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Microsoft

Gates Elaborates on IP Communists 795

Posted by michael
from the thanks-for-sharing dept.
justin_w_hall writes "In part four of his interview with Gizmodo, big Bill Gates discusses his recent 'communist' labeling of supporters of free culture - and gets into detail about his rationale concerning Microsoft's position on DRM. Other parts of the interview: part 1, part 2, part 3."
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Gates Elaborates on IP Communists

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  • Here it is (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:22PM (#11363562)
    "No, no, no. I didn't say those people were 'communists.' I did say that they're... 'dirty Marxist pinko communist reds that should be herded into camps and executed en masse.' I hate being misquoted and hope this clears up any misunderstanding."
    • by proxy_avatar (849738) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:24PM (#11363605)
      I have a boot if he wants something to put in his mouth.
      • Re:Here it is (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:33PM (#11363754) Homepage Journal
        He sounds like he's chewing on one already in many parts of that interview.

        He wants to justify using DRM in music because its used for medical technologies. He's screwing up the point on purpose -- just because the OS knows about DRM for medical records doesn't mean MS has to acknowledge those "same bits" on music files at all.

        If the laws in my country (Canada) allow me to make copies of the file, Windows had better let me.

        Let me expound on that -- I work with a church [kawarthachurch.com] that frequently uses short video clips to back up or emphasize a point; several clips were used from Shrek when discussing relationships, etc.

        Under CCLI rules, we're allowed to use those clips without specific permission, during service time. However, to rip those clips, we need to use software that falls on the "hey, that's bad" side of Copyright regulations. Luckily, we don't have a DMCA in Canada.
        • Re:Here it is (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kihaji (612640)
          Guess what, Windows will let you. What he is saying is this:

          We didn't put the DRM on the content, the provider did, what we are doing is providing the way to get to the content.

          Microsoft didn't put the DRM on your Shrek video, but they did give you the software to get at it.
          • Re:Here it is (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tha_mink (518151) on Friday January 14, 2005 @02:38PM (#11365822)
            Guess what, Windows will let you. What he is saying is this:

            We didn't put the DRM on the content, the provider did, what we are doing is providing the way to get to the content.

            Microsoft didn't put the DRM on your Shrek video, but they did give you the software to get at it.


            That is totally Mr. Gates' point and I think he makes it well. I don't love his company or his business practices, however I agree with him here. He is not putting the DRM on the content. He is not suing people for getting around it. He is simply implementing the tool.
        • Gates' Problem (Score:3, Insightful)

          by einhverfr (238914)
          The issue is that for many of us (I would actuall include both RMS and ESR on this side) this is a debate not only about basic liberty but also about engineering the best possible economic environment for software development. I think Gates tries to look at things this way too, but Microsoft is in a difficult position.

          You have to understand how the proprietary software market works, and why it is fundamentally impossible for a small player to compete with MS, IBM, Oracle, etc. in this environment to under
  • So what is he? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalgimpus (468277) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:24PM (#11363593) Homepage
    A totalitarian dictator of intelectual property?

    Boy does that make an interesting job title.

    ?Tzar of Intelectual Property?
    • Re:So what is he? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by agraupe (769778)
      Since when does communist equate with totalitarian dictator? Granted, it more often then not turns out this way, sadly, the communist==dictator relationship is Western Cold War propaganda.
      • Re:So what is he? (Score:3, Informative)

        by MightyMartian (840721)
        Um, no less than Marx himself said that there would have to be a period of dictatorship. I'm afraid totalatarianism was always very much a part of Communism, and it was just the Western agents of Cominterm that used to try to disguise that reality.
      • No, grandparent post was asking what Gates himself is. Totalitarian dictator of "intelectual property" sounds right.
      • Re:So what is he? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mc6809e (214243)
        Since when does communist equate with totalitarian dictator? Granted, it more often then not turns out this way, sadly, the communist==dictator relationship is Western Cold War propaganda.

        Communist states in practice create dictatorships. That's an historical fact that goes beyond being simple propaganda.

        • Re:So what is he? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by EnderWiggnz (39214) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:58PM (#11364207)
          but there has yet to be a true communist state. there have been plenty of totalitarian ones, however.

          the pre-conditions for communism to arise are not met. there is not a surplus of necessities. we simply can not feed/cloth/house everyone. scarcity still exists, and as such, communism is an inefficient economic system.

          and thats another point - communism is an economic system, not political.
          • the pre-conditions for communism to arise are not met. there is not a surplus of necessities. we simply can not feed/cloth/house everyone. scarcity still exists, and as such, communism is an inefficient economic system.

