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Five Basic Misconceptions About The Copyright Monopoly And Sharing Of Culture

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Copyright Monopoly

Copyright Monopoly

Five erroneous assertions have kept appearing in the public debate since 1990 about file-sharing vs. the copyright monopoly. These assertions have persisted for 25 years, despite being obviously false. This is a reference article to link to and point at whenever one of them pops up the next time.

It can seem disheartening that factually false – as in 180-degrees wrong, just-read-the-text wrong – arguments persist for a quarter of a century, but there is a lot of money in perpetuating these untruths. If you have fallen for one of these, you are not alone; the first step to understanding the criticism against the copyright monopoly is understanding what it is.

Therefore, as we uncover these misconceptions, we also learn what kind of legal mechanism the copyright monopoly is. (United States law will serve as an example for this article. Legislation is similar elsewhere.)

1. The copyright monopoly is just that: a monopoly.

The first fact is that the copyright monopoly is not property, but a monopoly. Normally, we hate monopolies and other forms of cartels. We raid their asses at dawn and haul them off to court for price-fixing. Property rights, on the other hand, are the basis for the entire economy. No wonder you try to put everything you do in the “property” camp rather than the “monopoly” camp.

We can observe how the copyright monopoly is enabled in the U.S. Constitution, article 1, section 8, which speaks of giving Congress the right to give authors and inventors an “exclusive right” – a legal term we would call “a monopoly” in everyday language. You can also hear this language between copyright monopoly lawyers – they don’t say “we own”, only PR people and lobbyists use that deceptive and erroneous language. Copyright monopoly lawyers are precise in their language. They say “we hold the exclusive rights”.

US Constitution: The Congress shall have the power [...] to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

(Some people protest this observation by claiming that property rights, too, are exclusive rights, and so this passage could just as well refer to property rights. That’s deceptive and not true, confirmed by the trivial observation that the US Constitution writes property when it means property, such as in the fifth amendment.)

The United States Constitution will have to serve as an example here. Other constitutions are similar.

Another obvious point to make here is that if the copyright monopoly were property, then the copyright monopoly laws would not have been needed in the first place, as property laws would suffice. But the copyright monopoly laws are on the books, and therefore obviously not dealing with property.

The copyright monopoly is actually four different conceptual monopolies. It is commercial monopolies on duplication and public performance, and it is so-called moral rights to be associated with one’s work and to have the right of veto against conceptual violations of it. These are four quite different mechanisms.

You can help spread understanding of the fact that the copyright monopoly is a monopoly by consistently saying “the copyright monopoly”, just like we do here and others do too.

But copyright monopolists keep asserting the copyright monopoly is a form of property, so are they wrong? More than that. The copyright industry tries to whitewash their monopolies by calling them “property” whenever they can, in order to make their monopolies sound more palatable and justified – but using propagandistic words doesn’t change reality. In particular, this applies for the oft-peddled whitewashing term “intellectual property”, which you should never use except for like I do here, to tell people why it is completely wrong – for what it refers to is neither intellectual nor property. At best, it is industrial-era protectionism. (Just because you call a dogshit “lovely-smelling flower” through intense lobbying, that doesn’t make it smell good or actually be a flower. Don’t parrot lobbyist language.)

The copyright monopoly is a governmentally-sanctioned private monopoly that interferes with and limits property rights.

2. Infringement of this duplication monopoly is not theft.

This leads us to the second misconception: Infringement of the copyright monopoly is not theft. Neither factually, nor legally, nor from any conceivable philosophical angle. This is easily observed by seeing that if an infringement were theft, we wouldn’t need the copyright monopoly laws in the first place – ordinary property law would suffice.

Under Swedish law, there are even more nuances that reinforce this trivial observation. The Swedish word for infringement of the monopoly is intrång, and it is the same legal term as for trespassing on somebody’s lawn without their permission – and the same legal severity. (If you take an apple while on the lawn and eat it, it becomes theft, stöld. If you also take an unlocked bike, use it to get downtown, and leave it there, there’s a middle term – tillgrepp.) So the legal term for infringement is at least two steps away in seriousness from theft – if the comparison can even be made, as it’s conceptually different.

Something given or shared of free will cannot be described as theft in any philosophy, and somebody else is sharing their copy with you of their free will in a typical file-sharing process as you are manufacturing your own copy. It is, however, infringing a governmentally-sanctioned duplication monopoly, which is a completely different beast than property rights.

3. Copying something outside the monopoly channels is not “taking without paying”. It is manufacturing.

The third misconception is that violating the copyright monopoly is just like “walking into a store and taking things without paying”. This argument, which is wrong on every possible level, is inexplicably still heard 25 years after the public debate started.

Making copies isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and morally.

When you are making a copy of media that is under the copyright monopoly, you are not taking property from anybody else. You are using your own property – your computer and gadgets, presumably – to manufacture a copy of a file. That’s not “taking” anything. That’s manufacturing something using your own time and resources. Those are two completely different concepts.

You are not taking something without paying. You are manufacturing something without paying protection money to a monopoly holder, which sounds much less wrong than “taking” things. When using proper language, it becomes all the clearer how this monopoly is in all the trouble it should be in.

4. When buying a book or a DVD, it becomes your property in full.

I have seen some people argue that when you buy a book or DVD, you don’t actually own it; that you would somehow pay money to license a set of rights that include the right to sit down and enjoy its entertainment, but would not include the right to copy it. This is factually and legally wrong. When you buy media, you buy the whole media. It becomes your property in full, including everything encoded onto it.

So if it’s your property, why can’t you copy it freely? That’s because another law – the copyright monopoly – steps in and explicitly takes away those rights from you in regards to your own property. Specifically, the U.S. law (which will have to serve as example again) lists six specific actions that people may not take on their own property, but that are reserved for the holder of the copyright monopoly:

USC Section 17, chapter 1, para 106:

[The copyright monopoly holder...] under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;

(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;

(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and

(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

Very, very clear. Six specific actions in the law that are reserved for the holder of the copyright monopoly, regardless of whose property it is.

But we observe here, going back to the original erroneous assertion, that if you were only sold a limited set of rights that did not include copying when buying a book or a DVD, the above piece of law would be wholly unnecessary. It wouldn’t make sense at all. Therefore, the conclusion is trivial that the assertion is wrong to begin with.

When you buy a book, a DVD, or something similar, you obtain full property rights to it, including the right to produce as many copies as you wish in any way you like. But then, another law steps in – the law text quoted above – and takes away those six rights from you, the property owner.

This is an important distinction, as these are rights that are perfectly normal for property, and the copyright monopoly creates an exception to your normal property rights.

5. The copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights.

Misconception number five goes back to the original point of the copyright monopoly being described as “property”. After point four, we observe that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights. This is a point important enough in itself to list as a fifth misconception: property rights and the copyright monopoly don’t and can’t coexist peacefully. The copyright monopoly actively limits property rights.

Thus, if you take your stance in the safeguarding and upholding of property rights, you cannot defend the copyright monopoly and its limitation of said property rights. That’s like defending death penalty for murder with the justification that all life is sacred. There may be other justifications – but that particular piece of logic just doesn’t connect.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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141

  1. 1
    Anonymous

    it makes no difference what are misconceptions, what are correct assumptions etc. the courts always side with the entertainment industries and copyright holders because they are always classing it as being about ‘stealing’ and are ‘encouraged’ to go down that route. the damages that are given for this ‘sharing of culture’ are disgraceful and should never be such that make it a better option for holders to sue rather than innovate and adapt. on top of that, no case should be classed as criminal as there is never any theft! but as usual, only the ordinary people suffer. add to that the amount of ‘forcing into law’ these industries do, not to protect what is theirs (remember they take what they want even when it isn’t theirs to take) but to exact control over the very people they want and expect to purchase the products and services.

  2. 2

    One of your bests, Rick. Bravo.

  3. 3
    Christoffer

    I’m still interested in hearing how to resolve the very real problem of “post-creation shared payment” without copyright.

    For instance, a game developer spends $100,000 on a game. Now instead of selling this game for $100,000 (or more) as would have happened if this was a real product, like a computer or a house, many people can share the cost.

    The developer believes at least 10.000 people will buy the game, so $10 is the price at which the game breaks even – if it sells that many copies.

    Now the developer may charge $10, $20 or $100. The actual price may depend on several factors. However, what every price point has in common is that if the game sells more, the developer gets more without actually doing anything other than distributing more copies of the same work.

    This may sound unfair, but since there usually are standardized prices, in actually it is simply a matter of a superior (game/product) making more money than a poorly made one, similar to how a high quality house or computer is more expensive than one of poor quality.

    Being able to charge money this way is not a drawback for the customers, because in this case each of the 10.000 customers only pay $10 for something that cost $100,000 to manufacture!

    For normal property this is simply not possible, so some things are only available for the very rich.

    Now, let’s say 5.000 of the 10.000 don’t pay. Suddenly it’s $20 to break-even. Let’s say only 1 in 10 pays. $100 to break-even etc.

    By not paying, you push the costs to those who do pay, and – in the case the product doesn’t reach break-even – the developer.

    In some cases there are ways to get around this, usually by associating the copyable object with some other object that cannot be copied, but that’s not possible in every single situation.

    How do we resolve this very real problem without copyright?

    • 3.1

      How do we resolve this very real problem without copyright?

      This can be one of two different questions, and it needs to be quite clarified which one you’re asking.

      The first alternative:

      1. How can we make sure that cultural entrepreneurs make a profit?

      This is, frankly, not the state’s job. Anybody who makes something by investing time and/or money has to do their own due diligence whether they can recap the investment. That’s inherent in the concept of investment – that you’re taking a risk by investing, and may or may not get your money back.

      To guarantee a return on investment is open mockery of the concept of investing, and rigging the system heavily.

      That said, there are many who do make a profit without caring about the copyright monopoly. The indie game Minecraft may be one of the more famous examples (whose creator recently turned billionaire while at the same time openly supporting the Swedish Pirate Party and thanking The Pirate Bay crew for their efforts).

      There is also another interpretation;

      2. How can we ensure that new culture keeps getting produced?

      This is a better question, as it obviously lies in the public interest to solve (making sure that an entrepreneur has a profit, as per question #1, was never in the public interest).

      But we can easily observe that it’s not a problem. More culture is being created than ever before. Every minute, 60 hours of video is uploaded just to YouTube. We are creating as much culture every 48 hours today as humankind had created in total up until 2003 (source: Google).

      In short, it is not just a problem that doesn’t need solving; rather, if there is a problem, it’s the complete opposite one – that so much new culture is being created, that we’re completely overwhelmed by the situation.

      Cheers,
      Rick

      • 3.1.1
        Christoffer

        In my opinion it’s not primarily about culture.

        You’ve discussed medical research. As far as software is concerned I could point to any non-game software.

        I think that sharing the cost of something is a great thing.

        Today the pre-funded approach seeing a lot of success with the coming of Kickstarter and similar services. Now this is certainly one option (being paid ahead), but it sets a lot of limitations – I don’t believe all worthwhile ideas can be pitched and be pre-financed.

        Being able to decide to buy something only when it’s finished (and having the producer take the risk), is more attractive to me as a consumer, as opposed to pay up front and hope for the best.

        Should we really throw away this business model, which arguably allows high quality products be bought at a fraction of their development cost? It’s a great leveller, because both rich and poor get access to exactly the same software or see the same movie.

        The “magic” of this is that you don’t need to shoehorn your product into some business model that links some sort of physical property to each copy.

        I don’t disagree with your points, but I don’t quite see how they are relevant:

        “How can we make sure that cultural entrepreneurs make a profit?”

        The problem is “can they make money at all”. If we abolish all copyright, then there would need to be some alternate way for people to *possibly* make money from what they’ve spent money to produce. – Even though that product is simply a “blueprint”.

        Notch, as I’m sure you know, allowed pre-orders, which financed the development. They later ported the game to a lot of different platforms, many of those platforms with strong DRM etc. So I’m not sure that this success story really is a good example of how things would work in true a post-copyright world.

        Pre-orders and Kickstarter-style campaigns would work to some extent, but the latter is something we only see the beginning of – who knows how saturated that’s going to become. this method also relies on people recognising the worth of whatever they are encouraged to sponsor. I doubt that this is something which will work for all types of products.

        “How can we ensure that new culture keeps getting produced?”

        Again, this is not the question I asked, but I think that a much better question is “how do we ensure that *high quality* culture keeps getting produced?”. How do we make sure that the directors and script writers etc that we like the best has the resources to do more good movies? Kickstarter for everything? How do we discover new promising directors?

        Do we need to go back to the system of patronages?

        • Hi again,

          you seem very concerned that those who make money a certain way today, must be able to make money the same way tomorrow. But this has never been true, ever?

          The development of technology changes how you can make money. Always has. Always will. This is nothing you can stop by laws that try to order the tide to stay back like a certain king of old.

          After all, what is “high-quality” culture has always been in the eye of the beholder. As comic books arrived in the 1950s, people were blaming them for everything from violence to homosexuality (yes, really).

          Culture changes. Maybe the time of the feature film is appearing its end and something else will take its place. Games, perhaps. If so, it only joins the operette, theater, radio play, and many other forms of contemporary high culture before it.

          I don’t see that happening, though. I wrote an article where I observed that the real blockbusters, the hundred-million-dollar productions, frequently make their entire investment back on opening weekend. That’s notable since that’s before any digital copy can get out in the wild, and therefore, the observation that this investment can be recouped is entirely independent of the copyright monopoly.

          As for music… well, there’s never going to be any kind of shortage of that again. Production costs are so low people can make music in their homes, and thousands if not millions do.

          In other words, I don’t see the sky falling.

          Cheers,
          Rick

    • 3.2
      Datavetaren

      I don’t think you need copyright for this. You can sell your software/gaming as a service instead. In order for the game to function it has to be connected to a server for which you’ll need a subscription. You mention this yourself with “In some cases there are ways to get around this…” “Problem” solved?

