's the key thing: money and content are two totally separate things. We write about content frequently, but we also write about money quite a bit, and in fact, have spent an awful lot of time discussing what money is, how it might change and where it's heading. Traditionally and classically, money is defined as three things: a store of value, a medium of exchange and a unit of account. Content is none of those things. You can't compare the two, because they're nothing alike.

And here's the key point that the "har har copy money durrr" crowd doesn't seem to comprehend. Money is a scarcity. They used to go on and on about how content was the same as a car ("you wouldn't steal a car") but the switch to using "money" as the example is because enough people have so debunked that argument by explaining the differences between scarce goods and abundant goods that they (mostly) don't even try any more. But by switching to money, they show that they don't understand what they were being taught. They thought people were only focusing on tangible goods, not scarce goods in explaining the differences. Tangible goods are scarce, but not all scarcities are tangible goods. Money is a perfect example of that.

Money is scarce. It's not scarce because there are a limited number of bills. In fact, most money isn't in bill form at all, so that's clearly not it. Money is scarce because of that first characteristic listed above: it's a store of value, and money, by itself, doesn't create any additional value. The overall value is a scarcity and the money is a representation of that value. You can print more money, but that creates inflation, because the overall value remains the same. That's not the case with content. Contrary to what some claim, getting more content on the market does not take away value. In a culture where shared culture and shared cultural experiences are highly valued, the fact that you can copy content makes it even more valuable. It makes it easier to share that cultural experience.

In other words, content can create new value. Money does not. Money is a store of value. Content is not. Pretending these two things are the same is wrong and will make you look foolish.
Don't get me wrong. I love the bank notes that are created by the Bank of Canada (BoC). In fact, I consider myself to be one of their biggest fans. Even though the BoC will try to stop me if I try to make my own copies of their bills, they should really be flattered.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I only want to share their work with my friends and family. By allowing me to make copies of their works, my friends might become fans of their currency too. Everyone knows the value of a currency is based on its demand so why not try to get as many fans as possible?
Right, except all of that is simply wrong and shows ignorance of the basic factors of both content and money as described above. When you copy money, you are actually decreasing the value of money. That's not true of content. When you share content with people, you increase the market opportunity for the content providers. That's not true with money. Pretending otherwise is either ignorance or propaganda.

Gannon's piece goes on from there, continuing to pretend that he's sarcastically making a point. It's a really pointless argument, and doesn't make him look particularly intelligent. If he wants to debate actual economics or business models, plenty of us would be happy to do so. Instead, making arguments like this is just silly and doesn't make his point. It just makes him look like he has no real argument, and has to resort to pure sophistry.


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    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Question

    Isn't the real source of this confusion the emergence of fiat currency? The problem might be that too many governments DO view money as an infinite resource since it's no longer backed with a tangible good like gold or silver. The Treasury Dept. was so named because our currency used to be store of value based on ACTUAL treasure.

    Now that isn't the case. Your point SHOULD make perfect sense, except that I'm not sure currency is being treated as a scarce resource any longer, as it no longer appears to be representative of a scarce good....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    "an argument stemming from pure ignorance, mixed with an unhealthy dose of smugness,"

    There aren't enough hours in the day to write articles about every TD comment that fits that description.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    Like yours? :P

     

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    Atkray (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    I lived in Argentina in the 70's(annual inflation rate 1000%+), copying money was the solution they tried, it didn't work.


    Add History to the list of things that once understood make you realize the analogy makes no sense.

     

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    lavi d (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Keep Working on it

    I love the bank notes that are created by the Bank of Canada (BoC). In fact, I consider myself to be one of their biggest fans. Even though the BoC will try to stop me if I try to make my own copies of their bills, they should really be flattered.

    Thank you for your submission.

    Call us back when you can make copies gold or oil.

     

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    Frost, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    The dark side of money needs to be mentioned too

    Money, in addition to those three definitions, also creates incentive for a number of behaviors. Many of them are detrimental to mankind and society - conspicuous consumption, planned obsolescence, the near-total decoupling of money from the real world and thus artificially creating scarcities that aren't really there (like food for the billion or so starving on the Earth today - the food can be made available, the people just don't have the purchasing power, which is something else and man-made.) Money and the economy is also wide open for all kinds of manipulation and BS that is currently destroying the world, so in addition to thinking about what money is, how it works and where it is heading, we need to go further and think about if we actually should have money or a trade- and competition-based society at all anymore or if we've evolved beyond that to something that qualifies as actual civilization instead of... this.

     

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    Meek Barbarian (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    It's a great idea!

    I say we let the Copyright minimalists all copy money. Furthermore, to help promote the "copy" aspect, they should post pictures of them doing so.

    Then we can send the lot of them to jail, and by removing a large percentage of the idiots from the public, become a smarter, more progressive country.

    Plus, while they are in jail, they can "copy" the act known as getting butt-plundered some of those other pesky "pirates".

     

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    freak (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Re: Question

    Money is scarce because the bills themselves are not the money, but the value behind the bills is scarce.

    If I print more bills, now I have more bills, and more money, but everyone else has less money held in the same number of bills.

    That doesn't change when the value behind the bill changes from gold to fiat currency.


    So if you just print out what you want, well, look at the inflation in Zimbabwe as an example.

     

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    Meek Barbarian (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re: It's a great idea!

    Oopsy. I meant maximalists, not minimalists.

     

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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:31am

    Actually, it reads like a funny parody

    Plus, if he can get lots of his followers to actually do it, I don't think they will be bothering us from prison for a long time.

     

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    Eric Goldman (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Content is non-rivalous; money is rivalrous. Making analogies between the two is just dumb.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    The sad thing is to them content is money.
    They only understand how to make money using the content in a specific way.
    When you challenge that way, they panic.
    They only see how it can rob them of their money, they get x from each cd created and sold, if your not selling cds any more all the of the money is gone!
    Change is scary, they might not get exactly as much as they might have gotten in the past, and we can not allow this to happen!

     

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    Aliasundercover, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Never Underestimate Clever Sophistry

    This is a very clever argument which has the potential to fool a lot of people who are happy to be fooled. It is the perfect counter for the normal argument of how copying is not theft. The fact it is deeply flawed need not matter to a great many of the people it is to be used on. How many truly understand how money works? How hard will they work at that understanding when presented with an argument which reenforces their existing views?

    Give the devil his due.

     

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    Joseph K (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Copying the argument

    I like to think that maybe one of those copyright maximalists that disseminated Gannon's argument actually thought to themself "Oh no! If I repeat this argument, it'll be like copying it! And copying the argument will reduce the value of it! But I don't want to reduce the value of this argument because it's so good! What do I do?!?! I'll be condemned to the third circle of hell for this, reserved for IP crime, the hell of being copied, where I'll be copied and recopied again and again until I'm but a faint trace of myself." But I imagine none of them thought that deeply about it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re:

    I'll concede smugness on that post, but I think I've read enough TD posts to not be purely ignorant on the topic.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Question

    Now that isn't the case. Your point SHOULD make perfect sense, except that I'm not sure currency is being treated as a scarce resource any longer, as it no longer appears to be representative of a scarce good....

    Ideally the supply of money should be matched to some marker of the total amount of value in the economy. IN the old days linking it to gold or silver (or even simply using those metals as money) made some sense. However since the early years of the 20th Century this has been unviable since rapid technological change has produced even rapider economic growth. Traditional stores of value can't keep pace. Attempts to hold to a gold standard inevitably produce catastrophic deflation ( as happened in the inter-war years) because the Gold miners can't keep pace.
    Fiat money - love it or hate it - is inevitable in the modern world - attempting to kick against this can only produce disaster.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Copying the argument

    But I imagine none of them thought that deeply about it.

    I bet one of them even added a line in the email chain:

    'Share this with all those pirate scum to prove their[sic] wrong.'

     

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    Difster, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Money, Money, Money!

    You said in the article: ...and money, by itself, doesn't create any additional value

    That is correct for everyone but the banksters who, when they get an extra dollar, can loan out that same dollar to nine different people thereby creating additional value on that one dollar (this is called fractional reserve banking) and it should be plain enough to see how bad that has screwed up our economy.

    Even so, copying something is not the same as copying money because of the 'store of value' issue in particular. A copyrighted work has no store of value. Money has value because everyone agrees that a dollar is a dollar.

    If we can get everyone to agree that a Metallica mp3 is a dollar then you're on your way to monetizing copyrighted content.

    It can also be pointed out that you will not find a copyright notice printed anywhere on US currency.

    It should also be noted that copying US currency IS PERMITTED under certain conditions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    What Eric said. Nearly all sophistry using metaphors and analogies about copying ideas and expression involves treating them as if they did not exhibit the characteristics of "public goods" in the sense of classical economics.

    In classical economics, a public good is (1) non-rivalrous; and (2) non-excludable. In other words, (1) your consumption of that good does not diminish my ability to consume it, and (2) I cannot prevent you from benefiting from that good once it has been created (absent some use of force, legal or otherwise).

    If Gannon thinks money is the same as content, then he must think money is non-rivalrous. So my consumption of his money wouldn't make him any poorer.

    Come to think of it, that's precisely the kind of person I'd like to go out drinking with.

     

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    James Gannon, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Copying the argument

    Actually, Joseph, a lot of people have asked me if they can republish/link/quote the article and I've agreed each time. While I recognize Masnick's fair use rights to my content, the common courtesy would have been appreciated.

     

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    mariovistus (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:08am

    Draw your own money

    Although this is slightly off topic, the artist, J.S.G. Boggs has been drawing his own money for several years now. Known as 'Boggs bills'. They may resemble US currency and are typically worth many times their face value denominated in dollars. Boggs has used his bills to pay for many things including meals in restaurants, hotel rooms, and airplane tickets. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._S._G._Boggs. Boggs has created art (scarcity) as money where the original is worth infinitely more than the digital copy of the 'content'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Copying the argument

    I'm not sure how requesting permission to link or quote an article ever falls into "common courtesy". You seem to have some odd preconceptions regarding basic language and the fundamentals of the internet.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sow hy not add to the conversation, rather than pure attacks? OR is that too hard for you?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe Mike can be a bit smug at times, especially when AC trolls are trying to detract from his arguments with astoungly stupid personal attacks.

    But, can you point to a post where his argument "stemm(ed) from pure ignorance"? I can point to a large number of anonymous comments that do that, but I can't think of a post from Mike that can be counted as ignorant (as opposed to, say, just happening to have a different opinion from some industry people).

    Examples, please.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    If art and money are the same thing does that mean all art is worth something, even the most worthless kind? Can I exchange worthless art for money?

    I have a lot of worthless art. Probably around a trillion pieces. We'll make it easier, one piece of worthless art can be equal to one piece of money, or one dollar.

    So, by some back of the envelope calculations, someone owes me a trillion dollars.

    Yes! Money and art are the same thing! I completely agree with this sentiment.

     

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    unkown, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:22am

    If money is content and content is money and I deserve to be paid for anything I make....



    I=====D - - -
    0o

    There, I drew a masterpiece, you looked at it now give me money.

     

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    Comboman (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Making the analogy work

    Maybe his analogy is not so bad after all. Making digital copies of currency is not illegal. The internet is full of copies of money. It only becomes illegal if you print it out and try to pass it off as the real thing in exchange for something else (i.e. "Commercial Infringment"). I'd be totally in favor of treating copyrighted items the same way (legal to distribute digital copies on the internet but illegal to print/burn a copy and sell as the real thing).

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Actually, Joseph, a lot of people have asked me if they can republish/link/quote the article and I've agreed each time. While I recognize Masnick's fair use rights to my content, the common courtesy would have been appreciated.

    I have never heard it argued that it is common courtesy to ask permission to link to or quote a story. Where have you heard that?

     

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    crade (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:35am

    Re: Making the analogy work

    Yes, I was just about to write this. In fact, printing it isn't the problem either. The problem is counterfeiting. I have printed copies of money in my monopoly game. Of course, they are obviously copies and there is no attempt to deceive. It's only when you try to deceive people into thinking it isn't a copy and that it is original money printed by the government and not by yourself that you are counterfeiting and there are problems.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Probably int he same world where he copies money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Making the analogy work

    Offhand I'd say that the author of that article just got owned with that comment. Very nice indeed.

     

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    TwentyTwo (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    Re: Making the analogy work

    This. I think most people, even copyright minimalists, do have a problem with the counterfeiting part; that is, passing a copy off as the real thing. I wish that copyright was more concerned with the traditional concern of trademark, namely consumer confusion.

     

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    greggman (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    There are parallels

    Content and money may not be the same thing but come on, there are similarities relevant to the discussion.

    Money is copyable. There is nothing stopping people from copying it except law enforcement. Content is copyable. There is nothing stopping people from copying it except law enforcement.

    We seem to all agree that copying money is bad. Some people disagree on whether or not copying content is bad but it's not unreasonable to put forward the idea. If we can all agree that not copying one easily copyable thing is a reasonable idea (money) that maybe other easily copyable things should not be copied (content).