            I'm not sure that this is a given. Much of the scarcity in the U.S. is artificial. We pay farmers not to grow crops. Much of can also be attributed to inefficient distribution of resources. 20% of the wealth is in the hands of 1% of the populace. If the world were to devote it's resourc

    • -- to the tune of the Mickey Mouse theme ---

      Who's the leader of the gang who's stolen our PC?
      M-I-C-R-O-S - opps! OH NO! - F - T!
      Mickey Mouse! Microsoft!
      Mickey Mouse! Microsoft!

      The richest man who ever lived is calling you a thief,
      M-I-C-R-O-S - 'opps! OH NO!' - F - T!

      Where's my file?
      Microsoft!
      All my work?
      Microsoft!

      Could there ever be an end to all this needless grief?
      M-I-C-R-O-S - 'opps! OH NO!' - F - T!

      I use this an anger-management mantra whenever I get DASPO'ed (being driven into a state mouth-foam
  • by Kjuib (584451) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:25PM (#11363613) Homepage Journal
    I for one Welcome our Communist Free Culture Overlords...
  • by fshalor (133678) <fshalor@@@comcast...net> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:25PM (#11363616) Homepage Journal
    He's actually kind of right. IN a comunist/socialist systme, the people own the code. (Since the people own everything.)

    This is a refreshing contrast to the fascist model, where the state owns the code. In this case, the writers own the code.

    If he says Linus is Stallin/lennin/marx, then he's Hitler by the same set of parameters.

    • by killjoe (766577) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:54PM (#11364122)
      You are missing his point. Communist is a trigger word. Like terrorist. It doesn't matter what it actually means he is using the word because he know how your typical american will react to it.

      You are a communist. To the average american this means you belong in jail. That's what he is after.
      • by drooling-dog (189103) on Friday January 14, 2005 @02:24PM (#11365625)
        You are missing his point. Communist is a trigger word. Like terrorist.

        Unfortunately, most political discourse is on this level. We all have little clusters of neurons in our brains that encode concepts like "communism", "terrorism", "family", "God", "liberal", etc., and much of politics is the process of getting people to connect them to other little clusters like "Good" and "Evil". There is no requirement that this process be rational. Once those trigger words are properly linked, one can then use them to attack other ideas that may or may not even be related.

        Back when the Soviet Union collapsed, and as China was becoming a major trading partner and thereby transitioning from "evil" to "OK", I wondered what bogeyman we would come up with to replace "communism". Up through Reagan, it was always an election issue who was going to be "tough on communism". It's not hard to see what the new replacement is!

    • by acidtripp101 (627475) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:29PM (#11364766)
      If he says Linus is Stallin/lennin/marx, then he's Hitler by the same set of parameters.

      Ok, as an outspoken communist I NEED to slap you around a bit.
      NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER Put Stalin in the same grouping as Lenin and Marx. EVER. Any true Communist is very outspoken about how much Stalin was not a communist (under Lenin's, Marx's, Trotski's, or anyone else even remotely credible's definition)
      A MUCH more appropriate comment would have literally been:

      If he says Linus is Lenin/Marx/etc. then he's Stalin by the same set of parameters.

      Any time a topic like this comes up, I feel the need to somehow explain to people that Open Source IS a very Communist idea, and that's exactly why it's so great.
      "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need."
      Seems to kind of summarize the Open Source ideology, right? The people that can code, should. The people that can make graphics, should. The people that can only use the system and bitch when it breaks, should. And if everyone does this, everyone should get what they need out of it.
      The quote is from Marx.
      Think twice about saying that OSS isn't a very communist ideal, because it is.

      Sorry, this turned from a reply into a rant in about 2 minutes.
  • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:27PM (#11363653)
    The problem with all these DRM issues is that no one ever brings up what happen if the artist is deceased. The record company still owns the song and making a killing.

    Rule of thumb, if the artist is deceased the songs should be automatically free. None of this 2pac-after-death-release bullshit. He's dead how does he make music?!

    Gates and these millionaires never talk enough about these things. They mention artists should be paid. Blah, now back to DRM.

    • w00t! Even more reason to off the Backstreet Boys!
    • That's not a problem with DRM, that's a problem with artists signing over their copyright on the (books/music/pretty much anything else) to the people who publish their work. Since every major publisher requires that they get the copyright for work they publish, artists don't have much of a choice.

