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The Almighty Buck

Information Wants to Suck 153

RebornData writes: "Suck is running a biting commentary on how the software industry could serve as a role model for the RIAA and MPAA as they look for new, draconian ways to keep control of their digital intellectual property after it becomes clear that litigation isn't going to solve the problem." And from another submission, we have an article in Slate about the same topic - information wanting to be free, or $0.27/pound, or something like that.
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Information Wants to Suck

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  • Suck.com. Yeah, I think I remember them.

    Which corporation owns them now?

    How about a Napster story with real facts and figures [ridiculopathy.com]?

  • First they didn't understand free software. Now their getting this old saying wrong.

    The first great cliché of the Internet, ... was "information wants to be free." The notion, ... was that no one should have to pay for "content"

    When did this ever mean giving "content" away for free! Do they think that old Abe Lincoln was giving slaves away at a discount!

  • I hope that once we've mastered science enough that we don't all have to work for our survival, some of this attitude will abate. I don't see it going away anytime soon.

    There will be no utopia during my lifetime, at least.
  • He wanted to know how on earth we could ever be a going business if we gave away our content for free"

    User looks at address bar.

    slate.msn.com

    I wonder how?
  • Almost no one pays for content in any medium.

    The only property that is worthy of the name is tangible property. Anything else, ideas, inventions, formulae, equations, drawings, pictures, music, etc... are up for grab. If you can't chain it or lock it up or put a fence around it, it does not belong to you. Like it or lump it.

    People yearn to be free. Anytime somebody tries to control other people's liberty, they get burned. The French have a saying for this, "Chassez la nature, elle revient au galop" which, roughly translated means "Chase away nature, she'll charge back gallopping." Nobody can stop people from transferring and copying files unless Big Brother enacts an Orwellian form of government. And if that happens, we'll all rise up and kick his arse.

    You may ask, "how can one make a living from their work as an artist or programmer if they cannot sell it?" The answer is that you either have to keep your work a secret or do something else for a living. The problem is not intellectual property. The problem is the system.

    The free information ideal cannot hope to win in a system where a person's livelihood depends on his or her labor. People must be given a means of subsistence other than intellectual property. Intellectual property owners (such as Microsoft and the music industry) will fight freedom with everything they've got. Right now they have two formidable weapons: IP laws and powerful police states to enforce them. But those who yearn to be free also have a formidable weapon, the internet.

    The internet and other communication technologies (e.g., file sharing systems) are the first major kinks in the armor of a sick system. As technology progresses, the system will eventually collapse. What will happen to a slave-based economy when robots and advanced artificial intelligences replace everybody, i. e., when human labor, knowledge and expertise become worthless?

    And don't think for a minute this won't happen in your lifetime. The internet is the latest giant leap in human communication. Before that came mass telecommunication technologies and before that was the movable press. If history is any indication, we can expect a giant leap in technological progress and scientific knowledge. In fact, it is happening before our very eyes.

    We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property, an estate if you will. There is plenty for everybody and it would eliminate exploitation/slavery.

    Communism confiscates all property and enslaves everybody. Capitalism gives property to a few and enslaves the rest. It's sad. The land should not be divided for a price. It should be an inheritance for us and our children and their children. It's the only way to guarantee freedom in a world where human labor is about to go the way of the dinosaurs.

    Intellectual property laws exist only because we have a slavery system. Our livelihood depends on working for others so we can pay our taxes. The reason that we have to work for others is that 99% of people have been deprived of an inheritance in the wealth of the land. Income property is owned by a few and the state. The others are slaves. Artists, programmers and inventors depend on their work to make a living. Can we blame them? We all depend on our labor because we are all slaves. So now we are swimming in a ocean of laws and rules that take away our remaining liberties, one by one.

    Demand liberty. Always!
  • There are plenty of servers, fat pipes, and systems administrators on the paper side of things. As well as massive archives, and a whole lot of impressive machinery. Servers are really more of a one-time cost, from then on, you are paying for electricity and (possibly) hosting. Sys-admins, well, yes. But the article was discussing costs of the actual distribution materials. Sysadmnins exist in paper-world too. The only key issue is bandwidth. Bandwidth is expensive, but I think the key issue is indeed the one that has been raised many times, that for the first time advertisers get to see exactly how effective advertising is.
  • by Kasreyn ( 233624 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @09:28AM (#229860) Homepage
    The line that worried me the most was something I hadn't considered. The notion being that music industries might try to crack down on individuals performing music for free on the street.

    As far as I can see, this is DIRECTLY comparable to the Gracenote suit posted to /. earlier today. True, in that case, they have a very thin veil of deception involved with claiming it is the methods of accessing freedb that infringe on their (undeserved) patents. However, what Gracenote is really trying to do is outlaw freedb use by crushing the players that access it.

    I see a striking parallel to the line about street musicians. Was this just tossed off as another scary what-if analogy that wasn't meant seriously, or does anyone besides me think this sort of destruction of freedoms could occur?

    -Kasreyn
  • Just as Linux has taken on and beaten much larger competitors just by being open source, so can open source musicians.

    An open source lyricist writes a song, someone else writes a melody, others contribute tweaks and bug-fixes to it, then someone sings it, later open source musicians edit out and add different music to it. All of this happens over CVS. Over time the song can evolve to become really good.

    Eventually good enough to get on the top 10 and drive RIAA out of business.

    Become a better day trader with PeakTrader [peakprogramming.com] .

  • by adubey ( 82183 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @09:31AM (#229862)
    I don't think consumers will be dumb enough to allow the record and movie industries to move from selling copies to selling licenses. Nor will they allow themselves to be duped into high-costing service contracts.

    First, service contracts exist in the computer industry because computers are relatively complicated beasts. Most people have a hard time figuring them out. Most people, on the other hand, can play videotapes, DVDs or CDs. Would people switch from something they know and understand to something they don't and costs more and gives no additional benefit? Nope. If Sony and Phillips decide to stop making CD players or VCRs and move to proprietary formats with high service costs, they will quickly learn why OS/2 failed to catch on in the late 80's : clone killers don't work. (NB: It failed to catch on in the early 90's for different reasons). If Sony and Phillips don't make it, the 2nd tier players will fill up the space.

    Second, licensing in the software industry exists for a number of reasons. Again, it is more complicated than songs or movies, and has a high probability of having bugs in it. If you sold software, all sorts of people would cash in their warranties. With licensing, you don't need to make warranties, and you get away with having bugs. How many bugs are there in music or video? That's right - unless the CD or videotape is broken, there is nothing stopping you from using the product.

    In short, Suck is spewing without understanding why things are the way they are in the software industry - namely, software and computers are hellishly more complicated to use than movies or music. I don't see how the MPAA or RIAA can use software tactis in their industries when it is so easy to "just press play" to use their wares.

