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[P]
Team Competition and File Sharing

By kbob in Internet
Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 05:48:09 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Now that Napster is on the ropes, the world is casting about for a new leader in file sharing. For technical and legal reasons, the ideal replacement would be fully distributed, unlike Napster, so that there is no single point of failure. A fully distributed sharing network works best if many people contribute resources. To date, Gnutella and Freenet have not attracted the resources they need to work well.

Here's an idea that might get people to contribute more resources.


The two projects that have had the most success in attracting contributions are SETI@home and distributed.net. People donate CPU time, not disk space, to those projects, but that's a minor distinction. A big part of the reason these projects have been so successful, IMO, is that they reward contributors by giving out bragging rights. Contributors can form teams and can compete as individuals. Statistics are collected and published. Rankings are updated frequently. You can cheer your team on, and, better, you can give your team another CPU. Your team benefits, and, more importantly, the whole project benefits. The projects successfully tap our desire to boost our team, which is probably hardwired into humans' instincts.

Better yet, it's viral. To help your team, you'll try to get your friends to join. That means you'll tell your friends about the project.

You can see where this is going...

We need a file sharing system that taps into the human desire to compete. Lets users form teams. Ranks competing teams on number of gigabytes stored, number of files successfully served, reliability of storage, average download speed, and whatever other metrics the system needs to maximize to be successful. Publish the rankings. The system could even let end users select which teams they want to "support" by using their servers.

I bet it would catch on.

There are pitfalls with this approach. One danger is cheating. Since the project would, on one level, become a game, somebody will figure out how to cheat. This could make it less fun for the honest competitors, and it could degrade the quality of the service.

Another pitfall is that it adds complexity to what is already a difficult design problem. It's not just a fully distributed, highly fault tolerant, high performance database, but it keeps score too.

What am I missing? Is anybody already doing this?

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Poll
Next year, the most popular file sharing system will be:
o Napster 7%
o Gnutella 5%
o Freenet 13%
o Aimster 1%
o Something we haven't seen yet 42%
o None. The RIAA will have all computers confiscated. 30%

Votes: 76
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Gnutella
o Freenet
o SETI@home
o distribute d.net
o Also by kbob


Display: Sort:
Team Competition and File Sharing | 40 comments (40 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Napster + Stats (3.20 / 5) (#1)
by codepoet on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:58:35 PM EST

What you're saying is, basically, add statistics to Napster? =) You DO remeber they got sued and lost, right?

-- The cynical can often see the sinister aspect of a cup of coffee if given enough time.
No... (3.33 / 3) (#3)
by klamath on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:22:16 PM EST

What you're saying is, basically, add statistics to Napster?
No -- that would be dumb. Napster depends on the user's specific collection (i.e. MP3s) and how much you 'contribute' depends largely on the number of MP3s you have. The people with the '10,000 song archive' will be tough to keep up with and getting more MP3s can be annoying, so I wouldn't have much motivation to contribute. And of course, there's Napster's obvious legal troubles, which means it won't be around (in any useful form) for much longer.

On the other hand, a network like Freenet stores data on each node (and doesn't depend on the existing data on the user's computer). Although people with lots of bandwidth and/or lots of disk space have an advantage, there is still lots of room for the 'little guys' to contribute (and besides, a couple 20GB hard drives are really cheap). I *believe* that Mojo Nation does something similar to this, but I'm not sure.

[ Parent ]

centralization is bad. (2.00 / 2) (#2)
by rebelcool on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:13:58 PM EST

and so is total distribution such as gnutella. Read my latest diary entry for the proposal ive got in the works.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

partial centralization (none / 0) (#14)
by kbob on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:46:17 AM EST

I agree. Treating all nodes as equal is silly. But that doesn't mean you need to hardcode a distinguished name into the app, as Napster has done.

I read your diary entry and your design notes. The most interesting part of your plan, to me, is that you rejected blinding the server. I thought that keeping the server operators ignorant of what they're serving is one of the best parts of FreeNet, because it *should* give them legal protection. But it definitely simplifies the design if you relax that constraint.