    I'm not saying I agree with that idea but it's certainly not unreasonable to notice that there exists other things in people's every day lives that they could easily copy but don't.

     

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    James Gannon, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Mike, most people who link or quote my content ask my permission beforehand. Most, not all. That's been my experience. Your results may have varied. Maybe your readership has different standards when it comes to such things.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    This is as stupid as saying that by copying food stamps or the membership card to a club is the same as copying content. Nobody cares about the artsy curly lines in the membership card, they care that the card allows you to use some scarce good.

    Anyone can copy paper money. All you have to add is that little text "not valid currency" so that people don't accidentally exchange it for that scarce value thingy we have floating around. It's not about the pretty pictures in the money, but the implicit scarce services and goods you can exchange for them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Just as smug in person I see.

     

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    Kirion, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    You don't need permission for this, period.

    But then again, you, Canadians, are strange bunch

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Perhaps because you're an IP lawyer, people fear being dragged into court over such things like fair use quoting and linking (seriously, people ask you if they can *link*? wow).

    This is the atmosphere created by IP gone mad.

     

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    Danny, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Good point. I supposed that gap between the rich and poor is just a figament of our poor imaginations.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Interesting how the only thing he contributes to the comments is totally irrelevant to any of the arguments being made against his point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    Hey, isn't copying money called counterfeiting and isn't copying content called copyright infringement unless that content is in the public domain, in which case it's just called copying?

    So if I copy money I can go to jail but if I copy Shakespeare . . . .

     

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    Someantimalwareguy, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Draw your own money

    While I am sure that this is a novel way to BARTER for goods and services, I am just as certain that no one is going to accept my SAMG's as anything other than trash left over after the meal was eaten and that I would be spending some quality time washing his pots and pans to make up for the meal I tried to get for free.

    As I am not an artist, I don't believe I will get very far saying "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"...

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Question

    Fiat currency is not the problem here. Money is exchangeable for goods and services. The quantity of wealth (property and labor) compared to the available currency sets the value of the currency. Printing or issuing more money doesn't give anyone more buying power, that only happens when you possess a larger portion of the money supply. So money is as scarce as the wealth it's applied to.

    What the money is backed with doesn't change this either. Currently, our money is backed by debt. All money that is borrowed didn't exist before the loan was made. Banks don't back their loans with actual consideration (That's a violation of contract law ironically, but they get away with it.), but the promise of the borrower to pay it back. In essence, you are backing your own loan and they get to charge you interest for it. They're charging you for borrowing money that you provided yourself and they didn't actually have. When you pay back your loan, you are providing the capital that supports the existence of that loan, not the bank. They risk nothing and you risk real wealth. This was happening even before we changed to a fiat currency model.

    Then why do they charge interest? They do that because it ensures that the amount of debt (which what really backs loan and our currency) is always greater than the money supply and it makes them rich.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Re: There are parallels

    As mentioned by others above, the difference is an attempt to profit or defraud. There is nothing fundamentally wrong about copying money to, say, use as a replacement for money in a game of Monopoly or to create a collage or to use as a bookmark or whatever. When it becomes wrong is when you try to pass it off as real money - if not stopped, this devalues the original pool of money.

    So it is with content. Most people have no problem with the commercial copying of content being outlawed or prosecuted with due process. It's when they try to control non-profit copying that there's problems.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    While I agree that content != money, but I don't think that is really what the issue is here. At the core here is value. What has value and whether or not value is diluted through copying?

    The problem with all these arguments is that they fail to take the entire issue at hand. Even the article above limits the argument to the ideas of content and money and not how value is extracted from end to end. Classical definitions don't really take into account the digital age. Perhaps classical definitions belong in the classical age.

    You talk of the store of value of money. This is true and were you to copy the paper currency, you are diluting the value of that currency because paper money was backed by something of real value.

    However, applying that to digital content is not exactly accurate either. You argue that by copying content, it increases the value of that content because it is being exposed to a wider audience. While, from a marketing standpoint, this may be accurate, however, it may increase the ability to sell more posters, hats, shirts, or other tangible goods, it does not increase the value of the content itself. In fact, I would argue it dilutes it just as copying paper currency dilutes it's value.

    Not because the content is scarce, but because that content has value. Value that could be extracted from consumers through purchases.

    I have no issue with someone buying a CD and copying it to whatever form they want so they can consume that content on whatever device they own. However, it rarely stops there and that content is now distributed to others...this is where the value becomes diluted because now, the content creator has not method of extracting the value of their content from this new audience.

    Your agument fails to spell out how this supposedly increase content value (which must have value otherwise people would not copy it in the first place), is extracted. If copying content increases the value, then how is that value extracted for the benefit of the content creator?

    While I am not a copywight maximalist in anyway, I am neither a copywright minimalist. Most of the arguments (if not all) I have ready in favor of copying content seemed to be a masked attempt to justify the illegal download/distribution of protected content. People just trying to rationalize their the ability to download songs/movies for free.

    By the way, I don't believe the typical pirate excuse of try before you buy. I think very few actually purchase something they have already downloaded (even when they like it). I think there have been some studies that document this behavior, but I can't recall this at this moment.

    With that said, I do think that industries need to adjust to the digital age. Making a low res or lite version of your content available can address the try before you buy issue. Content owners should provide their content in multiple formats so that customers can enjoy them on which ever platform they may have. That might address the copying to some degree. However, if you share that copy with others so they don't have to buy it, does dilute the value of that content, again, not because it is scarce, but because now the value of the content cannot be extracted from that former, potential customer.

    By the way, differing opinions does not mean the opposing argument or the person giving it is ignorant.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have little to add to this point, rather than pointing out the irony of deriding comments exhibiting smugness and ignorance on TD.

     

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    Someantimalwareguy, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: There are parallels

    "Money is copyable. There is nothing stopping people from copying it except law enforcement. Content is copyable. There is nothing stopping people from copying it except law enforcement."

    And Obama's birth certificate is copyable, but some will not recognize its value. The point is that we all agree to what the value of a Dollar is and so it holds the value of $1.00 (let me reemphasize that: HOLDS THE VALUE). Content must be vetted in the market place to determine its value and this can change with preferences, fashion, and tastes. In some cases, that value is ZERO.

    No matter how much I dislike the design and/or "artistry" of the US Dollar bill, it is still worth $1.00 US no matter where I go. Now it may fluctuate against other currencies, but it is still worth $1.00 US even if that dollar buys me less or more Euros at any given time.

    "We seem to all agree that copying money is bad."

    No, we all agree that COUNTERFEITING money is bad. Simply copying a Dollar bill to create a poster for your dorm room is not bad...

    "If we can all agree that not copying one easily copyable thing is a reasonable idea (money) that maybe other easily copyable things should not be copied (content)."

    Again, NO. Simply copying something does not make the act "bad", undesirable, or even illegal. It is the intent of the action which makes the act questionable. It is when you attempt to misrepresent the store of value you copied as being the actual store of value that you get into the "bad"...

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    Re: There are parallels

    Money is rivalous. Art is not. I can copy your art and we both have one. If I copy your money, it's value is divided amongst it and all other copies.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was actually referring to comments moreso than Mike's articles/posts (which I think is what Mike was referring to as well, as there was a comment recently comparing copying of money to copying of copyright-protected content).

    Mike's tone is nearly always smug and condescending, but I haven't seen to many examples of speaking from "pure ignorance."

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: There are parallels

    Again, this is about value, nor classical definitions.

    Let's take the Mona Lisa for example as Art. The challenge here s that you can't copy the Mona Lisa exactly. Even if you could, your copy would not hold the same value because it was YOUR copy, not that of De Vinci.

    However, in the digital age, you can make a bit for bit copy that is just as good as the original. Now, when you share that copy with friends, you are diluting the value of that content. The value of the content cannot be extracted from the person you shared it with...therein lies the problem.

     

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    ACLurker, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    Mike said:
    When you share content with people, you increase the market opportunity for the content providers.

    You said:
    You argue that by copying content, it increases the value of that content because it is being exposed to a wider audience

    So most of the rest of what you say doesn't fit; increased market opportunity is not the same as increased value.
    It is, however, a business model problem to convert the market opportunity into money, or more indirectly, to extract value from the increased market opportunity.
    By the way, differing opinions does not mean the opposing argument or the person giving it is ignorant.

    This would be true if we were discussing opinions. But if someone states that 1==3, it's not an opinion and I would feel no issue with saying that they were ignorant of math. As others have noted, while Mr Gannon has shown up in the comments, he has no reply/rebuttal for what Mike has written.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    "In fact, I would argue it dilutes it just as copying paper currency dilutes it's value."

    Actually, I think you're arguing the wrong point here. You seem to be arguing from a point of view of value only being related to monetary value, which is missing the whole picture. Music and other forms of art have a great deal of intrinsic value and making copies of them does not necessarily dilute their total value. If you make a copy of your favourite album for a friend, it doesn't suddenly become less of a great album, although the record label may (or may not) have lost a potential sale.

    "If copying content increases the value, then how is that value extracted for the benefit of the content creator? "

    Again, that assumes 2 things - that monetary value is the only value, and that any value extracted has to be for the direct benefit of the creator alone. Neither of these is true in the larger picture.

    "Most of the arguments (if not all) I have ready in favor of copying content seemed to be a masked attempt to justify the illegal download/distribution of protected content."

    You're definitely missing or misunderstanding a hell of a lot of the arguments in that case.

    "By the way, differing opinions does not mean the opposing argument or the person giving it is ignorant."

    It does if you get the fundamental basis of your argument is wrong and you fail to take in opposing viewpoints.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    In a culture where shared culture and shared cultural experiences are highly valued, the fact that you can copy content makes it even more valuable. It makes it easier to share that cultural experience.

    It seems odd to equate a subjective cultural "value" in sharing content with the "stored value" of currency. If creators derive economic value from selling copies of their content, uninhibited and unauthorized "sharing" of those copies devalues the creator's economic return on those copies (note: not ancillary goods/services, the content itself).

    Put another way, I may be able to articulate some higher cultural value in creating and sharing copies of currency, debased from its "stored value." However, in the context of discussing the "value" of that currency it's hardly persuasive.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: AC's dilution of value

    You're applying value in the wrong places. The content doesn't posses the same kind of value that money is exchanged for. The value that is exchanged for money is the value of labor. This works because labor is scarce. Indeed, it's probably the truest scarcity there is. The labor that is applied to the creation of content is inherently valuable. This labor, like all labor, is easily exchanged for money. When you apply the value of labor to a non-rivalrous good (e.g. content), you're diluting the value of the labor. With each copy you create, you dilute the value of the labor amongst each copy in existence. $50 million of labor divided amongst 1,000,000 copies results in $50 of labor per copy. Divide that further to 10,000,000 copies and it's $5 of labor per copy. Once you realize that labor is where you should be focusing your business model, protecting the ability to sell copies becomes pointless.

     

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    Ryan, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Don't agree with argument

    I agree with your conclusion that copying money and copying content are different, and that the former should be disallowed while the latter should be legal; however, I do not agree with your reasoning.

    You say that copying content is okay because it actually makes it more valuable in abundance when the community spreads it, but that is not at all why copying is okay(although it makes for a good point when arguing policy). By copying content, you are not modifying or inherently diminishing in any way the original content - even if the market value were somehow diminished by becoming more abundant, that is the nature of economics(for example, you could not argue that if you were the only one that could build a device to make music and charged an extortionately high amount for others to hear you play it, and then somebody else invented a new way to make a musical device, that you were infringed upon...). But the other way around, your freedom to make a non-rivalrous artifact is prevented. Therefore, the proper means by which to secure rights and freedoms is by allowing copying.

    By you logic, it would be okay to outlaw a 3D copier of diamonds or food because the act would diminish the ability to sell diamonds or food at a higher price. Or you could say it is wrong to obsolete business models because it makes them less valuable. This is phenomenally contradictory of much of what you have written in the past.

    Copying money is forbidden not because it should be forbidden to copy a pretty piece of colorful artwork on paper with a number on it, or because we shouldn't be allowed to increment a given number in a database somewhere, but because government has created fiat money as a storage of value in order to enable trade. By copying it, you have diminished the value of everybody else's purchasing power that they worked for in the understanding that its currency value would be enforced.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *too

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You appear in that case to be attacking TD because of the actions of its users rather than the actions of TD itself. I'm yet to see a public internet forum where astounding ignorance isn't the basis of many commenters, but this doesn't detract from the site.

    Watch your arguments here, else you might find Mike's last sentence in the article applies equally to yourself, especially as you've not addressed anything of substance in the article :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    Are you sure it didn't work? Usually with "disruptions" like this simply move value (i.e. money) around. Sure, inflation didn't "work" for Argentina, but I wouldn't be surprised if some individuals benefited from that, and for them it did work. (disclaimer: this is pure speculation and I haven't researched it)

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Copying the argument

    common courtesy would have been appreciated.

