I dunno. I've backed lots of things on Kickstarter, and while most of them did end up taking longer to produce than planned, I've never been "scammed" by someone who was trying to take the money and run.
Perhaps we were a little vague, but this is just an initial announcement and we'll be bringing more details as we get a bit closer to the event. But, for now, let me try to flesh out a few things:
Copia has several concrete goals both general and specific. One obvious element is to continue and expand our role, established through Techdirt, of helping to shape the conversation about policy and business models related to innovation (such as long-standing Techdirt conversations about media businesses, patent issues, etc.). A big element of that will be expanding our research efforts — for example, Techdirt's Sky Is Rising reports have been very useful to people in the policy world pushing more sensible copyright policy, and we'd like to be producing far more research like that, in the copyright area as well as lots of others, in order to be constantly arming those people with good, solid data to back up their arguments.
So one of the things you can count on seeing from Copia is research — an event like this, where we bring together lots of experts to discuss these topics (see the website for some of the specific discussions at the Summit) is also about laying the groundwork for future research -- as we identify people with interesting ideas or knowledge or data on various topics, we'll be continuing to work with those people to produce relevant research and other publications (things like education campaigns, guidebooks, reference tools) in the weeks and months following the Summit.
But we also don't want to be limited to just research papers, nor are we solely focused on policy. One of the biggest focuses is ways to route around policy issues. Some examples of this include things like Twitter's patent licensing system (to route around the issue of future patent trolls somehow abusing defensive patents), Creative Commons (providing easy copyright opt-outs and open licensing where automatic copyright law does not really allow for such a thing), or ContentID. We want to identify ways that programs like these can be expanded, and new ideas for things like this that can be created/built, and act as promoters and project coordinators among Copia members to make that happen. For example, we'd love to see more companies adopt open licensing systems for their patents, and we'd love to see there be more CC-like options (including stronger public domain dedications) for content creators.
The General Counsel roundtable also has a very specific goal. We want to create a "statement of innovation principles" that for companies that provide services and platforms and other things, as for how they will promote/protect innovation. This includes things like how they structure their terms of service and their content policies, ideas like not abusing patents or other IP, commitment to things like data portability and open API access, and so on. This is a project that will develop over time — first the GCs from major tech companies will discuss it and start to flesh it out at the event, then we'll open it up for discussion with everyone present, then afterwards we'll be setting it up online for public comment. The end-goal is to turn it into something that companies openly, publicly adopt and agree to — and which users begin to respect, and then expect — and that it will have a real effect on how they do business.
And there is more. So, trust us: though some of these topics are big and nebulous and hard to pin down, our goals aren't the same — in fact, bringing these big-think discussions into the realm of reality, and making real plans for the immediate future, is central to what we want to do.
Re: Re: Re: Absolute Free Speech is an American value
Though it's true that some of the french Declaration was based on American ideas, that's because America was playing the role of a proving ground for new ideas that were coming from enlightenment thinkers in Europe.
Let's not forget that the French are the ones who funded the American Revolution. They didn't do that just for kicks and then say "oh, hey, some of those ideas are god too" -- they did it because the ideas of freedom and equality were emerging from their own enlightenment culture and could be put into action in the new world a lot faster than they could in the old.
So it would be more accurate to say that both revolutions were influenced by the politics/philosophy/culture of the enlightenment era (which itself had much of its roots in France) than to say that one was the direct precursor to the other. Indeed, even your quoted Wikipedia page continues:
"The concepts in the Declaration come from the philosophical and political duties of the Enlightenment, such as individualism, the general will, the social contract as theorized by the French philosopher Rousseau, and the separation of powers espoused by the Baron de Montesquieu. As can be seen in the texts, the French declaration is heavily influenced by the political philosophy of the Enlightenment, by Enlightenment principles of human rights, and by the U.S. Declaration of Independence which preceded it (4 July 1776)."
One thing's for sure: DH is absolutely right when he says America owes a great deal to France — the popular sneering & mocking attitude of Americans towards the French is baffling and unfounded.
So I don't really blame the MPAA, I blame the member companies.
I think it has formed a weird two-way street, though. As humans we are really great at at making ourselves slaves to damaged systems that we ourselves built. So while the MPAA's existence and overall attitude is the fault of the studios that forged it, it's now an entity with its own momentum that feeds back into and shapes the attitudes of its member studios.
"Ownership culture" is no joke. If studio behaviour was purely rooted in cynicism and greed, it would look different: twenty years ago they would have seen the changing winds and by now they'd be experts at rapidly adapting their business model to the online world. Instead they are fixated on this delusional idea that the best way to make money is to enforce copyright, and it's not working -- but it persists because the culture of ownership is so deeply engrained.
