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Author Topic: Growing the Copyfree Movement  (Read 6646 times)
nanotube
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November 29, 2010, 06:57:03 AM
 #41

RHorning: thanks for that imho-excellent summary of the various areas of "IP" law.

A couple questions of opinion for you:

1. if 17 years was enough in 1789, when the pace of economic activity was much slower, and it took a lot more time to ramp up production distribution of... everything, really, wouldn't you think that a shorter time period would be appropriate for the modern day? (assuming the goal is to 'give the creator enough time to profit by his creation'.)

2. if copyright is abolished completely, do you think the social cost of the reduction (if any) of rate of 'content creation' would be greater than the social benefit of free access for everyone to all available content?

Fwiw, my personal answers to those questions are 1. definite yes, and 2. quite unlikely.

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November 29, 2010, 09:34:59 AM
 #42

Bottom line: intellectual property of any kind infringes on my real property rights. Your copyright prevents me from using my computer in the way that I choose, and is therefore immoral.

RHorning is ignoring our assumption and world views.

He tries to dodge my argument about selling cars with "reproduction rights".

Duh, if I have a thing I owned, I should be able to reproduce the object in its likeness whenever I fricking want. I don't give a shit about you not making money. Go do something else.

I am in 100% agreement with kiba and theymos here.  I have many issues with the long essay RHorning wrote, but am not going to list them all.  Bottomline is: intellectual property of any kind infringes on real property rights.

Anyway, you talk to most Statists, and they (like RHorning) will pretend to be on your side by expressing an opposition to intellectual property, but then you narrow down their position, and you find out that they just want to "Reform" IP Law to suit their desires. Tongue

(It reminds me of the healthcare debate: "OK, everyone in the room, please raise your hand if you think the US Healthcare system is broken and needs to be fixed.")

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November 29, 2010, 09:49:46 AM
 #43

RHorning: thanks for that imho-excellent summary of the various areas of "IP" law.

A couple questions of opinion for you:

1. if 17 years was enough in 1789, when the pace of economic activity was much slower, and it took a lot more time to ramp up production distribution of... everything, really, wouldn't you think that a shorter time period would be appropriate for the modern day? (assuming the goal is to 'give the creator enough time to profit by his creation'.)

2. if copyright is abolished completely, do you think the social cost of the reduction (if any) of rate of 'content creation' would be greater than the social benefit of free access for everyone to all available content?

Fwiw, my personal answers to those questions are 1. definite yes, and 2. quite unlikely.

The problem so far as abolition of copyright altogether is to come up with a system where an artist/author (including programmers, photographers, 3d modelers, and other forms of art perhaps not even created yet) is able to sustain themselves in a market economy.  

There is the potential of raw donations like street musicians are able to accomplish, although my own experience with trying to get that to work with computer software is rather dismal even for tools that people like and use.  Shareware is a good example of this, and for awhile was a common distribution method.... particularly before the internet became popular and before copyleft licenses were even created in the first place.  This is also called perhaps the PBS/NPR distribution model named after the radio and television networks that use this system for generating income.

Another possibility is the patronage system.  Of course this implies that artisans are relatively few in number and serve at the pleasure of the very wealthy.  This still happens even now, but in terms of potentials for journeyman artisans it is very difficult and has some strong political consequences.  Modern examples of the patronage system include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and other government-funded artistic endeavors.  Content produced under this kind of system doesn't need copyright at all in order to function.

Some works of art will be created as a hobby and a side project.  For much of human history this was the only way art was made and it still is pretty much how quite a bit is done, some of it which is pretty good.  Much of the open source software is created as a hobby (not all of it!) and there certainly can be some satisfaction when creating art for its own sake.  Wikipedia is an excellent example of what perhaps even a collaborative group of people working together can accomplish on a hobby level without ever really seeking an income.

To me, copyright fills a niche by allowing ordinary people of ordinary means to acquire art of some kind (books, prints, movies, and more) through mass production and distribution.  There are real costs involved with creating art, and somebody has to bear those costs.  Ideally, if you have an effective copyright system that isn't overbearing, it is the most "democratic" kind of system through which ordinary people can support an artisan.  The key here though is that the relationship can and ought to be more direct between the artisian and the end-user/consumer.  Where the problems of copyright really come in is with tranferred "rights" which bypass the artist, or worse yet kick the artist out of the loop such as how must RIAA/ASCAP contracts usually pay paltry royalties if any at all to journeyman musicians.

I mention the journeyman artisians here because that is the real issue here.  The novices or "apprentices" are going to be doing stuff mostly as a hobby and will be doing "amateurish" work most of the time.  Yes, there is sometimes outstanding stuff made by somebody with "natural talent", but 99% of the stuff produced is garbage that doesn't deserve any special recognition or attention.  I love my kid's drawings they make at school, and I do put it on my fridge at home or show it to grandma, but I don't expect to impress anybody with that stuff.  There certainly are some amateurs who don't really care to get paid because they are doing other things with their lives, but I'll note that there is an upper limit to what they are able to do on that level too even with natural talent.

