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Richard Stallman Talks On Copyright Vs. the People

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the it-takes-a-village dept.

Communications 329

holden writes "Richard M. Stallman recently gave a talk entitled Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks to the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club. The talk looks at the origin of copyright, and how it has evolved over time from something that originally served the benefit of the people to a tool used against them. In keeping with his wishes to use open formats, the talk and QA are available in ogg theora only."

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anime industry (1)

LordoftheWoods (831099) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924059)

What's with that guy who asks Stallman if he's familiar with the anime industry?

Re:anime industry (5, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924107)

Because the anime industry is one of those really quirky things where they let fans do things which is against the law.

Fansubbing is illegal the way it's most often done. They pirate TV programs with added text and then give them to hundreds or thousands of people. Now the companies could start being assholes and try to shut these groups down, but instead they have a gentleman's contract. Subbers stop subbing when a series is licenced and a blind eye is turned to the subbers.

In this way companies learn what is popular and get free market research, fans get what they want when they want it and then in an ideal world the fans buy the official releases to support the original companies and the ones who licenced the anime.

So basically, it's a good way to show copyright isn't always the answer. If you allow people leeway they will repay you back at a later date by supporting you. One could argue fansubs work as the perfect advertisement for merchandise to people outside of Japan and if copyright was put down on it, it would hurt the industry more than if they ignore it. :)

So anime is a good example of copyright done correctly in a lot of people's opinion.

Re:anime industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924173)

Do you have any evidence that fansubbing is financially beneficial to the companies that make and produce anime, or are you just making stuff up because you want it to be true?

Re:anime industry (3, Informative)

jason.stover (602933) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924275)

Well, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have actually bought multiple different anime series after downloading and liking them.

And actually on some of them, the fan subbing is a hell of a lot better than the actual subtitles on the DVD. I mean, common, if the characters say a name (in English even), then should the subtitle not reflect what was said? Or they could at least be consistent in the same conversation and keep the same name on what they are talking about.

Well, guess we can not expect a company to actually do something sane...

Re:anime industry (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924695)

I too have bought many an anime after having first sampled them for free via fansubs. I also hear plenty of anecdotal evidence that many other people do the same. It's basically impossible to get any hard numbers on how much good fansubbing ultimately does for the industry, but my general impression (as someone who frequents multiple anime forums, one of which belongs to an anime distributor, and sells anime and manga for a living) is that it is more good than harm, by a pretty decent margin.

But fansubs being a hell of a lot better than proper DVD subs? No way. The way you're describing the DVD subtitles though, it sounds suspiciously like you've been buying Hong Kong bootlegged DVDs, in which case you gain absolutely zero karma points for having bought the show after watching it fansubbed.

Re:anime industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924181)

It's important to note, some anime (YuGiOh, Pokemon, some retarded thing about Top [toy] fighting) aren't even about making money on the anime itself, but the products they market.

Free advertising.

Re:anime industry (1)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924227)

The thing is, this whole example relies on the copyright holder's use of discretion. Most people don't exercise discretion, because they just want money.

Re:anime industry (1)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924247)

but, if the discretion would net them more money, why wouldn't they then exercise that level of discretion?

Re:anime industry (2, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924399)

it's the goose that lays the golden egg syndrome... quick cash is better than become established and making more cash over time in the minds of most companies.

Re:anime industry (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924255)

The other thing they tend to do is allow fan-authored fiction more than other TV and related media groups. My fiancee is in the fanfic scene, and a lot of areas are *much* more restrictive than Anime. Some Anime even pays very small amounts to authors as they realise that it's almost-free advertising.

If only other companies could take similarly enlightened views.

That's how I bought fraps. (3, Interesting)

bronney (638318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924323)

If you allow people leeway they will repay you back at a later date by supporting you.

That's exactly how I bought fraps. When it first came out I was a poor student and couldn't afford the proggy. But I've tried it and it just kicks ass.

Years later, when I become a poor designer, I shelled out the $40, and send the author a mail giving props. If I had never tried fraps I bet I would just pirate it to "see" how good it is and ended up not paying. But to revisit the site after all these years and see this guy still at it, with a lifetime upgrade, that $40 was one of the best $40 I've spent on useful stuff. Even more useful now with youtube.

The same can be said for Wii. I am in Hong Kong and I can pirate the Wii like no tomorrow, but I chose not to in order to thank nintendo. After all these years of being the underdog, the big N never gave up on us and made something truly new. I don't even play much on it, but it's a good feeling.

Re:That's how I bought fraps. (3, Interesting)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924663)

We have a very similar setup at Caravel Games [caravelgames.com] . Our product, the DROD series, started as an open source remake of a closed-source game, but as we eventually gathered enough fans clamouring for a sequel we found that we couldn't sell what we'd worked on without breaking the license, as it was built on the top of the open source engine.

What we ended up doing is something rather unique: we sell the content we create, levels, voice acting, so on and so forth, and the game engine (including the editor we used to make the game) is free. Because DROD is a niche game that doesn't appeal to everybody, this works out well: players can play and create user-made levels to their heart's content, and most will enjoy the game enough to want to see 'everything', and to support the creators, so they'll pay for the stuff we create. It also helps build a community around the game. (We also let people get full versions of the game for other operating systems for free for the same reason - they've paid for the content, not the code they play it on.)

Re:anime industry (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924601)

Now the companies could start being assholes and try to shut these groups down, but instead they have a gentleman's contract.

There is no such gentleman's agreement. The owners of the copyrighted works despise fansubbing, and the companies that license the distribution rights overseas despise them even more. There have been enough instances where producers and artists have openly said that they don't approve of fansubbing. The only reason fansubbers haven't been sued by the japanese distributors is because they realise they would gain very little compared to the time and effort wasted.

