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[P]
Death of Copyright

By speek in Culture
Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 12:54:46 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

There is currently a discussion on the Freenet mailing list about the consequences of copyright becoming unenforceable, or even revoked.

For those who don't know what Freenet is, it's another Gnutella type thing, except it goes further, to ensure that people who submit/download files cannot be traced, and also, it is extremely difficult to determine which computer a document came from.

The question is, without copyright protections, how can artists - writers, musicians, moviemakers - survive? Will they be able to make money when "piracy" is no longer illegal or enforceable? And if not, will people stop making music, or movies, or writing books?


My own take on this is that there is no way people will stop being creative. I think some "artists" will have a hard time, because big marketing agencies will be unable to make money (ie Brittany Spears without millions of marketing capital - she just won't make it just on her music). But other artists will thrive by being able to reach more people, and generate more interest in seeing live performances.

Some people have trouble with the idea that they are "prevented" from profiting from their ideas - their creations. I think we have mistakenly come to view the ability to make money as a "right" that the government needs to protect.

So, what does everyone out there think? What will become of us if copyright dies?

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Death of Copyright | 83 comments (75 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Enforce me (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by 3than on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 10:35:04 AM EST

My $.02-are copyrights enforceable now? Even the RIAA is having a tough time enforcing their copyrights-it must be nearly impossible for an individual or a small company to enforce any patent rights they may hold. Who is copyright protecting? Like most legislation, whoever has enough cash to hire an army of lawyers. The day that I successfully protect some of MY IP, I might be convinced that it's a viable law.

Re: Enforce me (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:09:58 AM EST

This raises the excellent point that copyright, in practice, is mainly for the protection of distributors. Back when printing required a big expensive printing press, copyright helped provide incentive for people with money to make copies of author's works for them - because they too could benefit from doing so (because they got exclusive rights to print the work and then sell it).

Now that distribution costs are approaching zero, protection of distributors isn't needed to ensure that author's works become widely available. Note, protection of distributors is still needed for them to make money (and that's why there'll be a very bitter fight over these issues in the next 3 years, I predict).

Individual artists, however, have enlisted larger, richer groups to act on their behalf. In exchange for enforcing their copyrights, the distributor gets to keep most of the money made from the artists work (there's also marketing, etc, but these issues can be separated, I think). If the distributors become unable to enforce copyright, there's no reason for artists to make use of them, and artists will have to find other ways to make a living doing their thing.

So, will they succeed?

Personally, I think a lot more people will produce music as a hobby, and we'll end up with more, and it will be more varied. But people will still complain that there's something wrong if no one is getting rich from it.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 12:53:47 PM EST

Your comments are true of the music industry but nowhere else. For example, if I ever wrote a best-selling book, I would be retaining the copyright, licensing it to the publisher and making plenty of money.

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 01:34:55 PM EST

Let's see you write that book and then convince a publisher to publish it AND let you post it to a web-site. That would be a trick. Sure, people do it, but they are well-established authors. And they only get away with it because it's well known that people like to have books in their hands - computers being obnoxious to read text from.

This too, will change.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:01:42 PM EST

Well, ESR did it, and he was hardly an established author. The main criteria is that the work has to become sufficiently popular before anyone will publish it. (And isn't that a funny thing?)

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:08:37 PM EST

So what will you think when we do go through this same stuff with books? When they come out with a real nice viewer that we can take to bed, that's easy on the eyes, can be networked with the computer, and we can download all our books from the internet for free from FTP, Gnutella or whatever, and then the book publishers start encrypting the text, and then someone gets sued for their version of DeCSS, and FTP sites get shut down because it has copies of books, and people's computers are confiscated because of the suspicion that they have pirated files on them, etc, etc.....

Some things in the future really aren't all that hard to figure out.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (none / 0) (#41)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:47:32 PM EST

Maybe you missed my previous comments, the whole point of which is that it is better to advance the cause by freeing our own material than to try and change the law so that we can have everyone else's w/o paying for it (i.e., the whole candle-in-the-darkness thing). If I wrote something I'd follow ESR's lead and put it out on the net for free. I wouldn't have to deal with any of the problems you describe and neither would my readers.

I wish more people would focus on freeing their own stuff rather than just taking other peoples things and fighting a legal battle. It's much easier and better for everyone.

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (none / 0) (#47)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:58:56 PM EST

Ok, you are right that the only reason we're here with a successful open-source software culture is because people just did it. And that's a big reason why this whole thing is becoming an issue. It is essential that people do exactly what you describe.

My point is, trouble is brewing, it will happen regardless of what you say is the best way to go. The government will be under serious pressure not just to uphold copyright, but to strengthen beyond all reason (well, ok, that's already happened), and to put more effort into enforcing it, which could easily become very intrusive.

These are practical reasons to convince people of the problems of copyright and to work to change the laws.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (none / 0) (#50)
by cpt kangarooski on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:06:22 PM EST

Bruce Sterling's "The Hacker Crackdown" can be bought as a book or read in-full online through (among other places) Project Gutenberg. That's where I read it.

He's well known in our sort of community, but I don't think that he's a terribly big name. Nor did he have his other books online; this one was special.

Remember, always, that copyrights are completely artificial, that they directly conflict with the freedom of speech, and that they are only a couple of hundred years old, while there have been creative endeavors for thousands of years. Keeping these facts in mind helps to avoid falling for the line that we must have copyrights and that modern copyrights are the zenith of that movement. I would be happy if people would carefully think about the pros and cons of copyrights instead of letting other people do their thinking for them.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Re: Enforce me (none / 0) (#54)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:32:28 PM EST

Copyright is becoming more and more difficult to enforce because fewer and fewer people (largely online) are willing to respect the rights and wishes of content creators. Let's say I try to sell a song online in some popular digital format, even for a trivial amount of money. I guarantee that someone will be redistributing it within a few hours of it being available. Regardless of whether I am okay with that. Why? Because the redistributor doesn't have any respect for my wishes. And if I complain, he'll send me an argument like "Well, I don't charge for my works, so you shouldn't either." and have a few hundred of his friends flame me via email or DoS my website or harass me in some other manner. And what will I do? Stop releasing material online.

Honestly, it wouldn't even get that far because I have no desire to release any significant artistic works of mine online until I feel that netizens will be willing to respect my wishes. I don't care if it restricts my financial gain or the size of my audience. No respect means no content from me.

[ Parent ]

Re: Enforce me (none / 0) (#55)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:58:51 PM EST

Are copyrights enforceable now? I don't know-- ask BT.

[ Parent ]
Ain't gonna happen (4.00 / 5) (#5)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:07:08 AM EST

There used to be a guy at the local computer shop who, when badgered about making deals and trades, would consistently say "Ain't gonna happen." I feel compelled to say that now every time I hear about the death of copyright.

There is a small group of us geeks who are even considering the idea of abolishing copyright, but the rest of the world uses knows it Ain't Gonna Happen. Why? There are two possible reasons why people believe copyright should be circumvented:

  1. A "gimme" attitude; "What's yours ought to be everyone's. Free exchange of ideas!" Characterised by arguing in favor of, and trying to find ways of stealing copyrighted material regardless of what the law says.
  2. A genuine belief that society benefits when quality material is placed in the public domain: "What's mine ought to be yours. Free echange of ideas!" The genuinness of this belief is best evidenced by a history of contribution and an attitude of giving.

There are far too many people in this debate who, while they can recite CatB from memory, only care about getting free music and hate the inconvenience of having to pay for software licenses. They are like reincarnations of the "file leeches" from BBS days of yore.

The best way to further the cause, if you really believe in it, is to set an example and place your contributions in the public domain (or under some kind of public license). We already have a legal, optimal way of circumventing copyright and this is it: opting to forego its protections and hassles for our own work. This is why the FSF has been so successful in advancing their cause: not by demanding that others give up their intellectual property, but by allowing others to use their own creations.

In the end, the free exchange of ideas will triumph not because of a change in civil law, but because people will voluntarily choose not to enforce them.

