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 ftp.luth.se 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:
- first, there is no theft-proof system. There never was and there never will be. You will never design a hacker-proof system.
- society isn't based on guarantees. Civil society is based on making it more painful for criminals to commit crime than not. You don't ever have 100% protection; you just stack the odds sufficiently in your favor. Note that locks on houses are unnatural and artifical, just as patents or IP laws are.
- when you recognize that security is not a function of the system, but rather a function of the artificial barriers that you place in front of a would-be thief, IP seems pretty natural.
- the strong get stronger, the weak get weaker. every change is lauded as an opportunity for the weak to gain the upper hand, but the strong always seem to find even greater opportunity in the change. people who always attempt to get things for free end up poor.
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.
There are responses to this message:
- Re: Oops, you missed some things!, William Crim, 9/2/2000; 7:36:44 PM
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