      For gaming software, I’m not sure what situations this idea would not be applicable. And if there are such examples, yes, then you won’t be able to make money _that_ way. But who cares? A small price to pay for abandoning this copyright monopoly.

      Again, Rick is saying that it is not our task to tell people how to make money given the constraints of society and technology. If we abandon copyright monopoly today there will be plenty of _other_ ways of making money. The gaming industry is one of those examples where this should be trivial to figure it out.

      • 3.2.1
        Christoffer

        In the case of games, we’ll see “server-activated” games. – Do we really want to see more of that sort of DRM? Typically server-based games will be fine, but stand-alone puzzles like say “Cut The Rope” will see unnatural requirements for network connection even though they should be fine to play stand-alone.

        If all you play are online games, then perhaps you don’t see a problem with this, but can you understand others might mourn these games?

        I am not saying that we need the kind of copyright we have today, but I would loathe to see the disappearance of the possibility to efficiently share costs for copyable products.

        For instance, let’s say copyright is limited to 2 years. After that it enters the public domain. That would keep the door open for using the immensely useful business model of cost-sharing, while at the same time these items enters the public domain so quickly that they pose little restriction for culture sharing.

        • Datavetaren

          Again, I don’t see this as a problem.

          You could easily imagine a game divided into two pieces; an offline piece, e.g. “Cut the Rope” and an online piece which would offer competitions, tournaments, secret “levels”, etc.

          So the offline piece is free (so copyright is not needed to control it) and the online piece is a subscription/on-demand service but it adds value.

          There are probably even more clever ideas, and why should I need to invent them here? Let people invent them in the absence of copyright monopoly.

          I’m sure it wouldn’t be such a difficult task.

        • harveyed

          It would be convenient for me to make money my own favourite way, but I am not entitled to do so. It is a part of living in a free society that you have to find ways which people actually want to pay you for your work. Trying to stop competition – note, even Hobby competition – is cheating. You don’t make home hairstyling illegal to ensure professional haircutters get a good market. You don’t punish people for cooking their own food if they want to – even though certainly some restaurants would get more money if it was illegal to cook at home. However you can Encourage professional business in different ways – like tax cuts – but criminalization of hobbies is just outright.. Fascist.

          There never was any “right” to make money your own favourite way. Not for any business – because it restricts freedom not only on the market but in peoples everyday lives.

        • SoundnuoS

          @harveyed

          The problem with this argument is that it is based on an erroneous assumption of what’s involved in “manufacturing” a piece of music for instance. This error also affects Falkvinge’s argument 3.

          It’s the piece of music that is copyrighted. In order to do “hobby manufacturing” of this music, made by a basic 4-piece rockband for instance, you’d need to learn how to sing and play the bass, drums and guitar. (Or get some friends together who can do this.)
          Then you have to get those instruments recorded and mixed. At that point you can claim to have manufactured a copy.

          Even then you still haven’t “manufactured” your own composition, an element that has it’s own copyright.

        • @SoundnuoS:

          Why yes, obviously it takes a different set of tools to create a blueprint than it does to manufacture a product from the blueprint. That’s true for all products, and not an argument in defense of the copyright monopoly.

          Cheers,
          Rick

        • harveyed

          SoundnuoS:

          So what is your defense to be able to get extra money from old achievements which copyright monopoly gives? Almost no other business other than copyright businesses have those kind of privileges to profit from old work when manufacturing and distribution of copies has become free.

          A guy flipping a burger has to flip one more burger to get paid for it. A guy repairing my car has to repair a new car to get paid.

          It doesn’t suffice for ordinary people in ordinary businesses doing something once and for all and then expect to get paid indefinitely into the future. That is why copyright has become a modern-day-privilege since the advent of technology which makes investments in printing presses and CD-factories obsolete.

        • SoundnuoS

          @Rick Falkvinge

          The argument points out that it’s not enough to simply press ctrl+c in order to create the object that actually is copyrighted.
          In the context of that copyright getting an unauthorised copy is actually “taking without paying” and not “manufacturing”

          @harveyed

          Why should getting payed for old achievements have to be defended? It’s not an automatic privilege bestowed on each and every creator of art. It only happens if their products are constantly in demand.

          In most every business, as long as your products sell, you’ll get paid.

        • Anyone

          yes, and if you don’t sell (for example because it gets copied instead) you should NOT get paid

        • harveyed

          “In most every business, as long as your products sell, you’ll get paid.”

          Thing is… there is no “product” anymore – just the service, investment and work involved in creating the original copy. And that could be funded in many different ways which do not assume a right to get paid per copy or per usage after the initial copy has been created.

        • SoundnuoS

          @harveyed

          The product is the music (movies, literature etc.). It always has been. The medium is necessary to give access to the product but the value of the medium itself is negligible compared to the value of the message on it.
          It’s not just any file that’s being sold. It’s a file that lets you listen to some specific music.
          That product doesn’t disappear because it’s being copied.

          There are some alternative sales models suggested, mostly kickstarter type pre-funding. This comes with some major problems, some of which are illustrated by the TPB-AFK documentary.
          The budget was around 500,000 € and it took four years to make. It raised around 50.000$ in kickstarter funding.
          According to the website it has pulled in 35,369$ after it’s release. This despite having interested at least 1,334,048 viewers on Youtube, and god knows how many downloaders.
          If it would have had to rely on kickstarter only, it probably wouldn’t have been made the way it was.
          If the producer would have decided to take out a loan to cover what the kickstarter funds couldn’t, he’d probably be on his way to bankruptcy by now.

          @Anyone

          I’m sure you can see the moral and legal problems with your statement.
          Someone comes up with, makes (with their own hands even) and releases a product. This product becomes highly popular and desired throughout the world.
          Yet people decide to take the product without compensating the creator.
          No problem there, neither morally nor legally?

        • harveyed

          There is no connection between the work required to create the first copy and and the copying / distribution process anymore. You just can’t view it as a product… The copies have become PR and commercials for the service of producing new work. The more something is copied – the more it creates a demand for the new work – which is what still may have a value. I listen to band – I want to see band play or I want band to produce new music for me. The Service of doing New Work – not paying for the Old Work.

          Copyrights are just bad excuses to make money off of old works over and over again.

        • Anyone

          @SoundnuoS
          so if I cook a meal that happens to be offered by the restaurant down the street I suddenly owe them money?
          after all it is the same product, it is in demand (I’m hungry) and instead of buying from them I chose to copy it myself

          you got it right the first time, you only get money if you sell something (goods or services)
          if you don’t sell something you are not getting paid and you should rethink your business model

        • SoundnuoS

          @harveyed

          The connection is unbreakable. Without the original creator there’s nothing to copy. Every available copy is a direct result of the work of whoever made the original.

          Since the most copied music is the newest music, the PR argument is frankly just an attempt at creating a justification.
          What good will pr for the next record be, if the customers take it for free because they think it should be considered pr for the next record? This line of arguing is flawed but seems to be sadly common these days.
          If the recorded music is what’s specifically desired than that is what should be charged for.
          It’s because the recorded art is obviously considered desireable that copyright is there to give the creator a decent chance of selling his work.

          The live experience is it’s own product with it’s own associated (often significant) costs. It’s not feasible for every kind of artist to do live tours or expect to break even on them.
          Besides, what kind of touring can fiction writers do? Or writers of software?

          And my question still stands: WHY shouldn’t someone who creates something wildly popular be allowed to sell it as long as it is popular? This isn’t forbidden in any other kind of business.

          @Anyone

          That analogy doesn’t really work. You cooking a meal is like the example I gave above:
          If you learn to sing, play three instruments, record and mix, and produce a song doing that THEN you have “cooked your own” music.
          Most recipies are also old enough to have long passed into public domain so, generally, copyright doesn’t apply there.

        • Anyone

          what’s the difference between me copying a song with a computer or copying a song by rerecording it?
          it’s basically the same concept, why should one be treated differently?
          in any case the original musician is not getting any money

          speaking of musicians, why don’t they have to pay their music teacher each time they play the instrument?
          how about the people that build the instruments? I’m sure they would like extra money without any extra work. can copyright help them? going by your logic I would think they are entitled to some money from the musicians

        • harveyed

          “The connection is unbreakable. Without the original creator there’s nothing to copy. Every available copy is a direct result of the work of whoever made the original.”

          Well… the first person to make pancakes.. how much has he “lost” because of people making their own pancakes in their homes? Or the inventor of a certain hairstyle? How much has he lost because of home hairstyling? Or the plumber as he fixes my toilet, isn’t he entitled to royalties for every sh*t I take? After all – there is a direct connection between me being able to use the toilet and him building / fixing it for me once upon a time and I could not have made pancakes if no one had come up with a recipe, right?

          All “legal rights” on any market have to be carefully weighted against the freedom of the people. And when comes to copy rights, those rights are so badly out of touch with reality that we are literally criminalizing millions of young people in every democracy, just because they are doing home-copying, a perfectly normal hobby-competition comparable to people cooking their own food, styling their own hair and fixing their own computers – despite the local restaurant / professional hairstyler / IT-guy absolutely may “lose sales” because of it.

          It is a basic question of freedom. People in countries with more “legal rights” on the markets are simply put… less free than people in countries with fewer such rights.

        • SoundnuoS

          @Anyone

          The difference should be obvious. In the first case you’re taking advantage of someone elses work directly. In the case where you’re actually playing it on some instrument yourself the only thing you’re using is the composition. That’s free until you start trying to make money from it, then the original composer is entitled to compensation.

          They don’t have to pay their music teacher, because the music teacher doesn’t write their songs. If he did, then they’d have to pay him.
          Likewise, instruments don’t write songs on their own.

          However, iIf you build a guitar that looks like a Gibson, put a logo on it that looks like the Gibson logo and then try to sell it, you’ll find that the Gibson company is entitled to “extra money without extra work”.

          @harveyed

          All your examples are once again comparable to someone joining a band and actually doing music themselves. This is not like copying files.

          Pancakes are long since gone into the public domain. This goes for cooking.
          You could argue that a truly unique hairstyle should be possible to copyright, but I don’t know of anyone trying it.
          That means hairstyles are effectively public domain.
          The plumber didn’t invent the plumbing. If you could somehow “store” your plumbers work and reuse it for future repairs, then I’d say it would be fair to somehow compensate the plumber for that. This isn’t possible however.

          The “home-copying hobby” argument is, frankly, ridiculous. If it’s about the joy of copying files back and forth, just create a few textfiles with random ascii and pass them on.
          Or, you know, compose and record your own music and share that. That would actually contribute something to society.

          One of the fundamental rights in a democratic society is the right to make a living. The right to protection of property is another.
          Copyright is what protects these rights for anyone making immaterial art.
          Removing copyright is akin to saying:
          “Hey, we know you’re making something that’s insanely popular and desired. We know this is how you make a living.
          But you know what? We’re going to remove protection for that and let the rioting mob take it as they like.”

          This is something not generally done in a democratic society, and if done would severely trample the rights of creators.
          Freedom comes with the responsibility to not abuse it.

        • Christoffer

          @Datavetaren

          My main point is that some important things will *not* be made, not because there is no interest in them, but because there are no viable way to finance the production of the “blueprint” unless there is a way to recoup that cost.

          @harveyed

          I’m unsure what “hobbies” you refer to that I’m advocating we outlaw? I’m simply saying that if no-one paid anything for copyable goods (except for that first person perhaps), then that will be a problem if we want future access to high budget (copyable) products.

          - Not because the producers are greedy, but because it takes a lot of money to produce high quality copyable goods.

        • harveyed

          SoundnouS:

          Well a fundamental right is to have the freedom to offer your services as a worker on your own terms and no one forcing you to do any labor if those terms are not met. However, that is never the case with creative work. Creative works always start out as a hobby. Usually when you’re a kid. There is an investment made in time with the objective to have great fun and maybe to in the future become really good at something.

          No one pays the artists for all their work prior to signing, no one pays the computer geeks for their hacking prior to being hired – but the skills they achieve makes it possible for them to say : “hey this is what I can do, and I’d love to do it for a living”. And then people can decide for themselves: does this work improve my life? If yes, maybe an investment is in place, if not, then you would not have bought it anyway.

          When comes to copyright… the “work” per se has already been done once there is any result which is copyable.

          Most businesses don’t enjoy privileges such as getting paid over and over again after a certain work has been done.

          But frankly there is NO right to prohibit the freedom of others just because you want to do a business your own favourite way.

          “And my question still stands: WHY shouldn’t someone who creates something wildly popular be allowed to sell it as long as it is popular?”

          Well, I sure don’t want to make it illegal to sell products related to a certain creation. I’m just saying you can’t hinder the copying anymore without making severe restrictions on freedom of business and basic democratic rights. If people want to “buy” copies, let them do that and the people who view it as investments or donations – let them do that. But at any point you can’t any longer prohibit the copying without saying yes to protecting a certain kind of upper-class privileges which make the western societies of the 1700s and 1800s seem democratic…

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed, in your response to SoundnuoS you say:

          “When comes to copyright… the “work” per se has already been done once there is any result which is copyable. Most businesses don’t enjoy privileges such as getting paid over and over again after a certain work has been done.”

          The work not falling into the public domain – or not until after a very long time – certainly offends.

          However, do you not agree that the one who produced something should be paid for their work if it is something people are willing to pay money for, even if this work produces immaterial property?

          For instance, let us say I sit in my laboratory for 10 years experimenting with different compounds, completely self-founded by taking loans, until I found a cure for cancer.

          Would I deserve to earn money for that cure, if it is chemical compound that can be fairly easily copied?

          I think what would offend would be if I priced it at some outrageous sum that no-one could afford, but $10 or $50 for curing your cancer?

          Just like what offends about the copyright is not the copyright itself, but the consequenses of violating copyright in most countries.

          I absolutely don’t want 30 or 90 or infinite time before things go into the public domain or people get fines or even jail for sharing. On the other hand I would think it sad if my favorite artists wouldn’t bother to make records because within days they’d legally get copied and sold by noname companies at much lower price everywhere.