Those who are "masters" or at the top of their game will make money or at least get in a comfortable situation for their basic needs regardless of the political, economic, or social system they happen to be in.  They are the "stars" of their respective field and those artisians are usually quite famous.  I'm sure you can name a few of them.

Where the problem comes in is trying to come up with a way for those who are good enough to move beyond the raw amateur ranks and attempt to make a profession out of some kind of craft, whatever it may be.  How does somebody get the experience necessary to become a "master" at the craft?  It takes time, often years of effort, and certainly resources that are at a level often well above that which the novices have access to.  We also have to be honest here that the vast bulk of "professionals" fall into this category never becoming a "master", although I will also point out that if you can develop this mid-level group and cultivate it, you will have many more "masters" emerging and society as a whole will be richer as a result.  That is the dilemma that copyright is trying to solve so far as providing a means for a gifted amateur to break out of the pack and take care of themselves, to justify the extra time and effort that will be expended towards that craft, but at the same time they don't necessarily have to be at the absolute top of the game either.

So in this sense I reject the notion that copyright in and of itself is necessarily evil.  I am open to other ideas so far as somebody in this middle group is able to emerge.  I love to use the example here of American Idol (Pop Idol in the UK and similar programs elsewhere), because it illustrates how this "middle group" no longer exists for the music recording industry.  YouTube is full of the amateurs as are the American Idol auditions.  You also have the big music stars, but nobody in between.  There used to be a time with regional bands and then local bands that would play at weddings, school dances, and other social engagements.  Over time musicians could gradually improve and become more recognized by the next higher tier.  Unfortunately, as can be seen by these "Idol" competition, those talented amateurs no longer are able to move up in the ranks.  It takes an extraordinary "event" to filter out those amateurs and find those "stars".  In short, this to me "proves" that the music industry itself is fundamentally broken, particularly when people like Kelly Clarkston would never have even had the opportunity to perform on the national stage except for a program like American Idol.

If you accept copyright, it would be to help permit perhaps another source of revenue for those trying to work their way up to being the best of their field.  It is to provide a financial incentive through the use of "promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries" (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Paragraph Cool.  Madison, Franklin, Jefferson, and even Washington thought this was a pretty good idea with an understanding of the abusive copyrights that were the case in England... something I could write many more paragraphs about.  Current U.S. copyright law is far more abusive than the English copyright law of the 18th century, which goes to show how much people writing such laws pay attention to James Madison about the topic.  Getting to the topic of copyright term limits, a "limited time" ought to be just that.  I don't know how long that limit should be, but typically most movie sales take place within less than 5 years, and the same could be said for most music and books too.  Computer programs receive by far the bulk of their sales within about a year or two of release, even for commercial sales.  There are certainly exceptions, but they are rare exceptions.

One interesting proposal I saw suggested that copyright registration ought to become mandatory again (IMHO a good thing too... you have to put forward some real effort to get copyright protection) and that for every 10 years of copyright protection you have to pay 10x the cost.  In other words for 10 years, $1.  20 years, $10.  30 years, $100, and ultimately for 100 years $100,000,000... all paid as fees for registration.  You might even argue that perhaps the interval should be shortened to the same increase for every 3 years or something if you want short terms., where perhaps a major movie studio might not mind paying a million dollars for copyright protection that lasts 30-40 years but ordinary people may have a couple years to prove their stuff is marketable otherwise it goes into the public domain.  As a means to make copyright something rare, I think it would get the job done and be a tool to eventually abolish copyright as well if that was a goal.  It may very well serve most purposes if only a handful of things are formally copyrighted and that they quickly enter the public domain for their re-use in society.

Bottom line: intellectual property of any kind infringes on my real property rights. Your copyright prevents me from using my computer in the way that I choose, and is therefore immoral.

Current copyright law allows for personal fair use, where you can use use your computer any way you see fit as long as what you do is for yourself.  Reverse engineering, for example, is explicitly indemnified and mentioned in copyright code as legal... contrary to what some EULAs would have you think.  What it doesn't permit is for you to take the hard work of others and give it to 3rd parties without permission.  What I consider to be immoral is being a leech on society living off of the work of others and not producing anything yourself.  There is also so much stuff in the public domain that if you insist upon sharing something, look at the public domain first.  Furthermore, the goal ought to be in terms of expanding the public domain instead.

Right now copyright law is stuck where no new content is entering the public domain and won't for another decade (and likely not then either).  Perhaps copyright has a role, but it shouldn't stop of human culture where major cultural works are all "owned" by individuals forever.  As has been suggested (and yes, some effort was made to this end) I don't think the heirs of William Shakespeare deserve any kind of royalties or residuals for his plays and it is a shame to think that even the potential exists where his plays may be taken out of the public domain.  We ought to be able to share recordings of Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and John Lennon.  What I'm saying is put the anger where it really belongs.

