The Freedom of Digital Information

From: Terry Donaghe (
Date: Wed Jul 26 2000 - 22:07:02 MDT

By now, I'm sure most of you have noticed that the government has shown it's
obsolescence by "shutting down" Napster. This is one of the silliest things
I've seen in a while. The "sharing"/"theft"/copying of digital information
is a many headed hydra. Cut one head off, many more will take it's place.
If you take a look at you will see MANY different
programs which will accomplish the same thing (and much more!) as Napster.

It is very foolish for anyone to claim "ownership" of a piece of digital
information. If something can be easily attained by anyone at almost no
cost at all, and the price for prosecuting the MILLIONS of people attaining
it is prohibitively high, then that something is essentially free. The
recording industry (and the motion picture industry and the book publishers,
etc. etc.) can whine all they want, but their claim is akin to me claiming
that I own all the air in a 20 foot radius about my body - I can't keep
anyone from breathing it, I can't track everyone who is breathing it or has
previously breathed it, and I don't even know where all of it is at any
given time.

As bandwidth increases along with similar increases in storage space,
processing speed and number of connected users, all digital information
located anywhere on the internet will eventually be available to anyone at
anyplace - at no or negligible cost. Encryption can just slow the process
down a bit.

Entertainers will have to make their money by selling experiences -
something which can not be copied (yet) and passed around. Examples are
live events, interactions with fans, interactive games, etc.

I know this is familiar ground for extropians. I just wanted to add my
$0.02(US) worth.

Terry Donaghe: Your source for emerging technology news.

Try and open your mind.

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