  • But I am willing to pay for insightful knowledge and analysis which does not include suck or slate.
  • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @09:32AM (#229864) Homepage
    We've discussed this on Slashdot in the past...
    Do TV and print advertisers worry about how many people actually buy stuff because of their advertising? Even if they did, there's no qualitative way to measure it. And TV and print advertisers still pay for advertising.
    Just because we can measure click-through rates on the web doesn't mean its useful!

    What is big-budget advertising used for today? Yes, it's used to sell stuff, but it's mostly used to build brand recognition, an intangible that can't be measured. Once people get the idea that good advertising can only give indirect returns and thus shouldn't be quantified, web advertising will be more sustainable because the fact that their brand is visible on the web is worth more than click-throughs, which will always be at a lower rate than the advertiser wants.

    Remember, advertising is buying the attention of complete strangers! Passive, "brand-building" advertising will be more palatable on the web than obtrusive "Clickmeclickmeclickmenow" advertising, and piss off less people when a web site sells their eyeballs to advertisers (without necessarily consulting the eyeballs)...

  • I suppose you consider chipminks slaves too, because they have to work at hunting nuts and other food to live. Face it, everyone has gotta do something to survive, that doesn't make them slaves.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\=\
  • Sorry to burst your bubble, but your physical property and real estate are not yours either. The government has true ownership over everything. They own them through laws, which are enforce through LAWS (Large Automatic Weapon Systems). The government can take your home from you. They can take your car from you. They can freeze your assets and take them from you. There is very little you can do about it. There may be more people involved, but the only difference between a King and our government is the red tape.

    Having said that, we have rights to property. We call them ours, but we don't actually own them. We are granted rights to them. This is what happens when you obtain a copyright. This is what happens when you patent something. This is what happens when you buy something from someone else. The rights to use the item are transfered. IP is no different than real estate. The government grants you rights to IP that you create.
    --
    Darthtuttle
    Thought Architect
  • Once Nanotechnology arises, nothing is going to be able to stop 'everything' from becoming free, whether it be material, wealth, or information. Nanotechnology is going to completely change the world as we know it; it will destroy ALL governments, the money system, and possibly all forms of religion.

    This scenario is alot closer than most people think (Dec 21st, 2012 sounds about right) - until then, it would be a wise idea for people to be educated on the societal implications that Nanotechnology is going to bring to the world, otherwise people are going to have a really tough time making the mandatory transition that will be required to live in a Nanotech world.
  • Which corporation owns them now?

    Lycos, I think, via Wired. What's your point? They were acquired before it was cool to be acquired - and have long predicted the same outcome for other new media firms. They've had a lot of really prescient commentary over the years. Pretty much every other media source is corporate owned, or is even a corporation in itself (NYTimes, anyone?). In fact, why are you posting to slashdot? We know it's just a corporate mouthpiece now, too, right?

    Suck readers got over the acquisition years ago. You can too.

    ---

  • The reigning notion today is that the laws of economics are not, after all, suspended in cyberspace like the laws of gravity in outer space.

    Oh dear God! The whole Universe is going to come apart! The earth will be flung from the solar system! I hope I can get a good winter coat.


  • Ruthless as the RIAA, mean as the MPAA, the software industry provides a near perfect model for anyone who wants to turn infinitely reproducible silver discs into endless buckets of cash.

    And without all the awkwardness of actually providing a product or service, too.


    People may bitch this out but what some people fail to realize is both the MPAA and RIAA is a business, a business that will protect what they feel is their property, even if it means dragging everyone, their co-lo's, ISP's, etc, etc, to court, and failure to realize business will always give someone biased opinions on the subject altogether.

    MPAA has been around for about 80 years, and they've done a pretty good job of promoting films. Now their other business includes making sure no one pirates a movie. Something (piracy) which does cost billions of dollars in revenue. So place yourself in their shoes. Sure we may see them as having misplaced actions by suing everyone but this is what their company does. If it were your money, you would do the same.

    RIAA same rules apply. These are businesses, and while we may view their actions as bullyish, misplaced, right winged, or which ever term you want to interject, in their eyes it's the right actions to take.

    On the subject of Open Source software, etc., as I've stated before I would like to see a non biased "WORLDWIDE" (not solely US based) consortium to have one definitive license scheme which all vendors and developers can agree on. With this 26 licenses deal, its just a crock of he said/she said'ish bullshit adding to the confusion of it all. If its open source it free for crying out loud. Free to download and use for your own purposes, should you tweak anything, retain the original copyrights and add to it. Whats the big ass deal?

    The need for everyone and their mother to have their own licensing schemes devalues the overall appeal of taking any of the licensing serious. Who the hell is sole provider of which license is right? Richard Stallman? Give me a break why? Why should we listen to him as opposed to listening to Person X? Understand what I'm trying to convey?

    Gut Miwk? [antioffline.com]

  • Information may not want anything in particular, but I'm pretty sure for any given piece of information, there is at least 1 person in our collective 6 billion that is willing to distribute it on the Web for free. One is all it takes.
  • ..how on earth we could ever be a going business if we gave away our content for free"

    Hmmm...That guy ever watched TV? Or listened to the radio?

    People don't much care to pay for content. At least, to pay very much. The real motivation for content creation from a fiscal perspective is to sell advertising. That's where CBS, NBC, et al make their money.It's where Radio stations make their money. Even magazines make most of thier money that way. I think we all know that.

  • Kind of like sampling? Grab an existing song and hack it up?
    Could underground collaborative music ever break into the charts? I suspect there's a lot of music that's popular by virtue of the marketing muscle behind it rather than the actual quality of the music.
  • A good businessman doesnt care that he makes millions, he just wants more. Look at Bill Gates for example. A horrible human being, but a pretty effective businessman.

    While I think that you're right (unfortunately), I think it's pretty dangerous to make the distinction between a good human and a good businessman. Why develop completely separate personas and standards for how you live your life? I'm not a peaceful, nice guy 16 hours a day, and a ruthless, mean, sonofabitch 8 hours a day at work. So while the businessman of your above comment may be good at making money, he's not good for much else. That's a pretty realistic assessment of things, I think. It's unfortunate that to succeed in business you need to become an awful person in the process.

    Not that I personally know any CEO's of any megacorporations, but judging by their business practices, I doubt that people like Rupert Murdoch are the nicest guys around. Hopefully someday becoming an "effective businessman" doesn't necessitate becoming a "horrible human being". Observing the ruthlessness of their business practices though, I don't think "success" (on a grand financial level) will happen for said nice guy. Oh well.

    iluvpr0n.
  • DOE! that's not what I want to hear.. next thing you know the RIAA is going to move to a three year [slashdot.org] licensing model for CD's.
  • That's right!! And by 2001 we'll only work two days a week, and have colonies on the moon, and...

    Oh.... :(

  • by Decado ( 207907 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @09:43AM (#229877)

    Lets now go and take that quote in context:

    "But a recent article in Presstime, the house organ of the American Association of Newspapers, reported that a typical newspaper gets about 22 percent of its revenues from readers, while spending 12 percent on paper and ink, 6 percent on running the presses, and 13 percent on delivery and distribution. That's every penny the newspaper gets from its readers plus another 9 percent of its revenue going to expenses that virtually disappear on the Web."

    I think that it is fair to say that paper, presses, ink and distribution costs vanish on the internet. Please moderators don't mod up a speed poster for a quote unless you check he was correct first. I look forward to seeing that post -1 Trolled into oblivion where it belongs.

  • This all links up quite nicely with the Karl Marx idea that "all property is theft". The concept speaks for itself.
  • In short, Suck is spewing without understanding

    Isn't that what Suck has always done?

    C-X C-S
    I dunno, I always thought Suck...well...sucked.
  • The RIAA's display of ignorance is mindblowing.

    In the very beginning the RIAA has been totally underestimating the problem they had to face. When the power of the Internet was very obvious to a great number of people, the RIAA chose to NOT work actively with people who knew what they where talking about, to use this new medium in their and everyone elses favor.

    Now they are trying to make up for that major fsck-up in the most rediculous way. Copy protection?! Give me a break,- as long as the decryption does not happen in my brain, I can _always_ make some sort of a copy. What a waste of resources...

    The most important thing here is that the artist needs to be paid. Everyone realizes that. But the RIAA and distributors DON'T. They are obsolete and using everything within their power to keep that from happening.

    This is the time for artist to back away from the RIAA. The RIAA is supposed to be there for the artists but instead has proven that they absolutely failed. The Internet could be a great way for artists to be paid, had the RIAA cooperated in an elegant solution.

    Obviously I have lost all respect for the RIAA (did I ever have any??) and I will tell my musician friends to go indy. In fact one of my favorite artists (Tony Joe White [tonyjoewhite.net]) has released his latest CD independently it looks like. Good for him!

    Thanks, Breace.
  • "Suck is running a biting commentary..."

    um, SUCK should not be BITING anything... that is, if suck wants return customers.

    >;]

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @09:48AM (#229882) Journal
    The ratio of ads to content on the internet is way lower than it is in any other medium.

    One little banner ad at the top of this page is nothing compared to the full-page ads in your paper, the pages with six column-inches of Human Interest and three square feet of brassieres, the 8 minutes per 30 that commercials take over your TV or Radio, the Vogue and Byte where the ad pages outweigh most other magazines, or the billboards where there is no information and all paid advertising even if the ad is a PSA. Some pages like Slate's now have the Big Picture instead of the Banner, but very few are 10% content and 90% bras, mortuaries, and golf discounters.

    The internet producer makes no money because the internet sells its reach short.

    Except, of course, porn links, where the banner ad is the content.

    And the producer can't get per-user fees because that burden on the user is paid to the pipe mechanics. No user wants to pay two people for the same thing.

    The problem here isn't it seems that the internet can't be profitable, it's that the people trying to make it profitable haven't figured out that to be profitable it has to work like all the other profitable businesses that came before it.

    Bold new world, indeed.

    --Blair
  • The only property that is worthy of the name is tangible property. Anything else, ideas, inventions, formulae, equations, drawings, pictures, music, etc... are up for grab. If you can't chain it or lock it up or put a fence around it, it does not belong to you. Like it or lump it.

    By your argument your personal information (credit/health/etc records, in digital, not hard-copy form) does not belong to you. Therefore any company can freely use/abuse this information for any purpose. You don't care right, because you don't own that information, and information wants to be free?

    I hate some aspects of Intellectual Property (stupid patents, etc) as much as the next Slashdotter, but I'm always amused that the people who scream the loudest about how information wants to be free are also the first to whine, moan, and ask for government intervention when companies abuse THEIR personal information.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The reason advertising on the Web hasn't worked is because, for the first time, the people who "print" the ads know that readers ignore them: it's called click-through rates. If someone could prove that I don't look at the ads in my local paper, they might find themselves out of business, too.

    In other words, the Internet has revealed that marketing is all a big, really expensive, scam.
  • by forii ( 49445 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @09:53AM (#229885)
    Look at Bill Gates for example. A horrible human being, but a pretty effective businessman.

    I'm not sure how you can say this. While I may disagree with Bill Gates' philosophies towards business, I've never seen/heard/read anything that would indicate that he is a "horrible human being". The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [gatesfoundation.org] is doing some pretty good work all around the world. Perhaps your ideology is distorting your view a little?

  • The original idea was that the WWW combined with the 'discovery power' of search engines would make the entire business model of advertising products seem like the "shouting in the wilderness" that it really is.

    Unfortunately, search engines can't achieve more than of fraction of their potential because of the fluidity of language and the fact that the denotation and the connotation of a word don't begin to properly describe the intent with or extent to which a word is (mis)used.

    The multifarious purposes to which a word is weilded about like a loose sword slashing at obscurity is only only slightly more effectively that the thousands of ads that clutter our sensory environment.

    The only possible way to get rid of these pesky pop-ups (that are growing in size as well as in frequency,) is to build a cataloguing scheme and make the advantages plain and cheap to all web page creators register their web pages.

    This is just like all publishers are curently applying for ISBNs and ISSNs and registering their material with the library of congress and other bodies. Its also very like every phone book in existence.

    In the last millenium (I loved writing that,) France disposed of "dead-tree" phone-books and installed 25 million MiniTel devices instantly creating a large Telidon-like infrastructure and user base.

    We could do the same thing here without having to install anywhere as many 'terminals' since we could make the service Web accessible.

    The telcos publishing arms could pick up the cost of the devices and the indexing services and derive new revenue streams from people registering their sites and index pages into a well managed index base.

    That would enable advertisers to NOT have to pay to shout at us. They would be indexed by product, location, etc. And information/content providers have samples of their labor available for perusal.

    It would allow us as users to get rid of all the banners and other visual noise.

    As for how users are supposed to support the content providers... Subscription and/or micro-payment services with user authentication services using bio-metric information.

    Which will mean the end of the phrase "On the InterNet, nobody knows you're a dog."
  • next thing you know the RIAA is going to move to a three year licensing model for CD's.

    If it's retroactive, my Whitesnake license will have been expired for like 10 years!
    My whole collection will be USELESS!

    C-X C-S
  • If it's retroactive, my Whitesnake license will have been expired for like 10 years!
    My whole collection will be USELESS!

    C-X C-S
  • I think that you make some good points. I've always wondered whether ads make back the money that firms spend. I guess I always figured that did or else business wouldn't do it. Firms usually don't keep systematically doing stupid things or else they would go out of business. (Notice I said usually).

    But still, how much does an ad on national TV cost? Does that ad actually nudge enough people to buy X number of Big Macs or Ford Explorers to justify the cost? I guess I always figured that they did, but now I'm not sure.

    But really up till banner ads, there was no way of truly knowing "click-through".

    Oh dear, I hope I'm not being redundant to previous discussions.

  • So Suck imagines big media companies trying to lock up content and force us to pay. Sure they will try - even Salon has their new Premium service and now puts the juicy stuff behind a subscription.

    But there is an alternative... if you want "free" content you have to pay for it. Hell, someone already is - the site owners typically. But it is up to us to change it. If independent content producers (from media to art to music) ask for donations then by gum give them a few bucks. You tip your bartender, you tip street musicians, you pay for the shareware you like, time to pony up and start voluntarily paying for content.

    And that includes content producers too! If you are asking for tips and donations on your website, then you need to set some aside to use as tips and donations for the sites you use. It goes both ways.

    Culture develops rapidly on the web. With the implosion of ad based revenue, now is an ideal time to start promoting an alternative Goodwill economy as a counter to solely subscription or ad-based ones. I'm willing to bet that many web users would gladly contribute a few bucks a year to the sites they regularly use. The more people who do it voluntarily the more ingrained it becomes - part of the culture.


    support independent content producers - dammit
  • I thought the first one didn't go thru...

    M-X i-am-a-dumb-ass C-X C-S
  • Counterpoint: notice that the foundation didn't exist before Bill got married. I seriously wonder how much of "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" is Bill, and how much is Melinda. I don't remember hearing anything about his philanthropy before the wedding.
    -----------------
  • How come newspapers can legally earn money, publishing news that IS originally ment to be free?
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @10:03AM (#229894) Journal
    They said it best: Sell out early and often. [suck.com] (scroll down for the quote)

    (By the way: they're semi-indie now, spun off into a company called Automatic Media, which also runs Slash user Plastic. [plastic.com])

  • ... also, bandwidth is much, much less expensive then transmitting that same information by paper. which is why the failure of internet advertising came as such a shock. advertiser illusions were stripped away.
  • > The only property that is worthy of the name is tangible property.
    > Anything else, ideas, inventions, formulae, equations, drawings, pictures,
    > music, etc... are up for grab. If you can't chain it or lock it up or put
    > a fence around it, it does not belong to you. Like it or lump it.


    I've got to ask the obvious question here. How is your definiton of property rights not infriging on my rights? Said another way, why is your lock or fence any less freedom-inhibiting than a government's lock or fence?

    By stating that "the land should not be divided for a price", you contradict your statement at the beginning that you can own something that you can fence in. This demonstrates an hypocrisy that completely submarines your argument. Either property exists, in which case you have no right to redefine property as "only physical property", or it doesn't, in which case you have no more right to posess anything (including "real" property) than anyone else. Now go and solve these discrepancies before you present this line of rhetoric again.

    Virg
  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @10:06AM (#229897) Homepage
    The simple fact is that although the startup costs for a web paper are cheaper than the equivalent print version, there are still significant costs.

    Uhhhh.... No.

    You have it almost diametrically the opposite of the way it really is. Startup costs for papers is actually pretty low. You can outsource the printing of a specialty paper without much cost. Visit any street corner in a large city and/or college town, and you'll see papers given away for free that follow this model. They typically are left leaning, and filled with personals, and ads for music acts coming into town.

    Unfortunately this doesn't scale very well. The costs per-paper remain about the same, whereas advertisers tend to be interested only in the local audience - for obvious reasons.

    Even finding a qualified systems administrator (and knowing who is qualified and who is not) is often simply too hard a task for many non-technical people. However, if you manage to do it, the costs per viewer drop dramatically. It costs you no more to service 10,000 page views a day than it does 1,000 or 100. You're site may be a bit less responsive, but you're saving huge amounts of money per viewer.

    The essential problem is still the same however. Most specialty advertising tends to be local. Most advertisers couldn't care one whit about how many New Zealanders who are reading their ads if their product isn't available in New Zealand.

    However, global advertisers tend to like T.V. because that has an even lower price-per-view. Plus, the audio-visual TV experience tends to allow for ad campaigns based on emotional manipulation. Highly priced overpolished cars streaming through maple leaves on some country road with an announcer intoning "The new Midlifecrisisia - with 780 horses under it's massive phallic shaped hood" (or something like that) is more likely to get someone to buy the car than any dull page view.

    That's why webzines are in trouble.

  • In the begginnig the web was mostly a refuge of college kids and research scientists, etc. There were also walled communities, like Compuserve, and AOL, etc.

    Then the commercial types got into the act, and for a while, it was all hell.

    It looks like the Internet might wind up not being commercially viable as Madison Ave might want it to be. We may be seein gthe death throes of Madison Ave on the Net. What would that leave us with?

    Mostly college kids and research scientists. With a number of walled communities, like before.

    sheer speculation , of course, but ...

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • You think a pipe and a sysadmin and soem servers are cheaper than a printing press, trucks to deliver them, people to drive the trucks, load them, maintain them, then you have to have people to run the presses, and make sure those dont break.. i think a print paper is alot more expensive to run than an online one.. there is alot going on from the layout of the paper to getting it to your front door by 7am..
  • By your argument your personal information (credit/health/etc records, in digital, not hard-copy form) does not belong to you. Therefore any company can freely use/abuse this information for any purpose. You don't care right, because you don't own that information, and information wants to be free?

    The connection you draw is not only false, it is completely fictional. Having a right to privacy is not the same as "owning" your private information at all. It is merely the restriction, under penalty of law, of certain organizations using, selling, or otherwise distributing information gleaned about your private life.

    This is a far cry from laws which restrict the flow of information and assign ownership of said information, ideas, concepts, etc. to someone as their "private property," despite the fact that the information in question is neither private, nor, by its very nature, "property" by any rational definition of the term.

    ObSlavery: If anyone here for a moment doubts that they are a slave to the state, just try not working. Now try getting fifty thousand of your colleagues to do the same. If you should succeed, you will find yourself being forced back to work at the point of a government gun. Just ask airline pilots, nurses, doctors, policemen, firemen, air traffic controllers, bus drivers, or train engineers. Your right to chose whether or not to work vanishes even more quickly than your Human Rights do under the new UN Commission the moment other likeminded folk join you and happen to inconvinience the overpaid whores we elect to Washington every couple of years.
  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @10:13AM (#229901) Homepage
    I think the internet is getting a very bad reputation for being truthful to advertisers. For the first time they are being told exactly how much money they are making of off marketing, and it isn't much. Budweiser makes great commercials but I won't drink one if I think it tastes like urine. The market will decide what sells, not the ads.

    In some cases ads do win the battle (preps who buy brand names, for instance). On the whole they are inneffective, and just because internet ads aren't tangible doesn't mean they work any less than real world ads. Think about how many billboards you passed by today. Do you remember any of them?

    That's what I thought.

    --Dean
    Excess isn't rebellion.
  • Our weapon is to develop and support, "buy into" a more effective means of content distribution. Its all about money.

    If a micro-pament or a subscription business model is used by a band for their music and they make enough to be comfortable and creative, they'd never have to sell-out and they'd be immune to pressure fron the RIAA.

    In return, the RIAA and the music money machine would suck wind for funds. Its all about money.

    No money and the media companies and their parasite, the RIAA, shrivel and die.

    Don't go through 'em. Go around 'em. Don't use 'em. Lose 'em. Don't follow 'em. Leave 'em in your wake.
  • Would people switch from something they know and understand to something they don't and costs more and gives no additional benefit? Nope.

    So how did encyrpted DVD's get into the marketplace? Those "features" were globbed onto a next-gen format. And the corporations can keep doing these sorts of things, as long as the coolness factor of the new format outweighs the annoyances.
    --

  • The only reason that people live with the EULA is that consumers don't really take it seriously. I'd like to see a software company try to revoke my license or prevent me from giving their software to my friends. The day that they really try to enforce these provisions for individual consumers is the day before the EULA is made illegal.
  • Still plenty of months left in the year. Better get to work...
  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @10:20AM (#229906) Homepage Journal
    I don't think consumers will be dumb enough to allow the record and movie industries to move from selling copies to selling licenses. Nor will they allow themselves to be duped into high-costing service contracts.

    These are the same consumers who:

    • Keep McDonalds in business
    • Keep Microsoft solvent
    • Keep N'Sync bumping-and-grinding
    • Keep WalMart in business

    As long as a product is shiny and endorsed by beautiful people doing exciting things, there are a significant number of people who will buy it without regard to "freedoms" or "liberty" or "common sense".
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • Thankyouthankyouthankyou. I was beginning to think I was the only one on slashdot who actually thought IP laws were BAD. If IP laws went away, then we would only have the artists (singers, painters, programmers etc...) that love to do their work left, and all of the crap that people prostitute them selves out to do will go away.
  • Apparently you have not read The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson...
  • But still, how much does an ad on national TV cost? Does that ad actually nudge enough people to buy X number of Big Macs or Ford Explorers to justify the cost? I guess I always figured that they did, but now I'm not sure.

    Even more interesting is what happens if a company advertises for a long time and then suddenly you see no more advertisements. Imagine that all of a sudden, you no longer saw advertisements for McDonnies. What would be your first reaction? I think mine would be, "Has McDonnies gone out of business? I haven't heard about them in a while." So instead, McDonnies keeps us saturated with commercials to make sure we know that they are still around and to give us new fangled burgers.
  • "The reigning notion today is that the laws of economics are not, after all, suspended in cyberspace like the laws of gravity in outer space."

    So, there's no gravity in outer space? Wow! So planets just sit around stars for the fun of it?
  • So you propose that everyone gets income regardless of what they contribute, and no one can profit from their contributions regardless of how much those contributions benifit the rest of society? Good luck getting anyone to innovate further. Without an incentive very few people will strive to do anything.
  • Companies aren't really people. Why shouldn't there be a double standard?

    The goal is not to have an internally consistant and ruthlessly logical system, it is to have a society that is good to live in. If that means having no, or very limited copyrights and having highly (but equally, to keep things fair) regulated companies, then I'd be all for it.
  • I agree that information is not really property and that ideally everyone would start with an equal amount of physical property. But the reality of the situation is that capitalism is the strongest force on Earth because people are basically greedy. Everyone wants more than everyone else. And capitalism will continue to prevail until people realize that capitalism promotes the welfare of the corporation over any individual.
  • The reigning notion today is that the laws of economics are not, after all, suspended in cyberspace like the laws of gravity in outer space.

    Oh dear God! The whole Universe is going to come apart! The earth will be flung from the solar system! I hope I can get a good winter coat.

    Exactly: the laws of economics are not suspended, but since the force of it is proportional to the product of your internet business's mass and that of your VC -- and inversely so to the square of the distance between you -- to some kid that knows HTML and wants to sell garden tools on the web, economics and good business sense don't seem to matter much.

    </crappy analogy>

  • I concur. Were I in business for myself - not likely to happen, however - I would much rather work towards producing a good environment (used here in a more general sense than actual ecology) to be in.

    Competition is good for everyone, so I wouldn't want to achieve a monopoly. It's nice to have a polity that isn't controlled by an elite few so it would stay out of politics, or encourage involvement by real people while not dictating policies. A healthy ecology is desirable, so measures would be taken to minimize harmful effects over the short and long terms.

    In short - my goals are to create a good society and world in which to live, and any business would just be one more element towards achieving that. Personal riches or power don't factor into it except as means to some other end, and they're so potentially dangerous that I'd want to handle them carefully.

    That said, I doubt it would work out well unless a significant number of other people operated under similar principles. That it's fragile however, doesn't invalidate it.
  • It's actually more than that. I would propose that not only are being a good business man and being a good human being are different, but they are Mutually Exclusive. This is not to say that in order to be a good business man you must first be an auful human being, but rather that in striving to become a good businessman you will tend to become a progressively less good human being.

    This too has a critical point, which Bill Gates and others such as Ted Turner have long surpassed. This critical point is the point beyond which your wealth and power allows you to establish and maintain a facade of being a good human being. For Bill Gates this is established through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, For Ted Turner it is accomplished by donating one billion dollars to the UN. Even these activities are not done for philanthropic but PR value. CEOs are often synonymous with their companies. Their behavior reflects on their company much as their values and morees are often those of their company.

    --CTH

    --
  • I agree. How long will it be before the RIAA starts dragging street musicians into the courts? Maybe someone else can answer this: do musicians have any legal rights to perform copyrighted material in public? My guess is no. I can see it starting first as a campaign against performers at weddings and stuff, and then expanding to street musicians. And, if they are legally protected, who'se to say they wont pass something like the DMCA that will make it illegal?
  • Which links up quite nicely with the theory that "Karl Marx was a fruit loop" Another concept which speaks for itself.
  • The B&M Gates Foundations spends how much money each year on AIDS work etc? (positive)

    Microsoft spends how much money each year on monopolization, "embrace-extend-and-extinguish" strategies, and FUD aimed at cutting off the consumer's choices? (negative>

    I'll bet that the balance is way on the negative side.
    --
    Having 50 karma is an itchy feeling; I know I'll get

  • one question...if you're tracking this. are you a single male?

    anyway's, this is one possible scenario. i'm still constantly amazed that the money system remains even while amazing amounts of work are either makework by governments or rote activities to feed the money system that businesses do. the upheaval should be occuring now, but people can be so dense to change.

  • That will and would never happen.
    How many half-assed, always in beta, projects do you see over at SourceForge?

    Great, music by committee, just what the world wants. I expect the OS-equivalent of the Backstreet Boys to start netcasting anyday now :P
  • Perhaps you should do more reading. Antitrust laws were not developed to deal with phone companies. (the biggest of which dealt with the threat by permitting exceptional levels of governmental regulation; something MS is not willing to do either)

    And in fact, MS, by virtue of the degree of power that they have are in a crapload of hot water. It doesn't matter if there are a thousand and one options besides MS, what matters is the relative influence and control that MS wields. It needn't be absolute to count. (in fact, there were a number of very, very small independent phone companies that competed with ATT back in the day; ATT was required to let them interconnect)
  • Look at Bill Gates for example. A horrible human being, but a pretty effective businessman.

    Normally I wouldn't bite, but I would like to point out that regardless of his monetary assets, financial plans and software design philosophy, he's not a "horrible human being". He donates to charity more than I do (percentage wise) and wants to help out organizations that are doing stuff for humanity, which is alot more than myself or most any other person working in the computer field can say, because at the end of the day, computers don't feed hungry children. :)

    Just be careful of who you're so quick to condemn, and realize that they may in fact be doing more for "humanity" than you are. ;)

  • We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property

    I agree. While we are at it, let's get the same magic pixies who will be providing this "guaranteed income property" to give us some ice cream, too... or would that deplete our magic pixie resources beyond sustainable levels of use?

  • Proudhon actually, Marx didn't think very much
    of him.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @10:51AM (#229926)

    Actually, the movie studios don't "own" them either, they simply own the copyrights to them until the copyrights run out (yeah, I know, like that'll ever happen)

  • Advertising (push media) does something that indexing (pull media) can't. It informs people of products or services that they didn't even know to ask about. Without push media, our lives would be a poorer. I hate spam as much as the next guy, but I never would have looked for cans of Whoop Ass if I hadn't seen the banner ad on /.
  • what some people fail to realize is both the MPAA and RIAA is a business

    Gee, and here I was thinking they were associations.

    Understand what I'm trying to convey?

    Umm, that would be ignorance?

  • Isn't that the same argument Microsoft has been trying to use to discredit Linux and the FSF/GPL? And since when does income equate to benefit to society anyway? I always thought the things that benefitted society the most were those things that were the hardest to put a price tag on-- and often seemed to have been motivated by something greater than a few extra dollars in the pocket.

    In fact, it is possible that having no guaranteed income is a bad thing for society because it means that taking risks is less easily afforded (except for extremely large corporations, who take risks all the time, but seem to end up with mass layoffs whenever their risks don't pan out--injuring not the bad leaders so much as the rank-and-file). People who can't afford to take risks are less likely to innovate, not the other way around. Just a thought.
  • I agree. I love how Bill Gates put an abrupt stop to those pathetic notions that what the 3rd world really needs is a lot of American high tect. He pointed out-- rightly-- that they don't even have a power source. And no solar won't work. No, the third world needs infrastructure, good internal governance, better health care.. not a bunch of PCs. I'm glad he's more informed about these issues than most of his critics.

    (Not that I'm a Microsoft fan in the least...)

  • You have to see the "pre-Melinda" Outland strip that Breathed did about Bill picking up chicks. Brilliant and vicious! ("Wanna go out with me? I'll buy you Norway? Okay, but no tongue.")
    -----------------
  • Even finding a qualified systems administrator (and knowing who is qualified and who is not) is often simply too hard a task for many non-technical people.
    So um, what would stop a company that is starting up from renting webspace on a server for something in the range of $100-200 a month? That's a lot cheaper than any sysadmin. :-)

    --

  • I find it rather amusing that the first thing I read while using my newly-installed copy of Stefan Waldherr's modified JunkBuster [waldherr.org] was the slate.msn.com story about ad-based revenue for web content. It works beautifully and replaces ad images with a 1x1 pixel image, rather than the typical 'broken image' icon. Boy, there sure is a lot of blank space in this Slate page...
  • by wumingzi ( 67100 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @11:34AM (#229948) Homepage Journal
    A point germaine to this discussion was brought up by my boss the other day (I'm blessed to have a fairly smart boss, instead of a PHB).

    Officers of public corporations, such as the members of the {MP,RI}AA, have a responsibility to maximize value for their shareholders. Put into plain language, they are required to do everything in their power to bring in as much money as they can without breaking the law. In many cases, breaking the law is considered the equivalent of starting a fight in a hockey game. Will you gain more advantage by pounding your opponent than you will lose by spending five minutes in the penalty box?

    Failure to do this will result in shareholder lawsuits. Not only can the company be sued, the responsible officers can be sued personally under the clause of "fiduciary responsibility" (i.e. your job as an officer of the corporation is to protect and enhance the value of said corporation).

    To normal human beings, one looks at M$, the RIAA, etc. with the view of "stupid greedheads. Don't they have enough already?" When viewed through the lens of risking lawsuits simply for being insufficently greedy, it at least allows one to understand the driving force behind their actions.

    What do I think about this system? Well... Morally it offends me. On the other hand, it is a system which rewards me personally very well.

    If the greed of MS and the {MP,RI}AA really bugs you, plan on working very hard to stop them. Rest assured, they will not stop until they can get a dime every time you put a disc into your CD player. The fund managers will see to it!

    j.
  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @11:51AM (#229953) Journal
    Most people use the statement "information wants to free" as a straw man fallacy.

    "How can information want anything? These [insert vaguely computer related demonic subspecies here] are nuts."

    "Information wants to be free, so we must keep it locked up, and ban unauthorized use of the keys."

    I've looked upon the statement as a rallying cry against censorship, and as a way of encouraging free-as-in-speech software. But it can also be applied to other bits of information. For instance, the Government publishes a lot of information-- regulations, court cases, etc. It used to be that private firms published a lot of this material for a select audience-- and the prices reflected both the enourmous cost of printing, but also the ability of their audience to pay through the nose for it.

    But with the advent of the internet, a lot of those costs are substantially less. "Freeing" this information has important civic advantages.

    I also found this page detailing some of the early usage of this adage here [anu.edu.au]

  • We should all demand a system where everybody is guaranteed income property, an estate if you will. There is plenty for everybody and it would eliminate exploitation/slavery.

    It's about here that you lost my sympathy.

    One of the core values of Western Culture is: If you work hard and work well, you will be rewarded. This isn't written down anywhere per se. It's a natural consequence of our own primal, individual selfishness. "Hey! That guy's doing great work and making my life better. I'd better be nice to him so he'll stick around and do more of it." Why bother to work well at all? Again, primal instincts: To distinguish ourselves among the group; to compete for Alpha status; to attract a mate.

    It's not immediately clear how your "guaranteed income property" ties into these drives.

    You are correct when you say the age of "property" is coming to an end. Computers are the herald, announcing the coming of replicators and nanotech. Once that happens, all property will become as infinitely replicable and proliferable as computer data is today (with the exception of real estate). And you are also correct when you say that the only way to maintain the status quo is to impose an oppressive totalitarian regime.

    Where we part ways is what to replace it with. It may be that we, as a species, are genetically compelled to be territorial about things, even when it doesn't matter. If that's the case, we better brush up on the NewSpeak right now, doubleplus quick.

    If, however, we can get past that, it's my belief we will enter an age where the chief "currency" will be a person's reputation. That reputation will be what draws people to you, petitioning for your skills/expertise to create/design/build new things. If money still exists, it will be used to pay not for an artisan's artifacts, but for their time (which, even in an age of replicators or matter compilers, cannot be duplicated).

    There is a downside to this "utopia", of course. Because replicators will be ubiquitous, people will work only when they want to. It will be interesting to see what happens to the human animal when we no longer need to do anything.

    Schwab

  • Paying for a copy, or a subscription, tells the advertisers 2 useful things about the readers:
    1) they are interested in its contents
    2) they spend money

    Furthermore, the way paper publications are made, ads are big enough to contain useful information and positioned so you have to look at them just to find the article you want to read, so:
    3) they read ads

    That makes circulation relevant to advertisers. OTOH, web users:
    1) are often tricked into visiting a site, or only want to pop in for one piece of information, and disappear again
    2) want stuff for free
    3) often don't even see the ads, and they would have to click through, abandoning the information they actually wanted, to get any real information

    Let's not kid ourselves. Web users run from ads they can't ignore. The advertising model of newspapers and magazines doesn't work here. That $0.25 is crucial to the advertiser (and as for free papers, I don't know about you, but I only pick them up for the ads).

    For web advertising, you need a regular, well-defined audience that comes in to browse, not to hunt. /. is a classic example, with thousands of high-salary geeks who like high-tech gadgets and caffeine, and come to /. to waste time on whatever shiny thing the editors post. If there's a shinier thing up top, like a good deal on an mp3 player, overclocking gear, or a novel caffeine drink like "Whoop Ass", many are just as happy to go look at that. Web comics, OTOH, are populated by people who want to look at the comic and then get on with what they were doing. I don't click on a banner ad for a web comic unless it leads to another comic, which is no way to fund an industry. Ditto for general news sites, movie review sites, online museums, etc.
    --
  • > I don't think consumers will be dumb enough to allow the record and movie industries to move from selling copies to selling licenses.

    It already happened with the software industry.

    With most software you, you don't own software you buy, you buy the license.

    As to whether those EULA contracts are valid, is another discussion.

    > If you sold software, all sorts of people would cash in their warranties.

    GPL software doesn't gurantee any warranties and yet it is "sold."

    Making software companies liable for bugs would increase the overall quality.

    Companies and Government will license whatever they can get away with, since they don't want people to have maximal freedom -- it cuts into their profits and control over people.
  • The suck article was an interesting read, but if failed at bringing up an important point. I remember hearing the president of the Fraunhofer Institute several years ago talk about how more user-restrictive types of digital music formats would replace mp3 if they were easier to use than mp3. The same idea holds true with CDs and DVDs. Most people can't remember the days before serial numbers or calling an 800 number to activate software... it's part of doing business in the computer age. However, it will be difficult to convince these same people to do the same thing with their CDs or DVDs. Copyright protection can't complicate the listening/watching process. If it does, the wonders of capitalism will take over, and give new companies an inroad to the music/movie market.
  • I meant street musicians in jam sessions creating totally new music.

    I honestly think that this may be attempted by the corporations involved. God knows they've done enough to prove that they'll stop at no slimy act to make a buck. They'd probably murder their employees in their sleep and sell the organs if the return on investment was good. (thanks to Scott Adams for that lovely concept)

    So I was wondering if they will try to crush all musicians except ones who have signed with them. Instead of the RIAA we'll have the Music Licensing Authority. Are YOU a Licensed Audio Content Provider, sir? Then I'm afraid you'll have to hand over those bongo drums.

    Are you scared yet? Tune in later!

    -Kasreyn
  • I'm getting a tad sick of the people who whine about businesses that only care about making money. Of course a business only cares about making money. That's what it's supposed to do. A businessman has a moral obligation to make as much money as possible. The executive has been entrusted to put forth all his efforts to do so.

    The people who are trusting the executive are not just rich greedy VCs and financiers, but also little old ladies whose pension funds include stock. The executive being a greedy bastard puts food on the table of the wheelchair bound Mrs. Farnsworth.

    That's not to say you should be some sort of scumbag. If you treat your customers, employees, and vendors like dirt, they're not going to continue to do business with you. You can usually make more money by being nice to people. But when the situation calls for you to be a ruthless bastard in order to make more money, that's what you have to do. If you don't like it, you shouldn't be in business. Get out of the way and let your investment money go to someone who will actually add value to the world.

    If you don't like the way a corporation is behaving, don't whine about them being bad corporate citizens. Figure out some way to hit them in the wallet. You can boycott, pass laws, or (as much as we all hate lawyers) sue. All a corporation is going to do is try to make money, and they'll behave in ways you don't like as long as doing so is profitable. If you make it unprofitable, they'll stop.

    Whether or not you agree with me that businessmen have a moral obligation to make as much money as possible, realize that investors *do* believe this. So any executive who does not do everything he can to make a buck, will quickly find himself out of a job.

    If you don't want to hurt people, or care more about technology than money, or want to frolic with elves and unicorns and crap like that, fine. Be a hobbyist, write open source code in your spare time, spend time with your family, hike across Europe, do whatever you want that makes you happy. But don't try to run a business. Because when you're running a business, all the investors, customers, partners, suppliers, and employees are trusting their livelihood in you being as ruthless and greedy as you possibly can.

  • "Licensing" in the software industry began because 20 years ago the courts weren't sure where software fit in the copyright and patent laws -- so the software vendors used contract law in an attempt to cover themselves even if their copyrights didn't hold up. But since then, it's turned into a big mess, with the software vendors using licensing in abusive ways. A book publisher once tried something equivalent to the software license -- a contract on the flyleaf, which you supposedly agreed to by purchasing and reading the book, and which didn't allow resale. The courts threw that out, and enunciated the "first sale" doctrine. Basically, they said that if it looks like a sale, it's a sale, and you own the item and are restricted only by the usual laws. (E.g., you can't beat someone to death with your book or copy it in excess of the fair use exception, but you can read it an unlimited number of times, let other people read it, and resell it.)

    It's about time the courts figured out that now that software is clearly copyrightable, the first sale doctrine should apply at least to shrink-wrapped software. (Site licenses are a different beast -- but it's often possible to negotiate the terms of a site license. With shrink-wrap, you not only don't get to negotiate, but often you don't get to read the EULA until you've paid for it and taken it home.) The EULA is no longer needed to protect the vendors IP; instead, it protects the vendor from coming under the normal laws covering warranties and the maker's responsibility for quality. Most significantly, under the UCC, on items sold to consumers the manufacturer cannot disclaim the warranty of merchantibility: basically, that means it had better do the job it is represented to do, with reasonable safety, and no "warranty" printed on the package can reduce the manufacturer's liability to less than this. Obviously, under such a doctrine Microsoft would be in deep doodoo...
  • The people who are trusting the executive are not just rich greedy VCs and financiers, but also little old ladies whose pension funds include stock. The executive being a greedy bastard puts food on the table of the wheelchair bound Mrs. Farnsworth.

    There shouldn't be any such thing as pension funds. Mrs Farnsworth should be helped thru her later years by her son and daughter. This is the natural way, and it worked for thousands of years before there were pension funds.

    Because when you're running a business, all the investors, customers, partners, suppliers, and employees are trusting their livelihood in you being as ruthless and greedy as you possibly can.

    I agree. And this is precisely why business in the end will have to be obliterated. Because it is destructive and brings out the worst in people.

    Humans should spend their time with Science, Art and Love, not work. And once nanotech is here it will be possible. The only thing not replicatable will be land, which is why land must not be allowed to be owned by any one.

    /Dervak

  • What I really love about the advertising world: They sell TV ads at rates determined by the quarterly Nelson sweeps. And you can you tell when a Nelson sweep is underway, because most of the normal shows are temporarily replaced by stuff that's almost worth watching. In other words, the idiots running the corporate advertising budget are paying for time in a Cops re-run based on the audience when some mini-series was running...
  • No GPL software is not sold it is licensed just like most software. Think about what the L in GPL stands for. It is licensed under terms that give you much more control in comparison to other licenses but it is still licensed otherwise anybody could do anything they want with the code. Which they can't. With the exception of public domain all software is licensed.
  • "There is a downside to this "utopia", of course. Because replicators will be ubiquitous, people will work only when they want to. It will be interesting to see what happens to the human animal when we no longer need to do anything. "

    The logical extension of this is that some will choose not to work at all, whilst others will only do work which they enjoy.

  • That would enable advertisers to NOT have to pay to shout at us

    It will take alot more than that unfortunatley. I believe that Coke and Pepsi are the same - but they are spending billions on propaganda trying to tell me different, all these commodity products are 'building their brands' to represent 'life' 'happiness' 'joy' 'sex' (whatever) that I dont ever associate with a carbinated beverage... until people are woken out of their dream state; there will be no change... unless we can manage to make Spam-Advertising illegal.

  • Dude, did you get your legal info from Cryptonomicon? I have never heard of a shareholder lawsuit against a big company for failing to be greedy enough. The incentive for a coporate board is their salaries, jobs, and bonuses, which are all tied to stock price, which is ostensibly tied to company performance. If the companies don't make lots of money, their stock price stagnates or drops, and the board is fired. They are a bunch of greedheads, and that is their job.
  • by Zara2 ( 160595 ) on Friday May 11, 2001 @07:34PM (#229990)
    If I had any more mod points I would mod this up. It is good to know that there is someone else who sees that there are differences between corporations, privately owned businesses and individuals. The legal fiction of corporations having all of the rights of individuals is just ridiculous. Personally I believe that the dissolving of corporations (I am not sure of the legal term. Pretty much pull their license to be a an incorporated entity) has been a penalty that is applied all to infrequently. Particularly for large environmental (Valdez, Love Canal) and human rights abuses (Nike and Wal-Mart sweat shops.)

    For instance, incorporated entities should not be able to donate money to the political process. Individuals of that corporation should have every right to spend their paychecks ($1k I believe is the limit) from that corporation. I am not sure about small business owners however. I am inclined to say that the business shouldn't be able to make a donation while the owner is free to do so like any other individual.

    One issue I have with this solution is "no taxation without representation." However there is some precedent as corporations cannot vote and are taxed. Also there is the pragmatic issue of a corporation moving to another country that allows them to own it. I would just hope that a society based on principle which would let this sort of outcome occur would be prosperous enough by its own ideology that companies would *have* to trade with that country and would want to incorporate within that countries boundaries.

  • Actually, the movie studios don't "own" them either, they simply own the copyrights to them until the copyrights run out (yeah, I know, like that'll ever happen)

    They are fine point distinctions which can be argued ad nauseam. Movie studios DO own the film prints and the master materials of their movies. I don't know if the prints are ever sold, they usually are only rented or leased out that I understand anyways. They sell a copy of the movie and limited rights to play the movie for private performance. Suffice to say that you don't own a movie, but rather a copy of the movie, which you do technically have rights to, but they are limited in scope.

    These are more fine, maybe incorrect, distinctions which I don't think will really get anywhere in a Slashdot argument as it usually takes months or years to change minds, not single threads.
  • That's one way of looking at it.

    Another way would be to say that we, the governed, allow the upper classes and government officials to live in large buildings, boss us around, and even humiliate and kill us on occasion so long as they perform some useful purpose: like maintaining order, maintaining public infrastructure, and defending us against possible attack. When and if they get too big for their britches, we the laborers get very upset and kill the lot of them in a big bloody revolution. Immediately following that, the next batch of bigwigs tend to behave themselves for about 3 or 4 generations.

    A third way of looking at things is to say that the relationship is more of a two-way street. Citizens have a responsibility to be good citizens, and government officials have a responsibility to be good officials. It's a contract. If one side unilaterally decides to violate that contract, you get a situation much like the United States in 2001.
  • > I see that you are making the classic fallacy of the excluded
    > middle -- claiming that everyone must choose one position or the other,
    > the better to force them to choose yours.


    You make a good point, but the point you make doesn't apply here. My argument with the parent is that in one sentence, he claims that real property can be owned if one can lock it up or fence it in, to paraphrase. Farther down, he states, "the land should not be divided for a price", which contradicts his first statement. Since both statements apply only to real property, your contention of an excluded middle is not relevant. Either the parent author believes in real property rights, or he doesn't believe in real property rights. Since intellectual property rights never entered my argument, Mr. Jefferson's arguments are also irrelevant.

    Virg
  • I understand that "breach of fiduciary duties" exists. I just don't think it is germaine to this particular discussion. It is my understanding that that particular law is more applicable to, say, a company that IPO's with no intent of ever making a product, with the sole intention of grabbing some quick cash for the corporate officers before they file for bancruptcy.

    My point is that I don't think that the MPAA, RIAA, or rather, the record and movie companies that they represent, could be sued for not doing the things the original Suck article discussed. It could be argued persuasively that, for example, the damgae caused to your company's image brought about by suing your own customers would be much greater than the benefit of any settlement from such lawsuits. As another poster mentioned, there is something called the "business judgement rule", which protects the corporate executives from having their day to day decisions constantly second guessed in court.

    So my point is that Metallica's record label doesn't legally have to sue Napster-using Metallica fans, Disney isn't somehow obligated to lobby congress to change copyright laws, and Jack Vilanti doesn't risk jail if he fails to sue 2600. The main impetus for the media conglomerates' behaviour is money. They want to keep making money, so their companies' stock stays high, so the shareholders are happy, so they keep their well-paying jobs and get their big performanced-based bonuses. It's misguided to think that their hands are somehow tied, and they are forced by the legal system to become big jerks.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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