"Perhaps even more importantly, the Pandora's box that is P2P has already
severely eroded the fair valuation of intellectual property in the eyes
of the general consumer public, and it was already in bad shape! If the
music is free, and seen as less valuable than it should be, why pay for
a T-shirt, or a ticket?"
I too am not for total anarchy - no copyright - though I would willingly
give it a try on the Internet only, but in the rest of the world, we really
should try tp prevent the outright counterfitting and reselling of whole
works in physical product form, by the general public. This could actually
ruin artists and those who support them. Not much of anything else in
copyright restrictions will determine ruination for them, but
counterfeiting could. So we need that to be against a law, and it might as
well be called copyright. (However, a contest may be in order to decide on
a new name for these media laws that would actually do what we WANT them to
do and ONLY what we want them to do, should we ever get any.)
The Net would be a VERY cool, and self-contained domain to try no copyright
in, it's made for it, and again, probably not really a source of ruination
for artists, any more than it already is, which it isn't. Hasn't ruined any
companies who didn't volunteer to be so ruined either. Isn't it up to THEM
to analyze the potentials and make their own stabs at exploiting this
unprecedented technology of personal distribution we've got here?
But I'm even more interested in the above idea of eroding "the fair
evaluation of intellectual property" in the eyes of consumers. People don't
seem to like the full range of "value" assumptions we would be
experimenting with on a no-copyright Net. What if it didn't turn out to be
as bruising as you assume? When the ARBITRARILY set value on the physical
product is removed, (and isn't this its only economic valuation we now have
in terms of IP as physical product?) and the thing is unphysically
available on line at little or no charge, will there or wont there be non
per-unit compensations there for that availability? Once you don't need to
think in terms of per-unit compensation, you need much of copyright not at
But my point is, we needn't put all experimental breaks on so fast if it's
on the basis of worry over some kind of specific "value" we have
conveniently arrived at in order to SELL something, when in fact, IP value
will always be relative to its audience, not its price. This is why the CD
price of, who was at the top in sales, Judy Garland? should RISE as her
sales go up. Obviously it's becoming more desirable, the CD's value to
people is obviously increasing it's absolutely worth more as more want it
more, they are saying so by wanting it more and more, so why doesn't the
price refect this by going up according to the number of CDs sold? In fact,
it often goes down as if popularity is a devaluing factor, which some of us
may actually believe to be true for for the value of the IP content as well
as the package as it gets more popular...
That's why you can't judge art or IP in economic or physical terms, (just
like you can't judge a book by its cover, as some song says) those are
ALWAYS what the economic traffic will bear, single painting or multiple
copy. The IP content of works remains very unvaluable, unvalued,
undervalued, overvalued, way overvalued, or just mediocre valued in
whatever way the public actually does so inside their own heads, but it's
not based on its monetarily controled availability to them. That's quite a
different game. The Net could remove the present monetary valuation of
music-the-product, for sure, but its TRUE value for people as IP (why they
bought this package) is not that row of digits and a dollar sign, no how
much or little it is.
Free music, the default result of no copyright, would leave us with the
unencumbered tastes of us human beings to decide what actually appeals to
us and how much and how often, am audio environment where piece music is
not in an economic competition with all its other examples, because it no
longer needs to be in order to get distributed. The definable "value" of
music, the sound waves on our eardrums, is and will remain unknown forever.
The valuation we'ld be losing is not the one that counts for music, by any
means. That's a different game.
PS You have to pay for a tee-shirt or a ticket because you can't get one
without paying. They're physical products they can make and you can't. The
net is like everyone has their own music factory... Some see this as bad
for business, some see it as good for our IP, and especially music. No
matter which side wins, you'll still have to pay for tee-shirts and tickets.
>Sean quite eloquently summed up most of my feelings so I had changed my
>mind about responding, but later decided I'd like to add a bit...
>I join Professor Moglen and Sean in their views on the current major
>label system, but I diverge, as does Sean, at the point of supporting
>total anarchy as a proper solution to copyright problems.
>Sean Fenlon wrote:
>> Professor Moglen,
>> While I am always thrilled to hear compelling perspectives from those "in
>> support of anarchism," the eventual environment that you describe in the
>> article is somewhat troubling to me as a songwriter/composer.
>> While very few may shed a tear for a reduced significance of the existing
>> major label system, I do feel extremely uncomfortable imagining or
>> supporting an environment where there is a complete absence of a "music
>> industry." This statement from your article best summarizes my concern...
>> "This increase in efficiency means that composers, song-writers and
>> performers have everything to gain from making use of the system of unowned
>> or anarchistic distribution, provided that each listener at the end of the
>> chain still knows how to pay the artist, and feels under some obligation to
>> do so, or will buy something else--a concert ticket, a T-shirt, a poster--as
>> a result of the music received for free."
>The critical nature of the last part of this statement also concerns me
>greatly. By advocating the total elimination of the potential revenue
>streams generated by selling limited usage of copyright you are setting
>most indie musicians adrift in a vast uncharted ocean of uncertainty. I
>do not hold out much hope that an indie artist can survive by giving
>away all their recorded music and selling T-shirts, concert tickets and
>Perhaps even more importantly, the Pandora's box that is P2P has already
>severely eroded the fair valuation of intellectual property in the eyes
>of the general consumer public, and it was already in bad shape! If the
>music is free, and seen as less valuable than it should be, why pay for
>a T-shirt, or a ticket?
>50,000,000 thieves trading copyrighted material without even the
>slightest concern over whether it was negatively affecting the owners of
>If 50,000,000 thieves began looting our homes I don't think we'd see the
>romantic side of anarchy anymore.
>This also concerned me...
>> Musicians, though terrified of the possible losses (which the industry
>> is doing everything to overestimate for them) are beginning to
>> discover the enormous potential benefits. No doubt there will be some
>> immediate pain that will be felt by artists rather than the
>> shareholders of music conglomerates. The greatest of celebrity
>> musicians will naturally do fine under any system, while those who are
>> presently waiting tables or driving a cab to support themselves have
>> nothing to lose.
>The many hundreds of indies I work with that have "day gigs" strongly
>disagree with you Professor. They certainly feel they have something to
>lose. Let me quote one here:
>(Name withheld) wrote:
>> The fact that the perceived value of
>> music is diminished by people who download it without the artist's
>> permission is what has bothered me the most about the Napster issue.
>> I was quite pro-Napster at first, but after hearing
>> so many downloaded songs in people's living rooms as they sheepishly tell me
>> where they acquired the music, and knowing they have no intention of buying
>> a CD anywhere... it's frustrating. They shouldn't be playing any music they
>> haven't either paid for or downloaded with the artist's
>> permission...anything else is theft...anything else diminishes my ability to
>> make a living creating music.
>As we sit in our offices typing away on our keyboards, let's please not
>forget to talk to those who walk in the shoes of an artist before we
>speak for them.
>I think Professor, that if you do speak to a number of indie artists,
>you will quickly find that they feel the threat of loss quite acutely,
>and also believe they are the musical middle class, and as such stand to
>lose the most. I fear this statement you made...
>> But musicians as a whole, from the top to the
>> bottom of the current hierarchy of success, stand to gain far more
>> than they can lose.
>...indicates a lack of feedback from the largest portion of the musician
>constituency. I do not think they would all agree with you.
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