I fear speed, overreaction in the midst of ignorance, and careless
impatience are going to lead to uncomfortable long term mistakes as they
usually do. It's really a shame that the most active players in anything so
often seem to have the narrowest view of what's actually involved. If we
humans were actually as smart as we pretend to be, we would be looking for
societal solutions, not personal solutions, not industry solutions, but
societal solutions. But being so thoroughly acculturated away from that
kind of view of life, being always and only focused on the practicalities
of a narrow scope of isolated "interests," and continuing to willfully
ignore the intermeshed ecology of everything even at this late date in our
use of that still generally unconsidered term, leads us into hasty mistakes
that last for way too long after we've stuck ourselves with them.
How can people become convinced that THERE IS NO HURRY to decide what's
going to happen with everyone's "rights" on the Internet? It is commerce
and commerce alone who is pushing this no longer rush, but stampede to
judgement for no good reason (for the speed I mean) that I can see. It has
nothing to do with any actual harm presently being done to them and is
based entirely on presumed harm that WILL be done to them. No mass IP owner
(they're the only ones who count, of course, and the only ones desparately
pushing for this) is now losing money because of the Net. Some may be
losing money ON the Net, but no music company that I have heard of is
losing money overall BECAUSE of the Net and how it now works. That is, the
profits of ALL of them have continued to increase yearly. No music company
can yet claim they are being hurt by the Net in anything but a purely
voluntary way in which they may be venturing out there and voluntarily
throwing money into it by trying to do business there, yet nevertheless
they are not seeing their overall yearly bottom line shrinking by doing so.
It just keeps growing.
No one is forcing them to sink money into the Net or to try to sell there,
but the fact that they are is also not any apparent threat to their
otherwise rising profits anyway. Perhaps, as they happen to believe, they
are not being helped by the Net to grow their already growing profits even
more, but certainly they cannot claim HARM is being done to them because
they don't seem to be able to sell a million of something or other there
yet. They're still certainly doing that elsewhere with the same material,
and with those sales perhaps newly spurred by that same rather uncontroled
IP being on the Internet. If Sony could say their yearly music profits are
now falling, they might have an argument for "fixing" the Net. But that's
not a claim any music company is making because that's not the case for any
of them. Instead they all sell more and yet more music every year. If the
Net, in itself, doesn't happen to be a good medium to sell music in as it
exists, well, neither are walkie talkies but no one is presuming to turn
them into one by law! Where is our society's obligation to do that via law?
Show me the carving in that stone.
The point of making media laws does not include making inherently
unfriendly mediums into controled and convenient outlets for specific
private commerce by significantly changing their nature. Law can certainly
change a newly appearing medium when it is shown to actually harm a
specific form of commerce by diminishing it's existing business, but UNTIL
THAT IS THE CASE AND THEY CAN MAKE THAT CLAIM OF ACTUAL HARM TO A PRESENT
STATUS QUO OF GROWTH AND INCREASING PROFITS, there is absolutley no
pressing reason to finally decide how things will be there for them
whatsoever. This Net status quo, no matter how frustrating it may be to
some in relation to what it MIGHT be, is provably not threatening anyone's
established and growing well being whatsoever. As far as I know, "growth
potential" for a private business is not a societal obligation which should
be guaranteed by law when NO DIMINISHING OF THEIR CURRENT ONGOING GROWTH
CAN BE SHOWN TO BE OCCURING IN REALITY.
If the music business is so convinced that the Net WILL result in
diminishing their overall yearly profits, they should have to prove this to
us first by WAITING TO SEE IF IT HAPPENS. Some sign, please! Otherwise, why
should we automatically believe THEM and not those speculaying the opposite
- that the Net as it is will NOT prevent the continued growth of their
profits elsewhere. No one can show superior credibility here at all, so we
should be requiring EVIDENCE, not speculation about something as totally
unknown as the effects of open digital exchange, before ANYTHING is changed
in a system that society as a whole is perfectly pleased with as is, and
which appears to be hurting no one's existing well being as is. Good ol
Duchamp once again - there is no solution because there is no problem!
Could the Net make even MORE money for these multi-media companies then
they're already making now if it were significantly changed? Probably, but
is THAT kind of assistance to the endlessly insatiable cumulative desires
of private commerce what federal laws are supposed to be paving the way
for? Aren't people supposed to discover for themselves where they can and
can't make money among the given free market options as long as these
various options DO NOT inpinge on any of the others' capability to do so?
PROVE THE IMPINGEMENT EXISTS OFF LINE BEFORE WE CHANGE A PERFECTLY GOOD AND
DESIRABLE SOCIETAL OPTION THAT WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO ACCOMODATE IP COMMERCE
AND SO FAR HAS HARMED NO IP VALUE ELSEWHERE BY BEING SO DESIGNED.
