Re: New paper on funding without copyright

Brian Atkins (
Wed, 09 Jun 1999 20:28:01 -0400

Maybe related: there is an ad in the latest Wired for

Purports to allow for safe posting of copyrighted images, plus a purchase option. Requires user to download an ActiveX or Netscape plugin. wrote:
> Recently we had some discussion about whether copyright was necessary,
> and how people would be paid to produce works if the world turns out to
> be such that copyright enforcement is impossible.
> A new paper by cryptographers John Kelsey and Bruce Schneier has been
> published which discusses some of the problems copyright may face, and
> a cryptographic protocol which would allow payment for at least some kinds
> of works.
> The idea is basically that people would pay in advance for a work by a
> popular author. He might make a couple of chapters available for free,
> and then only release the others when he had, say, $50,000 in pledges.
> The authors describe how a publisher could act as a trusted intermediary
> to collect and hold the pledged fees, transfer them to the author when
> the book is released, or refund them if the author fails to make good
> on his promise (or if insufficient funds are raised).
> The authors recognize the public-goods nature of the funding mechanism
> (people who don't pay get to read the book, too, so why pay?). They
> suggest that some of the same mechanisms to encourage cooperation might
> be used as for public-television fundraising drives.
> The paper is at
> Hal

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