[rumori] Re: pho: Content Conundrum - do as the consumer not the creator??

From: Don Joyce (djATwebbnet.com)
Date: Sun Dec 24 2000 - 17:36:31 PST

Responding below.

Rif - >Nathan, allow me to draw a bigger picture. Sure, many are dreaming
of the
>next iteration of robust artistic creation with unfettered dissemination.
>But the question remains, Is a "copy-free" market feasible at all? If
>Western civilization currently treats IP as a sacred legislative canon and
>business axiom, then can we structurally move to a free IP market? Maybe
>moving Mount Rushmore would be easier.

DJ - Hmmmm, I see your eyes opening a crack here, but they're seeing only
an insurmountable worldwide establishment which is now desired by so many
and will effortlessly overwhelm any attempt to change it, particularly in
terms of changing it quickly. But I believe if it's going to be changed, it
MUST be changed quickly in terms of the Net because there will be no
further opportunity to change it later. (Any more than there is an
opportunity to now change our thoroughly established rules of copyright
control off the Net - it ain't going to happen any time soon.) So think
about the specifics of the Net and the use of copyright THERE only. That's
the only medium left that we have any chance of toying with. For those
convinced that copyrighted content EVERYWHERE is some kind of commercial
necessity, this prospect of treating the Net differently should be of
considerable interest or curiosity. Wouldn't it be extremely interesting to
see how free IP on the Net would play out in parallel operation with all IP
off-Net remaining copyrighted? Wouldn't we learn a whole lot, perhaps that
copyright is indeed necessary for the future of creative production,
perhaps that it obviously is not? Since this is a BIG question to which NO
ONE has the indisputable answer, why in the world wouldn't we want to have
a definitive answer? (Could it be because intellectual curiosity has become
the least of our concerns in a totally copyrighted environment? - Sorry,
that's my own cultural bias on this question)
Rif - Technology is challenging copyright, to be sure. Napster, Freenet et al.
>might be just the front line in an long drawn-out battle. I submit the
>copyright system is so massively entrenched, I seriously doubt it's going to
>topple anytime soon. The copyright industry drives a good portion of the
>GDP. And like GM, it touches on multiple layers of the economy. It's also
>rooted in our Constitution. And, it's a global mechanism, too. For example,
>if human psychology drives the stock market, then I believe copyright drives
>our collective creative impulses.

DJ - You speak of all copyright as what would need to change. This is not
the issue. Those of us who want to remove it, want to remove it ONLY within
Net traffic. This is a very different, much smaller kettle of fish. MUCH
smaller. The Net represents an EXTREMELY minor amount of copyright control
relative to all of commerce. To lose it there in no way threatens its
massive implementation and usefulness elsewhere, including any digital
content secured in material objects AND all non digital content out there
in the material world. If you see copyright as armor, losing it on the
Internet is taking barely a chink from it. An accurate sense of
proportional scale must be appreciated here or we quickly lapse into scare
tactics and futility.
It has never been proven to anyone's satisfaction that it is copyright that
drives our collective creative impulses any more than it has been proven
that the death penalty deters murder. Yet both continue on these grounds of
mythical "purpose." Perhaps we can't admit to ourselves that the death
penalty is really used for revenge and copyright is really used for
monopolizing markets... At any rate, LET IT STAND! All we are suggesting is
that it would be intellectually instructive and culturally exciting to set
up a "control" experiment on the Net only where the "purpose of copyright"
myth might be able to, FOR THE FIRST TIME, play itself out in reality for
all to see. We have nothing to fear but fear itself because WHATEVER
happens there, it will not destroy copyright and it will not sink our gross
(love that term) national product. It's nowhere near a big enough slice of
the GOP to do that for at least the next 50 years. But we don't have 50
years to implement such an experiment because the kneejerk copyrighters are
already trying to secure the Net for their interests NOW. We probably have
about 5 years before the Net settles down into whatever it will end up
being forever after.
This opportunity to explore all our economic presumptions within this
easily definable, easily isolated, brand new medium will not last long and
will not appear again. There will be no further new mediums like this,
particularly ones in which the option of free is not only built into its
intentions but so difficult to escape. It's made to order. It's knocking on
our cultural door, ASKING to be used this way.
Rif - I believe copyright has evolved into a social promise, which implies
>What I create is mine, not yours, until I decide how I want to share. Now,
>that's a pretty huge human nature to overcome. Sharing has never been a
>consistent human quality.