Subbers stop subbing when a series is licenced and a blind eye is turned to the subbers.

Biggest load of bull ever. Fansubbers don't always stop, they officially stop when the company that licensed it sends them a cease and desist. That's what happened when Viz picked up Death Note. What happened after the C&D was that the people originally subbing it, changed their name and continued to sub it.

In this way companies learn what is popular and get free market research,

I think companies get a reasonable amount of fan research from the original market already. What's popular in Japan is bound to be popular with the non-japanese anime fans if it isn't too localized (eg. containing jokes that are very culturally dependent). Market research isn't that expensive by the way that companies would start depending on fansubbers to do it for them.

in an ideal world the fans buy the official releases to support the original companies and the ones who licenced the anime.

In an ideal world, yes... In our world, the words "lol 'buy'" come to mind. You could start by arguing that those people were never going to buy it in the first place, but that's beside the point really. Fansubbing is a copyright violation, and it is viewed as such, but not actively pursued because it simply wouldn't be advantageous for the original copyright owner. There is more money to be made by selling the rights to an overseas distributor and let them deal with the lawsuits, than by trying to squeeze a few cents out of a college student. Fansubbers that stop distributing once it's licensed by an american company don't get C&Ds or lawsuits because they acquired the rights after the fansubbing took place.

In short, fansubbers aren't as "tolerated" as you would argue, they just aren't worth investing time and money in yet.

oh boy (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924061)

600+ megs linked off the front page.. you must hate these guys.

Re:oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924085)

Slashdotters do not even read articles and now we're expected to download 600+ megs of soundclips and listen through them to form an opinion? How about an excert or something for fucks sake.

Re:oh boy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924105)

Did you notice it was hosted by a computer club at the university? I bet they want some excuses for the university to give them upgraded bandwidth for their club server(s)... and putting 600MB files on the front page of slashdot should get them... hmmm... 2 x 1gbit links?

Good plan!

Mirror of .torrent file (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924527)

The site's gone down, so here's a copy of the torrent file:

rms-talk.ogg.torrent [ic.ac.uk]

I didn't get the Q&A torrent.

Whoa! SPEED! (2)

Alphager (957739) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924613)

That torrent saturated my 100Mbit connection... Will keep on seeding.

Cowboy Neal, deep fried at 71... (0, Offtopic)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924065)

I just saw some sad news on the tube: Because of Manuel Uribe's stealing him the title of world fattest man [youtube.com] , Cowboy Neal decided to end the madness and dived in a deep fryer hoping he'd at least be appreciated by his obese overlord. Truely a greasy icon.

stallman rools. linus drools! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924077)

stallman rools. linus drools!

GNU forever!

You see, there's these corporations... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924081)

...and they act all corporationy.

Apparently there aren't people involved. Just faceless corporations. It's so much easier to raise up some good old fashioned rabble that way, I suppose.

Re:You see, there's these corporations... (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924249)

Apparently there aren't people involved. Just faceless corporations.
Look into the eyes of your fur coat.

Re:You see, there's these corporations... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924289)

I see where you are coming from. But at the same point in time, most publicly traded companies are required to maximize profits, and if the directors don't do so they can get in a lot of trouble over that.

One thing I don't get... (2, Insightful)

ameyer17 (935373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924087)

Why is there no transcript? I'm not saying I couldn't download the video and watch it, but I'd rather not spend at least an hour downloading it and then have to watch it.

Re:One thing I don't get... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924199)

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/copyright-versus-com munity.html [gnu.org]

That is dated from 2000 with the same topic title for the talk... is he just reciting this old talk?

The transcript also seems to indicate laughter within the audience. I call FAKE on this.

Re:One thing I don't get... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924343)

That is dated from 2000 with the same topic title for the talk... is he just reciting this old talk?

That's not fair, he's been reciting the same old talk for much longer than that.

Re:One thing I don't get... (0, Troll)

rs79 (71822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924291)

Ogg what? Jesus there's a gopher link on that page I can't open either.

I'm not saying I'd download the talk if it were mpg or something (although I could, with ease) but it seems to me anybody that wants to get their message out might on a serious basis might want to investigate a little thing we used to call "text".

Re:One thing I don't get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924407)

for someone who claims to love text so much theres a spelling mistake on your webpage. I'm assuming you mean "had" instead of ahd

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924635)

Text is just better for this sort of thing.

If there was a text version of the talk, we could get the gist of it in a few minutes. It would also use much less bandwidth, and I'd be able to read it at work!

Stallman is an interesting guy. But I've heard his talks before, and he tends to say the same things over and over. I doubt his position on copyright has changed since his last talk. So I'm not downloading and watching the video unless I know there's a specific reason to do so. And unfortunately, I will never know.

By all means, provide a video link, but lets have a text version too. If I wanted to watch the news I'd turn on the TV.

choice of license (1, Insightful)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924109)

I find his choice of CC license odd given his talk.... He spends most of the time talking about the importance of derivative works, but then releases his talk under a no-derivatives license. Oh well :(

Re:choice of license (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924111)

He talking about the importance of derivative works for some works. Typically, functional works.

Re:choice of license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924171)

When I read your post I thought that, but I think that you are wrong (which means I'm casting aspersions on the modding as well)... The page only seems to mention the license twice, and there not a "non-derivative" type licence anyway...

Re:choice of license (2, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924237)

He probably don't want his detractors to have fun cutting something together from the clip that gives people the impression that he said things he didn't say. For recorded speeches, this is a very reasonable demand.

Re:choice of license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924283)

When the work is a opinion talk it is obvious because don't use derivative license.

