Information and Post Sarcity Economies

I keep explaining this to people, but no one seems to get it. Information wants to be free. Despite what many of you may think, it is not just some hippie talk. It is not some idealistic hacker battle cry. It is not nonsense. It is a fact. When I say free, I don’t mean free as in beer. I mean free as in freedom. Information wants to flow unrestricted. Information is like a socially communicable virus – given enough time it will imprint itself on all available minds. Either that, or it will wither, die and be forgotten.

All successful modern societies are built around unrestricted flow of information. This was true since the begging of time. In the good old days, information was spread via word of mouth. If the Duke sharted in his pants at the dinner table, his kitchen staff would probably tell the story to their friends and families. From there it would spread exponentially. The next day the brown stains on Duke’s pantaloons would be the joke of the day in the village, then the nearby city, then the capitol. Eventually the king himself would know about the unfortunate farting incident in a distant province. We call this networking – it is something that people do. They get together, gossip, and exchange information.

Information takes many shapes and forms. Gossip is information. Stories are information. Songs are information. Information is something you can only own if you keep it to yourself. Sharing it with someone copies the information. That is it’s fundamental property and its purpose. Information exists to be replicated. Information that is never replicated is ultimately useless. More than that – it is usually also worthless. Keeping something a secret usually has no value. In most cases the value of a secret lies in the implications of it being revealed to the general public.

We have been honing our information exchange technologies for few centuries. At first we developed writing as a form of storage. Later we invented printing press that allowed us to mass-duplicate our stored wealth of knowledge. We developed ways to record sound, pictures and motion as well. At this point in time, the pinnacle of this evolution is the Internet – a ubiquitous network designed for one thing, and one thing only: transmitting small packets of information between distant points on the globe. The internet revolutionized data exchange because it divorced information from it’s storage media. Data can now be transmitted as digital signals, and exists in a transient state. It is still tied to physical storage anchors but it can readily shift and flow between them.

For a while, we have traded certain types of information the same way we trade physical items. Mostly because that information was tied to physical media, and not feasible to transfer otherwise. This gave rise to a whole industry based on information distribution. The internet made that whole industry irrelevant. Content distribution is a vestigial dying industry. We no longer need to buy a physical CD to listen to music. We no longer need to buy a disk to install software. It can be delivered to us as a stream of electrical impulses. Why do content producers feel the need to share their profits with some middle men? Why do information consumers need to pay distribution fees? It makes no sense. Treating information as physical products is no longer applicable. The rules have changed.

The whole concept of “intellectual property” is one big stinking nonsense. You cannot own information. I do not own the contents of this blog entry. I cannot own it any more than I can own the air I breathe. Once you read this entry, I no longer have control over it. I can ask you not to reproduce it, but you probably will anyway. And I can’t really stop you. I could try, but that would soon turn into a full time job. I actually know people who do this – they troll around online forums and torrent sites, send take down requests to youtube, rapidshare, megaupload and countless other places. But if their content is popular, it just keeps resurfacing within days, sometimes even hours.

There is only one effective way to control information – it is called “web of trust”. Restrict your content and give it only to people who you trust not to release it. Allow them to selectively grant access to it, to people they trust explicitly. If anyone breaks this trust, he or she is out. The person who granted them access is out as well. This is a social solution and it works but only on a limited scale. The bigger your network, the more likely it is that someone will leek the information, despite the peer pressure and social consequences. Unfortunately there is nothing – and I repeat, nothing else that works.

DRM is such a joke that we are not even going to talk about it here. If you think DRM is anything but a joke, you are either stupid or naive – but most likely both. Censorship could work, but only if you had full control over all information exchange channels which is impossible. Just ask every totalitarian government that has ever existed. It does not work. Even if you gain full control over the local telecommunication networks and filter their content, there will always be illegal back-channels used by dissidents and people who just want to get shit done. On the internet there are proxies, tor, freenet, encrypted vpn links and dozens of other methods to circumvent censorship.

The point here is that the internet is not just a dumb data pipe – it is a human collective. The end points of this globe spanning network are manned by human beings who do what they have been doing since the dawn of time – exchange information. It amplifies our ability to share, preserve and disseminate knowledge. You can’t censor the internet any more you can censor human communication in general. Faced with censorship, people will find ways to route around it – whether this censorship is political repression, or content protection does not matter. If it obstructs information flow, we will figure out how to bypass it.

That’s where we are at today. What is tomorrow though? I don’t know, but I can make some predictions.

Right now we have a clear distinction between data and physical loot. Loot is something you can’t download. For example, if I want an apple (a fruit) I need to go to a store and buy it or have it delivered to my house. If I want a new computer I need to purchase it’s physical components. Loot is scarce. It cannot be copied – it must be manufactured. At least for now. In the world of tomorrow however, loot will become data. This is the direction we are going to.

Our descendants won’t actually have to buy an apple. They will download an apple template, and the fruit will be made on the spot by their house’s nano-scale assembler engine one molecule at a time. Yep, we will move from a scarcity based economy to a post-scarcity based one. It will be a hell of a ride, and I am saddened by the fact I will probably not live to see it. People get their panties in a twist right now because of silly notions like “intellectual property” or piracy because they can’t wrap their heads around the fact information is no longer bound to scarce physical media. The shit is really going to hit the fan when it is finally feasible to torrent yourself a new car, or a house.

Judging how backwards we are about the information exchange and content protection this day, the transition to post-scarcity economy will probably cause collapse of many first world nations. Let’s face it, a nation which bans the nano-assembly technology will put itself in a position to be economically out-produced by a single guy with a cornucopia assembler who can convert garbage into dirt cheap, high quality technology products while sitting on his couch and browsing the web.

It will be a mighty interesting time to live in.

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13 Responses to Information and Post Sarcity Economies

  1. Zel FRANCE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    That’s quite an extreme position you have there. Content distribution companies are still needed on the Internet, especially for products designed for wide access. Just ask Activision the cost for the maintenance of the worldwide WoW servers, I think it’s big.

    I agree current companies will eventually have to move away from the golden age of the physical medium, but they will remain nonetheless, because they’re needed for two very important peripheral missions :
    - sort the overflow of information for us, select “good” (ie well-selling) music, movies, games, books, and root out the others. Sure, they often miss gems in their selection, but how many worthless things do they spare us the trouble of considering ?
    - invest in promising projects from artists that can’t afford to take them to completion on their own funds. Since they’re so close to the market they know what’s working and what’s not, so it’s easier for them to judge of a project’s viability than a private investor.

