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Author Topic: It’s Time for the Recording Industry to Stop Blaming "Piracy"
philnotfil
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eff.org

quote:
As many — EFF included — have been saying for years, filesharing is not the reason that the recording industry has fallen on hard financial times. In fact, the recording industry’s complaints that the sky is falling really only apply to the recording industry, and not musicians and the fans, who have seen increased music purchases, increased artist salaries, and the availability of more music than ever before. And now two new reports further debunk the recording industry's myth.
quote:
First, the London School of Economics released a paper finding that while filesharing may explain some of the decline in sales of physical copies of recorded music, the decline “should be explained by a combination of factors such as changing patterns in music consumption, decreasing disposable household incomes for leisure products and increasing sales of digital content through online platforms.” And even if the sales of recorded music are down, there is an important distinction to draw: the recording industry may be hurting, but the music industry is thriving. For example, the LSE paper points out that in the UK in 2009, the revenues from live music shows outperformed recorded music sales.
quote:
Another recent study, this one by the Social Science Research Council, delves into international aspects of "piracy," especially in emerging markets, and finds unauthorized filesharing in some developing economies has actually created opportunities for media companies to come up with innovative business models that allow legal and widespread access to media goods. For example, in India, "where large domestic film and music industries dominate the national market, [large media companies] set prices to attract mass audiences, and in some cases compete directly with pirate distribution." The impact of this cannot be understated: in many of these emerging markets, the new business models are improving legal access to music and art that was previously unaffordable for many people.
quote:
Despite these realities, the policy debate continues to focus on enforcement and "strengthening intellectual property," which, SSRC rightly points out, is incredibly counterproductive and comes at a high social cost. Instead of discussing ways to make sure artists get paid for their work and fans have access to media goods, time and energy is wasted debating how to continue an enforcement policy that has failed to actually curb unauthorized filesharing.

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JWatts
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That's sort of a misleading title. From the first quote: "that while filesharing may explain some of the decline in sales of physical copies of recorded music".

Furthermore, it's abundantly clear that piracy has devastated the computer video gaming industry and is driving the industry onto consoles which are far more resilient to piracy.

Now, I do think the music industry ignored online sales for far too long and mishandled the change over, but piracy has certainly cost them a lot of sales.

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starLisa
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File sharing is not piracy. It's sharing.
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Pyrtolin
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The move to consoles is more about the ease of programming for a dedicated, predictable environment than piracy. A fair part of the focus on subscription type games, on the other hand is definitely an attempt to innovate around piracy issues.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The move to consoles is more about the ease of programming for a dedicated, predictable environment than piracy. A fair part of the focus on subscription type games, on the other hand is definitely an attempt to innovate around piracy issues.

Consoles are universally harder to program for than the PC. So it has little to do with 'ease' of programming.

Consoles are however, much easier to maintain than computers for the user and do not have a multitude of configurations so they are a far more predictable environment. This also cuts down on the patching, which may be where you were going with the 'ease' of programming.

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
File sharing is not piracy. It's sharing.

It's pretty clear from the context in this case they were referring to illegal file sharing, which is popularly called piracy. And the title of the thread refers to it as piracy as does the third quote.
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Adam Masterman
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JWatts, I believe Lisa is stating a belief that what we call piracy is not ethically wrong (not that she doesn't understand the distinction).

As to the harm done to "industry", I don't particularly care, and neither should anyone else. As Phil points out, our social priorities surround this issue should be public access to art and creator compensation for art. Our laws protect neither; instead, they are designed to protect corporate profits, and which overwhelmingly benefit people who take no part in the creative process. The government should step back and let these "industries" fail, and a better model emerge. But that corporate welfare for you...

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
The government should step back and let these "industries" fail, and a better model emerge. But that corporate welfare for you...

Well, going by the examples of GM and Chrysler that seems exceeding unlikely to happen.

Furthermore, I'm unconvinced that the opponents of corporations have any other viable model. I do agree the current copyright model is unbalanced, but I believe fairly minor changes would make it more reasonable. (Say making copyright the same length as patents).

