More boring copyright-related blather

From: Emlyn (onetel) (
Date: Thu Aug 03 2000 - 06:43:06 MDT

> >From:
> >But... weren't you thinking, ok but let's see what happens if you asked
> >Napster traders to voluntarily donate a dollar.. hell even a quarter,
> >say *directly to the artists* (since everyone seems to think it's OK to
> >off big companies but not artists), every time they download. What do you
> >think would happen?
> Personally I'd be happy to give up $.25 for every song that stayed on my
> hard drive more than a week. A buck? I don't know.
> -Zero

I'd be happy to chuck a few cents out there too.

The major problem at the moment with information wanting to be free, is that
this means it will be free (notice the clever lack of contextual clues,
which means it is impossible to understand what I mean).

There's a meme that its ok to get everything which can be transmitted as
information for zero cost. Mostly, this is a culture which has stemmed from
years of existence of a commercial internet where it is hard to pay, but
easy to steal.

Personally, I do it too. It's an issue of timeliness (not timelines); when
you are looking for information these days, often the deciding criterion is
"what can I get my hands on in the next five minutes". It's a busy time, we
are busy people.

Commerce tends to work best if it is easier to pay than steal. So either we
need to make it harder to steal (approaching impossible), or make it easier
to pay. I'm sure Napster would love to have existed in an environment where
a micropayment infrastructure was ubiquitous. I am convinced people would
pay, say, 10cents to download a song, or a piece of writing. If it's easier
to find the legitimate version than the illegitimate version, then that is
all the more likely. Even if it is only as easy to find and pay for a legit
version, or even if it is only almost as easy, as it is to download a
bootleg, many of us will still pay up. We already pay for many of the "free"
services out there anyway (except for all those people who swear they are
unaffected by advertising - what strength of character!). 10c per download
in return for a quality, ad-free service? Sure. We need ecash.

I'm sure it will come together in the near term. More and more large orgs
are feeling the squeeze from the "information wants to be free" memeset,
which has lost it's "information wants to be expensive" suffix. There are a
lot of dollars ready to replace that with "information wants to be cheap".
Let's hope it comes together soonish.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:35:34 MDT