    Your take on IP is interesting but you’re missing out on one parameter of the equation : often the creator of the information needs to be able to live off its creation. Otherwise, he won’t create as much information, if at all. If we want software that isn’t developed by amateurs in their free time, we need to provide a framework in which people who work on it can actually get paid for it.

    I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism for nano replicators and such devices. At least not for food. Other convenience items like cars could be made out of nano bricks, but to make goods that are to be transformed (like fuel), you’d need some basic particles for the assemblers to build with, and it doesn’t come out of thin air. You’re essentially moving the need from the apple to the fuel (energy + particles) to run the apple generating machine, but the physical component remains.

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Zel:

    You have some very good points. The post was sort of intended to be extremist. :)

    You have a good point about the distributors – they will remain in business, but not in the capacity they are now. They will have to alter their business model which right now is based on scarcity. Right now we sell information the same way we trade physical items. This is nonsense, because information is not scarce.

    Even right now, we can clearly see that any information – be it music, movies or software can be obtained for free if you know where to look.

    You hit the nail on the head though – there will always be need for companies that will sift through the chaos of information out there and pick out worth while items. There will always be a need for companies to market, promote and invest in content creators.

    I wrote about this a while ago in the post titled: How do you sell data when information is free. Aggregation of content is one of Kevin Kelly’s 8 generatives.

    The whole idea is that information is free, but you can still make money by selling it. The users will pay you for the service of finding the information for them, cataloging it, and providing easy access to it.

    Take a look at Steam – this is precisely what I’m talking about. Steam is a distribution platform but it also adds value to the games you buy from it. If you buy a game on Steam you usually get access to achievements, their cloud network that syncs up your saved games and stats across different machines, their network of multiplayer servers and match making services. Steam also stores the games for you so that you can re-download them at any time and on any machine. Those are all benefits of buying a game from steam.

    That’s pretty much how you will sell data in the future. All that talk about piracy and intellectual property is irrelevant because you cannot stop information from being copied. The best you can hope for is to package it in such a way that it is easier and more beneficial for your customers to buy from you than to hunt your content down on torrent sites.

    As for the nano assemblers and food – it is quite the opposite. Think about it – on a molecular level an apple is composed mostly of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. These are all plentiful in the atmosphere. So yes – I believe that you could make an apple out of thin air. It would probably take a long time though.

    Yes, we would still need to buy some resources. But once you have a device that can break something down to atomic particles and rebuild it, you would be surprised how much crap you can recycle. For example, there is no need to keep a full closet full of clothes anymore. Just have your house build you a new shirt every morning, and at the end of the day, have it dissolved and recycled. Physical property would become transient and temporary.

    Initially, yes – you would have to stock up on resources, and probably replenish them every once in a while, but I could imagine a household being able to sustain itself without outside inputs for days if not weeks.

    Building things that require specific components such as rare metals or alloys would be more costly. You would probably need to buy bricks of these to build stuff.

    As for energy – I was reading Charles Stross lately and he had that grad idea of dropping one end of a wormhole into a sun, and then siphoning the energy of the star to power all your crap. Of course this idea requires functional stable wormholes which are still pure science fiction.

    Nano machines though… They look more and more realistic every day. :)

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  3. Alex Vostrov CANADA Google Chrome Windows says:

    We already have non-assemblers for apples. They are called apple trees and they’re quite good at doing their thing.

    What do you say to online gateways then? If my game is only accessible online, like WoW, the information isn’t going anywhere.

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Alex Vostrov:

    Yes, but apple trees have limited output, take a very long time to produce the fruits, take up a lot of space, only work few months in a year and are vulnerable to pests and diseases.

    As for MMO type games, have you ever heard about private servers? There are plenty of them out there – some support quite large populations. You can actually play WoW for free if you want to.

    Most people choose not to, not because they respect Blizzard’s IP but because:

    1. Paying for WoW is actually less hassle than jailbreaking your game and Jerry rigging it to work with a private server

    2. The Blizzard servers have better uptime and bandwidth

    3. Official servers act as community hubs

    All of this is a service – Blizzard is not really selling a game, they sell you an experience. That’s precisely what I was talking about in the comment above. They are making money because of the value they create for users around their software.

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  5. copperfish Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Information has value only in the utility you can get from it – you need to be able to implement something from the information you hold. The full nano-assembler code for an apple without a nano-assembler? It will only have academic value.

    The same argument applies to the WoW servers. It is probably possible to get the information to build something equivalent, but the effort to keep it running requires implementation resources – people, servers, bandwidth etc.

    Music and movies are “more free” because the technology to “implement” them is cheap and easy.

    Interesting aside – also from reading Charles Stross and some Bruce Sterling recently. The ideas were also in Daniel Suarez’ Daemon and Freedom books.

    Energy costs will mean that globalisation and trade in physical goods will decrease dramatically. You will no longer get goods from overseas. Production will be localised and in “city states”.
    Information will be cheap and golbalised. Ideas will be traded and produced into physical goods locally (think nano-assembly).
    Current nation states will break down as the self-sufficient city becomes the norm. I’m reminded here of the “Phyles” in Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age.

    So information will be free, but it has no value unless you can do something with it.

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  6. copperfish Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Some of that is badly written, but I think it’s clear enough :)

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ copperfish:

    Well… I’d assume all assemblers would come with a template that would allow them to create identical copy of itself. This is how Stross envisioned it in Glass House. It was so common to replicate the assembly gates people actually forgot how to build them from scratch.

    So if you want your own assembler you can just walk up to your neighbor and say: “Could you make me a copy of that magic box of yours? I’ll pay for any of the physical resources it takes and your time.”

    Or you could just buy one. I’d guess these things would be ubiquitous at some point – kinda like refrigerators and microwaves. Think about it – you could replace just about all your kitchen appliances and most of your plumbing with these things.

    You do have a very good point about the globalization effects. There will be less global trade but more global communication. Of course that’s assuming we don’t have some sort of a transportation breakthrough – like wormholes/farcasters. Then this trend will reverse itself making geography meaningless and people will have houses with rooms located on different continents or even different worlds.