I'm fine with Yoko Ono getting some minor residuals for some recordings to support her and her children as a result of some unreleased recordings... as she did.  That was deliberate on the part of John Lennon and good for him on that too.  But how long has the guy been dead?  Buddy Holly has been dead for over 50 years, yet his recordings are still under copyright.  Something is most definitely wrong with that situation.  I doubt that many teens today even know who he is, and a great deal of that is precisely because his stuff is locked up under copyright and not going into the public domain.  On that, I am angry, and part of the anger comes from those who pervert the principles for which limited copyright was permitted in the first place.

If this "copyfree movement" is in response to the abuses of copyright and the criminalization of copyright infringement (yes, you can go to prison or even be killed over a copyright violation... as absurd as that seems), perhaps there is some merit to the idea.  There are many approaches to take, but you should also look at the root causes which put us in this situation too.  I don't think the answer is so simplistic as expecting everybody to put their stuff into the public domain.  If you choose to do that, it is your privilege to do so and I'm not stopping you.  I just choose to go a different path too.  You might also be lucky due to circumstances that permit you to make art in some way that you can be self-supporting that can ignore copyright.  I certainly am not in that position, unfortunately.

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November 29, 2010, 10:18:01 AM
 #44

Bottom line: intellectual property of any kind infringes on my real property rights. Your copyright prevents me from using my computer in the way that I choose, and is therefore immoral.

RHorning is ignoring our assumption and world views.

He tries to dodge my argument about selling cars with "reproduction rights".

Duh, if I have a thing I owned, I should be able to reproduce the object in its likeness whenever I fricking want. I don't give a shit about you not making money. Go do something else.

I am in 100% agreement with kiba and theymos here.  I have many issues with the long essay RHorning wrote, but am not going to list them all.  Bottomline is: intellectual property of any kind infringes on real property rights.

Anyway, you talk to most Statists, and they (like RHorning) will pretend to be on your side by expressing an opposition to intellectual property, but then you narrow down their position, and you find out that they just want to "Reform" IP Law to suit their desires. Tongue

(It reminds me of the healthcare debate: "OK, everyone in the room, please raise your hand if you think the US Healthcare system is broken and needs to be fixed.")

If you want to be petty with ad hominem attacks, at least be more blunt about it.  I don't really consider myself a hardcore statist but I do believe that there is a role for government in society, although it ought to be in my opinion a very limited role.  I think true anarchists simply don't know what they are talking about and would not want to live in such a society if it existed. Well, I guess you could move to Somalia if you cared.  If you think I'm a Stateist, I wonder what you think of Barack Obama?

Reform IP law?  I suppose that is true.  Again, you are using the notion that there even is "IP law" which is a false notion.  It doesn't exist.  There is trademark law, copyright law, and patent law, but not "IP law".

The principles I'm talking about here are in regards to how copyright was originally formulated and why it was enacted in the first place.  That seems to be missing in your responses.

Futhermore, to you Kiba, if you don't give a shit about how I earn money, don't ever expect to get anything I made.  Certainly you shouldn't expect any sort of software maintenance on my software and if it permanently corrupts you computer, perhaps you ought to reconsider how I earn my money.  You talk about freedom here, but you are taking and not giving back.  There might just be some cool software I could write if only I had better means to support myself, which is sort of the point of being able to find financial incentives for creating stuff of that nature.

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November 29, 2010, 10:28:17 AM
 #45

The problem so far as abolition of copyright altogether is to come up with a system where an artist/author (including programmers, photographers, 3d modelers, and other forms of art perhaps not even created yet) is able to sustain themselves in a market economy.
This is what creates fear amongst those who depend on the current copyright system for their livelihood, but I don't think it's a valid issue.

Without copyright, creators will get rewarded on the incremental value that they add to what is already out there. They're not forced to build a walled garden in which to do their creative work. This really is quite liberating.

The carpenter who hangs the doors in my house gets well-rewarded for what he does. He doesn't need a state-granted monopoly that forces me to pay him $0.01 every time someone opens that door for the next 95 years.
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November 29, 2010, 11:02:32 AM
 #46

The problem is that these days intellectual property trumps actual property. You can lose everything you physically own because you copied a mp3.

This is immoral. The original work is undamaged and nothing of value was stolen by you copying it. To then claim you are a victim and entitled to another persons property is the actual crime enforced by the state.

http://vimeo.com/12598892 I like what Stephen Kinsella has to say about it.



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November 29, 2010, 12:14:51 PM
 #47

If you want to be petty with ad hominem attacks, at least be more blunt about it.  I don't really consider myself a hardcore statist but I do believe that there is a role for government in society, although it ought to be in my opinion a very limited role.  I think true anarchists simply don't know what they are talking about and would not want to live in such a society if it existed. Well, I guess you could move to Somalia if you cared.  If you think I'm a Stateist, I wonder what you think of Barack Obama?

