Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups

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To: Louigi Verona <louigi.verona@...>
Cc: <linux-audio-user@...>
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 2:14 pm

On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 9:37 AM, Louigi Verona wrote:

> Yes, this is actually the core of all copyright discussions, namely - can

ideas are not covered by copyright. expressions of ideas are.

the error that i see in your webpage on authorship is that you seem to
think that property is automatically about scarcity. its not about
scarcity, its about control. now, with resources that actually are
scarce, the control offered by property has a number of different
implications to the control over, say, a musical composition. there's
a second angle on this too. you claim that for creative works, the
ability to copy removes scarcity. but this is a semantic confusion:
what is scarce are the ideas, not the copies. beethoven, like lou reed
and fela kuti, can only write so many pieces. any given work that they
create might (now) be very easily copied, so certainly copies of the
work are not scarce in the sense that wood or gold or clean water
might be. but the actual idea in the work is scarce, and the way we
tackle the scarcity is to try to make it worthwhile for the person
with the ability to create such things to keep trying to do it. how we
identify those people has varied enormously, of course, from court
patronage to market forces. one could make an argument that there is
no scarcity of, say, musical ideas as a general category, and that
therefore there is no reason to put any value on the ideas of any
particular person. i think that anyone with a genuine love of music
will see the fallacy in this way of thinking.

i would even go so far as to say that the very earliest human ideas
about "property" precede any notion of scarcity and in fact focus
entirely on the sort of thing touched by authorship. when an early
human managed to make a superior tool for hunting, or digging holes,
or cutting leather, who had control over that tool? societies that
created an orderly (if unfair) regime to take charge of that sort of
question likely did better than those that simply allowed the most
physically powerful to take control over creations like that.

now, an early human tool isn't a pathway to a potential way to make a
living via economic exchange until you get to a much more organized
sort of society. but in such a society, there will be people who try
to make a living by selling their tools rather than by actually using
them. you could make an argument that this is undesirable, but it is
one potential outcome for human social organization. their ability to
make a living doing this is undermined if someone else can simply copy
their designs. so, many societies came up with various kinds of
agreements and rules about how such copying could occur, based on the
premise that someone *ought* to be able to make a living from selling
those tools, presumably because of a belief that it made the overall
society better in various ways.

as i see it, the same argument applies to artists and other people who
spend time creating expressions of ideas. the big question is whether
or not society agrees that it is desirable for such work to be able to
be the basis of a way of making living. if a musician/composer is
going to make a living from their work, its important for them to
retain control over people's ability to copy what they create. if we
want a society in which people can do this sort of thing for a living,
giving them this control (on reasonable terms) is very important. we
can choose otherwise, and certainly for large amounts of human
history, we haven't valued this idea very much. but for the last
50-100 years, its been an idea that has grown in popularity. its time
may be over, but if its not over, then copyright plays a critical role
in making it possible for it to continue.

--p
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Messages in current thread:
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Philipp √úberbacher, (Mon Jun 28, 10:17 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Gabriel M. Beddingfield, (Tue Jun 29, 7:50 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Tue Jun 29, 11:46 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Thu Jul 1, 12:07 am)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Kevin Cosgrove, (Wed Jun 30, 10:30 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Thu Jul 1, 12:53 am)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Fri Jul 2, 12:52 am)
[LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Gordon JC Pearce, (Fri Jul 16, 7:29 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Mark Knecht, (Fri Jul 16, 11:30 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Louigi Verona, (Sat Jul 17, 7:44 am)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., hermann, (Fri Jul 16, 8:15 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Gwenhwyfaer, (Fri Jul 16, 9:07 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., James Stone, (Sat Jul 17, 10:14 am)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Gwenhwyfaer, (Mon Jul 19, 5:12 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Patrick Shirkey, (Sat Jul 17, 12:09 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Folderol, (Sat Jul 17, 12:20 pm)
Re: [LAU] So long, and thanks for all the fish., Folderol, (Fri Jul 16, 7:40 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Bob van der Poel, (Thu Jul 15, 11:11 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Pedro Lopez-Cabanillas, (Fri Jul 16, 11:36 am)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Thu Jul 1, 12:59 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Gabriel M. Beddingfield, (Wed Jun 30, 1:29 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Philipp √úberbacher, (Wed Jun 30, 4:44 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Gabriel M. Beddingfield, (Wed Jun 30, 2:48 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Thu Jul 1, 12:12 am)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Paul Davis, (Wed Jun 30, 2:14 pm)
Re: [LAU] ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups, Patrick Shirkey, (Fri Jul 2, 12:50 am)