    So we will end up with a global community subdivided into smaller local city-states or polities based on ideas and attitudes rather than on geographical location. Some of these will probably be gated communities with controlled inbound and outbound gates – but they can still be internally fractured.

    So a polity could be composed of 5-10 geographically non-contiguous campuses all connected with non-filtered wormhole portals creating almost a seamless cityscape. It would be connected to other communities via firewalled, monitored gates that will stop unauthorized entry. Physical access from the outside will be restricted via physical barriers and automated defenses.

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  8. copperfish Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Luke

    I haven’t read Glass House, but it’s now on my list. And yes the “Von Neumann” machine aspect of nano-assemblers should have been obvious ;)

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  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ copperfish:

    I really liked Glass House though the ending is kinda abrupt and anticlimactic. Then again, this seems to be true for most of Stross’ novels. He really paints quite a captivating picture of trans humanist societies. Nano assemblers, wormholes, mind backups, running multiple instances of oneself, memory surgery, censorship viruses that spread via assembly gates. Very good book.

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  10. Brit UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    > “I keep explaining this to people, but no one seems to get it. ”

    Maybe it’s you who doesn’t get it.

    > “Information wants to be free.”

    The complete quote is “Information wants to be free, information wants to be expensive.” It’s too bad that so many people misquote it for their own ends. Besides, information doesn’t want anything. People want things. To say that information wants to be free is projecting your own desires onto inanimate objects.

    > “All successful modern societies are built around unrestricted flow of information.”

    Right, that’s why the United States, with it’s copyright system dating back to the founding of the country was always a complete and utter failure as a nation.

    > “The whole concept of “intellectual property” is one big stinking nonsense.”
    Yeah, just like land ownership is nonsense. The land was here billions of years before you, but you put up a fence and call it “yours”? My point in this analogy is this: land ownership and intellectual property are useful concepts for the creation of a productive society.

    > “I do not own the contents of this blog entry. I cannot own it any more than I can own the air I breathe.”
    And, yet, if I plagarized it, you’d complain. What next – you’ll complain that I’m breathing air that once entered your lungs?

    > “Censorship could work, but only if you had full control over all information exchange channels which is impossible. Just ask every totalitarian government that has ever existed.”
    Indeed, just like you can’t control speeding, unless you have a police officer at the steering wheel of every single car in the entire world. Obviously, we should give up on traffic laws – it requires a totalitarian state!

    > “Our descendants won’t actually have to buy an apple. They will download an apple template, and the fruit will be made on the spot by their house’s nano-scale assembler engine one molecule at a time. … The shit is really going to hit the fan when it is finally feasible to torrent yourself a new car, or a house.”
    The “argument from Star Trek” is going to get you nowhere. The reality is that if templates cost time and effort to create, then creators should be compensated, otherwise society will suffer. Imagine that your scenario actually happened. What motivation would people have to create newer, better cars? Under your system, the creation of a pollution-less automobile might never happen because no one wants to invest the millions of man-hours to create a newer/better automobile design when creators get nothing back in return. If a business model did exist (for example, though some sort of control over the design), then we end up with a better world.

    Besides, if we’re going to use imaginary, might-never-be-created technologies to support an argument, then we can go a long, long way towards justifying almost anything. What’s that? We should pay to get into concerts, amusement parks, and sporting events? No thanks. I’ll just teleport inside. Obviously, then, we should get rid of these ticket-sales supported events. Those guys are living in the past.

    I’m sorry that you’ve drunk the cool-aid, Luke. It seems like a lot of people spend way too much time finding clever ways to legitimize what they already believe, rather than trying to understand how things work. It seems like a lot of your intellectual property posts follow that pattern – you’re just searching for arguments to support your ideas, rather than actually looking at the whole thing from a more neutral, objective standpoint.@ Brit:

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  11. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Brit wrote:

    Maybe it’s you who doesn’t get it.

    Nope. As evidenced by the posts above yours, people do get it. It’s just that majority of people have trouble conceptualizing these issues – mostly because they are not educated enough, or they were never exposed to these ideas.

    I’m putting it here to provide an interesting point of view. You may not agree, but it is something I would like you to consider.

    I am still waiting for someone to tell me: I don’t agree with your philosophy but I will not pretend that information is a scarce resource. Here is what I think we should to to make sure that content producers are rewarded for their work, but we are not wasting money developing DRM technology which clearly doesn’t work, or pass laws that are so completely detached from reality they might as well be filed under fantasy (because science fiction usually requires the author apply some scientific or logic in the process of world building).

    But no. People either agree with me or completely ignore all my points and claim that we should force information to be scarce resource by locking it up using ineffective technology and severely punish people for doing what is natural and instinctive to them.

    It’s like I’m showing them DRM doesn’t work and they say “yeah, but we need it”. If it doesn’t work, and it can’t work then why the hell would you ever need it?

    Brit wrote:

    People want things. To say that information wants to be
    free is projecting your own desires onto inanimate objects.

    If you read my post, this is exactly what I was saying. Information doesn’t want anything. People want things. And they want information to flow freely.

    Brit wrote:

    Right, that’s why the United States, with it’s copyright system dating back to the founding of the country was always a complete and utter failure as a nation.

    United States used to have a healthy copyright system with a term of 14 years and extension of another 14 if needed after which works were released into public domain. Now the term is life of the author +70 years, which means we have to wait for 3 generations until something enters public domain. We are currently in a cultural dead zone where we will not see anything going into public domain for years to come. And judging from the past record, the copyright term will be extended next time Mickey Mouse is about to slip. Which means copyright terms are in danger of becoming perpetual.

    I once wanted to convert a text of a book written 60 years ago to a nice LaTex format so that it could be printed with nice typesetting. Then I found out that I couldn’t host that book in US because it is one of the few countries in the world where it is still copyrighted. The book is 1984 and it is available all over the internet because it is in public domain already in all of Europe. It’s silly.

    Not to mention that life of the author + 70 years is not practical copyright term for software which tends to have much shorter life span than a book or a movie.

    Our copyright law is inexplicably broken.

    Brit wrote:

    Yeah, just like land ownership is nonsense. The land was here billions of years before you, but you put up a fence and call it “yours”? My point in this analogy is this: land ownership and intellectual property are useful concepts for the creation of a productive society.

    Land ownership can be enforced by a fence. If you are using the land, you can prohibit me from using it using physical force. You can allow me to visit it or look at it, but you can kick me out any time you want.