I attended (4, Informative)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924161)

Am happy to say: I was there! :)

It was a good lecture, Stallman has some interesting ideas on what should be done. In particular he talks about how society and copyright never clashed before as the public never had the ability to create commercial grade copies of content (before the advent of the PC). He then goes on to explain a way that copyright can be reformed, including some possible categories for works (based upon their usefulness and application within society). Bit of a spoiler: the works that are instructional (cook books, car manuals, GNU+Linux howtos etc.) should be totally Free, but art for arts sake should have a 5-10 year copyright. There are many more details that you should watch the video to find out about (plus my memory of the event is a little vague and the video hasn't downloaded yet).

The talk drifted at the start and in the middle, with blather about GNU+Linux and the evils of Vista; although some of the Vista evils are on-topic, Stallman did lose his way a bit on the subject. Otherwise it was damn good, well worth going to and/or watching on your OGG player!

Re:I attended (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924189)

In particular he talks about how society and copyright never clashed before as the public never had the ability to create commercial grade copies of content (before the advent of the PC).

What does that mean? The public certainly had the opportunity to make commercial-grade copies of content before the advent of the PC, as American publishers routinely mass-produced books which proved popular in England. Even in ancient Rome there was the production of commercial-grade copies, when the recitals of popular poets were transcribed, copied out by slaves, and sold in the marketplace.

Re:I attended (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924217)

The mainstream public.. not publishers, you and me.

Re:I attended (1, Troll)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924245)

The mainstream public.. not publishers, you and me.

Publishing used to be much cheaper than it is now. Tsvetaeva and Whitman, just to name two poets of yore, had the first printings of their poetry done at their own expense, since the price was low. If the common man say a profit in reproducing something, he could easily undertake it.

Re:I attended (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924269)

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, if any.

Re:I attended (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924287)

The point is that copying without permission of the copyright holder has been around in the West since Gutenburg (and, when forced labour was widely available, in Rome as well). It didn't just come into being with the invention of the PC.

Re:I attended (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924305)

No-one said it did.

The argument RMS puts forward is that Copyright was a good deal for the public when the only people it affected was a small percentage of the population.. when it was seen as a restriction on trade. Now, with the PC, we all copy, all the time and Copyright is just in the way. It's no longer just a restriction on trade.. it's a restriction on private acts and requires intrusive policing to enforce.

Re:I attended (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924451)

Commercial grade copies made by the public have always been possible to make a few years after the medium came about that the originals were made in. PCs didn't change that trend - people are inventive, curious and resourceful. That's why governments put printers under control (not the contraptions, the people), and made _them_ responsible for not breaking any laws (of copyright, vulgarity, counterfeiting, etc.). Luckily, there were always countries about with less severe, or different laws. IIRC, Ulysses was printed in France first, for example.

Re:I attended (2)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924593)

Commercial grade copies made by the public have always been possible to make a few years after the medium came about that the originals were made in. PCs didn't change that trend

Maybe they didn't change the trend, but they certainly made it orders of magnitude easier to 'manufacture' (cp or right-click Copy) works.

That's why governments put printers under control (not the contraptions, the people)

That's the point though: not everyone owned their own printing press. While publishing may have been cheap it was also trivial to find who is making illegal copies of others works. Now it's like everyone has a printing and CD presses in their homes. Before computers and the Internet, very few people had the means to copy and distribute books, music and video, now they do. That is Stallman's point: copyright is standing between people and their desire to share stuff they like. It needs to be changed, not to fit the budgets of media corporations, but to meet the needs of society.

Re:I attended (0, Troll)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924645)

Right clicking doesn't get you a printed CD inside a nice smelling jewel case though, and government control of printing presses was mostly relinquished by the middle of the twentieth century. Printers (the contraptions, that is) these days are much more nefarious; they print yellow dots on your paper to identify you.

Re:I attended (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924333)

but art for arts sake should have a 5-10 year copyright

That's nice. Would it be OK for him if I pushed for an artificial limit on some of the clauses in the GPL as well?

Re:I attended (3, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924415)

Copyrights ARE artificial limits... whether they be five years or fifty years after the author's death. Nothing is natural about copyright. It's an unnatural legal construct that's quite unintuitive. That's why we need organizations like the RIAA to educate children about the importance of copyright.

It's more a matter of being fair (and practical). Copyright doesn't loose value like material property. With copyright people can still make money off of work they have long since done. It's bizarre. Laws are easy to create, and the non-power brokers like me have no defacto say. Five years is plenty fair IMHO for getting paid for (in some cases a few hours worth of work), over and over again for the rest of one's life.

I'm sure, all-things-being-equal, RMS wouldn't mind having an "artificial limit" placed on the GPL, but that would be assuming a fair and equal playing field.

Re:I attended (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924471)

Five years is plenty fair IMHO for getting paid for (in some cases a few hours worth of work), over and over again for the rest of one's life.

I'm not sure I follow. Are you speaking out of personal experience? What or who decides what is "plenty fair"?

I don't necessarily disagree that copyright is broken, but I see way too many of these "X should be Y" opinions, and I don't think the people who write them understand IP or copyright law other than to claim they don't like it for one reason or another.

Re:I attended (2, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924595)

What or who decides what is "plenty fair"?

Good question. I know it's not me. In the US it's members of congress who get lobbied by the copyright holders (which usually aren't even the creators of the work, but just the marketers). Yes "five years is plenty fair" is a bit flippant, but think of it more as an example of something that is MORE fair than, say, fifty or 70 years after an authors death. 10 years maybe, or even 20? ... I'm just aiming at something a little more realistic and intuitive than what the current trend is, which is making copyright laws even MORE bizarre and unintuitive... like charging restaurants for having background music; something that was taken for granted just a few years ago.

Whew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924375)

I was little worried to read "bit of a spoiler"... You may recall that when the sixth Harry Potter book came out back in '05, Stallman decided that the best way to fight copyright was to post a bunch of Harry Potter spoilers without any warnings on the FSF web pages.