        • Anyone

          “The difference should be obvious. In the first case you’re taking advantage of someone elses work directly.”

          so how about the work the music teacher did when teaching the artist now performing?
          how about the manufacturer of the instruments?
          how about the guy(s) that invented the note system?

          all those people provided work contributing to the final product, the song, yet they don’t get any cut of the profits

          what if I copy a song but change a single note?
          it’s not the same song anymore, so why should anyone else be able to claim copyright on it?

        • Christoffer

          @Anyone

          “so how about the work the music teacher did when teaching the artist now performing?”

          - Hopefully paid a salary

          “how about the manufacturer of the instruments?”

          - Hopefully paid by the store where the instruments were bought.

          “how about the guy(s) that invented the note system?”

          Seriously dude.

          “all those people provided work contributing to the final product, the song, yet they don’t get any cut of the profits”

          Exactly, just like if I sell a piece of software to you, and you use it to produce something from it, the product is yours.

          You paid for the software, and as long as there is nothing in the contract to say that I own (or retain certain rights) to what you produce it’s yours to use freely.

        • Datavetaren

          @Christoffer

          “My main point is that some important things will *not* be made, not because there is no interest in them, but because there are no viable way to finance the production of the “blueprint” unless there is a way to recoup that cost.”

          No, you cannot prove that. The whole point is that there are different ways of getting paid. Also, you can argue the opposite, by _allowing_ copyright some things may not get made.

          In fact, looking back at historical records true the same argument was made when the printing press arrived, public libraries opened, the self playing piano, the tape recorder, the VCR, etc. Every time copyright extremists claimed that “if these inventions are allowed, then the incentive to create will diminish”

        • harveyed

          “For instance, let us say I sit in my laboratory for 10 years experimenting with different compounds, completely self-founded by taking loans, until I found a cure for cancer.”

          You are free to do that as a hobby if you like. However that work is already heavily financed by tax-money today, so I don’t see why you’d have to.

          A much better question is: should anyone under any circumstance – no matter how such a cure for cancer was developed, be allowed to sit on it and to stop other people from using it if he for any reason doesn’t want to give it away? People could keep dying in cancer until people were desperate to pay you whatever you demanded to hand out copy-rights.

          I hope you could get a Nobel Prize, lots of chicks (or dudes), neverending stream of wine out of your water tap and your name in every historybook in history. But you really should NOT have any right to STOP other people’s access to that medicine.

          This actually is already the case in Africa and other poor / corrupted countries.. not with cancer but other illnesses.. Intellectual Property rights such as medical patents stop production of cheap HIV and malaria medicines and as a consequence millions die. And that is the world we live in today…

        • Christoffer

          @Datavetaren

          Aren’t you confusing my statement with the more extreme statement that “technonoly X with entirely destroy industry Y”?

          If you look more carefully at my statement, then the fundamental statement is that in order to finance a blueprint, there must be a way to recoup that cost.

          There are obviously situations where creating a blueprint is cheap. But think of the situation where I program a game, but need art and music. So in order to get something custom made for my game I am forced to pay real money for the services they provide. That is my sunken cost I need to recoup.

          If there is no way to recoup that cost, I’ll be limited as to what I can create.

          Note that I’m not making a blanket statement that x will destroy y. But what I’m saying is that if we entirely abolish copyright and this consequently makes it significantly harder to recoup the cost for production of something, then that is much less likely to be made.

          Note that I’m primarily worried about the most extreme stance of copyright – the one that essentially says that a creator should not have any advantage *at all* for creating things.

          That’s quite different from the worries of the copyright industry which has been crying “x makes it easy to copy y, now we can’t sell y” many times, because the law never allowed freely copying regardless of what was *possible*, and I think that’s an important distinction.

          “Also, you can argue the opposite, by _allowing_ copyright some things may not get made.”

          I think this is a very important point you’re making and I hope that by recognizing that some things *will not* be created without an easy way to monetize IP and some things *will not* be created *with* copyright, one can find a solution that maximizes what can be created (instead of maximizing profits, which the copyright industry really are after). A middle way between extremes.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          Hobby or not, it’s not just time, buying things for a lab are expensive. Why do the people who furnish me with the material deserve to be paid but not me for the work I do?

          I am sorry, but that appears totally unreasonable. As long as something can be copied it’s worthless? That’s a very extremist stance to take.

        • harveyed

          “Why do the people who furnish me with the material deserve to be paid but not me for the work I do?”

          You are welcome to find people / companies to invest in your time and effort any way you like, for instance by being hired by a company, working by contract or crowdfunding by “fans”. The copies of your old work are like commercials creating a demand for your future work. If people / companies like some of the things that you’ve done so far, they are free to invest in your work to create more for them. But it is primarily the work that may have any value – not copies of your old efforts.

          “I am sorry, but that appears totally unreasonable. As long as something can be copied it’s worthless? That’s a very extremist stance to take.”

          Quite the contrary. To claim some privilege to profit off old works without any new work which is quite an extremist stance.

          Say you have an “instant hit” song. Many would want to listen to it and you could probably with copyright get money enough so you don’t have to work ever again. How would that encourage you to create new work? It doesn’t. Even though people would love what you do and clearly have an incentive to invest in your future work – with copyright they would pay for your old work instead of the new stuff – so you might as well stop creating if you don’t have the economical need to work after the first hit.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          “You are welcome to find people / companies to invest in your time and effort any way you like, for instance by being hired by a company, working by contract or crowdfunding by “fans”. ”

          Please, name a few top games that were produced this way:

          a) Creator hired by company to create a game, but the company only wants to give the game away for free. They are only interested in seeing the game done.

          b) Creator is hired by contract to create a game, and the contractor will give the game away for free, the contractor is only interested in seeing the game done.

          c) Creator does a kickstarter, and the sum raised covers all costs and future expenses, so the game can be given away for free.

        • harveyed

          “a) Creator hired by company to create a game, but the company only wants to give the game away for free. They are only interested in seeing the game done.

          b) Creator is hired by contract to create a game, and the contractor will give the game away for free, the contractor is only interested in seeing the game done.”

          There is a first try for any business and before it has been tried no one knows if it works. Take any invention or new business method from the last 50-100 years and people in the 1800s would be very sceptical of the concepts beforehand. Probably laugh at you and tell you you are joking or crazy.

          Frankly, we don’t know exactly how creation of culture / entertainment / knowledge is gonna work in the future, but we sure will find a way. More businesses than ever before have failed the last 100 years and new businesses have taken their place. We just don’t need all the answers beforehand.

          “c) Creator does a kickstarter, and the sum raised covers all costs and future expenses, so the game can be given away for free.”

          This has actually been shown to be possible. Check out “Project Eternity by Obsidian Entertainment”. A company with good reputation for the high quality of their previous games has managed to kickstart a game in the million dollars range.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          First, there is no indication that Project Eternity is supposed to be given away for free. So you still have zero examples.

          Secondly, you say things will work out, and we don’t yet how, but it will.

          Your faith that abolishing copyright will make everything right is nice, but unless you can present facts to support that position it’ll be hard to convince people.

        • harveyed

          Christoffer:

          “First, there is no indication that Project Eternity is supposed to be given away for free. So you still have zero examples.”

          Well, it is a perfect example where games can be funded beforehand. And isn’t that the important part? – that the creation can be financed?

          There never was a “right” or “privilege” to make money your favourite way by restricting other peoples freedom. Not for restaurants, not for plumbers, not for IT-technicians and not for artists either.

          “Secondly, you say things will work out, and we don’t yet how, but it will.
          Your faith that abolishing copyright will make everything right is nice, but unless you can present facts to support that position it’ll be hard to convince people.”

          I don’t have to present facts to show it will be better. So many changes in all kinds of businesses the last 100 years that no one could argue about or even fathom beforehand. And frankly, the world has become a lot better in most aspects, despite all the various old businesses disappearing / being replaced or made obsolete in various senses.

          What if all those businesses had their way with protectionist legislation making more modern alternatives illegal or imposing extra taxes on them?

          If all those old businesses could have it their favourite way. We would probably be paying some percent of the cost of automobile wheels to compensate horse-shoe makers or something just as crazy.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          “Well, it is a perfect example where games can be funded beforehand. And isn’t that the important part? – that the creation can be financed?”

          No, since I stated in the beginning that this can be a way to fund projects, but that this does not work for _all_ types of products and projects.

          Also, note that they will still sell the product. This means that while the kickstarter funding may be sufficient to get the product launched, it does not mean that it reached break-even.

          Again, we come down to a need to sell copyable products.

          “I don’t have to present facts to show it will be better.”

          - On the contrary, that is exactly what you need to do.

        • harveyed

          “No, since I stated in the beginning that this can be a way to fund projects, but that this does not work for _all_ types of products and projects.”

          Well maybe not _all_ different concievable products and projects are good enough to make it..?

          If you in order to break even or make profits really need legislations that severly destroy the democratic freedom of the people as copyright monopoly does,

          then … maybe there is not a large enough market for what you’re doing.

    • 3.3
      iembolisim

      Lets rework the math.

      A “quality” game or other piece of software is developed by a team of salaried developers, paid by a corporation. it isn’t “culture” it’s a commercial enterprise.
      The development cost is a million dollars.
      The manufacturing cost is not the same as the development cost.
      The manufacturing cost is 50 cents.
      In this country (New Zealand) the game will cost $100 in stores, not $10.

      There are 7 billion people, but not many of them want the game, only 1 million (globally) actually buy it.

      Gross revenue from the game = $100,000,000.00
      Costs = $1,500,000.00

      Net profit =$98,500,000.00

      There is enough profit to make quite a few more games & have most of them be commercial failures.

      The math for movies is similar.

      Are there laws about price gouging in the United States?

      Incidentially, there is a culture in this country, of paying for local artist produced works & freely sharing multi-national conglomerate produced works.

    • 3.4
      Buglord

      just a quick note about quality = price, it’s not true, very shitty games and products sell very well at high price. because of marketing depts. using brand names to draw attention and fanboys. meanwhile over at the indie zone there are greatly innovative games that outclass them massively for quality of entertainment, which have very low price.

      here’s a few counterpoints from regular product related markets:

      1. research and development investments are NOT a part of production costs.
      they’re not supposed to be, because research and development is done to create the original only, you don’t do it on every single copy of that one product.

      2. the price of the product is related to the costs of making more copies, which, in the case of culture is usually effectively nothing at all.

      3. if there is no reasonable way that initial investments can be returned, it’s either a bad investment, or the availability of the product is the return.
      I don’t know about you, but I sure want a matter-energy manipulator that can re-create just about anything it’s shown, I sure wouldn’t get it sold enough to profit from my investment, but I wouldn’t much care if I could just put a rock in the machine and get a delicious sandwich out of it as well as powering my entire home.

      • 3.4.1
        Christoffer

        Buglord,

        Let’s say we don’t have copyright at all. Then all I can sell is 1 copy.

        How would I need to price it? In order to make a profit, then at least the cost it took to manufacture the blueprint.

        It might be that someone is rich and enthusiastic enough to pay the actual cost for something that has taken several man-years to complete. After all, this is the patronage model that used to be how things were done in the old days.

        What’s *good* about copyright is that it allows many to *easily* share the cost of something that otherwise would have been prohibitively expensive.

        So totally abolishing copyright without having any similar mechanism in place, means we remove the choice of this cost-sharing.

        I think we’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater here.

        • Let’s say we don’t have copyright at all. Then all I can sell is 1 copy.

          This assertion is obviously false, bordering on the ridiculous. It is trivially disproven by observing any type of work not under the copyright monopoly, or for that matter, that works whose copyright monopoly is ignored (as in “all of them”) still are selling plenty more than one copy.

          Cheers,
          Rick

        • Christoffer

          @Rick

          Buglord argues that producing the blueprint cannot be considered a production cost for copies.

          If we were to follow that and simply charge for the blueprint, then it follows that I need to recoup my cost on the sale of the first copy i.e. the blueprint.

          Further, the argument is that because the cost of a copy is virtually 0, then price should similarly be near zero.

          This is sort of an anti-copyright law: not only do you not have any monopoly on copying your goods, you are not really allowed to charge anything for it.

          I loosely termed that “not having copyright at all”. I understand how that can be misunderstood.

          - But the basic point stands even if we don’t look at the extremes:

          The break-even price for a copyable product is development cost / copies sold.

          If the # of copies actually in use is constant, but we significantly reduce the # of copies *sold*, then it’s trivial to see that the break-even price (and the final price) will go up.

          The obvious seller strategy against copying is attempting to make the copies useless.

          That is the way that leads to DRM, server activation etc, which aside from adding cost also is a hassle for the consumer.

          If we look at the real situation out there, then then sure some people are held back by these measures, or fear of jail / fines, but I think that today people who feel it’s ok to copy will find a way to copy, and those who can afford / feel it’s convenient to pay will do so.

          I’m already on your side when it comes to copyright *enforcement* and the way the laws are implemented, which is why I’m a bit disappointed that you’re not trying to see the issue here.

          I do think that there should be a clear creator’s advantage, but also laws *against* using DRM and similar if they violate the buyer’s right to fair use. So why can’t this advantage be some sort of reformed copyright law?

          Or should a creator never be paid for copyable work? If so, what is so worthless about that work?

        • harveyed

          “Or should a creator never be paid for copyable work? If so, what is so worthless about that work?”

          A creator can seek funding for his work by viewing copies of the previously done work as PR / ads for his service of producing new. If the creators’ work really is good, then it should make people want to have more – to create a demand for that new work.

          The internet allows for fans from all over the world to go together and do such funding.

          I sure can’t pay a rock band salary all by myself, but maybe together with 8943 other fans from all over the world, I can pay for a fraction of their time to create new songs for us.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          “A creator can seek funding for his work by viewing copies of the previously done work as PR / ads for his service of producing new.”

          So wait, I borrow $1 million to make a great game that millions love and I give it away for free, just to build a brand. I then need to do a kickstarter for A NEW game in order to recoup those investments?