Don't take it as an insult.  I refer anyone who advocates the use of state power to achieve goals to be a statist, by defintion.

Somalia isn't an anarchist society.  It was a socailist state horribly managed by a long-term dictator that brokeup due under its own weight/corruption/inefficiencies/etc, then entered a devastating civil war, and now is a collection of a few smaller states: Somaliland, Puntland, Islamic Emirate of Somalia, The US-backed Federal government, and a few other smaller states:



The US diplomats just like to call it an anarchy because their hand-picked government isn't in power.  And even despite its horrible past, Somalis have achieved relatively more prosperous living standards compared to some of its neighbors in the region, likely (of course this is debatable) due to the lack of a strong central government.

Reform IP law?  I suppose that is true.  Again, you are using the notion that there even is "IP law" which is a false notion.  It doesn't exist.  There is trademark law, copyright law, and patent law, but not "IP law".

RHorning, yes I understand the difference between copyrights, trademarks, patents, semiconductor masks, etc.  But this has nothing to do the argument that any form of IP is a violation of real property.  Stop dodging the issue.

And yes, people all the time use the phrase "IP Law" to refer to trademark law, copyright law, and patent law together as a group.  This is perfectly reasonable common usage.

The principles I'm talking about here are in regards to how copyright was originally formulated and why it was enacted in the first place.  That seems to be missing in your responses.

Yes, I realize that some of the original founders reluctantly included patents and copyright in their constitution, because they thought that temporary monopoly grants to inventors and writers would increase public disclosure and promote the useful arts by providing incentives to creators.  Guess what?  They turned out to be wrong.  Have you ever tried reading a patent?  They are written to be deliberately vauge and convoluted and try to be broad enough to cover any other possible inventions potentially related, while not clearly communicating what is being invented.  They just end up allowing big companies to make a lot of wealth idly and from rent.  Scientific publications, on the other hand, are much better forms of public disclosure and communication of new ideas.  And copyrights are used to stifle free speech by prohibiting what you can write or say, hamper creativity by prohibiting derivative works, and limit the dissemination of new ideas in society.  Oh yeah, and trademarks are no longer necessary thanks to the discovery of cryptography: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_signature.

I don't care about your appeals to authority.  It turns out the founders were wrong on A LOT of things that I won't get into here since those aren't related to the topic of growing the copyfree movement.

The problem is that these days intellectual property trumps actual property.

^^^ THIS IS THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM WITH IP.  THIS STATEMENT CANNOT BE REPEATED ENOUGH!!!  THANK YOU, NOAGENDA!


Anyway, the topic of this discussion kiba started is Growing the Copyfree Movement:

I am trying to make a new economic movement called the "Copyfree Movement". What is it about?

Copyfree is the act of declaring all your art or creations into "public domain". It is more about letting your artwork being subjected to the normal rules of property law, rather than bullshit of intellectual property.

So, I been declaring all my artwork "copyfree" by now, but there is nothing much happening. I am only one artist, and I am not a particularly good one yet. I am getting microbitcoin patronage and profiting from it, but they don't add to even 1 BTC.

So what to do now?

Please stay on topic and discuss methods, ideas, or other ways to grow the CopyFREE Movement, or even promote your CopyFREE work.  I don't want to hear some pro-state troll promote the GPL and copyleft.  I have wasted enough hours of my life thinking about the silly differences between the various copyright licenses and the idiotic intricateness of IP Laws.  Now is the time I want to actually do something by promoting alternatives.  Copyright is the arcane way of the past.  It is time to move on.

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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November 29, 2010, 12:21:08 PM
 #48

Those who are active at Wikipedia may wish to declare that their Wikipedia contributions are public domain. Just add this shortcode to your Wikipedia user page:

Code:
{{MultiLicensePD}}
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November 29, 2010, 12:55:30 PM
 #49

@RHorning:

"The problem so far as abolition of copyright altogether is to come up with a system where an artist/author (including programmers, photographers, 3d modelers, and other forms of art perhaps not even created yet) is able to sustain themselves in a market economy."

Respect, but... bollocks!

I'm going to deliberately wade into Godwin's law territory here, sheerly for the hell of it.

"Well, sure the death camps are wrong, but what are we to do with all these gypsies and Jews?"

Or:

"Geez, I know the death camps are wrong, but if they stop ordering Zyklon-B I'm gonna be out of a job!"

A consistent libertarian position is one which recognizes state-backed copyright law as an evil. Presently, if you invoke copyright, you enjoy unjust privilege (necessarily backed up by state agents' guns) which cannot exist in a truly free society. If you want to participate in building that truly free society, you forsake and abjure state-backed privilege.