The perception that free sharing is so alien to us is precisely because we
all have lived our whole lives in such an over-commercialized, copyright
controled environment, in which we are taught as babes that there's no free
lunch, and indeed this WAS wisdom, there hasn't been - until now. Net
technology has suddenly presented us with a viable model for mass sharing
by individuals which was never before practical or even possible, and
missing the popularity of this recent revelation is impossible, regardless
of the former economic presumptions one still prefers to labor under. I
would say that sharing IS a consistent human quality throughout human
history, but, especially during all of the 20th Century, the "practicality"
of it has been consistently devalued, deterred and/or prevented by the
predominant priorities of capitalism's rules of self interest and the fact
that copyright precludes the very idea of shared reuse in general. So,
having so little experience in the ways of sharing, it's difficult to say
how much we would share if we were ever allowed to do so without losing
anything or putting ourselves in danger, but I suspect it would be more
than you think. What little experience we've had with free exchange on the
Net so far indicates nothing but this. Like a breath of fresh air...
Rif - I think many are getting it wrong. Copyright is not a disease to conquer,
>like let's say, civil rights horrors were. Copyright started out as a
>compromise, a social compact, which turned into a capitalistic construct.
>Wrenching it out of this rock-solid infrastructure might be futile. But,
>measured iterations of stripping away monopolistic strata might be the
>better way to go. Like civil rights activism, copyright requires the same
>wholesale adjustments. And, that might take generations to accomplish.

DJ - I think at this stage of late high capitalism - a culmination of
everything the 19th and 20th Century worked towards, one could indeed say
copyright has mutated into a disease infecting far more of our cultural
activities than it should or was originally intended to do. As you
indicate, it is a matter of scale, the extent of the tentacles, and as I
said, no one I know wants to eliminate all copyright restrictions, if for
no other reason than to protect a maker against counterfeiters. But as you
know, copyright is now commonly used to monopolize, to censure, to prevent
further creativity rather than encourage it, etc. It's as often as not a
no-recourse, unrestrained body guard for private commercial greed and
exclusionary practices. I sense, like you, that it will take generations to
overhaul the entire system of copyright which is sorely in need of it. So
my idea is to FOCUS here, to restrict the Internet (while it's still
available) to copyright free content in hopes of not only having a real and
actually testable example of no copyright in action to learn from, but I
also suspect it would be the example turned to when those much more
laborious adjustments to existing copyright begin to slowly happen. This
Net-only model of a true and stark alternative in action will inform and
speed up the much bigger, generations long struggle to reform copyright
elsewhere. It would ASSIST that daunting endeavor.