          “Most businesses don’t enjoy privileges such as getting paid over and over again after a certain work has been done.”

          Nor would most businesses pay millions in order to perhaps next time get paid.

        • harveyed

          “So wait, I borrow $1 million to make a great game that millions love and I give it away for free, just to build a brand. I then need to do a kickstarter for A NEW game in order to recoup those investments?”

          The gaming business is neither in crisis(lol, couldn’t resist) now, nor has it ever worked the way you say. The first computer games had little to no funding at all – and the gaming industry sure took off pretty damn well anyway. Most of the big gaming companies started out of a garage / teenage-boy-room some 30-40 years ago. You rarely start at million dollar level no matter what you do. A band starts as a hobby in a garage somewhere with equipment bought from other work. A great painter starts with his mom’s waterpaint set at age 5 or 6. Priced maybe a few bucks. A game developer could well start out of sheer enthusiasm with a few 100$s laptop and hacking away in his spare time.

        • SoundnuoS

          @harveyed

          You don’t make what goes for an a-list computergame these days hacking away in your spare time.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          I wonder if you have misunderstood my stance.

          I think that copyright definitely should be weakened and consumer rights strengthened. And I don’t think that “sharing” really is a problem. I definitely don’t think it should be prosecuted.

          However, what I’m not convinced of, is that *entirely-removing-all-sort-of-copyright-law* is good, because it allows companies that *legally* may leech off businesses that actually produce things.

          Imagine a world entirely without copyright where Ego Software releases their hotly anticipated DoomQuaker IX.

          It’s sold for $30 in the stores.

          But as soon it’s released, it’s (legally, since there is no copyright law) copied by “Copys Are Us Software” and also sold at the same store for $9.

          The only reason “Copys Are Us” can have such low prices is because they only pay for manufacturing, not development of the product.

          In other words, “Copys Are Us” and similar companies would have an unfair advantage over the creators, and they are instead free to spend money on – for instance – advertisements to further gain sales at the expense of the original creators.

          This is the sort of loophole that would form by entirely abolishing copyright law if we leave nothing in its place, and I don’t think that this is what we want.

          I think we want a world where *people* are free to share, but where *large companies* need to pay for what they use. E.g. it’s ok for Joe on the street to use a Beatles song in his YouTube video, but it’s not ok for Shell to use that same song in their advertisements without explicit permission.

        • harveyed

          SoundnuoS:

          “You don’t make what goes for an a-list computergame these days hacking away in your spare time.”

          Tell the creator of “minecraft” and “angry birds” that. I’m quite sure they were not aware of it.

          Still most of those big a-list games sell far more than they cost to make, so in that case… there really is no big problem.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          Regarding Angry Birds / Minecraft being hobby projects, I’ll let the facts speak for themselves.

          According to Wikipedia:

          Minecraft:
          “Persson quit his job as a game developer to work on Minecraft full-time until completion.”

          Angry Birds:
          “In January 2005, Relude received its first round of investment from a business angel, and the company changed its name to Rovio Mobile.
          In December 2009 Rovio released Angry Birds, a slingshot-puzzle game for the iPhone. Angry Birds has since been downloaded over 1 billion times,[3] with paid downloads accounting for more than 25% of total downloads, making it one of the most sold games in the Apple App Store.”

    • 3.5
      Anonymous

      You can emulate that aspect of copyright using an NDA: if you insist that anyone who buys a copy of your game signs an NDA committing him to not share the product, you can actually get better protection from that person than you can get from copyright: it can last forever, and have no right of first sale. OTOH, it doesn’t interfere with any other person: no one else is required to do anything in relation to your agreement with your customers.

    • 3.6
      Anonymous

      Maybe even $10 was too much then, if the game developer could only sell 10.000 copies worldwide when there are 6-7 billion people (potential customers) living in the world.

      What if the game developer realized his price was a little too high and set the price to $1 and sold 1 million copies…?

      (You can do the math yourself)

  4. 4

    Very informative article. You’re doing a tremendous job at debunking the fallacies surrounding the copyright monopoly.

  5. 5
    Anonymous

    i agree with the good job Rik makes of the articles. the problem is, we are not the ones that need convincing of what is happening and what needs to happen. those that need to be convinced, the ones in positions of power in government and industry, wont be. it’s not because they cant be or because they shouldn’t be but because they dont want to be. it is much more in their interest to have things stay as they are and continue being ‘encouraged’ to make sure there are no changes! not for the benefit of the people, at any rate!

  6. 6
    suchenwi

    On many DVDs, you first are shown one or more legal notices that you are not allowed to play it “in prisons, hotels, hospitals, oil rigs, coaches, schools” and so on. This is so abominable.

    • 6.1
      Buglord

      even more fun when the schools show these dvds, rented for free from a local library or even shared by the students, without question to whether it’s even legal.

      on the topic of dvds, who here, would want to BUY a movie, then have to watch 5 commercials before you could start watching it? seriously, this is partially why you might want to buy it instead of waiting until it got onto tv or something.

  7. 7
    harveyed

    Thanks Rick for your continous and resilient work. You do make a very important contribution and I wish I had the energy and time to devote as you do, although I’m trying =)

  8. 8
    JK

    Rick, great article; a question if you please:

    I agree with your advice not to use the term “intellectual property,” as it automatically frames the conversation in an intellectually dishonest manner. Thus I’ve been searching desperately for an alternative to use. To me, though, “Copyright monopoly” suggests the *entities* who have the rights to the content, not the content or rights themselves.

    For example, let’s pretend there were only one car manufacturer in the world, call them Fjord. If I were to mention “the automotive monopoly”, I seem to be talking about the company Fjord, rather than cars, or the exclusive right to produce cars.

    Similarly here, if I state “Copyright monopoly”, it seems I’m talking about the MAFIAA as a whole, rather than the rights to, say, a specific Beatles song. So if I want to explicitly mention a specific piece of content, to which someone has exclusive rights to duplication etc under U.S. law, but I don’t want to call it their “intellectual property”, is there a better term I can substitute which deliberately conveys that I’m referring to the content, or the exclusive rights thereto, but *not* the entities which have legally been granted these rights?

    I know this is tedious semantics, but unfortunately semantics are a great weapon of lobbyists, and it’s important that Pirates be able to efficiently counter their misuse.

    Thanks for all your terrific work!

  9. 9
    Anonymous

    dont worry guys. once the USA has finished bullshiting the EU in the new trade talks that Obama has announced he wants and we are totally screwed because of the USA laws that are brought in for enforcing their copyright, that will benefit their businesses, not any of ours and anyone charged with copyright infringement in the EU will be able to be whisked off to the USA for trial and sentencing, then the world will be a much better, safer place!! Karel de Gucht must be pissing himself with laughter atm. it’s all his xmases come at once!! everything he wanted from ACTA and a damn sight more!! the EU has no idea what it is letting itself in for! not that it gives a toss. it’s only the ordinary people that will be on the receiving end!!

  10. 10
    Torsten De Vries

    “4. When buying a book or a DVD, it becomes your property in full.”

    This is a very interesting assertion. How is it that a book or DVD or some other thing is your property in full when it comes to copyright, but money that you have earned without violating anyone’s rights, is not?

    You cant have it both ways. You cannot assert that people have property rights, but then in the same breath, suspend those rights in other areas, “just… because!”. If you believe that the State has the right to tax people by force, then you must accept that copyright is exactly the same; the State has a right to create something called ‘copyright’ and then force you to not copy something that belongs to you, that you paid for.

    This is the final admission that all anti copyright campaigners need to make. It is the final hurdle that they have to jump. They do not have a leg to stand on in this if they do not make this leap; either they are for copyright or they are against it. If they are against it, on ethical grounds, then they cannot be for the State ‘taxing’ people, because the very same principles involved in copyright completely overlap with the area of money and ‘tax’.

    If I buy a book or a DVD, it belongs to me. No one has the right to stop me from giving it away, copying it, or destroying it, and they do not have the right to demand a portion of it, or that I do any particular thing with it. This is what it means when you say that someone’s property is theirs “in full”. It means that no other person or entity has the right to demand that you do anything with it.

    The same is true for money as it is for books and DVDs. When you receive money in trade it is yours in full unconditionally. No one, not even Rik, can demand that you hand over a portion of it. He has no right to stand between you and another person, and demand a cut of your transaction. You might agree to voluntarily hand over a portion of it, but that is not what we are discussing here. We are discussing the wrongness of the copyright monopoly claiming to own property that belongs to other people. This is indistinguishable from the State claiming that they own a portion of your work or money or property, real or otherwise.

    Until this connection is made, all the posts about the wrongness of copyright here ring hollow. Why? Because Rik is a member of parliament. He is a part of a body that forces people to pay money by theft and coercion. You cannot be against the copyright monopoly and its use of force to steal from people, while at the same time being a member of parliament that does the exact same thing, and worse, without being a hypocrite.

    There is an argument that its possible to change the system from the inside, and this would be a sufficient reason for joining a parliament to effect change, but from what we read, Rik is not for the abolition of coercion across the board, he is only for the end of copyright. He is still for taxation by force as a principle, which is demonstrably identical to copyright and the despicable acts of the copyright monopoly.

    I really hope that Rik will come clean, and renounce all violence and coercion. It would greatly solidify his position, since he would then be consistent across the board. As it stands now, his position is indefensible, since he is for stealing when it suits him, which is exactly the position of the copyright monopoly.

    • 10.1
      Datavetaren

      I don’t see taxation and copyright monopoly as not even remotely being the same thing.

      The position of being against the copyright monopoly is because the State is using a law that directly benefits corporations, also known as “regulatory capture”.

      Tax that is collected and used to benefit the entire society is something different.

    • 10.2
      Evpok

      Taxation and copyright monopoly have nothing in common.
      By living in a country and/or being a citizen of this country, you use its road, its public infrastructure, its electricity and telecommunication networks, you have democratic rights, judiciary rights, you are protected by the state’s forces, have a right to use its education structures… And taxes are the fee for that, that the states enforces. If you don’t agree with it, you can always go elsewhere.
      In which way is it similar to the copyright monopoly?

      • 10.2.1
        harveyed

        Well… that is similar in at least one way.. if you don’t like copyright monopoly you can also go somewhere it is being abolished… So countries should have an incentive to have “good” laws all over the board – no matter be it taxation or otherwise.

    • 10.3
      harveyed

      Falkvinge has written quite a few pieces about cryptocurrencies and that it may break economic monopolies just as filesharing may break copyright monopolies. Please read up on that if you are interested. :)

      • 10.3.1
        Torsten De Vries

        The problem with this is because he is a Statist and believes that the State has a right to tax people, he must be for the control of Bitcoin by the State, so that taxation (theft) can continue unabated. If Bitcoin gets big, the State dies.

        This is part of the problem with his position; on the one hand, he is for the State, and gives it his unequivocal support, but on the other, he wants to be the rebel, and says that copyright is illegitimate. He cannot be both things at the same time; either he is for the State or he is against it. He cannot be for stealing some of the time, when it suits him.

        I suspect that he has not thought through Bitcoin sufficiently to see that it is a direct challenge to taxation and the State. I guarantee you that if he is in Parliament when the Bitcoin boom happens, Rik will be a wild eyed attacker of Bitcoin, because it threatens his ‘democracy’ where money is stolen from people.

        • You’d be wrong in this prediction – I’ve spoken many times of how Bitcoin threatens to undermine today’s mechanisms of taxation, and that we need to find other means, fast, that don’t depend on having auditable income or wealth.

          You can see an example in my keynote “The winnages of decentralization” from Node in Dublin. It should be easy to find.

          But yes, you’re right in the observation that I don’t want to dismantle statehood as a concept. However, you’re completely wrong in your original assertion that this doesn’t give legitimacy to my criticism of the copyright monopoly. The logic doesn’t connect in that direction, only in the opposite direction (if I were against statehood, I couldn’t be for a copyright monopoly that depended on it).

          Cheers,
          Rick

        • Torsten De Vries

          Thank you for replying Rik. Let me make it clear that I am not against you personally, I am against your philosophy and the State.

          Its interesting that you say, “we have to find other means”. Who is this “we” that you are talking about, and what about the people who do not want to go along with you? Why do you think that the revenue the State collects through threats and violence needs to be replaced at all? If people can replace the system of banking and money with Bitcoin, surely they can come up with a voluntary system of services for a community without having to use force? No one, not even you, has the right to force people to be a part of a collective, or a ‘Nation’.

          The fact that wealth will not be traceable in a Bitcoin world is not a reason to switch to another system by itself; that system should be abandoned whether Bitcoin exists or not because it is immoral, and is sustained by violence.

          As for misunderstanding your position in the opposite direction, this is not the case.

          Copyright comes from the State and is imposed upon men.
          Taxation comes from the State and is imposed upon men.

          In both cases, the direction is from the State to man, with the same source of legitimacy, majority vote, for both acts.

          You cannot say that copyright is wrong but taxation is right; both are arbitrary constructs and impositions of the State.

          My assertion holds because you want to dismantle something particular about the State that you have great expertise in and do not like, without making a wider observation about the nature of the thing that created copyright in the first place; the State.

          Without the State, there would be no copyright, and your problem would be solved. So would the problems of all other people who would rather live without arbitrary laws, violence, and systematic theft of their money.

          The only way everyone can get what they want is if the State goes away and all differences are handled by privately.

          If you do not concede this, what you are saying is that you reserve the right to use violence against people who disagree with your opinion. This is unacceptable, clearly, to all civilized people.

        • harveyed

          Although one may claim that state (and taxation) as a concept is unjust, proposing a system totally without taxation and a state would be too difficult to get support for in practice. At least right now… maybe after internet has matured a bit, it will not be considered such a radical idea anymore.. but right now, the vast majority can probably not percieve how society could work without a state or taxation. So a mechanism in cryptocurrencies which allows to gather taxes in some sense would be welcome. I have been thinking about this for quite a bit, so please update me if you have seen anything promising.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          You do realize that the fundamental use for taxes is to collectively fund the basic necessities of society, such as building and maintaining roads, enforcing laws, financing firefighters, hospitals, schools etc.