    He properly credited you with the original post and even linked to it. Common courtesy has been satisfied, even if your ego has not.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Don't agree with argument

    I posted this above, but I'll save you the effort:

    You're applying value in the wrong places. The content doesn't posses the same kind of value that money is exchanged for. The value that is exchanged for money is the value of labor. This works because labor is scarce. Indeed, it's probably the truest scarcity there is. The labor that is applied to the creation of content is inherently valuable. This labor, like all labor, is easily exchanged for money. When you apply the value of labor to a non-rivalrous good (e.g. content), you're diluting the value of the labor. With each copy you create, you dilute the value of the labor amongst each copy in existence. $50 million of labor divided amongst 1,000,000 copies results in $50 of labor per copy. Divide that further to 10,000,000 copies and it's $5 of labor per copy. Once you realize that labor is where you should be focusing your business model, protecting the ability to sell copies becomes pointless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

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

    "You appear in that case to be attacking TD because of the actions of its users rather than the actions of TD itself."

    Moreso the picking and choosing of criticizing the smugness/ignorance of someone Mike disagrees while fostering and not critizing similar characteristics of those he agrees with.

    You are right, of course, that it's hard to find an online forum that isn't full of ignorance, but I think this forum is particularly high instance of the combination of smugness and ignorance.

    I don't think failing to address anything you designate "of substance" in the article is an indication of "pure ignorance." I only had one thing to say about the article, I said it, and that was based on my experience reading TD comments.

    I also disagree that the typical level of smugness doesn't detract from the site.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re:

    I am following the chain of thought...increased market opportunity leads to increased sales, leads to increased income of content owner, therefore, increased value of the content.

    This was part of my point, the argument does not take into account the entire end to end issue at hand.

    These arguments seems to focus on one aspect of the issue, in this case, copying content != to copying money. In that I agree, but I disagree that copying content and freely distributing it, is somehow beneficial. That is what this artcle seems to be implying.

     

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    ACLurker, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: There are parallels

    Now, when you share that copy with friends, you are diluting the value of that content.

    [citation needed]

    At most, you may be able to argue that it dilutes the market for copies of the content. What making copies does to the value of the content is much debated, but there seems to be a growing body of artists who believe copying will make their art more valuable.

    The value of the content cannot be extracted from the person you shared it with

    The simplest answer is that this is a business model problem: how to extract money from a larger audience. It's really only true that you "cannot...extract" money from this new audience if your sole manner of extracting money from art is in selling "copies". And that would be a business model problem.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Lawyers and the truth.. Will we have ever learn

    Seriously, a lawyer making an economic point. I think I just saw a pig flying by my window.

    I bet he made a lot of brownie points with his IP clients with his blog. What is funny about this guy is that he only allowed four comments on his blog before he closed it. I wonder why?

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: There are parallels

    No, you're ignoring facts because you want it to be false.

    You think the economic value is in the content? It's not. It took labor to create it and that is scarce. Labor has economic value. Content has symbolic value. Shift your model from content to the labor that creates it and you won't have anymore trouble from people who copy art.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re:

    I have no idea of whether Gannon has considered opposing viewpoints or not.

    I think both sides in this issue are aguing with passion and conviction in their position. Does this equate to ignorance? I don't think so, but that is my opinion.

    As for intrinsic value, I have to disagree. Sure, these may have some intrinsic value...however, let's be realistic, I really doubt content is being copied for it's intrinsic value. I am guessing that it's being copied because someone did not want to go out and spend the money to buy the content themselves. Therefore, it is the monetary value of the content that is being copied, not the intrinsic.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    I get what you are saying and to a certain point agree, I still believe that the content does have monetary value.

    Is gold valuable because it is gold or is it valuable because of the labor required to extract it?

    I think that content is valuable because people agree it is valuable and not just the labor required to create it.

    I seriously doubt anyone would want a copy of me singing the latest/greates hit because I can't sing worth a damn and therefore, even though I could put hard labor into it's creation and that labor has value, the final product does not.

    Therefore, content that is valued is valued more than just for the labor that went into creating it.

     

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  68.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Odd reasoning...

    "Mike, most people who link or quote my content ask my permission beforehand. Most, not all. That's been my experience. Your results may have varied. Maybe your readership has different standards when it comes to such things."

    Welcome to the internet. 4chan would like a talk with you regarding links and quotes made of lulz.

    What's incredibly perplexing about your argument is how you have a link to Businessweek as well as Wikipedia. I wonder if you've asked permission for their articles.

    Or perhaps Michael Geist might have a thing to say about asking permission first.

     

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  69.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Lawyers and the truth.. Will we have ever learn

    Those responses are where his article is linked, not ones that people had anything to say to his arguments. I believe Techdirt would have shown up there as well, but it's incredibly telling that he posts an article and tries to tell people to ask for permission as well as shut off discourse from it.

     

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    Danny, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Money, Money, Money!

    Exactly.

    A copyrighted work has no store of value. Money has value because everyone agrees that a dollar is a dollar.
    If I write a work of fiction and get the copyright on it it still has no real value until it is made avaiable to purchase, and that demand (well in an ideal world) is a big factor in determining its value. That's why an original copy of the first appearance of Superman has more value than an original copy of the first appearance of, hell almost any other comic book character you can think of.

    If the person that came up with Superman all those years ago had instead of selling it just locked up in a vault how valuable would it be today? Probably almost worthless becase if it was never sold than Superman would have never become the iconic character that he is today. About the only value it would have would be when the creator dies(/died?) and it becomes an "unreleased project" but at that point there is no certainly that it would reach the status it has today.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re:

    By the way, the original article does imply that copying increases the value...

    "In a culture where shared culture and shared cultural experiences are highly valued, the fact that you can copy content makes it even more valuable."

     

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  72.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

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

    "Moreso the picking and choosing of criticizing the smugness/ignorance of someone Mike disagrees while fostering and not critizing similar characteristics of those he agrees with. "

    My experience is that those who argue with Mike on a regular basis are very much the majority among these criteria. This may be skewed somewhat by the way people post and other criteria, so I could be wrong (for example, the more egregious trolls not logging in so making their comments distinguishable - do we have 20 people disagreeing or just one prolific person with a bad attitude?).

    "I think this forum is particularly high instance of the combination of smugness and ignorance."

    I think it's full of a surprising number of insightful and intelligent opinions among the trolls . But, either opinion is valid, as long as you accept that it's just your opinion. Note that Mike wasn't commenting on multiple sources, just his opinion of this one argument. That's far more quantifiable than trying to parse years of comments on different subjects from often anonymous individuals here.

    "I don't think failing to address anything you designate "of substance" in the article is an indication of "pure ignorance.""

    You failed to read my comment correctly, by the look of things, as that's not what I intended to say. I referred specifically to Mike's last sentence, which is: " It just makes him look like he has no real argument, and has to resort to pure sophistry."

    Thus far, you have ignored the subject of the article and attacked a single sentence therefore, IMHO, resorting to sophistry and making an irrelevant argument. As for "what I designate as substance", you're commenting on a article that's about equating the value of money and content. That's the meat of the issue, I don't see why that is not the "substance" of the article and the attitude of anonymous commenter is of substance. Can you explain to me why the latter is the substance of the issue at hand, because I don't see it?

    "I also disagree that the typical level of smugness doesn't detract from the site."

    Smugness doesn't detract from the value of comments, unless they're served up with a great heaping of ignorance. I'd much rather read smug comments from people who know what they're talking about than humble comments from fools. It's the combination of smugness and ignorance that tend to be annoying, and I don't tend to see too many of those from people who disagree with Mike's basic issues.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: There are parallels

    On that we can agree. There is a business model problem here and did state that as part of my original post.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: There are parallels

    I responded to your other post on the value of labor but I am guessing you did not see it. Here is a "copy" (LOL) of that response.

    "I get what you are saying and to a certain point agree, I still believe that the content does have monetary value.

    Is gold valuable because it is gold or is it valuable because of the labor required to extract it?

    I think that content is valuable because people agree it is valuable and not just the labor required to create it.

    I seriously doubt anyone would want a copy of me singing the latest/greates hit because I can't sing worth a damn and therefore, even though I could put hard labor into it's creation and that labor has value, the final product does not.

    Therefore, content that is valued is valued more than just for the labor that went into creating it."

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    Gold's scarcity gives it value, but the labor that it takes to mine it does factor into its value as well. Other than that, it's just a pliable metal that is visually appealing and can be made into various things such as jewelry and coins. Copper and bronze have similar properties, yet they aren't held in as high value as gold because they aren't as scarce. Gold is a rivalrous and exclusive good.

    People may agree that content has value, but that doesn't mean monetary value. It has symbolic value to be sure, but you can't put a price on non-rivalrous, non-exclusive goods.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

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

    Regarding the sophistry comment, I don't take any issue with the "substance" of Mike's article, so I don't mind if it looks that way!

    I do take issue, in general, with the smug/snarky/condescending tone that is so common here, both from Mike and from many commenters, so his criticism of another's smugness struck a chord with me.

    I disagree regarding smugness by itself. A humble fool is, in my opinion/experience, (a) less annoying, and (b) more likely to accept the possible legitimacy of a reasonable counterargument than a smug scholar.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    I'm sure that Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and every other search engine asks permission from every site in their indexes before linking, right?

    In addition to being ignorant of economics, you also appear to be ignorant on the fundamentals of how the internet works.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    And this is where I say that classical definitions don't necessarily work in the digital world where scarcity does not apply to 1's and 0's.

    Yes, tangible goods like gold are finite and therefore, have a scarcity factor if you will. However, it was not only the scarcity of Gold that made it valuable, it had other properties that were valued as you pointed out.

    Digital goods may not have the same scarcity factor, but they do have other properties. They have real value because enough people agree they have value.

    That is the point I am trying to make here. When enough people agree something has value, tangible or not, it is not the scarcity that they are agreeing upon, it is that enough people like it that they are willing to spend money on it...therefore, it now has monetary value, regardless of scarcity.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:14pm

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

    Then we agree to disagree, although you've still ignored any of the other points raised in favour of your preferred arguments.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    By the way, yes you can...look at bottled water.

    Water is virutally free (not incurring costs for bringing in water lines, etc.), non exclusive, and non rivalrous and generally speaking, not scarce.

    Yet enough people agree that bottled water has value over ordinary tap water. Not arguing cases of contaminated water supplies here, but traditionally safe, ordinary tap water.

    It has value because enough people agree it has value. Even though is has been repeatedly proven that there is no evidence that this is somehow better for you or in any way different than ordinary tap water. Marketed as somehow more healthy for you and better for you, bottled water vendors have made hundreds of millions from selling bottled water.

    20/20 even did a story on this...

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=728070&page=1

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm insane, what's your excuse? And Irony is the use of words to mean something other than its literal intent. Thanks for playing.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    You're making a hugely false assumption there. Water is most definitely scarce, therefore it's exclusive and rivalrous. There is just a lot of it. That doesn't matter though, because there is labor involved in the bottling and transport of bottled water. They are selling a service of providing purified water in a portable container. That's why people pay for it. It's competing against tap water, even though typically the bottled water is just tap water. People buy it because it's bottled. It has nothing to do with the water and everything to do with the container and portability.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    On that we disagree. People could easily buy their own container (and many do) and fill it with tap water. I will grant you that while out and about, people will buy bottled water for convience but I doubt that this is the major contributor to vendor revenues. Where they spend their marketing dollars is where they are getting their sales. In portability were their primary source of revenue, you can bet they would be spending more of their marketing dollars on that messaging. No, I think people that buy bottled water are not doing so because of portability, they are doing it because of personal beliefs that it is somehow better for them. They buy into the hype offered by the vendors and therefore spend their money on it.

    Clearly you are smart as you make well articulated arguments and offer sound reasoning. However, I don't understand how you are stating that water is scarce. I would agree that in drought prone areas and regions, water may be scarce, but as a whole, I would disagree on scarcity becuase we have an unending supply. Water is in continual production through the water cycle and therefore, essentially and endless supply.

    However, this is getting way off topic now. I stand by my assertion that digital content has monetary value because enough people agree is has value and therefore spend money on it. That very act of spending money on a song is what gives it monetary value. It is the same reason that someone buys an app for their phone. It is not the labor that went into creating the app they care about, it is the functionality it offers.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Money the original

    Rob Gray, the Executive Director of the American Open Currency Standard has thousands of businesses that have taken using an alternative currency to heart and are in use.

    I heard about the AOCS from the Reality Report if your curious Look up Ron Paul Subpoenaed for Money Trial. Yes, its a trial on somebody using an alternative currency.

     

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  85.  
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    freak (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    . . .what?

    That seems to be a retarded argument on first read, let me read it again.

    Okay, I've read it again.

    If I read you right, I copied this album from a band I really enjoy because I wanted $17 in my pocket, not because I enjoy the music?