I'll paste it again. It's a moral argument, which won't stand up to your consequentialist thinking, but still: http://www.nostate.com/2323/intellectual-property-does-not-exist/

Even so, from a consequentialist/utilitarian standpoint.... if IP laws were abolished, sure, a few thousand huge corporations and a few million cushily-permanently-employed Westerners would experience setbacks to their lifestyles. Meanwhile, billions of impoverished people elsewhere on the planet would gain access to currently-patented medicines to improve and save their lives. I'm not going to make that argument, mind you, because I'm not a consequentialist at all, but there it is.

Peace,
Mike

PS: Since I'm feeling particularly jerky, here's my website's access agreement:

WEBSITE ACCESS AGREEMENT

Entry to nostate.com (hereinafter the “Website”) is restricted by contract. By pressing “Submit” below you freely, fully, explicitly and expressly agree:

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    * that you shall not, by act or omission, fail to exercise due care and prudence in excluding third parties from taking part in your use of the Website in any fashion, including but not limited to by blocking all energy patterns, tactile sensations, auditory stimuli, mass-energy distribution changes or other media of phenomenal transmission incident to your use of the Website such that they cannot pass to third parties;
    * that this Agreement is the totality of all contractual relationships between you and the Website owner and that this Agreement supersedes, replaces and annuls all prior contractual relationships between the aforementioned parties;
    * that any breach of this Agreement on your part shall subject you to a penalty of three hundred (300) ounces of 99.99% fine gold or two thousand (2,000) hours of forced labor, with that the choice of penalty shall be yours, payable to the Website owner within ten days in the case of gold or within one year in the case of labor;
    * that you shall not, by act or omission, attempt to or actually transfer, surrender, hypothecate, pledge, encumber, subordinate, abandon or pass by gift, inheritance or other means any of your rights or duties under this Agreement without prior written consent of the Website owner;
    * that should any portion of this Agreement be found to be unenforceable, such finding shall not affect the enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement;
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    * that you have entered into this Agreement freely and without duress after careful consideration and understanding of all its contents.


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November 29, 2010, 01:01:06 PM
 #50

What it doesn't permit is for you to take the hard work of others and give it to 3rd parties without permission.  What I consider to be immoral is being a leech on society living off of the work of others and not producing anything yourself.  There is also so much stuff in the public domain that if you insist upon sharing something, look at the public domain first.

I'm not half as educated in these matters as you guys are. I'm not a libertarian, statist, agorist or any 'arianist' of any kind. I don't even know what they encompass for the most part anyway.
What I am is an outsider at any rate... I live by my own personal set of rules and I try my best to not step in anyone else's toes, while still obeying the laws of where I'm physically located, but I fail to search for others that share the same view or follow the view of others. I just like to reinvent the wheel as much as possible Smiley

The statement above by rhorning sent shivers up my spine... So leeching off of someone else's work is a bad thing? That is the basis of the whole progress movement, right? If the first comer was entitled to be the sole beneficiary of an invention or creation, where would we be? Think computers... If a lot of bad ass copying and misusing IP didn't happen, we probably be bitcoin less... internet less... linux less... just keep going down that path if you feel so inclined!
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November 29, 2010, 01:40:42 PM
 #51


Futhermore, to you Kiba, if you don't give a shit about how I earn money, don't ever expect to get anything I made.  Certainly you shouldn't expect any sort of software maintenance on my software and if it permanently corrupts you computer, perhaps you ought to reconsider how I earn my money.  You talk about freedom here, but you are taking and not giving back.  There might just be some cool software I could write if only I had better means to support myself, which is sort of the point of being able to find financial incentives for creating stuff of that nature.

On the contrary, I produce stuff that people purchase. DUH, people actually buy my art!!!!!!!!!11111

Why do you think I do these kind of crazy stuff, because I think I can support myself without copyright!

Now, you're trying to resists because you can't see how you can make money. You can't be brothered to experiment.

In other words, you have no balls.

Let me tell you what...

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE! Adapt or Die!

Good luck.

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November 29, 2010, 02:33:35 PM
 #52

Current copyright law allows for personal fair use, where you can use use your computer any way you see fit as long as what you do is for yourself.  Reverse engineering, for example, is explicitly indemnified and mentioned in copyright code as legal... contrary to what some EULAs would have you think.  What it doesn't permit is for you to take the hard work of others and give it to 3rd parties without permission.

That still allows you to control the property of people who have not dealt with you. Contracts can enforce non-distribution of works (and even prevent reverse engineering), but if someone breaks this contract, later users of the "leaked" work can't be held to the contract terms. If I have not agreed to give up some of my property rights with a contract, then under no circumstances can you control my use of my property.

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November 29, 2010, 04:32:59 PM
 #53

Current copyright law allows for personal fair use, where you can use use your computer any way you see fit as long as what you do is for yourself.  Reverse engineering, for example, is explicitly indemnified and mentioned in copyright code as legal... contrary to what some EULAs would have you think.  What it doesn't permit is for you to take the hard work of others and give it to 3rd parties without permission.