So now the MPAA keeps them all trapped. Any one studio could enter revolution-mode and update itself for the times at the hands of one smart, savvy CEO with the guts to try it. But what are the odds of that happening at six studios at once? It won't. And if one tries, the other five become its united opponents. And so the culture of ownership lives on, with the whole industry orbiting the MPAA.
Didn't see that comment, otherwise would have been one of the editor's choices most likely. I love that Star Trek episode. The idea of a species that conceptualizes the universe so differently from us that it is virtually impossible for us to communicate is, by its very nature, impossible to fully portray using our own creative faculties -- and given that, I'd say they did a stellar job of getting the idea across.
To be honest, I think the primary driver of piracy isn't price but availability. There is no reason that everyone in the world shouldn't be able to access every movie, tv show, documentary, song, book, play, news report and anything else that can exist as digital content, quickly and conveniently and at high quality. And, in fact, they basically can: via piracy, the only system currently taking full advantage of our technological capability. It has some failings on all fronts, but far fewer than any legal source.
Netflix's low price tag certainly helped its meteoric rise, but it still would have caught on at three times the price or really any price lower than a premium cable package, because it brought a level of comprehensive availability that was basically unprecedented (but for piracy). Still, what are its biggest problems? All related to availability. International users use VPNs to get the richer American content well, causing strife between Netflix and stupidly georestrictive rightsholders; people are constantly encountering things that, to their great disappointment, are not available — and worse, shows and movies keep disappearing as various contracts end. As more content moves to on-demand streaming — such as HBO's forthcoming standalone service — content fragmentation will increase and people will be expected to buy multiple subscriptions just to get all the shows they like, driving a bunch of people back to piracy.
If it were possible to make a service that said "here's literally everything, anywhere, with no restrictions, for $x/month" then it almost wouldn't matter what x was.
Though a lot of coding doesn't involve any advanced math, I don't think that's the reason people suggest it. It's about the ordered, structured thinking and the step-by-step approach to problem solving.
The main thing that comes to mind, and that I distinctly remember being a math skill that helped me learn programming as a kid, is taking word problems and translating them into algebra -- like the "Billy is twice as old as Sally was when she was half as old as..." problems, or others that require reasonably basic algebra to solve, but only after you've broken a seemingly complex problem down into simple steps.
The breaking down process -- determining what info you have, assigning it to variables and stating it as equations, figuring out how to arrange those variables and transform those equations to get the info you want -- is very similar to the process of writing code to complete a task, even if many of the specific operations you are doing aren't quite the same. When those problems reach the level where they can't be solved without experimentation (like "let X be 10 and see if it works...") or can be solved more rapidly that way, they also begin to train the kind of thinking that you need to write conditional code and consider how it will function with a variety of inputs. There are also skills like working backwards from a result to determine an input/cause, testing a solution with different inputs to make sure it holds true, etc. -- all of which are relevant to coding and all of which come up in the course of solving algebra problems.
Why, though? Why do dependants/spouses/kids need or deserve that?
If a person has made and saved money from their copyright, they can of course leave that money to people when they die, just as with everything else. Same goes for any property they own when they die.
But a copyright isn't property or money or anything even remotely like that. Why should it extend beyond death? More to the point, why should its duration be in any way linked to a creator's lifespan? Under the current copyright regime, something you create when you are 20 is "worth more" than something you create when you are 70 -- it's got a half-century of additional exploitable time just by virtue of being made when you were younger. Similarly, a work created by someone who dies young is, in terms of its total copyright lifespan, "worth less" than one created by someone who lives a long time. In fact, the value of a copyright is now tied to a person's health, constitution and luck, rather than being a fixed and evenly limited thing offered to all creators. How does that make any sense?
So it turns out all it took was a data breach, a suspected connection with an infamous dictator state, threats of violent terrorism, and an admonition directly from the President to make a movie studio do what they all should have been doing for five years at this point.
It depends whether you think people are fundamentally unable to be responsible, measured, self-educating and self-organizing, and must always be "ruled" in some way or another, or you think that a more direct democracy could and would encourage a cultural shift towards emphasis on those qualities, and thus have benefits ranging far beyond political mechanics and into society as a whole.
I'm not claiming to be able to make an airtight case for either of those things, but I don't think utter cynicism is warranted. Social progress is most often fuelled by democratized access to information, education and communication -- and we have more of that than ever.