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

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 17:25:47 MDT

Jason Joel Thompson wrote:
> > No its not. A copyright is an unsigned social contract enforced by law,
> where
> > private use contracts where the parties explicitely agree to the terms
> prior to
> > the release of information are entirely different. Your failure to
> understand
> > 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
> discussion.
> 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.

Signed to and agreed to by no one. In a free market society, only those
who sign a contract wilfully and uncoerced can be bound by that
contract. As I've said before, a social contract is merely a piece of
paper they use to cover your eyes while they go for your wallet.

> 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.

A private contract, wilfully assented to uncoerced by both parties is
most definitely NOT at all like a social contract.

> 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
> argument.

There is a value, but putting the burden of protecting that value on
society, rather than on the artist, is a socialistic methodology. Its
merely one more externalization of costs that is indicative that we live
in a mercantilist economy rather than a free market. A libertarian
society would properly put the burden of protecting that intellectual
property on the creator or owner of that property.

Insisting that the artist pursue due diligence to ensure all recipients
of value pay the fair market price for the value received minimizes the
requirement for inefficient government law enforcement resources to be

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