Tagged: Rick Falkvinge Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • R 3:05 pm on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rick Falkvinge   

    The copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights. 

    Misconception number five goes back to the original point of the copyright monopoly being described as “property”. After point four, we observe that the copyright monopoly is a limitation of property rights. This is a point important enough in itself to list as a fifth misconception: property rights and the copyright monopoly don’t and can’t coexist peacefully. The copyright monopoly actively limits property rights.

    Thus, if you take your stance in the safeguarding and upholding of property rights, you cannot defend the copyright monopoly and its limitation of said property rights. That’s like defending death penalty for murder with the justification that all life is sacred. There may be other justifications – but that particular piece of logic just doesn’t connect.

  • R 3:04 pm on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rick Falkvinge   

    When buying a book or a DVD, it becomes your property in full. 

    I have seen some people argue that when you buy a book or DVD, you don’t actually own it; that you would somehow pay money to license a set of rights that include the right to sit down and enjoy its entertainment, but would not include the right to copy it. This is factually and legally wrong. When you buy media, you buy the whole media. It becomes your property in full, including everything encoded onto it.

    So if it’s your property, why can’t you copy it freely? That’s because another law – the copyright monopoly – steps in and explicitly takes away those rights from you in regards to your own property. Specifically, the U.S. law (which will have to serve as example again) lists six specific actions that people may not take on their own property, but that are reserved for the holder of the copyright monopoly: see [USC Section 17, chapter 1, para 106]

    Very, very clear. Six specific actions in the law that are reserved for the holder of the copyright monopoly, regardless of whose property it is.

    But we observe here, going back to the original erroneous assertion, that if you were only sold a limited set of rights that did not include copying when buying a book or a DVD, the above piece of law would be wholly unnecessary. It wouldn’t make sense at all. Therefore, the conclusion is trivial that the assertion is wrong to begin with.

    When you buy a book, a DVD, or something similar, you obtain full property rights to it, including the right to produce as many copies as you wish in any way you like. But then, another law steps in – the law text quoted above – and takes away those six rights from you, the property owner.

    This is an important distinction, as these are rights that are perfectly normal for property, and the copyright monopoly creates an exception to your normal property rights.

    • Rick Falkvinge


  • R 3:02 pm on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rick Falkvinge   

    Rick Falkvinge: Copying something outside the monopoly channels is not “taking without paying”. It is manufacturing. 

    The third misconception is that violating the copyright monopoly is just like “walking into a store and taking things without paying”. This argument, which is wrong on every possible level, is inexplicably still heard 25 years after the public debate started.

    Making copies isn’t taking anything in the first place. You are not taking anything without paying, you are manufacturing something without paying the monopoly holder. This is completely different conceptually and morally.

    When you are making a copy of media that is under the copyright monopoly, you are not taking property from anybody else. You are using your own property – your computer and gadgets, presumably – to manufacture a copy of a file. That’s not “taking” anything. That’s manufacturing something using your own time and resources. Those are two completely different concepts.

    You are not taking something without paying. You are manufacturing something without paying protection money to a monopoly holder, which sounds much less wrong than “taking” things. When using proper language, it becomes all the clearer how this monopoly is in all the trouble it should be in.

    It is all in the language. Compare the following four sentences:

    • “He downloaded a copy of Avengers for free.”
    • “He got a copy of Avengers without paying for it.”
    • “He manufactured a copy of Avengers for free.”
    • “He made a copy of Avengers without paying for it.”

    Rick Falkvinge

  • R 11:23 pm on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rick Falkvinge   

    Why Do Copyright Monopolists Think They Can Just Take Somebody Else’s Work? 

    Why Do Copyright Monopolists Think They Can Just Take Somebody Else’s Work?

    Copyright monopolists insist on the idea of controlling the fruits of other people’s labor, such as when other people copy a particular file. This attitude is offensive, insulting, and antithetical to a free market.

    copyright-brandedThe famous philosopher John Locke once published the idea that a person has the right to profit off of the fruits of their labor.