          This is a great leveller. This is why in many countries children from poor homes have the same chance at basic education as the rich.

          If you suggest that we should do away with taxes, then this is what we’ll throw away as well.

        • harveyed

          Christoffer:

          Taxes are obviously not a great way to do it. There are numerous problems and flaws with taxation. However, we have not (yet) found a better way yet to fund social security, infrastructure, police as you mention. I do not advocate abolishing taxes until we can find some viable alternative.

          Corrupt politicians let tax money run where the lobbyists point. A few years ago that was for instance failing car industry in US and indebted big-banks being bailed out both in US and Europe.

          Even here in Sweden corruption is rampant where comes to politicians buying collective services from their friends’ companies at outrageous prices with tax money – in all levels of society from everything like nation level to local city councils.

        • Christoffer

          @harveyed

          Then you realize that your issue with taxes are not taxes themselves but that they are allocated incorrectly?

  11. 11
    Anonymous

    I was confused when I started skimming this article. It purports to present 5 misconceptions. But the five items listed are rebuttals to implied misconceptions. For example, the first one, the misconception is that the copyright monopoly is a form of property. But that’s not what you’ve written; you only reach that point of the argument several paragraphs in. Up to that point, it sounded like “the copyright monopoly is just a monopoly” was the misconception, rather than the correction.

  12. 12
    Ophelia Millais

    I was confused when I started skimming this article. It purports to present 5 misconceptions. But the five items listed are rebuttals to implied misconceptions. For example, the first one, the misconception is that the copyright monopoly is a form of property. But that’s not what you’ve written; you only reach that point of the argument several paragraphs in. Up to that point, it sounded like “the copyright monopoly is just a monopoly” was the misconception, rather than the correction. Probably the easiest way to address this would be to rephrase each of the five headings to be the actual misconception, and then make the first statement after each one be your concise correction, in boldface.

  13. 13
    SoundnuoS

    There’s a problem with your arguments because you provide no analysis of how property rights work and what the nature of property is. In order to make your argument work you need to provide some logical arguments for why intellectual property can’t be property.
    As it is, your whole argument is based on your interpretation of the US constitution.

    In the constitution however there is no stated limitation on what can and can’t be considered property.

    We have the text: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”
    This indeed seems to imply the author’s and inventor’s ownership of their work, it’s “their respective Writings and Discoveries” after all.

    The fifth amendment, that you seem to think confirms your argument, in reality doesn’t do this at all.
    The part on property goes: “No person shall [...] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
    There’s no limitation on what can be considered property there, no exclusion of intellectual property from this right.
    In fact since the rights of authors and inventors were specifically mentioned in article one of the constitution itself, it’s safe to assume that those rights were considered important.

    The way property and the transfer of ownership works, if you analyze it, is that every kind of property is a set of rights, not all of which have to be transferred at the moment of sale.
    Various kinds of property have varying rights and obligations attached to them, which is reasonable since a plot of land is fairly different from a chair which in turn is different from a literary work or a record.

    The IKEA chair is sold with pretty much all the rights, except the right to manufacture more chairs and sell or give them away as IKEA chairs. They reserve that one.

    Here’s an example of reserving rights when it comes to something as oldfashioned as owning land.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M
    You can sell the land while keeping the rights to any minerals in it (in the US.)

    And as a swede you should be aware of “allemansrätten”. Even if you own a bit of forest you have no right to stop people from walking in it or gathering berries and mushrooms.
    This is a limitation of your rights as an owner but that limitation is part of the ruleset that goes along with buying land in Sweden, just as copyright is part of the ruleset that goes along with buying a record, movie or book.

    In short: Different kinds of property, intellectual property among them, have different legal rulesets attached to them, motivated by the very different kinds of things that are considered property.
    This in itself is no reason for why intellectual property wouldn’t qualify, and indeed it has been considered property for several hundreds of years by now.

    • 13.1
      Anyone

      “intellectual property” is still not property simply because you cannot own it

      • 13.1.1
        SoundnuoS

        Current practices prove you wrong as intellectual property is clearly ownable.

        • Ah, but is it? Those things which we own, they do not expire, do they, like the copyright monopoly does and patent monopolies do?

          A monopoly is ownable only in the sense that it is exclusively held by one person or legal entity, a characteristic that is shared between property rights and monopoly rights – but not in the sense that it implies being property (which does not expire).

          Cheers,
          Rick

        • Anyone

          it is very possible that someone else could come to the same “intellectual property” as myself by mistake or coincidence

          if it was actual property that cannot happen
          noone can own the exact same property as myself, but it can happen that someone makes the same invention as myself, or thinks of the same notes as myself, or solves a problem in the same way as myself

        • SoundnuoS

          We’ve already established that various categories of property have different legal rights and obligations attached to them.
          The expiration of copyright shows nothing more than that this is a category of property with a legally prescribed expiration date.

          In other words this is a category of property that has some limitations on the rights of the owner (like “allemansrätten” when it comes to land in Sweden).
          In fact, as property goes, it is a fairly extreme limitation on the ownership of something someone has created.

          If you build a house, for instance, no one is going to knock on the door 70 years after your death and tell your heirs it’s time to move out because it’s time the public has ownership of it.
          The only justification for this is the importance we place on the public domain, but it is clearly a limitation of the creator’s rights.

          The time limitation of copyright makes no logical argument for why IP can’t be considered property. It simply places IP in a category of property that happens to have that particular limitation.

          As for the possibilty of several people inventing something at the same time, this is another aspect of this category of property. Ownership is given to whoever “claims” it first.

        • Anyone

          @SoundnuoS
          so you are saying if I invent something on my own that happens to be invented by someone else on the other side of the planet I do not own it?
          how is that not a contradiction and how does that not destroy the whole “intellectual property” = property dogma?

        • Datavetaren

          In terms of law there’s a clear distinction between property and laws that limits property. Yes, there are many _other_ laws beyond copyright that limits property, but claiming that copyright itself is property is wrong.

          Maybe you consider this being semantics, but it is important to get the semantics straight in a debate. There’s no such thing as “stealing intellectual property” (check that in your law book), but producing copies of a copyrighted medium is considered to be “an copyright infringement “; this is _not_ stealing.

        • SoundnuoS

          @Anyone

          You’ll own the prototype you’ve made, but you won’t have the right to monetize your invention.
          That right (and official ownership of the invention) goes to the person filing the first claim. Except in the US where patents are granted to whoever can show they invented it first.
          That’s the way the law deals with ownership claims in this category.
          This is similar to the way gold claims worked during the 1800′s.

          Since it’s highly unlikely that two people will invent the exact same thing at exactly the same time (there’s very few real world cases that even approach this), this is also not much of a problem.

          @Datavetaren

          The legal term for unauthorised appropriation of physical property is theft.
          The legal term for unauthorised appropriation of intellectual property is infringement.
          In both cases something of value is being taken without consent from the owner.

          Copyright is not property. Copyright is one of the laws describing a right that is given to the owner of intellectual property. It’s a part of the total legal ruleset when it comes to that category of property.

        • harveyed

          “In both cases something of value is being taken without consent from the owner.”

          It has a value Only because you are not allowed to get it otherwise – a value that is imposed on it by law. The natural “value” of the copies of Old Work would be to yield demand for New Work. You start out a happy and energized amateur and as the copies of your works spread and you get better at the arts – people may get increasing demand to start investing in your work in different ways.

          After all it is the WORK as such which still has any value in a world where both the means of production and means of distribution have become cheap enough to not require any incentive at all for anyone to start creating and spreading new culture and knowledge.

        • SoundnuoS

          No, it has a value because it’s impossible to get it without the work done by the original creator. Music doesn’t create itself on p2p networks.
          This value doesn’t change because you can copy the product.

          As you’re pointing out, it’s the artistic work in itself that has value. The only way this can be distributed and sold is through copies. Each copy can provide the same experience of the artistic work.
          This experience is subjective to each person having it, but is considered desireable by a significant portion of them.
          That’s why society has decided that the original creator has the right to be compensated for those copies.

        • @SoundnuoS:

          No, it has a value because it’s impossible to get it without the work done by the original creator.

          With this reasoning, everything has a value. Also, it stands in conflict with basic capitalism, which simply states that everything has a value (and the value) that somebody else is prepared to pay for it.

          This value doesn’t change because you can copy the product.

          An obviously false assertion, as the definition of (monetary) value illustrates.

          The only way this can be distributed and sold is through copies.

          Again, an obviously false assertion. Many artists sell their work in tons of ways that aren’t through copies.

          That’s why society has decided that the original creator has the right to be compensated for those copies.

          Again, an obviously false assertion. Society has decided no such thing. Society has decided that the original creator has a monopoly on duplication of copies and a monopoly on public performance. Society has decided absolutely nothing about any “right to be compensated”, with the rare exception of cultural grants, which is a different beast than the concepts we’re talking about here.

          No entrepreneur has any “right” to be compensated for their work. They have to offer something that somebody else is prepared to pay for. That simple rule applies to every entrepreneur on the planet.

          Cheers,
          Rick

        • SoundnuoS

          The right I’m referring to is of course not some imaginary right to make an automatic sale.
          I’m talking about the same right to protection by law that any entrepreneur has against having their product taken for free by the public when that product proves popular.

          In this case the product we’re talking about is recorded music. That product is only distributable and sellable through copies.

          The way price is established in capitalist economies is by way of dialog between a willing seller and a willing buyer. The seller offers something at a price and the buyer can take it or leave it. This decision by the buyer can then cause (but not force) the seller to re-evalute his product.
          This system assumes one important thing: that the buyer can’t legally take the product for free anyway.

          If copyright is removed or unenforced that turns that dialog into a monolog where the price (which becomes nothing) is simply dictated by the buyer to the seller. This is not the way capitalism works.

        • harveyed

          “No, it has a value because it’s impossible to get it without the work done by the original creator.”

          Well then I could get paid for just about anything over and over again if I just do that once. How would that encourage New creative work?

          It doesn’t!

          It encourages me to try and do something good for Once and then to sit on my lazy ass and get money from that Old work over and over again.

          Anyone wanting to do something for a living have to find a way which other people want to pay for that (work). You are not entitled to make money in your own favourite way. Especially not if that destroys the freedom of third parties.

          The copies of Old Work may well work as PR to create a demand for New Work. The more skillful the creator, the higher the expected demand for the services.

        • SoundnuoS

          @ Rick Falkvinge

          I’d appreciate it if the answer I wrote to you around appprox. 13-14 today, february 18, 2013, could pass the censorship filter.

          The arguments are relevant to your last post in this thread and there was nothing in it to motivate not releasing it.

          Or is this a “chilling effect” when the debate isn’t going your way?

          [Rick responding here directly: Thanks, the comment had been caught as a false positive in the spam filter. Cleared manually.]

        • Datavetaren

          @SoundnuoS

          “Copyright is not property. Copyright is one of the laws describing a right that is given to the owner of intellectual property.”

          Well, it all comes down how you define property and whether you like the term “intellectual property” (as it becomes some sort of relationship to ‘property’). This debate is more than 200 years old, and I agree that you can argue both ways.

          I think the problem we’re having is the discourse as we have two completely different views on how ‘property’ should be defined.

          One camp is joined by EFF, Richard Stallman, Lawrence Lessig, et al. in which there is no such thing as “intellectual property” as term is biased and skews the term of “real” property. Here ‘property’ is solely physical and tangible objects that can be transferred with clear ownerships. Of course this is not possible with _intellectual_ property and therefore the term should be avoided. In this world, anything that is scribbled down on a piece of paper, or on some digital media, that the author wishes to be “protected” need to have _other_ laws that constrain what people are allowed to do with these objects manifactured by the author.

          The other camp claims that ‘property’ is an abstract concept to begin with and everything could be considered property that comes in different flavors.

        • Datavetaren

          @Soundnuos

          “In both cases something of value is being taken without consent from the owner.”

          There’s no intrinsic value in “intellectual property”. Yes, if the author can control scarcity then there’s value, but this is an artificial construct. If there’s no scarcity, then there’s no value.
          If you think value should be defined by actual work (e.g. the effort for an author to create a piece of music), then that’s Marxian economics.

          In some sense, if you’re arguing that an artificial scarcity should be controlled by the author of some work just because he/she “deserves” it, then that’s more in line with Marxian school of thought.

          In my imagined society, when a copy of a piece of music is made, no value is neither gained nor lost. Musical artists can perform live, and that’s how they make their money. This is true today anyways. For example, Swedish House Mafia makes plenty of money on their live performances (and virtually getting nothing for record sales), and they don’t even play musical instruments!

          Now, what is the problem with this picture? Well, absolutely nothing.

        • SoundnuoS

          No property has intrinsic value. I’m talking about letting the value of recorded music be determined by fair competition in the marketplace.

          This is what copyright is for, as I pointed out in the post that went temporarily missing.
          I’ll copy-paste for convenience:

          In this case the product we’re talking about is recorded music. That product is only distributable and sellable through copies.

          The way price is established in capitalist economies is by way of dialog between a willing seller and a willing buyer. The seller offers something at a price and the buyer can take it or leave it. This decision by the buyer can then cause (but not force) the seller to re-evalute his product.
          This system assumes one important thing: that the buyer can’t legally take the product for free anyway.

          If copyright is removed or unenforced that turns that dialog into a monolog where the price (which becomes nothing) is simply dictated by the buyer to the seller. This is not the way capitalism works.

        • Datavetaren

          @SoundnuoS

          “No property has intrinsic value.”

          This is not quite true. As long as there are no physical copying machines a.k.a. Star Trek object replicators, scarcity of a physical object is provided by nature itself, and even if we have a Star Trek replicator it may require energy to produce a copy, so scarcity is implied by the amount of energy needed to create a copy.

          What has happened is that human kind has invented the perfect “copying machine” for what you call “intellectual property” and scarcity has vanished (if the technology is allowed to be used at its full potential) and therefore the value becomes zero.

