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  • Dec 24th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    (untitled comment)

    This is absolutely correct. Mark Suster has written some great pieces on the importance of Twitter that addresses precisely this issue.


  • Dec 21st, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    (untitled comment)

    what a pair of greedy losers

  • Dec 7th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re:

    presumably you prefer something mindlessly one sided?

    Perhaps on example of a weak argument would help? The writers argue that musicians will continue to produce music even if their work is pirated and their economic interests are thereby damaged because they are not rational economic actors. They just like to play and perform. This may well be true. But not many media companies will make $100m films just because they love making movies.

    The argue that whilst record sales are down concert fees and other such secondary sources of revenue are up! And perhaps they outweigh the losses. No evidence either way - but they could! I seem to recall an article to the effect that the big performance winners are the big brand names who were established in the good old days paid for by record sales.

    There are no simple answers here. But I salute the professor for shooting down b/s numbers.

  • Dec 7th, 2010 @ 4:55am

    (untitled comment)

    It is a good piece and his points are well made. The key observation is that the true economic impact of the technology on society as a whole is much more complex than one might imagine. It should be observed that he is a professor of law, not economics, and he does not pretend to propose much that is substantive in the analysis of what is admittedly a more complex phenomenon. The paper he cites as an expert review of the economic and social impact may have been authored at HBS but it is (to say the least) shallow and is largely devoted to itemizing the many things we don't begin to understand.
    The point that copyright exceptions are as important as rights is absolutely key and is indeed often ignored. But I couldn't help thinking, as I was reading, of what the benefits to the US economy and society are of the overwhelming majority of Microsoft software in China having been pirated? Perhaps the argument is that by saving this cash they can spend it on imports of other US goods? :)

  • Dec 5th, 2010 @ 4:14am

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

    "Yet you are unable to provide any reason or logic yourself for why I am wrong, and ignoring I myself cited an economist."

    I am sorry. I didn't see a citation of an economist. Could you repeat the citation? I would very much like to see any bona fida economist supporting the theory of value you are espousing.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    as anyone with any economic training whatsoever beyond high school who is on this board will quickly tell you, what you are saying may seem conmmonsensical to you, but it is nothing more than a failed theory. Look it up.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re:

    viacom screwed up and that is bad from a PR point of view but is not directly relevant to youtube's liability.

    What it does bear upon is the practical difficulties for youtube in assessing what is and what is not copyright and acting expeditiously to remove material.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:15am


    "How the district court could apply the law and NOT find that YouTube lost their safe harbor is beyond me."

    I can absolutely understand that. If there was not absolutely blindingly obvious evidence that youtube just didn't give a damn and were aiding and abetting then they would be at serious risk, but it would be for a jury to decide. I don't think it is as clear as you suggest that that is the case wrt youtube. So it seems to me a jury trial is appropriate.

    "the district court acknowledged that "a jury could find that the defendants not only were generally aware of, but welcomed, copyright-infringing material," and that the infringing material "was attractive to users," and "enhanced defendants' income from advertisements." SPA9. I"

    I do find that surprising. I can't see how the court could find that "a jury could find..." and issue a summary judgement that there is no case to answer.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    silly and rude.
    He is trying to make a serious point. Why don't you address it rather than just mindlessly flaming him?

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:07am


    "They just can't figure out how to monetize it in concrete ways now that distribution is now beyond their control."

    This is absolutely correct. The problem is that this is a VERY hard problem. It is easy to blog about what a bunch of greedy dummies they all are, but it is genuinely difficult to figure out a new business model that works when the content/your product can be freely copied. It just is tough. Perhaps you have a clear idea about how best to proceed that some very smart people have failed to figure out yet. If you have, there's a very highly paid job just waiting for you.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re:

    " This may mean trouble for business that depends on being the sole decider of who gets to access what and when, "

    again, this is a confusion about value.
    businesses are not the sole decider.
    Even in cases where they are a monopoly supplier consumers in most cases do not have to purchase the good. It is their willingness to do and and the price they are prepared to pay that determines economic value not some innate quality.