-JD

Re: Ain't gonna happen (4.50 / 2) (#7)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:20:44 AM EST

What if Napster gets shut down? Will you just say, well, 99% of what their users did was breaking the law, so, that's ok to shut them down.

And then, what if Gnutella gets outlawed? Will you just say, well, 90% of what their users did was against the law, so that's ok to ban that software.

And then, if they outlaw Freenet? Will you just say, well, most of them were breaking the law, so it's ok?

The problem is, enforcing copyright can become very intrusive. It can become a form of censorship. There are reasons to fight it more actively than what you suggest.

Also, in reality, the fight is being brought to us by copyright's defenders. I predict that within the next three years, the government will try to make it a crime to run software such as Gnutella and Freenet. What will it take then for the free exchange of ideas to triumph?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 12:21:02 PM EST

If Napster gets shut down, I will say that they should have made an effort at making sure their service was being used for legal purposes. You can't tell me it's not feasable, because it is. Nearly every provider of free web pages monitors their users for illegal content. If these free services fail to restrict themselves to legal uses, then of course the government will do it for them.

If these services are shut down, it will not hurt any of the rest of us who have already been advancing the cause in a legitimate and more optimal manner, the one I just described.

When the Free Exchange of Intellectual Property triumphs in the area of music, it will not be because of Gnutella. It will be because musicians voluntarily place their music for download on their websites or such like. And when the really necessary changes have been made, Gnutella will not be necessary.

If you want to distribute your own work, whether it be software or music or writing or whatever, put it on a website like everyone else has been doing for years. In the end, the only reason you'd need Napster or Gnutella is to distribute things that are not yours to give away.

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 01:31:30 PM EST

I would think if software such as Gnutella is outlawed, that would be a significant violation of our rights by the government. Just cause you think it wouldn't hurt you doesn't mean you should accept it.

And, sharing information requires more than simply putting it on a website. People have to be able to find it. Gnutella, Freenet, etc, are also attempting to make it easier to find information. If software that helps musicians/programmers find interested users gets banned, free exchange of ideas will suffer. Why do you think Napster's such a big deal? It's basically just a specialized FTP program.

The point is, in trying to over-protect copyright, we may find our rights to the free exchange of legitimate information compromised.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:17:59 PM EST

I would think if software such as Gnutella is outlawed, that would be a significant violation of our rights by the government. Just cause you think it wouldn't hurt you doesn't mean you should accept it.

All the more reason they should make some kind of effort to curtail abuse of the system. I'm not saying we should accept it, I'm saying they should prevent it. If they refuse to prevent illegal use of the service, then they deserve to be shut down.

And, sharing information requires more than simply putting it on a website. People have to be able to find it.

Easy. Announce it somewhere. No need for Napster/Gnutilla/Freenet there. Free software people have always done it this way. It's actually more effective to announce a release (whether of music or software) on a well-read website than to stick it in the massive pool of stuff on N/G/F and hope someone notices.

Ever hear of Freshmeat? If I write a software package and stick it on my website, I can announce it there and people will find out about it. You may chide me for using software as an example, but it's essentially the same. The web is a far, far better place for artists to host free music than relying on N/G/F. You can put more information on a web site, it's accessible on any platform, and it's easier to type www.musician-name.com than to do a search on Napster.

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:27:13 PM EST

To say it's the responsibility of the makers of software to ensure it can't be used to break the law is an odd statement. Care to justify that view some more?

Would you also accept random government searches of your hard drive for illegal material? What if some company uses the DMCA to require that you cease and desist making your music available? You do realize that, according the the DMCA, you have to pull the material, and THEN prove that it doesn't violate the law.

Running a website costs considerably more than just uploading your stuff to Gnutella and then announcing it somewhere. Especially if you expect thousands of people to download a 100MB file from it.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#34)
by End on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 03:44:44 PM EST

"To say it's the responsibility of the makers of software to ensure it can't be used to break the law is an odd statement. Care to justify that view some more?"

It's not the responsibility of the software makers. It's the responsibility of those who provide the service. Again, see GeoCities et. al.

"Would you also accept random government searches of your hard drive for illegal material?"

Are you talking about the government searching my hard drive through Napster? If so, why not? If people using Napster make stuff available on their hard drives, what's the matter who's searching for illegal material on there, teenagers with Rios or the government? They've already as much as said that anyone can rifle through there.

If you are talking about random searches anytime, anywhere, then no, that's neither desirable nor feasable. Furthermore, copyright law falls under civil law; the government is not going to take any action unless the copyright holder initiates the process.

"What if some company uses the DMCA to require that you cease and desist making your music available? You do realize that, according the the DMCA, you have to pull the material, and THEN prove that it doesn't violate the law."

I have no idea how you came up with this scenario. It appears that you do not understand what the DMCA is. If I write and record my own music, I can do whatever I want with it regardless of the DMCA. The DMCA is evil, but a company can only use the DMCA to protect their own copyrighted material, not mine.

"Running a website costs considerably more than just uploading your stuff to Gnutella and then announcing it somewhere. Especially if you expect thousands of people to download a 100MB file from it."

Most musicians and bands spend considerably more on instruments and equipment than they would on a website hosting deal. And using a "download for free or buy a CD online" model, they would actually make money off of their music to offset their costs (assuming their music is pretty good).

-JD
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#43)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:48:51 PM EST

It's not the responsibility of the software makers. It's the responsibility of those who provide the service

There is no service that runs Gnutella - it's distributed. They'd have to either attack users individually, or outlaw the use of the software. If that happened, people suspected of running the software could be sued and forced to submit to searches of the hard drives for illegal material. It wouldn't matter if they were just sharing their own files with the world.

The DMCA is evil, but a company can only use the DMCA to protect their own copyrighted material, not mine.

But what's to stop a company from issuing the threat to you, regardless of whether it is valid? According the the DMCA, you have to comply, and then go through the courts to get back your right to host the content. Actually, in truth, this would be directed against your ISP, and they would likely just pull your content to avoid dealing with the whole mess (see Ebay's reaction to CoS's demand that they pull auctions of emeters - it's a physical item for God's sake, how could a copyright law apply? But, they were pulled).

I just don't think things are going to turn out all rosy if people just start sharing nicely. It's like the war on drugs. Sure, drugs are bad, but do we really need to make them illegal? Is it worth the extra costs? The dead police officers? The expansion of the police's power to search and seize your property? I'd like to nip this one in the bud by getting the word out that copyright is going to become completely unenforceable without draconian measures, and so, to avoid a lot of trouble, it'd be better to do away with it entirely.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by 3than on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:18:30 PM EST

I don't know man. Freely redistributable digital media are NOT going to go away. There will always be a way to rip audio to cd, or to some other digital audio format. People are just never going to be as happy about buying cds as they were before they knew exactly how cheap they are.
I have a cd burner, and you probably do too, or you have access to one. I don't know about you, but I've bought a lot of cd's. I'm still going to buy a lot of cd's, records, etc. But I'm not going to stop copying either. Let's face it-after my buddy has bought that reissue jazz cd, there's no compellin moral argument to make me not copy it, even if the artist's family actually does get a portion of the profit. The only way that music copyrights will be enforced from now on is if they can convince the government to start arresting individuals for copying music.
Will it happen? Well, they try to arrest individuals for drug use. To start a war on copyright, I imagine it would take a similar investment of manpower and planning. And I would imagine that their successes would be similar-they'd succeed in causing some serious damage to the lives of individuals, and if they try really hard, they may cause some society-wide problems, as they have by creating and enforcing anti-drug laws.
But I doubt very, very much that they want to start another losing war. I think that everybody knows what the upshot of this whole discussion is. Individuals now have the right to copy music as they see fit. Maybe not organizations, but individuals have carte blanche to copy, as they have for a long time. If this gets taken away, people will realize that they have lost what was once right. Call it a privilege if you want, but the situation is the same. People in general have a fairly good idea about what's going on. The RIAA can spend as much money as they want fighting .mp3, but with every success they have, they are alienating their customers. It's a losing battle.
In fact, I think it's one they've already lost. It's true: Napter and Gnutella haven't added anything to copyright discussion-they've ended it.