<pre> K<bob> </pre>

[ Parent ]

simplicity vs. complexity (none / 0) (#21)
by rebelcool on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 04:07:07 PM EST

my aim with ITN isn't to make a network of completely free unfettered flow of information, thats a political undertone i don't want to adopt. So I'm taking a neutral stance on it.

The legal use benefits of such a distributed network are vast, and at the same time it *could* be used in various illegal ways. It's main intention is simply to spread information around quickly, easily and sensibly. Let the industries fight their own customers if they want (after all, that's who is *really* infringing), but they will *not* have a corporate scapegoat such as napster to chase after.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Article On FuckedCompany.com (3.66 / 3) (#4)
by LaNMaN2000 on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:40:52 PM EST

Somebody posted a link on FuckedCompany.com to:

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/cn/20010305/tc/fileswapping_services_seek_refuge_overseas_1.html

which describes an attempt to use HavenCo to set up an offshore centralized file-sharing service. That seems far more workable than any of these suggestions. The problems with systems distributed over the Internet is that they run slowly because of bandwidth limitations. To run an easy to use and efficient service, a centralized system is required.

Lenny

-----------------
Lenny Grover -- link-spamming to make Google give me my name back!
RIAA's Most Wanted (4.60 / 5) (#5)
by J'raxis on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:49:14 PM EST

Interesting concept, but wouldn't this just be building a "most wanted" list for the next round of RIAA/MPAA/whoever lawsuits?

-- The SETI@Home Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

Is it possible... (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by ignatiusst on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:02:44 PM EST

I will admit that I don't know a whole lot about the legal ramifications of distributing music via file-sharing techniques, so maybe someone with more legal background can answer this for me...

Is it possible to have a napster-like system, only located offshore (preferably in a country who could care less about the RIAA and their copyright claims)? Or, while we are at it, couldn't a "team" - as the author of this story suggest - be built in China/Russia/etc. for a gnutella/freenet distribution where the legal ramifications would be negligible?

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

Locating offshore. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by mcherm on Mon Mar 19, 2001 at 12:33:44 PM EST

ignatiusst writes:
Is it possible to have a napster-like system, only located offshore (preferably in a country who could care less about the RIAA and their copyright claims)?
I don't know of any such place. Almost every country in the world tends to buckle under to U.S. pressure, and that pressure is QUITE strong on IP/copyright issues. China, for instance, is making significant attempts to mollify the US in hopes of joining the WTA. The countries (Iraq, for instance) that don't much like the US and don't mind being censured by them tend to be authoritarian regimes. And "fake" countries like Sealand don't really work.

It's a nice idea, but as far as I know, it won't work. The distributed model (Freenet) are the best idea I've heard so far.

-- Michael Chermside

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]

Wouldn't work (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by DeadBaby on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:19:09 PM EST

The RIAA would simply track down people instead of programs.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Is that a bad thing? (none / 0) (#13)
by jesterzog on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 01:46:19 AM EST

... after all, people were complaining that the RIAA should be going after the users instead of the index in the first place, anyway. Personally I think it's more likely the RIAA would try to go after ISP's, or whatever other centralised entities they can find.

Hopefully well designed decentralisation would put more responsibility on users to know and be in control of what information they're sharing.

Instead of having an entire system illegalised, what's so bad about plucking out the people causing the problem, instead? If that's possible, of course.


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
Possible downfall (2.50 / 2) (#8)
by spaceghoti on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:27:34 PM EST

While this caters to the competitiveness and greed of humanity (which is a good way to focus people's energies constructively, by the bye), one of the eventual pitfalls of a project like this is that people like to be on the winning team. If and when a clear leader pushes ahead, latecomers will be far more likely to join that team so they can be part of the win. So you'll eventually have a problem with disparity in resources.

One possible way to circumvent this is to institute a system of rewards that give diminishing returns. The farther behind you are, the greater your rewards when you succeed at something. That would give people (particularly risk-takers) incentive to give less successful teams the boost in resources they'll need to remain competitive.

Nobody likes a monopoly except the monopolists.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

Solution to a non-problem (4.66 / 3) (#9)
by Dacta on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 06:25:38 PM EST

The reason Freenet & Gnutella haven't "caught on" is purely technical.