    You cannot stop me from using information that you think you own. Unless of course you kill me, but chances are I already shared your information with some other people, so you will have to kill them too. And anyone they talk to. And etc…

    Land exists in real world and is scarce. Information is not scarce and is copied almost reflexively. Therefore we are talking about two different things and your counterpoint does not make sense. Or rather it makes as much sense as the people who compare “remembering” songs onto permanent electronic media to stealing cars and murdering their owners. It’s like comparing apples to underwater volcanoes and saying they are pretty much the same thing because they… I don’t know – exist on the same planet or something.

    Brit wrote:

    And, yet, if I plagarized it, you’d complain. What next – you’ll complain that I’m breathing air that once entered your lungs?

    Wrong. My post titled “What does your browser choice say about you” was widely copied and pasted across the internet. I was flattered. I only asked people to link back to me if they did it. Not all people did. I didn’t lose much sleep over it.

    Brit wrote:

    Indeed, just like you can’t control speeding, unless you have a police officer at the steering wheel of every single car in the entire world. Obviously, we should give up on traffic laws – it requires a totalitarian state!

    You can’t control speeding. Everyone fucking speeds. I was driving home from work the other day, doing 65 (the legal speed limit) and most people were just flying past me.

    Reportedly the German Autobahn (highway without a speed limit) is the one of the safer strips of highway in Europe having lest accidents than most other highways in that region.

    Once again though, we are talking about two different things. Speed limits are there to protect pedestrians and other drivers. Not following them in may end in loss of human life. For the time being, human life is still a scarce resource. We do not yet have the technology to back our minds up onto digital media or rebuild our bodies. In the future I suspect dying will not be such a big of a deal, but for now it is. So we have laws to protect it.

    Copying information without the permission of the original creator may result in… Um… I actually don’t know what. Maybe a lost sale, but it is a stretch. You have to assume that the person copying the information would actually purchase it if it was not available for free. I don’t know about you, but every time I preface my hypothesis with “I assume” people tell me “don’t assume – get back to me when you know for sure and then we can talk”.

    But I get it – this does not apply in this situation because everyone in the “we must make information scarce for the good of humanity” club is already so detached from reality they don’t even notice this.

    Brit wrote:

    The “argument from Star Trek” is going to get you nowhere. The reality is that if templates cost time and effort to create, then creators should be compensated, otherwise society will suffer. Imagine that your scenario actually happened. What motivation would people have to create newer, better cars? Under your system, the creation of a pollution-less automobile might never happen because no one wants to invest the millions of man-hours to create a newer/better automobile design when creators get nothing back in return. If a business model did exist (for example, though some sort of control over the design), then we end up with a better world.

    Yes, you are 100% right. How could have I been so blind. It is clear to me now. There is no way in hell we could have a world in which people create software for free. I mean, it is not like I own a computer with an operating system that started as a hobby project and which is in constant development by enthusiasts and volunteers.

    And it’s not like you have posted this comment using a browser that is available for free, under an open source license that encourages copying and sharing.

    I have also never purchased Cory Doctorows novels which he publishes under creative commons license and makes available for no charge on his website. Thank you for showing me the light. Such a world could not exist.

    You see, I don’t blame you for being so short sighted. You obviously have not been exposed to these ideas before. Most people don’t think about this. They never actually considered information being different from physical objects. But it is.

    My point is that people develop free software because they can. Because they believe in it. And because they can still make money on it, even if it is available for free. I know this baffles a lot of people – the whole open source movement is contrary to what most people know about business and trade. But it works because information is different from physical objects.

    I imagine that creating a pollution free car will be an interesting challenge – template designers will likely see fuel emissions as a bug and try to fix it. Just like people fix bugs in the free operating systems and browsers.

    Besides, cars are dangerous. Driving at high speeds in a vehicle powered by a combustible fuel engine will probably seem reckless in the future. I suspect we will have stable wormholes that will allow you to get everywhere on foot. Operating vehicles will be left to sports enthusiasts or professionals who choose to venture outside civilized habitats.

    Again, when I say information should be free, I never said the content provider should not be compensated. We just need to find ways to make it possible. Read my post about Kevin Kelly’s 8 generatives. I linked it in one of the comments above. That’s how you make money selling information.

    Brit wrote:

    Besides, if we’re going to use imaginary, might-never-be-created technologies to support an argument, then we can go a long, long way towards justifying almost anything.

    Btw, this is what I do on this blog. I sometimes post lengthy theories about things that may never happen. In this case I had a long rant about intellectual property which led me to think about the future. I’m basically thinking out loud. I’m not using the nano-assembler discussion to support my earlier copyright related rant. I’m just musing as to where can this copyright mess go from here.

    Brit wrote:

    What’s that? We should pay to get into concerts, amusement parks, and sporting events? No thanks. I’ll just teleport inside. Obviously, then, we should get rid of these ticket-sales supported events. Those guys are living in the past.

    See, you are trying to compare apples to volcanoes again. A live concert is a service. When you put on a concert you are not selling the music – your customers can get the music on a CD and it will be better quality because it won’t include crowd yelling, and musicians messing up a bit as it is common during live concerts. You are not selling the information content show either – if someone would want to simply see the band play, they are much better off watching it on TV. It will show closeups on the artists and give you a better visual spectacle than what you could possibly see from one of the back rows.

    When you put on a live show, you are selling people an experience. People pay to go to them because they want to be there in flesh – see the band in person. You can’t digitize that. I mean, you could record it, and then have people “experience it” via some sort of virtual reality hook up – but it is not the same. People will always want to pay to see live performances. To go somewhere, have fun, rock out with other fans. This is never going to change. No technology can replace that. We can create nearly perfect cheap substitute but even if it “feels” the same, people will still value actually being at a concert more.

    Same with food – you can make your house build you a gourmet meal, but I believe most people will enjoy going out to eat. Having a chef prepare you a meal will probably be quite expensive, and sought after experience. You know – real food, grown the old fashioned way, prepared by hand.

    And again – if you teleport into a live concert a bouncer can still grab you and kick you out because you didn’t pay. And they should because your person will actually take up physical space that could be used by a paying customer. If you torrent yourself a virtual recording of that same concert and watch it at home – that’s something entirely different.

