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OT -New paper on Patents

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  • mattbieker
    A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have interest: The Case against Patents.
    Message 1 of 21 , Feb 5, 2013
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      A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have interest: "The Case against Patents." http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.3

      The authors suggest patents be abolished entirely, which I agree with.
    • Morten Blaabjerg
      @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine s monograph Against
      Message 2 of 21 , Feb 5, 2013
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        @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine's monograph Against Intellectual Monopoly, which is also available in an online version here : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

        In this work, they oppose patents as well as copyright on economical grounds. Their argument is simply that intellectual property makes markets less efficient, not more so. AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or IP as rent-seeking.

        Venlige hilsener,
        Morten Blaabjerg

        Tlf 51 80 91 55
        mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
        --Mahatma Gandhi


        On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 5:45 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:
         

        A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have interest: "The Case against Patents." http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.3

        The authors suggest patents be abolished entirely, which I agree with.


      • Morten Blaabjerg
        ... I was wrong - in this part of their website they elaborate on how a copyright-ridden market for music might work - i.e. a market in which customers who ve
        Message 3 of 21 , Feb 5, 2013
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          AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or IP as rent-seeking.
          I was wrong - in this part of their website they elaborate on how a copyright-ridden market for music might work - i.e. a market in which customers who've bought their music are legally fully entitled to resell and redistribute their music, as much as they are legally entitled to resell their car or make copies of their Armani suits (except for putting on a lable that  says it's an "Armani" suit, which would be fraudulent) : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/napster.htm

          Excerpt from the linked article :

          Naturally, the first CDs sold may command a rather high price, as they will be in rather short supply. The earlier purchasers will no doubt be those who value it particularly highly, or those that buy it with the intention of reproducing it and selling it. By the time all the Napster users have obtained a copy, the price will have fallen a great deal. At a low enough price, even those that do not really care about the music or that would listen to it once and then throw it away, would purchase a copy. But of course, by this time, profits (technically rents) sufficient to cover the production cost (including that famous "fixed" cost we talked about before) will have been earned. "Gatekeepers", that is cartelized monopolists such as the RIAA, will see their market power much eroded if not totally eliminated. And struggling artists will get a fair chance of circulating their music and recovering the (sunk) costs they are now prevented from recovering by the monopoly power of the RIAA.If you are interested in more details about the economics of such a market, click here.

          But let us not understate the costs of what the RIAA and their ilk is trying to accomplish. There are two technologies for the distribution of music (and books, and movies and so forth): the old highly expensive technology and the new cheap internet technology. Although the new technology is vastly superior to the old, it gives the intermediaries like the RIAA less control, and threatens their monopoly. Hence their desire to suppress the new technology, for the Napster lawsuit is no less than that. The social cost of allowing monopolists to protect themselves through the suppression of vastly superior new technologies is costly indeed
          http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/napster.htm

          Venlige hilsener,

          Morten Blaabjerg
          mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net

          "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
          --Mahatma Gandhi


          On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM, Morten Blaabjerg <mortenblaabjerg@...> wrote:
          @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine's monograph Against Intellectual Monopoly, which is also available in an online version here : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

          In this work, they oppose patents as well as copyright on economical grounds. Their argument is simply that intellectual property makes markets less efficient, not more so. AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or IP as rent-seeking.

          Venlige hilsener,
          Morten Blaabjerg

          Tlf 51 80 91 55
          mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net

          "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
          --Mahatma Gandhi


          On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 5:45 PM, mattbieker <agrarian.justice@...> wrote:
           

          A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have interest: "The Case against Patents." http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.3

          The authors suggest patents be abolished entirely, which I agree with.



        • k_r_johansen
          Motern Good stuff, thanks for the links. I must admit to very little concern over the fate of the music/book industry , or the supply of cultural products in
          Message 4 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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            Motern

            Good stuff, thanks for the links. I must admit to very little concern over the fate of the music/book "industry", or the supply of cultural products in general. On the one hand, they have and are still produced regardless of economic incentives. On the other, there are countless ways, although it requires work, to profit from producing cultural products. Live performances, attractive physical products (the surge in LPs is an example that there are qualities that are demanded even if the costs are higher than digital distribution), pre-funding/crowdfunding. In some countries, such as my own, public funding is already an major source of income for artists, and IMO this further enhances the moral argument for not handing out monopoly rights on the final products.

            An apropos to the conflict of reason and practice in this whole matter, is that of e-books and libraries. Norwegian libraries want to be relevant, so they want to be part of the whole e-book thing. It's yet to be resolved how this is to be done, as the publishers want the existing model of library lending to apply. That is, you borrow an e-book copy, and then have to hand it back before the next person can borrow it. As far as I understand, the experience in Denmark, with unlimited "borrowing", has been that the libraries have cornered the e-book market. So it's understandeable that in the current scheme of things, this is seen as a negative for the industry. But the whole concept of making e-books like traditional books in the libraries, is a hilarious example of the limitations we are setting for a technology that doesn't have them.