    This is only partially true. Once you have sold something, you hold no further rights to profit off of it. This is fairly obvious, but needs to be stated for context.

    An entrepreneur can sell one or both of two things: you can sell products, and you can sell services. If somebody decides to make shiny things and sell them, they have a right to profit off the fruit of that labor – but only up until the point where they sell the shiny things. Their ownership of the shiny thing, and their right to profit, ends the second the item is sold to somebody. Conversely, if somebody decides to sell their time in selling services, their right to profit ends the second they stop working for the person they have sold their time to.

    In geek terms, entrepreneurship is finding a value differential in society, constructing a conduit between the two endpoints and sticking a generator in the middle of the conduit. Profit ensues from the generator until the value differential has equalized to the point where the pressure is no longer sufficient to overcome the resistance of the generator, at which point the conduit stops working.

    This is how a free market works, and it is regarded as the foundation of our economy. However, copyright monopolists are trying their hardest to muddle this simple and fundamental principle, by claiming a continued kind of ownership even after something is sold. That’s not how a market works. That’s a monopoly. That’s harmful. That’s bad.

    We have indeed observed before how the copyright monopoly stands in direct opposition to property rights, sabotaging this foundation of our economy and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship.

    So for the sake of argument, let’s assume I am given a copy of the movie The Avengers by somebody. It is one of many copies. There are many ones like it, but this one is mine. It is my property in all its aspects.

    However, copyright monopolists would argue that they should continue to control my property. This is not just strange, but offensive. Even worse, when I do some labor on my own property, such as executing a “copy file” command on it, the copyright monopolists claim they should control that labor too – as well as the fruits of it. This is outrageous and has me fuming over their arrogance.

    When I manufacture another copy of The Avengers using my own property and my own labor, copyright monopolists somehow believe they have a right to the fruits of my labor. I find that idea offensive and insulting.

    It is true that the ease of my labor depends on many people having worked on other things before me. However, this is true with all entrepreneurship. My ability to copy a particular file depends not just on those who created the file, but also on those who invented electricity generators, the modern graphics card, the keyboard, wire insulation, storage media, networking protocols, and many, many other things. This is as ancient as Rome: entrepreneurship has always built on the already-performed work of others, and one set of previous such entrepreneurs do obviously not get any kind of special privileges on a functioning market.

    Anybody is free to create shiny things, but their ownership over the shiny thing stops the instant they sell it. That’s how a market works. Claiming control over the fruits of other people’s labor, such as when somebody makes a copy of a file using their own property, is deeply, deeply immoral.

    • Rick Falkvinge


  • R 2:53 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Rick Falkvinge   

    Rick Falkvinge: It’s Time To Debunk The Myth That Copyright Is Needed To Make Money – Or That It Even Makes Money 

    Myth: If you take away the copyright monopoly, there’s no way for artists to make money.

    Fact: This is a very odd myth, given that the old gatekeeper system was the poster child of keeping skilled artists away from any form of income. Under the “sign-a-record-deal-or-remain-poor system”, 99% of artists didn’t get record deals with the abusive record industry – and out of those who did, 99.5% never saw a cent in royalties. Thus, we are moving away from a system that deliberately kept 99.995% of artists without any form of regular income for artistry.

    Observing that, I find it preposterous to claim that any shift towards a more inclusive system without those gatekeepers will somehow “take away the possibility of making money for artists”, especially given that the now-obsolete gatekeepers took 93% of the cut, on average, for the 0.005% that did make money in this system. Eliminate those gatekeepers and those 93% of the money go to artists instead – or at least, a significantly larger portion of it.

    Myth: The copyright monopoly is an essential source of income to artists today.

    Fact: Out of the money spent on culture, a mere 2% (yes, two per cent) make it to individual artists through mechanisms of the copyright monopoly. This was studied in-depth in Sweden by Ulf Pettersson in 2006 (link to article, direct link to study, both in Swedish), who concluded that the vast majority of artists get their income from other means – everything from a day job to student loans.

    Myth: The copyright industry is vital to the economy overall.

