Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Oops, you missed some things!

Author:Joshua Allen
Posted:9/2/2000; 5:11:41 AM
Topic:The Lie of "IP"
Msg #:20739 (In response to 20705)
Prev/Next:20738 / 20740

Well, I am 25, and a napster user, and my first daughter is due in 2 months, so the scenario you describe is quite relevant to me :-) I also have a background as a "computer security hobbyist" ala Phrack Magazine circa 1991 (meaning I am a contemporary of the phrase 'information wants to be free') and I was downloading free music from almost ten years ago. So trust me -- I do understand where you and your gameboy-pirating friend are coming from. I once spent countless hours figuring out how to duplicate nintendo cartridges. And you know, I hate it when people tell me, "oh, you'll see", so I promise I won't do that to you.

My experience leads me to some fairly firm conclusions:

So getting back to your argument, I do not believe I am confusing things. Lack of will on the part of the consumer is fairly irrelevant if the producer insists on producing with built-in security. (and once again, this is not artificial scarcity -- if the consumer is willing to buy it, there is no scarcity). In other words, it does not matter how many people believe that a thing SHOULD be free. The law of voluntary exchange says that I will give you my thing only at the price that I feel is fair. If you demand it for free, you will go without. This has nothing to do with enforcement -- this is a side-effect of knowing that my works will be stolen. There is no incentive to produce if I know that my work will be stolen.

And you are missing another very important point. It is trivial to design a system where IP can be distributed and charged for, without detracting from the simplicity of the user experence.

Of course, if you are anything like me, there is very little chance that I have convinced you. Your agreement with me would be guaranteed if you arrive at these conclusions independently, with your own reasons. So please consider this post a clarification of my own POV.


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