# Re: When is an MP3 file like a lighthouse.

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 05:36:50 MDT

Brian D Williams wrote:
>
> From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <sentience@pobox.com>
> >
>
> So apparently is the age of theft.

As Larry Niven once said, "Ethics change with technology." I agree that
there is an ethical rule stating "pay for what you copy", but this is a
very different rule than "pay for what you take", and those who equate
are deaf to an argument that rests on a flawed analogy. You can tell the
Napster generation that nice people tip; you can't tell them that what
they do is theft, because it's not. And besides, didn't I just finish
asking people to untangle their wishes and their predictions?

> is stolen decreases both wealth and value.

would still increase wealth. Suppose that I have \$1000, the artist has
\$1000, I have 0GB, and the artist has 1GB. The following payoff matrix

Graph: Wealth of agents, by {user, artist}.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
I pay artist \$100 \$900+1GB, \$1100+1GB | \$900+0GB, \$1100+1GB
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
I pay artist \$0 \$1000+1GB, \$1000+1GB | \$1000+0GB, \$1000+1GB
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Artist pays me \$100 \$1100+1GB, \$900+1GB | \$1000+0GB, \$900+1GB

Graph: Total wealth of all agents in system

--------------------------------------------------------------
I pay artist \$100 \$2000 + 2GB | \$2000+1GB
--------------------------------------------------------------
I pay artist \$0 \$2000 + 2GB | \$2000+1GB
--------------------------------------------------------------
Artist pays me \$100 \$2000 + 2GB | \$2000+1GB

Now of course you can argue that unfairness is a real economic cost that
decreases efficiency. With this I agree, although whether it's enough to