      Also, even if the dead artist didn't sign over their copyright, it would still not be free. The copyright would belong to their estate, which is where it should be for the duration of the copyright.....althou
    • If the artist has died, the copyrights are transfered to whomever controls his/her estate. In most cases, this will be the family of the artist. It is treated as an inheritance. That's just how copyright law works. If the company owns the copyright to the intellectual property in question while the artist is still alive, then they own it after the artist dies. But copyrights aren't transfered from the artist to the label after death. It is, I believe, 75 years after the artist dies that the work goes
    • You gotta change the copyright law to change that. It used to have nothing to do with when an artists dies, it was something like 14 years for a copyright.

      Changes to the law within our lifetime has made copyrights last until death + 99 years.

      And although the record company will continue to make money, who ever inherits 2pac's estate should be getting the royalties from his work, unless he signed some bad contracts that would automatically release all of his work to his label in the event of his death.

      I
    • So old people have less incentive to create? And publishers have less incentive to accept IP works from the elderly because the copyright protections go away as soon as the person dies... I wouldn't be surprised if a publisher started acting like a health/life insurance provider in doing background checks before accepting a creative work.

      On the whole, I agree with you... the protections should be shorter - maybe (artist's life + 20) or 50 years (whichever comes first). I would also like to see shorter peri
    • The problem with all these DRM issues is that no one ever brings up what happen if the artist is deceased. The record company still owns the song and making a killing.

      Rule of thumb, if the artist is deceased the songs should be automatically free. None of this 2pac-after-death-release bullshit. He's dead how does he make music?!


      I'm not at all defending the rip-off contracts, but you are forgetting that various people may have fronted/loaned the artist money. At the time of death that money may not have
  • by one9nine (526521) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:28PM (#11363667) Journal
    "I really meant to say Nazis. My bad."
  • by travisco_nabisco (817002) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:29PM (#11363682)
    I like the example Bill gave of song writers who want to get paid for their work. I agree that they should get paid for their work, as long as they are alive. What I don't agree with is the record labels that are making money off of bands that haven't produced a song in 20+ years, and where all the members are dead.

    Wouldn't it be a bit more reasonable to put a time limiting factor on the copyright of songs ... after 20 years the song goes to the public domain, so that everyone can enjoy that music.

    • by TheRealFixer (552803) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:33PM (#11363759)
      Actually, there already *were* limits, very much like you mentioned, in place. Unfortunatly, Congress under pressure from big media companies, have continued to extend the expiration time of copyrights, so essentially there are no more copyright limitations. Add in to that, that corporations don't die and are treated like people, and you've got infinate copyrights, in direct opposition to the original intent of copyright law.
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:35PM (#11363797) Journal
      > Wouldn't it be a bit more reasonable to put a time limiting factor
      > on the copyright of songs ... after 20 years the song goes to the public
      > domain, so that everyone can enjoy that music.

      Um, that's how copyrights were supposed to work, but since the US Congress decided to essentially violate the Constitution by simply extending copyrights indefinitely to protect Mickey Mouse, and no court has seen fit to call them on it, that notion of a limited protection is now apparently extinct.
    • by Quixote (154172) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:45PM (#11363957) Homepage Journal
      That was the intention behind the original copyright laws: death of copyright-holder + 20 years.

      And then Disney came along. Walt died a long time ago, and as per the old laws, Mickey, Goofy and Minnie would have been in the public domain in 1986 (20 years after Walt died). But the Disney company has gotten the laws extended time and again, so that they are death + 70years now.

      • That was the intention behind the original copyright laws: death of copyright-holder + 20 years.

        Try again. The original copyright terms in the United States were fourteen years, renewable once for an additional fourteen (but they had to be actively renewed).

        They were not "death + x years".

        See Creative Commons [creativecommons.org].
    • I like the example Bill gave of song writers who want to get paid for their work. I agree that they should get paid for their work, as long as they are alive.

      I also don't have much of an issue with artists being compensated somehow for their work. There are already laws to govern that, although some of the laws are bad, people often break those laws, and the legal system hasn't yet caught up with how best to deal with it.

      The problem here is that Microsoft has taken things upon itself to become

  • grain of salt (Score:4, Informative)

    by ashot (599110) <ashot.molsoft@com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:29PM (#11363690) Homepage
    "No, no, no. I didn't say those people were 'communists.' I did say that they're... The question is: what incentive systems should exist in the world?"

    Take, like, putting soundtracks onto movies using our movie editor thing. If you have unprotected music you can take slideshows, put music to it, encapsulate it in the file, mail it aroundit works perfectly.

    Why he's a regular guy next door!