    Even if you DO think that makes a glimmer of sense, I WOULD pay that $17 IF I could easily pay it in my country. Alas, the band is not known in this hemisphere of the world, does not sell here, and I'm not really willing to put forth a couple of days concentrated effort to try and find a way I could get the album legally purchased and shipped to me.

    No, I am copying the album only for it's intrinsic value.


    But let's forget anecdotal evidence. Let's look at jamendo, and all those people sharing music for free, because they want that precious $0 in their pocket.

    /sarcasm


    I assume I misunderstood you somehow. How did I?

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:44pm

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

    "I'm insane, what's your excuse?"

    What on earth are you talking about?

    "And Irony is the use of words to mean something other than its literal intent."

    That's not the only definition.

    "Thanks for playing."

    This would be an example of the smug/snarky/condescending tone I'm talking about.

     

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  87.  
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    Brendan (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    That's because you are mainly quotes by circle jerk knob jobs from your industry (and its patron, the cria and members) who think it is normal to force other to ask permission where none should be needed. Credit, sure, but not permission. You got credit.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

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

    I only had one point to make regarding this particular article, and it does not concern what you describe as "the subject of the article" (i.e. whether money/content is a good analogy).

    I only intended to comment on one particular criticism Mike made of another's writing.

    I'm not intending that to be transformed into a criticism of the money/content analogy.

    I truly don't understand why you think there is something wrong with that.

     

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  89.  
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    m3mnoch (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    wait, what?

    so, go ahead and look through your referrer logs. or, since you're on wordpress.com, your stats page ( http://jamesgannon.ca/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats ) in the bottom, right-hand corner.

    no, it's okay. go ahead and look. we'll all wait.

    ...

    now, you're going to tell us that all those sites who are linking to you? 51% of them asked your permission to link to your site first?

    really?

    m3mnoch.

     

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  90.  
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    Transbot9, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Question

    It is still an agreed upon medium of exchange and account. The poor understanding by some governments and government agencies is what leads to rampent inflation, and anyone who bothers to understand anything about economics understands the dangers of just printing more money. If not, there's an episode of Duck Tales that does a good job of explaining it.

    The government can continue to print money when the currency is undergoing deflation, although deflation is a natural corrective measure in economics and (in and of itself) isn't bad (the causes of deflation is what is terrible), in which case inflation and deflation can reach equalibrium. The problem is that people used to printing more money get used to the activity, driving inflation as they keep printing more money.

    Money was decoupled from a physical object because the government did this sort of thing anyways, and all it did was depreciate the value of gold.

     

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  91.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 6:26pm

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

    That's not the only definition.

    Unless you're talking about Socratic or dramatic irony, then it basically is the only definition.

     

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  92.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    When enough people agree something has value, tangible or not, it is not the scarcity that they are agreeing upon, it is that enough people like it that they are willing to spend money on it...therefore, it now has monetary value, regardless of scarcity.

    With about 500 million people worldwide setting the monetary value of digital retail content at $0 through p2p downloading, I can't help but think that aspect of your argument backfires on you.

     

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  93.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 25th, 2011 @ 6:44pm

    Re: It's a great idea!

    I think you are looking at it wrong.

    If the government would only grant exclusive rights for money printing to the RIAA, I'm sure they'd meet us halfway on copyright.

     

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  94.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    Really? If you presented a person with the option of getting a copy of a digital good for free or for a set price, do you think they would put a value on it greater than zero? Forget about copyright, what would a rational person do?

    Money has value because everyone agrees it has value. You can't say that about digital content given that millions of people do, in fact, make copies for nothing. The fact that we and many others are arguing whether digital content has intrinsic monetary value shows that it doesn't.

     

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  95.  
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    Andrew F (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 9:13pm

    Salt

    Has anyone compared content to salt yet? As in, restaurants seem perfectly comfortable giving away free salt, or free water, or free napkins, or any number of free things, yet this ultimately doesn't diminish the "value" of the salt so much as enhance the value of the actual meal.

     

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  96.  
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    m3mnoch (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 10:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    a new britney spears album? yup. worth $0 to me. (sorry britney!) note, $0 is less than my time to find and pirate it is worth.

    on the other hand, allow me to introduce to you a couple terms that the game industry has coined that you may be interested in: ARPU and ARPPU.

    please also note: zynga gives away all their games for free -- yep. you can play any of their games you want absolutely free of charge. and, indeed, they earned $400 million in profit on $850 million in revenues in 2010 -- on free games.

    and i know what you're thinking. they keep costs low through slave labor... yer totally right: http://www.zynga.com/jobs/other.php

    even crazier? they're not the only company doing this. not by a long shot.

    all this for free, as in F. R. E. E.

    wake up.

    m3mnoch.

     

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  97.  
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    velox (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Lawyers and the truth.. Will we have ever learn

    "
    I bet he made a lot of brownie points with his IP clients with his blog. What is funny about this guy is that he only allowed four comments on his blog before he closed it. I wonder why?"

    -- because as soon as he noticed that Terry Hart had stopped by on the 22nd of April to comment on his post, he knew that no one else in the whole wide world would have anything more knowledgeable or wise to add to the topic.

     

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  98.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 2:12am

    Re: Salt

    Though Salt was originally a form of value/trade (ie: money) and even up until the 1860's was still a form of money

    In fact lets not forget that the word salary comes from the Roman salārium that was the allowance given to Roman soldiers for buying salt (with sāl being the Roman word for salt)

    In fact this articles '
    History of Salt & the Evolution of Money'
    has a fascinating history on money and where the value and worth actually comes from. Though The Abstract is the best read and I have pasted it in full below

    Abstract:
    To define money, the most helpful formulation is the one defined by Knapp, and accepted by Keynes. Knapp made it clear that most transferable goods could be used for barter and consequently used as a 'means of payment': however such 'means of payment' only became 'money' when chartered by a state authority and accepted by its administration for, and in lieu of tax.

    This differs from Aristotle's concept. He thought that authoritative marks and stamps confirming correct weight and composition, converts a 'means of payment' into money, thus associating the intrinsic material usefulness with its purchasing power as money.

    The 'State Theory' suggested by Knapp on the contrary, implies that the essential monetary qualities are independent of its intrinsic values, as long as it is suitable to physically carry the marks of the charter.

    These two concepts have in common the standardisation of form, weight, chemical composition and colour. This fact has obscured the understanding of money, and still hinders the appreciation of the genesis of money and its historical development.

     

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  99.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 4:02am

    permission culture much?

    Mike, most people who link or quote my content ask my permission beforehand.
    So apparently you not only have a clue on money but also do not know how the internet works since day one. Wow, just wow.

     

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  100.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Copying the argument

    James

    Years back on UseNet I coined a phrase ... "Get A Clue". After reading your blog post, I think, perhaps, that I should have waited for your blog to use it.

    David

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 7:40am


    You can print more money, but that creates inflation, because the overall value remains the same.

    When you copy money, you are actually decreasing the value of money.


    Um... which is it? Do you think copying money decreases its value or not, Mike? Heh, perhaps it's best to stop lecturing people in not understanding basic concepts ;)

     

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  102.  
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    hxa7241, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: There are parallels

    Consider two parts of your last paragraph:

    > copy just as good as the original

    > diluting the value of that content

    -- now, something cannot be both 'just as good' and 'diluted' -- so either you are talking about two different things, or you are contradicting yourself -- i.e. talking nonsense.

    Leaving aside the nonsense interpretation, that means you admit there are two different things here -- which is the whole point. What is 'just as good as the original' is the intrinsic value, and what is 'diluted' is the price. The important thing about art is the intrinsic value, and the important thing about money is the price.

     

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  103.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 9:38am

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

    Not according to dictionaries:

    "5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

    6. the incongruity of this."

     

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  104.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Re:

    You can print more money, but that creates inflation, because the overall value remains the same.

    When you copy money, you are actually decreasing the value of money.


    Um... which is it? Do you think copying money decreases its value or not, Mike? Heh, perhaps it's best to stop lecturing people in not understanding basic concepts


    Difference between aggregate supply (remains constant) and value of each individual piece of currency (decreases). Entirely consistent.

     

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  105.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Salt

    None of those things are free. You have to pay for a meal or a drink to use them.

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Copyright and theft

    Well said, Michael! Even though I am an IP attorney, I agree with you (and disagree with the IP attorney you speak of) completely!

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Difference between aggregate supply (remains constant) and value of each individual piece of currency (decreases). Entirely consistent.

    Aggregate supply of what? And how is "aggregate supply" at all consistent with "overall value" (what you originally wrote)? The "overall value" of the currency decreases during inflation, it doesn't remain constant. You're wrong Mike.

     

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  108.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AC's dilution of value

    I'm assuming that wasn't intended to be a response to my post, because I don't disagree with any of it.

     

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  109.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 26th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Aggregate supply of what? And how is "aggregate supply" at all consistent with "overall value" (what you originally wrote)? The "overall value" of the currency decreases during inflation, it doesn't remain constant. You're wrong Mike

    No. Aggregate supply and overall value are the same. You're incorrect to say that the overall value decreases with inflation. It does not. You have the same total value, but it's now simply divided up among more pieces of currency.

     

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  110.  
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    Emil, Apr 26th, 2011 @ 10:06pm

    Re: rivalousness

    Wasn't this point mentioned in one of Lessig's books? I seem to recall that it was.

     

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  111.  
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    ANoiXioNA, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Misinformation and they know it.

    Just like Fox News spread misinformation ( and know it's false )
    They will always rather be seen as incompetent. Then they can get away with anything. ( doh. sorry it was a mistake )


    100% PURE Propaganda.

    The industry know they are selling us worthless information.
    It is a big cash cow for them.

    This ""argument"" they spew , is just an attempt to make it look like the worthless information has real value.


    100% PURE Propaganda.

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    LOL. Look who's talking Mr. Troll king of the universe.

     

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  113.  
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    Overcast (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    It's a PUBLIC site, right?

    If someone asks for directions to a public business, do you call the owner first and ask for permission to give out the address?

    Seems to be a pretty simple analogy that works there.

    I'd also be curious, if Google asked for permission when the search links, link to said site?

    There's a cache of it too - might wanna pester them about that.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCMQIDAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwe bcache.googleusercontent.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcache%3AUojBOJVEGbwJ%3Ajamesgannon.ca%2F2011%2F04%2F15%2 Fhow-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-copy%2F%2BJames%2BGannon%2Bhow%2BI%2Blearned%2Bto%2Bsto p%2Bworrying%26cd%3D1%26hl%3Den%26ct%3Dclnk%26gl%3Dus%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26source%3Dwww.google.com &rct=j&q=James%20Gannon%20how%20I%20learned%20to%20stop%20worrying&ei=_li4TceZMM6dgQewkr CBAQ&usg=AFQjCNE9kQNVTfuYonILrcW3_95uJgvNlQ&sig2=mjUoKZdNsvpSUgbj6-RvqA&cad=rja

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re:

    Just curious. If a colleague on the faculty at SCLS makes an analogy with which you happen to disagree, is it your customary practice to reduce to writing in a public forum that what your colleague has done is "dumb"?

     

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  115.  
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    RobShaver (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    You are far to harsh. I sent the following using Gannon's contact page

    Dear James Gannon,

    I read your comment over on TechDirt and couldn't agree more. Linking to your blog without permission, written permission, is rude and should be illegal. In fact I think READING your blog without getting permission would be rude too.

    This etiquette should be extended to book as well. When you buy a book or borrow one from the library you should have to get the written permission from the author before you read it. It's really the polite thing to do.

    And after reading anything you should not tell anyone about what you read unless you have received further permission to do so. This is especially true if you care so much about what was written that it stuck in your mind so that you can recite it verbatim. This would be a blatant copyright violation, don't you think?

    So this is why I have not read anything in your blog, but came straight to your contact page (Well ... I did read the menus and some titles, but I promise not to reveal anything I saw.)

    Warmest regards,

    Rob:-]

     

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  116.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Copying the argument

    a lot of people have asked me if they can republish/link/quote the article and I've agreed each time.
    This is rubbish. Linking is no different from referencing. The scientific community have been referencing journal articles for decades without ever dreaming of asking permission. I've just been to a presentation about it - for those who get referenced a lot granting permission would take a considerable bite out of their precious time.

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Is there a reason underlying your seeming need to denigrate people who say something that clashes with your opinions?

    Would it not be simpler and in better taste to just discuss a matter on its merits without turning the discussion into a personal attack replete with snide comments?

     

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  118.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 5:07pm

    Re:

    Would it not be simpler and in better taste to just discuss a matter on its merits without turning the discussion into a personal attack replete with snide comments?

    Hmm. I made no personal attacks. I commented on the merits of his snide and obnoxious post, and I believe I treated it fairly and with the sort of respect it so clearly deserved.

    And, honestly, if you think my post is in poor taste, why haven't you commented on his, which was nothing but an obnoxious attack on people who actually understand this stuff?

     

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  119.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Oh stop, you're lying and you know it. Then again being a professional parasite it's pretty much expected.