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vulture
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Actually consoles are both easier and harder to program for than PCs. Consoles do make you jump though more hoops since the hardware is generally designed for performance rather than user friendliness (hence things like the original nintendo DS only having a maxiumum of 17 sprites being able to be drawn on a single scan line IIRC, due to hardware 'shortcuts' to get the maximum possible performance). And of course, pretty much everyone who programs already knows how to progra,m on a PC, while coding for a console requires learning the OS for that console.

The flip side is that these days it is literally impossible to get any code of any meaningful complexity to run on every single PC out there, or even on every PC that is high enough spec to run it. There are ridiculously many combinations of hardware parts, software drivers, OS versions (with or without various updates in place) and other bits of code that happen to be running on the machine which might interfere in some way. Consoles on the other hand are exactly alike. If code runs on one Wii, it will run on every Wii exactly the same. What few hardware variations the programmers might have missed, such as an extra input device they hadn't thought about, will be picked up by the console manufacturer in testing, since they have a finite and pretty small list of possible setups and can exhaustively test things per a checklist. Never going to happen on a PC.

So yes, I can write something that will work on the PC I am coding on more easily than I could write the same thing on a console. But writing something that will work on more than 75% of PCs out there is a much more difficult task.

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vulture
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Getting back to the piracy issue, in gaming at least things are moving fairly rapidly away from the developer-publisher model, just as the music industry is (more slowly) moving away from the artist-publisher model. A lot more development studios are moving back into self publishing via digital distribution. All the consoles now have onlne shopping channels where you can buy 'indie' games that are basically sold direct by the developers rather than through the few big publisers. Sadly, these are dominated by shovelware so far; and game that is actually looking worthwhile will tend to get bought up by a publisher, and the studios have a very hard time turning down the stability of guaranteed cash in hand that covers the development costs plus a respectable profit, vs the gamble of maybe making bigger profits at the risk of going bust.

Other platforms (smartphones, PCs etc.) have various digital distribution points which are producing impressive turnovers, as are social games on facebook <spit>.

So increasingly piracy is acually affecting the people who are actually creating the content being pirated. Pretending that it is just the publishers being hurt is sophistry.

And studios are going to continue going in the direction of charging for what can't be pirated: you have to pay for an account subscription, for access to various online features, for in-game items. The actual game becomes like the WoW client - you can download it for free, because there is nothing you can do without a paid account. Games will be a loss leader to lure people in to paying for features (as per farmville type games, which are specifically designed to be more or less pointless if you don't spend real money to unlock the interesting features, if 'interesting' can be applied to farmville...).

You see this in music too (and I'm sure I've wittered on about this before). Major artists make only a small fraction of their income from music sales. Their money comes mostly from conccert and merchandising revenue. The album is just a way of promoting the sale of concert tickets and T-shirts. (And since Star Wars, you could probably say the same about kids movies too to a degree; merchandising tie ins generate more money than ticket sales and DVD sales).

So we all get to reap the world sown by pirates, where we end up paying more money for less product. Legitimate users are ones who ultimately pay the biggest price for the actions of the pirates.

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Greg Davidson
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Thou shalt not steal.

starLisa, would you like to make the case for the opposing view?

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
File sharing is not piracy. It's sharing.

It's pretty clear from the context in this case they were referring to illegal file sharing, which is popularly called piracy. And the title of the thread refers to it as piracy as does the third quote.
It isn't legitimate to make file sharing illegal. If I own a file, I own it. Ownership means I can do with it what I want, so long as I don't hit someone with it or defraud someone with it. I can't claim authorship of the file, but I can surely copy it as much as I like and give those copies to whomever I like.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Thou shalt not steal.

starLisa, would you like to make the case for the opposing view?

Not at all. Stealing is wrong. But if I steal a candy bar from a 7-11, that 7-11 no longer has the candy bar. Whereas if I make a copy of Dark Side of the Moon and give it to my brother, nobody loses anything.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
If I own a file, I own it. Ownership means I can do with it what I want, so long as I don't hit someone with it or defraud someone with it. I can't claim authorship of the file, but I can surely copy it as much as I like and give those copies to whomever I like.

So copying a work of art against the authors express permission is ok, but claiming authorship is not ok? Why do you care about the one but not the other? If you are not harming the author by creating a copy of her work and depriving her of potential revenue then why would you be harming her by claiming the work was yours to start with?