The practical question of how to restrict copyright from the Internet by
law remains a doubtful mystery at this hour, but it's actually NOT the
insrmountable scale of impossibility you suspect, compared to the whole
copyright system in general. Positive points for the disbelievers: (1) This
would be, mediumistically, an isolated island of free IP in an otherwise
unchanged world. They still have the REST of copyright to hang on to. So we
are essentially only talking about removing Net copyrights on 3 kinds of
intellectual property content that would or could reach their fulfillment
as forms of expression in digital form - music, text, and (partially)
graphics. Because of default copying, these are precisely the 3 things that
have NOT been successfully marketed on the Net so far. No big loss at the
moment. A copyright free Net does not hamper auctions, car sales, travel
tickets, or any other stuff that happens to be relatively successful
already on the Net. (2) There should be plenty of subscription IP
"delivery" forms and formats to charge for on the Net when the individual
downloads and streams are free. Delivery formats could easily still be
privately copyrighted on the Net as long as the delivered content is
allowed to be public domain even when it's being charged for too. The ONLY
thing that would be copyright free on the Net would be IP content. (3) No
one will be stopped from trying to charge for ANYTHING they want to on the
Net including content. It's simply a voluntary choice, and given the size
and logistics of the whole Net, the exact same things will undoubtedly be
BOTH successfully sold and given away in different spots. (4) A conscious
cultivation of the Net as a "tipping" medium (just as it's expected in
restaurants) could allow many individuals/artists to operate free
distributions there and still get paid out of (of all things!)
appreciation. (5) EXPECT LESS to begin with. Big bucks are very likely
being sacrificed for free content. This is a cultural experiment even more
than an economic one. We are in no way suggesting we use the Net in this
way to simply allow all the large corporate culture factories to continue
maintaining the protected market lifestyles they have become accustomed to
off-Net. This would be for something else, a new way of thinking entirely.
I don't believe the culture factories have an autonmatic right to copyright
restrictions in such an unsympathetic and completely new medium. New laws
COULD be written pertaining to this specific medium at any point everyone
agrees to do so. As to this battle: There are more of us than them, but
they have the endless money to devote to lobbying Congress. Guess who wins.
Without such laws, free content will remain the default situation there
anyway so it doesn't prevent the condition, only makes it yet another
unstoppable "crime" and reflects rather badly on our general ability to see
technical realities for what they are.

And let me just add, so often left out but OH SO IMPORTANT, A free IP net
would be one hell of a lot more fun and a hundred times more culturally
engaging than what the utterly boring seers of universal mall-mart commerce
now have planned for us there. And if you think you can't make money in an
enlivened environment like that without copyright protections on content,
well, like everyone else these days, you've got another think coming....