     

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  120.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    Contrary to what some claim, getting more content on the market does not take away value.

    Only when you characterize value in the content in terms that are non-economic. What about the economic effect on that individual piece of content that is shared (not ancillary goods or markets)? The supply remains constant -- it's still one piece of content (one song, one movie). It is now divided up into more units, or copies. The market is now flooded with copies, and the value of each unit decreases notwithstanding the aggregate supply. If you flood the market with money, the value of each unit also decreases despite a constant aggregate supply. And, importantly, unchecked inflation in both contexts can ultimately weaken the broader market, correct?

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2011 @ 10:57pm

    when you copy money, you are actually decreasing the value of money

    And when you copy a song, you are actually decreasing the value of the song. Put aside your subjective cultural "benefits" in sharing or ancillary market "value" because those are not relevant to the value of the copy itself. There is no stored value in IP, the value is in the copy itself. Which is exactly why it is protected from unauthorized copying. If you flood the market with copies, the value in any one copy drops, making it harder for the content owner to sell any one copy.

    I don't even think we disagree about this. The difference is, you characterize the market to include "opportunities" to sell ancillary goods. I consider the market for selling copies, copies.

     

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  122.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:01pm

    Re:

    Only when you characterize value in the content in terms that are non-economic

    Hmm? No. I'm very much talking in economic terms. The value increases.

    What about the economic effect on that individual piece of content that is shared (not ancillary goods or markets)?

    Well, your parenthetical is pointless, because you can't ignore the ancillary goods or markets. We're talking about the overall ecosystem. And if those copies make the price of those other goods go up, then yes, it has tremendous value.

    The supply remains constant -- it's still one piece of content (one song, one movie).

    No, the supply increases.

    It is now divided up into more units, or copies.

    Right, the supply increases. Nothing is divided up at all. Look, if I have a song, and then you and I both have a song, the value of the song has not split in half, yet that seems to be what you're claiming.

    The market is now flooded with copies, and the value of each unit decreases notwithstanding the aggregate supply

    This is simply incorrect.

    If you flood the market with money, the value of each unit also decreases despite a constant aggregate supply.

    Right, because money is rivalrous. Content is not.

    And, importantly, unchecked inflation in both contexts can ultimately weaken the broader market, correct

    No, not correct at all. Abundance in supply does not harm most markets.

     

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  123.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:04pm

    Re:

    And when you copy a song, you are actually decreasing the value of the song

    No, you increase it.

    Put aside your subjective cultural "benefits" in sharing or ancillary market "value" because those are not relevant to the value of the copy itself.

    Um. No, that's the key to understanding this. Ignoring that makes the conversation meaningless.

    If you flood the market with copies, the value in any one copy drops, making it harder for the content owner to sell any one copy

    No, the VALUE increases. The PRICE may drop, but the VALUE increases. You are confusing the two things.

    And part of the reason why the value increases is that it increases the price of ancillary goods. The stuff you want to ignore.

    I don't even think we disagree about this. The difference is, you characterize the market to include "opportunities" to sell ancillary goods. I consider the market for selling copies, copies

    Which means you're defining the market improperly. And we don't agree, because you're confusing price and value.

     

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  124.  
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    Matt P (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Time to sue Google, James. I hear they link to every goddamn thing on the internet, and never ask anybody.

    You can pay for the suit with your fake money.

     

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  125.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, your parenthetical is pointless, because you can't ignore the ancillary goods or markets. We're talking about the overall ecosystem. And if those copies make the price of those other goods go up, then yes, it has tremendous value.

    But you don't define other markets in that way. Where the market is flooded with copies of bills, for instance, the demand for and price of wallets may increase as well. Would you consider wallets to be part of the "overall ecosystem" of currency? Does the fact that we're selling more wallets justify the continued copying of bills no matter what it is doing to the value of the currency itself?

    No, the supply increases.

    No, the supply remains constant, just as a unit of stored value does in the context of currency. More content is not created by sharing copies of that content. More units of value are not created by sharing more bills. The aggregate supply remains constant in both instances.

    Look, if I have a song, and then you and I both have a song, the value of the song has not split in half, yet that seems to be what you're claiming.

    Yes, the value of the work has been reduced. The problem is that you can't accept a reduction in value that is not a clean, simple split. Sharing a single song/movie/book may not result in a lost sale, and so, no, the value isn't split in half. But that doesn't end the analysis. When the market is flooded with copies, the value decreases as the content owner's ability to sell those copies decreases. The fact that it's more granular than "the song is not split in half" is not a tenable reason for dismissing the analogy.

    No, not correct at all. Abundance in supply does not harm most markets.

    The saturation of market with free copies does harm a market where value is derived from selling those copies. Period. You are forced to define the "ecosystem" incredibly broadly so as to hide this simple fact.

     

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  126.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But you don't define other markets in that way.

    Yes, actually, you do. You define the total market, not a narrow subset, as you are doing.

    Where the market is flooded with copies of bills, for instance, the demand for and price of wallets may increase as well. Would you consider wallets to be part of the "overall ecosystem" of currency?

    No, of course not. Because that's ridiculous. The complementary markets I'm talking about are ones where the content creators have control or the ability to make use of those markets.

    Currency is not a market, in that the government is not in the business of "selling" currency.

    No, the supply remains constant, just as a unit of stored value does in the context of currency

    I'm sorry, but this is false. You do not seem to understand what supply means.

    More content is not created by sharing copies of that content.

    Supply includes copies. I'm sorry, but it's difficult to take you seriously when you don't seem to understand this.

    More units of value are not created by sharing more bills. The aggregate supply remains constant in both instances.

    You are changing definitions midstream. When talking about currency, the aggregate supply of currency increases when you copy bills, but the aggregate value does not. When copying content, the supply increases, as does the value.

    I'm afraid you don't seem to understand the basic economic definitions here.

    Yes, the value of the work has been reduced.

    Absolutely, 100% false.

    Sharing a single song/movie/book may not result in a lost sale, and so, no, the value isn't split in half. But that doesn't end the analysis. When the market is flooded with copies, the value decreases as the content owner's ability to sell those copies decreases.

    False. Value is NOT defined by the "owner's ability to sell." I'm sorry, but again, I have to ask you to please review your economic definitions, as you do not seem to understand the basics.

    The fact that it's more granular than "the song is not split in half" is not a tenable reason for dismissing the analogy.

    It's not that it's more granular, it's that you're totally and completely wrong. there is no value decrease in more people having copies. There is an aggregate increase in value.

    You don't seem to understand the definition of value, supply or price.

    The saturation of market with free copies does harm a market where value is derived from selling those copies. Period. You are forced to define the "ecosystem" incredibly broadly so as to hide this simple fact

    No, I am not "forced" to do anything. I am accurately describing what the real market is.

    Again, you seem to be very confused about basic economics.

     

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  127.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The complementary markets I'm talking about are ones where the content creators have control or the ability to make use of those markets.

    Everyone can "make use" of complimentary markets. If I sell food, I could lecture about that food. Would you conflate the lecture and food markets into one when analyzing the overall value of each? Silly.


    Listen, you can dance all around this with your economic “loopholes”, your smug and superior attitude, and insist that you’re the only one who really gets how easy this is. However, you still cannot seem to accept a very basic concept. Namely, the price the seller is able to demand and the price the buyer is willing to pay for the copies of the content is severely impacted when the market for that content is flooded with copies. IP laws are intended to restrict the flow of the content owner’s copies in order to ensure that the seller can sell those copies at whatever price he desires, including $0 (whether you agree with those laws or not). If buyers won’t pay that price, the seller makes no money. That’s the market at work. That mechanism is partially broken online. Hence the emphasis on IP enforcement that you find so baffling.

    Put another way, why not embrace IP restrictions online and let content owners compete on a level playing field? Let the dinosaurs sell their content at prices no one will pay and let them fall. Let the genius new artists distribute their content for free, and make tons of money as you suggest. Is that market so untenable? Does that sound so remote from what we see in virtually every physical market?

     

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  128.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 29th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Listen, you can dance all around this with your economic “loopholes”, your smug and superior attitude, and insist that you’re the only one who really gets how easy this is.

    Actually, I think lots of people get this. I'm just amazed at the people who don't... are taught, and still don't get it. It's a shrinking minority.

    And explaining accurate economics is not dancing around with loopholes.

    Namely, the price the seller is able to demand and the price the buyer is willing to pay for the copies of the content is severely impacted when the market for that content is flooded with copies

    Actually, we agree on that point and I've never said otherwise.

    IP laws are intended to restrict the flow of the content owner’s copies in order to ensure that the seller can sell those copies at whatever price he desires, including $0 (whether you agree with those laws or not).

    No. IP laws are supposed to act as incentive to creation.

    If buyers won’t pay that price, the seller makes no money. That’s the market at work. That mechanism is partially broken online. Hence the emphasis on IP enforcement that you find so baffling.

    You are correct that if buyers won't pay the price a seller sets, then the seller makes no money. What you ignore is the supply side of that equation. The mechanism is not at all "broken" online. It's working exactly as economics says it should.

    All I'm trying to do is explain how you deal with that and why it's not a disaster. Some people -- and you appear to be in that group -- don't want to understand that.

    I'm telling you the basics: when content is shared, it INCREASES the value of that content. The onus is on you, the content creator, to capture that value. There are many ways to do so, which is what I try to explain.

    What I find "baffling" about enforcement is that it's STUPID. It doesn't help you capture that increased value, it holds back that increased value and makes it LESS LIKELY THAT YOU WILL MAKE MONEY.

    I find that to be stupid.

    Put another way, why not embrace IP restrictions online and let content owners compete on a level playing field?

    Because this isn't kindergarten. This is the free market, and we don't give a shit about a "level playing field." What we want is what's best for society as a whole, and that's increasing the overall economic pie by increasing value.

    Let the dinosaurs sell their content at prices no one will pay and let them fall. Let the genius new artists distribute their content for free, and make tons of money as you suggest.

    That's what's happening.

     

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  129.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2011 @ 5:58pm

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

    And explaining accurate economics is not dancing around with loopholes.

    And explaining why domain name seizures are not illegal with the law is not a loophole. Guess that phrase only applies to those who don't agree with you.

    No. IP laws are supposed to act as incentive to creation.

    And your elected officials have decided, and the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld, economic incentive/return as the primary means by which to uphold this end. (See Eldred v. Ashcroft at pg. 212 n.18). You disagree, I know, but that's irrelevant. You pointing to ancillary (or "complementary") markets is also irrelevant. Copyright laws are supposed to protect the economic value of copies. Thus, the market for copies is copies. Think about that for a minute.

    What you ignore is the supply side of that equation. The mechanism is not at all "broken" online. It's working exactly as economics says it should.

    Only if you believe that supply should never be restricted. With IP, it is by definition. The fact that that restriction is currently not entirely enforceable online does not mean it shouldn't be or that it won't be forever (again, why enforcement is ramping up). Copyright laws currently restrict the free flow of copies of protected works. There is no reason why this should be different online.

    All I'm trying to do is explain how you deal with that and why it's not a disaster.

    Do you think content owners don't "get" that they can sell other goods too? You've got be kidding. Shirts, stickers, tours, limited edition merch has been around for decades. The problem is that you write off all value in the content itself in the name of (1) shared cultural value and (2) the value free copies provide to ancillary markets. Content, however, has value in and of itself, which becomes immediately apparent when you remove the ability of consumers to make and share unauthorized copies of those works. Copyright law is entirely based on the presumption that content has inherent value.

    I'm telling you the basics: when content is shared, it INCREASES the value of that content. The onus is on you, the content creator, to capture that value.

    Under your definition of value (discussed above), agreed. Content owners don't disagree that they can use promotion to sell products. They've done that for decades.

    What I find "baffling" about enforcement is that it's STUPID. It doesn't help you capture that increased value, it holds back that increased value and makes it LESS LIKELY THAT YOU WILL MAKE MONEY.

    You presume that sharing copies is the only way to build that same value. It is not. Leveraging effective marketing and promotion (online and off) can earn the content owner far more money if that owner can collect the value from the content itself in addition to value from complementary markets.

    Because this isn't kindergarten. This is the free market, and we don't give a shit about a "level playing field." What we want is what's best for society as a whole, and that's increasing the overall economic pie by increasing value.

    Your society also has many laws that disrupt a perfect free market. Until those laws are struck down, there is no reason they should apply offline but not online.

    I commend you for wanting what is best for society as a whole. I disagree that the value you define (different than the one your envisioned in copyright law)is the best way to accomplish this goal.

    That's what's happening.

    You just admitted that is not happening. Content owners are not provided with a level playing field online because they don't have the option to enforce their copyrights effectively at the moment. If IP laws are effectively incorporated online and the owners' are still making no money, I will agree that their content has no value and that they are no longer necessary. I will happily and wholeheartedly embrace their demise. However, I refuse to accept that because existing laws haven't yet caught up to a new medium that content is and must remain valueless except to the extent it promotes t-shirts. That, to me, is unacceptable and "stupid."

