A "digital version of fiat currency" would be if the Federal Reserve accepted JPEG dollars, which only they are allowed to print, as legal tender. But policing people from making forgeries of the JPEG dollars would fail spectacularly, and such a silly idea would very quickly fall apart in society.
But for some reason we all fall for a delusion that is something very similar. Ask yourself: what else is a system involving failed attempts at artificial scarcity, where you choose who is and who is not allowed to make copies in order to give the "money" value, where not just JPEG is legal tender but ANYTHING with the dollar sign on it is legal tender, yet is collectively, religiously believed by many to be a workable way of protecting property rights?
Start asking more copyright economists this question and see if you can get any good rebuttals.
It's not fiat, because you can't just print a new BitCoin whenever you please. It's much more like a gold standard, where BitCoins need a lot of work to mine before you can circulate new ones, like gold.
Okay I'll take the opposition view here: I don't think BitCoin should be banned but, I do think it is doomed as an idea.
I think a few folk here interested in economics will know what I mean why I use the word "utopia" to describe the gold standard as the basis of your currency. It may stop state artificial-inflation of the money thus stopping the arguably unjust deprivation of folk's value of the dollar (though maybe just if you consider it taxation..), but it cannot keep up with the fluctuations of outside markets, additional markets, assumes there is enough gold to go around, and all the usual arguments as to why the gold standard is just a libertarian dream, nothing more.
And what is BitCoin if it is not another attempt at a gold standard? The giveaway is in the language when they are talked about as things that can be "mined", things that are naturally scarce, things that are difficult to move around! (Assume your customer has a computer + ISP, and assume that the peer-to-peer technology won't slow right down overtime...) But here's the hard truth: we need fiat money, otherwise we become defenseless against the problems that come from capitalism since there's no way to recirculate the money where it's really needed. Sure it means that you can take value from others just by printing the stuff, but it does mean a democracy has options to try to mend it's economic troubles in a more practical way (e.g. sub-prime mortgage crashes) without being severely lagged by the harder limitations of gold.
If this is an incorrect interpretation I'd like to hear why.
My views on this have evolved a bit: I don't think the solution to piracy is to offer more legitimate service on demand. For one thing it's a bit utopian to expect such services to always be ready at the whim for consumers (servers crash, need upgrading, traffic peaks etc), and if you have an audience that must have their demands met instantaneously, with no degree of patience whatsoever, it only takes the slightest thing to throw their patience off and go for a pirated option.
The issue of "solving piracy" in a copyright legal system is too shallow a debate for me. I want the more radical option of acknowledging that copyright is a stupid idea to begin with, and get rid of it altogether.
I have a couple of metaphors to best compare copyright with to show it's unenforcability. The first one is that of a currency. Copyright is for all intents and purposes a currency (not backed by any standard like gold) because you are making copies of something of artificial value and forbidding anyone else from making a copy without your permission, with the intent of giving value to something originally not of material value through social conditioning.
The trouble is that we all know why a system of currency where "anything with a dollar sign on it counts as a dollar and only we, the US state, may make copies of that dollar" would not work as a system of money, while "anything with hard-to-copy special paper with special printed markings and authentication strips that can only be uniquely created by us the US state may be made with our permission, whilst anyone else attempting it will be caught rather easily, counts as a dollar" would work, as it evidently does. Try protecting your dollar forgeries through copyright legislation instead of fraudulent currency legislation, and change your definition of dollar to "a copyright of the dollar symbol" to see how far under that would get you the country.
Monopoly money is used as a tool of ridicule against a politician's financial policies for precisely this reason: everybody knows that it would be horrendous to circulate Monopoly money as your attempt at a state currency. Yet, because Monopoly money is copyrighted, in theory this should work and should be enforceable as a tradable commodity. But we all know how easily we could cheat such a system. Not even Ron Paul would use such a system of evading state-controlled-and-inflated money.
The second metaphor to describe copyright's uselessness is this: memes. Richard Dawkins coined the word to describe a cultural unit that replicates similar to genes on a Darwinian level, to show that Darwinian evolution happens in other areas. It is more than a metaphor, because all language, ideology, tradecraft and tradition can be described as things that have passed on down the generations.
Memes spread from person to person through copying. Let me reiterate: copying. What the copyright advocates claim is rather extraordinary. They believe not only that can control this replication process, but that they can forbid everyone else from doing so if they choose. So that Darwinian evolution only applies in this little bubble they've set themselves. As if they can predict the course of cultural evolution their art will take and know what steps will be needed to put a stop to it. As we all know, copyrighted material can manifest as viral form and not just digitally, and in doing so they take the form of memes. The Bible is one of the oldest memes/collection of memes in the world, but the Catholic Church could not stop the Reformation, which need I remind you all was pushed forward by unauthorised copying of the holy book that church wanted to forbid at all costs.
