Re: SV: Makign money as a creative (was) Napster: thoughts and

From: Jason Joel Thompson (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 16:16:53 MDT

> No its not. A copyright is an unsigned social contract enforced by law,
> private use contracts where the parties explicitely agree to the terms
prior to
> the release of information are entirely different. Your failure to
> this difference is exactly why you continue to try to argue these points.

Actually, I don't fail to understand this difference-- you just fail to
accept that I don't attribute your distinction with relevance to this

As you say: "A copyright is an unsigned social contract enforced by law."
In essence it is a social agreement to attribute ownership and/or control
and/or rights of usage to an intellectual property.

Which is exactly what a private use contract between two parties would be.
Unlike your assertation above, they are -not- entirely different, in fact
they are fundamentally alike in terms of their nature-- they are arbitrary
agreements about the rights associated to a particular piece of information
or product. They both propose to control your use and rights by recourse to
legal means.

The reason I found it odd that you introduced the concept at all, is because
of this reliance on the control of an individuals rights over their usage of
a piece of intellectual property. A copyright law simply says that my ideas
are -always- protected---- independent of me signing an exclusive legal
document with you, I have ownership over what comes out of my head. If you
allow that it is in people's best interests to sign the sorts of contracts
that you introduced to this discussion, (and if it wasn't a good idea to
make such a contract, why did you bring it up?) then it would therefore
follow that they would always be signing them.

I suppose a filmmaker then could just put up a webpage promoting a new
movie-- and ask that prospective patrons sign a contract agreeing to pay for
said movie if and when they decide to go see it.

Since most people would like to retain some sort of ownership over their
intellectual property, shouldn't we make that the default state? It is
trivial for me to reliquish control over my intellectual property. If there
are really advantages to the content being free, then people will pick up on
that and make their content free. Which they are already doing.

Again, to be clear, if you grant that there is a good reason for us to sign
a contract restricting your use of my content, then you are recognizing the
value of controlled usage and/or ownership. Which is, of course, my

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