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Nathan F. Syfrig" <nathanATartisticnetwork.com>
>To: "Vent" <ventATphreedom.net>
>Cc: <phoATonehouse.com>
>Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2000 5:04 PM
>Subject: Re: pho: Content Conundrum - do as the consumer not the creator??
>> Everybody is DREAMING!
>> This is not a discussion about what we want to do - this is a discussion
>> about reality, human nature, and what WILL happen in spite of our best
>> efforts.
>> Because of the basic nature of this medium, it's going to be like charging
>> for views of Mt. Rushmore. You might be able to put a telescope on a
>> particular spot and make money from a view for that particular coordinate
>> for those that don't have their own telescope. However, even the naked
>> eye affords a view of what you are trying to monetize!
>> Sorry, IP is not just going to feel free - it is going to BE free if we
>> insists on clinging to our half-baked notions that we can apply mechanisms
>> of the past into the future in this case. We have to realize: THE CURRENT
>> There are plenty of new trains out there - we do not have to go hungry,
>> broke or even poor. But this unwillingness to acknowledge what is before
>> us is only going to backfire (as long as I'm being a one-note-charlie in
>> here, I'll invoke my favorite example of prohibition yet again).
>> Two 'paralell' paid and free service will not work, if we are relying on
>> things like 'ease of use'. Anything that's 'hard to use' WILL NOT REMAIN
>> THIS WAY! Do you really think that our current 'hard-to-use' tools will
>> remain that way? At one time, PCs were considered hard to use by the
>> majority of people (I realize they still are to some). Once the
>> fundamentals work, don't you think Ian and Co. are going to concentrate on
>> making it more accessible (think Linux, Gnome/etc)? (the geek side of me
>> is also focused on this stuff - and it's part of my living to be aware of
>> both the technical and user interface side of software)
>> Haven't we been Napsterized enough around here? Haven't we learned the
>> fundamental lessons that Napster, freenet, gnutella, etc. have taught us?
>> Do we have to repeat the history and be banged on the head with it even
>> further?
>> Leglislate?? Last I checked, one of the more amazing tenents of the
>> internet was the fact that it transcended borders - by current social
>> design (I'll bypass the original militaristic intent of distributing
>> information by the good ole you ess of aeee). We're already losing a lot
>> with different countries tampering with what's permissible within their
>> arbitrary borders (think France with nazi material, as reprehensible as
>> some of us might think that material is, including me. Think China).
>> Let's avoid that slippery slope even further, please...
>> Bottom line: We have incredible minds in here. Let's look at working
>> with the new realities, not trying to thwart the ultimately impossible!
>> We're smarter than that! We have geniuses in here - let's put us to work!
>> -Nathan
>> On Sat, 23 Dec 2000, Vent wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > On Fri, 22 Dec 2000, Don Joyce wrote:
>> >
>> > > Vent - "you can have your new quanta without necessarily obliterating
>> > > old waves - theres no either/or here, its a spurious distinction at
>> > >
>> > > Sure, it's your choice too. An attending question is how do you want
>> > > Net to be? And who is going to dominate the establishment of "rules"
>> > > Is it's most valuable role in our lives as a market place or as a
>source of
>> > > free exchange? Both? These two, the marketplace and free exchange, IF
>> > > COPYRIGHT IS HELD TO ON THE NET, will be in conflict and will form a
>> > > distinction. I'm perfectly willing to let you sell all the free music
>> > > can, but you're not perfectly willing to let me give away music you're
>> > > selling.
>> >
>> > dont be so sure - i wouldnt be selling free music, id be selling a
>> > product (might be ad supported, but then the advertisres are paying for
>> > to get to free-users) - and id be paying the people whose creations form
>> > the core of the service product - like raw materials
>> >
>> > as far as giving away music im selling, well, as long as you arent
>> > remonetizing it with some other kind of service - in which case you
>> > to pay those creators based on the money you make in a revalued form
>> >
>> > if youre giving it away without adding value, then i dont have to worry
>> > because my sevice is adding value and will attract people away from your
>> > free giveaway - a tall order, but obviously if a service isnt up to that
>> > task it will not survive, and doesnt deserve to
>> >
>> >
>> > The ONLY way you have to protect your bias for per unit monetizing
>> > > schemes on the Net is to lock in per unit copyright control.
>> >
>> > nope - simply to lock in per-use delivery enforcement over a centralized
>> > point of control
>> >
>> > it may not even be about "copies" per se, as whitney has mentioned a few
>> > times (right to remuneration replacing right to make copies) - maybe its
>> > time to get at the heart of the issue legislatively, instead of getting
>> > it indirectly through some mechanism of mass production
>> >
>> > the economy is moving from products to services in the information
>> > business - services are still fair game for revenue-generation, and
>> > to be
>> >
>> >
>> > But you are
>> > > locking it into a medium that has always persued the free exchange of
>> > > content there and is still doing so now.
>> >
>> > the internet is not essentially free or paid - its simply connected - it
>> > has no intrinsic nature either way
>> >
>> > it started out free because it was intended for academic exchange, which