Freenet hasn't caught on becuase (a) there is no search mechanism, and (b) most of the clients are somewhat esoteric (compare to Napster) to use.

Gnutella actually is used by a fairly large number of people - but the basic architecture of broadcast searches limits the usefulness of it. Essentially, the more people who try and use Gnutella the more clogged up it gets.

To make a Napster replacement, you need to either solve the search problem (invent a non-centralized way of searching without broadcast searches), or you need to come up with a new addressing scheme which allows people to post persistant links to data which will always work, and have a nice interface for it.

The Gnutella Developers Forum is trying to optimise the Gnutella protocol to make it more usable, without losing backwards compatibility. Freenet is going the second route. I personally hold out more hope for Freenet being as pervasive as Napster than I do for Gnutella.



There's a difference you're missing... (none / 0) (#10)
by psctsh on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 07:34:08 PM EST

(just a disclaimer that I know virtually nothing about SETI@home, deriving all my understanding of it from 2 or 3 articles on this site...in other words, correct my mistakes if I've made a factual error...)

I'm assuming that SETI@home is a mostly passive tool akin to a virtual pet ("watch it calculate!"). Basically, it sits in the background, doing it's thing, and that's as much interaction you get from it. You don't get anything tangible out of it, any more than you get something out of playing with a dog, or voting in an election, or whatever. Based on this assumtion, there *is* a difference in a project such as SETI@home and gnutella/napster. Napster and its ilk are tools people use to get music. As such the motivation behind using them is completely different from the motivation behind using SETI. People will use Gnutella sporadically, and simply as a means to download music. Seriously, which is the more likely scenario: 1)User pauses his current activity, and opens Gnutella to see how his team is doing, or 2)User pauses his current activity, and opens Gnutella to download more songs?

What about MojoNation? (none / 0) (#11)
by argent on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 11:09:28 PM EST

Check out Mojo Nation then. Brief synopsis is this: 1) Run a node and designate how much disk space you want to allocate to it. 2) As people deposit files into your node, they pay you in "mojo", the "currency" of the mojo nation. 3) You, in turn, use this accumulated mojo to download and search for files. No link is provided since I'm assuming that you know how to use google or some other search engine. I like this idea as it dissuades users from being a leech and just grabbing files and running. Plus, the bigger the file you want to post, the more mojo you have to pay out. argent
cd /pub more Beer
[ Parent ]
MojoNation (none / 0) (#15)
by kbob on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 12:04:12 PM EST

D'oh! I completely forgot about MojoNation while I was writing the article. Should have been in the poll, too.

MojoNation has a lot of good ideas, but it has some flaws that, I fear, will be fatal. Clay Shirky has done a better job of explaining MojoNation's flaws than I ever could. Basically, his arguments boil down to two things:

My other concern about MojoNation is that its complexity is over the top. I've read their design documentation twice, and I still don't understand the whole system. (To be fair, better documentation would help.)

K<bob>

[ Parent ]

mojonation (none / 0) (#19)
by argent on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 01:31:39 PM EST

I agree with you that these two are major arguments, but I think MN deals with at least the first one well. MicroPayments > I agree that users hate micropayments. But with MN, the payment negotiation is handled by the nodes themself, removing the end user from even having to understand/relize that there is one in place. Forced participation > Again, I do agree with this. But I have no problem with this. If you want to buy stuff, you have to work. That's just the way it is. I guess you could run a MN node and set it to some rediculously low disk quota and just burn up your mojo downloading files..... And yes, I don't understand the whole system either. But then again, I don't have to. It works. Chalk it up to PFM (pure F*ing magic) argent
cd /pub more Beer
[ Parent ]
Cheating? (none / 0) (#12)
by fsh on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 11:51:46 PM EST

Seems to me cheating would be a plus. After all, what's the easiest way to inflate your ratings? Post more content, of course. It might not be great content (or even something consisting of completely random numbers), but you could always add the number of accesses per media to the stats page.
-fsh
Please... (none / 0) (#16)
by Woodblock on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 12:05:29 PM EST

Won't someone please, just once, explain to me why stealing music is so important that we need to create a reward mechanism to facilitate it? Why is getting your fill of Jennifer Lopez and eminem so important on one hand to need some elaborate game, and not important enough on the other hand that you are not willing to shell out $20 for a CD?