     

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  130.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 30th, 2011 @ 12:46am

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

    And explaining why domain name seizures are not illegal with the law is not a loophole. Guess that phrase only applies to those who don't agree with you.

    That's an entirely different issue. Not sure why you're even bringing it up. And, yet, if you must, I have already explained why people were relying on legal loopholes to get around the clear intent of the law.

    That's entirely different from discussing economics. Total tangent.

    And your elected officials have decided, and the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld, economic incentive/return as the primary means by which to uphold this end. (See Eldred v. Ashcroft at pg. 212 n.18). You disagree, I know, but that's irrelevant.

    You are arguing something entirely different than what we are discussing here. You are arguing what the law says. That's irrelevant to the economics and the value.

    You pointing to ancillary (or "complementary") markets is also irrelevant. Copyright laws are supposed to protect the economic value of copies. Thus, the market for copies is copies. Think about that for a minute.

    Um. I don't need to "think about it for a minute," because it's wrong. If you think the market for copies is copies, you will fail. Badly.

    Only if you believe that supply should never be restricted. With IP, it is by definition. The fact that that restriction is currently not entirely enforceable online does not mean it shouldn't be or that it won't be forever (again, why enforcement is ramping up). Copyright laws currently restrict the free flow of copies of protected works. There is no reason why this should be different online.

    Again, if we're discussing the economics and value (which I thought we were), then you are wrong. There are many reasons (read Romer!) for why such restrictions are inherently bad. Restricting supply is inherently bad and inherently harms the market -- both producers and consumers.

    Why would you want to do that?

    Do you think content owners don't "get" that they can sell other goods too? You've got be kidding. Shirts, stickers, tours, limited edition merch has been around for decades.

    Hmm. I find it difficult to discuss this with you when you simply refuse to understand basic economics. Of course I know that content owners know they can sell other stuff. When have I ever argued otherwise? What I don't get is why so many of them don't take the time to understand economics on how to *optimize* that strategy.

    The problem is that you write off all value in the content itself in the name of (1) shared cultural value and (2) the value free copies provide to ancillary markets.

    You are contradicting yourself. I think the content has plenty of value. Please, do not make up stuff about my stance when you don't seem to understand it.

    Content, however, has value in and of itself, which becomes immediately apparent when you remove the ability of consumers to make and share unauthorized copies of those works. Copyright law is entirely based on the presumption that content has inherent value.

    Of course content has value. But *value and price are NOT THE SAME THING*. And, no, copyright law is not at all based on the presumption that content has inherent value because everyone knows that content has inherent value.

    So does air. But you don't pay for the air you breathe.

    Seriously, this is a Bastiatian farce you're diving into. You really need to understand the difference between price and value.

    Under your definition of value (discussed above), agreed. Content owners don't disagree that they can use promotion to sell products. They've done that for decades.

    So why are you so against anyone explaining to you how to optimize that?

    You presume that sharing copies is the only way to build that same value.

    I don't presume. I understand economics.

    It is not. Leveraging effective marketing and promotion (online and off) can earn the content owner far more money if that owner can collect the value from the content itself in addition to value from complementary markets.

    What you describe is economically impossible.

    Your society also has many laws that disrupt a perfect free market. Until those laws are struck down, there is no reason they should apply offline but not online.


    Do you always argue with fallacies? So, because we don't live in a perfect free market, it's okay for all value destroying, market destroying protectionism to take place? Really?

    I commend you for wanting what is best for society as a whole. I disagree that the value you define (different than the one your envisioned in copyright law)is the best way to accomplish this goal.

    It's not what *I* define. It's what it is.

    You just admitted that is not happening. Content owners are not provided with a level playing field online because they don't have the option to enforce their copyrights effectively at the moment.

    This is dumb. What "level playing field." Why do you keep pretending there is such a thing?

    And, do you HONESTLY mean to claim that the big copyright holders don't have MASSIVE advantages? If you want a "level playing field" then do you support the lobbying power of the RIAA/MPAA and the like?

    The "level playing field" is that everyone has access to the same tools and the same opportunities. You trying to block innovation is the opposite of the level playing field you claim to want.

    If IP laws are effectively incorporated online and the owners' are still making no money, I will agree that their content has no value and that they are no longer necessary.

    But of course the content has value. Why do you keep pretending I said otherwise? It's tough to discuss this seriously with you when you simply make up things you think I've said that I've already told you are not true.

    However, I refuse to accept that because existing laws haven't yet caught up to a new medium that content is and must remain valueless except to the extent it promotes t-shirts. That, to me, is unacceptable and "stupid."

    Seriously. Learn the difference between price and value.

    No one said that the content is valueless. At all. It has tremendous value. Your inability to capture it is simple a reflection on your understanding of the economics. It has nothing to do with an unlevel playing field or a lack of copyright enforcement.

     

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  131.  
    identicon
    matt, Apr 30th, 2011 @ 4:51am

    Offer for Mr. Gannan

    Mr Gannan!!!
    I have an offer for you, you can't possibly refuse! (Without admitting what you wrote was bollocks)
    I hope you are familiar with fractional reserve banking?
    The $s in your bank account don't exist. Also canadian banks don't have a minimum reserve requirement.

    My offer: you send me all your non-cash payments, and I will send you back 2% in hard paper & coin currency, via mail.
    You will have more money than you have now!
    All you have now is a promise to have access to money. We can do this for as long as you like.
    Just say the word.

     

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  132.  
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    Yeebok (profile), Apr 30th, 2011 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Copying the argument

    Simply put, you get upset if friend A tells friend B you said "It's sunny today" without asking you first. Oh the humanity.

    Apologies for using "if" without asking you.

    I find it kinda rude that you want "common courtesy" but use Mike's surname in what comes across as a surly fashion to address him.

     

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  133.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2011 @ 10:49am

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

    Not sure why you're even bringing it up.

    Because you're a huge hypocrite. When you can't argue that domain name seizures are illegal because the law on seizures is clear, you resort to calling those arguments "loopholes." Now, you are clinging to economic arguments, and brushing nearly everything off with "no, I'm right. Economics." You are no better than those who say "no, I'm right. That's the law."

    You are arguing what the law says. That's irrelevant to the economics and the value.

    Of course they are related. Markets are entirely dependent upon laws. Why can't I take your physical property? Why can't I take goods from a store? Why can't I dine and ditch? The answer to those questions is not "simple economics." It's because of laws created by your government. Government has created special rules for intellectual property as well. Ones you happen to believe, incorrectly, are antithetical to economics. More on this below.

    If you think the market for copies is copies, you will fail. Badly.

    Wrong. It more accurately focuses the policy discussion on the market for copies and away from t-shirts and lunch dates with fans. Again, content owners are perfectly aware that those options exist. They have used them for decades. They will continue to exercise them in the future. However, that doesn't mean they can't also pursue IP enforcement online that will allow them to derive more money from the copies themselves by reducing the existence of *illegal* file sharing online.

    What you describe is economically impossible.

    What?! Think back to the '90s when content holders made hundreds of millions of dollars (even billions) MORE than they make now. They were able to derive extraordinary economic value from copies without giving away millions of copies for free. They used other methods of marketing to earn a ton of money from ancillary markets and from the copies themselves. In what fantasy world is that "economically impossible"?

    It's not what *I* define. It's what it is.

    Loophole. Perfect example. No substance at all.

    What "level playing field...And, do you HONESTLY mean to claim that the big copyright holders don't have MASSIVE advantages

    Huh? A level playfield exists where content owners can enforce the rights granted to them by the law. They're not asking for special treatment, they're asking for the same rights everyone else is entitled to. It just so happens that their works are incredibly *valuable*. The public doesn't "lose" if the law is enforced online. The MPAA/RIAA is not pulling one over on the public if they get to enforce the rights granted to them by law.

    The "level playing field" is that everyone has access to the same tools and the same opportunities. You trying to block innovation is the opposite of the level playing field you claim to want.

    You DO have the right to do whatever you want so long as you don't *break the law.* That's how our society works. If your technology is completely built on the exploitation of the property of others, then I'm sorry your technology will and should be "blocked." Please, please make your OWN content, write original blogs (like this one), make your OWN music/movies... please. Society is much better off with that advancement. But how ridiculous to complain that a blog full of infringing links to works *created by others* is somehow a brilliant technological advance that should not possibly be held back.

    You really need to understand the difference between price and value... No one said that the content is valueless. At all. It has tremendous value... Your inability to capture it is simple a reflection on your understanding of the economics...Learn the difference between price and value.

    I think that captured about half of your remarks on this point. Sheesh, imagine how much substance you could have included in the time it took you to write those condescending remarks over and over!

    Let's look at how you've described value/price in the past:

    "Value drives demand -- but price is set by the intersection of demand and supply. If supply is abundant, it's not going to matter how valuable your product is, price will get pushed towards zero ... The problem, though, is that it's quite abundant these days, and so the price that people are willing to pay gets pushed towards zero. "

    and

    "Price isn't determined by value -- it's determined by the intersection of supply and demand. Value plays into that, by determining what the demand part is. That is, if I value widget X at $10, then I'd be willing to pay anything less than $10 for it. If the intersection of supply and demand prices widget X at $5, it doesn't mean that I value it at $5, but it does make it likely that I'll buy it. The same is true if the market prices it at $0. It doesn't mean I place a $0 value on it. It just means it's worth getting at that price, since it's below what I value it at."

    OK? I've read these. Will you add some substance to the discussion now?

    So, consumers value the content of big content owners. The demand for that content is high -- usually, the highest of all content in that market. They likely are willing to pay much more than the marginal cost of creating a copy. Content owners want to sell for much higher than the marginal cost of creating a copy in order to recoup funds they've invested. And they should be able to. Society has decided to reward those who create the *most valuable content*. Copyright law addresses this balance by restricting the supply of unauthorized reproduction and distribution of those copies, thereby allowing creators to command a higher price in the market. This is their reward. *This is what you don't agree with, which I have repeatedly argued is irrelevant.*

    You look at the dilemma and say, "yes, well leverage the value in the content to sell scarce goods in complimentary markets." Content owners say, "yes, we're already doing that, thanks. We'd also like to stop the supply of illegal copies in order to increase the price at which we can sell our extremely valuable copies. Copyright law gives us that right."

    So I'll ask again: what is the harm in allowing content owners to set a price for their content online? If people value the content, but the demand isn't there because of the price, they won't buy the copies and the price will drop to meet consumer demand. Isn't that a healthy market at work? If anything, content owners now have to compete with DIY artists online who can set the price to their content at $0. Copyright also gives them that right. If consumers value that work, they can choose to exclusively support those artists instead and the gatekeepers will fall. However, those who create the most valuable works, with the most demand, have the right to command a price greater than $0 for copies of their work. This is what copyright law commands, and what is currently not entirely working online.

     

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  134.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 1st, 2011 @ 8:21pm

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

    Wow... It's not often that you can read a post like that and boil it down to "I haven't got a clue about the fundamental issues here", but somehow you managed it. It would take all week to dissect where you are wrong, so let's just take one quick quote and work from there:

    "Think back to the '90s when content holders made hundreds of millions of dollars (even billions) MORE than they make now. They were able to derive extraordinary economic value from copies without giving away millions of copies for free."

    Erm, yeah. You have apparently missed this, but there's been a fundamental sea change in the way music is distributed in the last couple of decades. For one thing, music used to be bundled - you had to buy a single (usually 2-4 songs) or an album (usually 8-15 songs). Now, you can buy just the song you wish to buy. On top of that, the lack of resale value, packaging, etc. means that the song is worth even less than the old package would have been worth.On top of that, economics state that goods trend toward the marginal cost - which is virtually zero for digital goods (and not for physical goods).

    In other words, the business models that worked for CD, tape and vinyl distribution simply will not work for digital goods. Since digital is the way the market is going, you have to change to workable business model, which may involve accepting that the marginal cost of digital goods (almost nothing) is what people are willing to pay for the copy itself. It's pretty simple.

     

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  135.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 1st, 2011 @ 10:57pm

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

    Because you're a huge hypocrite. When you can't argue that domain name seizures are illegal because the law on seizures is clear, you resort to calling those arguments "loopholes." Now, you are clinging to economic arguments, and brushing nearly everything off with "no, I'm right. Economics." You are no better than those who say "no, I'm right. That's the law."

    I take charges of hypocrisy pretty seriously, so if you're going to make that, you better bring the goods. Of course, you don't.

    Look, law is man made. Economics is not. The two arguments are not equivalent, and I'm not arguing "loopholes" here, I'm arguing how things work.

    Of course they are related. Markets are entirely dependent upon laws. Why can't I take your physical property? Why can't I take goods from a store? Why can't I dine and ditch? The answer to those questions is not "simple economics." It's because of laws created by your government. Government has created special rules for intellectual property as well. Ones you happen to believe, incorrectly, are antithetical to economics. More on this below.