    Bear in mind that the intrinsic value that people are talking about here may very well be very different for each consumer of the good, that we can't know what that value is in anyone's mind and we can't aggregate a set of such different individual values.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re:

    It does actually go directly against what has "been said here." Because what has been "said here" by Mike above is that the value is intrinsic and hence that value cannot be diluted by the act of putting the content on youtube.

    "A work being freely available is *more* valuable to people who demand it"
    You are confusing the use of the ideas of "value" and "valuable."
    If you make something free and freely available you may well make it extremely convenient and hence in that sense valuable for the consumer but you have also thereby destroyed its economic value for the content creator. And Mike was arguing that you don't destroy its value.

    All this comes down to confusing different meanings of "value'
    Viacom, crazy and hyperbolic though they may well be, are not talking about "value"' as some intrinsic quality, they are talking about "economic value" and it is this economic value they are claiming is being destroyed.

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 9:55am


    The problem here stems using an intuitive notion of 'value' which attributes value to some intrinsic quality of the object, in an economic context. This way of analyzing value, whilst popular in early classical economics, is long discredited and it can quickly and easily lead, as it does above, to mistaken analysis of the impact of changes in market conditions on value. If you believe that value is something intrinsic then you are likely to believe, as Mike does above, that this value has an enduring worth. So putting it on youtube doesn't change is value. But this kind of analysis is obviously false because if you turn a private good into a free public good you have changed its value profoundly.

  • Dec 3rd, 2010 @ 10:34pm

    (untitled comment)

    I agree that their pleading is ridiculous hyperbole. But I don't agree with one element of your argument.

    "Second, the idea that the value of the work is "destroyed" again makes no sense. After all, the value of any particular content is intrinsic to the content and how any individual feels about it. The value of a piece of content doesn't change if someone puts it up on YouTube."

    The idea that value is "intrinsic" to an object is an old and long discredited theory of value. Modern economics considers value to be determined by the market. So the question is, does the work being on youtube alter market value? I think it is quite credible that the market value of work is damaged by work being freely available. There have been arguments to the effect that the value is enhanced by the 'promotion' of the work. But record companies find that a hard argument to swallow and having seen the damage wreaked on them it is understandable that movie companies are sceptical. At the end of the day however it is an empirical question. For the record industry, the answer is pretty plain. As you point out, it is not yet quite as clear for the movie business. But at the end of the day, as far as a computer is concerned, the only difference between a song and a movie is bandwidth and storage.

  • Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, Mike as usual you are wrong from the start..

    a ceramic knife is practically undetectable, can easily be disguised as something harmless and is a deadly weapon.

  • Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: No, Mike as usual you are wrong from the start..

    Absolutely correct. All we need is for a team to carry explosives in rectally and we will all be bending over.
    You can't stop a smart determined terrorist. And we make matters worse by our politically correct aversion to profiling. Israelis don't make this mistake.

  • Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:11pm

    Re: No, Mike as usual you are wrong from the start..

    He is not wrong. He is absolutely right. The primary concern of the authorities is to create public fear and then be seen to make heroic attempts to assuage those fears. It is so easy for the enemy to attack us it is ridiculous. All they have to do is switch their attention from planes.

  • Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    Re: The myopic focus on airplanes...

    totally agree
    the cost of creating this illusion of security is gigantic
    imagine how many lives we could have saved or improved if we had spent it on health care.

  • Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    I totally agree with this article. But I feel it can be taken quite a bit further.

    "But, if you wanted perfect security, the only way to do that is to not let anyone fly, ever."

    If you want perfect security you can't travel by train, or bus, bike or car. You can't go into a building or go need industrial plant of any kind. The focus on planes is ridiculous. How about chemical plants? There are so many soft targets which if attacked could do catastrophic damage. The whole thing is a charade and is aptly named security theater.

  • Nov 12th, 2010 @ 2:09am

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

    you are correct
    you have
    a) a working implementation rather than the idea and some concept of how to reduce to practice ie you have truly invented the exact same thing
    b) you can prove that you fulfilled (a) above. typically by means of a lab notebook, witness statements etc. In other words, you must be able to demonstrate that you had all the elements in place before the filing date of the other inventor and that such an invention would cover exactly the same claims.
    the problem of course is that in many cases the inventions do not cover exactly the same claims but are rather in the same area with some overlap. And the 'earlier' inventor hasn't kept such notes etc etc

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