[Big Grin]

[ March 29, 2011, 06:42 PM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
The government should step back and let these "industries" fail, and a better model emerge. But that corporate welfare for you...

Well, going by the examples of GM and Chrysler that seems exceeding unlikely to happen.


True. There are a million miles between "should" and "will" in this case.

quote:
Furthermore, I'm unconvinced that the opponents of corporations have any other viable model. I do agree the current copyright model is unbalanced, but I believe fairly minor changes would make it more reasonable. (Say making copyright the same length as patents).
The alternatives are lightyears beyond the insane corporate model we are hobbled to. Chris Anderson is the guru on this stuff, his book Free demonstrates hundreds of ways people make money of of free content in the internet age. And this is *within* our current system, where the whole game is rigged towards corporate entities. End corporate welfare, and this kind of approach would leave old models in the dust.
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Carlotta
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What if you are standing outside a 7-11 offering free candy bars to everyone who comes up to the store? Stealing or not stealing? Your actions are certainly depriving the store of sales they would have otherwise had, at least in the short term. Wrong or not wrong? You're certainly harming their sales, same as with piracy.

For the record, I'm generally fine with file sharing. I'm one of those people won't buy something (music, movie, or book) unless I'm sure I'm going to love it, usually because I've already listened/watched/read it. Me having a free copy of an ebook is not going to make me not buy a hard copy of it is I really love it. But it will introduce me to books that I'll go on to buy that I would have never known about if they weren't free to begin with.

[ March 29, 2011, 08:51 PM: Message edited by: Carlotta ]

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TheRallanator
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Personally I'm of the opinion that filesharing has been extremely good for music as a whole. It hasn't been particularly great for albums and it definitely hasn't been great for the recording industry, but for all the bands and artists out there who do gigs at clubs and play the festival circuits and do tours on their own dime and who were never going to be the next chart-topping pop sensation (usually because they don't want to be pop sensations) it's been an excellent way for introducing their music to a broader audience. Bands that used to have to rely on word of mouth and local radio stations to establish their presence can now reach a global audience and (if they're at least halfways good) create opportunities to tour for new fan bases in new markets. Most musicians are winners, the music-loving public are winners, and the only losers are recording executive and the handful of artists who sell well enough to win Grammy Awards.
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Greg Davidson
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StarLisa,

Do you also disagree with patent law? Do you believe that there should be no such thing as intellectual property?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The move to consoles is more about the ease of programming for a dedicated, predictable environment than piracy. A fair part of the focus on subscription type games, on the other hand is definitely an attempt to innovate around piracy issues.

Consoles are universally harder to program for than the PC. So it has little to do with 'ease' of programming.

Consoles are however, much easier to maintain than computers for the user and do not have a multitude of configurations so they are a far more predictable environment. This also cuts down on the patching, which may be where you were going with the 'ease' of programming.

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
File sharing is not piracy. It's sharing.

It's pretty clear from the context in this case they were referring to illegal file sharing, which is popularly called piracy. And the title of the thread refers to it as piracy as does the third quote.

Arg. Make her walk the plank, matees.

I think Lisa was aware of the common usage of the term "piracy." One might argue that once again, the popular view is a brainwashed one, with the usage instilled from the powers that be.

One might accept the constitutional view of intellectual property, and yet see "stealing" as a crappy (and perhaps brainwashed) analogy for copyright infringement.

I believe that trespassing offers a far better analogy.

[ March 30, 2011, 03:08 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
So copying a work of art against the authors express permission is ok, but claiming authorship is not ok?
Exactly.

quote:
Why do you care about the one but not the other?
Copying a work using your own labour is your inalienable right. Claiming authorship is however lying, and you don't have an inalienable right to lying.

quote:
If you are not harming the author by creating a copy of her work and depriving her of potential revenue then why would you be harming her by claiming the work was yours to start with?
Sharing a work helps advertise a creator, lying about who authored it does not.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Do you also disagree with patent law? Do you believe that there should be no such thing as intellectual property?
I think there's *possibly* (not certainly) a societal usefulness in the ability to control the flow of profits over a creative endeavor for, say, 5 years. This applies to patents and copyrights alike.

But I'd call that controlling the government-issued money, not controlling the creative endeavour. If someone shares for *free*, that's still okay, even within the 5 years.