>> > is not paid, but this does not determine anything mystical about its
>> > nature - free communication and paid services can all coexist on the
>> > infrastructure - the paid stuff, though, does have to build some extra
>> > walls, but it doesnt destroy the free communication in any sense
>> >
>> > i envision a paid service thriving side by side with as robust a p2p
>> > system as you care to build - a good enough service will make free
>> > exchange seem inconvenient, and though fair use might well expand its
>> > domain considerably, the monetized part of the business will still
>> > revenue to creators
>> >
>> > the idea that the success of paid services would somehow threaten free
>> > information exchange is silly, to me - do it right and they do support
>> > each other
>> >
>> >
>> > These are dots that will
>> > > connect... in lawsuits. I'm suggesting we have to eliminate content
>> > > copyright on the Net in order to actually allow both free music (the
>> > > exchange of all music) and music for sale to co-exist more or less
>> > > on the Net, pursuing mutually opposite goals as they do, but both at
>> > > free to do so under that condition. The establishment of copyright
>> > > on the Net obviously eliminates (or intends to) the free
>> > > exchange of any and all music there. So there's that old feeling of
>> > > either/or...
>> >
>> > well, maybe copyright, strictly speaking is getting hard to fit onto the
>> > new infrastructure, but rights of creators to get paid are not
>> > obsolete, as a result
>> >
>> > royalties dont necessarily have to come from copies sold, they could
>> > from instances delivered for a fee or advertising or other business
>> > packaging (under an even larger revenue umbrella)
>> >
>> > yknow, use on tv doesnt create "copies" in the viewers tv sets - its
>> > ephemeral - but "copyright" still applies...
>> >
>> > seems an odd fit, but the revenue flow still seems fair (of course, with
>> > recorders and tivo you can grab copies, now - but the payment was for
>> > tranmission, not the copying potential - given that the
>> > argument is fuzzy in the abstract, once again the answer is to undercut
>> > the motivation to bother to make the grabbed copy in the first place -
>> > re-delivery is more convenient and value-added than copy storage and
>> > library management, youve crossed the chasm)
>> >
>> > maybe what we need to do is find a better way to express what the value
>> > that is being remunerated, and address that directly - so if you want to
>> > tear down copyrights, be prepared to put something more accurate in its
>> > place, rather than throw the revenue all away
>> >
>> > at least, thats how id like to see it work out, myself - go ahead, toss
>> > out the bathwater, but keep my baby
>> >
>> >
>> > > DJ
>> > > Negativland
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > >On Wed, 20 Dec 2000, Don Joyce wrote:
>> > > >
>> > > >> Vent - "i havent been convinced by any of the proposals for
>> > > >>revenue
>> > > >> put forth by people who want to demonetize recorded music
>entirely - i
>> > > >> simply dont see it providing the volume of revenue that is
>generated by
>> > > >> sales in the physical paradigm"
>> > > >>
>> > > >> Of course a default free Net is not going to provide the per unit
>profit we
>> > > >> have come to expect off Net. It's a new kind of free copy world
>where that
>> > > >> will no longer be possible. You're seeing the old ways of thinking
>> > > >> right in front of you. This is why I wamder into new (and
>> > > >> lesser) concepts for compensation. Don't worry, it will actually be
>> > > >> for you (and music.)
>> > > >
>> > > >i dont see that this is a good thing - you havent connected the dots
>> > > >
>> > > >what you decribe suggests that a similar number of artists who are
>> > > >successful now will be successful in the future, but at lower levels
>> > > >financial return (and maybe the labels completely out of the
>picture -
>> > > >that seems to be a higher priority for you, and i think that is not
>> > > >first priority)
>> > > >
>> > > >this is entirely insufficient in my terms - we should trade off the
>> > > >levels of the few for a much greater pool of successful artists at
>> > > >levels - i dont see your predictions leading to anything like this at
>> > > >
>> > > >theres no reason the total pool should have to shrink at all - it
>> > > >in fact grow as the business more fluidly reaches its market - but
>only if
>> > > >the monetization of the use of recorded music remains at a similar
>> > > >(pro-rated per rate to compare with the lifetime/purchase price)
>> > > >
>> > > >if you want me not to worry, youll have to give me a much better
>> > > >than blind faith - some mechanism, at least, and a demonstration of
>why it
>> > > >_will_ work, not just might work
>> > > >
>> > > >nobody ever fleshes out this stuff here - its all
>partially-described, and
>> > > >thus suspect in the final analysis
>> > > >
>> > > >not all the old ways of thinking fail - just look at the stock market
>> > > >the memory that profits actually do make a difference! - the old and
>> > > >new coexist, just like in the esthetic world of music itself
>> > > >
>> > > >you may think youre looking at waves and particles like a newtonian -
>> > > >could never be the same thing - but a deeper understanding now shows
>> > > >to be alternate expressions of a single integrated reality
>> > > >
>> > > >you can have your new quanta without necessarily obliterating my old
>> > > >- theres no either/or here, its a spurious distinction at root
>> > > >
>> > >
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>> > >
>> >
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