[ Parent ]
Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#53)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:21:46 PM EST

Individuals now have the right to copy music as they see fit

Says who? I've seen an awful lot of "I have the right to ..." quips from a lot of people online, and yet most can't give any sort of basis for that right.

Because you said so? Fine, then I have the right to shoot up my workplace. Think anyone's gonna buy that argument?

Because (insert online egomaniac) said so? Well, who elevated them to monarchs?

If you're going to stand up and make an assertion like that, back it up. The art of composing a good, solid argument is an endangered species online, because nobody thinks, they just spew.

[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#60)
by 3than on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 08:12:28 PM EST

Excuse me?
Do you want to argue against cpoying this stuff? That's fine. Go right ahead, pay whatever you want to. Buy all your music new. I don't give a shit.
I'm not saying this because ESR or RMS or whatever guru/hack guy said it. I'm saying it because I copy music. All the time. And you know what? So do you. That's why. What I'm saying is that the idea of stopping people from copying music, all the time, making really good copies, is fucking ridiculous. Don't even try to tell me you haven't done it. Don't even try to tell me about someone you know that has never copied music, because he or she has too. That's my fucking argument.
Hey, maybe I'm wrong--maybe you've never copied a cd, or downloaded an .mp3, or recorded the radio or made a mix tape. And maybe no one else has ever made you a mix tape or a copy of a cd or record. But you know what??? THEY HAVE. That's what I'm saying. And it's not going to stop.
When Metallica named over 300,000 users and had them removed from napster, I think that showed exactly what the RIAA is up against. We outpower them in sheer numbers and we pay their bills. And any way that you cut it, we're going to do it. So why don't you stop your napster uploads, get off the gnutella network and freenet, throw out all your burned cd's and tapes, and take ten seconds to think about the amount of resources that it would take to stop people. That's how we've won the right-and it's how we won nearly all the rights we have. It's not that the British wanted to give up their rights in the colonies-it's just that they didn't have the resources to keep fighting. The RIAA might have a lot of resources, but I think we all know that they don't have enough to win the sort of battle it would take.
So next time you take issue with something I say, why don't you cite some examples. And if you can't do that, then make a coherent argument. And most of all, try thinking for a second before you waste your breath on some sort of pointless, formless accusation which serves to do nothing other than piss me off. If you're going to attack my viewpoint, at least tell me what yours is. OK? I might not have the 'right' to copy music, but you're sure not going to prove otherwise until you make a case. I'm afraid that the only statement that you supported in your post is that not many people can make a coherent argument these days.

[ Parent ]
Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#72)
by Cariset on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 08:39:42 AM EST

. It's not that the British wanted to give up their rights in the colonies-it's just that they didn't have the resources to keep fighting. The RIAA might have a lot of resources, but I think we all know that they don't have enough to win the sort of battle it would take.

Yeah, and the US gov't doesn't have the resources to win the war against drugs, either. But that hasn't stopped them from thinking they do, and making a bunch of worse-than-useless draconian laws that have ushered in a new era of Prohibition criminals.

I agree the RIAA will never eliminate copying. They probably know this, also. But they're fighting for the survival of their business model, and if/when they fail, they'll lose an enormous amount of money. So their attitude is just a capitalist variation on "we'll get hurt one way or another, so why not get hurt fighting for what we believe in?"...

The problem is that they have the resources to cause serious world-wide damage to art, culture, and law, through the power of the US government. The question is not "can they stop us from copying", the question is "can we stop them from screwing everything up while they try to stop us from copying".



[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#78)
by 3than on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 01:08:23 PM EST

That's a good point. But how else could they screw everything up-increase prices? Lower the quality of what they put out? Do whatever they can to affect the legislative process for their own ends, legally limiting freedom of speech in digital media? I'm hard pressed to see what else they're going to try. They're definitely going to keep doing the damage they've started-DMCA, UCITA, lawsuits against important organizations...and it might suck, as DMCA has been sucking in particular. But their scope is limited, and the U.S. government is the only one they'll be able to buy, I think. We'll stop them. And then there will be bigger fish to fry...it's going to be hard to convince the U.S. that the internet isn't their territory...(but they're going to find that out eventually!)

[ Parent ]
Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#79)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 01:38:58 PM EST

I'm always amused by the assertion that the status quo has to be proved valid to prevent a change, rather than prove that the change has enough benefit to merit enacting it. Or how a flame is considered a coherent argument.



[ Parent ]
Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#63)
by Imperator on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 12:29:23 AM EST

(I'll restrict myself to America, because this doesn't apply to many other countries.)

The "war on drugs" was not championed by politicians who really believed in it. It was adopted as a process, not a real goal. It allows the various governments to do things they'd have trouble explaining in other circumstances: laws crafted to jail disproportional numbers of the lower class and as a side effect disenfranchise many of them. At this time, a "war on copyright infringement" would target quite the opposite demographic.

[ Parent ]

Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#44)
by cpt kangarooski on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:52:21 PM EST

Then does this argument not mean that the record companies are also at fault? They should have made sure that people weren't making illegal use of their music too. What makes Napster so special? Why should they be the only ones blamed?

Tools should be legal; the actions you use those tools to undertake are what we ought to be looking at.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Re: Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#52)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:11:36 PM EST

I believe that what FreeNet was all about was actually circumventing any possibility of being shut down, eg. when a really well working FreeNet network is up, it'll be a major bitch to get anything off it. Also, do you think for one second, that if the government tried to stop FreeNet even today that they'd succeed? Look at DeCSS. People _openly_ advertise mirrors of theirs. (At least on Slashdot. Go figure.) Attacking something much closer to freedom of the Net such as FreeNet would be a _huge_ media battle, and because it's open source and/or free, it'd be very hard to get rid of.

Basically, from what I can see, is that it'll be massive 'Net regulation or death of copyright. I can see neither happening. Hmm...

-=Canar=-
-- the guy too lazy to log in.


[ Parent ]
Copyrights in the global economy (4.00 / 3) (#8)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:23:09 AM EST

Copyrights (for the most part) have always been unenforcable except for a few types of blatant infringement. Virtually all landmark copyright cases have been between copyright holders and large corporations (and yes, there are some exceptions to this).

Freenet and Gnutella/Napster have not brought anything really new to the copyright discussion. They are only tools that change the scale of the discussion. What megalithic marketing/distributin companies need to realize is that their role will remain essentially unchanged. The digital new world order makes it easier for the unknown/unsigned artist to distribute his or her work on the same scale as the giant distribution companies, but all artists still need to get into the public eye before people will start downloading songs/movies/what have you. Corporations that can afford advertising will be able to get their pet artists in the spotlight much easier than a self-promoting indie.

What will become more apparent is that the music industry is not just about music (and it never has been with the possible exception of session musicians and works-for-hire). The money in the music industry is in brand name recognition of the artist. The more popular the brand name, the more money that can be made. Given the same amount of disposable income, the music buying population will switch to other types of merchandise if the music of the current brand of the moment is free to download. Artists will need to be flexible and creative to give the public a statisfactory branding experience.

So the big distributors might have to shift a little in terms of what they are distributing, but their job of attempting to turn a given artist into enough of a house hold name to sell millions of copies of something will be essentially unchanged.

These points hold also to print media. Should some sort of re-usable electronic paper ever become inexpensive and wide-spread enough so that computers can replace books as they are now replacing tape players and radios, the same marketing tactics will have to take place. Signed first editions, quality collectable editions, photographs, etc. will replace the the typical book as the money maker for publishers.



Re: Copyrights in the global economy (none / 0) (#10)
by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:37:01 AM EST

That's an interesting idea. So, instead of selling CD's, they'll sell more Brittany Spears shirts, sandals, hair styling jell, etc. That's a new one for me.

Did you read the recent Discover Magazine article about the replicator we'll all have in our kitchens by 2010? It'll be able to "create" simple plastic objects, possibly metal objects as well - things like pens, dishes, toys... You'll just download the design for them on your computer and hit the "create" button.