And don't give me the standard record companies are evil line; I've heard it, and it doesn't float. The best, most innovative music has always found a home in small, independent record companies and can usually be purchased directly from either the record label or the artist for much less than what you'll find at your local megalopolos record store.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.

It's not about music. (none / 0) (#18)
by kbob on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 12:30:02 PM EST

Won't someone please, just once, explain to me why stealing music is so important[...]?
It's not just music. It's every kind of content. Entertainment (books, movies, music), political manifestos, software, news reporting, anything somebody wants to repress.

Music gets all the attention these days, but music is not the main issue. The main issue is this. Nobody can own bits, and the efforts by corporations and courts to keep them bottled up are (a) doomed to fail, and (b) severely distorting our technology and our society.

Here are two (long, sorry) essays on the topic, both of which explore the downside of bottling up bits.

K<bob>

[ Parent ]
There's a big difference... (none / 0) (#20)
by Woodblock on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 02:18:09 PM EST

Okay, I'll put it another way:
Why is it so important to steal entertainment media, software, news broadcasts.

There is a fundamental difference between political speech and entertainment media, as witnessed by the manner with which each are treated. Commercial speech is not protected to the same degree by Free Speech legislation as political, while the latter has time, and time again, been protected as an essential part of a liberal democracy.

Ownership of bits is a red herring. If I download a song in MP3 and convert it to ogg, the song is still stolen and still illegal. The entire copyright "debate" boils down to spoiled middle class kids wanting to get another free ride, and looking anywhere they can for justification for theft, and often come up with ridiculous rationalizations like "Bits can't be owned, man." It is not about corporations; it is not about free speech; it is about people with creative talent, and their right to benefit from their labour in a manner which they deem fair.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]

step back (none / 0) (#22)
by speek on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 06:54:38 PM EST

Your comment about people having a "right" to benefit from their creative labor indicates that you've bought into a belief about a particular set of rights. Many believe those rights are bogus. Why does someone have the right to make money from creating music? If you answer that they must be able to because without monetary incentive, no one would make music, then I can only say you are entirely wrong. People will always make music, with or without monetary incentive. Sure, InSync won't, but that's a good thing. Other's with talent and the drive to do so, will do so. If your answer is that people have that right just because - because you believe in the existence of natural rights and this is one of them, then I can't argue with you, because it's a premise you hold. I believe it's a false premise, but there's no possible logical argument here. Oh, and saying it's just middle class teenage whining isn't an argument. It's called rhetoric that's intended to distract from the central issue. If you respond to my post, please don't resort to that sort of thing.

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

You are a walking contradiction (none / 0) (#23)
by Woodblock on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:17:14 PM EST

Many believe those rights are bogus.
Many also believe there are no such things as electrons; many are wrong. This is not an argument, and I hope that you are intelligent enough to know why not. If you want me to go to first principles including, epistemeology and metaphysics to prove that each person deserves renumeration for their labour, than I am sorry: I won't do that. I don't believe this is the forum to write a textbook on the matter. However, I will give you a redux of my argument: Each human being deserves to be considered as a subject, not as an object to satisfy the desires of others. And besides, it would be counterproductive as you've already shown to me that you are unwilling to consider it. You don't want to find the truth.
If your answer is that people have that right just because - because you believe in the existence of natural rights and this is one of them, then I can't argue with you, because it's a premise you hold. I believe it's a false premise, but there's no possible logical argument here.
It's not a statement of my premises; it is a claim of the nature of reality. If I stated "I think that people have rights," that would also also be a statement of fact, but not one that can be easily proved or disproved. However, my statement was a claim of reality, and can be debated. There are several ways to disprove a claim. Two of them are to show that the logic is poor, or that one of the premises is false. If you want, you can do one or the other.