    Is it just me or is there something a little fishy [nickdenton.org] about this interview? ;)
  • Musicians in China (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jonathan (5011) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:29PM (#11363694) Homepage
    Part of Gates' argument is that in China prior to market reform, musicians were not paid. That's simply stupid. Anyone who knows anything about "Communist" regimes knows that all the ones that have existed, including China, still had money, and people got paid for their work (usually by the government). Now, you can certainly argue that musicians may not have been paid as *much* as they would have been in a market economy, but that's a different issue.
    • It is my understanding that prior to market reform, any music that was produced was (in most cases) handed over to the government, which rehashed it in some way and then it was given to all of the public to use as it saw fit. (A musician could keep it to himself if he desired).

      Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that the creators of the music were not compensated for their work; however, performers may have been.

      (This is based on a very short historical review of Chinese music and could be way off
      • Expanding on this a little; assuming my interpretation is correct, Gates' analogy fits a little better. With most open source projects, the creators of the source code are not the ones that profit; it the users of the source code that profit; or in the case of many distributions, those that take that source code and repackage it for others.

        If you allow the musicians to retain control over his work, then the person who wrote it will be the one who controls who profits from it.

        (See parent comment for gener
    • I think what he meant by that was that the musicians didn't get paid for writing music. Not that they didn't get paid for performing.
    • by Kaa (21510)
      Part of Gates' argument is that in China prior to market reform, musicians were not paid. That's simply stupid. Anyone who knows anything about "Communist" regimes knows that all the ones that have existed, including China, still had money, and people got paid for their work (usually by the government).

      Not exactly. Gates' argument is that the musicians in communist China had no property rights in their creations and thus had no incentive to create something good.

      They did get paid -- if they had an offici
      • by praedor (218403)

        Gates is still out to lunch. I do believe that musicians such as Mozart, Shopin, etc, actually made music without any copyright protections at all! Imagine! The greatest music in the world that has lasted through the ages and not a single bit of it had copyright protection nor DRM. These artists didn't starve either. Imagine that Gates, you candyassed greedy snotnosed bastard.

        • These musicians were most often comissioned (read: paid) to produce music on demand. Other times they charged listeners, like is done on concerts today. So either they produced good music, or they starved. Still, the really good ones like Beethoven were so prolific that they did not have financial problems. Quite the contrary. So no wonder their music is so good. Either you produced in quality and quantity, or you would go into the street like everyone else.
    • by killjoe (766577)
      You guys just don't get. Bill Gates doesn't care about the facts. He is talking to the average americna who not only doesn't know the facts but also doesn't give a shit.

      He is calling you a communist because he knows how the average american will react to that. To the average american communist means evil and harmful. If your neighbor was a communist you would move or burn his house down. If your kid is hanging around with communists you ground him.

      To the average american communists belong in jail or ought
    • by ianscot (591483) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:12PM (#11364451)
      Isn't it just rich, though, to read someone like Bill Gates bemoaning the situation for Chinese musicians? (It sort of reminds me of how, when it comes to affirmative action, hard-right Republicans suddenly become extremely egalitarian out of concern for the poor white folks who might face discrimination.)

      Poor Bill. He can't sleep at night thinking of impoverished Chinese musicians -- so he unleashes the Business Software Alliance to coerce entire nations to pony up more cash for Windows, all in the name of intellectual property. A regular advocate for the little guy, he is...

  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:29PM (#11363695)
    In open source projects the tendency is for nearly 100% of the capital available (often a very small amoutn) is dedicated to creating value.

    In a regular corporation, much of the capital becomes wealth distributed to executives who put it into their yacht fund, which in essence is punishing shareholders who are better served by reinvestment in the firm.

    The same can be said for many industries. I think Americans underestimate, for example, how much of their healthcare spending goes into executive compensation, which is worse in that industry than most others. It makes you wonder how efficient capitalism really is in the endgame when most competitors have been washed out and locked out of the market.

  • by dteichman2 (841599) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:30PM (#11363704) Homepage
    Gates is essentially calling Mozilla.org, a group with a 501c3 form... comunist. Wow. Doesn't get any more whacked out than that, I guess. Microsoft seems to be getting more desperate as the days go on, probably due to the declining browser share.

    This also attacks Linux communities as well. Not to mention anything at SourceForge.net... They are launching another verbal/media assault on open-source software because open-source is dangerous to closed-source software.

    With the wealth of open-source software out there, not even great, free democracies (like Microsoft) can stop the spread of communist open-source software Mwahahahaha!
  • by Otter (3800) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:30PM (#11363705) Journal
    What the hell is Gates thinking? His underlying position (that IP protection encourages innovation and that technological measures are part of that protection) is unremarkable enough, but why would he carry on an extended debate about "communism", over inflammatory words whose meaning he doesn't really understand? He's smarter than that.

    And to Gizmodo? I'm surprised he even bothers to answer their phone calls at all!

    • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:35PM (#11363788)
      Gates isn't smart, he's desperate. MSFT has barely nudged +/- $3 over the past four years while the rest of the tech market has taken off (particularly old rival AAPL). They're getting desperate in their smear campaign because its all about $$$...its become practically impossible to make MSFT rise with straight financials or new products, so they are trying mudslinging.
    • I posted this in another comment too, but it seems this explains why [nickdenton.org].
    • why would he carry on an extended debate about "communism", over inflammatory words whose meaning he doesn't really understand?

      He knows exactly what he's doing. It's the same thing that conservatives have successfully done with words like "liberal" and "terrorism". You may not really understand what they are, but you know they're bad, and you know that anything they're stuck to must be bad, as well.

  • Xbox love? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ajutla (720182) <ajutla at gmail dot com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:31PM (#11363722) Homepage
    From the article:

    "Obviously, we'll connect Xbox Love up to what we do with Messenger"

    I am intrigued.
    • So is the porn industry.

      Now you can buy "Backdoor Sluts 9: The Video Game." Although I hear it's not much more than tapping 'A' a lot as quickly as you can.

  • by Doverite (720459) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:32PM (#11363732)
    is what everybody thinks it is, as opposed to what it actually is. The ideas behind communism and democracy are very, very similar. Amish are communists in the purest sense of the word. It's just that COMMUNISM as we know is tied to Stalinist Russia, and modern China which have very little to do with the ideas of marxist communism.
    • Remember: American is just as much a democracy as China is communist
      So in the end it's ok to call China Communist.
  • by TheMeuge (645043) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:32PM (#11363746)
    Bill Gates is undoubtedly a smart guy, but in this interview he seems to have decided to follow the example of the current political administration - change the topic and pretend it is relevant. "The DRM we put into these systems is used to protect medical records, and it's used to protect things people want to protect." What a load of crap! I guess people are passing medical records around over bittorrent. That answer so far offtopic it's appalling, it's stupid, it's... bush-like. Oh, and he still calls open-source advocates communists.
  • Its unfortunate that this smart man (though University drop out) does nots see fundamental attraction of OpenSource... that is the ENABLEMENT TO WORK without worrying about hidden APIs, proprietary formats, or hidden costs. He equates it all to OpenSourceSoftware means some ubercorp doesn't get its coin 'cause profit of the few is baaad.

    If he had a few more neurons, perhaps he would equate OpenSource to political Anarchy, because that's what it really is. Grass roots freedom of DEVELOPERS to code without
  • Gates The Spinner (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorbachev (512743) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:36PM (#11363804) Homepage
    That part 4 interview is a perfect specimen of a spin artist in full spin mode.

    The thing that stood out to me in the article was how billie seems to think people have no other incentive in innovating than profit. True innovators innovate for the challenge and because that's just what they LIKE doing. Profiting from it is just a side effect.

    The part 3 interview, which is about XBox and everything evolving around that, has a bit of unintended humor in the first answer where Bill Gates appears to be championing for user choice and competition between vendors. Wow!
    • Re:Gates The Spinner (Score:4, Interesting)

      by lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) on Friday January 14, 2005 @02:18PM (#11365525) Homepage
      The thing that stood out to me in the article was how billie seems to think people have no other incentive in innovating than profit. True innovators innovate for the challenge and because that's just what they LIKE doing. Profiting from it is just a side effect.

      Yes, being a few weeks away from my PhD (knock on wood) I'm reminded of the graphs of how university grades correlate with income. It's a rising curve up till just under the top when there's a sharp (or at least distinct) drop. Why? Because the people with the very highest grades can get admitted to graduate school and have a career in research instead of industry. All the while knowing they'll earn less money. Many of these people choose to.

      Myself, I cut my salary by about a third going back to finish my PhD. Under Bill's model, that couldn't be done, while in actual fact it's not all that uncommon. I want to be able to do what I want to do, and make as much as I can doing it, obviously, but not to the deteriment of enjoying doing it. (And, no, I wont ever make back the money lost.)

      There's a lot more to life than money and there's a lot of smart people out there who don't make as much money as they can because of choice.

    • Same old Bill (Score:4, Insightful)

      by twitter (104583) on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:16PM (#11366265) Homepage Journal
      Bill Gates appears to be championing for user choice and competition between vendors.