          The same thing happened for the monks copying the bible by hand (1453), for which a copy of the bible was associated with an incredible value. That changed in the following years (1454+) in which the printing press made scarcity almost disappear for physical books, so the value of a bible (or any other book) became much lower. Yes, you guessed it right, monks and the church were _not_ happy with this. The penalty of “file sharing” starting in 1455 finally became death by torture, but that didn’t stop people printing books anyway. At some point in time (I’d rather see it sooner than later), the same will happen for our modern society. TBP will become the “printing press of 1453″.

          The current technological leap human kind has taken is good for society, and we should not constrain the use of this technology just because you think that the creator of a prototype is entitled with some monetary compensation. It is precisely here we differ.

          Therefore, copyright is a monopoly granted by the state to control scarcity and constrain technology not to be allowed to its full potential. Therefore, in my view, copyright limits progress and should be abandoned.

          And at last, and I have to repeat this, there’s no issue here for musical artists making money today. They don’t get paid for selling records now days (just look that up and you’ll see!). Artists today make money on their live performances. Problem solved (was it even a problem to begin with?)

        • SoundnuoS

          Scarcity doesn’t mean something has intrinsic value. Value in a capitalistic market is ultimately decided through interaction between buyer and seller, no matter how scarce something is.

          What you’re overlooking is that music is in fact scarce. No matter how many times you copy a song , no new songs are created in the process.
          Some of these songs are also valuable, if value is measured in how many people that are interested in having a copy of them.

          Copyright exists as a response to that scarcity and value. It’s there to make it possible for the creator to actually sell something which has been clearly shown to be very desireable to people.

          As you probably know the printing press has never been deregulated. That technology has never been “allowed to work to it’s full potential”.
          Since copying does not solve the problem of scarcity when it comes to art, there’s no reason to remove copyright for this latest technological development either.

          “They don’t get paid for selling records now days”

          I’m sorry, but this statement is utterly false, just check it up.
          A composer gets mechanical royalties for each and every record sold, no matter if physical or digital.
          A recent study showed that composers rely on copyright for a significant part of their income: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2199058

          And an independently releasing musician of course gets 100% of the income from record sales. Some of these musicians make fairly significant money from record sales. Copyright is vital in order to not force them to compete with their own products being (legally) offered for free by other people.

        • Datavetaren

          “Scarcity doesn’t mean something has intrinsic value. Value in a capitalistic market is ultimately decided through interaction between buyer and seller, no matter how scarce something is.”

          Price is determined by supply and demand. Scarcity has a role in determining the supply. This is capitalism:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

          “What you’re overlooking is that music is in fact scarce. No matter how many times you copy a song , no new songs are created in the process.
          Some of these songs are also valuable, if value is measured in how many people that are interested in having a copy of them.”

          It’s how you define it. In my world I equate “a copy of a song” with “a copy of a chair”. If I have a Star Trek replicator in my garage that can make infinite number of chairs, then the price of chairs will drop to zero. Today, this Star Trek replicator doesn’t exist, but Internet does, and it is the perfect copying machine on what you call “intellectual property”.

          “A recent study showed that composers rely on copyright for a significant part of their income: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2199058

          This is truly wonderful. Have you even read that paper you just referenced? The pie chart at the end states that only 6% of the aggregated income for musicians is due to record sellings. An overwhelming majority of income is not directly related to copyright at all. Furthermore, the report states that only “super stars” benefit from copyright (where there’s a substantial money stream), but for most musicians (the vast majority in fact) virtually gets nothing from copyright related money streams. Therefore, if we abondon copyright today, musicians will not suffer. Not even super stars will suffer, because they also have a substantial money stream from live performances. The only that will suffer is the recording industry. So thanks for proving my point. I hope you learned a lesson.

          “And an independently releasing musician of course gets 100% of the income from record sales. Some of these musicians make fairly significant money from record sales. Copyright is vital in order to not force them to compete with their own products being (legally) offered for free by other people.”

          And this has just proven to be wrong.

        • Datavetaren

          @SoundnuoS

          Complementary comment:

          I actually misread some of your statements as you indentified a particular subgroup that has a substantial revenue stream from copyright, but the vast majority of musicians do not (as the report also states). In particular it is composers/song-writers that typically writes the “Britney Spears” crap. I prefer bands that make their own songs anyway. No loss for me at least.

          Therefore, any potential “damage” of abandoning copyright is small. Without copyright music will still persistent; well enough for the majority of people on this planet.

          But this is not my main criticism against copyright. The main point is that to actually enforce copyright laws you would have to:

          1) Outlaw anonymity
          2) Outlaw VPNs
          3) Monitor all Internet traffic (= Big brother society)
          4) Ban all forms of encryption

          This is what we would pay to enforce copyright.
          I rather take the hit of lousy 6% revenue loss for musicians (aggregated avarage) and kill that shit law.

        • SoundnuoS

          Looking at the aggregate chart in that paper is fairly pointless. Doing something similar for doctors, for instance, we’d probably be able to come to the conclusion that doing brain surgery is a fairly unsignificant source of income for doctors.

          If you read the survey you’ll find that approx. 50% of the respondents have no recordings. This means the percentage of income from copyright related work is higher for the ones who actually do it.
          These are the people who actually produce the material that gets copied and the ones who are affected by copyright.

          Here’s a piece on Zoe Keating: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/08/a-look-inside-zoe-keatings-earnings-as-an-indie-musician.html

          She’s completely independent. She made 84386.86 from record sales during a six-month period. This is not pocket change.
          In longer timeframes she says record sales consistently make up 60-70% of her total income. This is not insignificant.

          As I pointed out copying doesn’t create new material to copy. This becomes obvious if we replace the chair in your replicator example with something less mundane, like a cellphone.
          Copying that cellphone won’t create new, more advanced models. Copying does nothing to solve the scarcity of creation and innovation.
          That’s why copyright is justified. It is compensation for the work involved in creation, not for replication.

          That’s also why copyright enforcement is justified. It protects the people creating the material everyone is so eager to copy and own. Generally, in societies where slavery isn’t legal, you don’t expect a group of people to work for free to provide the rest of the population with something they enjoy.

          All freedoms come with responsibility. If that responsibility isn’t taken and freedom is constantly abused, it sometimes becomes necessary to limit certain aspects of it. We have laws on speeding, but we are still free to drive our cars.

        • Datavetaren

          “Looking at the aggregate chart in that paper is fairly pointless. Doing something similar for doctors, for instance, we’d probably be able to come to the conclusion that doing brain surgery is a fairly unsignificant source of income for doctors.”

          This is so BS. Note that this thing swing both ways. The average for aggregated for live performances is 28%, but in other situations you’ll get 40% (and the direct copyright revenue is also slightly higher, 10%). For example, if you read the report you’ll find:

          “Musicians in rock, pop, country, folk, and all other genres earn
          8 percent of their revenue from compositions and 10 percent from recordings. They rely heavily on live performance revenue, which comprises 40 percent of their total. Teaching and session work are less important for musicians in this grouping of genres, but still have 13 percent and 9 percent of revenue,
          respectively”

          But it doesn’t matter. The report is significant evidence that music for mankind will be well enough if copyright is abandoned. And my point is that once copyright is abandoned, musicians (who previously relied on copyright) will have to find other sources of revenue which provably exists.

          “As I pointed out copying doesn’t create new material to copy. This becomes obvious if we replace the chair in your replicator example with something less mundane, like a cellphone.
          Copying that cellphone won’t create new, more advanced models. Copying does nothing to solve the scarcity of creation and innovation.”

          Sigh. If you copy a cell phone, then yes, that particular cell phone model’s price will drop to zero (if a replicator is available), but that doesn’t exclude other sources of income. The cell phone requires an infrastructure and a subcription service, so how hard can it be? Some things are just not copyable, and it is precisely those things that you’ll be able to make money from in a society where infinite copies are allowed to be made on _any_ “product.” My point is that recorded music (that is copyable at no cost) will not be an income source, so musicians/artists have to come up with other revenue streams. Live performances are such examples.

          “Here’s a piece on Zoe Keating:”

          So why should I care? There might be hundreds of other musicians making music that don’t rely on copyright. My point is that music as an art is not deemed to go under if we abandon copyright. It will actuallt stay quite healthy. If you can’t make money on copyright, you’ll provably have to find another revenue stream and it is proven to be possible so copyright is not a requirement.

          “That’s also why copyright enforcement is justified. It protects the people creating the material everyone is so eager to copy and own. Generally, in societies where slavery isn’t legal, you don’t expect a group of people to work for free to provide the rest of the population with something they enjoy.”

          In my society copyright enforcement is not justified because it infringes the peoples right to copy things. This is not equal to slavery because no value is being taken. The price of a recorded song is zero in my world, so there’s no “theft”. Musicians will have to earn money in a different way; that’s all. It is already proven that copyright is not their main source of income; live performances is the biggest piece of the pie. Why can’t we just let it grow even larger? Copyright is not fundamental for the existance of music.

          “All freedoms come with responsibility. If that responsibility isn’t taken and freedom is constantly abused, it sometimes becomes necessary to limit certain aspects of it. We have laws on speeding, but we are still free to drive our cars.”

          This is your discourse. Copyright to me is evil. It was invented for information control. I like public libraries and I hope you don’t equate public libraries with slavery. I view Internet as the biggest and finest public library ever built by mankind. Any information that is added to pool of human knowledge and art will be freely available to everyone (just like in public libraries). If you want to make money, then you’ll have to provide something that people are willing to pay for, e.g. a live performance or some other experience that is not copyable. It’s not that difficult really.

        • SoundnuoS

          It’s not BS. In a survey where 56.2% of the respondents answer N/A on the question on songwriting/composition and 41.5% answer N/A on the subject of recordings, results will be skewed away from copyright-related income.
          This as opposed to income from live performance where only 23.5% answer N/A.

          The fact is, the people who will be affected by a removal of copyright are the people who do the composing and recording, and they are the ones who should be taken into consideration.
          They are the ones who produce the material everyone wants to copy.
          They are “the people” too, with equal rights to anyone else.

          And as we’ve seen, even an independent non-mainstream artist like Zoe Keating can have substantial income from copyright-related work, making up a total of 60-70% of her total income.
          That is not insignificant.

          Purely logistic factors say that live performance can never fully make up for income lost by record sales.
          A record can be sold to a listener anywhere on the planet, while touring to reach even some of them has major expenses.
          It’s not realistic to expect you’ll be able to play in your hometown every week and get people to show up.

          And in a line of work where total income is in most cases made up by streams from several sources, the removal of any of them has serious repercussions. Even in the case of the aggregate rock/pop musician, the removal of almost a fifth of their total income is not insignificant.

          Libraries aren’t really comparable to what goes on in the world of filesharing. Libraries pay for the material they have. The material is limited in amount and is loaned for a short period of time.
          Unlike filesharing, traditional libraries don’t really have the potential to totally decimate the market for copyrighted works.

          The Open Library tries to do the online library concept in a way that makes it sustainable for creators. You can borrow modern works, but their availability is limited and you’re only allowed to have them for 2 weeks.

          The problem with your vision of society is that it is fundamentally unjust.
          It demands that rights of one segment of the population should be removed to unilaterally benefit the rest.
          It wouldn’t even be done because the material they provide wouldn’t be appreciated. Quite the opposite. Everyone wants the creators to keep producing, but they should do it at their own expense and without compensation.
          This simply isn’t justifiable if fairness is a value that one considers society should be striving for.

        • Datavetaren

          SoundnuoS
          February 23, 2013 – 11:46

          “It’s not BS. In a survey where 56.2% of
          the respondents answer N/A on the question
          on songwriting/composition and 41.5% answer N/A
          on the subject of recordings, results will be
          skewed away from copyright-related income.
          This as opposed to income from live performance
          where only 23.5% answer N/A.”

          It’s not going to change anything. Let’s do the
          math. I’m focusing on 41.5% N/A on the subject of
          recordings, because that’s only directly relevant
          to what we’re discussing here. This would mean we
          have: 2000*f*A + 3000*A = T where ’2000*f*A’ is
          the capital contribution for people not doing
          recordings and 3000*A for those that do. ‘f’ could
          be (worst case scenario) set to 1 which means that the
          financial strength of the income group not doing
          records would be equal to the capital strength for
          those who do. T is the total capital. The other
          equation we have is: 3000*A*q = X which is the capital
          due to records, and here ‘q’ is the unknown factor we
          wish to compute. We know that X/T = 0.06, so we get:
          3000*A*q / (2000*f*A + 3000*A) = 0.06, eliminating A
          and simplifying and we get:
          q = 0.06*(f*(2/3)+1). In the case of f = 1
          (highly unlikely) we’ll get q = 0.1 = 10%. Therefore,
          the skew can never be worse than that. Most likely,
          people not doing records have a lower financial strength,
          most likely half of the other group, so setting f = 0.5
          we’ll get: q = 0.06*(0.5*(2/3)+1) = 0.08 = 8%.
          Therefore, the group related to records will have an income
          share of copyright between 8-10%. The reason why the “skew”
          can’t affect that much is because the initial aggregated
          copyright related income is so low (6%).

          “They are the ones who produce the material everyone wants to copy.
          They are “the people” too, with equal rights to anyone else.”

          False, song-writers and composers are those that are hired by the record industry to compose new “hit songs” that a random ensamble will play. This is something I don’t like. I wan’t bands making their own music. I won’t cry if these disappear. Bands that make their own music will be able make income through live performances.

          “Purely logistic factors say that live performance can never fully make up for income lost by record sales. A record can be sold to a listener anywhere on the planet, while touring to reach even some of them has major expenses. It’s not realistic to expect you’ll be able to play in your hometown
          every week and get people to show up”

          This is _so_ false. We’re talking about a revenue loss of 10%
          (copyright related income) for a rock band. I’m absolutely convinced that if people don’t have to buy music they could spend their money on live performances; easily getting those extra 10% income that they need.