    Fact: The “copyright industry” is deliberately measured in a thoroughly deceptive way that borders on ridicule. According to WIPO’s guidelines as to what should be included when calculating the size of the “copyright industry”, we find everything from paper pulp manufacturing, to kitchen appliance retail sales, to shoemaking (WIPO 2003, via Pettersson’s paper above). If you include practically every part of the economy in group X, and then claim that group X is a vital part of the economy, then it’s going to look like you’re right. Just don’t get caught looking silly when it turns out how you selected that X, and that there’s no correlation at all with what you’re really talking about – the industries benefiting from the copyright monopoly, which are about one-tenth the size of those being held back by it. Want to create jobs? Kill the monopoly.

    Myth: With free sharing, nobody will spend money on entertainment.

    Fact: The household expenditure on culture has increased, year by year, since the advent of large-scale file-sharing with Napster in 1999. (According to some reports, it’s constant – but none claim it’s falling.) It’s true, however, that record sales are slumping and falling through the floor. This fact is excellent news for musicians, who don’t need to rely on middlemen who take 93% of the cut, and have instead seen their own income rise by 114% in the same time period.

    Myth: Without the incentive of possibly getting money, nobody will go into artistry and create.

    Fact: People create despite the copyright monopoly, not because of it. YouTube sees 72 hours of video uploaded every minute. Arguably, most of it will remain unseen, but there are certainly gems in there. Also, the argument is bunk from the simple observation that there is a vast oversupply of artists compared to what the market will hold: you can easily find a professional accountant who picks up an electric guitar in their spare time for a bit of relaxation, but show me one single professional guitarist who relaxes with a bit of bookkeeping in their spare time.

    GNU/Linux and Wikipedia are two excellent counterpoints that shatters this weird myth. The dominant operating system and dominant encyclopedia was created by unpaid volunteers. (When I say that GNU/Linux is “dominant”, I include the Android derivative, just for the record.)

    We have created since we learned to put red paint on the inside of cave walls, not because of the possibility of making money, but because of who we are, because of how we are wired. (Usually, people who are into life for the money don’t go into artistry in the first place. They go to law school or medical school. There’s a reason for the parents’ face of despair when their child says they’ve decided to be a poet for a living.)

    The myth that the copyright monopoly is needed for any kind of artistry to make money, or even to happen in the first place, is an obscene myth perpetuated by those who have something to gain from skimming off 90% of the artists’ money by denying them an audience in an old-style racketeering.

    Can we please move on now?


  • R 8:17 am on September 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rick Falkvinge   

    The Legacy Entertainment Industry’s Business Model: Charge A Ridiculous Markup On The ‘Copy File’ Command 

    Rick Falkvinge: “Increasingly, the copyright industry has tried to assert that “the free market will sort it out” in the field of culture sharing. The problem is that the copyright industry’s monopolized view is anything but a fair and free market.

    The copyright industry likes to pretend that making copies is somehow “stealing” and that on a fair and free market, everybody would be forced to buy from them. As is obvious to everybody else, this is the complete opposite of a fair and free market.

    When somebody buys something, no matter what, they own it. They have the right to do pretty much anything with it, they have the right to perform work on the object they have bought. Such work includes duplicating the object that you own; on a fair and free market, such duplication work is an offering like any other that competes with other people performing a duplication of the object in question.

    In culture sharing, people perform this work for free for one another – duplicate files for one another – as a good social deed, just like helping anybody else out with your own time is a good deed. (The copyright industry tries to vilify this activity as somehow being immoral and unfair, which completely misses the positive social mechanisms of good people helping friends and strangers alike, and only makes the copyright industry appear absurd, anachronistic, and downright evil.)

    Thus, the copyright industry deliberately confuses the goods that they offer for sale with the service of duplication, which is a completely different kind of offering. The service of duplication is what’s on an immoral, anachronistic monopoly, not the goods themselves.

    On a fair, free market, anybody is able to perform this work, as well as offer it for sale if they think their particular duplicative work is cost-effective.