    Brit wrote:

    I’m sorry that you’ve drunk the cool-aid, Luke. It seems like a lot of people spend way too much time finding clever ways to legitimize what they already believe, rather than trying to understand how things work. It seems like a lot of your intellectual property posts follow that pattern – you’re just searching for arguments to support your ideas, rather than actually looking at the whole thing from a more neutral, objective standpoint.

    Nope. I try to explain to other people my understanding of how things work. This understanding is the effect of my personal reflections based on observations I made of digital communication and copyright.

    For example, it seems obvious to me that information cannot be treated the same way as scarce physical possessions. It just doesn’t work that way. When I see people try to shoehorn and graft old business models onto this whole new domain of information trade and then get upset when they don’t work this tells me something.

    We currently have huge issues with intellectual property and copyright. Piracy is rampant and all technological attempts to stop it have failed. We have been making the copyright laws stricter and stricter every year, and yet as the time progresses but this solves nothing.

    To me it is a clear indication that we have a wrong approach to this issue. Most people however are convinced that if we do the stuff that clearly didn’t work in the past hard and long enough, it will eventually become effective. Yes, let’s do the same thing over and over and maybe one day it will make sense.

    All I’m saying is that we can’t treat software the same way as physical property. But everyone who disagrees with me, never actually tries to understand my points. Instead they cover their ears and yell: “No way! Copying information is exactly like stealing cars. For example, this free browser I downloaded from the internet for no charge, developed by people who were not paid – it is just can’t exist. You can’t build a free car, so you can’t have free software or free books, or free movies. You are wrong, and all kinds of crazy to boot! I will now go back to my corner and continue ignoring reality because it does not fit to my worldview.”

    Also, since when trying to find evidence and arguments to support what I believe in is not allowed? So you are saying that it’s ok for you to make up theoretical scenarios or look for resources that support your point of view, but when I do it, I’m not being objective.

    It is not easy to be objective when talking about this topic because neither one of us has enough data to support our point of view. You think I’m some sort of idealistic hippie who wants a free ride. I think you are slightly detached from reality due to your rather backwards and conservative convictions about business, trade and property.

    I can see your point though and I agree with you. Information has value. I never said it is worthless. But, the concepts such as intellectual property are inexplicably backwards. I believe that you can’t own information – but you can trade with it. We have been doing this for years now, in spite of broken laws and technological barriers we erect to disrupt this trade.

    People will always be willing to buy information – in fact, a lot of people will be willing to pay premium for it, if you sell it well enough. People are turning away from music records because they are essentially worthless. When you buy a CD in a store you actually get less value than finding all the songs from that CD online, and then burning it on a disk yourself. Store bought CD is likely encumbered by some DRM that makes it difficult to copy. On the other hand, a lot of people are willing spend exuberant amount of money on vinyl records – because they add value. They give you an unmistakable experience of listening to an analog recording, they usually have beautifully designed sleeves and inserts.

    Right now we sell information the way we sell potatoes. In bulk and by weight. This is not how it should be sold. It should be sold the way Starbucks sells it’s coffee. They can get away witch charging you $5 per cup of roughly the same type of coffee you can buy for less than a $1 7-11 because they claim they sell an unique experience.

    If you want a software centric example look at Valve and Steam. I buy games from Steam because it is convenient, and easy. I like the idea of Valve storing my games on their server having them available for download whenever I want to play them again. I like their cloud concept which mirrors my save games on all the machines I own. I don’t care much about achievements and gaming stats, but a lot of people are really into them. I could easily pirate their games, but I would miss out on all the neat features of steam. Valve is tricking me into “licensing” games from them. I don’t actually own any of the Steam games I purchased, but I don’t fucking care. This is how you sell information.

    I hope this clarifies my point for you a bit. If not… Well, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    Reply  |  Quote
  12. Brit UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    > “United States used to have a healthy copyright system with a term of 14 years and extension of another 14 if needed after which works were released into public domain… Which means copyright terms are in danger of becoming perpetual… Our copyright law is inexplicably broken.

    I’m unclear on what you’re arguing, then. On one hand, you’re arguing that copyright can’t exist, and “All successful modern societies are built around unrestricted flow of information.” Then, you turn around and act as if 14-year (plus a 14-year extension) is perfectly okay. Those are two mutually exclusive positions. I’m perfectly fine with shorter copyrights – even 14 year copyrights. I do not agree with eliminating copyrights, nor do I think you can jump from “Our [current] copyright law is inexplicably broken” (which may very well be true) to a position of “copyright shouldn’t exist”. It seems to me that you are moderating your position quite a bit when you seem to suggest that 14-year copyright is okay. I wouldn’t disagree with you if that was your position.

    > “Land ownership can be enforced by a fence. If you are using the land, you can prohibit me from using it using physical force. You can allow me to visit it or look at it, but you can kick me out any time you want… Land exists in real world and is scarce. Information is not scarce and is copied almost reflexively. Therefore we are talking about two different things and your counterpoint does not make sense.”

    That may be, but “enforceability” is not sufficient to have ownership. There are cultures that believe that land can’t be owned, it belongs to everyone. This doesn’t work so well in modern society. But, someone could say, “I don’t believe in this concept of ‘land ownership’, I refuse to accept your ‘trespassing’ laws. You might be able to enforce control of your land through force, but it’s no more legitimate than me zoning off a portion of a public park and threatening force against anyone who trespasses on ‘my territory’ (i.e. enforceability).” My point is that land-ownership is a social convention, and we believe it has legitimacy. Its legitimacy resides only in our own minds, though. Theoretically, we could return to a society where all land is held in common.

    Additionally, while someone might argue that enforceability is a prerequisite to having a law, I’d say that it is sometimes possible to enforce laws against piracy. Saying that it can’t always be enforced isn’t much of a point, since no laws can be enforced 100% of the time. Additionally, if some new technology allowed everyone to commit murder or theft and get away with it easily, I wouldn’t support getting rid of laws against theft or murder.

    > You cannot stop me from using information that you think you own.

    I think you’re getting hung up on the word “property”. I think most people think more loosely about intellectual property, looking at it less literally as “property” in the normal sense of the word. Besides, if intellectual property should be eliminated, then (presumably, based on your argument) everything becomes public domain. You’d walk into Walmart and all the movies, books, music, and software would be manufactured by Walmart – without a dime going to any of the creators. That’s the logical outcome of “there is no such thing as intellectual property”. You’d walk into a movie theater and not a dime would go to the creators of that movie. You can say that our current system is bad or broken, but the free-for-all that comes from the “there is no intellectual property” position seems much more frightening. It’s a system where distributors make money, and creators always get the short end of the stick. It’s a system that’s very bad for the production of new stuff.