If the DMCA had been up for a vote, I would've been tempted to support it just to spite that guy.

For all you Windows users (5, Informative)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924165)

VLC is just one player that can play Oggs, download it free here [videolan.org] .

If someone did an ogg vorbis (just the sound) that would be good for us to listen to on the go, the main video file is 686.3 MB which would mean I would have to ditch a lot of stuff to get it on my rockbox.

Re:For all you Windows users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924371)

For embedded use in firefox, on linux, mplayer works better IMHO.

If on debian:
apt-get install mozilla-mplayer

If you use Iceweasel, you then link the files in usr/lib/mozilla/plugins to the folder usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins or it wont work.

nothing new under the Sun (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924177)

RMS gave the same speech [cybuild.com] two years ago in Bulgaria.

UW University students' counterpoint (4, Insightful)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924183)

Not everyone who saw the lecture agreed with the contents. A counterpoint can be found here. [slashdot.org]

I didn't write that counterpoint, but there's one thing the author and I agree on: Richard Stallman is a lot more crazy in person. One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software. Stallman didn't really give him an answer, he just told the student that he didn't have to go to school, and he had no right to release closed source software in an attempt to earn money. Stallman has compared closed source software to "a crime against humanity", yes?

I talked to Stallman after the lecture. I asked him how he paid the mortgage after leaving MIT in 1984. He said that that he's never had a mortgage and "he lives cheaply". I later heard that he basically squatted on the MIT campus.

See, here's the problem with Stallman's philosophies: they're highly incompatible with the status quo, and there's no clear path for change. If you want people to do $Y instead of $X, $Y has to be relatively pin-compatible with $X. Telling people to write free software is well and good, but your paradigm isn't going to have much success if it also requires programmers to buy a house, get married, and otherwise have a normal life.

On a related note, I also asked Stallman what he thought of the wedding photography industry. For those of you who don't know, typical wedding photographers cost over a thousand dollars, show up at your wedding to take pictures, and then make you pay through the nose for prints. They don't even give you the copyright, if you want more prints you have to go back to the photographer! One must shop around to find a photographer who'll actually give you the digital originals. Anyway, I asked Stallman if he thought this was analogous to what was happening in the software world, and he said no. He thought closed source software was a greater imposition on freedom than holding wedding memories hostage.

The man is too close to his particular pet cause.

D'oh! Wrong link! (3, Informative)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924201)

Please kindly ignore the incorrect link. The correct one is here. [uwaterloo.ca] (Damn tabs)

"Counterpoint" (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924689)

It's not much of a counterpoint, since this guy basically argues that programmers should be able to get paid for their work (something that noone really contested) not that SW should be closed (which would be a real counterpoint).
The lack of copyright and programming as a profitable business are not the same. You can find examples of copyrighted programs failing to bring in any money (just ask shareware authors) and there are programmers who are paid to work on copyleft stuff (I would venture to guess that most of the Linux code submitted lately is written by professionals paid to do so).

Sure, you can argue that copyright is a useful tool when it comes to bringing together supply and demand on the marketplace but it would be foolish to state that it is the only possible method to do so.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (4, Funny)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924257)

Also, that should read, "also requires programmers to not buy a house, get married, and otherwise have a normal life." This is what happens when Slashdot posts are written in haste at four in the morning.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (2, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924349)

If your posting on Slashdot at four in the morning I can see why you get confused about the whole get married/buy a house thing.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

ascendant (1116807) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924417)

What are you talking about? It just turned 4 a few minutes ago!

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0, Flamebait)

k-lisper (1112631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924279)

It is simple - Stallman is a communist. His ideas for free software have nothing to do with freedom, but with the denial of the private property. Whereas the private property is in the foundations of the democracy.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924377)

Are you saying that only people that own property should be allowed to vote?

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0, Troll)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924411)

Keep in mind that he's communist only in the sense that he believes there is (or ought to be) no such thing as private property. In their heyday, Communist Party-controlled states abolished private property by taking ownership of everything*, which is probably something even RMS wouldn't support.

Then again, he's never been in a position that Mao or Lenin had.

* Yeah, I know, that's an incredibly naive and simplistic view of history. I didn't feel like opening up Wikipedia and reading for the next two hours.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924481)

Property is theft Property is liberty Property is impossible

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924523)

actually not even close (too far off for your disclamer to count;) ); what communists demanded was abolishing the private ownership of means of production only. Factories, etc. And their common management. Which meant, state management, by some twisted logic... That was not called communism, btw, there never existed a communist state, actually thats an oxymoron (though widely used in the west), since communism is by definition stateless, that was socialism, supposedly 'on the way' to communism.

But in any case, in socialism, your computer/cdplayer... that is possesions, were just as yours as they are in capitalism.

My country was socialist not that long time ago...

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

k-lisper (1112631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924543)

The abolition of the private property is clear characteristic of the communism. Just introduce it in a system and everything communistic will follow. It is a socialistic idea that the economy (the word is controversial in this philosophy) should be controlled by the state. FSF currently just promotes the free software but I am sure they would love to to sponsor it (in fact they sponsor it in terms of hosting and advertisement). Generally, that would mean that the community (in a global economy the community is equivalent to the state) distributes the wealth.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924435)

I dont see that causal connection of property and democracy; for obviously, for the most of its history, private property was a feature of dictatorships, monarchies etc. Even for the history of capitalism this is true.