The most popular comic out there may currently be XKCD, which is licensed under a Creative Commons license (means free to copy and share, but not to sell).

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
If I own a file, I own it. Ownership means I can do with it what I want, so long as I don't hit someone with it or defraud someone with it. I can't claim authorship of the file, but I can surely copy it as much as I like and give those copies to whomever I like.

So copying a work of art against the authors express permission is ok, but claiming authorship is not ok? Why do you care about the one but not the other? If you are not harming the author by creating a copy of her work and depriving her of potential revenue then why would you be harming her by claiming the work was yours to start with?

[Big Grin]

Asked and answered. That's fraud. And no one is entitled to revenue, no matter how hard they may work. You get revenue when someone voluntarily trades you for something of yours. Newspapers don't have to pay royalties to people they quote, because once you say something, it's out there.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Carlotta:
What if you are standing outside a 7-11 offering free candy bars to everyone who comes up to the store? Stealing or not stealing?

Not stealing. Not remotely stealing.

quote:
Originally posted by Carlotta:
Your actions are certainly depriving the store of sales they would have otherwise had, at least in the short term.

The same is true if I open a store of my own and charge less. Honest to God, I feel like I've walked into a meeting of the Politburo here.

quote:
Originally posted by Carlotta:
Wrong or not wrong? You're certainly harming their sales, same as with piracy.

They aren't entitled to those sales. They're only entitled to offer what they have for sale.

quote:
Originally posted by Carlotta:
For the record, I'm generally fine with file sharing. I'm one of those people won't buy something (music, movie, or book) unless I'm sure I'm going to love it, usually because I've already listened/watched/read it. Me having a free copy of an ebook is not going to make me not buy a hard copy of it is I really love it. But it will introduce me to books that I'll go on to buy that I would have never known about if they weren't free to begin with.

Same here. I've bought DVDs of movies that I watched after downloading them. I read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother online (and you can't call that piracy by any definition, because he puts them online for downloading under Creative Commons), and I've bought two copies of the book in hardcover. One for me, and one for my sister.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Do you also disagree with patent law? Do you believe that there should be no such thing as intellectual property?

I do disagree with patent law. Never mind the fact that its stated goals are the opposite of what it actually achieves. The fact is that it shouldn't be a game. The fact that I can work my a** off inventing something and then because someone else gets to the patent office an hour before me, I'm not allowed to even try and sell my own freaking invention... I don't get how anyone thinks that's okay.

I don't agree with any kind of government enforced monopoly. And that's all patent law is, really. Intellectual monopoly.

I remember the early 90s. Computers were still fairly new. There was a ton and a half of free software floating around. Much more than today. The innovation back then was something just amazing. But that was before the US decided that software was patentable. That lines of code, bits and bytes, were something that one person could be excluded from using by another.

Microsoft would never have gotten as huge as it did had it not been for essentially unprotected copies of Windows and Office making the rounds. They acted like drug pushers. Implicitly providing free goodies and then clamping down once they developed a customer base.

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starLisa
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You should read a book called Against Intellectual Monopoly. You can read it for free online (obviously), which I did. I also own a hardcopy, because I thought it was worthwhile.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
The fact is that it shouldn't be a game. The fact that I can work my a** off inventing something and then because someone else gets to the patent office an hour before me, I'm not allowed to even try and sell my own freaking invention... I don't get how anyone thinks that's okay.

No one thinks that's OK. A patentee might have had their idea stolen and used against them a few times out of the millions of patents, but it's a very rare occurrence.

And if there were no patent law, then every inventor would have their ideas immediately used by everyone else at will. As a consequence, inventors would, instead of publicizing their idea, keep it a secret.

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
I don't agree with any kind of government enforced monopoly. And that's all patent law is, really. Intellectual monopoly.

Indeed, that's exactly what it is. A limited, monopoly granted to encourage invention.


quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Microsoft would never have gotten as huge as it did had it not been for essentially unprotected copies of Windows and Office making the rounds. They acted like drug pushers. Implicitly providing free goodies and then clamping down once they developed a customer base.

[Roll Eyes] That's not at all what happened. First, Microsoft developed their OS for IBM. Second, Microsoft has always been very careful to protect their intellectual property.

Oddly enough, Linux is completely free with no copy protection at all. And yet it's consumer user base is miniscule. Microsoft succeeded because they provide a good product. If you don't want to pay for MS products, then use a free version of Linux and/or OpenOffice.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The fact that I can work my a** off inventing something and then because someone else gets to the patent office an hour before me, I'm not allowed to even try and sell my own freaking invention... I don't get how anyone thinks that's okay.
The US, at least is a first to create, not a first to register, system. (Perhaps you're thinking of European patents here?) If you can prove that you did it first, you get the patent.

Of course, the alternative is that you put in all the work to invent something, then get knocked out of the market immediately be a person that reverse engineers it and offers it at 10% of your price because they don't need to support the R&D effort that it took to make that product. Unless you're also suggesting that all R&D should be publicly supported so that it doesn't incur any operational costs.

How exactly do you propose that creative and innovative efforts be incentiveized without some degree of exclusive license to allow the creator a chance to at least recoup their costs or at least choose their business model?

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
And if there were no patent law, then every inventor would have their ideas immediately used by everyone else at will. As a consequence, inventors would, instead of publicizing their idea, keep it a secret.
Like the creators of Firefox?
Or the editors of Wikipedia?
Or the inventor of the wheel...

Yeah, there was never *any* invention before the patent system...

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
"If you don't want to pay for MS products, then use a free version of Linux and/or OpenOffice."
As a browser I use a free version of Firefox, as picture editors I use free versions of GIMP and Inkscape. The most often-used encyclopedia is Wikipedia, the freely-available Google is the search-engine of choice for billions, and we're both currently conversing in the language 'English' though none of us have paid licencing fees to its originators.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
The fact is that it shouldn't be a game. The fact that I can work my a** off inventing something and then because someone else gets to the patent office an hour before me, I'm not allowed to even try and sell my own freaking invention... I don't get how anyone thinks that's okay.

No one thinks that's OK. A patentee might have had their idea stolen and used against them a few times out of the millions of patents, but it's a very rare occurrence.
Sure. Tell it to Elisha Gray. He invented the telephone, and Bell beat him to the patent office by an hour. And to make things worse, Bell's patented phone didn't even work. But Bell got the patent, and Gray was SOL.

quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
And if there were no patent law, then every inventor would have their ideas immediately used by everyone else at will. As a consequence, inventors would, instead of publicizing their idea, keep it a secret.

Theory. Observable reality trumps theory every time.

quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
I don't agree with any kind of government enforced monopoly. And that's all patent law is, really. Intellectual monopoly.

Indeed, that's exactly what it is. A limited, monopoly granted to encourage invention.
One which doesn't work.

quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Microsoft would never have gotten as huge as it did had it not been for essentially unprotected copies of Windows and Office making the rounds. They acted like drug pushers. Implicitly providing free goodies and then clamping down once they developed a customer base.

[Roll Eyes] That's not at all what happened. First, Microsoft developed their OS for IBM. Second, Microsoft has always been very careful to protect their intellectual property.
How old are you? Because that's crazy talk. Were you even around at the time? Microsoft only ever protected their intellectual property against other companies.

quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Oddly enough, Linux is completely free with no copy protection at all. And yet it's consumer user base is miniscule. Microsoft succeeded because they provide a good product. If you don't want to pay for MS products, then use a free version of Linux and/or OpenOffice.

Why should I? They don't do what I want.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Of course, the alternative is that you put in all the work to invent something, then get knocked out of the market immediately be a person that reverse engineers it and offers it at 10% of your price because they don't need to support the R&D effort that it took to make that product. Unless you're also suggesting that all R&D should be publicly supported so that it doesn't incur any operational costs.

Yeah, 'cause that sounds just like me...

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
How exactly do you propose that creative and innovative efforts be incentiveized without some degree of exclusive license to allow the creator a chance to at least recoup their costs or at least choose their business model?