"Well, it's just plain gotta be bad for business!" aint good enough when
what they really mean is "well, it ain't been bad for business yet." Could
such media transforming laws possibly open up more income potential for
Net-only music businesses? Of course, but who ever promised such a bowl of
commercial cherries to any extreme minority of entrepeneurs when Society
ALSO has such an obvious stake in the existing open exchange which WOULD be
harmed, indeed might hardly exist anymore, by catering to these contrary
commercial concerns - an open exchange which is what it is because it
wanted to be new and different in this way, which never promised commerce
anything otherwise, and has NOT been shown to cause UNAVOIDABLE economic
harm to anyone, either those voluntarilly operating there by choice or
those necessarily operating elsewhere. Who says there's anything "wrong"
with it the way it is just because it doesn't happen to cater to IP
commerce, as long as it is not detremental to existing IP commerce
As I've said before, everyone should either just do what they're already
doing or try anything else they'd like to, and WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
There is no hurry for new laws until someone or something is in clear
danger here. Nothing is clear yet! We need to more considerately absorb the
positive realities this is ALREADY offering us before we rush into court to
reforge it forever in ways no one I have heard is yet comfortable or
confident with anyway. Why, when nothing bad has so far happened to IP
profitability in 10 years, is sitting tight even longer NOT an option? When
the Net's leaking IP causes someone's overall IP income to actually
DIMINISH (as opposed to not growing as much as the owner thinks it could or
should) and this diminishment can reasonably be shown to be even probably
due to Net traffic in IP, then at least I can see a possible reason for
considering changes in the Net in order to protect that already established
way of making income. Since this is not happening to ANYONE yet, and in
fact the opposite appears more likely to be true at this particular point
in a very long history to come, why are we letting ourselves be stampeded
into making ANY laws regarding this at all? Aren't laws supposed to be
remedies for something that's harming someone or something? We don't
imprison anyone for what we think they must be going to do. Who is now
being harmed - I don't mean unenhanced - who is now being harmed in any
actual material way? Where is the experience on which to base any
particular law at this point? (Hurting your most intimate feelings about
the sanctity of copyright doesn't count at the moment and neither does the
poosible fact that you can't make as much money on the Net, itself, as
you'ld like to! These are both primarily irrelevant to the much more
interesting societal option we have already successfully tasted and tested
Must we be swayed by the fear and impatience of special interest greed
alone? Once you set those motivations aside, why do we need any new laws
regarding commerce on the Net at this moment? Those who don't like the heat
in that particular kitchen as it is can get out themselves anytime. And
when they can reasonably prove their outside income is being negatively
affected, they can go into court about it. But the fact that future growth
for a particular business in a new domain might possibly be inapplicable
there because of the nature of that domain is NOT a "need" for new laws to
change the nature of that domain, UNLESS AND UNTIL that particular domain's
nature is shown to harm the vitality of a particular existing business
elsewhere. Not happening. Yes, it's amazing, but it's not. Live and learn.
Our biggest fault as a species is our almost complete inability to discern
when doing nothing at all is the wisest SOCIETY WIDE option of all. Any
good conservative should be able to relate to this, so why don't they? This
is extra stupid not to try since adjustments down the road will ALWAYS be
possible, so it is that rare kind of wisdom that has nothing to lose if it
turns out to be not so wise after all. Why can't we wait to see if anything
is actually broken in this new domain, actually causing losses in the IP
establishment, before we insist on fixing it for that as yet non-existent
As I see it, there are many more dangers to speculate on in "fixing" it
than there are in just leaving it alone for now.
>Brad King said:
><<... Maybe I'm way off base here -- but it seems like we need to stop, take a
>breath, and think a bit before we head off down the legislative front...>>
>Exactly. The legislature, as a whole, has not much more of a clue regarding
>what's going on than the judge who ruled that a computer is not a recording
>device because it doesn't work with magnetic tapes. Do these guys just go into
>session figuring they can "wing it"?
>The effect of bad leadership at the helm in this issue is to discourage
>innovators; effectively to dumb down the network... just blow out the candles
>and say good night.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Brad King
>Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2001 12:05 PM
>Subject: pho: Napster Around the Nation
>I had the rather unique perspective of doing several radio programs around the
>nation on Monday regarding the Napster case & what it means to the future of
>intellectual property and such. The cities leaned more towards what we
>high-tech places -- seatlle, los angles, san francisco, although roughty 6
>came from places in Michigan, Ohio and less tech-friendly cities.
>It's a bit difficult for me to have any real perspective on this I think,
>because I've been hearing, reading, and writing about it for the last year
>the issues seem very clear to me.
>I don't want to bore the list with the ins and outs of the shows, but the
>of misunderstanding about Napster, the recording industry, and what is
>was actually rather staggering to me. Not because of the implications of
>music online, but for the implications for information exchange on the Net
>are being developed without the people truly understanding what is at stake.
>With court decisions and legislation coming down the pike, and a majority
>world (and America) still not connected -- making these kinds of decisions
>very disturbing to me.
>On two ocassions I was called a communist for advocating that government and
>large corporations shouldn't have the power to monitor and shut down
>not because I think that piracy (when we decide what is piracy, which we
>yet, despite what you might think) should run rampant, but because I fear what
>happens when people begin going to jail for distributing information -- as
>did yesterday in China for posting info on the Tienneman Square uprising.
>the threat, and where I think the laws are headed, because human's have this
>problem with always rushing to one side of the boat or the other -- we have a
>hard time stopping in the middle, and that causes a lot of rocking & a fair
>amount of people being tossed overboard.
>Maybe I'm way off base here -- but it seems like we need to stop, take a
>and think a bit before we head off down the legislative front...
>Here's a pull section::
>Marcel Heymans, general director of the Belgium branch of the International
>Federation of the Phonographic Industry, said he warned police of alleged
>Heymans said his organization had tracking equipment that could search for
>"by the thousands."
>At the moment, he said the group was only targeting users "who had been
>warned yet persevered with the practice."
>The European Parliament on Wednesday endorsed tougher rules granting
>record labels more copyright protection for their works downloaded from the
>Internet. The vote came days after a U.S. appeals court effectively ordered
>Napster to stop people who use the music-sharing service from swapping
>copyrighted music without charge and without restriction.
>The 15 EU governments are expected to approve the new law in a matter of
>It would take effect after national parliaments give their blessing, a process
>that can take up to 18 months.
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