And no, I didn't make that up folks.

Just thought I'd point that out. To me, it seems our world is heading down a road where everything is becoming cheaper, almost to zero. What will become of our beloved capitalist system while this happens?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Copyrights in the global economy (none / 0) (#35)
by Tr3534 on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 03:45:10 PM EST

Just thought I'd point that out. To me, it seems our world is heading down a road where everything is becoming cheaper, almost to zero. What will become of our beloved capitalist system while this happens?

Quite obvious: the capitalist system will either have to adapt to the new conditions or be replaced. look at history: at one point or another, almost all forms of government or of economy fell apart sooner or later.

Maybe technology will bring down the capitalist system, or maybe it will adapt. Only one way to find out...
Sigmentation Fault: Post Dumped.
[ Parent ]
Scarcity (none / 0) (#36)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 03:47:24 PM EST

I hadn't seen the article in Discover, but I do know that it is only a matter of time. I remember reading five or six years ago about non-theoretical 3d printers that create plastic three dimensional output. At the time these were quite expensive (and likely still are) and had (have) a limited range of applications, it doesn't take a whole lot of forsight to realize that if an economy of scale (both in cost and in size) can be realized, devices such as these will dramatically change society.

Anyway, the heart of my post is that the entertainment industry is based entirely on 'perceived' value. An 'official' product will almost always have more perceived value (assuming its done well) than an 'unofficial' value. Why else does an autographed novel sell for so many hundreds of dollars more than the non-autographed version? It isn't really any different, but the autographed copy has a higher perceived value. Musicians and authors will need to find a way for their 'official' works to be perceived as being superior. Autographs, superior quality, faster-to-market, and customization are some of the ways that creators can stay ahead of the duplicators.



[ Parent ]
Re: Copyrights in the global economy (none / 0) (#83)
by el_chicano on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 01:10:10 PM EST

To me, it seems our world is heading down a road where everything is becoming cheaper, almost to zero. What will become of our beloved capitalist system while this happens?

Don't you watch Star Trek? Money is obsolete and all physical needs are taken care of. People work because they want to not because they have to pay the rent...

As a liberal Democrat (i.e., socialist), "beloved" is hardly the word I would use for capitalism. How can you love a system that so inequitable that food is thrown away in richer nations while millions are starving in less developed countries???


[ Parent ]
Not a great thing (4.00 / 1) (#9)
by Dacta on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:29:38 AM EST

(Is it supposed to be copywrite or copyright, btw?)

If copywrite becomes unenforcable, I'm betting that penalties for copywrite violation will increase enormously. Compare it to anti-drug laws - the penalties have increased to act as a deterrent, partially because the laws themselves are impossible to enforce on a large scale.

No one will benefit from somethign like that happening. Even the large media companies will lose out, because they will need to implement technical means of copy protection, which will cost money to develop/maintain and will cut their market share, because any protected file format (for instance) will not achieve the same consumer acceptance.

The only ways individuals will be able to make a living from intellectual property creation is by:

  • Staying non-digital and producing things that are rare and valuable (ie, physical artworks)
  • Producing content for a large company on a regular basis (eg, newpaper columnists).
  • Producing content on demand for other entities. This is the model I think most software will be produced under. I think most software that is now available off-the-shelf will eventually become uneconomical to produce because of competition with free software and due to piracy. There will still be a big demand for custom software, though.

    Unfortunatly, I think most people do need an economic incentive to produce most content. While some music is done for fun, for instance, I think we can't rely on all content being produced for the fun of it.

    For instance business columns in newspapers could be produced basically as advertising for consulting firms, but I think that most people would like some amount of independance.

    I'm not sure what the "solution" is - I suspect this is one of those "scary change things" where we can't predict what's going to happen. There are just too many variables to consider, and too many of them are unknown. Just as an example: imagine that Gnutella usage takes off to a greater extent than Napseter has now. Gnutella has the potential to seriously effect internet bandwidth (every request goes to every client!!!), and who knows what a significant slowdown in download speeds like that would do to the number of people using it? Perhaps it would effect thing enough for there to be a market for people to pay for music from some site that somehow uses new quality-of-service features to speed up downloads to their site (like the way you can pay excite-cable for preferential routing or whatever it was)?

  • Re: Not a great thing (3.00 / 1) (#14)
    by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:41:49 AM EST

    But, there's a contradiction in what you just said:

    I think most software that is now available off-the-shelf will eventually become uneconomical to produce because of competition with free software and due to piracy

    and

    Unfortunatly, I think most people do need an economic incentive to produce most content. While some music is done for fun, for instance, I think we can't rely on all content being produced for the fun of it

    So, which is it? Will people not do stuff for fun/enjoyment or will they? It seems to me, it's already being shown that people are more than willing to give away that which costs them very little.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#73)
    by Dacta on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 09:37:23 AM EST

    But most of the free software is (now) produced by people who are paid to produce it.

    That might happen in some cases for non software content (eg, sponsered columns), but in other cases (novels, for instance) it isn't going to work, unless someone is prepare to pay the author to write the work and not expect anything back from it.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (3.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 01:20:21 PM EST

    Unfortunatly, I think most people do need an economic incentive to produce most content.

    I think that we'd all be much better off if the people that can only produce "content" whith the promise of great economic incentives were lacking those incentives. Music, art and other entertainment today reflects too well the incentives behind it's production.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#46)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:57:14 PM EST

    I think that we'd all be much better off if the people that can only produce "content" whith the promise of great economic incentives were lacking those incentives.

    Swell. So art should be produced only by people who are already wealthy - so that they have enough time to write an opera, or a novel, or whatever.

    sheesh.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#57)
    by Onan the Magnificent on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 06:43:30 PM EST

    Swell. So art should be produced only by people who are already wealthy - so that they have enough time to write an opera, or a novel, or whatever.

    He said great economic incentives. Anyway, art is produced by poor or relatively poor people all the time, bands hoping to "make it big" for example, artists hoping to be recognized or just happy with their curcumstances.

    In my experience the best art nowdays is always produced by "poor" artists. I have to agree with the Anonymous Hero that the current reward system for artists isn't producing good art. How many pop tunes will be remembered 100 years from now? How many Hollywood movies will survive? Will there be a Beethoven's 9th of the 21st century? I don't know, but I doubt it.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#64)
    by FlinkDelDinky on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 12:48:26 AM EST

    It doesn't matter what you think of popular art. It only matters what the market thinks. IP rights may not be perfect but I think we need them.

    If I write some software to solve a problem, GPL it, then I get something back if others make improvements.

    If I write a novel, I get nothing back no matter what you do. Writing a good story is pretty f****** hard work. Not only do you want to steal that labor from me (by not buying the book), you want it so that if some producer wants to make a film of the book, he doesn't have to compensate me!?!?

    There's no other way to say it but you sound like a thug.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#77)
    by Onan the Magnificent on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 12:48:52 PM EST

    In no way did I indend to suggest that artists shouldn't be paid. What I mean was that the huge financial compensation possible for pop artists means that people are attracted to a musical carieer primarily for financial gains (and of course fame.) My examples are the new style pop musicans that often have no actual musical talent and try to cover up the fact by "dancing" (what looks to me like aerobics) and having other people sing for them.

    As porkchop pointed out, the beatles were after money too, but I don't think their original intention was to become super rich rock stars. Obviously they were musicans first, then naturally shed the leeches sucking their profits (ditched their record company.) That was a different time though, before the music industry was as finely a tuned money making machine as it is today.

    Let me say that I certainly would hope that artists continue to be paid and paid well, but I do wish that it were the better artists that were getting at least a fairer share of cash. Our society is focused on the small (< 1%) portion of the artistic or literary world which promoted their respective industry. This select group of promoted talent is of course chosen by the promoters based solely on who will make them the most money. Is that the way to define culture? MTV, Oprah's book list, top 40 radio stations and all the other bastions of the modern day pop culture canon are posion to a deep and meaningful culture, but perhaps unavoidable in a culture such as ours where capitalisim is in high gear.