    I don’t know, maybe you would support intellectual property when it comes to selling stuff. That’s a position that some people take. Of course, you have to accept the concept of intellectual property (perhaps by a different name) in order to argue that Walmart should have to pay the creator when they sell their stuff. In the end, I don’t think you can argue that intellectual property is a nonsense concept without arguing for complete copyright anarchy. (I’ve had a few people argue for copyright anarchy, but I think they’re crazy.)

    > “You can’t control speeding. Everyone fucking speeds. I was driving home from work the other day, doing 65 (the legal speed limit) and most people were just flying past me…In the future I suspect dying will not be such a big of a deal, but for now it is. So we have laws to protect it.

    Er, I’m not sure what point you’re making. In this paragraph, you say that you can’t control speeding, and then, paradoxically, claim that laws against speeding are to protect human life. It sounds like your earlier complaint about DRM. Since you earlier argued that enforceability is a necessary prerequisite to enforcing intellectual property, and now you say that speeding can’t be controlled, then, logically, you’d have to oppose speeding laws. I think you just agreed with me.

    > “Copying information without the permission of the original creator may result in… Um… I actually don’t know what. Maybe a lost sale, but it is a stretch.

    Yes, making everything free will reduce sales. Requiring people to pay gives people a reason to pay – they only get the benefit of the creation if they pay. I’ve bought thousands of dollars worth of software. Would I pay if I didn’t have to – if copyright didn’t exist, and everything was just there for free? Hell, no I wouldn’t pay. Most people wouldn’t. I fully expect that those companies making that software would either disappear (leaving me and everyone else without new software) or their income would be so badly reduced that they would be creating software that’s a lot more inferior. Either way, I lose, society loses, and the creator of that software loses. In a perfect world, people would just give away their work to everyone, and everyone would generously donate back. The creator would get paid, and everyone (even those who couldn’t pay) would all benefit. That’s a perfect world. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where the large majority won’t pay, and they’ll lowball the creator if they think about the creator at all. That’s the reason copyright exists.

    > You have to assume that the person copying the information would actually purchase it if it was not available for free.”

    No, I don’t. I have to assume that somewhere above 0% of the people copying it would’ve paid.

    > “I don’t know about you, but every time I preface my hypothesis with “I assume” people tell me “don’t assume – get back to me when you know for sure and then we can talk”.”

    I can easily turn that around on you: you’re assuming that 0% of the people making a copy would’ve paid. Since you’re making an assumption, maybe you should get back to me when you’re sure that 0% would’ve paid and then we can talk.

    > “But I get it – this does not apply in this situation because everyone in the “we must make information scarce for the good of humanity” club is already so detached from reality they don’t even notice this.”

    Like I said before, the ideal would be that we could make all copyrighted material freely available. Unfortunately, it works really bad in practice because people don’t donate, and the creator usually feels shafted. I think you could construct a decent argument that short copyright lengths would be much better because it would allow people who can’t pay the full price to get the benefit of the work. Of course, I’m not so sure how beneficial it would be given that most copyrighted works are very cheap within 5-10 years anyway. I’ve seen a lot of 10-year old games given away for free or available on GOG for $5.

    > “There is no way in hell we could have a world in which people create software for free.”

    You could at least face the fact that open-source doesn’t have nearly the variety of the closed-source software out there. Sorry, I can only think of a handful of really good open-source software. A lot of it ends up as abandonware. I’ve heard open-source advocates flat out admit that it doesn’t work for games. And, if it does, then pick out the top 100 open-source games, and I’ll pick the top 100 closed-source games, and let’s do a comparison of quality, depth, and sophistication. Just to drive my point home further – let’s eliminate all the open-source games that were clones of closed-source ones.

    Recently, Epic released a free copy of their world-editor; free to anyone doing free games. Surprise! It blows away anything that open-source has to offer. Isn’t it amazing that closed-source arrives faster and with higher quality? Open source is nice, but let’s not get carried away.

    Yes, there will be creators, but they’ll largely be amateur hobbyists.

    > I have also never purchased Cory Doctorows novels which he publishes under creative commons license and makes available for no charge on his website.

    There’s plenty of issues with Cory’s situation. First, he maintains control over the print versions of his books. This requires an acceptance of intellectual property – at least on some level. This is very important because people don’t like reading on a screen. I’d hate reading a book on my laptop. Since the print version is clearly so much more valuable than a digital version, books are a special case. You cannot generalize from books to things like music and software or movies. The best format for books is still print. Digital copies of music, movies, and software, on the other hand, are great. Having a physical case for them isn’t that big of a benefit. So, Cory lives in a bubble – and he doesn’t even seem to realize it. I can think of half a dozen other reasons Cory’s situation does not generalize, but the print argument is the most obvious one.

    > Read my post about Kevin Kelly’s 8 generatives.

    Yeah, I’ve read them before. In a lot of situations, his “8 generatives” would only earn creators pennies on the dollar. That’s one of the things I dislike about his essays – everyone seems to greatly exaggerate just how useful they are.

    > “See, you are trying to compare apples to volcanoes again. A live concert is a service.”

    No, I’m not. I’m saying that it’s non-enforceable. You claimed that enforceability was necessary. I’m saying that with teleportation, lots of things become unenforceable. This is an especially important point in the context of your replicator example. You claim that once everyone can replicate everything, that stopping replication is impossible – and laws won’t be able to stop it, so it should be allowed, permissible, moral, and legal. My point is that concerts become exactly the same. But, here you are trying to argue that (against your earlier self), that concerts are supposed to be okay.

    Anyway, the biggest issue I have with the Star-Trek type arguments is that everything get so completely altered about the world that it’s hard to say whether there should be an economy or not. Maybe it’s just a paradise-type world. In the current world, creators have to pay bills just like everyone else. Yet, you’re arguing that everyone should get their work for free. This leads to a problem when there are things a creator needs (i.e. money to buy groceries, pay rent), but the part about getting paid for their work is suddenly turned on it’s head because everyone thinks they should get his work for free, but he has to pay them for their work.