I don't really need the internet to show why the attempt to restrict and/or control memes will not go the way you intend. You cannot stop folk passing on art to next-door neighbours/friends who haven't paid for it for example. You can't stop the art's mutation into something else (stupidly called "recoding" in some copyright circles that want a put a stop to it, for unrelated reasons of artist "identity" as property), because nobody can claim to stop a genetic mutation let alone a memetic one.
I once heard someone say on forums/boards like this the following: "Intellectual property is all in the mind" and I thought it was very good at honing in on what I'm meaning here.
If you get past this mentality and see it for the doomed, incompetent policy that it is, you can look to the paywalls that work and guarantee the artist real property powers to set whatever price he/she wants for work. The assurance contract economies are the greatest functional alternatives precisely because it sees the value in the work done to do the art, not the intangible end-product which is de facto worth Monopoly money. "I will only do this work if I receive $100,000 in payment" interferes with no freedoms and does not have this contradiction of labour/property that copyright seems to have. Freedom of creativity and ability to protect property (strictly should be called worker's rights) are all protected with this simple request, where the $100,000 must be met by the other end of the market who have an interest in seeing the art: the audience.
Which is why Kickstarter and Patreon are the real revolutionaries here, not Netflix, Spotify or iTunes. The latter have to push their costs to zero as much as they can to satisfy a crowd with no responsibilities to pay the artist under copyright. But with crowdfunding - specifically assurance contract economies - where the art is forbidden from being released at all until the artist is paid up, it makes piracy truly impossible and therefore it becomes the only way to really make piracy stop. This way the audience must pay in order to get any art at all, and at the whim set by the artist. And you have a functioning free market where the artist can set the prices, make the profits, and not deliver the art if the audience isn't meeting their dues. Trading your physical work done for the collective payment of the audience functions as a market. Just look to tickets, subscriptions, pre-orders etc to see assurance contracts in action.
That to me is a far greater method of making creativity work that has some real force behind it. Not this silly game where you're chasing everybody around the world for Monopoly money forgeries.
Some comments on here right now remind me of the sort of people who throw lawsuit papers at cosplayers as they walk into anime conventions because they think they're justified in fighting a system where convention holders profit without artists' permission for have characters cosplayed.
Yeah, that does happen, but so what? The world doesn't revolve around artists. I know that's a little hard for morons to grasp. Especially when they're trying to sue innocent fans for thought-crime.
Gonna go after deviantArt next? Is there no low to which you will not sink?
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in the e-mail. "It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."
Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?
It would help if Facebook did not have a copyright to take from the users to begin with. It is because of the copyright philosophy that you support that Facebook are able to have power over others like this.
So you can certainly bet that I am anti-copyright.
I would not argue that crowdfunding - or to give it its formal name "assurance contracts" - is a substitute for patents (patents deserve a more socialist perspective for reasons out of scope here), but I would argue that assurance contracts are a substitute for copyright.
The fact that folk who make lots of money on, say, Kickstarter for creative projects without giving up the copyright on those projects says nothing about the potential of those projects to make that exact same money upon the promise of them being released into the public domain. It just says creators don't like giving up copyrights - nothing more and nothing less.
If Amanda Palmer made a promise to release the music into the public domain, she still would have got the $1.2 million - because she has every right to insist that she be paid before she works, and she could very well have stuck to that by demanding the payment everyone would have had to cough up. The fact that she gets BMI cheques says nothing to discredit this.
Demanding you get paid for your work before you work can work on such a platform without the assumption of copyright. If the new Batman was planned, with the promise of it being public domain after, there's nothing wrong with DC saying "but we need $50 million for it to happen - so that we can make the movie, get paid, and even make a profit which we believe would be rightfully ours". And they would most certainly get it, considering how people know that if they don't pay it won't happen.
And bear in mind that if internet corporations want the traffic that comes from this public domain Batman, they'd have to contribute to the crowdfunding pot too. Depending on the potential that could tally several hundreds of thousands of dollars a corporation (if they want the profit from the traffic) - in other words, you can hold to account those who might have otherwise used the uselessness of copyright to screw you over instead.