And if you choose to respond to my post, don't resort to relativist or subjectivist arguments. It shows to me a serious flaw in your philosophy and that it's not possible to argue with you.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]

reality claim (none / 0) (#24)
by speek on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 09:49:08 PM EST

it is a claim of the nature of reality

You could have simply said this and left all the rest out, because this is really your argument. Your belief in natural rights is based on a belief that the way reality is indicates the existence of these rights. From my point of view, this statement is no different than saying that the existence of God is an inevitable conclusion based on the nature of reality. I cannot disprove your claim - there is no possible empirical tests for the existence of rights - and you cannot prove it for similar reasons. You can make good sounding arguments that, because resources are limited, it make ssense that their be a natural right of property, etc, etc, but these arguments would lack rigor.

My position is that this (belief in natural rights) is a strategy humans have developed for dealing with reality. It is not the only strategy, nor necessarily the best. Under certain conditions, it (natural property rights) probably is the best strategy, but under other conditions, it is not. If you could step back from your belief that "rights exist", and accept for a moment that natural rights are simply one strategy amongst many that people might use to deal with the world, then we could have a discussion, and it could even be interesting. And we wouldn't have to talk about epistemology or metaphysics at all. Nor relativism for that matter. Heck, we could leave out philosophy itself and just talk about reality.

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

There are. (none / 0) (#28)
by Woodblock on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:13:59 AM EST

Your belief in natural rights is based on a belief that the way reality is indicates the existence of these rights. From my point of view, this statement is no different than saying that the existence of God is an inevitable conclusion based on the nature of reality. I cannot disprove your claim - there is no possible empirical tests for the existence of rights.
If you did a little research*, I am sure you can find the evidence to support the claim that rights exist as a consequence of the nature of reality. The arguments are not based upon pragmatic "strategies", and while there may be many such pragmatic strategies to deal with reality, there is only one which is correct, ie. derived from reality. One can deal with reality in many ways, but essentially there are two methods: the right way, and the wrong way. That's where your relativism comes from: the claim that there is no one single right way to deal with reality.

* I make no claim on the correctness of this evidence. I only include the refrence to show that the claim of non-existence of such evidence is false.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]

empirical test? (none / 0) (#31)
by speek on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:45:38 PM EST

Are you planning on calling me a relativist in all your posts? It doesn't make any sense - nothing I've said is indicating I'm a relativist. I don't agree with you - that's true, but that doesn't make me necessarily wrong or relative. Seriously, when did I claim there is no single right way to deal with reality? I said there are many possible strategies, and the best strategy will depend on the situation (ie the current reality). However, I use words like "best" rather than "right". When I say best, I mean best in terms of some given goals (like, say, survival, or happiness, or economic wealth - whatever you like).

When you say "right", I'm not sure what you mean. Right in a moral sense? Right in a best sense, like I mean. What? I guess you said it - "derived from reality", but I'm just not clear what your point is there. I can indeed devise many strategies to deal with reality - all are arguably "derived" from reality. Could you give an example of something derived from reality?

Here's why I'm not a relativist, but why you perceive me as one. Take the reality of a chess game. At any given stage, one could say there is one "best" move (assuming one is trying to win the game). However, what that best move is would depend on the position of the game. Now, in chess, there are certain heuristic rules that you can use to help you decide what's a good move and what is not. Such things as "knights of the rim are grim", or "control the center", etc. However, these are only guidelines that sometimes must be ignored to find the right move. This may seem relativistic to you (that there can be rules that don't always apply), but that's not really the case. The chess board is an extremely deterministic and objective reality. A loss is a loss. A good move is good because it leads to a win, and a bad move is bad because it leads to a loss. A bad move is bad regardless of who makes it or who the opponent is. This is objectivity at its finest - there is no room for a relativist "well, all moves are equally good if only you understood better" kind of crap.

I'm suggesting there's an analogy between the chess guideline "knights on the rim are grim" and the idea that "strictly enforced property rights are best". In general, it's an excellent rule and you won't usually go wrong following it. But being religious about will get you in trouble - you will avoid moving your knight to the board edge even when it's necessary to avoid losing. The odd thing is that, to other people, it becomes apparent that not moving your knight to the edge has become more important to you than winning the game. Just so, it appears to me that preserving property rights has become more important to you than the original goal that property rights was intended to accomplish - namely the most efficient and socially stable/safe distribution of economic resources.