That still allows you to control the property of people who have not dealt with you. Contracts can enforce non-distribution of works (and even prevent reverse engineering), but if someone breaks this contract, later users of the "leaked" work can't be held to the contract terms. If I have not agreed to give up some of my property rights with a contract, then under no circumstances can you control my use of my property.

I believe enforcing EULA is akin to enforcing a contract that say you must not pour milk with your cereal.

The only way an EULA is worth anything is to actually sign it using public key cryptography.

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November 29, 2010, 05:03:58 PM
 #54

The only way an EULA is worth anything is to actually sign it using public key cryptography.

I won't!

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December 03, 2010, 04:23:52 AM
 #55

I guess I’ll wade into this debate, to me it is a very simple moral argument base upon a strong axiom:  Voluntary interactions between people.


When somebody creates something of value, (from the unused natural resources surrounding them), they morally have right to _USE_ (aka, own) what they have created for whatever purpose providing that purpose doesn’t _DIRECTLY_ infringe upon another.

This also applies to intellectual works; one has the ability to use whatever they have thought of for what every purpose.

Another _DOSE NOT_ have the right to deprive anyone else from something the he or she legitimately owns.  So the person, who made a chair, gets to sit in it.  The person, who writes a book, gets to read it. The people who design a medicine get to make it.

Otherwise it is free for all, another is allowed to make another chair for himself; write another book that is just the same, or make a medicine that works in the same way.  All of this action doesn’t deprive the original from use of their work.

In a free society there is only one form of intellectual property and that is your name.  Plagiarism is the theft of the claim of one’s own achievement.


I really don't care about the economic arguments (for or against, but I’m sure the ‘for’ would win).
I want to live in a free society, not just a prosperous one.  I’m somebody who picks what is moral, then works out the economics to make it happen.

One off NP-Hard.
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December 03, 2010, 10:39:10 AM
 #56

IP is essentially the ownership of abstract patterns. To say you own something that exists, only in an abstract sense, is absurd. An Idea is a pattern of thought. How can you own that and how can you restrict someone else's freedom to follow that pattern.

The idea that you can own a pattern just because you thought of it is asinine. Did you think of it in an intellectual vacuum? Were you born an a back box and somehow were inspired with this idea?

I really don't care about the economic arguments (for or against, but I’m sure the ‘for’ would win).
I want to live in a free society, not just a prosperous one.  I’m somebody who picks what is moral, then works out the economics to make it happen.

There is no historical precedent that I know of to justify the case that intellectual property promotes growth. In fact I strongly believe otherwise.
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December 03, 2010, 11:34:17 AM
 #57

I really don't care about the economic arguments (for or against, but I’m sure the ‘for’ would win).
I want to live in a free society, not just a prosperous one.  I’m somebody who picks what is moral, then works out the economics to make it happen.

There is no historical precedent that I know of to justify the case that intellectual property promotes growth. In fact I strongly believe otherwise.

Sorry I didn't make myself clear:  Indeed I'm sure the economic argument against IP would win, I'm sure because I can prove it, (based upon said axioms)! (no, I haven't done a formal proof, yet, so don't ask for it).

I was just trying to point at the folly of trying to prove that IP is a good (or bad) thing through an economic argument when it is entirely a moral argument.

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December 03, 2010, 05:05:50 PM
 #58

There is no historical precedent that I know of to justify the case that intellectual property promotes growth. In fact I strongly believe otherwise.

This is an unfalsifiable statement because I have no idea what might be an historical example which could demonstrate how "intellectural property" promotes growth, what that growth may or may not be, or even or even what exactly it is that you are talking about by "intellectual property" as if some thought pattern in the neural cortex of a brain can possibly be "owned" in an exclusive manner.

As such, it may be a belief as in "I believe in the flying spaghetti monster that when it arrives from the Andromeda Galaxy it will eliminate all universal hunger."  It may even be a firm belief, but it is grounded on nothing at all.

If you may, however, I'll try to define some of these terms.  In particular this main thread is talking about copyright law, so if we stick with "copyright law" as opposed to "intellectual property" we might be able to somewhat narrow the focus of this statement a fair bit.  I am also going to define perhaps "growth" relating to the number of new books published over a regular time interval with those works available for anybody to be able to read or view, furthermore defining those as books which have been mass-produced in quantities greater than two.  Hand-written journals and a single copy for personal enjoyment don't count... this is something written by an author with at least the strong intention that more than one other person is expected to be able to read the thing other than that original author.

I'll also furthermore define a specific time frame to look for historical examples, and will put that at the invention of the printing press with Johannes Gutenberg starting at roughly the years between 1400-1500 A.D. and continuing to the present day.  Prior to the development of the printing press the value of a book was mainly in the transcription of that book so the book itself was considered in and of itself to be a valued and treasured item that would be more akin to "real property" as opposed to "intellectual property".  In the year 1000 A.D., if you owned a "library" of more than one book (or even simply had a book at all) you would be considered quite wealthy as the production of something like the Christian Bible represented about a year's worth of labor or more.  Copying the contents of books was more like worries over trade secrets rather than encouraging somebody to create the written content in the first place.  People copying the Bible was actually illegal because the priests of the era didn't want ordinary "lay people" to find their "secrets".  A great many people including William Tyndale literally gave their lives simply for copying the Bible, and in that sense is the foundation of free speech laws and constitutional amendments to make sure their lives weren't lost in vain.

