Re: ECON: Intellectual Property Again

Grant Sparks (
Sun, 31 May 1998 19:50:44 +1000

Yes, this is a great example of how IP can actually work in the future.
Even among 'warz haqrz' the demand for the very latest 'day 0' software is
massive. Art and technology go hand in hand in our desire to have the
latest and best. However I would probably come down on the 'open source'
side more than Max does.

Even with your subscription software, the delay to the pirate market is
still small. You have a better chance than current methods simply because
your greater efficiency gives you a lower price and therefore makes it a
less attractive target for piracy.

The big winners in the open source model are those who offer commercial
support contracts for their 'free, unsupported software'. No-one can ever
pirate the experience and knowledge of the authors, and software is too
complex and commercial liabilities too large for support services to become
obsolete in the near term.

It is not still up to these people to prove that their open source can make
them a lot of money... What do you suppose Linus Torvalds is earning at his
new job ? What about Phil Zimmerman ?
There are lots of examples of this. None of them expect that their personal
business model will leave them short of a dollar for a long time to come,
regardless of where technology and law end up. We should be looking to them
for the models that will work.

Grant Sparks

-----Original Message-----
From: Max M <>
To: <>
Date: Sunday, 31 May 1998 9:09
Subject: Re: ECON: Intellectual Property Again

>Grant Sparks wrote:
>> 2) To quote Gary Larson, "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog."
>> only way I can think of where you could possibly ensure that you can
>> the customer who broke your contract and began distributing pirate copies
>> if you took physical biometric data from each one of them and encoded it
>> into the software at the time of purchase. Needless to say this rules
>> any selling of your software on the internet, and is not very useful if
>> are looking for something to keep the cost of IP enforcement down. Also
>> something I'd like to see a libertarian arguing in favour of :-)
>Well that's only if we keep viewing programs as finished blocks of code
>like it is now. If instead we view it as evolving systems, which
>upgrades/updates in realtime. Then there's suddenly a very god
>possibility of copy protection of software. What if you made some
>software that people really wants which upgrades via the net by the use
>of a serial number. Then there would be good reasons to "subscribe" to
>the software. It would be easy to close down a number that updated too
>many times and from too many places.
>Also it would be both possible and wise to rent out this kind of
>software more inexpensively than software currently is. As any good
>bussinesman can tell you. The easiest customer to get is a return
>customer. This would furthermore discourage from pirating due to the low
>I think there is far to much emphasis on open source, and the free
>software on the net. Of course theres Linux, but it's still a fringe
>product, And the few good examples of open source doesn't make for a
>complete change in the way of the world. Netscape btw. still has to
>prove that their open way of doing things is better than Microsofts.
>Naturally distribution systems and pricing will change, but most of our
>software will still cost money. We will might not buy it in big dead
>lumps like today but more like a flexible subscription.
>Freeware, and open source will coexist together with traditional
>of-the-shelf products, and any other way we can concieve selling and
>distributing software.
>New Media Director & Multimedia Artist
>Private biz:
> The graphic 3D novel: