Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Sun Microsystems

Interview With Bill Joy 159

richard koman writes: "In an interview with Bill Joy on, Bill reveals that he's working with Sen. Orrin Hatch to devise public policy on the Net and copyright infringement, and states his belief that wholesale copying of content is "too much of a nerd view of the world."" He's got an interesting perspective on Napster, despite being a shareholder of it.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Interview with Bill Joy

Comments Filter:
  • I thought his perspective on why .NET is a colossal boondoggle is interesting. Microsoft is banking on XML as the savior of everything, but in this interview Joy says:

    But Java and linking together the data types solves this component service composition model using programming language technology. XML doesn't because it's still just data. You still have to have a type system to plug the things together and essentially, dynamic linking, and you don't find that in XML just by itself... either you can compose components with behavior or you can't... and the problem is that without the ability to plug together behavior, you're basically stuck... You end up with 1,000 different XML-based thingies that don't ever really compose to do anything together. You don't have composable things because you don't have the algebra to put things together.

    This is probably the simplest, most concise way of expressing this I've seen yet: some object behavior is inextricably linked to the language used to describe it. There are simply too many semantic and contextual difficulties to overcome. This is why MS couldn't really support COM/DCOM/COM+ development outside of their own compilers and can't support .NET objects in raw C++, but instead has to use a "type-safe" subset, or its own Java rip-off, C#. I also would expect that this is why the "promise" of language independence with .NET is not going to fly in the real world, unless language authors hack their babies to pieces, turning them into C# clones.

    Granted, Python and some other languages can be compiled to Java bytecode, but aside from these pedagogical examples (and I would submit that trying this for anything other than simple applets or toy applications is next-to-impossible and counter-productive), any real work on the Java platform has to be done in Java. In the end we'll see that any real .NET service or application will have to be written in C#.

    I'm not a language snob, honest. I just believe in the right tool for the right job. :)

  • Actually, I'm rather busy completing my college education right now, but thanks for the advice...

    Since I do want artist to get a better break, I try to buy albums by artists on independent record labels that treat their artists right whenever possible.
    Merge Records [] is one of my favorites. Neutral Milk Hotel and The Magnetic Fields I enjoy heavily.
    Also, K records [] for a band called ICU, as well as some of Beck's earlier stuff.

    Oh, and guess how I heard about these bands (whose albums I now paid for).

    That's right, Napster.

    -the wunderhorn

  • I have to respectfully disagree.

    The nature of the internet is different than, say, books or tape recorders or any other information distribution system, and you fail to understand the distinctions at your peril.

    The fact is, the internet makes copyrights either:

    1) unenforceable, as so many have violated the law (e.g., Napster) that we can't lock them all up, or;

    2) unendurable, as the only way to make sure copyrights aren't being violated is to invade our privacy and violate our civil rights.

    This wasn't a problem before the internet, as the average information distributor couldn't do as much damage, and could be caught once he did become large enough to be a problem. For instance, the RIAA wouldn't prosecute you for taping an album off the radio in the past, they would get laughed out of court. Then they (not the RIAA this time, but the MPAA) got a little smarter and encoded VHS tapes and put the FBI WARNING! notice on the front of all movies. Okay, so far no invasion of privacy, but it did work a little better, although you can (legally?) tape a movie off of Showtime and give it to your friend.

    But now copyright violaters can copy a four minute song down to an mp3 and distribute it to thousands of people in minutes, who can then forward it to a million in an hour.

    That's a million criminals in an hour, or, if you want, 95 million criminals on Napster right now.

    Which should we do? Arrest everyone on Napster (I imagine its a misdemeanor), stop them by monitoring their machine via Carnivore, or write new legislation that is cognizant of the new problems brought about by the new technology? I opt for the latter.
  • ...I am fairly certain that the RIAA doesn't hold a gun to anyone's head; including the heads of the artists.

    Let me answer this:

    1. Most independent labels don't have sufficient circulation to make sure that their artists can get more than the bare necessities to survive (as artists that is, so I include costs for gear, studio time etc).
    2. The only way to become succesful, whether you define that as wealth or widespread recognition, is through the superior distribution channels of a major label.
    3. All 5 (6?) major labels offer artists the same crappy deal, so there is no alternative.

    BTW last time I checked, this kind of business model was called a cartel, illegal under both US and European anti-trust law. Where is the DOJ?

  • See Title 17, Section 506 of the US Code [] where it defines Criminal Offenses in the context of Copyright Infringement and Remedies and it says:

    • (a) Criminal Infringement. - Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either -
      • (1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
      • (2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000, shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.

    From what I read, it seems that casual (less than $1000/180 days) copying is not a crime. This is underscored by the portion of the statement that says For purposes of this subsection, evidence of itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.

    OpenSourcerers []
  • Bill Joy: Well, software is a safe harbor that's morphing into a service. People don't want to install and manage software on their machines. They want someone to do it for them. You can steal software on an individual basis. It's very hard for an institution to steal a service, or in fact to deploy software that implements a service on a large scale. So that largely solves the problem. The personal productivity stuff is mostly given away in the context of a subscription or a communication service. You know, mail isn't an application, mail is a service.

    So why is the music industry still making a profit from the medium and not switching over to a service industry like software? I don't have a solution, but I thought the question is an interesting one to ask.

  • When I say "gun to the head", I mean it literally, i.e. a threath of physical force. This is what I don't think the RIAA is doing.

    Most independent labels don't have sufficient circulation to make sure that their artists can get more than the bare necessities to survive (as artists that is, so I include costs for gear, studio time etc).

    First of all, you've just agreed that circulation is not impossible to attain for independent labels. It may be hard, but it is not clearly not impossible.

    Also, you've just agreed that artists do get the bare necessities they need when signing a contract with an independent label, and that these necessities include all the gear necessesary to do their job.

    The only way to become succesful, whether you define that as wealth or widespread recognition, is through the superior distribution channels of a major label.

    The way to earn recognition is by making superior music. People will pay for good music. If, however, one's music is not superior, then I agree that one needs the major labels to create the appearance that the music is good. Sadly, stupid people will buy bad music if they've been told that it's good.

    The main point is this: good music sells itself.

    All 5 (6?) major labels offer artists the same crappy deal, so there is no alternative.

    You've just said that an artist can get by on the income earned from a contract with an independent label. If the major labels can offer a better deal, how is that "crappy" ?

    However, you may be correct that many artists do not recieve compensation proportional to their ability. This can only be because they have allowed this to happen. They may be victims, but they have given their sanction to their exploiters, and that makes them guilty too. They need only to revoke that sanction, and the major labels will not survive. This is, of course, assuming that the artists are actually worth something, and that they could not just be replaced by the next guy. If these people are not irreplacable, then they aren't recieving millions because their abilities do not warrent it.
  • It's interesting that in Bill Joy's comments on Napster's copyright infringement, he quotes an entire dilbert cartoon verbatim (without permission I presume)
  • I don't drink, but I voted for Howell. :)

    When it comes to copyright law, I really do think Hatch has good intentions. It's just that he can't really see past the "what's good for corporations is good for individuals" and "there is no God but market" stuff. And I think he thinks he "gets it" just because he's a semi-professional lyricist who's collaborated with a few Utah/local big names (though really, it's likely that his privileged position and semi-celebrity status has given him a distorted view of things).

    There was a Senate field hearing held at BYU a couple months back. You might want to read my take on the event. []. I think it gives some idea that Hatch:

    1) really was fishing for corporate support. I can't figure out why else all those corporations were there and allowed to read their press releases in the middle of the hearing

    2) really is listening to people at Napster and to independant artists

    3) really wants to do something, even if it might not be the greatest... ("let's look to the legislation that killed DAT as our possible solution")

  • Copyrights reflect something fundemental to human nature. The idea that what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours, and you can only have what's mine if I let you, and under my conditions.

    Early Homo-sapian grunts to neighbor: "My walrus."
    Other Homo-sapian grunts back: "Me give monkey?"
    Early Homo-sapian grunts in reply: "Uggh (ok)"

    In another example:

    Early homo-sapian grunts to neightbor: "My walrus"
    Other homo-sapian grunts back: "Infor... warluses want to be free!"
    Early homo-sapian hits other homo-sapian on the head.
  • I don't get the ball example. In the case that we have two equal red-balls it really *doesn't* matter which is whose. However, music is not like that. In the distribution of music, one person gives, and the other recieves. One works, and the other enjoys the fruits of the work. Take a comparison with the car industry. Say a car costs the consumer $500. Of that $500, $50 is profit for the manufacturer. So cars sell for $500, and $450 of that goes to making the copies. In the case where the cost of making a copy goes down to $0, then the car's cost should drop down to $50, the previous profit. Think about this very carefully. In a $500 car, the $450 covers the work to build a copy. The other $50 goes for the one-time costs of development, the idea, he design, the name-brand, and profit for the makers. Even if the copy costs nothing, these costs should still be paid. So the only thing that direct-internet music should do is get rid of part of the price-tag that reflects the cost to manufacture and distribute the CDs. The other part of the cost, including profit to the record label if the artist chooses to affiliate themselves with one, should be paid as normal.

    Maybe I'm too old-fashioned to understand the whole real-new-economy business, but as I see it, if I do something, I am entitled to direct fee from everyone who uses it. Moreover, I'm entitled to ask for whatever I want in return for the use of a copy of my work. If the artist wants to set up a direct-to-consumer website where he/she sells (or gives away) her songs, then good for them. If they want to ally themselves with a huge record industry whose only purpose is to make a profit (nothing wrong with that!) then god for them too.
  • Okay, so you have a 4.7% royalty. I never said otherwise. By "burden of studios advertising/distribution/etc" I mean the studios do the advertising and such is done by the recording studios which take their cut out of the profits. (I did not, know, however, that recording studio-costs are out-of-pocket, not based on actual sales.) My point is that that is the state of affairs the market has created for itself. You could argue that the recording industry needs to be pushed to increase their royalty rates (maybe through competing labels that offer better actual rates) but making music free and paying just the artist doesn't do anything to help the situation. If music is made free (that wasn't intended to be free to begin with), somebody gets cheated; the record label, or the artist.
  • Which should we do? Arrest everyone on Napster (I imagine its a misdemeanor), stop them by monitoring their machine via Carnivore, or write new legislation that is cognizant of the new problems brought about by the new technology? I opt for the latter.

    I've got a different perspective on the whole matter of Peer-To-Peer copying. I'm all for it. I think that whether it's legal or not, the widespread availability of media has opened my eyes to whole different genres of music and culture, allowed me to experiment at little or no cost with independant music (some of the stuff I listen to would cost rediculous amounts of money imported from Europe), and because of this, encouraged me to spend money - on tangible things, like concerts, stickers, and t-shirts - not infinately reproduceable media. Really good music and games - and movies - I've even been inclined to buy (and buy it in a media that I can listen/watch forever, without endless royalties).

    Another observation: I've been around computers for something like 14 years or so - and they've ALWAYS been used as tools to pass copyrighted media around to your friends at no charge. There's been the profiteering scum, yes - but they're quick to catch.

    What I see happening is that shutting Napster down will be the worst thing the record industry ever did - because then a bunch of hackers are going to design a better, noncentralized, two way anonymous, global system like FreeNet [], make it easy to use, and then you have the ultimate tool for freedom - or piracy, depending on how you look at it. Properly designed, it becomes near impossible to track people down, and could become part of every internet enabled OS out there. (I suspect this is what initiatives like Windows XP are about - I hope that product flops worse than DivX). This is also why people are horny to get protections on hard drives before we start talking about terabytes instead of gigabytes - although, I suspect they're not going to be successful.

    Even better is the technology developed by Zero Knowledge []. Too bad it's not free, but I like their tech - a lot.

    Interesting times ahead. What is the law, anyhow? If the majority of the population decides that something is OK and acceptable, then it's going to be legal at that point in time - Yes, I'm all aware about slavery and WWII Germany - but all that was legal at the time, too. Comparing copying music to killing people is a little extreme, too. The government exists for the people, and by the people (in the USA, anyhow..). Not for the corporations, by the corporations. Profits or no profits, that's not what it's about - sorry.

    Information wants to be free, and two-way anonymous transfer & peer-to-peer copying means that it's about to be.

  • Bill Joy just doesn't get a fundamental point about everything that is going digital today: none of them is a product, and any idea that categorizes them as such is flawed and doomed to failure. Music is a service, always has been, and it's only when music had to be imprisoned in physical objects such as tape and compact discs could it have justifiably been called a product. But now music is rapidly reverting to the form it was before Edison invented the phonograph: a service, and all the RIAA's horses and all the RIAA's men cannot put the broken record back together again. I remember reading an article by Courtney Love [] on Salon [] that takes this view, and I think Mr. Joy should read it for his edification; this from someone who is actually in the music industry. Courtney Love doesn't see the kind of dichotomy between the music industry and the software industry that Bill Joy seems so sure exists. There really is very little fundamental difference between the music and software industries and I suppose Joy, being ignorant about the former, fails to see its connection to the latter...
  • rush to exploit it, lengthen it, retroactively apply it, and otherwise destroy its nemesis, the freedom of
    speech? It's not good. Not even a little.
    Ah, but some speech is mine, and some speech is yours, and I get to decide how you use my speech. If I want $5 per copy that you make of it, then that's fine and the copyright allows me to enforce that.
  • That's an interesting perspective for a guy like that to have. Think of all the things nerds built "just because it was cool", and how essential they are to the economy Bill Joy is so eager to defend.
  • Like the Jim Crow laws or Nazi Germany? The people aren't always right, either.
  • People said the same things when VCR's came out. You're being short-sighted. The American ideal is that it *should* be easy to commit's called "liberty." Furthermore, the American ideal holds that the chance to commit crime outweighs the loss of freedom it incurs.

    Your comment on the law fixing this problem is also crap. How is having a special law against internet copyright going to change people trading mp3s? Are you seriously suggesting that the punishment for dl'ing an MP3 should be severe enough to make people afraid to do it? Or are you suggesting that we pass laws to take away our privacy so that we can't do it in the first place?
  • Convenience has nothing to do with it.

    When in university, many of my classmates could not afford to pay ~$2000 per year on books, so they pooled together and bought 1 book, cut the spine, and made a great reproduction of the original, besides the cover. It was hard, but necessity forced them to adapt, though knowingly breaking the law.

    Just because it is easy doen't mean people will do it. Just because it is hard doesn't mean people won't.
  • Hello everyone! My name is Margot, and I work as a Web Designer in Bangor, Maine. I am from Scotland, but moved to Maine some 18 months ago for the money. I like it, but I do find the locals to be quite stand-offish. My favourite pastimes include dancing (especially a good Ceilidh with a strapping Six Footer - tee hee! ;), Graphics Design (I have worked as a Graphics Designer for a Web Company in the past) and writing. Anyhoo, if you would like to chat or talk, feel free to e-mail me. I really like talking to technical types, even though I am a bit of a dunce, rather than the boring chaps you get round these parts. It helps to stop me from feeling *too* homesick :o)l.jhglhjljhglvjhglkgblkk
  • s/Tim O'Reilly/Bill Joy/g

    What's going on is that you missread. If there _was_ money involved (and I do not see any information supporting the claim), Bill Joy _does_ have quite a bit of it.
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @03:41PM (#425267)
    While keeping in mind that Sun and Microsoft are arch-rivals, I sense that they share one common trait - both want to lock businesses and customers into their respective sets of competing technologies.

    I am willing to bet several dozen donuts that these two companies in particular (in addition to whatever tricks the RIAA and MPAA might be up to, per usual) are lobbying the US Congress to establish a legal framework for an all-out assault on untrusted clients. The ability of an individual to write or use free software that eschews the Digital Rights Management (a more honest term is Copy Prevention) constraints being built into the next generation of commercial software is the "threat lawmakers need to be made aware of" whereof Allchin spoke. Today we have Bill Joy, an influential blowhard with no love for Microsoft, stating openly and publicly "I think that the copyright laws need to be enforced, and maybe they need to be changed. We need an enforceable digital-rights management scheme..."

    Why would anyone choose to use software that adds no value, but instead restricts what an individual may do with the hardware which he or she has purchased? Answer: They would, if the alternative was a stiff fine or jail time. A full-court-press is underway on behalf of the media business (with the help of technology companies like MS, Sun, and RealNetworks) to require DRM technologies be built into all connected devices.

    The grand irony here is that Microsoft and Sun both know the value of free distribution, in terms of architectural lock-in, regardless of whether the copies are authorized or not. Don't look to Microsoft to build "phone-home"-style copy protection into versions of Windows sold in the developing world- they know there's more value in people pirating their software and driving up their market share in these places than there is money to be squeezed out of the few groups willing and able to actually license all of their MSWare. Sun gives away their software for the same reason. These two sharks are just along for the ride, because they know that having the government mandate the use of DRM technology is a sure recipe for vendor lock-in. Microsoft wants to control the whole pie (from server to client), where Sun is just realistic enough to know that they're not in a position to control the client themselves (that's for their friends at AOL TimeWarner), and so just want to own the server platform.

    Folks, even though the lobbying going on here is smoky-back-room shit, bills will eventually have to come before Congress. I urge all of you to keep up with what bills are before the Judiciary and Commerce committees in the Senate and House. I would be astonished if new legislation mandating DRM did not get floated during this Congress. Hold on to your CD-RWs and non-SDMI-compliant MP3 players, folks. And your wallets. We're in for a dirty fight.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Should we really trust anything said by someone stupid enough to buy Napster stock? A small company in an overvalued market sector running directly against huge multinationals with expensive lawyers? I think all start a company called "" and see how many suckers I can sign up.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @03:50PM (#425269) Homepage
    So if we have "Digital Rights Management" (what's a digital right anyway? Didn't see it in my copy of the Constitution) how's he going to take care of certain problems?

    • Securing copyright to the author
      So if an author who has distributed a work via DRM loses the original, and posesses the copyright, what prevents him from unlocking a DRMed copy, as is his Constitutional right?

      If he can, why can't the rest of us pretend to be him and spoof the system?

      If it's power left with an external authority, what if it doesn't comply with the author's wishes, won't that infringe on the copyright? Or are little guys who can't pay entitled to copyright but not entitled to this govt. mandated system?

    • Limited terms
      Do the DRMs vanish magically when the term expires? How do they know? It can't get set at creation, b/c Congress might retroactively REDUCE the term. Does he propose that 99% of Internet traffic become "copyright queries" between content and a server?

    • Fair use
      How can it tell the difference between me quoting in a fair use manner, and in an infringing manner? Will each piece of content include a Pocket Judge as seen on TV?

    • Fair use and Promoting progress
      If I compile enough materials togethether that I effectively have an unprotected copy of the original, what protects it? The OS? Will it be illegal, under the aegis of "promoting the arts and sciences" to write one's own readers and OSes? Seems to be now, but this will take very general purpose software, like say, vi, which can open text files w/o checking the DRM, and make them illegal unless a giant corporation owns them.

    • Fair use and General changes
      How is the DRM aware of changes that it needs to accomodate due to legal issues? If the courts decide it's unconstitutional, and that any work protected under it shall be stripped of copyright (not entirely unheard of, IIRC) do they all automatically comply? How? What if Congress or the courts add more forms of fair use? Do these things magically accomodate these changes in the law? Or are they stupid, inflexible computer programs? Which is the par for ALL programs... it's the human element that's important.
  • Well that's all very well, Mr. Joy, but it seems to me several artists have complained that RIAA and/or its members are very good at systematically robbing them blind. Napster's just not being hypocritical about it. (I'm not excusing Napster; I just don't eat the RIAA shit about compensation for the artists...)
  • Well, I say "artists" because Joy and the RIAA say "artists"... frankly, I'd cross the street to avoid hearing some 90% of the "art" in question... but that's a detail.
  • Bill Joy said:
    "I think the big appeal of Napster was that people could get music easily and that it was free. I think we need the "easily," but I don't see how people's work can get taken without compensation."

    Personally, I'd rather pay the musician directly. Let the musicians set their own prices. They could even hire someone to do it for them if they wished.

    I'd make it an honor system where people without enough money to pay could still download it. But I'm an anarcho-syndicalist at heart.

  • No man should be a slave, ruled by force.

    If you know another means for men to be ruled then it'd be interesting to hear it.

    All governments rule by force, that's pretty much how you tell they're ruling rather than just making suggestions that everyone can follow or not at their own discretion.
  • Yes! Very much on the money...

    It reminds me of what I was told about alcohol regulations for College football games. The regulations are there, but they are not routinely enforced. It's only when some jerk gets too drunk and has to be thrown out that they use the booze law as an excuse to get him out of there. Likewise, copyrights are violated every day and the industries allow this behavior routinely. But when they feel threatened they rally up the lawyers and make a big stink out of it. Gnutella hasn't hit the threshhold yet, but the thing is, if they succeed in getting the govt to prosecute the copyright law as it was written, and so many of us are subject to fines, jail time, police harrassment, then the people must revolt, for they are not being represented by their legislators.

    So the laws as written are wrong, and although fundamentally the internet isn't different from Steve Gutenberg's printing press, it has brought the copyright law to a logical end through its efficiency and mass distribution capabilities. We have to re-think our laws, here.

    I personally don't think that many laws should be on the books: 55 mph speed limit comes to mind. Can you think of any others?

    Don't make half the country into outlaws!
  • There are lots of Slashdot stories about Senator Hatch recently (DCMA, MPAA & This one). It surprises me that he is so involved with technology. His constituitants in Utah should really try to make sure that he understands our wishes!
  • However, generally a "normal" business profit would be in terms of return on investment, or mark-up relative to costs of production, not constant per unit. Gum drops do not see a $50 profit per unit, since they are much cheaper to produce.

    In a free market (one that obeys all of the standard economist's assumptions about markets) things will tend to sell at the marginal cost to produce.

    Secondly, the concept of copyright is an artificial one, there is certainly a difference between theft of a physical object (which denies it's original owner its use) and copying (which does not).

    You certainly have a right to charge someone a fee for your services/labor. However, Some of us question whether allowing you to dictate who may, and may not, engage in mutually desired economic transactions with your work product is desireable to society. i.e. if I have a CD, and bob wants to pay me $10 for a copy, you are no longer directly contributing to this transaction. Why should you be allowed to prevent us.

    Copyright exists, not as a fundamental right of creators, but in order to promote the common good by encouraging people to make "creative" works. I for one, feel that the attempts to extend copyright go beyond this, and object to this.

  • I think having a nerd viewpoint is essential in make sure that we adequate and meaningful decisions made about the Wired World as we know it

  • That's the thing: when a majority of people do something that is not inherently harmful (think about it, using Napster has Zero moral implications) the laws need to be changed to reflect the change in the will of the people.

    But it's not like we work that way anymore. It has to do with the way our legislators operate.

    Funny, this is as good an argument as any for my pet peeve: the need for campaign finance reform.
  • by isaac ( 2852 )
    That's funny! You think he's me, but he's not. I never post anonymously; I think AC's are usually chickenshits, except when they have a real need for anonymity (like fear of retribution from an employer or gov't).

  • You continuous ad hominem attacks grow tiring, but you raise a point I simply can't leave alone. You say people are willing to pay M$ prices. That is not correct. The cost of M$ software is hidden, by and large, from the end user. Windows, Office, and a few other programs come bundled with PC's, and most business users do NOT know how much all that software on their systems cost. To them, it simply came with everything else. The only reason I can see that business hasn't gone to free software tools is that the user base, not realizing how much their Windows habit is costing the company, would complain about the retraining. The company doesn't want, for whatever reason, to deal with the psychological issues of migrating. Its similar to when road work needs to be done. No one is ahppy with the existing roads, but its what they are used to. When the government goes to fix the roads, the transition is painful, since lanes are closed, speeds reduced, etc. People complain a lot during such construction. Likewise, moving to free software would be an improvement in infrastructure, but the backlash due to the cyber equivalent of lane closing is more than they feel like dealing with. Otherwise, I'd imagine businesses by the boatload would gladly switch to freely available tools, thereby saving huge amounts of money that currently gets shipped to M$ by the truckload every time upgrade season occurs.

    Oh, BTW, there are plenty of non-physcial menas of commiting rape. Blackmail, drugs, psychological tortures... it would all still be considered rape. In my view, M$ and many of the media industries use a combination of psychological torture and blackmail to get people to spend money, hence it is rape.

  • But, without the incentive of profit, the creator will not create.

    This sounds like one of those "old wives tales", like the one about blacks' natural place being slaves and such.

  • In the early part of this century, there were companies who tried to offer music service in the city via dedicated lines for a subscription fee. At some point, broadcast radio became common and affordable. Naturally, broadcasters couldn't demand a fee from their listeners-- the technology didn't exist, to state the obvious. But radio was more convenient than the dedicated line model, so that industry was virtually wiped out. Radio eventually figured out a way to make money, and nowadays broadcast radio and television are a cornerstone of our entertainment economy.

    If Bill Joy had been alive in those days, he would perhaps have vigorously advocated legislation to stop radio broadcasting, on the theory that "free" radio could would wipe out the promising commercial business of the dedicated-circuit Music companies. It's a very limited view, and it overlooks the fact that entire industries develop from the ashes of some older, untenable business model.

    P2P is here to stay. It's no great technological revelation; it's simply the next, obvious step in the development of the mainstream internet. There are millions of machines on the net, with vast amounts of bandwidth connecting them. People will share information, and the only way to stop them is to impose draconian measures on their personal machines or network connections. That would be a disaster for our computer industry, and I sincerely doubt that such policies could ever be viable. But I'm an optimist.

  • Kind of reminds me of somethiung we're talking about at Netropolis [].
  • In what kind of bizarro world is this 'insightful'?

    No genius, the guiding principle behind rule of law is not "if enough people want to do it then it must be ok", no matter what Mr. Crowley said. Laws have nothing to do with "the will of the people"

    Every society since Hammurabi has has a code of laws, and not one in ten of those societies would have known what "will of the people" meant, much less wanted to enforce it. Laws are intended to prevent individuals acting in their own self interest from unfairly harming others or society as a whole.

    Hey, I've got an idea: I'd really like a blow job from Jennifer Lopez, and I bet there's lots of guys out there that want the same thing. If I could just get enough signatures together, maybe I could convince Congress that the will of the people has spoken and they will pass the "J. Lo Hummer Act" requiring Jennifer to go down on any guy that asks her.

    with humpy love,

  • Thank you. Its sickining, ain't it?
  • This reminds me of a story. Read carefully, you'll see that this is on-topic.

    An old man is harassed by three youths. Every day as he has his walk they harass him and tease him. After many weeks of this, the man is tired of it and devises a plan.

    One day, after a particularly nasty taunting, the man tells the boys, "If you'll harass me tomorrow as well, I'll pay each of you a quarter!".

    Of course, the boys jump on the opportunity. The next day, they give him a good harassing, and, true to his word, he gives each one quarter.

    "Same time tomorrow, old man?", asks the leader of the band.

    "Absolutely. Tomorrow, if you harass me, I'll pay each of you a nickel!"

    The boys grudgingly agree, but, somewhere, deep down, feel they are being shafted.

    The next day arrives, and, true to his word, the old man gives them each a nickel for their trouble, which is done with somewhat less gusto.

    "And tomorrow, if you harass me again, I'll pay each of you a penny!" the old man proudly announces.

    "A penny!", the leader exclaims, "what do you take us for?" and they never harass him again.

  • (maybe more accurately 2b, since it's part of the same issue)

    You know, there's no reason we can't just pay people for making good stuff []. They don't need a way to force them to pay, just a good argument that it is in the donor's own personal best interest to pay.
  • Simple fact is, most who create solely to make money create inferior items.

    Simple fact is, the best of minds among men should and do expect a return on their efforts that is as large as the benefits they provide other men.

    Those that do not expect this lack self-esteem. These people have been taught by people like you that they should not be proud and expect what is rightfully theirs. They have been taugth by people like you that their proper role is as the slave of their inferiors.

    To attach art[and I mean art in the sense of any well crafted item] so closely with greed is to debase those who create.

    That which a man produces is his own. Since when did it become greed to only enter trades that are fair? No man should be expected to sacrifice his values and thereby his life to the likes of you.
  • He says that it is find that software moves to be a servers related solution but why can't this also work for music?

    as an example
    someone uses redhat for there system. They got these for free. Something goes wrong they call redhat pay the $xxx for support they get the service redhat makes money.

    Now look at music.
    I find music I like, be it Snoop Doggie Dog. I download Snoop Doggie Dog mp3s and listen all the time. It is all great but it is still not what I want. Then Snoop Doggie Dog comes to my town to put on a show at $xxx per ticket. I like Snoop Doggie Dog and buy the ticket. I get a service Snoop Doggie Dog makes money.

    basicly saying that they aren't really "giveing" away there work, but posting it as advertisement for what there real work is, Concerts.

    As for books this will be a little diffrent because nobody wants to go watch someone write a book or pay to have a book serviced. Someone would have to think of the service level of books.
  • Interview with Bill Joy? Wow, have I got some questions for him...

    What, you mean we don't get to interview him? This is just an article about some other interview with him? Hemos, you tricked us!

  • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @04:04PM (#425291)
    I live in Utah, and every time I hear "fair use" come out of Hatch's mouth I hurl the technicolor yawn (excuse me, puke)

    He is responsible for the CTEA (written by Hatch), in which we all ironically know about today. More here []. 1- 25.html

    He co-authored the DMCA that's gonna throw a lot of slashdotters in jail for wearing the DeCSS t-shirt. More here []. l

    He's also responsible for this juicy piece []

    Do actions speak louder than words?? I think so. The difference between a whore on the street corner and Senator Hatch is at least the whore is honest about what she does.

    I would invite other's in Utah to go have a beer with me where we can talk about Senator Hatch, but I'm the only one who drinks beer here and who didn't vote for Hatch.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @04:04PM (#425292)
    Quoting from the article:

    It's that the rights of the artists aren't being respected that I think is the problem.

    That's exactly the issue!

    Now, most artists would just be happy that they have more listeners !

    BUT ...

    *SOME* artist's don't want their work (yes, work. Those songs just didn't appear out of mid-air one day) being copied without their permission. *cough Metalica-in-it-for-the-money cough*

    If geeks are not going to respect other's people "property" aka copyrights, why should we expect other people to honor the ones we hold dear, like the GPL.

    That's the "crime" of napster. People not respecting other people's work.

    To muddle the issue, Napster also provides one nice advantage: It makes it very easy to listen and try out new music.

    I know a lot of people have bought new albums, specifically because they were able to hear the whole album first. But copying someone's work, when they the didn't give you permission, still doesn't make it right. (No, it's NOT stealing, it's "unauthorized reproduction." BIG DIFFERENCE.)

    Oh well, this is will probably get modded down as flamebait, since I'm just expressing my opinion. ;-)

    Strange, that Bill Joy is on the board of napster, but doesn't agree with it's principles...

  • You make an invalid assumption that being talented == being irreplacable. The simple fact is, virtually anyone can be replaced. There may be 3 or 4 people on earth who can't, for everyone else, a workable substitute could be found and trained. And it is exactly that fear of being replaced that keeps the artists locked into the rape cycle. Of course they don't use guns, the use worse, they use fear. Mental violence is quite often the worst kind, and also is quite often the most powerful.

  • Bill Joy seems mostly interested in preserving industries. If this were the 1920's he would be devising ways of protecting buggy whip manufacturers.

    He is also overlooking two important things. First that copyright is a fairly new concept yet it never stopped great literature from being written. By his logic, Shakespeare should not have written anything because his work could be used without his consent.

    Secondly that the printing press is often considered the most important invention in modern times precisely because it put information into the hands of the people where before it had been mostly exclusive to the clergy in their high cathedrals.

    Free flow of information would be beneficial to mankind just as it was in Gutenberg's day. Perhaps it would usher in a new Age of Renaissance.

    Bill Joy seems to want us to trade that off to protect the financial interests of a few buggy whip makers and their stockholders.
  • The difference between a whore on the street corner and Senator Hatch is at least the whore is honest about what she does.

    Don't you watch COPS? Whores are NEVER honest about what they do -- it's always either "massage therapy" or a "dating service". The undercover cops have to drag "give me money for sex" out of them.

    Regardless, your point stands. Senator Hatch is little more than a guy who wets his finger and sticks it into the wind to find out what he believes... just like 533 other members of Congress.

  • I deserved that flamebait. Bill Joy is a good guy, and I should have put it a little nicer. Still thought it was funny though.
  • Nope. You get to decide if you speak at all.

    Let's have a little thought experiment. Imagine that the two of us live in an environment where there are absolutely no laws whatsoever.

    Do you have freedom of speech? The answer is yes. In a state of nature you are not compelled to check with an external authority in order to speak. The First Amendment is a recognition of this right which is natural, and granted by God. It doesn't say that we have it, of course we have it. It says that Congress can't abdridge it.

    Do you have a copyright that prevents me from exercising my freedom of speech to repeat whatever you just said? The answer is no. Again, in this state of nature, _I_ am not compelled to check with an external authority in order to speak _either_. You can't have it both ways.

    (Additionally, you _do_ have the right not to speak at all. If I ask you a question you are not compelled by your inherent nature to answer. You can refuse. The Fifth Amendment is partially a recognition of this, although it's not really as strong.)

    Speech is unownable. Blame God if you like, because that's how the universe actually works, but no one can own speech.

    Now, when we get into the US, the situation is actually very similar, due to the clever writing of the Copyright Clause from which all copyright must derive in this country.

    If you speak, you do not own your speech. *BUT* the government can create, out of whole cloth, a new, artificial (or 'positive') right. This is the right to make copies of that speech, under certain circumstances* _without legal liabilities_.

    *The circumstances are basically: only if it promotes progress, only if you have that right (though you can choose to transfer it away), and only for a limited time before these rights vanish like sanity in front of Cthulhu)

    Everyone can still copy your speech; this can't be prevented. And furthermore, in some situations it's highly desirable, and to deny it would in conflict with the requirements upon which copyright is granted. But what _you_ can do is sue them.

    Backing up a little bit though, copyright is ONLY concerned with copying. (which includes public performance - also a form of dissemination) Use is right out the window. Authors do not get to control use. They never have, there's no natural basis, and hopefully they never will because it would be absolutely terrible.

    The only control that an author has over the use of their work is to not give it to the person who they don't want to use it in the first place. You also can't prevent people from selling it to people you don't want to have it. That's generic property law.

    (You could require anyone who bought a copy from you to agree to a contract in which they wouldn't resell it, or at least only with your permission, but the First Sale doctrine prohibits you from just printing a notice in a book sold in a public store. Selling to the general public undermines your position. This is good, because there is a recognized greater social goal to the creation and dissemination of works than there is to the control of the author)

    Furthermore, why would it be fine for you to decide how I use your speech? Does that help society? (the objective of copyright: "to Promote Progress of Science and the Useful Arts," NOT to line the author's pockets; that's just one of an option of means to achieve progress)

    There is simply no natural entitlement that authors have to copyrights, or that they have to use rights. If there were, it would exist independently of a government. It doesn't. Claiming that it does, or that the sky is blue, or that pi = 3 or that the Sun and the Planets orbit the Earth does not make it so.
  • bill joy may have some technical skillz, but he is very weak on history and humanity.

    until two *personal* systems can connect, privately, without any government or corporate interference, unless granted by a search warrant (via a judge), our rights are being trampled.

    it's as simple as that.

    the internet desperately needs a way to tunnel existing services through an encrypted connection.

    this is the only interim solution to the theft of our rights and liberties that the governments and corporations are currently undertaking.

  • More computers would be available without Windows if it wasn't an important part of the computer that customers demanded.<br><br>

    That it would be costly and inconvinient to switch to another OS is, believe a not, a perfectly valid reason to continue using Windows.<br><br>

    Roads get worse with age. The various editions of Windows do not. The analogy is flawed. Windows 2000 is much better than Windows 3.1.
  • You make an invalid assumption that being talented == being irreplacable.

    You are quite right. I'm quite talented at walking, but that doesn't make me irreplacable. The talent needs to be rare to be worth anything.

    There may be 3 or 4 people on earth who can't, for everyone else, a workable substitute could be found and trained.

    The keyword here is could. People who would be extremely hard to replace naturally can demand quite a high wage. If you are going to demand to be paid millions, then your talents better be pretty rare, and your task pretty hard, or no one will give you so much money.

    Imagine everyone were taught C++ from age 3. Now, as an employer, would you pay a very high wage to someone who was very good at writing C++ code (that being his only skill)? I certainly wouldn't, because even if he's very good, so is everyone else...
  • Man would be perfectly happy if the government did nothing but persecute criminals, the laws being such that you only became a criminial if you commited fraud, theft or violence or some such.

    In other words this means that the only instance in which the government would use force would be when an individual had violated the rights of others.
  • That which a man produces is his own. Since when did it become greed to only enter trades that are fair? No man should be expected to sacrifice his values and thereby his life to the likes of you.

    Drug companies that expect a "return on their efforts" from third-world countries that can't afford their prices are just wrong though.

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

  • An anonymous coward said:

    No no no. The value of a thing Is the price it will bring in unrestricted trade. If you can't understand that, or how that applies to this situation, then you will never be a rich man.

    Unfortnately this lies on several fallacies. The foremost being an assumption that I want to be a rich man. (and for the punny types, I don't want to be a rich woman either).

    The more important one being that the current situation with the RIAA cartel (thanks to a previous poster for that) THERE IS NOT UNRESTRICTED TRADE GOING ON HERE. The Cartel monopolizes the means of distribution through many techniques, and has split it up for their own benefit, not the benefit of the consumers, nor that of their artists who they treat as chattel, except when it does good PR for them to allow Metallica to get righteously indignant in public.

  • Information does not want to be free. It does not want anything. Technophiles want everything to be free in order to prove some insane ideological point, economics be damned.

    I can't understand the geek viewpoint of corporations; it's as if at the heart of every corporate headquarters, there is a multi-tentacled alien entity that eats souls. Corporations are made up of people, corporate assets, and the organizational structure that binds them together. Profits are split between shareholders, employees, (which includes the Board) and reinvestment in the corporation. In other words, individual people control the corporation at every point, and individuals profit from the corporation's acts. If you think a corporation is grubbing money, then maybe you should buy some stock and get your piece of the pie too. If you think that they are doing something morally wrong, then don't buy their stock or their product, and don't feed into their profits. Very simple.

    Stop believing that you are helpless before Corporate America, which is basically a house of cards built on the faith of investors. If "we the people" feel threatened by corporate government, we don't need to fight a gun battle; convince everybody you know to dump their stocks, bonds, and mutual funds on the market. Within months we'll be back to the days of the Mom and Pop General Store.

    Thanks, cunt!


  • I'm sure this will be moderated way down as flamebait or whatever but it isn't. I've noticed that if you look at the sun logo like its one of those magic eye pictures, it becomes a schwastica. I'm not kidding, I'm sure it wasn't intentional on sun's part, but its rather humerous. If you don't believe me try it, i swear its true.
  • i agree, but not everyone has: time; money; influence... despite what they tell you in gov't classes i still don't believe that my senators/reps will listen if i mail them a letter.

    thing is...last weekend each of napster's servers had something like 12,000 individual people download shit, i think that if all of those people contatcted their senators/reps...they would have to listen.
  • Simple fact is, the best of minds among men should and do expect a return on their efforts that is as large as the benefits they provide other men.

    Hm... Sounds.... Utopian!

    To be honest, if this were true in society, we'd have a lot of teachers who would be making a HELL of a lot more money than they are (and a lot more who would be starving). The problem is, our society does NOT pay "men" (ahem) based on the benefits they provide others, but rather on the benefits they can convince others they have provided. There is a subtle but very significant difference. If we lived in the society you describe, the leaders of RIAA would shrivel up from lack of food, and the artists would be twice as wealthy as they appear to be now (assuming that "art" is a "benefit" can of worms opens when you ask someone to define "benefit).

  • This just underlines the reason I get so annoyed at Joy. He seems to be unnecessarily against the nerds of the world: computer geeks, scientists, etc.

    All his talks are about how these people are completely irresponsible and are going to kill us all with their actions. When I was at that Stanford talk a while ago, he spoke at length about how we should regulate biotech/nanotech/robotics/etc, and seemed to dismiss or just not hear many reasonable points by the other speakers. His statement here that building products that destroy our economy was a "nerd view" sounded like he was using "nerd" as an insult. I can see that from mainstream media and such, but he's in the industry.

    On another note, I hear he got a few laughs at the talk in SF a couple of days ago. Unintentionally, of course. I don't think he gets it. Oh well, I'll just continue to use him as a contrast to sensible futurists.
  • Joy: ....the fact that we can easily get access to music is of no use if the music industry falls apart.

    O'Reilly Isn't that somewhat alarmist? The fact is there are certainly studies that show that people are buying more music as a result of free sampling.

    Joy: I'm more concerned, as I said, with the book industry.

    O'Reilly: Yeah, well I'm a publisher and I'm not concerned about that one... what about software?

    Joy: Well, software is a safe harbor that's morphing into a service.

    So... the publisher isn't worried about the publishing industry. The software developer isn't worried about the software industry. Free sampling may increase music sales.

    So who, exactly, are the copyright laws protecting here?
  • The key arguement you bring up is FAIR. Take a quick peak at CD prices? Fair? I think not [its why I haven't bought a CD in 2 years]. Take a look at the cost of ANY M$ product? Aagain, fair? I think not. If you refuse me a fair price, I will not buy. I you refuse me a fair price for something I need to survive [in both the physical and mental senses] I will fight you for it. To expect a fair price is one thing, to expect to be paid repeatedly, ad infinitum, is quite another.

  • While Orin Hatch did father the DMCA, he hoped it would provide incentive for media companies to roll out services that allow us to do what we want -- listen/watch for little/no money.

    You see, the media companies had complained that the reason they did not have "micropayment" arrangements with external parties was that they were not adequately protected in the online/digital world. Mr. Hatch's subcommittee worked hard (and quickly) to hammer out some protections (as the constitution stipulates they should) to address the business concerns.

    Then the good senator got screwed by the media companies.

    In the subcommittee hearings a few months back (on CSPAN -- the one with Sean Fanning, Lars Ulrich, etc.) Mr. Hatch laid into the RIAA president (who didn't want to testify -- he threatened to subpeona her instead) on what he considered a betrayal by the RIAA members.

    He specifically condemned the fact that the RIAA had not worked to create a system whereby any mom/pop site could provide content for the masses using simple, easy-to-use license schemes. No fancy contracts, just fair use. That was what the DMCA was supposed to do, provide for a legal response in the event one of these sites went too far.

    He told the RIAA they had "months" to provide such a system or face the possibility Congress would act in their absence. He specifically warned against an exclusive system of arrangements between the big producers. He wanted to see all of us able to provide this music to our customers for the same cost as the big guys.

    Quite funny were his quetions to the RIAA on what constitutes "fair use"...basically he told them they were wrong. When the RIAA president tried to argue that "the law" sided with them, he reminded her that he (or at least his committee) sets the law and he'd have to make some changes to get things straightened out.

    Mentioned during the hearing was the fact that Mr. hatch is a musician himself and actually distributes his music over the Internet. I think I recall him saying that he's made enough money to "buy me dinner once or twice".

    He also spent most of the morning listening to Metallica and teased Lars a bit about his style.

    Now I read that Mr. hatch is on the prowl. Specifically quoted in the CNN article, he said that he'd given them time and they'd produced no deal. He warned 'em...

  • We have a fundemental disagreement here, that's all. I feel that one CAN own speech, and that coming up with an idea entitles one to control how others use that idea, if it is derived from your own.
  • Huh? If you're going to make a joke, at least have it make sense...
  • I stop writing the code, I stop getting paid. Musician writes cool songs, gets paid. These days, he stops writing, and can keep getting paid. See my problem with the system here?

    Yeah, you're jealous. The solution isn't to impoverish musicians but to reward people who create information proportionately to the good they provide.

    There is a ridiculous assumption hidden between the lines here that musicians, authors, and inventors somehow aren't doing "real work" like manufacturers and printers. This is stupid, because without the musicians, authors, and inventors the manufacturers and printers wouldn't have anything to manufacture or print. They are the real architects of our economy, our culture, and our technology, and it makes sense they should be massively compensated if their ideas take hold on a massive scale.

    Unfortunately, there seem to be no sane voices on this issue. One side wants to be able to steal freely from the creators of information, the other wants a fascist state. Surely there is another way.

  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @04:45PM (#425334) Homepage Journal

    Now, most artists would just be happy that they have more listeners ! BUT... *SOME* artist's [sic] don't want their work ... being copied without their permission.

    Given the current nature of computers and the Internet, there is only one reasonable answer to this line of thinking. Here's the short version:

    Get over it.

    A slightly longer version: The keynote of human progress throughout recorded history has been towards increased abundance at reduced cost. The plow was invented to make producing more food easier. The printing press was invented to make more books, less expensively. The telephone was invented to communicate more information in less time. ...Increased abundance at reduced cost.

    In many ways, the computer is the ultimate embodiment of this struggle: Infinite abundance at zero cost. It is now possible for you to say, "I want this song," and a copy of it will appear on your computer.

    We achieved this goal after thousands of years of struggle, hardship, war, and painstaking scientific inquiry. So tell me, after all that trouble on the part of your forebears, who hoped that, perhaps one day in the future they could only imagine, we might actually get to this point... Why would you want to throw it away?

    Moreover, why would you want to throw it away almost solely at the behest of individuals who are already filthy stinking rich?

    In one very important sense, you are correctly concerned about how we will provide incentives for artisans to continue to produce amazing creative works. But attempting to control the proliferation of artifacts is not in any way a reasonable solution. The political and social consequences of such an approach are absolutely disasterous when taken to their inevitable conclusion.

    The goal is to reward and encourage artisans to create stuff for all to enjoy. To achieve this, copyrights were instituted to give the artisan exclusive control of commercial trading of their work (with the unstated assumption that the artisan would take their reward from that commercial activity). But that solution is a hack, as it addresses commerce, not creative activity. Yes, it gets money into the artist's pocket (or rather, it used to before Big Media), but it doesn't address the real problem at a fundamental level. And if you're not addressing the actual bug in the system, then you have a hack, not a solution.

    Copyrights are a hack. The world has undergone an upgrade, and the hack will no longer work. It's time to go back to the drawing board and engineer a proper solution.


  • If a given copyright law was set aside then the GPL would be unneeded.

    BSD makes their stuff freely available now. To them copyright is irrelevant already.

    A company would have no way to prevent others from selling copies of their binary-only software

    They sure would. Dongles, encryption, licenses, application key servers, you name it.

    MOVE 'ZIG'.
  • well, remember his paper last year, "Why the future doesn't need us"?

    Not exactly a nerd point of view.

    Of course, Joy is one of the smartest people ever to sit down at a computer.
  • No, it's a problem. It's that the rights of the artists aren't being respected that I think is the problem. And with CD writers and MP3s and Napster, the artists have lost control of the uses of their recordings.

    Artists have not lost control over the uses of their recordings. Artists never had control over the uses of their recordings. Artists were never supposed to have control over the uses of their recordings.

    What they (or whoever they sell to) have is a temporary monopoly over the distribution of copies of their works.

    This blurring of the fundamental distinction between reproduction and access is a key element of recording industry Newspeak, behind which they hide their grab of new monopoly privileges which are nowhere to be found in the Constitutional basis of American copyright law.

  • BSD makes their stuff freely available now. To them copyright is irrelevant already.

    A company can take BSD source, then apply their copyright to it. The law will back them up. BSD loses. Copyright is exremely relevant to BSD. BSD'ers are pro-copyright, they want others to be able to sell their stuff proprietarily. GPL'ers are counter-copyright.

    They sure would. Dongles, encryption, licenses, application key servers, you name it.

    Imagine legalized warez.

  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @11:11PM (#425340) Homepage Journal
    As an artist and someone who works with community radio (just _today_ I went out to help the local community station adjust their peak-to-peak output levels), I wish Bill Joy would shut up about things he does not know about!

    He does software, and doesn't see free software as a problem. What with his argument you'd expect him to want to stop free software on the grounds that it hurts the ecosystem! But software, the guy's familiar with, so he doesn't step in it on that issue.

    He tells Tim O'Reilly that books are a problem, whereupon Tim (who's done great things with making O'Reilly books _competitive_ with free information by making them easy to handle, attractive, lie open to the proper page etc) rightly responds, "No, I don't think that's a problem and _I_ am the publisher".

    And he tells the _world_ that free music is a problem, and who is there to say, "No, I am a musician and I don't think that is a problem"? Who, that has a CLUE about how the industry freaking works and where artists can reasonably expect to earn money! Does he _want_ to permanently establish a situation where consumer money is paid directly to record industry suits? Is he that naive and uninformed that he feels they are basically good people and their statements should be taken at face value? BAD mistake. Someone ask him if he trusts the Mafia too- the links are well, well established.

    Then to top it off he uses radio as the example of happy fine control and regulation! Reality check- the FCC is _in_ _the_ _pocket_ of the media industry by now. You don't have choice, you don't have a market, you have Big Media locking out everyone else, and the only response to this has been the _thriving_ community radio movement, delivering programming that actually relates to the needs and interests of the community. You may be more familiar with it as 'pirate radio'... God knows what Bill thinks of that. Maybe he wants all the pirate radio people thrown in jail too, or at least to smash up their transmitters and 'clean up the airwaves' for the big corporate boys.

    God, does this guy make me angry at times. The government people at least have this merit- they know what criminals act like, because half of them are corrupt or on the take themselves. Bill Joy behaves like he _believes_ what he's saying, and this is arguably worse. Scoundrels can be bribed or bought, but Bill Joy's liable to try and ruin my own personal career prospects just for my own good, liable to turn complete control of media over to the same _scumbags_ who run it today, even though the 'ecosystem' is TRYING TO REJECT THAT POISON. The 'ecosystem' is trying to _reject_ the Big Three record labels, the tightly controlled Top 40 Radio market, it is trying to develop choice and mobility and its own ways to work out what's good.

    I think what upsets me most about Bill Joy right now is that he sees nothing wrong with viewing the _companies_ as the ecosystem, and totally ignoring the content creators and the content consumers. Maybe working for a server maker has left him unable to focus on anything but middleware! But his point of view is simply inexcusable. I could see _including_ the companies and taking some interest in looking after them (in addition to- surprise- new companies that might actually- surprise- compete with the old ones!), but to completely leave out the creators and the consumers is totally intolerable...

    At least Orrin Hatch is fumbling towards a clue...

  • Copyright law is a two-way deal: society grants legal protection for a limited time, and in return, the material becomes public after that time. But music and movie industries are busy on locking up content in proprietary formats protected by all sorts of cryptographic gadgets. Thus, the music and movie industries are currently engaging in blatant violations of the constitutional basis of copyright law..

    Yes, I agree technology requires new laws. But I wouldn't be worried about Disney or Sony losing money. If those companies went out of business tomorrow, very little of actual cultural value would be lost. Almost all our cultural heritage has been created without the benefit of copyrights, and the argument that we need extensive copyright protections now is flimsy at best.

    I'd be concerned foremost about having mechanisms installed everywhere that give a few companies complete control over how and what we communicate. The risk of that isn't merely that Disney won't be able to make hundreds of millions with the latest rip-off of a 19th century fairy tale, the risk of that goes to the core of our democracy and freedoms.

  • I you refuse me a fair price for something I need to survive [in both the physical and mental senses] I will fight you for it. ...

    My advice to you would be to use free software.

    And support local music! There are plenty of unsigned struggling bands selling CDs at $5 at any given night at local dive bars, just to recoup the cost of production (hardly ever a profit). You will find that after sampling enough local bands, I can almost guarantee that eventually you'll encounter something good enough to displace RIAA and MTV culture-trusts' stranglehold on creativity.

    (Of course, you'll have to get used to the fact that local bands can't support $30k engineering/production budgets to get the sound on any pop CD today, but consider it the same way you would aquire a taste for a new food.)

    I realize this is a bit offtopic, but I felt that free source needed to be equated to local music.

  • The fact that the internet is a remarkably speedy medium in which to copy and exchange data does not change the *nature* of the medium. There should *not* be special laws for the Internet... if we feel laws must change for reasons made evident by the Internet -- such as, a general public willingness to blatantly steal copyrighted music and an otherwise blaze attitude towards such -- then the law much be changed... but it must be changed _across the board._ I don't think Napster did anything wrong. Napster should not be held criminally nor civilly liable for producing the means for end-users to commit crimes. That's silly. Photocopiers can be used to mass produce pirate copies of magazines, but, you don't see the Magazine Publisher's Association (or whoever ;-)) suing Xerox for making this possible. It's absurd. VCRs are legal. Paper is legal. The "Napster technology" (re: peer-to-peer distributed file-sharing) ought to be legal. Now the courts disagree somewhat, but, only so far as to say that Napster, being a for-profit company willfully aided end-users to copy protected works and in fact encouraged such activity. There is culpability there, in other words. The same argument, however, could not be used against something like Gnutella. Nonetheless, all of such argumentation aside the main point stands: under current law, *Napster* is not the one breaking the obvious laws. The end-users of Napster's services are most definitely and completely and without a single shadow of a double breaking laws. The question is: do we feel that is right? Do we feel that we (citizens,end-users, whatever) have a right to distribute songs without paying royalties to the authors... If we do, we have to change copyright law to reflect our new attitudes. Otherwise, we can't complain that the RIAA is pissed off and Napster's being shut down. I mean, think about what's happening right now... Napster is not fighting for your right to copy protected music: it is trying to establish for itself a monopoly position in this industry. If it comes down to it that Napster must team up with record labels so that end-users are allowed to trade songs... suddenly,the end-user is permitted to do what is otherwise illegal thanks to her use of one service... that being Napster. Song trading would still be illegal on, say... OpenNap...or via FTP... So what does this mean? Although our attitudes havechanged, our laws have not. And a large company moves in to dominate something we turned to in rebellion against large companies. But, that's enough ranting for now ;-) BRx.
  • Copying copyrighted music electronically is easy. It is still stealing.

    Unless it's fair use. How am I stealing if I am obtaining a digital copy of a song that I own on LP? The issues are far more complex than you imply =/

  • I think he means it more from the point of view as in "nerd" is someone intensely interested in a field and the technology itself. Nerds don't think about how they *can* build it, not whether they should or not. The phrasing isn't quite accurate, but I think that's the point he's trying to make, not to insult nerds in general.
  • You're a liar like everyone else who uses Napster. You download all the music you want, and never renumerate the Artist. You wouldn't need to use napster if you had the CD now would you? Therefore you: download, listen, think about paying the artist, decide not to, indulge in music theft.

    Napster has its place. In its current form that place might be right below a fee-based service which serves quality-assured product, but not all Napster use is infringing.

    I have downloaded about 1400 songs since getting broadband. (I regard MP3 exchanging as less than useless without broadband.) These fall into 3 categories:

    1. Songs I never would have bought, about 200

    OK, not "never;" if downloads were a reasonable price (say $0.50/song) I'd have probably paid willingly for this little collection. But no way would I have bought CD's totalling over $1,000 or, what is it, four bucks a song that one site wants to charge? Given the current distribution models, I think this was entirely fair. It isn't like I downloaded every song I ever heard; I used some discretion here.

    2. Songs I already own, about 1000.

    Before I got DSL, I spent almost a year recording a very large collection of LP's onto CD's. Naturally the ones I listen to most were in the worst shape. I have gradually reconstructed these reconstructed CD's using better quality MP3's from Napster. I regard this as a quality improvement comparable to the one I made when I ran the original vinyl through DC-ART. Why should I pay twice for something because it was originally sold on technologically inferior media?

    3. Money lying around in the road, 200 songs.

    All right, I have ID'ed someone who has a very fast connection and there is an entire Bob Dylan album there I don't have, I can Do The Right Thing (tm) and leave it be or select tracks 1-12 and hit Get Selected Music. It's not like I went hunting for it, but I was looking for something legit and There It Was, so I did the human thing.

    In similar news it has happened a few times that drug couriers running payments up and down I-12 near here have had blowouts on tires stuffed with money. If you passed such a scene would you drive by or stop and pick up a few bills? There is only one answer I would really believe.

    I don't know what the final answer should be w/r/t things like Napster. I want artists to be paid but I don't want dagummint's nose up my butt every time I download a file either. I don't think anybody is being very reasonable in the whole debate.

  • Which should we do? Arrest everyone on Napster (I imagine its a misdemeanor),

    The fact that so many people are willing to break copyright law when it is made easy for them to do so is a clear indication that copyright law needs to be changed. After all, the laws are to enforce the will of the people, right?

  • by Mdog ( 25508 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @02:54PM (#425358) Homepage
    Trying to make special laws for the internet is a mistake. Laws should reflect principles that have nothing to do with the medium in which they are expressed. If it's illegal to be in possesion of copyrighted material without permission, then it's illegal; why do you need a special law that addresses the "internet version"? All these laws do is serve to defame "hackers" and other elements of the internet that the people in Washington hopelessly misunderstand.
  • by fizban ( 58094 )
    Devise: To form, plan, or arrange in the mind; design or contrive.

    Device: A word substituted for Devise if your a dumbass moron who didn't spend enough time on your 3rd grade vocabulary lesson.

    If we're all so smart, how come this happens so often?

    Go ahead, mod me down for it, but damnit, it's true and I'm sick of it.


  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @12:34AM (#425363) Homepage Journal
    No they don't. _All_ the recording studio costs are recoupable and come out of the artist's pocket- an advance is a loan not a gift. In addition, a good 50% of the costs of marketing and distribution ALSO come out of the artist's side through a series of customary charges against royalties, which I actually spelled out item by item in another thread, resulting in a '16%' (ya right!) royalty actually being 16% of 90% of 65% of 85% of 80% of 75% of net sales. (I'm not making that up, wish I were). That's about 4.7% _real_ royalty which must completely recoup recording costs and tour costs before the artist sees a f**king penny.

    I suggest that you post, "whoops, I was talking out my butt about record companies taking on the burden of studios/advertising/distribution" unless you prefer to argue that artists should never be paid anything in the first place. The whole burden lands on the artists, which is why platinum sellers are found declaring bankruptcy- they slip up and act like they're being paid 16% of net, without realising that they are paying the entire burden of studios and about half of distribution.

  • Yes, how about musicians having to continue to play and compose and sequence and gig and PRACTICE their craft, in order to keep people interested enough in what they do that the consumers send away for the latest CD, or pay to attend a concert, rather than sitting around waiting for someone to put up mp3s of it and then having to burn them to a CD sans art and liner notes and everything?

    How about musicians having to _create_ and _produce_ and _work_ so that they can develop enough of a reputation that people will say 'hey, that guy's pretty good at music!' and opportunities will arise such as playing on someone else's session, mixing somebody's home-recorded album, or gigging at a private party of rich dotcommers?

    I know at least two people who've gone and checked out my music when I mentioned it on Slashdot and took the trouble to write to me and say 'hey, that's pretty good!'. You give me ONE REASON why I should deserve that if I chose to just sit back and not do anything. My next recordings will _blow_ _people's_ _minds_ because I _work_ on the craft. I don't ever anticipate not working on it.

    Besides which, the approach of 'internet-based penny-earning' for musicians (as opposed to label-based being-promised-millions) will work for a _lifetime_. It'll only get better as you continue to work and practice your art and craft. By contrast, the system you're defending has an average career length of _two_ _years_! It's completely screwed. Anything would be an improvement.

  • Already being done. []. Contract is as fair or fairer as's _used_ to be, Jim the guy behind it is accessible and talks to musicians and _listens_, and they're gearing up to begin burn-to-order from _uncompressed_ Red Book audio CDs you supply, sometime in March. I am currently talking with Jim about getting a way to use _my_ usage restriction statement instead of his default one- he's automatically gone with a 'no duplication' one, and I need my CDs to say 'all commercial rights reserved- noncommercial copying OKAY'. I believe Jim will be able to find a way to keep me happy even on that issue. I've thrown every bit of technical expertise I can behind him to make his project more of a success, and am even hyping him on slashdot! ;)

    That said- now GO READ THE STUFF the nice fellow posted for you about why the record industry must die! He's probably referring to the famous rant by the great Steve Albini. Read it! Just because people are doing something positive does not excuse you from educating yourself about how totally unacceptable the music business is and how little alternative there seems to be. I hope guys like Jim at Ampcast can make an alternative, but if he gets his kneecaps broken for it I'd hope some people were paying attention to the fact that the traditional music business is a bunch of _criminals_, and that defying them is a good way to get blacklisted, locked out of pressing plants like Negativland, or even getting beat up. Did you really think it was like the computer industry? The music business has a dark, dark past. Even superstars like Bob Marley had record company thugs threatening DJs to get their records played. The record industry DOES need to be destroyed, stopped, replaced. Merely supplanting it is not enough.

  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Saturday February 17, 2001 @01:05AM (#425368) Homepage Journal

    Wow. I don't know whether to smack you, or make a religion around you?

    Decisions, decisions... :-)

    Do you actually believe any of that idealistic bullshit?

    At the risk of making your eyes bug out: Yes. They are the conclusions I've reached after thinking long and hard about what infinite abundance at zero cost implies.

    [Copyrights] are fundemental to human nature. Even babies have concepts of "that mine, that yours" and the copyright is simply a modern manifestation of that.

    But in a world where anyone can copy anything, anytime, anywhere, the whole concept of mine-versus-yours loses all meaning.

    Consider a more concrete example. Let's say we each have a small red ball. One belongs to me; the other belongs to you. They are in all other ways completely indistinguishable. We put both balls inside a box, close it, shake it up for a while, and open it.

    Which ball is yours? Clearly, one is not yours (it's mine), and you'd like to be certain -- out of nothing more than courtesy -- that you don't pick the wrong one. Since they're identical, how can you tell which is yours? More fundamentally, does it really matter?

    I contend that it doesn't matter. Once you have infinite, perfect duplication, the idea of mine-versus-yours becomes silly. Pick either ball; it doesn't matter. Each of us will end up with a ball. Make a copy of one and give it to a third person. Then mix all three up in the box again. Which one is the "copy" and which ones are the "originals?" Since everyone's going to get a ball, it doesn't matter. Copying does not diminish what we have.

    This is precisely the situation existing in the memories of our computers. Thus, the idea of "ownership" of a digital artifact that can be infinitely copied starts to look specious.

    This is not to say the transition to the Real New Economy won't be tumultuous; it definitely will. But unless the issues are conceptualized correctly, society will endure a lot of unnecessary anguish as it charges down blind alleys.


  • BJ says: "I don't understand how Napster isn't infringing on the rights of the artists when their music is taken without compensation".

    He then steals^H^H^H^H^H^Hquotes the whole text of a Dilbert cartoon. Surely he's taking Scott Adams' work and passing it on to others without recompensing the original author. Bit like Napster users really...

  • I know this is off-topic, but the Nazis never got more than 36% of the vote in Germany, they rose to power through clever politicking.
  • It's even more important to have a somewhat balanced view. I think Bill Joy has a good point in defining the limitations of the nerd view, where if you do something because it's "neat" without understanding all its affects, the whole process can become self-defeating.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @06:39PM (#425377) Homepage
    There is such a fscking common misconception about this.

    Copyrights _are_ good when properly used.

    But they are NOT by any means whatsoever fundemental to human nature. They are wholly artificial, and from the dawn of man to the 17th century didn't exist. At all. And it took another hundred years for copyrights to be anything really interesting or useful or good. (they were originally a form of censorship, which to some extent they still are)

    Sure, even babies have a concept of ownership. (which I object to - that strikes me as something learned, not inherent from the womb) Shall we all act like babies?

    I'll grant that it is up to artists to decide what they want to do with their work. It is not, however, up to artists to decide what WE will do with their work once we have it.

    Copyright. COPY-RIGHT. Not, a million times NOT USE-RIGHT. And not, a billion times not an inherent, natural right. We have copyrights to serve a purpose. When they don't, they're not valid. When they don't fit into the narrow mold we allot them from the graciousness of our hears, they're not valid.

    Besides which, you're not all that up to date on your economic models. Napster users are rabidly capitalistic. They want stuff for the lowest price possible. Free is very low indeed. If they were communists they would pay musicians according to their needs. Not according to how good they were. Or even if they did anything at all. But the musicians would be expected to play as much as they could, according to their abilities.

    Note by the way, that not only do we live in a system which is largely, but not entirely capitalistic, it would not be desirable to do so. While good things can come FROM any economic model, human beings have a certain set of ground rules (e.g. freedom of speech) which are not always compatable with those of the economy (e.g. pay to speak) and it is essential that we favor humanity over relatively trivial dollars and cents.

    Am I defending Napster users? Not particularly. But I refuse to walk into the trap that businesses have set for us either; their goals are not coincident with the goals of me in specific or that are desirable for humanity at large.

    Copyright is good. Generally. The copyright we've got now, and the rush to exploit it, lengthen it, retroactively apply it, and otherwise destroy its nemesis, the freedom of speech? It's not good. Not even a little.
  • So the problem is the record industry and how it work, not electronic distribution of the works. Fix the problem.

    It's amazing how much whining people are doing about the record industry, and how little they are actually doing about it. Do you want artists to get a better break? Form a company that does just that. Otherwise, quit your bitching.


  • No, what Bill Joy did is called "Fair Use." He described a Dilbert cartoon. He didn't draw it (Cartoons include pictures, last time I checked), and he was using it as a reference. That's fine.

    If he wants to show it as a slide in a presentation, then he has to pay Scott Adams money.


  • me: So what about Britney Spears?

    Joy: Britney Spears blah blah blah java blah blah jini blah blah...

    me: What?!? How is java related to Britney spears?

    Joy: Britney blah blah blah blah java blah blah java blah blah.

    me: Are you just making up quasi-random responses until you hit on a train that leads in a tangetial way to plug java?

    Joy: Essentially blah blah blah java...

    me: Okay, whatever, get out of here.

    Joy: Jini.

    me: Go Bill, get the hell out.

    Joy: Java.

    me: Gates is in the front lawn! Go get 'im!

    Joy: Java! Java! Jini! Java! World Domination! Java!

  • It sounds like Bill Joy has found a wonderfully matched partner then: the deaf arm-in-arm with the blind and both totally insensitive to anything except their own agendas.

    I didn't know about Hatch, but Bill Joy is notorious in nanotech circles for his Proposal to relinquish development of robotics, genetic engineering and nanotechnology [], ie. abandon the research that the world's top visionaries see as not only the next major phase of engineering, but also quite possibly the next major milestone in the evolution of Mankind.

    Be that as it may, Bill Joy is totally oblivious to even the simplest and most clearcut of arguments when it conflicts with his own point of view, to the point of farce. The fact that abandoning robotics, genetic engineering and nanotechnology would be the most unenforceable directive in the history of ineffective directives seems to matter not at all to him --- it doesn't support his position, so it can't be relevant and isn't even worth a response.

    Even if there were a significant buy-in to the idea of relinquishment in the west, which there is most patently not, a single undercover research team achieving any significant advance in the nanotech field would have the potential to effectively destroy the western economy and possibly a lot more, unless counter-agents are developed before that time. Given that a simple SPM (one of the primary tools in nanotech research) can be created for just a few thousand dollars in nothing more fancy than a school lab, Joy's proposal is so akin to trying to bury our collective head in the sand that it's quite astounding.
  • Bill Joy (and the RIAA) want Napster to be held to a different standard than AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and every other online service is held. They are also asking for (and getting) court decisions which run contrary to federal law. According to the Communications Decency Act (which, despite popular belief, was not struck down in total), an Internet service provider cannot be held liable for content posted by their users. For example, if I created a web page on Yahoo and reprinted a copyrighted book there, Yahoo could not be held liable. Napster is not only being held liable for its users' actions, it is being required to determine whether each and every file that its users have made available on their own systems contains copyrighted material -- based solely on the file's name.

    In essence, what the courts want Napster to do is limit its users' free speech. Napster is being ordered to prevent you and me from asking and answering the question "Do you have any files with the following pattern in their name?" Napster is simply a search engine not unlike Google or Lycos. Are we going to require that search engines recognize when a searcher is seeking to violate a copyright and prevent that person from finding the material that they seek to infringe?

    I know that this sounds cynical, but I believe that if Napster was owned by a corporate giant like AOL or Microsoft, we would have seen a very different set of rulings than we have.

  • The trouble with your over-simplified idea of not buying from them, is that it's pretty hard to find an ethical corporation, due to the fact that ethics are expensive and impact the bottom line. I have to eat and I don't have the time to grow my own food, so I have to deal with the exploitative supermarkets that have driven any alternatives away a long time ago. Corporate misbehaviour is a serious issue and sadly the only organisation powerful enough to keep them in check, the government, is wholly owned by corps. This applies to my shitty little island as well as the US.
  • by Ross C. Brackett ( 5878 ) on Friday February 16, 2001 @03:26PM (#425401) Homepage
    That's too much of a nerd view of the world. What I said in Time is, "Just because it's possible doesn't mean it's OK."
    This is coming from Bill Joy. This guy []. The one man on the planet that could make Screech from Saved by the Bell look like f'ing Freddie Prinze Jr.
  • ...I've got to hit Mr. Joy over the head with it several times.

    His assumption that Napster/Napster like entities will 'destroy the ecosystem' of industries like books and music makes a few invalid assumptions [yes, I know they've probably come up here before, but so long as there are the clueless, we must continue distributing the clue]

    1. All those who create do so merely for the purpose of making money, and as a result, removing that possibility means no one will ever create again.

    Well now, and I thought I was cynical. Simple fact is, most who create solely to make money create inferior items. The true craftsmen [of anything] create because something inside them motivates them to do so. Its why many, many bands are far better before they became popular, its why much of the philosophy of mankind was conceived and written before copyrights were a wet dream in some lawyers loins, and its why open source software exists today. To attach art[and I mean art in the sense of any well crafted item] so closely with greed is to debase those who create. As a programmer, I take actual offense, and I would as a musician or a poet.

    2. If folks give [music/text/software] away, those who make it have no way to make money.

    Well, here he defeated his own arguements, by statign that software has become about service. Well, maybe its time for writing and music to become about service as well [you know, like the used to be a long time ago, before somone could create one above average collection of songs and retire?]. He basically gives a way for anyone who has been Napsterized to make a living, so how can the ecosystem collapse?

    Sometimes, you wonder about people.


"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"