Re: copyright

From: Jason Joel Thompson (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 11:50:44 MDT

> > And why is this an argument in favor of freely copying them? If it were
> > possible to freely copy computer chips, would it then follow that we
> > do so because they could be used to serve two people's goals
> It's not by itself an argument for or against anything--it's a fact, and
> it's the direct answer to your direct question "what's the difference..."
> Asked and answered, counselor, move on.

This is the start of a slippery defense tactic that you will perpetuate
throughout this posting. You will continue to argue that information should
be free from the restrainst of copyright and you will argue that point due
to the fact that it is different from material goods. When I press -that-
point (certainly it is different, but is it different in ways that justify
the removal of copyright?) you fail to engage the argument, thus giving me
no purchase with which to progress. Further, you will actually accuse me of
being -dishonest- in my line of inquiry-- failing to recongnize that points
I am making are crucial, not disingenuous.

The argument, simplistically, has gone like this:

Jason: "Why should we be allowed to freely copy information?"

LDC:"Because information is possessed of certain traits."

Jason: "If material goods were possessed of those traits, should we be
allowed to freely copy them too?"

LDC:"I'm not arguing that. Can you please just keep talking about


If you want to argue that information should be free because of 'x,' then
you'll have to allow me to argue 'x.'

In much of the rest of this posting you look for increasingly wily ways in
which I -really- can make money off of my performance/book/movie/software,
etc. I'm sorta tired of engaging each example specifically, and frankly I
think they're becoming a little silly-- your money making opportunities have
pretty much shrunk to cashing in on "timeliness," and "authenticity"-- both
of which will continue to shrink as the technology gets better. (i.e.: I
can copy your stuff faster and better.)

Personally, even -if- I granted that these will be good revenue streams in
the future, I still don't think it's a smart idea to build auxiliary reward
systems like these. If we want good innovative content we need to engineer
an environment in which that sort of content will be rewarded. It's not
sufficient to simply reward content-- we need to create selection pressures
that reward the sort of content we're looking for. One's ability to
distribute content is not a good selection pressure for the quality of that
content. Hey, direct monetary reward is probably not the best selection
pressure either-- I'd be very pleased if you came up with a -better- one.

You want to directly pay for construction workers, but not architects. For
CD manufacturors, not musicians. For theatre owners, not filmmakers. For
book binders, not authors.

Eventually -everything- is going to be intellectual property Mr. Crocker.
The world of blacksmiths and automobile manfacturors is shrinking. Those so
called 'differences' between information and material goods that you argue
are going away.

That is why I believe that to argue that ownership of information should be
eliminated is to argue that ownership of everything should be eliminated.
Personally, I think you should just bite the bullet and start arguing -that-
point of view-- it is far more consistent and forward looking.


Okay, I couldn't let this one slide by:

> True, so that would be a stupid business model, wouldn't it? Movies
> should be licensed to theater owners under NDA, who are given encryption
> keys in exchange for agreeing to the terms of how to distribute ticket
> revenues. Ticket revenues alone, without any licensing whatsover, are
> more than enough to make money for good movies. Even the $100M+ movies
> "Terminator 2" and "Titanic" made millions in profit on ticket sales
> alone.

Non-disclosure agreements and encryption? You're going down a dangerous
road here Mr. Crocker-- I'm certain you're about to argue a side of the
argument with which you do not agree:

You can't encrypt the final transmittal of information. Go to Bali sometime
and see how many restaurants show new release movies that were shot on
someone's handicam. Also, it's irrelevant. I've witnessed excellent
versions of both 'The Matrix' and 'Star Wars: Episode I' during the first
week of those films release and I happen to know that people possess
bootlegs of films that _have_not_yet_been_released. (There goes timeliness.)
Please don't argue that we can successfully protect this information since I
really doubt that you believe that. The only thing we can currently protect
against is mass commercialization of this bootleg material-- which is to
say: it's still hard for me to start screening this material on a very
public webpage. As yet.


> That's true, but the system as it is has manipulated the market and the
> artists to think that copyright is the only way to make money, so they
> don't pursue options.

Why should they pursue other options? People want music, so musicians make
music. If people want easy-to-find music, or t-shirts to go with their
music, then other people (distributors and clothing manufacturors,) should
come in to fill those markets.

> > Do you believe that passing laws making the theft of automobiles illegal
> > an example of passing laws to help the automobile industry?
> Please stay on topic. You know exactly what I think on the issue,
> you know exactly what the difference is, and your dishonestly using
> this rhetoric to distract from the real issues. If you can't argue
> honestly, that says something about your arguments.

Hmm... okay, you're accusing me of dishonesty here, to which I would usually
take offense, but, to be truthful, I don't even really understand what sort
of a lie you're accusing me of...

I -do- know that this is another example of you trying to -not- talk about
the significance of the distinction between material goods and intellectual
property and I'd love to oblige you on this, but since it's the very crux of
my argument and the very topic under discussion, I think it would be
extremely odd for me to just let it go.

I hope you won't continue to pursue the tactic of casting aspersions on my
integrity to get me to drop the line of questioning to which your beliefs
are most vulnerable.

> I stand on my record as a militant capitalist. I've already explained
> many times the difference between physical property and IP, and if
> there are people who still can't see the difference, they're beyond
> hope of understanding and I have nothing more to offer them.

Right, so now we're simply daft. This is a good one: basically you would
accuse me of failing to have the intelletual capacity to understand the
differences, and so I'm beyond hope and we should just stop talking about
the whole issue. But -every- single time I challenge the significance of
those differences, you just deflect the topic. (Like this.) Look, if you
don't want to talk about this, that's fine. But please do not cast
aspersions on my intellectual comprehension as a means to get me to drop the
line of questioning to which your beliefs are most vulnerable.

Please refrain from stating:

"B should be treated differently from A, because B possesses property x"

if you're going to continue to refuse to discuss:

"If A had property x, should it too be treated differently?"



::jason.joel.thompson:: ::wild.ghost.studios::

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