    > “And again – if you teleport into a live concert a bouncer can still grab you and kick you out because you didn’t pay. And they should because your person will actually take up physical space that could be used by a paying customer.”

    You’re assuming that you could get caught, and, if a bouncer tried to grab you, what’s to stop you from teleporting to a new location in the same concert, or, if you get kicked out, what about teleporting back in? (Maybe it would be easier to understand my point if you imagined a type of teleportation that didn’t produce any obvious Star-Trek type glowy effects.)

    You’re also assuming that the concert is completely full. Anyway, you’re switching up your method of argument. On one had, you argue about whether or not it’s enforceable. Other times, you talk about the consequences (you take up space that could be used by someone else). I could just say, “You’re assuming that someone *would’ve* bought that spot. Let’s not assume.” I’m being consistent in arguing about the consequences.

    > “Instead they cover their ears and yell: “No way! Copying information is exactly like stealing cars.”

    I think you’re exaggerating — which, by the way, is a good way for people to convince themselves that their position is right. I see a *lot* of this on the internet. The pattern is: exaggerate, strike-down the strawman, then feel good about the rightness of one’s own position. I don’t think it’s a particularly good way to understand the world.

    > “For example, this free browser I downloaded from the internet for no charge, developed by people who were not paid – it is just can’t exist. You can’t build a free car, so you can’t have free software or free books, or free movies. You are wrong, and all kinds of crazy to boot! I will now go back to my corner and continue ignoring reality because it does not fit to my worldview.”

    (1) Firefox gets a TON of money from google.
    (2) Linux gets a TON of money from companies like IBM, because it serves there interests. Recently, there was a report that 75% of the developers working on Linux were paid.

    My argument was never that free software can’t exist. My argument is that the market opportunities are much narrower, so you shouldn’t expect open-source to be able to provide society with a variety and quality of software that currently exists. If you don’t believe me, then show me the secret place where all the open-source games exist that totally blow-away all their closed-source counterparts. I just think that society is a lot worse off if we forced software companies to give their software away. There simply isn’t a market there for a lot of stuff based on the “get it for free” model. I think a lot of people miss the nuances that make this model work or not work, and, lacking a perception of these nuances, they just claim that it works great across the board.

    > You think I’m some sort of idealistic hippie who wants a free ride.

    No, I just think you’re misinformed.

    > If you want a software centric example look at Valve and Steam.

    I’ve bought stuff through Steam as well, but if copyright didn’t exist, there’s no way I’d pay for that stuff. I buy it not because of the features Steam offers, but because I want the game and I think piracy is wrong. In the face of a society that thinks software should be free, the only thing Steam has to offer is multiplayer connections. I would fully expect that someone would mirror their system if copyright didn’t exist. I would also expect that game companies would abandon single-player games and switch to a multiplayer-only system – because it’s the only way they can get people to pay. In a copyrightless world, I expect all software to be provided on the cloud in a rent-based model. If you aren’t connected to the internet, you can’t use your software. It would essentially be the Ubisoft system, except the source code would reside on the servers, not on your local machine. I think that’s bad for everyone. It’s bad for developers because it means owning and maintaining enough servers, which means more costs. It means users can’t access their software when they want. It means the user’s data is out of their control. It means that if the servers ever stop working (perhaps the company goes out of business), then you lose access to the software and your data. It’s bad all around. But, in a copyrightless world, this is what has to happen in order to software developers to survive. It ends up being a situation where society continues to get worse and worse off because people take the opportunity to benefit themselves at the expense of the other person (piracy), because there are no laws against it (i.e. copyright).

    Reply  |  Quote
  13. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Brit wrote:

    I’m unclear on what you’re arguing, then. On one hand, you’re arguing that copyright can’t exist, and “All successful modern societies are built around unrestricted flow of information.” Then, you turn around and act as if 14-year (plus a 14-year extension) is perfectly okay.

    I’m not completely opposed to a concept of copyright. I am opposed to the concept of “intellectual property”. I’m fine with a limited scope distribution agreement that forces you me seek your permission to do re-sell content you have created for profit the next 14-28 years after which your information becomes public domain. This way a big company can’t just take your content and sucker you out of your profits. It is about protecting the little guy from the big guy. It works great in pre-internet societies where distribution requires physical resources.

    It still works in the age of internet with a small stipulation: copyright law was never about access control. It was about controlling who can legally profit from selling the information. It was designed to funnel money from the rich investors who had resources to print books or press records to the creators who didn’t.

    It didn’t involve stuff like sharing – because it was constrained by physical media. Now that information is not constrained people got it into their heads that copyright is some sort of inalienable property right. That you own your information and you can use this law to control who can see it an wen. That the creator… Sorry, the copyright holder ought to have a complete control over the the data flow. People came up with crazy concepts such as the “lost sale” doctrine that says that if that control lapses at any point you are literally bleeding money.

    So copyright in itself is not a bad thing if we use it for what it was intended to. For protecting the creators right from their work being snagged by big content aggregators who then sell it at a profit without kicking anything back to him/her.

    Once we start using it to censor file sharing we enter crazy town territory where we have to constantly worry about losing imaginary sales that may or may have taken place under certain conditions, we have to encrypt our data to protect it from the customer we are selling it to, we have constantly to yell at our customers that they are stealing from us and etc…

    Brit wrote:

    My point is that land-ownership is a social convention, and we believe it has legitimacy. Its legitimacy resides only in our own minds, though. Theoretically, we could return to a society where all land is held in common.

    My point exactly. It is a convention that works for us. It is relatively clear cut, and most people understand the trespass laws and the reasoning behind them. Current copyright law obviously doesn’t work well. Piracy is a huge, huge issue and no one knows how to fix it. Customers are getting annoyed at DRM. Distributors get annoyed that the DRM doesn’t stop people from sharing. And instead of getting better it gets worse.

    I would argue it is time to shake things up and move to a system that works better than this. One which embraces how information is shared.

    Brit wrote:

    I think you’re getting hung up on the word “property”. I think most people think more loosely about intellectual property, looking at it less literally as “property” in the normal sense of the word.

    Yes I am. And no, people totally see it as real property as evidenced by “You wouldn’t steal a car” campaign. Copyright infringement is CONSTANTLY compared to thefts. That’s why I am so hung up on this.