So now, when the situation has changed (ie, copying digital information is virtually without cost for individuals), you cling to what is now a sub-optimal strategy (property rights) because you have forgotten what the game was all about.

I think we all tend to fall into the trap of religious-type thinking. After decades of learning so many things, it would be impossible to be able to think meaningfully without layering our knowledge. Such heuristics as "property rights" is a layer of thought that covers a lot of complexity (economic theory). One might have spent a lot of time learning economics, and come to the reasonable conclusion that property rights are a great way to go. But it only makes sense to let go the details that went into that reasoning, and instead remember the basic rule. After years and years of learning and experience, we have many such layers. Sometimes, it's necessary to go back into an underneath layer and review the details, because sometimes we find ourselves in new situations that just don't respond to our learned simplified rules. That's a hard process, and worse, we've usually forgotten that there was a layer underneath at all. So, our thinking hardens and we lose the ability to go back to the detailed underpinnings of our beliefs/learned rules.

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

sorry - the subject line made no sense (none / 0) (#32)
by speek on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 10:49:00 PM EST

I wrote something about an empirical test and then deleted it - but I forgot to change the subject line. Oh well :-)

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

An attempt to get back on topic... (none / 0) (#34)
by Woodblock on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 05:10:58 PM EST

I'm just not clear what your point is there. I can indeed devise many strategies to deal with reality - all are arguably "derived" from reality. Could you give an example of something derived from reality?
By derived from reality, I mean in accordance with the nature of reality. While you may create "strategies" for living, I don't think more than one can be correct. However, I am assuming this strategy is not as specific as "knights on the rim are grim". I think this strategy includes such fundamental elements as epistemology, metaphyics, and a standard of value. Property rights are a corollary of the basic axioms of this philosophy and so cannot sometimes be proper and sometimes be improper.

To go back to the chess example. I think our misunderstanding comes from the different level of strategy. To me, my philosophy, or strategy, would be to put the opposing king in checkmate, that is to achieve the standard of value, while your strategy depends on each possible state.

I said there are many possible strategies, and the best strategy will depend on the situation.
That is the relative part. The correctness is relative to the situation. I don't believe that something can be right in one situation, and wrong in another. However, this action is generally broad. Like "Should I steal?" and "I am very poor. Should I steal?" In both of these conditions, the answer is "No", because it would violate my standard of value, and by extension, the nature of reality.

However, we are too offtopic. Please tell me what would justify enslaving another human being for the purposes of entertainment.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]

what's the goal of property rights? (none / 0) (#35)
by speek on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 05:43:09 PM EST

Please tell me what would justify enslaving another human being for the purposes of entertainment

Nothing that I know of, why?

To me, my philosophy, or strategy, would be to put the opposing king in checkmate, that is to achieve the standard of value, while your strategy depends on each possible state

Ok, you are bent on calling me a relativist in all your posts. Did I, or did I not say that the goodness of a move in chess is ALWAYS dependent on whether it leads to winning or losing. ALWAYS. Whether a move is good or bad is not a relative thing. However, the same exact move is not always the best move, wouldn't you agree?

Further, I would say that putting the opposing king in check is a goal, and one would devise strategies to achieve that goal. To now go back to real reality (as opposed to chess reality), what is your goal? Is property rights the end goal, or a strategy to achieve a more fundamental end?

Like "Should I steal?" and "I am very poor. Should I steal?" In both of these conditions, the answer is "No", because it would violate my standard of value, and by extension, the nature of reality

Firstly, how do you go from something violating your standard of value to therefore violating the nature of reality? Secondly, how can anything possibly violate the nature of reality? (is there some reality guard who goes around reprimanding people for violating reality?) Thirdly, would you steal from a dog? Would you steal from a non-human sentient (such as an alien)? Would you steal if not stealing meant you would die? Would you die on principle?