    However, the copyright industry has the audacity and the entitlement to call out people who compete with them for this service as “thieves”, “immoral”, and “unjust”. That can only come from living in a complete world of denial and entitlement.

    In a fair and free market, competitiveness rules, and nobody has a monopoly – such as the copyright monopoly – on doing a particular kind of work, like duplication of a specific object. If somebody else can duplicate your original at a lower cost than yourself, then you weren’t able to compete and you’ll find yourself out of business. That’s called marginal cost – that competition takes place on the additional cost of every product once the investments are made, on the cost of duplicating an original – and that’s how the market works for all products in fair and free markets. It’s actually Economics 101.

    In my world, and in a fair and free market, any entrepreneur or executive that claims a moral right to prohibit others by law from competing with them can fuck off and die.

    Further, our economy works by people specializing, and paying each other for work that somebody else does more efficiently. If an electrician is better at wiring my home than I am, then I have the option of paying such a craftsman for his/her time, rather than spending my own time. That’s why we evolve as an economy and a civilization.

    The competition in the copyright monopoly and culture-sharing field is about who executes the “copy file” command the most cost-efficiently. That is largely a pointless debate, as the cost of executing a “copy file” command is trillionths of a cent – nobody would buy it from anybody, as everybody can do it themselves. Claiming a legal right to charge a premium of a gazillion percent over and above the real cost of this service is absurd and macroeconomically counterproductive.

    The copyright monopoly only serves to protect the past from the future, and it is the antithesis of a fair and free market, as are all monopolies.

    Original: http://falkvinge.net/2012/09/03/a-fair-free-market-or-the-copyright-monopoly/
    Techdirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120904/01443220262/legacy-entertainment-industrys-business-model-charge-ridiculous-markup-copy-file-command.shtml

  • R 3:24 pm on September 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rick Falkvinge   

    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 8:21 am on August 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rick Falkvinge   

    How are Artists supposed to turn a profit if they cannot build on work that has been made? 

    How are Artists supposed to turn a profit if they cannot build on existing work that has already been made? Copyright forces everyone (everyone who is poor) to create the same damn material that has already been made, which means it is Even-Harder-To-Profit. This idea that ‘copyright helps artists profit’ is moot if it is simultaneously raising the cost of their expression GREATLY.

    “Almost all the world’s new creators are already working in the new paradigm; creating DESPITE the copyright monopoly, rather than because of it.”

    • Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first pirate party

    Also see Copyright RESERVES culture for an Elite. AND Intellectual Property is Fraud (Part 3)

  • R 7:33 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rick Falkvinge   

    Rick Falkvinge: We are giving people Hope 

    “We are giving people hope – for they see that they need no longer sit down and accept things as they are. We are showing people that they have the power in their own hands to change things. 250 million Europeans who share culture with the world are not a problem; they are a power base of 250 million voters. If they are being painted as a problem, we are showing that they can and should vote the real problem – the old politicians – out of a job.
    We are giving people faith – for they see that in the twilight of democracy, where our children’s liberties are being sold to the highest corporate bidder, the system still works and can rescue and repair itself from within.”

    “And perhaps most importantly, we are giving people respect. There is nothing shameful about the connected lifestyle that the net generation lives by, and if the old politicians feel threatened by it and the transparency it demands, people do not need to accept the bad attitude from these politicians. The net generation has every right to demand respect for themselves as citizens, even if it means that the old politicians lose control. That’s part of our gift to the world – of what we share with the world.
    So fair winds, my friends. I am honored to call myself your colleague. I am overjoyed at the opportunity to be part of this journey to change the world for the better. I am proud to be a pirate.”

    • Rick Falkvinge
  • R 7:02 pm on July 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rick Falkvinge   

    Rick Falkvinge 

    “I sometimes say that the copyright monopoly can roughly be divided into two halves. The first half is harmful, the other half is useless. I’m focusing on getting rid of the harmful, then for the next generation to get rid of the useless. As for the patent monopolies, there’s nothing but harmful.”

    • Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party

    He cites the Overton Window for crafting his policies for the party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc