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  • R 2:22 pm on September 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP,   

    Eben Moglen: without free sharing of information, the advance of knowledge would be impossible 

    “We are doing that for a reason. The reason, which was sketched out by my colleague, friend, and client Richard Stallman in the early nineteen eighties, is to protect the ethical right to share information. This is properly understood as the intellectual context of Western science and literature-not as an invention of the nineteen eighties, not as a consequence of our particular personal, intellectual or moral idiosyncrasies. It is the received understanding of our common culture with regard to the production of knowledge by collaborative effort. The free sharing of scientific information is the essence of Western science. And without the concept of the free sharing of information–Western scientists have been pointing out since Galileo pointed it out to the church in the mid 16th century–the advance of knowledge would be either impossible or impossibly burdened.”

    • Eben Moglen

    Freeing the Mind : Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture

  • R 6:05 pm on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP, ,   

    Eben Moglen: Knowledge cannot and should not be owned. The notion that it can, condemns certain segments of society to extinction 

    The most serious problems that confront humanity are about human beings and their intelligence, which oft goes agley, as Robert Burns told us, no matter how good the plans may be. And the most serious tool that we have to confront the problems made by human intelligence, is human intelligence. We, collectively, are in the business of maximizing humanity’s ability to use its intelligence to make life better for people, and in doing that, the gravest difficulty that we confront is that all societies since the beginning of human sociality have thrown away most of the brains they had.

    Let’s begin with a simple question. How many of the Einsteins that ever existed were allowed to learn physics?

    One. Or two, maybe. And that’s the nature of the problem on which we all work, one way or another, in the service that we attempt to perform for humankind.

    The primary difficulty of the 20th century was that it discovered extraordinarily efficient ways for people to work in regimented forms, but it made very little progress over where the 19th century left us with respect to the ability to educate every human mind. Among the reasons that 20th century civilization made such little progress – we do, you know, we still throw away almost all the brains – the reason we made such little progress is largely that we treated knowledge as a thing that could be owned, and therefore need be purchased. And no matter what we did to attempt to equalize ability to purchase, we didn’t equalize very much, and most of the children in the world are deprived of the real opportunity to learn – they can’t afford to.

    The central problems of the human race therefore depend upon easing the ability of brains to feed – we must stop starving the intellect that gets us out of the messes we think our way into.

    To do that, then, we begin, at the end of the 20th century, to imagine reversing the long and complicated relationship between the human race and the idea that knowledge is something that you own. We reverse that course by beginning, once again, to treat – unsparingly and without any degree of forgiveness for the alternative – we begin to treat knowledge as a thing that must be shared in order to be valuable.

    Of course, we continue to exist in a world in which it is considered to be acceptable to treat knowledge as a thing that can be owned. The consequence is that there are people who will die because the knowledge of the molecule that will help them not to die is owned knowledge, and someone has secured, for a substantial portion of a human lifetime, the exclusive right to deploy that knowledge, which raises its price, decreases its availability, and condemns some people to extinction.

    These are only some of the consequences of the belief that knowledge is a thing that can be owned. And we live now, all of us, and indeed much of the world – soon all of the world – we live in the midst of technology which makes it unnecessary even to discuss the conception of the ownership of knowledge, because it is possible, efficiently, to share.

    In a world where everything’s a bitstream, where everything has zero marginal cost, where if you have one copy, you can make a billion copies at no additional expense, the ownership of knowledge is a moral problem. If we could feed everybody by cooking one breakfast and pressing a button, what would the case be, what would the argument be, for charging people more for food than everyone could pay? Of course, we can’t just cook one breakfast and press a button, but we can make one operating system and press a button. We can make a database and press a button. We can make a novel, a film, a poem, a symphony, a dance, or a design for survivable low cost constructible housing, and press a button.

    In other words, in the world that we have made, – the digital world – we have escaped one of the principal reasons that we threw away all the brains we threw away. And – as many of you, in the work you do, are acutely conscious – we have as many children with us now as there were human beings in the generations that preceded our own. All of them, put together. That means we are either about to throw away as many human brains as have ever been thrown away in the whole history of the human race, or we’re about to reverse the flow at the moment where it will do the most good.

    This is the context within which we have begun to use technology ourselves in our own lives in a slightly different way. The more we use the technology in our own lives in a slightly different way, the more we bias our activity towards sharing rather than owning, – or even, the more we bias our activity towards sharing rather than doing business with those who claim to own – the more we are establishing the fundamental principle by which we will make a kind of social justice that will attack one of the root causes of human misery: the throwing away of all those brains that wanted to learn and couldn’t.

    • Eben Moglen

    09NTC plenary: Eben Moglen

  • R 2:18 pm on September 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP, ,   

    Jeffrey Tucker: Absence of IP creates a broad-mindedness 

    As I think more about intellectual property in the form of patents and copyrights, it seems that the implications for social theory are profound. The behavior targeted and slaughtered by IP is one that provides a fuel for all social and economic development: imitation and emulation.

    In the German-speaking world of art in the 18th and 19th centuries, imitation by composers was considered to be the greatest tribute. When Bach would write an elaboration of Buxtehude, it was seen as a wonderful gift to Buxtehude’s legacy and memory. When Mahler would turn a phrase by Brahms, or reorchestrate a Beethoven symphony, it was the tribute of one master to another. So it is in literature and economics.

    Imitation in economic affairs is essential for development, since nothing is ever perfect right out of the box, and society is constantly changing. You need that imitative dynamism in order for technology to keep up with changing market conditions. This is what IP shuts down in the name of rewarding creators. How can creators make a buck in a world of fluid imitation? The same way they always have: by having the best product at the right price to the market first. When others imitate them, they have to hustle again and innovate some more. This is how societies and economies grow.

    Think of the fashion world, where IP isn’t in force. It is fast-moving, innovative, and remarkably profitable. Designers have their ideas imitated nearly as soon as they are seen on the runway. This imitative behavior is widely regarded as a ratification of a good idea. It is something that people are socialized to look for as an indication of marketability. It is the same with generic drugs, fonts, perfume, and other sectors in which there is no IP.

    Sadly, in sectors in which IP does apply, the opposite attitude applies. Authors, artists, and inventors sit and brood about the need to keep their wares to themselves and hunt down anyone who would dare “steal” their ideas. In the successful cases, they can end up rewarding themselves but at the expense of social development.

    In the far more prevalent unsuccessful cases, the obsession with being ripped off leads to brooding, resentment, and disgruntlement that the world has failed to provide them a living. A sector consisting of nothing but people like this — with an attitude encouraged in law — is stagnant. By way of illustration, compare the imitation-oriented jazz and rock sectors with the IP-obsessed area of serious classical music!

    Other sectors like advertising fall somewhere in between. Several years ago, Apple ran a commercial for the iPod that looked incredibly similar to one produced by Lugz shoes. Now, one might laugh and appreciate this — surely it will benefit both companies — or one can regard it as theft. Instead of celebrating a success, Lugz regarded it as a rip-off, which Apple denied. Words flew between the companies, along with threats of litigation and cease-and-desist orders.

    This is really just pathetic and completely unnecessary.

    It really all comes down to the attitude one takes toward one’s influence on others. The absence of IP creates a broad-mindedness that seeks to make a difference in the world and looks for imitators as a sign that it is working. The presence of IP subsidizes a kind of inwardness and bitterness that sees the whole world as being populated by potential thieves to keep at bay.

    You see the two ways of looking at the world in the way kids interact with each other. I’m speaking of preteens and the way they deal with their emergent societies. Let’s say one kid has developed a certain phrase or gesture that is new to the social group. Another kid picks up on it and employs it.

    Now, there are two ways to respond to this imitation. The innovator child can see others doing and saying what he did and said and realize that he has made a difference in the world, put a dent in this little universe. He has become a force for changing the world as he knows it. He has made his mark, and the evidence is how others are doing the same thing. He feels a sense of pride and joy and works at coming up with other unique ways of dressing, speaking, or behaving that others similarly imitate.

    “Copyright is a subject replete with mythology. People imagine that copyright is important for protecting rights, even though the practical reality is that it is a killer of ideas and a rights violator on a massive scale.”
    Or the child can have another response. He can accuse his imitators of stealing his words, ripping off his gestures, pilfering his personality, and plundering his special way. He sees others who imitate as threats, forces that are reducing the value of his unique personality. He treats it as the equivalent of cheating on a test. It is taking what is his. It is the first stages of a very destructive, IP-style mentality.

    Parents: Be alert to signs of this among kids. Explain to children that it is a good thing when others are influenced by you. It means that you have made a difference in the world. It is not something to complain about at all. It is something to celebrate. It means that you are an entrepreneur on the cutting edge, someone who does things that succeed in society. That also comes with responsibilities to do good things and improve the look and feel of the world around them.

    Which attitude do you take toward emulation? Before you answer, consider that emulation is unavoidable. There is no such thing as absolute originality. Everything in a growing and health society is an elaboration on something else that already exists. This applies to technology, literature, music, art, language — everything. A world in which the ethics of IP applied would be backward and stagnant, headed nowhere but backward.

    Children’s movies cut both ways. The movie called Ratatouille strikes me as the ultimate IP-supporting propaganda. A rat with a gift for taste and smell is rescued from the gutter and put in a position to cook food at a fine restaurant. All his food is great. He has imitators all over the place but he alone remains the best. But then he begins to seethe with resentment that he alone is not given credit and accolades. Oddly, some people fear that customers will not like the idea that a rat is cooking all the food! The movie ends with his being discovered — he feels great pride, and we are supposed to be happy about this. The restaurant is destroyed, but the audience is supposed to figure that it is worth it.

    A much better case is Horton Hears a Who. Throughout the film, we see competitive pressure between the various animals to see which one will have the dominant influence over others. The Kangaroo tries to prevent Horton from influencing people, but he does anyway, and eventually everyone comes around. We see it too in the lovely operation of Whoville, a place where emulation is king, and it is a vibrant and lovely society in which everyone is happy.

    As web editor of Mises.org, hardly a week goes by when I don’t see imitators of our successful web presence. It can be images, articles, design, feel, structure — everything. Some years back I had the view that this had to be stopped. Fortunately, no one here had time to bother with it. Thank goodness. The whole reason we exist is to influence the world. Evidence of that is glorious, and it keeps the fire under our staff to keep doing a better job and stay on the cutting edge.

  • R 3:24 pm on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP, ,   

    Falkvinge: You cannot stop the drive to make information free. 

    Host: “Now governments across the world have increased their effort against file-sharing. But what do these copyright laws do against file-sharing? Can file-sharing ever be stopped?”

    Falkvinge: No it cannot. And that is a very important question. As mobile phones increase their memory and as devices increasingly have the capacity to store all of humanity’s music, movies & culture, (and we’re not far from there), that means everybody in a cafe can share anything and anonymously with everybody else in the cafe. So once you realize this cannot be stopped, you start to think instead of all the benefits of this new technology. We are at a crossroads where all of humanity can access the entire library of human culture and knowledge. All the tools have been developed, all the cables are in place, the technology has been rolled out. All we have to do is remove the ban on using it. But as usual, there are vested interests in doing things less efficiently and bereaving people, DEPRIVING people of this knowledge that frankly we gain economically from it.

    Host: “I’m sorry to interrupt but internet laws like ACTA and SOPA, they have been met with some global criticism. Many see it as a means to limit web freedom. But surely these rules have been implemented to protect people’s intellectual property?”

    Falkvinge: That is an excellent point. The thing is you cannot enforce the copyright monopolies and other forms of intellectual property without looking at what people send online to each other. That is after all where these files are being shared. And if you are looking at what people are sending to each other, you are also by definition starting to limit freedom of speech. That is why you see hundreds of thousands of Europeans on the streets, rallying against what politicians thought was a done-deal. So they were taken completely by surprise, as were the American politicians with SOPA. You cannot enforce these old monopolies laws without cracking down on Fundamental Civil Rights. Which is why you are seeing entire generation rising up against these monopolies.



    See You can have Internet and free sharing of information, or you can have Working Copyright. You CANNOT have both.

  • R 5:09 am on August 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP,   

    Jeremie Zimmermann: 15 years of fighting the sharing of culture in the name of an obsolete copyright regime 

    Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net sez,

    “The Internet is the place where we meet, speak, create, educate ourselves and organize. However, as we are at a turning point in early web history, it could either become a prime tool for improving our societies, knowledge and culture, or a totalitarian tool of surveillance and control. After 15 years of fighting the sharing of culture in the name of an obsolete copyright regime, governments of the World are uniting to control and censor the Internet. The black-out of the Egyptian Net, the US government’s reaction to Wikileaks, the adoption of website blocking mechanisms in Europe, or the plans for ‘Internet kill switches’ are all major threats on our freedom of expression and communication. These threats come from corporations and politicians, unsettled by the advent of the Internet.