    Sure, everyone's out to make the most money possible, who can blame them? Well I'm not out to make the most money possible, just enough to be comfortable in a balanced thoughtful life, so I can blame them.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#81)
    by FlinkDelDinky on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 08:48:06 PM EST

    I actually sympathise with your position. A new novelist may get 3k for a novel he worked on for a year or two. But even the big boys had to go through that.

    You seem to think that nobody likes these millie vanillee type bands. I think you should look at them as part of an entertainment company. For the most part kiddies going through puberty love these pop bands, to them it's music. And there's nothing you can do to change that.

    However, you don't have to support those bands. And there's lots of 'small' bands out there that make plenty of money because of the support of their 'cult' followings. Last night on Conan O'Brien I saw a guy (Lou Reed I think) that I don't think most people would like but by the time he finished his song I thought it was pretty cool.

    I think he should be allowed to copyright his music. I don't think he should lose control of his work because we want to enjoy it without compensating him. Just because it's easy to steel dosn't make it right.

    Yes, I've got some mp3's via napster, so I'm being hypocritical. Still, the more I think about it the more I think I'm correct. And I'm also aware of all the BS the record Co.'s put the artist through (I think the mob took control of that industry early on) but that's a different issue (which mp3 net distrobution may solve).

    Still, intellectual rights must be preserved.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#82)
    by Onan the Magnificent on Thu Jun 22, 2000 at 01:07:28 PM EST

    I wasn't commenting on copyright laws at all, I was just agreeing with someone's post that if we changed the way we compensate artists we might get better art. He said something to the effect of, "pop culture today reflects it's monetary incentives." I don't think copywrite laws are all bad, not even close.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#75)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 10:07:34 AM EST

    He said great economic incentives. Anyway, art is produced by poor or relatively poor people all the time, bands hoping to "make it big" for example, artists hoping to be recognized or just happy with their curcumstances.

    What, you mean bands hoping to "make it big" aren't looking for financial reward? How do you explain Clapton, Michael Jackson, the Beetles, the Stones, the Who? They all made music without regard for money? If John Lennon wasn't interested in getting as much money as he could, why did the Beetles start their own record label?

    In my experience the best art nowdays is always produced by "poor" artists. I have to agree with the Anonymous Hero that the current reward system for artists isn't producing good art. How many pop tunes will be remembered 100 years from now? How many Hollywood movies will survive? Will there be a Beethoven's 9th of the 21st century? I don't know, but I doubt it.

    Snort. How many tunes of the 19th, 18th or 17th centuries were remembered a hundred years later? Every one here has been real quick to talk about guys like Mozart and Beethoven, as if they represented the normal state of music in their age - while ignoring the thousands of others who could only dream of the superstar life Mozard led.

    Even Shakespeare kept his eye on the bottom line - or do you think he fed his children sonnets for breakfast?



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Not a great thing (4.00 / 1) (#38)
    by fluffy grue on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:31:12 PM EST

    Copyright. As in, the rights to copy. Simple, really.

    I must disagree with your basic notions, however. Going digital and mass-distributed doesn't mean the death of profits. It just means you need to think about profits some other way. And anyway, the best art is that which isn't motivated by money to begin with. Which would you rather have, Beethoven's 9th or Livin' La Vida Loca?

    Commercial music is produced with a different mentality and mindset than artistic music. Banal commercial music is dime-a-dozen. It's not the sort of stuff I personally CARE about being hurt by globalization and mass-copying. And music done 'from the heart' rather from the pocketbook is typically done by those who don't CARE about not striking it rich on their music, and they still have live concerts. Why not use free music releases as promotional tools for live concerts, anyway?

    People will keep on writing music and stories and novels and poetry and keep on painting and sculpting and 3D modelling if it's what gives them joy, regardless of monetary gains. When I'm inspired to do something, I do it first, and MAYBE the thought of making money on it crosses my mind later (and usually I just think, "Nah, someday I'll get around to putting it on my homepage, and maybe put together an mp3.com DAM CD compilation or something later"). Then again, I don't have to hire and pay studio engineers or producers, either, but neither do many artists I love.
    --
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#48)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:02:54 PM EST

    When I'm inspired to do something, I do it first, and MAYBE the thought of making money on it crosses my mind later

    I behaved that way once. Then I had children. I'm not trying to be snide: this is the literal truth. Once upon a time, I spent weeks writing software for calculators and C64s and giving away the source. I cannot afford to behave that way anymore. *Now* the future and welfare of my son and daughter is always in the back of my mind when I do *anything*. - and while money can't buy happiness, it definitely buys the house and pays for college.



    People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Not a great thing (none / 0) (#68)
    by Dacta on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 02:18:32 AM EST

    And anyway, the best art is that which isn't motivated by money to begin with. Which would you rather have, Beethoven's 9th or Livin' La Vida Loca?

    Beethoven sure got paid for producing the 9th symphony. To be sure, it wasn't directly in the way the music industry works now, but he produced it under patronage of some rich guy in Vienna (I think), and he (Beethoven) was a pretty rich man form producing his music.

    [ Parent ]

    Street performer protocol (3.30 / 3) (#15)
    by avdi on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 11:46:13 AM EST

    One possible way for artists to make money in an economy where copyright has been weakened is the Street Performer Protocol. Here's the abstract, from the page:

    We introduce the Street Performer Protocol, an electronic-commerce mechanism to facilitate the private financing of public works. Using this protocol, people would place donations in escrow, to be released to an author in the event that the promised work is put in the public domain. This protocol has the potential to fund alternative or "marginal" works.


    --
    Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
    Re: Street performer protocol (none / 0) (#51)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:09:31 PM EST

    Surprising that no one's posted a response to this yet, because it really is a possible solution to the whole mess. If the music industry had any brains, they would set up the escrow accounts, skim off the top, and put their most popular artists on it. But they won't, of course, because they prefer a model that lets them take 90% of the profits instead of 10%, even if that model is doomed.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Street performer protocol (none / 0) (#58)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 06:45:54 PM EST

    Actually according to some artists (eg Courtney Love) their take is closer to 99%!

    Daniel

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Street performer protocol (none / 0) (#65)
    by dto on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 12:48:39 AM EST

    I disagree with putting things in the public domain; there is something to be said for control over derived works and (most importantly IMO) the ability to ensure proper attribution.

    I am a musician and writer, anc I can tell you that I would never participate in anything that required or encouraged me to put things in the public domain, where others can make a million selling print copies or what have you.
    --- @@@ dto@gnu.org @@@ GNU OCTAL @@@ http://www.gnu.org/software/octal
    [ Parent ]

    History has some value (2.50 / 2) (#16)
    by Rasputin on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 12:16:14 PM EST

    I think a lot of people are forgetting that copyright is a fairly new concept. Mozart and Bach, to use a couple of musical examples, certainly didn't have copyright law on their side, and had to rely on patrons and family money to get by. Certainly, without copyright, it will be very difficult to get rich in the entertainment business, but who wants to be a millionaire?

    It will always be possible to make a reasonable living in entertainment (just look at the average professional athletes) for those performers whose skills work well in a live show setting. Even movies, with or without copyright, will continue for the forseeable future. Things will change, but as I recall, that's life ;)
    Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

    Re: History has some value (3.00 / 1) (#19)
    by PresJPolk on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 12:39:31 PM EST

    Yes, Mozart and Bach had no copyright, but in their time, reproductions on the scale that the RIAA makes of their works, was impossible.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: History has some value (3.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 01:14:42 PM EST

    True, but they were commissioned for their work. Paid to write the music. Today that's rare, "artists" are most often paid when their music sells.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: History has some value (none / 0) (#42)
    by cpt kangarooski on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:47:49 PM EST

    However, the record companies are now trying to have their cakes and eat them too. They are attempting, by pulling the puppet strings of their bought Congressmen, to have all songs recorded under typical contracts (wherein the artist temporarily assigns the copyright to the company but eventually gets it back) retroactively changed into works for hire. Then the companies would own the copyrights completely and the artist, despite their contract, would be SOL.