          “And in a line of work where total income is in most cases
          made up by streams from several sources, the removal of any of
          them has serious repercussions. Even in the case of the aggregate
          rock/pop musician, the removal of almost a fifth of their total
          income is not insignificant.”

          But you’re assuming there’s no other way of getting that income. Lack of imagination is what I’d say. First, if people don’t have to buy music they’ll be able to spend more on live performances.

          “The problem with your vision of society is that it is fundamentally unjust.
          It demands that rights of one segment of the population should be removed
          to unilaterally benefit the rest.”

          Nothing is fundamentally unjust; it’s a social construct. Every person can have an opinion on what they think is unjust.

          If you ask me what I think is unjust, it is the big corporates limiting my freedom to do things what I wan’t to do in my own house. I don’t want to have a big
          brother society spying on my private correspondence whether that includes my views of the world, or whether they include pieces of music. I want anonymity whenever
          I think that is suitable. When I “mail” something I decide whenever I write my name on the envelope, on the letter, or not at all. All these _rights_ were fundamental
          in the pre-internet world (using the traditional postal service). I want these _rights_ to carry on in the online world. These were rights that our grandparents
          fight their blood for, and these fundamental rights weigh so much more than protecting an obsolete industry, for which artists would be able to make their own living despite
          the absence of copyright.

        • SoundnuoS

          You’re makinga few assumptions and omissions that aren’t necessarily valid.

          It’s been ages since I did equations, so I’m a bit rusty, but where are the 2000 and 3000 numbers coming from?
          Shouldn’t it be something like this?:

          T is total money, made up of A which is the contribution from people doing records and fA which is the contribution from people not doing records. T=A+fA
          X is the percentage coming from records. X=qA
          X/T=0.06, making it qA / A(1+f)=0.06
          This leaves q = 0.06(1+f) giving us the minimum percentage as a factor of f.

          F can actually be higher than 1, but since the percentage of people not doing recordings is lower than 50% we’ll leave that possibility out.
          Given the high numbers of classical musicians in the income brackets where this can approach a fulltime living however it’s not unreasonable to expect it to be higher than 0.5.
          That would put the average for the people actually doing records somewhere areound 10-12%.

          It’s also not possible to leave composing out of the calculation. All the bands doing their own songwriting will have their income from that listed under songwriting/composing.

          Since the percentage of people having an income from that is lower than 50%, f can actually be expected to be higher in this case, pushing the average above 12%.
          No matter how you slice it the average income directly related to copyright is likely to be 20% and up. That’s not a small paycut to take.

          All this still doesn’t take into account that some people (like Zoe Keating) will be more successful in selling their records than others. I.e. for some people the percentage will be higher.

          It’s also not possible to discount the major importance copyright has for composers just because your subjective preference wouldn’t be for the music they produce.
          First of all, the paper says nothing about the genres in which they operate. They could be film composers, people making beats for hip-hop artists or songwriters in bands that just prefer to call themselves composers. Copyright still has major importance for their work.
          Secondly, even if every one of them is producing hit songs for the latest manufactured pop wonder, this doesn’t mean they can be disqualified. There’s an audience for that as well, whose subjective opinion on music is just as valid.

          Live performance is unlikely to be able to make up the shortfall, not necessarily because the fans can’t pay the ticket, but because it is currently impossible for an artist to duplicate himself and appear in several places at once.
          If an artist is doing as much touring as they can fit into their schedule then it will be impossible for them to do more without taking time away from other activities, such as composing and producing records.
          This of course is what copyright was supposed to give them the possibility to do. I.e. the removal of copyright is likely to reduce the amounts of recorded material available.

          Secondly, just beacuse there’s 20 fans in Kiruna who would be willing to pay the ticket if the artist would go there to play doesn’t mean it actually would be financially viable for him/her to do so. People with a smaller but widespread fanbase won’t be able to make up the losses with touring.

          Your choice to value privacy above all is one you can make. Personally, I think fairness and equality are values a society should strive towards and privacy should sometimes and in some contexts stand back in favour of those values.

          Society certainly doesn’t value privacy when there’s a suspicion of crimes being committed. The traditional privacy you talk about has always been breached when there’s been suspicion of illegal activity.
          The internet isn’t by it’s nature a private medium. It might feel like what you’re doing is done in the privacy of your own home, when in fact you’ve opened a window to the world and stepped out of it.
          Some elements (like email) can be considerd more like traditional messaging, but generally when you visit a website (or download torrents) you’re transmitting who you are and where you come from loud and clear.

        • Datavetaren

          The numbers 2000+3000=5000 (= number of participants in the survey). I’m computing what the percentage would have been if you exclude those who do not explicitly contribute to recordings. You claimed that ~40% said N/A on recordings, so what would the percentage be if you exclude them from the group. I’m not sure exactly what you are computing, but since it does not contain any numbers referencing 40% (or 60%) it does not take this into account (those who responded N/A). The ‘f’ in my formula relates to the relative strength between the two groups (those who m,ake a living on not making records and those who do). If you apply this formula the revenue stream from copyright is around 8%-10% depending on how you value ‘f’. My belief is that musicians who do not make records are relatively weak, because they are usually not in the rock/pop genre (= where the money is).

          “It’s also not possible to leave composing out of the calculation. All the bands doing their own songwriting will have their income from that listed under songwriting/composing.”

          I did not leave that out in my calculation. The only thing I calcuated was to leave out those that responded N/A on the “making recordings” question.

          “No matter how you slice it the average income directly related to copyright is likely to be 20% and up. That’s not a small paycut to take.”

          I disagree with that. I think the average income for a regular artist/band is around 10% that can be contributed to and controlled by copyright law.

          “Live performance is unlikely to be able to make up the shortfall, not necessarily because the fans can’t pay the ticket, but because it is currently impossible for an artist to duplicate himself and appear in several places at once.
          If an artist is doing as much touring as they can fit into their schedule then it will be impossible for them to do more without taking time away from other activities, such as composing and producing records.
          This of course is what copyright was supposed to give them the possibility to do. I.e. the removal of copyright is likely to reduce the amounts of recorded material available.”

          So this is proven wrong in the case of Swedish House Mafia, who makes a fortune on live performances. It is true that there’s an “upper bound” on how much money you can actually earn by performing live, but this is true for _any_ regular job as well.

          You’re mentioning Kiruna. Take a look at this report for the situation in Sweden:

          http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/docs/other_actions/col_2009/pub/kth_annex.pdf

          This is interesting because it confirms with what I said. The total amount of “money” in this sector has stayed the same from 2000-2008, but the record sales is crashing. Look at the graph of revenue to artists, you can see the yellow part is shrinking and the green part (= live performance) is growing.

          If we would have this discussion 10 years ago, and you would be claiming the same thing, then you would have been 100% wrong in the case of Sweden. It is proven that live perfoming can make up for the lost sales in recordings. Continuing this trend it is very likely that copyright related income for artists will shrink further until it almost disappears.

          So in Sweden the direct copyright related revenue is about 10%. Note that STIM/SAMI part could still exist even in the absence of a copyright law.

          “Society certainly doesn’t value privacy when there’s a suspicion of crimes being committed. The traditional privacy you talk about has always been breached when there’s been suspicion of illegal activity.”

          Now we come to the truly interesting part and let me spell out exactly what I mean.

          First, I agree with this, there’s nothing wrong that for serious enough crimes it is true that government(police force should acquire the right to do proper surveillence, including eavesdropping on private communication.

          But in order to get there you’ll need a court order and you can only do that if there’s siginifcant and well founded suspicion that a crime is being committed. The government does _NOT have the right to constantly monitor and eavesdrop all private communication in order to capture illegal activity.

          This is a truly fundamental difference. The latter refers to Eastern Germany where the government was spying on all its citizens (guilty and innocent) to be ready for proper countermeasures if something “bad” is detected. This is a horrific society.

          Now you’re arguing that Internet is not about private communication because you should discriminate email from other traffic, but it is not possible to do so! If the sender uses encryption and wants to anonymously transmit information, he has the right to do so. (We have the TOR network, which also was used by the revolutioners during the rise of Egypt) If illegal activity is detected (for whatever reason), and the crime is serious enough, then a court order can be issued to put that particular individual under surveillence, including installing “trojan horses” on that person’s computer to capture any information before it gets encrypted.

          So you’re saying that you’re willing to sacriface these fundamental rights as a citizen just because there’s a 10% cut for artists, that most likely would be able to get their revenue from different streams after abandoning copyright?

          Hey, let me suggest a compromise. In Sweden the total revenue to artistsis about 1 billion SEK (Swedish Kronor). The GDP of Sweden is about 3500 billion SEK. 10% of 1 billion is 100 million. This corresponds to a tax increase of 0.0028%, or roughly 20 r per year per working person (there are about 4.5 million working people in Sweden). I’m would be _totally_ fine with abandoning copyright and have this tax increase and then top every artists income with 10% extra collected from tax money as long as the evil music industry is left out of the equation.

        • SoundnuoS

          The way I set up the equation I’m just ignoring the exact percentage of people doing records and trying to figure out what the minimum percentage recordings represent for the people doing them based on how much the people not doing them are contributing to the total pile of money.

          There’s the total money T made up of money from people doing recordings (A) and money from people not doing recordings (fA).
          f just becomes a factor that decides if they are contributing less or more money to the total pile.
          The only way any money from recordings is going to show up is from the people doing them and how much that is can be defined by qA (q is the percentage). This becomes the X=qA function.
          X/T=0.06 leads to q=0.06(1+f). Then you can start testing various values for f based on assumptions of how much the non-recording musicians contribute.

          If f=0, then the non-recording musicians contribute no money at all and the recording musicians are the average musicians. Minimum percentage of income from recordings becomes 6%.
          If f=0.5 and the non-recording musicians contribute half of what the recording musicians contribute then income percentage of recordings for the people doing them climbs to 9%.
          Given the high percentage (44) of classical musicians in the 18000-313500 income brackets (most of the money), it’s not unreasonable to assume that f is actually higher than 0.5. (The big money in recorded music is in rock/pop, but classical musicians can get well paying gigs in orchestras and academia even though they tend to not have recordings in their own name).

          Do the same calculations for income from songwriting (where a majority has no income from songwriting, making f even higher) and add the two. (It’s complementary income not substitutive)
          This will land you with a minimum average for copyright related income that’s very close to 20%, for those who do recording and songwriting. (The paper itself already shows that it’s 18% for the average pop/rock musician)
          This won’t help the average composer however who’s still dependent on copyright related income for 45% of his salary.

          Swedish House Mafia might make a fortune doing live shows, but dance music really works best live.
          What the decrease of recording income will mean for the kind of music that’s made by musicians working weeks or months in a recording studio to create something you can’t do with just three guys and some laptops is anybody’s guess.

          As the report you linked to points out it’s been the record business that has created careers and brands for musicians that they then can utilise for selling themselves live.
          If all energy has to be spent on the live side of the business the recording side of it is likely to suffer. And that’s the part that creates the music that will be preserved for posterity.

          It’s great that the increase in live music and the efficiency of the rights organisations collecting has managed to compensate that much for the shortfall. But as this article points out, even despite the massive increase in live income there’s still been a drop for the music industry as a total. 15% when adjusted for inflation.
          http://www.svd.se/naringsliv/digitalt/ifpi-vinnare-nar-skivbolagen-forlorar-inkomster_4224987.svd

          The graph of the income for artists does look great, but I’m kind of doubtful. It’s all based on the increase in live income and their calculation assumes that the artists will manage to pocket 50% of that income.
          This is far from certain. I made a calculation based on the fact that Metallica pulled in 22.8 mil from 55 shows with 968000+ fans in attendance (Death Magnetic Tour). Based on the average price per ticket being 66$ it seems they pocket around 35% of gross.
          And that’s Metallica of course. Given that most of the increase from live music has come from the Metallica-type income bracket and the ticket pricing possible there (or the Rolling Stones for an even better example, 375£ for a ticket), this doesn’t tell us very much of how reality works for the people who don’t and never will sell out stadiums.

          Moving on to the privacy issue: In my opinion monitoring is acceptable in cases like the sharing of copyrighted works on bittorrent networks. I’m not advocating complete and total monitoring of every bit of traffic that goes on on the net, but if it’s limited to situations where everyone (and their grandmother by now) knows infringement is one of the major activities, then I’m perfectly fine with it.

          I’m not too keen on taxes as a solution for this specific problem.
          How would they be distributed fairly? Should they be dealt out to anyone who’s ever done a record? How do you determine how much should go to the people making movies? Or writing books? Or software?

        • Datavetaren

          I think both of our formulas to compute this is factually correct, but of course you can tune them differently (it’s like Drake’s equation). In my case I wanted to separate only those who answered N/A on recordings and I landed on 8-10% depending on the relative strength of that group who do not explicitly do recordings. I don’t get how you find your 18% here for the rock/pop genre, because the report suggest somewhere around 8-10% (= black color in Table 7) averaging for all percentiles. The grey part (indirect Copyright = STIM/SAMI) could still be kept in a world where file sharing for non-commercial use is allowed.

          “It’s great that the increase in live music and the efficiency of the rights organisations collecting has managed to compensate that much for the shortfall. But as this article points out, even despite the massive increase in live income there’s still been a drop for the music industry as a total. 15% when adjusted for inflation.”

          Yes, a drop for the music industry in general and yes we have 15% inflation, but note that the report said that the income to the artist increased with 25% the same period, so this has not suffered artists. That the music industry (record labels) is collapsing is a good sign. A middle-man in the capatilistic society that doesn’t add value should be eliminated.

          “Moving on to the privacy issue: In my opinion monitoring is acceptable in cases like the sharing of copyrighted works on bittorrent networks. I’m not advocating complete and total monitoring of every bit of traffic that goes on on the net, but if it’s limited to situations where everyone (and their grandmother by now) knows infringement is one of the major activities, then I’m perfectly fine with it.”

          Bittorrent is just the beginning. Soon we’ll have file sharing utilties that are completely anonymous, and given the right to transmit data anonymously this trend cannot be stopped. The only way to stop this is to infer an Eastern Germany type of society and that’s just too much for me. I hope you agree with me on that.