      His argument is the same as it always is: If you don't give me your money, you won't be able to do what you want. It's hard to pull that out of that rambling BS piece, but the argument is there. In a nutshell it is, you must accept my DRM or "authors" (I think he really means big media publishers) won't let you have their content. In this case he further's his argument by telling you that you never had the rights you thought you did if the "author" decides you don't have it. Once again, he pretends he wishes to reward others for their work. As usual, he tries to shore it all up with insults, "communist" this time but he's always called his customers "theives". You can see the same arguments from him all the way back in 1976 [blinkenlights.com]

      The key quotes are:

      What we want is to have as much content as possible available. ... an envelope ... in order to get authors to be willing to put an ever broader range of content on our platform ... there's content that can only be there if it's rights protected ...

      DRM is just like a speed bump that reminds you whether you're staying within the scope of rights that you have or you don't.

      This is an astoundingly dishonest position at every level. The fact of the mater is that authors ARE putting their work up on the Creative Commons for everyone to use without restrictions. They don't want Mr. Gate's "protection". They want to compete on their merits and publish in a normal, and easy to use way. Surely, authors have enough sense to know that the control they pass onto big publishers through DRM will be lost to them forever. Right now the RIAA can threaten to keep your work off air and out of stores. Can you imagine the power music publisher would have if they could throw a few bits in their database and prevent your music from working anywhere? Not even the big publisher's believe that they will remain in control of their rights if they lend Microsoft their trust.

      Mr. Gates and his DRM scheme are not "enablers" of any sort. His and big media's expansion of copyright and other forms of government granted exclusive franchises are the reason we have more consolidated and stagnant media than ever. When you give your money to this man, you hurt your rights in every way. If you use his software, he owns your system. Now he wants to own your media too. No thanks, I do just fine without him or his software.

  • Or does the linked site crash everyone else's browser as well?
  • Just bits, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ghoser777 (113623) <[fahrenba] [at] [mac.com]> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:37PM (#11363819) Homepage
    All we're doing is putting it in the platform. So I'm just saying, can you criticize us for having a platform that allows bits--bits, just bits; not music, not movies, not medical records, not tech things--to have any usage restriction for bits. Are we doing a disfavor to the world at large by saying some of our users, when they choose to--maybe for medical records--they can limit the accessibility of those bits?

    Ah, but here is lies the classic folly. Currently, people have to decide if what they are doing is within the realms of fair use, such as copying a page from a book so they can cut out a favorite paragraph from the book and read it at presentation. DRM says that a machine has to decide if what I'm doing constitutes fair use. What happens when the computer doesn't understand my situation? Like with smart guns, if I'm wrestling with a criminal for their weapon and I manage to get it away from them, I won't be able to use it to defend myself! It's not just managing bits anymore Bill, it's managing our lives.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why is the word communist a deragatory term now a days.

    People have no clue what it means and use it as a slam. Guess 50 years of govt brainwashing worked.
  • Ok... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by KontinMonet (737319)
    Gates originally said [theregister.co.uk] (amongst other things):
    "... I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises. They don't think that those incentives should exist."

    In the part 4 above, he says:
    "All I was saying is that the number of people
  • to actually RTFA?
    I want to have a nice friday, so I'll skip this. :) It's FRIDAY! :D
  • Bill Gate's rationale for DRM:

    \$$$$$$$$$$/
    \$$$$$$$$/
    \$$$$$$/
    \$$$$/
    \$$/
    | |

    MicroSoft

    Can be summed with: Cha-Ching!

    And now to blather on to satisfy the lameness filter, and get /. to stop bitching about too much whitespace in this freakin' comment. Such as it is, of course.
  • by Dr Reducto (665121) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:41PM (#11363874) Journal
    Have you or have not you ever contributed code to the communist operating system, Linux?
  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:41PM (#11363879)
    He says that money is the only insentive for individual excellence, or a step further, that DRM is the only way to reward creativity.

    I believe many artists make art to add beauty to the world, and that they desire an audience, not money.

    I believe that there are many artists willing to share their creative work for free, and they are compensated by the attention they get. I believe that the market is starting to demand this art. One of the great thing about this art, as with free software, is that it can be extended, collaborated with, and changed far beyond the scope of the original art. Perhaps this art isn't as good as commercial art, or as polished, but it has great advantages, the biggest one being that it is free.

    Finally, having been a successful shareware author, I can say that people are very generous if you ask them for support. I could have never distributed my software through traditional channels, and would have never made any money even if I could have, but was quite successful freely distributing my work, and only asking for payment in the about box.

    It is ironic that Bill Gates doesn't understand this. His operating system has started this revolution, that has removed the cost of distribution. What we are seeing now is a natural evolution of the personal computer.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:41PM (#11363888)
    Artists already get paid. Some of them are millionaires.