    This would mean that "in order to protect artists" they would be stripped against their wishes of their works, but still not paid for the work as though it were a work for hire, but more likely with the paltry royalties they get. Remember kids, musicians have to pay out of their royalties for all the costs and promotion of a record, the pay for their managers, etc. This is why you can actually LOSE money the more popular you are. 7-11 managers are better paid than 99.44% of musicians who work with record companies.

    --
    All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
    [ Parent ]
    Curious historical question (none / 0) (#37)
    by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 03:52:52 PM EST

    It seems to me that the reproduction of famous artists in pre-digital economies is likely to be similiar per capita per audience as today. In other words, I'm contending that reproduction of Bach and Mozart in their day reached the same percentage of the available target audience as mp3s and cds do today. The only thing that skews our modern day perspective is that the target audience is immensely larger.

    Of course, I'm not even an ameteur historian, so if anyone knows better than I, I welcome correction.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Curious historical question (none / 0) (#39)
    by Onan the Magnificent on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:34:29 PM EST

    I disagree. The question has nothing to do with digital either, but it does have to do with the ability to record and replay the music. Back before digital reproduction I was even then (perhaps this will come as a shock to younger readers) able to listen to a Beethoven symphony whenever I wanted by means of a flat piece of vinyl (The hypothetical radical C2H3, regarded as the characteristic residue of ethylene and that related series of unsaturated hydrocarbons with which the allyl compounds are homologous) and a small stylus connected to an amplification device known as a, "record player".

    Suffice to say that I could (and did) listen to those symphonies hundreds of times, and I could easily listen to a wide variety of other music on the radio too. In Mozart and Beethoven's day, one was lucky to hear their favorite piece of music five or six times in one's lifetime. Of course, one was also much less likely to be exposed to as wide a range of music as we are today. Bach wasn't "redisovered" as a great composer until fairly recently (by Felix Mendelssohn around 1830), before that he was remembered (if at all) as a very good organist. So the possiblity of hearing even a luminiary such as Bach was fairly remote unless you happened to belong to the curch where he was employed and at the time he was employed. Mechanical and digital music reproduction has certainly and dramatically changed how we know and enjoy music.

    [ Parent ]

    Radio (none / 0) (#56)
    by PresJPolk on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 06:17:57 PM EST

    Radio broadcasts spread modern music to a far, far wider audience now, than orchestra halls spread music back then.

    [ Parent ]
    Anecdote (was Re: History has some value) (none / 0) (#67)
    by hypatia on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 02:09:57 AM EST

    Mozart was involved in 'reproducing' music though - at least once.

    Mozart was a child prodigy and like many others was very gifted aurally (I suppose he had perfect pitch, or at best very very good relative pitch). He is reported to have attended the performance of a piece of music that was only ever performed at the desire of the Pope, and for which transcriptions were not available. Until Mozart memorised it and reproduced it on paper after the concert, that is.

    [ Parent ]

    Who Wants to be a millionaire? (none / 0) (#70)
    by Carnage4Life on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 03:37:43 AM EST

    First of all, as per your examples both Bach and Mozart not only did not make a good living(which they both resented) but Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave while living of charity. I can't imagine what the life of the average artist was like. Frankly, I can't believe my ears when people completely ignorant of history make claims like yours. Patronage not only shafted the artists but the public as well. How many people do you think heard Mozart's or Bach's music while they were alive?

    Now about you're crack about not wanting to be a millionairre, what are you thinking? The primary reason that the United States whose students consistently are at the bottom of Science and Mathematical levels in the industrialized world is that the lure of escaping one's lot in life and becoming rich draws immigrants with ability to this country. Frankly, after escaping from a country where I would have worked all my life to earn what I currently make in a week in a year, I am very for people becoming as rich as society will allow.
    What gives you the right to decide who gets rich and who doesn't?Capitalism has brought America to where it is today and people like you who suggest pseudo-Socialism/Communism/Fascism would hate the world you create if you ever got your wish.
    From the fact that you read kuro5hin I assume that you are a geek. Next time you go to a fast food place,write down your salary on a sheet of paper (or you're salary on graduation if still in school) and show it to one of the kids making $4.75 an hour to slave over a hot stove. I'm sure he'll have some choice words to say about how much he thinks you deserve for typing on a computer all day.

    Just my $0.02.

    [ Parent ]
    Movies will survive without copyright? Get a clue. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Carnage4Life on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 03:52:38 AM EST

    God, I can't believe I missed replying to your last paragraph in my post. Now without copyright, movies which currently cost several million dollars to make (except for tripe like Blair Witch Project) would stop being made.
    Without copyright, movie theaters can show movies without paying studios, Blockbuster can't rent movies without paying studios and Walmart can sell movies without paying studios. I wonder how much money will be spent on making movies then (here's a hint: Don't expect anymore Matrix, StarWars or Terminator like movies) and even better why anyone would still bother making movies beyond the kind of crap that dots iFilm.

    [ Parent ]
    You can copy the art but you can't copy the artist (3.80 / 4) (#21)
    by Anonymous Zero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 01:08:06 PM EST

    People will always be willing to pay for the real thing. Knock-offs and pirate copies are always in abundance but they'll never be worth as much as the genuine article. Even if copyright laws were scaled back artists would still have countless ways to make money for their work.

    Countless copies of DaVinci's "The Last Supper" have been circulated everywhere over the past centuries. "The Last Supper" painting even gets printed on cheap plastic dinner mats. Do all these copies make DaVinci's works worth less? No, of course not. Did it make DaVinci any less in demand? No.

    Bach's music is reprinted all over the world and recorded, performed, remixed, and resold by countless artists. Did Bach die penniless and starving in a gutter because of all this rampant "piracy" of his work? No, of course not! He had commissions up the whazoo!

    So I'm not worried about the artists: if you're a good enough artist then you don't need the law to enforce a monopoly of the sale of your works.

    It's the publishers and distributors who use copyright law to enforce their monopoly on the works of the artists in their serfdom. If copyright laws were scaled back, the best artists would still have many ways to make money, but the publishers would be forced to compete with other publishers. That's right, free market competition, imagine that.

    Re: You can copy the art but you can't copy the ar (none / 0) (#40)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:43:36 PM EST

    Umm, you might want to keep in mind that Bach had a day job. He was a church music director, and also gave lessons (many of his popular works began life as exercises for his students).

    We should also keep in mind while we bandy about comparisons with people like Bach and Mozart that they are considered by many to be the greatest musicians who have ever lived. Is this going to be the standard we're going to force musicians to meet in order to make a living from their music?

    While I'm here, I will also point out that 'no copyright' has been tried; all copyright laws were abolished after the french revolution. You'll notice that France has copyright laws now. Why? Because it was an unmitigated disaster. Go read about it; it would be nice for a little dose of reality to make its way into these discussions.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: You can copy the art but you can't copy the ar (none / 0) (#45)
    by speek on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 04:52:46 PM EST

    What made it a disaster? What happened? Do you think the world has changed to the point where a retry might work better?

    This is great - I'm definitely going to read about it. It would help if you could point out some references for me.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Re: You can copy the art but you can't copy the ar (none / 0) (#66)
    by hypatia on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 01:52:43 AM EST

    Bach's music is reprinted all over the world and recorded, performed, remixed, and resold by countless artists. Did Bach die penniless and starving in a gutter because of all this rampant "piracy" of his work?

    No, but Mozart had significant political hassles with his patrons and his rivals (much like people do with record labels today I guess), and, although he didn't die in a gutter, he was poor.

    [ Parent ]

    What the heck??? (none / 0) (#69)
    by Carnage4Life on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 03:15:45 AM EST

    Your post is wrong on so many levels...

    People will always be willing to pay for the real thing. Knock-offs and pirate copies are always in abundance but they'll never be worth as much as the genuine article. Even if copyright laws were scaled back artists would still have countless ways to make money for their work.