First of all, it isn't the place of government to incentivize anything. Second of all, there's a huge benefit to being first, even without monopolistic restrictions.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
First of all, it isn't the place of government to incentivize anything.
Government is all about providing collective incentives for things that the society it represents values and disincentives for things that cause it harm. You don't get closer to the fundamental purpose of government.

quote:
Second of all, there's a huge benefit to being first, even without monopolistic restrictions.
There may be some benefits, but are they enough to offset years of investment in development? If it takes you 10 years to write a book, are you going to be able to recoup those 10 years of living expenses selling that book before someone copies it and undercuts you?
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Sure. Tell it to Elisha Gray. He invented the telephone, and Bell beat him to the patent office by an hour. And to make things worse, Bell's patented phone didn't even work. But Bell got the patent, and Gray was SOL.

Elisha Gray died a rich man with over 70 patents to his name. So apparently the patent system was working fine for him.

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Oddly enough, Linux is completely free with no copy protection at all. And yet it's consumer user base is miniscule. Microsoft succeeded because they provide a good product. If you don't want to pay for MS products, then use a free version of Linux and/or OpenOffice.

Why should I? They don't do what I want.
So, Microsoft produces a superior product and yet you don't think they should be paid for it? Do you not see how logically that if people aren't compensated for their work they'll change to a different type of work.

Our present IP system is designed to increase the reward of intellectual work. Without it, intellectual work would go down in recompense and less would be produced.

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Second, Microsoft has always been very careful to protect their intellectual property.

How old are you? Because that's crazy talk. Were you even around at the time?
I'm old enough to base my arguments on documentable facts and not opinions.

Bill Gate's 1976 Letter

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
"If it takes you 10 years to write a book, are you going to be able to recoup those 10 years of living expenses selling that book before someone copies it and undercuts you?"
Previously you talked about incentives -- now you talk about recouping losses. The questions may be connected, but they're not identical.

It seems to me that recouping one's losses can also act as an incentive *against* publishing works for free, because you keep on hoping you can sell them instead.

And even if, overall, it acts as an incentive, a better one than other models (advertising, patrons, etc) we must weigh that against the disutility of greater and cheaper distribution for all the populace to enjoy.

That having been said, I'm not as extreme in this issue as in other aspects of the debate -- as I mentioned before I'd prefer a 5-year exclusivity on the flow of profits as a first step. A five-year head start should be enough for anyone.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:


Of course, the alternative is that you put in all the work to invent something, then get knocked out of the market immediately be a person that reverse engineers it and offers it at 10% of your price because they don't need to support the R&D effort that it took to make that product. Unless you're also suggesting that all R&D should be publicly supported so that it doesn't incur any operational costs.


Pyr, first of all, pricing doesn't work that way. Units are sold at the profit optimizing point; the price that generates the maximum profit considering margin and volume of sales. Reduced production cost may or may not effect what that cost is, but its hardly the given that you imply (and 10% is absurdly high anyway).

My position isn't ideological in the same sense that Lisa's is, and thus I would be more amenably to compromise, but she is completely correct that the theory surrounding patent law has drifted a long way from observed fact. Read her link; then check out the blog I linked. If our intention really is to encourage innovation, the current system is pathetically broken. It's beneficiaries are not the innovators, nor the consumers. Its actually one of the most egregious examples of corporate manipulation in our system today.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Pyr, first of all, pricing doesn't work that way. Units are sold at the profit optimizing point; the price that generates the maximum profit considering margin and volume of sales. Reduced production cost may or may not effect what that cost is, but its hardly the given that you imply (and 10% is absurdly high anyway).

That's a very bad argument. Your talking about idealized pricing models in a free market. The patent system is a Limited Monopoly. So it's the exact opposite of a free market.

I personally think the temporary distortion to the free market is worth it for the high level of technological development society has experienced since the transition from protected guilds to open patents, but it is definitely never going to be a free market system.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Pyr, first of all, pricing doesn't work that way. Units are sold at the profit optimizing point; the price that generates the maximum profit considering margin and volume of sales. Reduced production cost may or may not effect what that cost is, but its hardly the given that you imply (and 10% is absurdly high anyway).
Nitpicking on a number chosen for clarity is a bit absurd. You are right about the profit maximizing formula, but competition is factored into the number of units that you'll sell; someone else offering the exact same thing at a lower price changes the formula by reducing the number of people that will buy from you at any given point near or above their mark. The original producer as a much higher hard minimum that they can't go below because of the static costs that they incurred in production, while the copier doesn't have to worry about such costs.

quote:
but she is completely correct that the theory surrounding patent law has drifted a long way from observed fact.
That's absolutely true, but completely irrelevant to the baseline concept of what needs to be done to support and encourage arts and innovation; some degree of patent and copyright protection is the most market-based solution that still provides enough incentive for people to devote themselves to innovation or creative disciplines as a primary occupation. Take those away without putting in some other form of support and they largely collapse to become the province of people who can afford them as pastimes instead.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
It seems to me that recouping one's losses can also act as an incentive *against* publishing works for free, because you keep on hoping you can sell them instead.