But in any case, he's incredibly happy with profiting and dealing with companies for a communist.. No, he simply thinks that private property is not a great economic model for immaterial things, due to their quite different nature compared to matter (not lost when shared). Hes fine with property over things, he just doesnt think its a great idea to apply such a system to ideas, and contrary to their natural tendency to disseminate by themselves.
He doesnt object to earning money from coding (on the contrary), he simply objects to a particular business model of doing so, dependent on artificial barriers to exchange of information, which creates many additional costs to the society (opportunity cost of simply sharing, cost of imposing those restrictions on sharing on the population, and potentially, orwellian threat from having a state imposing into individuals lives to such extent it must to regulate consensual private behavior of individuals)

Since historically, there was no concept of ownership of ideas, hes simply against expansion of what property can be, but not too intent on expropriating existing forms of property.. Or, since laws dont and for now cant really treat ideas as a form of property for they are far more limited kind of legal right (limited term, government granted monopoly with the sole purpose of enriching the public sphere etc) , one could simply consider his position to be against certain artificial goverment-constructed monopolies.
From the economic perspective, the simple efficiency loss from copyright and patent protections dwarfs any other form of protectionism by far, simply from the price difference, not to mention losses from unnecessary duplication. And given the sucess of FOSS, it doesnt seem to convincing to claim all this waste is really necessary to have the benefits (great software products)

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

k-lisper (1112631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924719)

In fact the private property is a foundation of the capitalism, together with the free market. As most successful democracies are build on a capitalistic economic systems we may infer that the private property is a feature of the democracy. RMS not only thinks that the private property is a bad economic model for immaterial things, but also wages a war against the model. He calls the distribution of proprietary software unethical and that makes his ideas communistic, because he doesn't accept the variety. It is a communistic idea that there should not be private property. For me as a software professional that means everything. Equating software and ideas is incorrect. The ownership of ideas corresponds to the software patents which seem a bad idea. The ownership of software is a different beast especially if the software is well protected from disassembling it to ideas.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

Redneck Hacker (1105905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924453)

Whereas the private property is in the foundations of the democracy.
I think you may be confusing democracy with capitalism. Democracy is when people choose who runs their government. Capitalism is when wealth and property are privately owned by individuals.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

k-lisper (1112631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924623)

You are right about the terms, but I meant that it is a property of the democracy indirectly because the most successful democracies are build on the capitalistic economic systems.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924339)

People are doing something you find amoral. They ask you how they are supposed to pay the rent/mortgage. You tell them that it's not your problem, they should just stop doing what you find amoral.

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Do I have to make a stupid analogy or do you get why?

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (2, Insightful)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924405)

You've been modded as funny, but somehow I don't think you're joking.

Sadly, the only analogies I could think of involve the Catholic Church, but I'm not sure they'd support your point.

Church: You can't say the Sun is the centre of the universe. It's amoral.
Galileo: But all the evidence says it is!
Church: That's not our problem.

So yeah, you're probably going to have to come up with an analogy.

Anyway, sure, Stallman can call whatever he wants amoral. My point is, if he wants a wide audience to actually listen to him, he needs to offer a means for a programmer to make at least a modest living while avoiding amorality. As I've said, his alternative isn't "pin compatible."

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924505)

Oh, I see, I *do* have to make a stupid analogy. What's wrong with you people who insist that we make stupid analogies. Fine. Here goes.

If you're a whaler and people tell you to stop whaling your response is most likely going to be "but how will I feed my family?" And the response will likely be "look, I know you've been a whaler all your life, and I know your whole family were whalers for generations and generations, but whales are becoming extinct and to continue whaling them into extinction is just wrong!" To which the whaler may reply "you didn't answer my question!"

It's irrelevant. It's his problem. Go become a fisherman.. or drive an oil tanker, err, cruise ship, or something.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (5, Insightful)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924659)

Since you didn't want to come up with an analogy in the first place, I know you wouldn't appreciate it if I picked holes in it. So I won't.

Problem #1: There are some things generally considered amoral by the population. Murder. Rape. Hunting a species to extinction" Sure, we can get behind that, throw that on the list. "Closed source software" isn't something that leaps into people's heads, and even if it did I doubt most people would put it in the top fifty. "That guy who drives past all the waiting cars and then cuts into the turning lane" would likely rank higher than "closed source software".

Richard Stallman is not the pope of PCs. His saying closed source is immoral doesn't mean anything. You may agree with him, and I agree that closed source isn't preferable. But while most people mind murder and rape and extinction of cute animals most people don't give a damn about software. For them it's a means to an end, and nothing more. Hence our current situation.

Problem #2: I'm pro free software, but think Stallman is going about promoting it in the wrong way. He's literally giving talks to the programmers of tomorrow and saying, "Don't release closed source. It's immoral." Does he offer alternatives? Somewhat - he did say that one can program for open source on commission, but can one earn a good living at it? He's hardly a proof of principle himself. I know there are examples and whole business models, but he didn't talk about them.

We're talking about two different things. You're assuming that average people, when faced with two options, will pick the difficult one with no benefit to themselves, magically listening to an inconvenient person telling them that the easy option is "amoral". I'm more concerned with how Stallman will get people to actually listen to him. At this rate, he's bound to have as much success as the anti-whalers. [newscientist.com]

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924681)

First, your hypothetical dialog is not at all analogous to the dialog between Stallman and the student. Your complaining character is objecting to the claim of something being moral, whereas the student was complaining about the consequences of avoiding alleged amoral actions.

Also, Stallman does NOT need to "offer a means for a programmer to make at least a modest living while avoiding amorality"! To think that he does have such an obligation is like believing that the Catholic Church (to borrow the theme of your own analogy) needs to "offer a means for teenagers to at least have some sexual gratification while avoiding immorality". (Okay, maybe MY Catholic Church-themed analogy is weak.)

If a person wants to make some money, and remain moral (in the context at hand), then the person might have to make money in a profession other than software engineering! Just as there's no way (in my opinion) to describe the profession of "assassin" as moral, it might be that professional programming is largely immoral.

If my employer asked me to do something that violated my sense of morality, fairness, and decency toward even the anonymous masses, I would promptly quit and find new work. If I couldn't find a job opportunity that didn't violate my ethical principles, I'd switch careers.

You imply that Stallman should change his message if he wants a wide audience to actually listen to him. But his message is based on principles that, for him, are axiomatic. Stallman's hope, I would imagine, is for the masses to eventually recognize the merit of those principles and thus be inclined to adopt those principles.

Maybe Stallman could have helped the student further by explaining that there are probably plenty of ethical ways to make money that are related to software engineering. Maybe Stallman could have explained that the student should recognize the "tunnel vision" the student is experiencing and that there are plenty of ways to make money other than software engineering.

Stallman wasn't a hypocrite. If it weren't possible for him to slum it on the MIT campus, he could have found yet another way to survive without violating his principles regarding software engineering. If some people want to "get married, buy a house, have kids, etc", they'll have to find a way to make money "morally" -- OR, recognize that they are willing to sacrifice their "morality" to achieve their goals!

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924709)

Oh come on now, this ain't that hard:

"Yes, I know you're a hitman. Yes, I know that your family needs to eat too. You still shouldn't have killed that guy."

"People pay you to kick puppies?"

etc.

Funny thing is, people (politicians) use this in reverse to justify all sorts of things. BP just got the go-ahead to dump tons of toxic waste into Lake Michigan based on the virtue that it will create eighty new jobs. Never mind that being gainfully employed in this case means creating and then dumping toxic waste into Lake Michigan. It doesn't appear to matter what people are doing in these instances, as long as they are being payed to do it.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924355)

> He thought closed source software was a greater imposition on freedom than holding
> wedding memories hostage.

He's right : who cares about your wedding pictures besides your own family ?

Any trivial software can easily have hundreds of users, so it being proprietary or Free Software is more important than your own pictures.

This is because it could benefit to the collectivity (humanity) as a whole instead
of to a few people only.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (2, Insightful)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924503)

He's right : who cares about your wedding pictures besides your own family ?
Any trivial software can easily have hundreds of users, so it being proprietary or Free Software is more important than your own pictures.

What's more important: something that matters a little to a lot of people, or matters a lot to a few people?

Your argument is flawed, and here's why: according to your logic, closed source software is more of a crime than the murder of one of your family. I mean, who's going to miss your wife or daughter? Unless she's especially notable, a couple hundred people tops. But free software can benefit all of humanity!

That's not to mention that a lot more people care about wedding photos than free software. If I had to pick one of those causes, I know which one I'd get behind.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924541)

> according to your logic, closed source software is more of a crime
> than the murder of one of your family.

From my own point of view or from the point of view of any member of my own family, you're perfectly right : a murder would matter much much more.

From the point of view of humanity as a whole, and considering how many people die or are born each day, I'm not sure a murder matters that much compared to the problems caused to so many people by closed source software...

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924381)

He said that that he's never had a mortgage and "he lives cheaply".

Fromt he money he takes for signing autographs... I wonder why people stand behind this guy as of yet. We don't need nutcases defending free software anymore.

Maybe it helped in the early days, but right now free software has picked momentum, and needs a real world integration/solutions.

Guys like Richard Stallman will only make it worse at this point, for the same reason he made it better at the start.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

knubo (615210) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924397)

This discussion comes up over and over again. Stallman's point is that you should try and make money off the software you write. Make them pay you write FLOSS - your work should be worth a lot of money to them.

This can be done - I work as a consultant, and my company has had a couple of projects where the software eveloped was released under GPL, and the customer was very pleased with that.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924439)

Stallman knows this, and he even says it...kind of. But he doesn't emphasize it enough. His talk is too much "closed source is bad" and not enough "here's how you can make money anyway."

The other problem is that model only allows one to make money off of software that is commissioned. If I'm a lone programmer who creates a tool (for sorting photos, for instance) is it really a crime against humanity for me to adopt a shareware scheme and release the full version for 5$? Keep in mind I happen to be a starving university student.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924401)

I think he did answer indirectly, if the question is: How do I make money writing Free software? Then the answer is: You don't.
For the same reason people don't make money selling mathmatical equations. It's not the math that should be your income, it's what you do with the math that should matter. Help design some new device and sell it or offer support for people or companies that value your knowledge of the math they use, that's how you should make a living.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

plaxion (98397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924409)

First of all, it's a hell of a lot more than just "showing up and taking pictures". There are many hours involved in the preparation and the post-production work of a wedding, so the "over a thousand dollars" you pay goes towards several days worth of work. Not to mention the skill required to capture all of those non-repeatable events well.

Secondly, the photo equipment that they show up with isn't exactly cheap, and the good photographers will carry at least two of each body, lens, flash etc as a backup to make sure they capture that special day for you no matter what happens. We're talking about tens of thousands of dollars.

In the end, you get what you pay for. If you're not willing to pay for a nice record of one of the most important days of you life, you won't get one. But it seems silly not to, especially considering that many people pay tens of thousands of dollars for all of the non-lasting things involved in a wedding.

The most expensive part of my wedding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924501)

...was the speeding ticket I got on the way to it and a fine for "driving on a non-valid licence".

My wife and I got married in front of a Justice of the Peace (who married us at the cost of a small donation to charity), the photographer (yes, holds our pics hostage, but wasn't expensive and as you say, it's only some photos) and two observatory technicians roped in as witnesses (for the price of a bottle of cheap ass champagne).

My best friend's wife discovered he had a trustfund (I've known him for 40 years and didn't know) so there wedding was like every 'Friends'-meets-Woman's-Weekly-fantasy hell you can imagine and cost a fortune...and it SUCKED! But that's what happens when you marry a stupid harpie slag who wants to play Queen for a Day then relive it every day for the rest of her life.

But I'm not bitter that she's almost bankrupted him and never lets him out to play with his old friends anymore. Nosirree. At least it turns out she's barren. Every cloud and all that...

Ahem.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924547)

Oh, I'm well aware of all of that. I'm also a photographer, though I haven't done any weddings...yet. I hear wedding photography is pretty stressful compared to, well, anything.

I know people who got married earlier this year, their photographer cost $1600 CDN, and they got the digital files and copyright for that. But most people aren't wise enough to look for that kind of deal, and will pay the photographer for taking pictures plus scads of money for prints. To me it does run parallel to the whole closed-source/free software dichotomy. I wasn't trying to say there isn't value in photography.

(Agreed on the permanence bit, though. Spending a lot of money on the photographer is wise compared to spending a lot of money on napkins or invitations or colourful trinkets.)

What kind of post processing goes into wedding photos? I'm curious.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924559)

Yeah, everyone I know has had this discussion with the wedding photographer:

Friend: How much will it cost?
Photographer: $800
Friend: Wow, that's a lot, what do we get for that.
Photographer: well, we take the photos and we give you a disc with the images and you can choose the ones you want and then we'll make prints for you.
Friend: How many do we get to choose?
Photographer: oh, you can choose 30 or 40, we don't mind.
Friend: Great, can I print my own copies, I know people in printing.
Photographer: No, we own the copyright.
Friend: Yeah, that's not going to work. Here's how it's going to happen. You take the photos, and supply us with the digital images, full quality. We'll choose the ones we want you to print, you print them. When we're happy with the prints we'll pay you.
Photographer: Uhh, no, that's not how we work.. as I said..
Friend: Ok, well thanks for your time, I'll just be opening the phone book now and calling someone else..
Photographer: You'll find that everyone does it like this.
Friend: Yes, I'm sure I'll have a real hard time finding someone who is willing to break ranks.. did I mention that my friend's father is a professional photographer and the only reason we're not getting him to do it is because we were going to invite him to the wedding. He'll do it for free if we ask nice enough.
Photographer: Well, I suppose we could work something out....

I hear this story all the time.. because I happen to be the guy with the father who happens to be the professional photographer.

Photographers who try to pull this shit are just fishing for suckers. They're trying to make an industry that has been based on service for decades be suddenly based on prints and copyright. It's a shame that software is the opposite.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924519)

Since almost all programming work is undertaken by in house programmers who do not have their work distributed, programmers can still earn a living writing software that is neither free, nor proprietory.

As for paying for university education by publishing software, the problem there is that the US doesn't have proper publicly funded education. You cant complain that fixing one problem you have ruins the half-arsed fix to another problem you have. Most professions don't do their own career to pay for education. Doctors sure don't perform heart bypasses on the side to supplement their education. Civil engineers don't design building on their weekends either either.

The reason that your wedding photo analogy is poor is no one is stopping you from doing anything. If you want digital copies pay someone to take digital copies. Or better yet for $1000+ dollars buy your own high quality digital camera and take the darn things yourself. No one is holding stuff hostage, unless the terms of the agreement were not made clear to you when you negotiated the contract. If the terms of your agreement with the photographer were not clearly spelled out then you have a case.

However your inability to negotiate a deal with a wedding photographer, or the aforementioned ripping you off by not specifying the contract is not a curtailment of your freedom by government. One is not a curtailment of freedom at all, the other might be an example of a contract entered into without consideration, meaning an individual ripped you off (i.e. a curtailment of your freedom by an individual, I guess the freedom infringed upon is the freedom to enter into reasonable contracts). There is no law which says you cant hire someone who will give you the digital originals. It is however a curtailment of freedom that proprietary software enjoys practically infinite copyright with 0 probability of the source code entering the public domain. That material was published, that means that the public owns it, and if we cant do things with stuff we own then our freedoms are curtailed.

As to which is greater. I've no idea what the economic impact of effectively infinite copyright terms are, but if you couple that cost with the cultural costs I suspect that monetarily it is more than the wedding photo industries costs of a few thousand per person. I'm sure your wedding photos are very important to you, but how important should they be compared with the health of the American economy, or protecting Western culture (in the having the culture in the public domain sense rather than the go and shoot fascists sense)?

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924529)

> One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software
This is so simple to answer. How do Red Hat, Novell and other Linux distributors make money by releasing free software. The student in question is confused between free as in freedom and free as in free beer. You can release software and sell them and at the same time open source your code. Free software here refers to the knowledge, which should be free, not the zero value you placed on your product. If his software is good and is competitive then it should sell regardless of whether it is open source or not. The majority of end users are software users, not developers and academics and they would usually buy products that meets their needs regardless of whether it is close source or open source. Do you think by somehow "open sourcing" your code reduce the value of your software? Granted that it might not make you filthy rich but it will make money and you at the same time enrich the rest of the world, not just yourself

>I talked to Stallman after the lecture. I asked him how he paid the mortgage after leaving MIT in 1984. He said that that he's never had a mortgage and "he lives cheaply". I later heard that he basically squatted on the MIT campus.

You are being too personal and missed the point. You should critique the content, not the delivery system in this case Stallman himself. Even though Stallman's life might not be the ideal life that you envisioned, that does not contradict the point he's trying to get across. People can have a normal life at the same time creating free software. May be instead of thinking of software as a product like ice cream in which you can consume for a fixed amount per pop, think of it as a service. People who like using your free software, would come back for upgrades, extensibility, customizations, supports.

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924643)

One of the things RMS tends to ignore is that people are cheap. I run Linux as a file server/desktop, and my computer like any other needs service and support. However, there are those that run much larger business-critical systems who needs it more urgently than me, so I let them pay for it. The level of service and support I need is freely available anyway.

There's absolutely no way to force everyone to "chip in" like they do with closed source software, it's a direct consequnce of the four freedoms RMS is promoting. That means there's going to be a lot less money flowing into the system, which means there'll be a lot less money flowing out to the developers and companies creating it.

I think free software is great in the sense of building a public good, as a way to "chip in" or some sort of voluntary communal work, but none of those tend to pay very well. If you want a dollar-to-dollar comparison, you're better off trying to squeeze out every dollar you can. If it's all your software, why charge only for service and support when you can charge for the software, service and support? Yes, there are circumstances where it might be smarter, but that's far from every time...

Re:UW University students' counterpoint (5, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924665)

One guy in the audience asked how he was supposed to pay for his university education by releasing free software. Stallman didn't really give him an answer, he just told the student that he didn't have to go to school, and he had no right to release closed source software in an attempt to earn money. Stallman has compared closed source software to "a crime against humanity", yes?

I was sat directly behind the guy who asked that question and don't remember it like that at all. To me it seemed like a case of: 'ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.' It's stupid because he was mixing up Free (as in Freedom) with free (as in beer). It's a common misconception.

Personally when Stallman was answering I really wanted to shout out: 'I get paid for developing Free software!' Which I do, now seeing this weird post on /. makes me wish I had shouted out. Also it was a lecture about copyright in general, not Free software in particular.

So please stop spreading FUD and mis-conceptions about Free software. If that chap in the audience can't make Free software pay then why the heck are Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Novell et al. still in business?! Just because Stallman's a dirty hippy, doesn't mean everyone in the business is. Maybe, just maybe money isn't important to him? Why are you judging him to be a failure just because he hasn't made millions from his ideas?

It was a stupid question, that's why Stallman had a problem answering it, I also don't remember him answering in the way you've described, but will check later.

HAIL CAESAR, for he cometh this way (then we piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924263)

And HE spoketh unto his children:


use open formats, the talk and QA are available in ogg theora only


HAIL CAESAR, for he cometh this way (then we piss on his tracks)

Re:HAIL CAESAR, for he cometh this way (then we pi (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924361)

HAIL CAESAR, for he cometh this way (then we piss on his tracks)

Excuse me good Sir!

I consider myself to be a passable student of the Classics but you seem to be using a classical allusion of which I am unfamiliar. I would be most grateful if you could elucidate.

Re:HAIL CAESAR, for he cometh this way (then we pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924445)

Yea and what the fuck did that guy just write?

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924331)

It was really easy to watch that video, click on the link and it plays strait away with no problem at all... I've tried to get online streaming video to work before but never had any joy because of the damn DRM - I almost started to wonder if it was my fault.

Hurray for open formats!

"In keeping with his wishes" (2, Funny)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924437)

Am I the only person who has the sudden urge to download it and transcode it into mp3? Or even better, DRMed WMV?

But RMS, information wants to be free, and this is just another form for it to freely take! :D

Re:"In keeping with his wishes" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19924703)

Am I the only person who has the sudden urge to download it and transcode it into mp3? Or even better, DRMed WMV?

I don't think he'd mind. That sounds like recompiling gcc for Windows: it doesn't take away anyone else's ability to view the original on a free platform. If you have paid the patent fees for your MP3 encoder, and I am sure you have, then go ahead!

I just wish someone would transcode the talk to ASCII.

We appreciate what you've done (1, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924491)

I use your software every day, and I am really am grateful for your varied contributions. But can you go home now, and keep to yourself, please? All that crazy is just hurting our cause.

Re:We appreciate what you've done (1)

Brane2 (608748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924549)

On that parallel, I appreciate your attempt to contribute informed post to "/.", but could you stop spewing diatribe now and go home ?

Researcher: Optimal copyright term is 14 years. (2, Interesting)

micronicos (344307) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924495)

They must be on a tiny pipe - I got the page once but no connection to pages or downloads/torrents after that. Interestingly - one week ago:

It's easy enough to find out how long copyrights last, but much harder to decide how long they should last--but that didn't stop Cambridge University PhD candidate Rufus Pollock from using economics formulas to answer the question. In a newly-released paper, Pollock pegs the "optimal level for copyright" at only 14 years.
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070712-rese arch-optimal-copyright-term-is-14-years.html [arstechnica.com]

Stallman rocks .... now where did I put my GNUs not Linux T-shirt?

Re:Researcher: Optimal copyright term is 14 years. (1)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924585)

Its backup now, the main server kernel panicked.

Change the relationship (5, Insightful)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19924511)

What needs to happen in a lot of circumstances is that copyright should not be transferable. So, if I write a song, it belongs to me. If a company wants to promote it, we can make a service contract. But the copyright is mine, not theirs. The labels are my agents, they could provide studios, or off-site storage for my works, and people with marketing savvy. But guess what? The industry that gave us the indentured servitude of the recording contract is no more. iTunes is more of a music company than any label out there. All they are are assholes with legal degrees.

Not being able to force artists into loan sharking arrangements with the labels would mean, however that all the labels as they exist now are effectively and instantly bankrupt. Yay. Without this leverage, The artist writes contracts with agents, and grants his or her managers a piece of his copyright for say, five years. So, the more tracks of mine they sell, the more they make. The more concerts I give to the bigger audiences, the more money they make. But the artist is in control. He has the copyright. I might spare them 10% of revenues, or 50% if I'm a newbie. But it will revert to me.

Because, after all, what function do the huge conglomerated labels have? They used to provide money for manufacture and distribution. They no longer have any significant burden, since once the final track is laid down, all they have to do is sell copies for more than it costs to download. And they were loan sharks. Game over. Finita la commedia.
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