    What it's about is squeezing a few extra bucks out of everyone by removing their ability to listen/read/watch ANYTHING without paying for it. Because the media companies just can't STAND it when someone "uses" their product without giving them money.

    The whole plan boils down to this: No information will be free, ever. The libraries know this, as they've already been fighting for survival in the new world of "intellectual property" and "digital rights".
  • by NardofDoom (821951) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:42PM (#11363902)
    Let's see them put that into their ad campaign: "Microsoft: Setting up roadblocks since 2004."
  • by deacon (40533) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:45PM (#11363956) Journal
    Compare and contrast:

    OSS encourages individuals to trade directly with each other. VS Communism makes person to person trade a crime against the state, and labels it economic sabotage.

    OSS actually works, and the technically best software gets the most users. VS Communism gives you products like the Trabant and makes you wait 12 years for delivery.

    OSS is a choice, you are free to reject it without penalty. VS Communism is enforced by the barrel of a gun, dissidents get killed.

    OSS has not caused the death of anyone. VS 100 million people have been killed by Communist regimes.

    Some will argue that this is not "real, genuine" communism. Bullshit. Every case of communism in practice has been a poverty-laden murder-fest. Whining about how this is not "real" communism is astroturfing of the most foul sort.

    Did communism get the first dog into space? Yes!

    Did the dog ever make it back alive? You Capitalist pig dog traitor! How dare you even ask the question! (Actual answer is no. They didn't care about the life of the dog, they cared about the glory of Communism.)

    If anything represents the output of Communism in the real software world, it is Windows. Poor quality, trade in it between individuals is forbiden, product is forced on the user by the OEM.

    • by roystgnr (4015) <[ude.saxetu.macit] [ta] [rngtsyor]> on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:54PM (#11365186) Homepage
      Specifically, it represents the "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" aspect of communism.

      Microsoft, on the other hand, represents the "Central planning enforced via coercion from an unaccountable monopoly" aspect of communism.

      If Gates & co. are going to try and keep the communism analogy alive, this more precise view ought to be brought up to reporters at every opportunity. I can't speak for everyone, but I know all my negative associations with Communism come from its relation to totalitarianism, not its relation to sharing.
  • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:51PM (#11364059) Homepage Journal
    Internally at Microsoft everybody runs Windows 2003 Advanced Server on every workstation, installs every possible product, hands around the source to everything possible to anybody who asks, and never asks for a dime. However there are restrictions on what you can do with it -- you can't give it away to people outside the company, for example.

    Windows is built with a huge bunch of command line tools and perl scripts. There's not much difference between the philosphies and characters of Windows Developers and Free Software Developers -- except one: Windows people don't want *you* to have the rights *they* have.
  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:10PM (#11364420) Homepage Journal
    Paraphrasing what I've said before about "socialist" open source software developers [slashdot.org]:

    Programmers write free software to subvert a system that denies them the protection of their intellectual property rights by pricing legal defense of those rights out of their reach. That guys like Gates would be unsympathetic to this cruel dilemma facing the vast majority of programmers is not surprising. Indeed, given the fact that even giving all his wealth away, except some "modest" estate for his children, his childre will still be able to afford good legal counsel to establish protection for themselves.

    If programmers were able to capture enough of the value of what they write to pay for the legal defense of their rights they'd probably write a lot less free software.

    This gets to a fundamental problem with the incentives created by taxing things other than asset value (exempting house and tools of the trade which are subsistence assets protected by bankruptcy tradition):

    Possession is rewarded over creation.

    Think about it: Once you possess something, you basically have no tax burden. You enjoy the benefits of young men dutifully going out to die in wars, government subsidized infrastructure paid by wage earners, the entire legal edifice describing and protecting your rights and without you having to pay a cent. You can just soak the public for these benefits by paying only the lawyers fees to extract the benefits for yourself.

    Taxing everything but possession (income, capital gains, sales, value added, etc) is just a way to tax the creative process.

    Naturally, creators who are trying to get a leg up on the situation end up selling their creations cheap to those whose possession is subsidized by the tax payments of the creators.

    Well, there is one exception to this rule of no taxation of possession -- and that is the patent maintanence fee. Patents are the only assets that the government taxes. This is an incredibly regressive tax hitting hardest those who are earliest to support the realization of a new technology's value -- forcing them to sell their rights ("assign") cheap to someone who has been sitting around enjying the government's protection.

    It all adds up to a very nasty way of sucking capital out of the hands of creators and giving over to the hands of possessors.

    So the creators, unable to change the tax laws to tax assets rather than creative processes (becuse they can't buy the Ways and Means Committee) become socialists.

    This is directly related to the issue of outsourcing since if programmers who had created the value of the information industry had been allowed to retain the value they created, they wouldn't need jobs. The corporations would be paying them royalties or be paying companies owned by the programmers for the rights to their software instead of just throwing creators out on the street after extracting their youth and creativity.

    A system that would work would elimnate all existing taxes (although not necessarily tariffs) and just tax net assets at a rate equal to the interest rate on the national debt -- exempting from taxation the same assets that are exempted by personal bankruptcy protection: home and tools of the trade.

    Does Gates think he can beat the competition if they aren't beaten down for him by the government? This sort of arrogance by people who are the wealthiest isn't offset by giving their money to charity. They are eating the children of the middle class and destroying the future of the country that made them rich.
  • by geomon (78680) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:17PM (#11364537) Homepage Journal
    Seriously. But only on topics that he obviously knows NOTHING about.

    For instance, he was wrong about the impact of the internet. He has also been wrong in forcasting technology trends, 14 YEARS IN A ROW.

    I admire the fact that Bill has been able to become rich and successful. To his credit, he drove his company to take risks and challenge his competitors. If it weren't for the principles of Microsoft fighting for their market share, the industry might look much less inviting than it is today. Competition is a good thing, and Microsoft is nothing if not competative.

    But when Bill wanders off the reservation, he gets himself in trouble. His ideas about world health are noble, but I don't think US pharma companies look too kindly at his dumping millions of dollars into areas where they could be raking in profits.

    Free medicine? Ask Big Pharma what they thing that political philosophy constitutes.

    Bill should keep his discussion focused on Microsoft and his competition. That is what he is best at. Commenting on open source products, not the philosophy that creates them, is probably a whole lot safer and let prone to embarrass His Highness.

    Bill Gates is as clueless about open source as Nicolas II was about his peasantry.
    • by FreeUser (11483)
      I agree with much of your post, but I must take issue with this:

      I admire the fact that Bill has been able to become rich and successful. To his credit, he drove his company to take risks and challenge his competitors. If it weren't for the principles of Microsoft fighting for their market share, the industry might look much less inviting than it is today. Competition is a good thing, and Microsoft is nothing if not competative.

      Bill didn't become rich and successful. He was born rich, and used mommy's I
  • by feloneous cat (564318) on Friday January 14, 2005 @02:05PM (#11365368)
    I read this as Mr. Bill confusing a market economy with a non-market one. His argument is a straw man... that one can not approach "greatness" without being rewarded with money.

    Funny, my Dad is an Episcopal priest and one of the things he taught during his sermons was the value of good works. These are (for those who skipped Church) the kind of things where you expect no reward, payment, etc.

    Most people consider "good works" to be doling out food to the poor. But I would argue that writing something that a) seems useful to others and b) gives one some joy is also a good work.

    After all, how many people went "thank god" when their system DIDN'T crash because some 13 year old decided to create the Windows worm du jour?
  • by kiore (734594) on Friday January 14, 2005 @02:17PM (#11365516) Homepage Journal
    I wish the people that bandy around terms like communist would stop and consider what these terms mean.

    I am a worker (In my case an intellectual worker, but that doesn't matter) under both capitalism & communism I would be creating a product.

    Under capitalism I create something, and I can sell it or give it away as I wish. It doesn't matter if that something is a wooden table or a computer program. It's my choice what I do with it.

    The person I sell/gift it to can do with it as he or she wishes.

    In other words, my product is covered by a BSD licence.

    Under communism everything (including the fruits of my labours) belongs to "the people", in other words "the state". I make something, the state pays me a wage and it determies how and by whom the product is used.

    Under capitalism (as described by Marx) competitive pressure forces the price of commodity goods down towards the cost of production. The producers can only make a profit by reducing their cost of production, including wages, to a minimum.

    What's the true commodity cost of software? The cost of downloading and perhaps the cost of burning it to a CD.

    Under communism, the state restricts competition, and interferes in the market, thus keeping the price of commodities high enough to ensure a decent wage for the workers.

    The exact mechanism for how it restricts competition isn't that relevant. It could be "5 year plans" stating exactly how many will be produced, it could be limiting the number of people permitted to make the product, or it could be changing the patent rules to permit patenting the product rather than the old "patenting the process" model.

    Under communism you have the state creating or enforcing monopolies on the production of commodity items. It doesn't matter if those items are cornflakes or software, the prices are kept artificially high to permit "the workers" to keep more of the wealth.

    Looking to the USSR experiment, "the workers" that retained the wealth weren't so much the ones on the factory floor as the managers & the communist functionaries that replaced the former owners, but no-one can argue that the upper echelons of the society of the USSR were wealthy.

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