    Can you please define what the original thing actually means in an increasingly digital world. A .wav file is a CD quality of a piece of music. If I rip it from a CD and then burn it to another CD or play it on my computer (which happens to play .wav files better than CDs), am I not experiencing the genuine article. Eventually we shall have higher bandwidth, more storage space and less lossy encryption. What then will seperate an original from a copy, nothing.

    Countless copies of DaVinci's "The Last Supper" have been circulated everywhere over the past centuries. "The Last Supper" painting even gets printed on cheap plastic dinner mats. Do all these copies make DaVinci's works worth less? No, of course not. Did it make DaVinci any less in demand? No.

    So what are you suggesting, that artists sell Master Tapes from recording sessions for million$ while perfect digital copies are given away for free?

    Bach's music is reprinted all over the world and recorded, performed, remixed, and resold by countless artists. Did Bach die penniless and starving in a gutter because of all this rampant "piracy" of his work? No, of course not! He had commissions up the whazoo!

    Counterpoints
    1.)Mozart died poor even though his music is probably more famous and popular than Bach's.
    2.)Bach made money of his position (choir master) in the church and even then he was disatisfied with his financial lot.
    3.)Bach lived from 1685 to 1750, I somehow doubt that there was lots of "remixing" or "recording" going on in his day.
    4.)Bach is one of the top 10 composers in human history and yet he lived no better than an lower middle-class life. Hmmm, does this mean then that by this reckoning Micheal Jackson should earn about as much as a high school teacher and the Beatles as much as bus drivers? Wouldn't this severely limit the amount of people who would approach music as a carrier? Wouldn't this stifle music and damage the consumers as much as MSFT's crushing of the opposition damaged consumers?
    Why not spread this teaching and have software developers earn as much as McDonald's employees?

    So I'm not worried about the artists: if you're a good enough artist then you don't need the law to enforce a monopoly of the sale of your works.

    Hmmmm, so following this logic...If you're a good enough corporate stooge(like me) you don't need the law to stop another random person from cashing your paycheck?
    Just out of curiosity, why do you think we have laws? Could it be because we'd descend into anarchy without them... or maybe it is because human nature is fundamentally selfish and self-centered?
    Why would anybody pay for something they can get for free? Do you send checks to TV stations because you like certain shows or do you send checks to rusty to help run kuro5hin?

    It's the publishers and distributors who use copyright law to enforce their monopoly on the works of the artists in their serfdom. If copyright laws were scaled back, the best artists would still have many ways to make money, but the publishers would be forced to compete with other publishers. That's right, free market competition, imagine that.

    What are these myriad ways of making money you suggest?
    1.) Concerts: These need sponsorship, i.e. big money to be of any considerable size. If artists stop making money on copyrighted works, all that will happen is that artists will now be at the mercy of concert promoters until we have a mirror of the current situation. Also where does that leave music that doesn't translate well to concerts E.g. Techno, hip hop, etc... Don't those artists deserve to eat? Also this means that we'll go back to the days of yore when artists would have reknown but still have to eak out a meager living or live of the generosity of others...this is wrong, if a few million people are listening to music created by an artist the least that can happen is that the artist be financially rewarded for this...It's called Capitalism. So far that reasoning has made the U.S. the economic powerhouse it is today while "Give to each according to his needs and take from each according to his ability" has failed in the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet union.
    2.) Merchandise: Interesting, so now instead of just making music artists have to worry about being product manufacturers and marketers as well. Won't this lead to a cheapening of the art form where artists will sell out more and more to make a buck?

    I'm tired I have a Physics test tomorrow, any responses will be replied to in 24 hours. G'night.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: What the heck??? (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cariset on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 09:38:59 AM EST

    Eventually we shall have higher bandwidth, more storage space and less lossy encryption. What then will seperate an original from a copy, nothing.

    Except soul, man. ;) People who actually care about the art and the artist _will_ pay money for CDs and "genuine" recordings. People who hear something on the radio, think "ooh, that's kinda nifty", slurp it off Napster, and stick it on their playlist, won't. The death of copyright will mean the death of the one-hit wonder and the death of pop music as we know it, not the death of music or art.

    So what are you suggesting, that artists sell Master Tapes from recording sessions for million$ while perfect digital copies are given away for free?

    Someone would buy them... In a world where we have so many "limited edition collector's items", I just know that someone, somewhere, would indeed shell out the big bucks for something like this. It's all about spending money to gain status.

    1.)Mozart died poor even though his music is probably more famous and popular than Bach's.

    He didn't die poor, nor was he buried in a pauper's grave. There's actually a link in a k5 story about a week ago (that I haven't been able to find) that explains what was up. But basically, he was rich by any standard, made plenty of money, and had an upper-class life-style. He simply had no notion of "saving for a rainy day" (nor did many people back then). And as per custom, he was buried in a mass grave because he wasn't part of the nobility, just a commoner (and would have remained so no matter how much money he had).

    1.) Concerts: These need sponsorship, i.e. big money to be of any considerable size. If artists stop making money on copyrighted works, all that will happen is that artists will now be at the mercy of concert promoters until we have a mirror of the current situation.

    It'll only be a mirror of the current situation if all the big stadiums are owned be ~4 companys that collaborate to fix prices. I don't think this is going to be very likely...

    Also where does that leave music that doesn't translate well to concerts E.g. Techno, hip hop, etc... Don't those artists deserve to eat?

    Well, the current system screws over people who make art by combining and recombining the works of others. There's always someone who'll be disadvantaged by a system - that's an unfortunate fact of life. And not everyone has to play concerts - there are other ways out there to make money.

    if a few million people are listening to music created by an artist the least that can happen is that the artist be financially rewarded for this...

    Yes, but not at the expense of others. I find it ridiculous that Barbie is a cultural icon that has a life of its own quite apart from Mattel, and yet I'm not allowed to use the term or name without permission from them. Music is part of our culture too - I can do what I like with traditional folk songs, why not with modern songs too? (Personally, I lean more toward a system where there isn't a restriction on copying, just a restriction on making money off of it, but that's just me...)

    2.) Merchandise: Interesting, so now instead of just making music artists have to worry about being product manufacturers and marketers as well. Won't this lead to a cheapening of the art form where artists will sell out more and more to make a buck?

    Regarding marketing and merchandising, they already have to worry about this stuff. (Unless they give someone a cut to worry about it for them.) If you mean corporate sponsorships and advertising contracts influencing artistic decisions, well, that's a different problem. And if we want capitalism, then I'm afraid that's the price we have to pay. I don't like it either, but I think that the current system is overkill, and that the good stuff won't be affected at all.



    [ Parent ]

    Death of copyright is normal (4.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:49:18 PM EST

    I feel that the death of copyright is a normal cultural move back to the way things should be. Artists, like anyone else, should be paid for the work they do. Why should we allow a the entertainment industry to pick a select few from the many, many thousands of great artists, and give them the ability to become wildly rich beyond their efforts? The current legal system is the only reason this is possible. Without copyrights, I predict that many more people will be able to make a sustainable living practicing their art, and we as consumers will see a vastly wider and improved pool of art to be entertained by. Only the relatively few "superstars" will suffer.

    Re: Death of copyright is normal (none / 0) (#49)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 05:04:17 PM EST

    I feel that the death of copyright is a normal cultural move back to the way things should be. Artists, like anyone else, should be paid for the work they do. Why should we allow a the entertainment industry to pick a select few from the many, many thousands of great artists, and give them the ability to become wildly rich beyond their efforts? The current legal system is the only reason this is possible. Without copyrights, I predict that many more people will be able to make a sustainable living practicing their art, and we as consumers will see a vastly wider and improved pool of art to be entertained by. Only the relatively few "superstars" will suffer.

    I think you're confusing the idea of copyright (an artist owning his works) with the typical implementation (the artist sells that ownership in exchange for distribution and marketting aid).

    Why do people let the entertainment industry pick and choose their culture? Because they're lazy. As much as we'd like to think we're all individuals, we all have different levels to which we'll go along with the mob mentality.

    Far more people waddle up to the Top 40 trough at the chain music stores than shop at independent stores. And in doing so, they miss out on the tremendous variety of music that's available to consumers.

