Re: When is an MP3 file like a lighthouse.

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 14:14:26 MDT

>From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>

>I think that the age of downloading will probably reduce the total
>amount of money that goes to artists, and will certainly produce
>at least a temporary reduction in quality until a new generation
>of topnotch artists willing to work for free arrives to replace
>the current cream of the crop, who have grown up expecting
>payment. But I also think that the age of downloading has
>enormously powerful forces behind it, verging on inevitability.
>Music as material good, as tape or record, is dead. Now it's an
>informational good and can be copied. I don't know that
>information wants to be free, but information certainly wants to
>be downloaded. In the new world, people who want information
>download that information. If prices are set too high, they will
>download without paying.

Theft of copyrighted material is theft no matter what those who do
it say to try and justify it.

>Each additional download creates wealth, because information is an
>infinitely duplicable good. If we all paid exactly the same
>amount to artists and middlemen, but got ten times as much content
>at one-tenth the price per unit, the net effect on industry
>revenues would be zero, and yet an enormous amount of wealth would
>have been created. That's why information wants to be downloaded.
>I don't say it wants to be free, but it definitely wants to be
>downloaded, because each download creates wealth. Whether money
>gets transferred, and where it goes, is almost a side issue
>compared to downloading; money is conserved, but downloading is
>infinite. Information just wants you to download it - it doesn't
>really care whether downloading ten times as much information
>costs you ten times as much money, or twice as much money, or the
>same amount of money, or half as much money, just so long as you
>download. Information wants to be downloaded because each
>additional download creates new wealth; money doesn't care whose
>hands it's in because that doesn't create wealth one way or the
>other. But, in real life, I think that this effect will tend to
>reduce total industry revenues - regardless of whether that's good
>or bad for the individual artists, or for the art - because it
>puts control of wealth flow in the hands of the downloaders, and
>shifts the payment motive from "pay for what you take" to "pay for
>what you copy", two entirely different ethics.

Each download that is paid for increases wealth, each download that
is stolen decreases both wealth and value.

>So I understand that the artists are upset, and that the middlemen
>are in a state of crazed fear, but whatever solutions they try are
>going to have to fit with the two new facts: first, information
>wants to be downloaded; and second, whether information is
>downloaded is a choice that now lies with the downloader.

Same old excuses for theft.

>There are various things that can be done about the probable
>decrease in artist revenues. Eliminating middlemen will increase
>the amount that goes to artists. For those who are willing to put
>effort into this, I think the most leveraged approach is to create
>tipping infrastructures, with tips going directly to the artists,
>despite the screams this will cause by the RIAA and MPAA. But in
>the long run, even that is doomed. Content that doesn't request
>tips will drive out content that requests tips. I don't download
>shareware anymore because there's almost always an entirely
>free alternative at CNET downloads. I don't know that this
>decreases the quality of software, but my guess is that it does -
>although open-source may make up for that, and too little time has
>passed to tell in any case, and it was just a guess to begin with.

You left out another option, the affected artists can bring legal
action against those responsible for theft. Difficult or not.

>But the age of downloading is here, regardless.

So apparently is the age of theft.


Extropy Institute,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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