I should also note that like the creation of the internet, the printing press was an incredibly disruptive technology.  Somebody copying something like the Bible or heaven forbid as William Tyndale did to even "translate" that text into such a vulgar language like English was simply unheard of.  And then as Tyndale did to furthermore mass-produce that text at great personal cost (it ultimately cost him his life) and see to it that it was distributed to as many people as possible.  As a side note, much of the "King James Version" of the Bible is derived from the original translation by Tyndale.  His contribution to world culture certainly was quite significant.

Getting back to this growth issue, there certainly were a substantial number of books produced before copyright law was even enacted.  The first law covering English language texts was called the "Statute of Anne", passed in 1707.  Interestingly, this was created by what amounted to be a trade guild for printers in London called the "Stationers' Company" and set up a legal situation where only members of this guild were permitted to publish anything at all.  All other printing presses by non-guild members were to be destroyed along with whatever they printed, and money earned from that activity to be confiscated (and kept by the British crown).  Let's just say that this was seen as incredibly draconian and it was something that also impacted people in North America as well because it made publication of the Bible by anybody other than a London printing house to also be illegal.  Ben Franklin might have pushed boundaries hard for much of what he did, but that was one line he didn't cross until well after the American Revolution happened.  The monopoly was eventually relaxed, but copyright law was at this point firmly established as a principle about this time... in response to the printing press.

Basically, the assertion here is if copyright law has any sort of encouragement role for authors to publish their works.  I suppose I can give a personal testimony to the fact that I do consider it to be an incentive for myself, and I know of others who would consider it to be so.  Still, let's stick to objective facts:

We do know from registration records from the Library of Congress that the number of publications since its creation has shown exponential growth in terms almost every possible metric that can be used for measurement.  This can be in terms of the number of authors registering their works, the number of titles produced, the number of different subjects covered by those titles, the kinds of media used to create published works, and the physical size of the library itself.  Even now the "Library of Congress" is currently used as a standard in the information technology field representing perhaps the sum total largest possible amount of data that is currently being used and exchanged on a regular basis, where holding a "LoC" of data is considered perhaps a holy grail for data storage specialists.  The data would be counted in terms of how many letters there are in all of the books in the library together with digitized versions of all of the illustrations combined as a whole, or digitized versions of all other reproducible works of art.  It represents a substantial amount of data and is something which can certainly be approximated to within an order of magnitude or so in terms of how much material that library has and how that information in the form of books has been received by the library over time.  Records at the library have historical information going back to the establishment of the library by Thomas Jefferson, in terms of when the books were first published and when they were received by the library.

The problem here is that any sort of conclusions drawn from the statistical database made up of depository records at the Library of Congress depends upon a great many variables including population growth, technological changes, changes in legislation, and a great many other factors that unfortunately doesn't offer a control group to effectively compare the growth and creation of content under copyright law vs. growth that would have occurred without it.  Registration happens with the Library of Congress explicitly because of copyright law, as at least in America all publishers are required to "donate" a book or other media to the library in exchange for copyright protection.  That also accounts for its size as well.

The main problem is that there is no "control group" to be able to make a fair comparison as to how much content is produced in a place that lacks copyright law and someplace else of a similar demographic nature which has a strong copyright law.  However it can be pointed out that there has been growth of reproducible works of art including books while there has been a copyright law in effect, that copyright term lengths don't seem to have a major impact on the number of works created or the growth of that creation either.  This can be and is in fact used by proponents of strong copyright laws and longer copyright terms.  I tried to use examples of Chinese and Russian copyright as an exception, but the largest problem there is that both countries have copyright law and have had it for nearly a century each as well making any sort of comparison mainly over copyright term lengths rather than the existence or lack thereof for copyright law itself.

In this sense the only even remote control group is during the brief period of time from when the printing press was created until most countries adopted copyright law.  That there certainly were people willing to publish books and to do so at a profit without copyright law in effect can certainly be seen.

The only other possible sources of comparison that I can think of then would be with computer software titles in some sort of overall survey in terms of the various economic models being used for software distribution.  It may be possible to dig up the number of titles that have been produced with either a pure proprietary license, those which have been simply placed into the public domain, and then comparing other sorts of "copyleft", non-commercial only, and perhaps "shareware" titles as well.  This gets back to the argument of "copyleft" vs. "copyfree" and based upon my experience I would dare say that those works which have been placed directly into the public domain haven't seen nearly as much growth as the other kinds of software distribution methods.  Furthermore, "copyleft" has been certainly outstripping "non-commercial only" licenses at a much faster and higher growth rate from many objective measures.  In terms of the number of titles or even the number of "copies" shipped of "copyleft" as opposed to a "pure proprietary" licensed software, I would say that my gut feeling is that they are roughly the same at the moment.  Proprietary licensed copyrighted content (like say Microsoft Windows and Adobe Photoshop) still dominate the marketplace, although the measurement metrics are not really fair comparisons even here. 