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

Re: The goal (none / 0) (#36)
by Woodblock on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 08:20:38 PM EST

Please tell me what would justify enslaving another human being for the purposes of entertainment

Nothing that I know of, why?

Good! So you agree that stealing music is wrong. I'm glad to hear it.
Ok, you are bent on calling me a relativist in all your posts.
That's the way I see it. Sorry if it offends you, but I am not changing my position until you give me proof to refute my belief.
Is property rights the end goal, or a strategy to achieve a more fundamental end?
Neither, according to what I believe you mean by strategy. It goes against the proper standard of value. That is, human life. If you take the products of their labour without fair compensation, you are enslaving them for your ends. This is immoral, and against the nature of reality. Noone will come "get" you if you violate the nature of reality, however it does show deep character flaws, irrationality, and will generally lead to greater evils.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]
what greater evils? (none / 0) (#37)
by speek on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 09:23:56 PM EST

Good! So you agree that stealing music is wrong

The irony is that you know you are being slippery and intellectually dishonest when you equate pirating music with human enslavement, for the purpose saying that I agree with you. It's too bad our discussion is a competition between us rather than an honest investigation of truth and reality.

Noone will come "get" you if you violate the nature of reality, however it does show deep character flaws, irrationality, and will generally lead to greater evil

Ok, here's something we could actually get into. You continue to talk of "violating the nature of reality", as though this is something that's possible, but, whatever. At the end, you actually say something interesting. You say that if I "steal" music, it shows character flaws, irrationality, and will lead to greater evils. From this, I infer that the real reason one shouldn't steal music is to avoid these greater evils. So, what greater evils will befall me or anyone who steals music?

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

F.O.D. (none / 0) (#38)
by Woodblock on Mon Mar 12, 2001 at 12:58:38 PM EST

Intellectually dishonest? Congratulations, you've sucessfully killed this thread. I will not "debate" with such an unreasonable and crooked person as you.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]
yes, dishonest (none / 0) (#39)
by speek on Tue Mar 13, 2001 at 02:26:27 PM EST

I'm sorry, but it's the truth. It's more important to you to win the "debate" than to learn or find truth. Otherwise, why would you say something as stupid as you did (that pirating music = human enslavement)? I'm almost positive you aren't that stupid really, but your desire to be right has gotten the best of you, and it's made you dishonest.

It would do you some good to ponder why property rights are good for society - what problems do they solve? What problems do they cause? Where in reality do we find those problems, and where do we not find them? Without reflecting on such questions, your beliefs have little rational basis, and instead are rather religious in nature.

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

What about physical property "rights" th (none / 0) (#26)
by zakalwe on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:00:26 AM EST

Why does someone have the right to make money from creating music?
Why does someone have the right to make money from creating food, computers, cars or anything else that is produced?

Answer: Because society has a set of laws that allow them to (Ownership of property)

And why does society provide this right? Because it's beneficial to everyone - people are prevented from stealing, and so we can create things without having to spend vast resources protecting what we make.

Intellectual property is exactly the same. It's protected because its beneficial to everyone to have people produce things, and they can afford to produce things because the laws provide a way to make money on it.

People will always make music, with or without monetary incentive.
People will always grow/gather food, with or without economic incentive (They have to eat). So lets get rid of property laws for food - that way we don't have to pay for it, and can just take what we need from those who grow it! Sounds great huh?

[ Parent ]
should be obvious (none / 0) (#27)
by speek on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 09:29:30 AM EST

distributing food costs money and results in loss of the food (ie you can't copy it freely, you have to move it). Distributing music doesn't have this drawback. Once made, music will get distributed, causing no loss to anyone. Someday, food and other material items will have this quality too, and then, yes, it will make sense to do away with property laws for food.

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

That's the most stupid argument I've ever heard (none / 0) (#29)
by zakalwe on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 11:38:37 AM EST

Hold on - There are no distribution costs in stealing food - the situation I described with no property rights involved just taking the food from the producers directly - all distribution handled by the thieves.

