Re: paying the artists: the spike

From: James Wetterau (
Date: Sat Jul 29 2000 - 13:28:24 MDT

"Jason Joel Thompson" <> wrote:
(Quoting me)
> > I think a little meditation on this question -- abandoning
> > preconceptions for some honest, intense thought in search of an answer
> > -- might change your thinking. Your argument is not supported by the
> > historical evidence; therefore there must be an error in your
> > assumptions or your logic.
> Is Shakespeare really relevant to a discussion regarding the digital
> propagation of information over a massively accessible network?

Yes. If you reread the post I was replying to, you'll see my example
is relevant.

> I would say that the preconceptions run deep on both sides of this
> ebate. -Your- arguments are not supported by 'historical evidence,'

Yes they are. Before copyright there was plenty of creative

> there's plenty of evidence that a high demand environment with protected properties
> creates a lot of innovation and profit for lots of people.

Which you've adduced where?

> You can't argue
> that the current system hasn't been successful...

Yes I can. I can argue that I believe the granting of monopolies has
been an impediment to even greater success.

> it's taken us this far and
> it's unlikely we'd be here today if the starting conditions were
> different.

Evidence please?

> (Unless you're going to argue that the massive explosion of entertainment,
> intellectual and scientific properties that has occurred over the last few
> decades would have been *faster* if only those damn scientists and software
> engineers and movie producers had given everything away for free??)

Giving things away free is not the only alternative. This is a false

I believe, to paraphrase e.e. cummings, that regarding the progress of
the last few decades nobody could have stopped it with all the
policement in the world.

> The -real- issue is that the arena is changing in a fundamental way--
> is -now- the time to start to eliminate the concept of ownership?

No, no, no, a thousand times no! You're inventing a false dichotomy.

Eliminate the government handouts of monopoly rights. These are not
property; they are a taking from the general public. It is the
"intellectual property" people who are against property and for a
system of welfare.

> I'll quote from Alex's recent post:
> "Chances are that neither of us bothers to keep
> track anymore-- physical scarcity is a thing of the past, and the
> competition that exists between individuals is at subtler social and
> intellectual levels."
> This sounds nice. Utopian almost.
> Am I a cynic to believe that 'subtle social and intellectual competition
> ain't gonna hack it for the majority of the human race just yet?

I don't understand what you're arguing now, but you're apparently
arguing with someone else (Alex?) now.

> In my mind, there is only one issue. We need to create positive feedback
> loops for behavior that we'd like to encourage.

Ah, here is where we disagree. I believe we ought to set people free
to act in any way that doesn't including initiating force or fraud
against anyone else. I have no project to initiate positive feedback
loops. I'm not trying for utopia. Freedom is good enough for me. I
just want to let people alone and be let alone.

> We've got good evidence
> regarding the feedback mechanisms that seem to be working so far.

Says you. That is literally what your argument amounts to: things
seem ok to you. What if they don't seem ok to me?

We need a better philosophical starting point to avoid this disagreement.

> The growth of intellectual property is currently geometric.

Where are you getting these facts?

> accruing to those individuals who come up with the best ones. I don't want
> them to make their money by advertising, or hand-outs, or public
> appearances, or selling t-shirts or any of the other flimsy (IMO) means
> described in this discussion thus far. I want them to make their money as a
> direct result of meeting direct demand in the marketplace.

And if someone else comes along to meet that demand you want the
police to be called on that person. That is where we disagree.

All the best,

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