    Far more people numbly listen to commercial radio than tune in to "independent" radio. And in doing so, they miss out on a large variety of music (blues, folk, electronica, classical). Admittedly, not every market has the ability to support a wide range of formats for commercial radio stations, but a lot of that comes from FCC rules that raise to cost to operate a radio station.

    Far more people happily shell out $$$ to see a long established (and predictable) artist at a large venue with crappy acoustics than blow a few bucks and take a risk seeing a relative unknown at a local club. And in doing so, they miss out on the opportunity to see an up-and-coming band in an acoustically better environment.

    Far more people will buy the popular band's cover of a song than buy the original artist's version (or, for that matter, even care about the original artist's version). And in doing so, they miss out on what else the original artist has to offer.

    Is this fair to the up and coming artists trying to make it? No. Will it change any if we magically rid the world of copyright? No. And the "destroy copyright" crowd will continue to ignore this because it destroys their argument.

    Give control back to the artists. Setup distribution channels that don't place rob the artists. Support your local bands. Corporate Radio still sucks.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Death of copyright is normal (none / 0) (#59)
    by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 07:38:01 PM EST

    This is very true, here is the address (http://www.spin.com/magazine/features/2000/06/14/2/page1.html) of an article about (among other things) how one band, phish, has always been about a forward approach to music and copyright, and how they go about this. peace

    [ Parent ]
    Copyright and patents were made to propagate. (none / 0) (#33)
    by goosedaemon on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 02:54:58 PM EST

    Copyrights and patents were made for the reason of encouraging artists and inventors to do their thing. See, a new country (i.e. the US ) had three choices--hope they invent and compose and draw thereby bettering the economy and culture, force them to invent and compose, or encourage them to somehow. I think we know what route was taken. On the pontification side, copyrights and patents don't really serve to better economy and culture any more, for the most part--more they better the big ugly companies. :p

    My Thoughts (longish) (3.00 / 3) (#61)
    by Pfft on Tue Jun 20, 2000 at 09:33:40 PM EST

    This is a topic that I too have thought about, and I thought I should write up my conclusions. Here goes:

    First of all, I do believe in a "death of copyright" -- at least with respect to the restriction of copying of works. This seems like a technological inevitability. However, copyright legislation includes a few more rights, in particular rights over derivate works. Those rights will still be enforceable, because if one was to create, publish, and use such works completely anonymously, one could get no compensation at all for the trouble (not even goodwill). Likewise, trying to deny an author his/her right to be identified as the creator could be easily countered. Thus royalties on derivate works would remain a viable source of income.

    Then remains to assess the impact of this death. My analysis is that works fall on a scale with two extremes: inexpensive works with a single resource-rich buyer, and expensive works where the cost is shared by many relatively poor buyers. Only works close to the latter extreme will be affected.

    The first category, then, is works that are "commissioned" by a rich "patron". The crucial observation is that such works do not make any real use of copyright as it is, and they will be completely unaffected by the death of the same.

    This category is much larger than one might think at first. For examples, it includes software that is ordered from a firm to carry out a particular function for which no program previously existed. One of Eric S. Raymond's arguments for the economy of free software is that the vast majority of software is paid for in this way: 90% he claims (I can of course not check this figure; he backs it up using a demonstration where programmers in the audience raise their hands...).

    Such programs would still get written after the demise of copyright: all it takes is a wealthy entity (presumably a corporation) who needs a particular task done. In this way, webcommerce solutions would get written, some textbooks created (founded by universities), maps charted, etc.

    There is another area which does not exactly fit this bill, but still might feel surprisingly small effects from the "copydeath": the music producing industry. The fact is, that the cash-flow for mainstream music has shifted away from selling music in its "pure form", CDs, and towards royalties for music used in movies and advertisements (derivate works!), and commercial radio. According to a newspaper article, 80% of their incomes come from these sources and only 20% from album sales. Thus, the music industry might well continue with Bussines as Usual in the face of free copying -- in very sharp contrast to the current debacle over Napster!

    With this new perspective, one might ask why/if copyright is nessecary at all. After all, if a work is economically worth producing in the first place, per definition there are people willing to pay for it. Why can't they simply buy it from the producers?

    The catch is the "freerider problem", which is most easily demonstrated through an example. Say that Stephen King agrees to write a new novel if he is paid $17 million (which is what he required for "Bag of Bones"). That is a large sum, but the price-tag itself is not a problem because there are several million readers: if they all teamed up and paid $10 each, the book would get written. However, in the absence of property rights, there is no incentive for a given individual to join this team, since an additional $10 will make no noticeable difference. The choice is between paying and reading the book, or not paying and reading it, and the second alternative is clearly preferable. Since every potential buyer will reason in the same way, no one will pay anything!

    The same problem applies to anything expensive with many small users. Another example is computer games: Quake 3 is said to have costed several million dollars, and yielded a net profit of $15 for ID. It is hard to see any single buyer willing to pay this much.

    So our current solution to the freerider problem of immaterial goods is to create artificial property rights: copyright. This solution is made unworkable by technological advances. So what will replace it?

    One suggestion is "donationware", that is users of creative works should be encouraged to give a small donation to the author. This apparently works for founding some types of works: street music performers, shareware, donation-founded television channels. Using modern technology, micropayments could be made very convenient: say a "pay $0.2 to the artist" button in winamp. I have my doubts about the credibility this solution for the general problem.

    The other solution is to let immaterial works be a public good, and have the state finance it. Already, states routinely sponsor "cultural" productions which can not support themselves in the market, especially in Europe, but also in the US (by diverting tax money to "tax exempt charities"). As copyright slowly dies, fewer and fewer projects will be able to support themselves, and government support will smoothly scale up to handle the situation.

    If that is the only change, we will end up with a system where every marginal project will need government approval to get funding -- a quite undesirable situation, see the USSR! Thus I think that alternative methods for government founding will be required too. One interesting suggestion is the British Library system: apparently copyright holders gets compensation each time a copy of their work is lent. This could be generalized so that authors would get compensation from the state in return for proof that a certain number of persons have read the work.

    So that is my prediction: Copyright will die, a large part of the intellectual property industry will not be affected at all, and state support will be scaled up to handle the other part.

    Government sponsorship of art (none / 0) (#62)
    by Imperator on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 12:17:46 AM EST

    The problem with art is the ease with which it becomes corrupted by money. The class or institution feeding the artist is glorified in the art: Medieval art, the Church; Renaissance art, the wealthy patrom; Soviet art, the state; fascist art, the dictator; modern commercial art, mediocrity.[1] Artists ultimately are at the mercy of societies that cannot (or choose not to) fund work that does not create material benefit. Government funding would work if governments did not interfere with art, but this is clearly not the case.[2]

    I don't have a solution, but I don't think goverment funding of the arts will work any better than commercial funding.

    [1] (To generalize greatly, non-Western art has always been closely linked to local or regional political and religious interests.)

    [2] Art often has a habit of offending conservatives.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: My Thoughts (longish) (none / 0) (#80)
    by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 01:50:43 PM EST

    I have two primary objections to state-sponsored art:

    1. It creates (or reinforces) greater bureacracies than are necessary, resulting in in-efficient distribution of funds to those that can benefit the most. Private funding (perhaps through cooperatives or arts councils) would be better, but still not as good as being able to directly connect artists and patrons.

    2. It gives the state the ability to say what is art. And by doing so, it provides a means of (partial) censorship, as the state is able to dictate content and styles.

    Keep the state out of the arts business as much as possible.

    [ Parent ]
    An info-proletariat? (none / 0) (#76)
    by Digambaranath on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 11:02:19 AM EST

    I actually wrote a piece on this subject a while back, which started as a comment on the DOJ ruling and ended up as a weird fantasy about Richard Stallman's grandson and Linus Thorvald's granddaughter. It's at http://neptune.spaceports.com/~words/april00.html if anyone's interested (you need to scroll past the piece about football to get to it!).

    Death of Copyright | 83 comments (75 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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