          “I’m not too keen on taxes as a solution for this specific problem. How would they be distributed fairly? Should they be dealt out to anyone who’s ever done a record?”

          I’m not too keen either on taxes either, and your observation would be correct if 100% of an artist income is due to this taxing policy. But topping an existent income (due to live performance and other income sources, perhaps STIM), then the tax policy doesn’t have to identify the exact group. We could just say that those that collect STIM money could have an additional 10% on top of that. Paying 20 Swedish kronor per year per person is an incredibly low tax and I’m absolutely convinced that if the Swedish people got this explained that “if we abandon copyright, then this tax could compensate for that revenue loss, will you be able to pay for it? In return you can file share as much as you like.”

          I’m not alone in thinking this way. We have professor Roger Wallis that supports this idea as well.

        • Poraz

          What I find strange in this discussion, that nothing, really nothing hinders anybody in the field of copyrighted material to just do that.

          Just produce an Album and give it away, as PR or anything. And then sell venues. People tried that and it didn’t work, because creating enough attention is practically not possible without money. And the so called “MySpace”-Stars are practically all signed by a big label.

          Nobody is hindering anyone wasting away millions on a movie and putting it up on torrents and hoping for the PayPal payments to come in because the people think its the “right” thing to do.

          “Social change” always came by the fact, that people stopped doing the one thing and started doing the other thing. And the first thing run out its course. We don’t use horses anymore, we use cars, bicycles or public transportation.

          But this supposed “revolution” isn’t about doing something else. Its just that some % want to free-ride about anything, don’t paying a dime in their lifetimes and claiming, that “someone probably will pay for it if they find it good enough by some magical ways that didn’t work before but will work then”

          No. If there is cinematopmoviesinHD.com there will be some rich server hoster, but no new movies. They will do what the game companies do now, move everything into streams and servers. Either you are connected or your are OUT.

          CC-Licenses, the Linux-Kernel, all the Pictures taken and all the 40% of Indy songs will be then “free to exploit”. Companies will use the best songs in their adverts, and the Artists will still have no venues to fill because they can’t afford the up front costs. PR only has value if you can use it. If you can’t its just possibilities stacked on possibilities.

          We are the first generation that has all that technological gizmos to be in competitions with Newspapers, Networks etc. Nobody is “hindering” anybody to add up an Album for $2 on iTunes.

          And still the consumer is hunting after the stuff that is made, by design, scarce. The guys drinking milk until the puke on youtube seem not to be the stuff the people want. So, instead of describing a new way, its just a badly disguised disappropriation of rights.

          Because, besides all of the tech, the real “good stuff” is still hidden behind walls. And if the only way to get to it, it has to be forced out by all means necessary. Any collateral damage is seemingly ok.

          If this isn’t simply greed and exasperation about the failings of the new technology in a sense producing “stuff the masses want” then its simply “because we can do it. And since we can build weapons soon in 3d printers, we should legalize it since we can’t stop that anyway”.

          Yeah. Beautiful future!

        • SoundnuoS

          @Datavetaren

          The problem with taxes is the fair allocation of them. If their simply dealt out based on income from live performance and STIM collections, then people who do a lot of live playing and get a lot of radio plays will be advantaged.
          People who do less live performing and get less radio play, but still make a sizeable part of their income from composing and recording will be disadvantaged.

          This also doesn’t solve the problem for fulltime writers who don’t have a lot of income from live performance.

          Nor does it solve the problem with movies who really are an expensive team effort.
          How should the money be dealt with there? If it gets payed directly to the companies making the movie then the tax becomes a direct subsidy to Hollywood, something a lot of pirates are opposing vigorously.

          Taxes don’t really seem like the best of solutions for this.
          In my opinion, the basic principle of copyright is sound (compensation to the author for providing something that’s valued.)
          It’s also reasonable that the people who actually want what the author is offering should do the compensating.

          I’m definitely for a certain amount of tax-funded culture, but the way it’s usually done is by supporting art made within a country and a major part of beneficiaries (both the people making it and the people experiencing it) are people living and paying taxes in that country.
          It becomes problematic with filesharing, as a large part of the tax would be payed to corporations outside the country the tax is collected in.

        • Datavetaren

          “The problem with taxes is the fair allocation of them. If their simply dealt out based on income from live performance and STIM collections, then people who do a lot of live playing and get a lot of radio plays will be advantaged.
          People who do less live performing and get less radio play, but still make a sizeable part of their income from composing and recording will be disadvantaged.”

          Nothing is “perfectly” fair. I don’t care. Music was a live art from the beginning and it will certainly not “die” in this new era. Mozart was composing a lot and playing live as well. Contrary what many think he was _not_ poor.

          “Taxes don’t really seem like the best of solutions for this.
          In my opinion, the basic principle of copyright is sound (compensation to the author for providing something that’s valued.)
          It’s also reasonable that the people who actually want what the author is offering should do the compensating.”

          Well, that’s your opinion, but file sharing cannot be stopped without sacrificing fundamental liberties. It can only be stopped in a society of former Eastern Germany type. I don’t want that society, so that’s the harsh fact. People making music will have to adapt themselves to this new reality, but music as an art will flourish. Only copyright extremists think that music as an art will die.

    • 13.2

      Hi SoundnouS, and welcome to FoI! I have to say I really enjoyed reading your long and intelligent rebuttal.

      You see, there is a troll policy on this site saying that disagreement in discussion is fine, but being rude to other people in the discussion is not. I’ve had to show some dozen people out as they have come in here screaming and flailing their arms in aggression over ideas presented here.

      You, in contrast, come here arguing in opposition coherently, calmly, and intelligently. It’s a beauty to read and I can’t express a warmer welcome.

      As to your actual arguments, you’re absolutely right that it only makes sense to talk about what is and isn’t property if we have a common definition of what property is. I have a followup article to this one, which I plan to call advanced misconceptions :) that go much more into the political development of the very concept of property rights to examine this subject, and trying to describe it in one comment would not do it justice.

      In short, I would argue that calling these kinds of monopolies “property” only makes sense in a society built on corporativism or fascism (the literal kind, not the insult-word kind). Also, it creates a contradiction in terms that two people would be able to own the same object in different ways – a contradiction that shows the concept comes to a reductio in absurdum, proving the assumption wrong that these monopolies can be regarded as property.

      In the context, I must adamantly assert that an IKEA chair is not sold “without the right to copy it”. That cannot be done by any laws – when you assume ownership, you assume ownership in full. That’s just not the way the law works, with examples given above.

      My source series of articles on the subject:

      Why the copyright monopoly is quite unlike legitimate restrictions on property rights

      The copyright monopoly stands in direct opposition to property rights

      The copyright monopoly stands in opposition to freedoms of contract

      Cheers,
      Rick

      • 13.2.1
        SoundnuoS

        Thank you for the welcome.

        I do think it’s hard to argue for the disqualification of a particular category of property since all our property rights are arbitrary in the sense of them being sets of state granted rights.

        And the IKEA chair has no copyright, just like many everyday utility objects. What I was talking about was the right to produce copies of the chair and pass them on as genuine IKEA chairs. That is one of the rights that can be reserved in that particular category of property.

        Strictly speaking, there’s no dual ownership of an object when it comes to copyrighted material.
        It’s the music (movie, literary work etc) that is copyrighted. That creative work is never sold in the first place. What’s being sold is the medium that grants access to the creative work (a file, cd, vinyl, paperback etc.)
        These are two separate objects and the law on copyright simply states that ownership of the medium does not grant the owner rights to redistribute the creative work.

        • harveyed

          The day chairs could be printed for no cost, then the only value would be the work to create said chair design or “blueprints”. If plagiarism (claiming you have done the blueprints of a chair, which you have not) is still outlawed, then designers could use their previous copied work as free PR, building a demand for new work.

          I would be the first one to say such “industrial copying” of chairs and other goods should be legalized (as long as you don’t claim to be the inventor / designer), but I suspect that factories and transport businesses would lobby SO HARD to outlaw “home-printing” of said industrial wares.

        • Actually, I think your reasoning is interesting enough to warrant an article all of its own. Coming up Monday or Tuesday.

          Short version: “how do you argue with somebody who rejects the most basic of terms that frame reality – when up is down, black is white, and people get killed at the next zebra crossing?”.

          Until then. :)

          Cheers,
          Rick

          PS: That was a friendly joke reference to Douglas Adams. :)

        • SoundnuoS

          I’d like to think I’m merely pointing out which way is up.

        • harveyed

          I think you may be standing on your head :) It looks like that from over here.

  14. 14
    Thomas

    ” – but using propagandistic words doesn’t change reality. In particular, this applies for the oft-peddled whitewashing term “intellectual property”, ”

    Why not use a better term, and replace “Intellectual property (IP)” with “Intellectual Monopoly (IM)”.

    At least it couldn’t be any worse…. I hope.

    • 14.1

      The problem with that is that people won’t know what you mean – the term isn’t ingrained enough. There’s another reason not do so as well, and that is that there are two reasons for the monopoly lobby to peddle the IP term – it dresses up their monopolies as property, but it also groups completely disparate monopoly legislation under one umbrella pretending it’s similar when it’s not. Using another term might defeat the first cause, but it strengthens the second.

      Therefore, I find it best to not use the term at all. When I have to respond to IP, in the very rare exception, I read it out as “Industrial-era Protectionism (IP)”.

      Cheers,
      Rick

      • 14.1.1
        Scary Devil Monastery

        There’s a tongue-in-cheek usage of the term “Imaginary Property” popular in pirate circles these days.

        Some of us find it covers the relevant aspects of the Intellectual “property” misnomer.

        • SoundnuoS

          We never did solve the problem with the intangible nature of the money in your bank account.
          In a world where the only acceptable property is that which can be held, can that money be considered property?

          How about Bitcoin? Can people own that “imaginary property”?

        • harveyed

          SoundnouS:

          Well at least computational power (required for bitcoin) has any guaranteed real value in this world in terms of technical progress and thus quality of life in various aspects.

          “Real money” as the governments hand out and the banks administer however… is a very good question. Maybe one day people will just say “I don’t find this valuable” and not agree to trade with it.

          “It has a value because someone important says so.” is not a very solid argument… Once people start questioning that you could always try and switch to “Use this as money… OR ELSE”. I don’t find that a very attractive alternative either.

        • SoundnuoS

          The value of computational power is beside the point.
          Bitcoin, like the money in your bank account, is intangible in the same way any file is. Can you own it? Is it property?

        • harveyed

          I can not own the money in my bank account, since the system is centralized and banks & credit card companies have a monopoly of deciding whether I have access to the money at all. As of current, I am at my banks mercy in terms of those “resources”.

          I could well be blocked out either by some self-righteous moral-high-ground banking lady who don’t want me to buy or sell “naughty stuff”. Actually this has already happened in Sweden: A horror novel / sex shop was denied a credit card account and this news reached national level newspapers. So the problem of control and lack of freedom is very real.

          This is much more a question of control vs. freedom than a question of scarcity. If I don’t have freedom to use that money the way I see fit, then of course that kind of money has less “value” to me, no matter if it is “scarce” in some sense or not.

        • SoundnuoS

          You’re dodging the issue. The question was not if money is scarce or not, the question was if you could own it when it’s in electronic form in your bankaccount (i.e. intangible.)

          Legally, today, it’s quite obvious you can and do. It’s irrelevant if some banking lady has decided to deny a sex shop credit.
          Legally she has no right to do that, just like the bank has no legal right to keep your money just because it’s in electronic form.

          Are you saying that legal protection should be removed as the money is intangible?

        • harveyed

          “It’s irrelevant if some banking lady has decided to deny a sex shop credit.”

          No it is not irrelevant at all. It is the core of the issue that your money is nothing worth to you if you can’t have control over it and/or use it as you see fit. If this gets too bad.. people will start using other things as money which don’t limit their freedom. Why do you think bitcoin was invented in the first place..?

        • SoundnuoS

          You’re still not answering the real question.

          If the banking lady is restricting the shop’s access to it’s own money that is on an account in the bank, then she is breaking the law.
          Being denied credit has nothing to do with whether you own the money on your account or not. Credit is a loan, it’s not your money. It’s being given out at the discretion of the lender and the decision is based on what they consider your credit risk to be.

          If intangibles can’t be owned, how do you justify the legal protection that exists for the money in your account?
          Or even the concept of owning Bitcoins for that matter?

  15. [...] sound as though anyone downloading or sharing any copyrighted content is breaking the law — but that’s not the case at all. There are many instances in which the principle of fair use applies, and these rules don’t [...]

  16. [...] sound as though anyone downloading or sharing any copyrighted content is breaking the law — but that’s not the case at all. There are many instances in which the principle of fair use applies, and these rules don’t [...]

  17. [...] it sound as though anyone downloading or sharing any copyrighted content is breaking the law — but that’s not the case at all. There are many instances in which the principle of fair use applies, and these rules don’t take [...]

  18. 15
    IDontWork4Free

    I think a lot of you are confusing pirating with sharing. Pirating is manufacturing and selling someone else’s work. Sharing is purchasing it yourself, then manufacturing it with your OWN dime and GIVING those away for FREE. As far as music is concerned, pirating IS ripping off the artist. Not all artists have record deals. Most of us (indie artists) pay for everything ourselves. We have to pay for a copyright. We have to pay for a barcode, we have to pay to manufacture our product. Our copyright insures that we will get paid for our hard work of writing, scoring, practicing, paying for the recordings, mixing, etc. We put a lot into our recordings, everything listed above, shows, travel, clothing, and image, etc, but for every $500 we spend, we probably make only about $1 – $5. It’s incredibly hard to make a living.

  19. [...] in that vein, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party, challenges 5 widely held misconceptions about copyright. Having studied copyright many years ago—and the basic concepts have not changed since then—I [...]

  20. [...] that’s a lie. We’ve had holes poked in the argument that we’re selling things, or that making a copy is theft, but it was a lie even before [...]

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