    As a host of the G8, France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy wants to step up centralized control over the Internet. He has convened world leaders to a summit aimed at working towards a ‘civilized Internet’ a concept he borrowed from the Chinese government. By creating fears such as ‘cyber-terrorism’ their objective is to generalize rules of exception in order to establish censorship and control, thereby undermining free speech and other civil liberties. They will package this policy using words like ‘democracy’ and ‘responsibility’ but look at their acts. Sarkozy has already enabled disconnection of citizens from the Internet and the censorship of online content in France.

    The Internet allows us to express our opinions universally. The Internet unites us and makes us strong. It is a space in which the common civilisation of our diverse planet meets. Our imaginations, through all kinds of media we create and publish, help us protect our rights and a free Internet. As world leaders gather at the end of this month, we must all come together and use our creativity to reject any attempt at turning the Internet into a tool of repression and control.”


  • R 8:05 am on August 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP,   

    You can have Internet and free sharing of information, or you can have Working Copyright. You CANNOT have both. 

    Free internet is completely incompatible with working copyright. It is impossible to have both at the same time. I first read about this concept via Stephan Kinsella a while back but it took me a long time before I understood what he meant. I understand it now so I will explain.

    Copyright can only be justified if it is effective.
    In other words you need to be able to enforce it. Copyright works only if it is able to prevent your customers from redistributing their purchases (in order to achieve monopoly). Once the monopoly is attained, the copyright holder becomes the SOLE distributor which means, Every copy equals a sale. This is the defining characteristic of copyright. If it can’t do this then it isn’t even copyright anymore.

    Some legal principles will have to go.
    As of December of 2011, an estimated 2.26 billion people are now on the net (and growing exponentially). That’s 33% of the world’s population (note: 1 billion comes from Asia). So obviously ‘Due Process’ in the US must be repealed. Same with Innocent until proven Guilty (4th, 5th & 6th amendment in the US Constitution), because in order to respect these legal principles, you would need like a tenth of the world’s population to be juries or copyright lawyers just to settle all the copyright cases generated… which would be a practical impossibility. That is why those will have to go. No court hearings. No trial. Websites get automatically taken down.
    “Yes it is very important that our artists get paid. It is more important than ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.

    Abolishment of the Postal Secret.
    Enforcement of copyright REQUIRES the abolishment of the postal secret: you can’t sort legal from illegal without looking at it first, hence we will need to give up our privacy, which is a fundamental human right.
    “Yes it is very important that our artists get paid. It is more important than our human rights.

    Destruction of Free Internet
    The problem with the internet is that every computer can directly communicate with every other computer. It is arranged as a peer-to-peer network.

    In order to enforce copyright, you will need to conduct deep packet inspection. All of the transmitted data NEEDS to go through a central point, thus drastically altering the structure of the internet as to essentially ‘break’ it. In other words, it becomes like this:

    The other way is to offload the inspection work to our ISPs so as to become so prohibitively expensive to run their business that they will have to close shop. This is the only way to attain total monopoly for copyright holders (yes they’ve tried the other methods, none of them will work).

    You can have Free Internet or you can have Working Copyright. You CANNOT have both.
    Because law is not God. It is not all-powerful. You cannot make piracy disappear and then have free internet too.
    A commercial law like copyright HAS to be enforced in order to work and it has to be effective.
    If you support copyright, you support the State’s continued enforcement of copyright (until it’s not a joke) which means free internet and free sharing of information will have to go.

    Yes it’s two-step logic but not rocket science.

    Why does copyright HAVE to be enforced?
    What is the point of a copyright that isn’t enforced? What use is copyright if people I have sold to can just share their purchases with each other? The copyright holder HAS to have true monopoly in order to attain the effect of copyright.

    You must understand that when copyright was invented, they weren’t thinking about the internet, they were thinking the Printing Press. Back in the 18th century, it was possible to employ the State’s power to shut other printers down because THERE WERE SO FEW OF THEM.
    Back then, you could sue all of your competitors and have them cease operation. In 2012, you would have to sue your country’s entire population.