About the only objective measurement I've seen of this is to take a very active website and count up the various kind of web browsers which include operating system data and do a comparison of each browser with the assumption that each unique IP address represents a different person.  One place to look at for some of these statistics can be made here: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/default.asp  Since presumably the servers themselves are agnostic in terms of what browser or operating system is being used, it provides a sort of apples to apples measurement in terms of what might be the relative "market strength" of each kind of software and how far have the ideas penetrated.  "copyleft" software has certainly shown a strong showing and in fact rank as the top kind of licensing model, considering that Firefox represents the current largest number of browsers on the internet and Apache usually running on Linux represents by far the largest number of servers.  In terms of the operating system of the browsers, it is by far and away held by Microsoft, although Linux and the Macintosh operating systems certainly seem to be holding their own.  Nowhere to be found here is any sort of "public domain" software in any of these statistics or anything that might be close to the definition of "copyfree", so the question I would raise is "why is that?"

Copyleft software, at least by these numbers, is shown to be a viable distribution model that people will support both for development purposes and for those actually using the software once it is created.  The ability to create works and simply "give them away" and to put them into the public domain has also been around for about the same length of time, yet it hasn't been nearly as "successful" in terms of adoption and growth in the market place.  At the same time, a straight out "all rights reserved" and commercial content distribution model has also been very successful in terms of actually getting the software to ordinary end-users and providing the quality of software that they are needing.  My question would then be to point out how perhaps "copyfree" might do that job better.  If not, it is going to be a mime that will die.  Where is the growth that comes from abandoning copyright altogether?

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December 03, 2010, 05:20:20 PM
 #59


Copyleft software, at least by these numbers, is shown to be a viable distribution model that people will support both for development purposes and for those actually using the software once it is created.  The ability to create works and simply "give them away" and to put them into the public domain has also been around for about the same length of time, yet it hasn't been nearly as "successful" in terms of adoption and growth in the market place.  At the same time, a straight out "all rights reserved" and commercial content distribution model has also been very successful in terms of actually getting the software to ordinary end-users and providing the quality of software that they are needing.  My question would then be to point out how perhaps "copyfree" might do that job better.  If not, it is going to be a mime that will die.  Where is the growth that comes from abandoning copyright altogether?
Please refrain from your overly long posts. It's a waste of time for everyone.

The economic advantage of open source is not a distribution policy but a development policy. This development policy implies a distribution model that is quite...open.

The GPL is however, not without cost. The term of the GPL is tricky and overly complicated. The proof is that I failed most of the question offered by the GPL. Thus, here lies the transaction cost of the GPL. The GPL is quite indifferent to the development methodology of open source projects. The development methodology of Linux would hardly change if it switch to BSD or more liberal licenses.

From there, we can infer that the GPL offer little economic advantage at all from the perspective of open source projects.

However, to address your concern about no growth: It mainly have to do with authors not adopting public domain and instead prefering copyright. Thus, we don't see much growth of public domain.

Experimental data suggests that people do pay for copyfree stuff, at least Jason Rohrer(About 42,000 USD in a few month) and me(bitcents but earning nonetheless).

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December 09, 2010, 04:14:36 PM
 #60

I think the key in understanding the GPL is to look at what is not seen.

Withholding source code via cryptography, obfuscation, or just not revealing it for a period of time is both legitimate and moral.  This is a critical component of expression, which is composed of both speech and silence.

Legally removing a modifier's right to silence effectively criminalizes a large number of possible business plans that would've benefited countless people.

So, how many killer apps have been made impossible by the GPL and other copyleft?  We can't really know.  Want to structure Wikipedia's data, add value to it, and resell it?  Sorry, you'll need to operate at a loss and offer your data for free because of Wikipedia's share-alike license.  The fact is, we can't see all of the awesomeness that doesn't take place due to copyleft enforcement because fear of legal retribution means that none of this awesomeness can exist in the first place.

I think also that people don't realize what the GPL does to create permanent code monopolies.  This would be much more equitable if the author were also bound to the GPL, but in fact one of the prime uses of the GPL is to prevent others from selling commercial licenses while retaining one's own right to do so.

An awesome microkernel, okl4, was licensed BSD and at some point switched to the GPL for recent versions.  The reason?  The GPL unlevels the playing field and allows them to sell licences while taking in contributions in both source code and testing from people who will never have a right to sell the software in the same way.

A note about public domain: sqlite is public domain and is distributed in every country on the earth.
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