Re: When is an MP3 like a lighthouse?

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 07:58:16 MDT

>From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>

>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 freeloading with theft will continue
>to find that the Napster generation 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?

What they do is legally defined as theft, whether "they" choose to
recognize it or not.

>Uhh... this is blatantly untrue. Freeloading may increase total
>unfairness, but it still increases wealth. Downloading always
>increases wealth. If the artists paid *me* to download their
>works, each download 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 shows that each download
>increases real wealth:

It most certainly does not increase wealth. If I am an artist and
the material I write to be payed for is stolen, I have gained no

Your argument translates to "stealing increases wealth".

>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 overcome the vast wealth created by
>downloading is a separate issue. You can argue that money paid to
>the artist generates future wealth and I agree with this as well.
>But in the short term, each incremental download always generates

Stealing valuable material still does not translate to an increase
in wealth.


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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