    Brit wrote:

    I don’t know, maybe you would support intellectual property when it comes to selling stuff. That’s a position that some people take. Of course, you have to accept the concept of intellectual property (perhaps by a different name) in order to argue that Walmart should have to pay the creator when they sell their stuff. In the end,

    Precisely. That’s what I think should happen. If you want to take information and sell it for profit, you should pay the creator. Especially if you are Wallmart. :P

    So yeah – I see your point here and I agree. Complete copyright anarchy would not be good. Then again what we have now isn’t good either.

    Brit wrote:

    Since you earlier argued that enforceability is a necessary prerequisite to enforcing intellectual property, and now you say that speeding can’t be controlled, then, logically, you’d have to oppose speeding laws. I think you just agreed with me.

    Er… I think my point was that “protecting human life” > “protecting your from losing a sale, maybe” but I think I lost it somewhere. My powers of logic must have abandoned me at that point, and I’m not even sure what I was arguing there.

    Brit wrote:

    No, I don’t. I have to assume that somewhere above 0% of the people copying it would’ve paid.

    Crap! You are using logic and statistical probability in an internet argument. I see your point and I admit I don’t have a clever come back because your assumption is better. After all 0.01% sales is still better than 0%.

    A lot hangs on this number though. If it was something like 60-80% I’d say it is worth making all the fuss about this. Everything I have read on this topic so far leads me to believe that number is much closer to 1-2% though. Still I can’t prove this so you are right.

    Brit wrote:

    Of course, I’m not so sure how beneficial it would be given that most copyrighted works are very cheap within 5-10 years anyway. I’ve seen a lot of 10-year old games given away for free or available on GOG for $5.

    Btw, I love GOG. I wanted to buy Planescape Torment from them recently but I realized they didn’t have it. Some people say they will probably never have it due to the copyright issues.

    So yeah, commercial software is cheap within 5-10 years assuming that the copyright holder still is around, has interest in selling it, an aggregator such as GOG picks it up. A lot of software does not meet these conditions and slips into abandonware status.

    Brit wrote:

    You could at least face the fact that open-source doesn’t have nearly the variety of the closed-source software out there. Sorry, I can only think of a handful of really good open-source software. A lot of it ends up as abandonware. I’ve heard open-source advocates flat out admit that it doesn’t work for games. And, if it does, then pick out the top 100 open-source games, and I’ll pick the top 100 closed-source games, and let’s do a comparison of quality, depth, and sophistication. Just to drive my point home further – let’s eliminate all the open-source games that were clones of closed-source ones.

    Excellent point. I concede. Open source seems to work great for stuff like operating systems and web browsers. It does not work for games.

    Brit wrote:

    No, I’m not. I’m saying that it’s non-enforceable. You claimed that enforceability was necessary. I’m saying that with teleportation, lots of things become unenforceable. This is an especially important point in the context of your replicator example. You claim that once everyone can replicate everything, that stopping replication is impossible – and laws won’t be able to stop it, so it should be allowed, permissible, moral, and legal. My point is that concerts become exactly the same. But, here you are trying to argue that (against your earlier self), that concerts are supposed to be okay.

    Ok, I see your point now.

    Still, we can replicate this scenario right now but instead of teleporting use good old stealth to sneak in. Or watch a live game by climbing onto a big tree to see over the fence around the stadium.

    Brit wrote:

    You’re also assuming that the concert is completely full. Anyway, you’re switching up your method of argument. On one had, you argue about whether or not it’s enforceable. Other times, you talk about the consequences (you take up space that could be used by someone else). I could just say, “You’re assuming that someone *would’ve* bought that spot. Let’s not assume.” I’m being consistent in arguing about the consequences.

    Damn it! Stop deconstructing my arguments using my own words against me. LOL!

    Well played sir.

    Brit wrote:

    I think you’re exaggerating — which, by the way, is a good way for people to convince themselves that their position is right. I see a *lot* of this on the internet. The pattern is: exaggerate, strike-down the strawman, then feel good about the rightness of one’s own position. I don’t think it’s a particularly good way to understand the world.

    Hey, I’m from the internet. Stop discriminating against my people.

    I hereby award you +50 internet argument points for identifying a straw man argument I wasn’t even aware of. Now I have to go and re-read my angry rants and figure out how not to do it again.

    Brit wrote:

    My argument was never that free software can’t exist. My argument is that the market opportunities are much narrower, so you shouldn’t expect open-source to be able to provide society with a variety and quality of software that currently exists. If you don’t believe me, then show me the secret place where all the open-source games exist that totally blow-away all their closed-source counterparts. I just think that society is a lot worse off if we forced software companies to give their software away. There simply isn’t a market there for a lot of stuff based on the “get it for free” model. I think a lot of people miss the nuances that make this model work or not work, and, lacking a perception of these nuances, they just claim that it works great across the board.

    Well, I sort of assumed that at some point someone would pick up the slack and start funding open source video game developers. But… You know… Assume…

    The funding is something that I always assumed was a part of open source software. Someone starts a project, people get excited about it, it becomes popular, and eventually some company finds it useful and backs it up. Money flows in and out of the system – but it never requires regular Joe to pay for personal use.

    Brit wrote:

    In the face of a society that thinks software should be free, the only thing Steam has to offer is multiplayer connections. I would fully expect that someone would mirror their system if copyright didn’t exist. I would also expect that game companies would abandon single-player games and switch to a multiplayer-only system – because it’s the only way they can get people to pay. In a copyrightless world, I expect all software to be provided on the cloud in a rent-based model. If you aren’t connected to the internet, you can’t use your software. It would essentially be the Ubisoft system, except the source code would reside on the servers, not on your local machine. I think that’s bad for everyone.

    You know… We are halfway there already – and that’s with our current copyright system. I always assumed that this pursuit of pay-per-play setup was a function of our current copyright law mess. It is a logical progression from:

    1. I own the rights to distribute this software
    2. I own the rights to tell people when and how they can use this software
    3. I must protect those rights using DRM so that people don’t share my software and use it for free
    4. Fuck, DRM doesn’t work – can we make like a pay per play streaming system?

    I assumed #1 was correct, but we went down the wrong path at #2. So if we could get back to a simpler and much, much more limited copyright law, things would just work themselves out.

    Maybe I should just stick to my anti-DRM rants. :P

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