That assumes that someone would make such a huge investment in the first place without the confidence that they'd be able to reclaim it. There is a lot broken in the overall system that we can allow people to ruin themselves on such investments, but time is the ultimate investment that there is no way to return to someone and there needs to be a way for people to feel that their time is better spent on innovative and creative works than on working a register at McDonald's if they feel they have something to offer in that regard.

quote:
And even if, overall, it acts as an incentive, a better one than other models (advertising, patrons, etc) we must weigh that against the disutility of greater and cheaper distribution for all the populace to enjoy.
I think people should be allowed some room to choose what model is most effective for being compensated for their work, even they choose to do so poorly and slightly delay full public benefit until we have better ways to fully measure that public benefit and directly provide them compensation for their investment plus value on that benefit that they created.

quote:
That having been said, I'm not as extreme in this issue as in other aspects of the debate -- as I mentioned before I'd prefer a 5-year exclusivity on the flow of profits as a first step. A five-year head start should be enough for anyone.
That may even be an overly generous time frame given the overall rate of progress and accumulation of information that we're currently experiencing, but it's certainly better than the insanely inflated copyright rules in particular that we suffer with right now.

It's no different that corporations- a short period of exclusive license encourages investment and innovation, but allowing it to linger too long, or even indefinitely only serves to encourage stagnation.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
First of all, it isn't the place of government to incentivize anything.
Government is all about providing collective incentives for things that the society it represents values and disincentives for things that cause it harm. You don't get closer to the fundamental purpose of government.
Nope. That's what statists want government to do, but it isn't a legitimate role. Government has a purely defensive function. Preventing me from popping you in the nose, preventing Canada from invading, mediating disputes. People are people; not some sort of game pawns that are there for "those who know best" to move around.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Second of all, there's a huge benefit to being first, even without monopolistic restrictions.
There may be some benefits, but are they enough to offset years of investment in development? If it takes you 10 years to write a book, are you going to be able to recoup those 10 years of living expenses selling that book before someone copies it and undercuts you?
Spoken like a buggy whip maker complaining about cars.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
Oddly enough, Linux is completely free with no copy protection at all. And yet it's consumer user base is miniscule. Microsoft succeeded because they provide a good product. If you don't want to pay for MS products, then use a free version of Linux and/or OpenOffice.

Why should I? They don't do what I want.
So, Microsoft produces a superior product and yet you don't think they should be paid for it? Do you not see how logically that if people aren't compensated for their work they'll change to a different type of work.
If that's what they want to do, fine. I haven't seen any sign of it happening.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:

I personally think the temporary distortion to the free market is worth it for the high level of technological development society has experienced since the transition from protected guilds to open patents, but it is definitely never going to be a free market system.

Why not? I'm hearing this claimed an awful lot on this thread, but I've seen nothing but abstract reasoning to back it up. Your logic is sound but not valid; real world examples are disproving the theory in hundreds of ways. Again, look at the link, or just google "radical price" for the tip of the iceberg.

My experience is more on the copyright side than the patent side, but the "r & d" scare tactic from big pharma in particular is wearing pretty thing. We can't limit their ability to patent anything, we can't have collective bargaining, we can't let seniors buy drugs in Canada, all because of the terrifying specter of a slackening of the pace by which we create new drugs. And yet, when you look at the actual numbers, its all bluff. Not only do they currently spend more on advertising than r & d, but they aren't really even making the new drugs anymore. Instead, they are positioning themselves as patent brokers, buying and selling the intellectual property instead of generating it, using their established clout and lobbying prowess to control the game. THIS is what the law currently protects, an essentially parasitic operation which, like the recoding industry, contributes nothing of actual value to the situation while ending up with most of the wealth.

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