What's clever about assurance contracts is that they solve the so-called "free-rider" problem in a very direct and head-on way. The claim by copyright advocates is that if you don't prevent the copying of a movie, 3 people will have only paid $10 in total to the artist while the artist should have got $30. But assurance contracts does not need to stop the unauthorised coping: it just means the artist says "all 3 of you pay $10 each totalling $30, or nobody gets any movie". And there the artist can secure the $30 that was rightfully his. I can't think of a more effective paywall than that.
And as we can tell from those who buy pre-owned DVDs only to give the artist nothing at all - something that copyright law does nothing to stop - there will always be those who don't pay but yet there is still a standing movie industry, so there's no "game theory" issue to worry about crowdfunding either. In other words, if everybody waited for someone else to pay for the brand new DVDs straight from the artist, the industry would collapse, but that doesn't happen. Therefore, it wont happen with crowdfunding substituting copyright either.
And also, others DO know the value of paying artists directly and not via pre-owned art. Copyright law doesn't really deserve credit for the funding of artists (and I'd especially say that more so in a world where people can "steal" on the internet without getting caught, but regardless there are others who still pay - again, no credit to copyright law for those who do the right thing without having to be told by a law).
Simultaneous payments are not that hard to set up. When ISPs take monthly payments from millions of subscribers, that's a multi-million dollar simultaneous payment for a server - and de facto assurance contract - every month. Same with tickets for gigs. Same with subscriptions. Same with pre-orders. Same with betting agencies for live sports events. There is plenty of evidence that it works, and that copyright is not necessary for payment. And there's no reason why it can't extend to Google, ISPs etc to make them pay their share simultaneously with other interested parties to the creative project.
Copyright is at the end of the day a system that is worse than the Ron Paul vision of replacing the US state dollar with a private currency, and even someone as stupid and crazy as him wouldn't dare advocate such a private currency should be in digital JPEG form. And why shouldn't I make this comparison? Isn't a private currency, made up of JPEG images, something you would forbid other people from infringing by making unauthorised copies for their own unjustified value? Shouldn't such a private JPEG money system work according to the logic of copyright? We all know everybody would cheat such a crazy set up of money and companies would end up having more confidence in the Zimbabwean Dollar.
There is a reason why politicians make jibes about how their opponents take on policies with the worth of "Monopoly money", though what is not as known as it could be is that Monopoly money, from the board game, is copyrighted, and therefore in theory should be a valuable, tradable, de facto private currency according to those who believe in artificial scarcity. I would seriously like to hear a good reply as to why this should not be the case, considering everything copyright advocates believe in about the notion of "utilitarian" policies and the like.
I wonder if I should go on a rant about how the centralisation of the police force under Alex Salmond has helped create nonsense like this. And about how the Scottish National Party were up in arms when it was revealed how GCHQ was spying on MSPs, yet have been rather lacking of the same energy to protest about this.
Maybe I can find out if the cybernats have reached this far on the internet with their cultist affiliation with anything as long as you attach "because Scotland" to it.
"Man I always hated those misleading PSAs 'This is your brain' for example. I have seen a lot of things on drugs but I have never ever ever EVER... looked at an egg... and thought it was a fucking brain not once. I have seen UFOs flying through the sky, I have seen why we are all one consciousness and how life's but a dream and seen that kind of enlightenment but I have NEVER looked at an egg and thought it was a fucking brain. Now, maybe I wasn't getting good shit, but..."
You have to be real fucked up to imagine cutting off the ears and fingers and eyes of the artists that work for you and make you rich.
I find it amusing how groups call for people to have their real names online, and then also want the "right to be forgotten" when embarrassing stuff is said under those real names and can't be removed without broad-sweeping court orders (e.g. Google). You must identify yourself!...unless you don't want to!
Now we are being told that anonymity is something that tech companies now have to allow on top of every other regulation that was put beforehand, no matter how contradictory.
If we had been listened to, fools would have known that anonymity is the best defence against your embarrassing stuff online. And unless there's a court order forbidding your name from being mentioned - say in serious sex assault cases - people have the right to talk about your kerfuffles as much as they want and that includes search engines being subject to the right to be forgotten nonsense (Do people wanting false or outdated info that is embarassing to them removed also want false or outdated info that is reputationally convenient removed about them too? Of course they won't).
"We must now pass a law forcing Google to operate in our country and abide by this law because we hate Google so much."
"Get the fuck out Google. What, you're actually leaving? You see how much of a dick Google is, guys?!"
"Why can't anyone compete with Google? It's too damn powerful! Let's pass a law that attacks its competitors then!" While the competitors still have it rather difficult even when Google is no longer in the fucking country. Still Google's fault