    No markets are dependent on economics, not laws. Laws may impact markets, but they are not dependent on them. In fact, in places where you have no laws, markets still function quite well (in some cases, they function better).

    You seem confused on this subject. It might help if you were to stop digging yourself a deeper hole and start learning some basics.

    Wrong. It more accurately focuses the policy discussion on the market for copies and away from t-shirts and lunch dates with fans. Again, content owners are perfectly aware that those options exist. They have used them for decades. They will continue to exercise them in the future. However, that doesn't mean they can't also pursue IP enforcement online that will allow them to derive more money from the copies themselves by reducing the existence of *illegal* file sharing online.


    And I'm telling you that if they do this, if they pursue such efforts, they are *BY DEFINITION* limiting the ability of those other models to succeed. I'm not making a moral argument. I'm not making a legal argument. I'm telling you what the economics says: and it says if you limit value, you'll have less you can capture yourself.

    What?! Think back to the '90s when content holders made hundreds of millions of dollars (even billions) MORE than they make now. They were able to derive extraordinary economic value from copies without giving away millions of copies for free. They used other methods of marketing to earn a ton of money from ancillary markets and from the copies themselves. In what fantasy world is that "economically impossible"?

    No, what you describe was a specific set of gatekeepers retaining an unsustainable share of a smaller market. What I'm talking about is expanding the whole pie and distributing the results better, rather than locking them up with a few gatekeepers. That you can't see the difference is slightly bizarre. What I said was "impossible" was to increase the overall pie the way I'm discussing while at the same time setting up artificial monopolies. It's economically impossible, because you're trying to limit the very key ingredient in expanding the pie to the level the economics makes clear is available. You are choosing to limit the pie in order to inordinately benefit a few key parties.

    Funny that you do this while talking of a "level playing field."

    Loophole. Perfect example. No substance at all.


    No, that wasn't a "loophole." You falsely suggested that I was defining things in a certain way that was different than the way you defined things. But we're not arguing about definitions. I am telling you the way the world works, and you don't seem to comprehend it.

    That's not a loophole.

    Huh? A level playfield exists where content owners can enforce the rights granted to them by the law. They're not asking for special treatment, they're asking for the same rights everyone else is entitled to.

    Don't make me laugh. The playing field hasn't been level in over 100 years. To say they're not asking for special treatment belies the last 100 years of copyright law changes. You and your friends have ALWAYS asked for and received special treatment, which is why the playing field is so unlevel. It tilts a significant portion of the funds to a few gatekeepers, keeps most of that money away from the actual creators and does little to encourage new creativity.

    What's happened in the last few years is that the pie has increased (seriously, just look at the numbers) and the field has been leveling, mainly by getting away from a reliance on the monopolies sought for by the industry. The internet has become the great field leveler.

    The public doesn't "lose" if the law is enforced online. The MPAA/RIAA is not pulling one over on the public if they get to enforce the rights granted to them by law.

    Must we list out the examples of areas of creativity killed off by both? Must we discuss copyright extensions that robbed the public domain? Must we? Or can we just concede that you're wrong?

    You DO have the right to do whatever you want so long as you don't *break the law.* That's how our society works. If your technology is completely built on the exploitation of the property of others, then I'm sorry your technology will and should be "blocked."

    Yes, and this is why the giant movie studios should not exist, right? All of them were built on exploiting the property of one Thomas Edison.

    Please, please make your OWN content, write original blogs (like this one), make your OWN music/movies... please. Society is much better off with that advancement. But how ridiculous to complain that a blog full of infringing links to works *created by others* is somehow a brilliant technological advance that should not possibly be held back.


    You seem to think that the revolution in only one part of the gatekeepers' business model can be disrupted. That's not how economic efficiencies and disruption works. I know it sucks for those who are slow to recognize it, but complaining about "the law" when a vast opportunity awaits you doesn't look good in retrospect.

    So, consumers value the content of big content owners. The demand for that content is high -- usually, the highest of all content in that market. They likely are willing to pay much more than the marginal cost of creating a copy. Content owners want to sell for much higher than the marginal cost of creating a copy in order to recoup funds they've invested. And they should be able to.

    False. You seem to be misunderstanding the point. You understand the demand side of the equation, but not the supply. The supply is infinite, and thus, the value and the demand only matter if you look at the wider market -- the one you refuse to do. Trying to price the copies is a fools game, because the only thing it does is limit the potential market. In what world does anyone think that limiting a key resource that makes everything that's actually scarce more valuable a good idea? Only one in which you don't get the economics.

    Here's the thing: an abundant valuable resource expands the market significantly, and it does so every time it attaches itself to a scarce resource. It increases the pie in a way you simply cannot do if you try to limit the abundance. The end result of limiting the abundance is a significantly smaller market opportunity. It may be a market opportunity that it's easier for some folks to capture, but it's a smaller market opportunity.

    Society has decided to reward those who create the *most valuable content*. Copyright law addresses this balance by restricting the supply of unauthorized reproduction and distribution of those copies, thereby allowing creators to command a higher price in the market. This is their reward. *This is what you don't agree with, which I have repeatedly argued is irrelevant.*

    Well, let's be clear here, it's mostly lobbyists and those who benefit most from this (i.e., the gatekeepers) who have decided this. "Society" for the most part wasn't consulted.

    But, you are right that my beliefs on what the law should be is irrelevant. But, again, we weren't discussing the law, we were discussing the economics. And the economics cares very much about this. And it says you're wrong. It says you're limiting the economic growth potential.

    I'm sorry. I find that offensive.

    You look at the dilemma and say, "yes, well leverage the value in the content to sell scarce goods in complimentary markets." Content owners say, "yes, we're already doing that, thanks. We'd also like to stop the supply of illegal copies in order to increase the price at which we can sell our extremely valuable copies. Copyright law gives us that right."

    And the response to the content owners who say that is that, no, if they're trying to limit the supply, then they're not, in fact, doing that.

    So I'll ask again: what is the harm in allowing content owners to set a price for their content online?

    It's economically shrinking. It decreases value.

    If people value the content, but the demand isn't there because of the price, they won't buy the copies and the price will drop to meet consumer demand. Isn't that a healthy market at work?

    In a Bastiatian sense only. Not all markets are good. If the market is for something unproductive, it's not good. Should we have a market for air, since it's so valuable? After all, you'd pay a lot for it, wouldn't you? But that money could have gone towards something productive.

    Yet, here you are, arguing for a market for air.

    If anything, content owners now have to compete with DIY artists online who can set the price to their content at $0. Copyright also gives them that right. If consumers value that work, they can choose to exclusively support those artists instead and the gatekeepers will fall. However, those who create the most valuable works, with the most demand, have the right to command a price greater than $0 for copies of their work. This is what copyright law commands, and what is currently not entirely working online

    Again, you are correct this is what the law allows. But, we were discussing the economics of it all. I understand that you wish not to understand the economics, but economics always finds a way to make people who don't understand it look foolish.

    You can't win when you fight economics.

     

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

  136.  
    identicon
    matt, May 2nd, 2011 @ 5:25am

    AC wrote:
    If anything, content owners now have to compete with DIY artists online who can set the price to their content at $0

    You might want to check back with your masters on that one:
    "While IIPA has no issue with one of the stated goals of [the Ministry of Administrative Reform (MenPAN) ... Circular Letter No. 1 of 2009 issued on March 30, 2009, endorsing the use and adoption of open source software within government organizations], namely, "reducing software copyright violation," the Indonesian government's policy as indicated in the circular letter instead simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market. Rather than fostering a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, it encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations. As such, it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions to meet the needs of their organizations and the Indonesian people. It also amounts to a significant market access barrier for the software industry."

     

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  137.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 12:07am

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

    Look, law is man made. Economics is not. The two arguments are not equivalent, and I'm not arguing "loopholes" here, I'm arguing how things work.

    Case law that contradicts your belief is not a loophole. If you try to argue the law, and you are presented with evidence that you are wrong, it’s not different; it’s not a loophole.

    No markets are dependent on economics, not laws. Laws may impact markets, but they are not dependent on them. In fact, in places where you have no laws, markets still function quite well (in some cases, they function better).

    Who said anything about “dependent”? My comment was in response to your argument that the law is “irrelevant to the economics and the value.” Law is completely relevant to economics and value, both with respect to physical and intellectual property.

    I'm telling you what the economics says: and it says if you limit value, you'll have less you can capture yourself.

    You are so engrossed in economic theory that you fail to see how ridiculous this is practically.

    Under your theory, it makes economic sense to give away my widgets (no matter what I invested) because I can leverage the value to sell ancillary goods and services in complementary markets. To the extent I cannot recoup my investment or make the same profit I would have by selling the widgets themselves, it’s my fault for not trying hard enough, using the right promotion, or connecting with consumers appropriately. Substitute “widget” with the word *hit song* and it’s a true statement of economic fact to you. Plug in the word *jeans* and it’s not. Both of which, as you know, are not of infinite supply.

    No, what you describe was a specific set of gatekeepers retaining an unsustainable share of a smaller market. What I'm talking about is expanding the whole pie and distributing the results better, rather than locking them up with a few gatekeepers.

    You’re vacillating here – if you’re going to preach to content owners that they could be making SO MUCH MORE money by not enforcing copyright, you can’t turn around and make this incredibly inconsistent statement. Copyright owners make the most demanded content, and they are rewarded for doing so. This isn’t about spreading that reward around to the greatest number of people possible – this is about rewarding those who create the most valuable, demanded content.

    The supply is infinite

    The creation of new, highly demanded, valuable works is a scarcity. Which is what copyright is designed to protect. If you allow the price of a copy to be bid down to the marginal cost, there is risk that that scarce content won’t be produced in the first instance because of the actual or perceived inability to recoup investment and make a profit. Copyright solves this dilemma by allowing the owner to create an artificial scarcity.

    And the law has never taken “complimentary markets” into account, because they are irrelevant.

    You argue that content owners can make more money by leveraging the value in free copies to sell ancillary goods. That’s a great theory, and authors and artists should pursue that if they so choose. But the law certainly should not require all authors, no matter what their craft, to make that choice, and it never has. It rewards scarce, valuable works themselves. The artificial scarcity limits supply, and raises the price of the work. The author need not print t-shirts, need not go on dates with fans; she can live off of the profits of her valuable content alone. This is her reward.

     

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

  138.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 3rd, 2011 @ 12:39am

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

    Case law that contradicts your belief is not a loophole. If you try to argue the law, and you are presented with evidence that you are wrong, it’s not different; it’s not a loophole.

    Ha! Once again, we're not arguing the legal issues, but if you want to go down that road, prepare to be disappointed. The "caselaw" you're talking about absolutely was loopholes. we were talking about what the law actually says, and there are a few minor cases, where a few people twisted what was said and presented loopholes as to why you could interpret something like blatant censorship as being legal. That's a loophole. Any normal person looking at the law, and ALL of the caselaw on prior restraint knows that censorship of that nature is not legal. So a few lawyers present some caselaw out of context and pretend they have a case?

    Yeah, THAT is a loophole.

    Arguing basic economics? That's NOT a loophole.

    Who said anything about “dependent”?

    You did. And I quote: "Markets are entirely dependent upon laws." I proved you wrong. Now you're pretending you didn't say exactly what you said?

    Do you think we're stupid. Anyone can read what you said.

    I think you owe everyone here an apology.

    Law is completely relevant to economics and value, both with respect to physical and intellectual property.

    You said it was dependent. Which is simply not true at all.

    You are so engrossed in economic theory that you fail to see how ridiculous this is practically.


    It's not theory. It's reality. If it was "ridiculous" from a practical standpoint, then it's not economics.

    Under your theory, it makes economic sense to give away my widgets (no matter what I invested) because I can leverage the value to sell ancillary goods and services in complementary markets. To the extent I cannot recoup my investment or make the same profit I would have by selling the widgets themselves, it’s my fault for not trying hard enough, using the right promotion, or connecting with consumers appropriately. Substitute “widget” with the word *hit song* and it’s a true statement of economic fact to you. Plug in the word *jeans* and it’s not. Both of which, as you know, are not of infinite supply.

    No, no. I'm afraid you're confused. I never have said that it always makes sense to focus on ancillary markets. I am just saying that in a market with particular characteristics (non-rival, non-excludable goods), then you have to look at the impact on those markets.

    And, then if you look at the details, you will realize that there are always strategies to recoup the investment. And, of course you need to be able to do that. I'm just saying that relying on copyright actually makes it harder, because you're limiting the opportunities by limiting the value.

    And you're also wrong: jeans are excludable and rivalrous. A hit song is not. This is basic, basic stuff. Please. I'm happy to discuss this with you and help you learn, but you really have to learn the basics.