    In an age where desktops, laptops, phones, tablets et al have all become virtual copying machines and they’re all directly connected to each other, Copyright begins to look hilariously outdated.

    Why can’t we have Not-Working-Copyright?
    Because the pretext behind copyright says that its purpose is to create an economic incentive to creators so as to promote the progress of learning (by granting a monopoly privilege). Not only is it not achieving this economic incentive, it is in fact regressing progress because the copyright system does not exist for free. Someone has to pay for it. These expenses are shouldered by the people. They come from YOUR wallets (via taxes). See We Must Acknowledge The Costs Of Copyright. We only have a limited amount of resource to make the best of it… why can’t we send this money to public hospitals instead? (which are now severely underfunded)

    See Is There ANY Part Of The Copyright Monopoly That Meets Legislative Quality Bars? http://torrentfreak.com/is-there-any-part-of-the-copyright-monopoly-that-meets-legislative-quality-bars-120812/

    • Aaeru 3:35 pm on September 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      “… If you want, in real effects, copyright to last for even one year in the non-commercial sense, then the minimum requirement is for you to start by abolishing the internet and any other form of mass communications medium. Any restrictions you’d require to enforce non-commercial copying will have to be strict enough the communications medium simply won’t work anymore. That’s how the real world works.” – Lawrence Lessig (Founder of Creative Commons)

      “…The thing is you cannot enforce the copyright monopolies and other forms of intellectual property without looking at what people send online to each other. That is after all where these files are being shared. And if you are looking at what people are sending to each other, you are also by definition starting to limit freedom of speech. That is why you see hundreds of thousands of Europeans on the streets, rallying against what politicians thought was a done-deal. So they were taken completely by surprise, as were the American politicians with SOPA. You cannot enforce these old monopolies laws without cracking down on Fundamental Civil Rights. Which is why you are seeing entire generation rising up against these monopolies.” –
      Rick Falkvinge (Founder of the first Pirate Party)

  • R 7:16 pm on August 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP   

    How are low income workers supposed to learn the history of their class! 

    • Mushyrulez 10:42 pm on August 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Right, let’s make sure the people writing the book receive less than minimum wage for their efforts in compiling the book for everyone else to read. Knowledge is a commodity, if anybody wants to offer similar knowledge at lower costs, they can do so. They can offer it for free. But the general price of goods still operates with supply and demand – not supply in the number of copies of a book, but supply in the number of different compendiums of knowledge.

    • Aaeru 12:34 am on August 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      But the issue isn’t whether they can or cannot make their money back. Their business model seems to suggest that they’ve found a way to fund such an labour-intense piece. Well if they can fund it and recoup costs (or even profit), then all the more power to them. The issue however is that they use the government to prevent ppl who have purchased copies from sharing their purchases with others~

      They are welcome to sell it at any price they think they require to recoup costs. but just don’t use the State to kill off competitors who want to print the pieces of information youve sold them at a lower price. (…or ppl who want to share their purchases)

  • R 12:44 am on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP   

    Kevin Carson: Intellectual Property is Murder 

    “‘Data exclusivity’ is a death sentence not only for those in India who can’t afford to pay tribute to the owners of state-granted patent monopolies, but also for the people of such countries as South Africa and Brazil, where the availability of cheap medicine for treating HIV depends on the output of India’s generic drug industry.”


  • R 12:36 am on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cost of IP   

    James Boyle: What is the economic and social harm to over 1 billion people from hampered research? 

    Every year the monsoon season kills hundreds and
    causes massive property damage in South East Asia. This year, one set
    of monsoon rains alone killed 660 people in India and left 4.5 million
    homeless. Researchers seeking to predict the monsoon sought complete
    weather records from the US and from Europe so as to generate a model
    based on global weather patterns. The US data was easily and cheaply
    available at the cost of reproduction. The researchers could not
    afford to pay the price asked by the European weather services,
    precluding the “ensemble” analysis they sought to do. Weiss asks
    rhetorically “What is the economic and social harm to over 1 billion
    people from hampered research?” In the wake of the outpouring of
    sympathy for the tsunami victims in the same region, this example
    seems somehow even more tragic.

    • James Boyle


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