Re: When is an MP3 file like a lighthouse?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 06:41:10 MDT wrote:
> Obviously there will be opposition to such a change by consumers,
> and it will somewhat limit the market for CDs which can be sold in
> this format, but the advantages in making them harder to pirate may
> be motivation enough for the manufacturers. If this happens, all the
> music on Napster and its replacements will be old stuff, and current
> hits won't be available.

Only one person needs to successfully rip the CD for it to go everywhere.
DVDs are already encrypted. It has not made a perceptible difference.
Setting that aside...

Free information tends to drive out nonfree information; I no longer need
to decide whether to register shareware, because there are almost always
free alternatives. I don't even see shareware. I just tell CNET to
screen out all licenses except "Free". Which is the point at which one
starts wondering about the continued survival of the industry. If all new
music can somehow be kept safe, then people will download old music
instead. Actually, this might be a stable solution. There's enough
existing unprotected music to preserve an economy of abundance for music
users; those who want the luxury of listening to something published after
2002 can pay for it. It's not a perfectly fair solution, and in fact
contains some pretty blatant unfairnesses, but it might work. You can't
tell people to not download, but you might be able to tell them to
download old information instead of new information.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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