    You’re vacillating here – if you’re going to preach to content owners that they could be making SO MUCH MORE money by not enforcing copyright, you can’t turn around and make this incredibly inconsistent statement. Copyright owners make the most demanded content, and they are rewarded for doing so. This isn’t about spreading that reward around to the greatest number of people possible – this is about rewarding those who create the most valuable, demanded content

    Hmm. Interesting theory, but false. Copyright has never been about "rewarding" anyone. It's entirely about promoting the progress for the public. It's to benefit the public by creating the most and highest quality content.

    My statement was not vacillating, nor was it contradictory. This is, again, where it helps to understand economics. I am saying that, yes, any player in the market can make MORE MONEY by embracing these new economics, because if they do it right the pie expands massively.

    What I said -- and what is accurate -- is that copyright law allows some parties (which you falsely state are the ones creating the "most valuable" works -- they're not, they're the ones who got the copyrights from those creating the works) to get a disproportionate amount of today's pie.

    Think of it this way. If the market today is maximized at 10 units of currency, and certain parties make 9 of that, they have 90%. But if new technology and economics means that the economy expands to 100 units of currency, and the old players can now capture 20 units of currency, they're much better off than before (more than double!), but they have a much lower percentage of the market. That's what's happening.

    The creation of new, highly demanded, valuable works is a scarcity.

    Hey, finally something we agree on! Yes, creation is a scarcity. And a good one. That's part of the point, you should always be looking for the scarcities worth selling. Creation is one of them.

    But once created, it's no longer scarce. Don't get confused on that point.

    Which is what copyright is designed to protect

    Hmm. This is wrong. Copyright does not "protect" the scarcity of creating new works. That is a scarcity. There's nothing to protect.

    f you allow the price of a copy to be bid down to the marginal cost, there is risk that that scarce content won’t be produced in the first instance because of the actual or perceived inability to recoup investment and make a profit.

    Interesting theory. Tragically, for you, all evidence says it's false. The Harvard study on this was instructive. On this we have hard data: even as copyright is less respected, the amount of creation has increased massively.

    So, no, people don't stop creating because of that. In part, it's because they implicitly know the rewards aren't in selling the copy.

    And the law has never taken “complimentary markets” into account, because they are irrelevant.


    If you think they're irrelevant, you fail. Why do you so want to fail? The law not taking them into account is a serious problem with the law. After all, the law seems to only serve to harm the ancillary markets. That's a huge problem.

    You argue that content owners can make more money by leveraging the value in free copies to sell ancillary goods.

    I don't argue. I'm explaining the economics.

    That’s a great theory, and authors and artists should pursue that if they so choose.

    Indeed. We agree.

    But the law certainly should not require all authors, no matter what their craft, to make that choice, and it never has.

    You keep arguing the law. We're explaining to you why this is stupid and economically backwards. You kicked this off, by FALSELY stating that value was lost when things were copied. I proved you wrong and all you can do is point to the law.

    Weak sauce all around.

    It rewards scarce, valuable works themselves.

    Except, they're not scarce. And they're less valuable.

    Once again, you seem to be missing the point.

    The artificial scarcity limits supply, and raises the price of the work. The author need not print t-shirts, need not go on dates with fans; she can live off of the profits of her valuable content alone. This is her reward

    Oh so many false things in one paragraph. Yes, artificial scarcity limits supply, but it also reduces value, decreases market potential and harms the likely outcomes. It's horrible.

    And stop talking about t-shirts and dates. That's not what we're talking about here and you know it. Using those examples makes you look stupid. You're not, are you?

    And the "she can live off the profits of her valuable content alone." Really? How many artist do that? Almost none. Very few artists make money from their content alone. The ones who have signed label deals never recoup.

    The problem is your focusing on the myth. The 1% of artists who thrive under the system you describe, and you ignore all the ones who make no money. Almost no one makes money on the profits of content alone.

    What we're talking about is a workable system that lets a lot more people create a lot more content and make a lot more money doing so.

    Why are you so against that?

     

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

  139.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 3rd, 2011 @ 12:48pm

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

    we were talking about what the law actually says, and there are a few minor cases, where a few people twisted what was said and presented loopholes as to why you could interpret something like blatant censorship as being legal.

    This is untrue and conclusory. You are manipulating the facts to make yourself look incapable of making any error. The law on seizure and forefeiture is clear, and wasn’t violated in these instances. You didn’t know the case law, and when you were presented with it, you labeled it a loophole instead of admitting the validity of the laws. Your bias is clear, making it nearly impossible to take you seriously.

    You did. And I quote: "Markets are entirely dependent upon laws." I proved you wrong.

    You’re right that I said that, and I apologize for missing the reference. You are wrong that you “proved” anything. You made a statement, which I didn’t contest. Believe it or not, simply stating that something is “proved” does not make it so. This also makes it hard to take you seriously. You make conclusory statements and consider the issue “proved” or “thoroughly debunked.”

    Specifically, markets depend on laws to define and enforce property rights. Your rights to private property (rivalrous, excludable goods) are defined by law. Your right to keep your goods excludable is provided and enforced by laws.

    I am just saying that in a market with particular characteristics (non-rival, non-excludable goods), then you have to look at the impact on those markets.

    True. And the impact of lax IP enforcement greatly affects the market for copies.

    And, then if you look at the details, you will realize that there are always strategies to recoup the investment. And, of course you need to be able to do that.

    Completely agree.

    I'm just saying that relying on copyright actually makes it harder, because you're limiting the opportunities by limiting the value.

    You’re theoretically making it harder to recoup investment from ancillary markets. By relying on copyright you are making it easier to recoup investment from the market for copies itself.

    And you're also wrong: jeans are excludable and rivalrous. A hit song is not.

    True, but irrelevant. They are both scarce resources in their respective markets. They are both in demand. The copies of the hit song are only abundant because of a lack of IP enforcement.

    Interesting theory, but false. Copyright has never been about "rewarding" anyone.

    You are 100% wrong. From the Supreme Court: “As we have explained, "[t]he economic philosophy behind the [Copyright] [C]lause ... is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors." Accordingly, "copyright law celebrates the profit motive, recognizing that the incentive to profit from the exploitation of copyrights will redound to the public benefit by resulting in the proliferation of knowledge.... The profit motive is the engine that ensures the progress of science." Rewarding authors for their creative labor and "promot[ing] ... Progress" are thus complementary; as James Madison observed, in copyright "[t]he public good fully coincides . . . with the claims of individuals." The Federalist No. 43, p. 272 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).”

    -Eldred v. Ashcroft

    I am saying that, yes, any player in the market can make MORE MONEY by embracing these new economics, because if they do it right the pie expands massively.

    No, you have shown that some artists can leverage the benefits of the Internet to make money.

    You have not shown what percentage of consumers are willing to spend in those ancillary markets, and (most importantly) whether ancillary market sales are enough to recover the investment in the original content, the secondary goods, and make a profit greater than what could be captured in the original market itself had the owner been able to enforce IP rights.

    Second, you haven’t explained why the content itself must be what expands the pie. Why is it that only giving away copies can expand the market as such? What if selling content in addition to traditional marketing and other viral internet campaigns could do this just as if not more effectively?

    On this we have hard data: even as copyright is less respected, the amount of creation has increased massively.

    A greater supply of content does not equal a greater supply of valuable, demanded content. Tragically for you, big content owners still make and finance the most demanded works on the planet.

    So, no, people don't stop creating because of that.

    I never said people would stop creating content without IP.

    Using those examples makes you look stupid. You're not, are you?

    This is basic, basic stuff. Please. I'm happy to discuss this with you and help you learn, but you really have to learn the basics.


    You make good points. Why do you have to detract from them with “an unhealthy dose of smugness”?

     

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  140.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 3rd, 2011 @ 1:45pm

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

    This is untrue and conclusory. You are manipulating the facts to make yourself look incapable of making any error. The law on seizure and forefeiture is clear, and wasn’t violated in these instances. You didn’t know the case law, and when you were presented with it, you labeled it a loophole instead of admitting the validity of the laws. Your bias is clear, making it nearly impossible to take you seriously.

    First off, I was *very* familiar with the case law (more than you would imagine for reasons I won't go into). But, you are incorrect that the laws are "clear." Nearly every lawyer I've talked to about this seem to think that they're clear against what your position seems to be. The laws on forfeiture and seizure are clear, and Fort Wayne makes it clear that other rules apply in cases involving speech. Beyond that, supporters of the seizures twist a few cases to pretend they say something different than it does. This has been gone over a bunch of times.

    My issue with "loopholes," was not that the caselaw disagrees with me (it does not). My issue was that people like yourself seem willing to twist the clear intent of the law to the interpretation you want by misreading caselaw. I find that disgusting.

    You’re right that I said that, and I apologize for missing the reference. You are wrong that you “proved” anything. You made a statement, which I didn’t contest. Believe it or not, simply stating that something is “proved” does not make it so. This also makes it hard to take you seriously. You make conclusory statements and consider the issue “proved” or “thoroughly debunked.”

    I did prove you wrong. You falsely said that markets are dependent on laws. They are not. Your statement was wrong. I have proof: markets work well sans laws.

    Specifically, markets depend on laws to define and enforce property rights. Your rights to private property (rivalrous, excludable goods) are defined by law. Your right to keep your goods excludable is provided and enforced by laws.


    Markets do use laws to define certain rights, but that has nothing to do with the functioning of markets, which is what this debate was about. You're now getting down into a discussion that has nothing to do with the point.

    And, no, your right to keep goods excludable has NOTHING to do with the law. It's a natural economic condition that has existed prior to laws. If I hold something in my hand, you're excluded from holding it. That's fact. And it has nothing to do with the law.

    True. And the impact of lax IP enforcement greatly affects the market for copies.


    Of course it impacts that market. But not in a good way. Which is my point.

    You’re theoretically making it harder to recoup investment from ancillary markets. By relying on copyright you are making it easier to recoup investment from the market for copies itself.

    No. Actually, I'm not make it harder to recoup invetment in ancillary markets. And you're wrong. Copyright makes it easier for a *small subset* of people to recoup investment from the copies. It makes it significantly harder for most to do so. That's because it sets up a natural structure of gatekeepers, rather than enablers.

    You are 100% wrong. From the Supreme Court: “As we have explained, "[t]he economic philosophy behind the [Copyright] [C]lause ... is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors." Accordingly, "copyright law celebrates the profit motive, recognizing that the incentive to profit from the exploitation of copyrights will redound to the public benefit by resulting in the proliferation of knowledge.... The profit motive is the engine that ensures the progress of science." Rewarding authors for their creative labor and "promot[ing] ... Progress" are thus complementary; as James Madison observed, in copyright "[t]he public good fully coincides . . . with the claims of individuals." The Federalist No. 43, p. 272 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).”

    -Eldred v. Ashcroft


    Heh. We can throw Supreme Court citations back and forth at each other, but if you have to cite the Court, you really ought to do better than Eldred, which is widely viewed as one of the Court's worst, most bizarre and unsupported decisions. I mean, the ruling in Feist points out how wrong this is. Copyright is not about "rewarding" the author at all. That statement in Eldred is wrong. The history of US copyright law has made it clear, and one dreadfully wrong Supreme Court ruling just should raise questions about that ruling.

    No, you have shown that some artists can leverage the benefits of the Internet to make money.

    No. I've explained the macro economics as well. And when people like you claim the macro economics aren't enough, I've also shown examples. But, of course, then you pretend that I've only shown a few outliers.

    Not true. I've shown that the aggregate results are a bigger market.

    You have not shown what percentage of consumers are willing to spend in those ancillary markets, and (most importantly) whether ancillary market sales are enough to recover the investment in the original content, the secondary goods, and make a profit greater than what could be captured in the original market itself had the owner been able to enforce IP rights.

    Actually, I have... but I have some updated data on that that I'll be posting soon. Trust me: there's more money being spent, and there's MORE than enough to recoup investment.

    Second, you haven’t explained why the content itself must be what expands the pie. Why is it that only giving away copies can expand the market as such? What if selling content in addition to traditional marketing and other viral internet campaigns could do this just as if not more effectively?

    This is where understanding Romer's work would help. His research is key to understanding how economic growth works, and why it's the non-rivalrous, non-excludable goods that are key to economic growth. When you understand the economics, you'll realize that this is the way to maximize the pie. If you really dig into the math, you'll realize just how much bigger that pie can be (it's staggering).

    A greater supply of content does not equal a greater supply of valuable, demanded content. Tragically for you, big content owners still make and finance the most demanded works on the planet.


    Why is that tragic for me? I don't care who finances what content. I just want more good content. And, I think you're making a mistake claiming that the most demanded content is also the most "valuable." But we'll let that slide. But it's very elitist of you to falsely assume that the labels are necessary here. Dinosaur thinking.

    I never said people would stop creating content without IP.


    You said (and I quote): "there is risk that that scarce content won’t be produced in the first instance." So, yes, you're saying people won't create because of this. That's wrong.

    You make good points. Why do you have to detract from them with “an unhealthy dose of smugness”?


    I respond in kind to the way in which I am treated.

     

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