This situation is already there - no free transport required. Even if it were not, are you seriously telling me you think it's acceptable to take food from those who produce if we could transport it for free! Do you really consider the effort put into actually producing it (much more than that spent transporting it) irrelevant just because "they'd do it anyway"?

And if the moral argument doesn't sway you (In which case I think you fully deserve the "middle class teenage whiner" label you object to in another post, what about the practical argument:

It benefits society to have enforced property laws - If not it would be stupid to produce (keeping with our example) food if you had the resources to steal it (A much easier method, if legal) The alternative is for the grower to protect his food, raising cost of production hugely. The result - expensive food, since no-one can produce an excess cheaply without attracting thieves.

The practical benefits of our propery rights are huge, and though there are other options (eg. communism), a straightforward removal of the laws would be a disaster. "transport costs" is a complete non-sequitur. The same applies to Intellectual property.

[ Parent ]

it helps if you try to understand what others say (none / 0) (#30)
by speek on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 08:19:01 PM EST


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

and thank you... (none / 0) (#25)
by Wah on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:10:01 PM EST

The best, most innovative music has always found a home in small, independent record companies and can usually be purchased directly from either the record label or the artist for much less than what you'll find at your local megalopolos record store.

And how do you find and fall in love with it? Part of my defense of the entire napster phenom is that it has allowed me to find, and listen to samples of, a much wider variety of music than MTV or corporate radio. And it's not stealing, but that's another debate (which it sounds like you've already been through)
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

There are other ways. (none / 0) (#33)
by Woodblock on Thu Mar 08, 2001 at 04:31:52 PM EST

There are plenty of other ways to discover new, quality music. There is college radio, and in my area, there are several public radio stations that air shows specifically for raising the profile of talented but unknown musicians. There are also the methods people have been using for decades: going to live shows, and reviews from friends. Also, many new bands put mp3s on their websites for free and encourage people to download and listen to them. I don't understand why such blatant theft would have been unquestionably wrong 10 - 15 years ago, is suddenly perfectly justified when theft becomes so easy.

And it is stealing. Taking something without permission is stealing by any reasonable definition of the word.

I've seen people with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of music on their hard drive, and when I ask them why they don't just buy the music if they like it so much, they chime off the same reasons I've heard over and over. If you have gigs and gigs of music, you aren't using it like a radio, and you aren't doing it to "stick it to the man." You are obviously doing it because you like free shit.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]

Sharing (none / 0) (#17)
by Harakh on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 12:13:00 PM EST

Basically what you are sharing is not discspace, youre sharing bandwidth on your network connection. One reason why Distributed.net and SETI@Home are popular is because they dont really take away anything from you or your computing experience. The processor-cycles they are using would otherwise go to waste so why not use them to find possible aliens or crack a codekey or calculate a golomb ruler?

When youre sharing files on say napster you are really using up harddrive space, slow down computer usage because of harddrive usage and clog up bandwidth. These are all large minuses in my book atleast, im sure some of you have extremely large and fast harddrives that doesnt mind being used by 10+ users and unlimited bandwidth. Not everyone has though - and even if they had they might not want to share that.

Another reason is that several of the top-contributors on for instance distributed.net are network-admins on large companies, they ask permission to put the client on workstations and get alot of computing power to contribute to the cause. Not many companies I think would allow a network admin to essentially slow down the network performance just because of file sharing that doesnt really help the company.

Yet another reason why this wouldnt work in the same way as distributed.net is the fact that many of the files shared on Napster are now considered illegal because of court rulings. Not everyone would like to risk getting caught for distributing copyrighted material. Oh yes, there are legal mp3's and files out there too but they can be put on a webpage aswell. www.mp3.com has alot of free and legal mp3's - some of which are good but of course not worldwide known for obvious reasons.

I am not bashing on file-sharing, im just saying this wont work as well as distributed.net or SETI@Home and I doubt there will be one that works in the same way. Sharing copyrighted material is illegal but there are legal files too that would be nice to see distributed over a sharing-system kinda like Napster.. Preferrably even better.. I for one wouldn't mind having a network that would automatically download files from the closest host, kinda like Download Accelerator software do via ftpsearch but via a filesharing system.

Team Competition and File Sharing | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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