            Kj

            --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Morten Blaabjerg wrote:
            >
            > >
            > > AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or IP as rent-seeking.
            >
            > I was wrong - in this part of their website they elaborate on how a
            > copyright-ridden market for music might work - i.e. a market in which
            > customers who've bought their music are legally fully entitled to resell
            > and redistribute their music, as much as they are legally entitled to
            > resell their car or make copies of their Armani suits (except for putting
            > on a lable that says it's an "Armani" suit, which would be fraudulent) :
            > http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/napster.htm
            >
            > Excerpt from the linked article :
            >
            > Naturally, the first CDs sold may command a rather high price, as they will
            > > be in rather short supply. The earlier purchasers will no doubt be those
            > > who value it particularly highly, or those that buy it with the intention
            > > of reproducing it and selling it. By the time all the Napster users have
            > > obtained a copy, the price will have fallen a great deal. At a low enough
            > > price, even those that do not really care about the music or that would
            > > listen to it once and then throw it away, would purchase a copy. But of
            > > course, by this time, profits (technically rents) sufficient to cover the
            > > production cost (including that famous "fixed" cost we talked about before)
            > > will have been earned. "Gatekeepers", that is cartelized monopolists such
            > > as the RIAA, will see their market power much eroded if not totally
            > > eliminated. And struggling artists will get a fair chance of circulating
            > > their music and recovering the (sunk) costs they are now prevented from
            > > recovering by the monopoly power of the RIAA.If you are interested in more
            > > details about the economics of such a market, click here
            > > .
            > >
            > > But let us not understate the costs of what the RIAA and their ilk is
            > > trying to accomplish. There are two technologies for the distribution of
            > > music (and books, and movies and so forth): the old highly expensive
            > > technology and the new cheap internet technology. Although the new
            > > technology is vastly superior to the old, it gives the intermediaries like
            > > the RIAA less control, and threatens their monopoly. Hence their desire to
            > > suppress the new technology, for the Napster lawsuit is no less than that.
            > > The social cost of allowing monopolists to protect themselves through the
            > > suppression of vastly superior new technologies is costly indeed
            > >
            > http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/napster.htm
            >
            > Venlige hilsener,
            >
            > Morten Blaabjerg
            > mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net
            > *
            > "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then
            > you win." *--Mahatma Gandhi
            >
            >
            > On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM, Morten Blaabjerg
            > wrote:
            >
            > > @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have
            > > much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine's monograph
            > > Against Intellectual Monopoly, which is also available in an online version
            > > here : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm
            > >
            > > In this work, they oppose patents as well as copyright on economical
            > > grounds. Their argument is simply that intellectual property makes markets
            > > less efficient, not more so. AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or
            > > IP as rent-seeking.
            > >
            > > Venlige hilsener,
            > > Morten Blaabjerg
            > >
            > > Tlf 51 80 91 55
            > > mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net
            > > *
            > > "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then
            > > you win." *--Mahatma Gandhi
            > >
            > >
            > > On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 5:45 PM, mattbieker
            > > wrote:
            > >
            > >> **
            > >>
            > >>
            > >> A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have
            > >> interest: "The Case against Patents."
            > >> http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.3
            > >>
            > >> The authors suggest patents be abolished entirely, which I agree with.
            > >>
            > >>
            > >>
            > >
            > >
            >
          • k_r_johansen
            ... This quote from http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/ip.ch.4.m1004.pdf is interesting, he uses the parable of immigration to all sorts of innovation: The
            Message 5 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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              --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Morten Blaabjerg wrote:
              >
              > @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have
              > much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine's monograph
              > Against Intellectual Monopoly, which is also available in an online version
              > here : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm
              >

              This quote from http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/ip.ch.4.m1004.pdf is interesting, he uses the parable of immigration to all sorts of innovation:

              "The first immigrant faces a large cost: he must cross the
              ocean (or desert, or mountain range) and he faces a high risk of
              failure. The cost of imitation is much less – it is known that the
              newfound land is hospitable and fertile – and the pioneers are
              available to inform newcomers about job opportunities and local
              laws and customs. Yet the common association of "early settlers"
              with "old money" confirms that there is still a substantial advantage
              to being first."

              - which I am sure the people on this forum also has an additional theory about besides first-mover advantages... :)

              Kj
            • Morten Blaabjerg
              ... I wholeheartedly agree. Do you know where that experience you mention were had? I m not sure if this is what you refer to, but we have had a crippled
              Message 6 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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                An apropos to the conflict of reason and practice in this whole matter, is that of e-books and libraries. Norwegian libraries want to be relevant, so they want to be part of the whole e-book thing. It's yet to be resolved how this is to be done, as the publishers want the existing model of library lending to apply. That is, you borrow an e-book copy, and then have to hand it back before the next person can borrow it. As far as I understand, the experience in Denmark, with unlimited "borrowing", has been that the libraries have cornered the e-book market. So it's understandeable that in the current scheme of things, this is seen as a negative for the industry. But the whole concept of making e-books like traditional books in the libraries, is a hilarious example of the limitations we are setting for a technology that doesn't have them.

                I wholeheartedly agree. Do you know where that experience you mention were had? I'm not sure if this is what you refer to, but we have had a crippled system called "downlaan" (I don't know if this still exists, because it was such as bad experience I've ever only used it once), where one one could download crappy DRM-infected pdf files, where one couldn't copy the text, which made the operation quite useless, especially in an educational context, where you would indeed require stuff to be quoted, copied and reused in other contexts, quite reasonably, in order to be of much use. One was much better off borrowing the paper version and scanning the needed pages making sure an OCR scan was done in the process, and creating an open PDF-file from scratch. This pretty much defeats the purpose then. And it's been just as crippled since then, AFAIAI.

                I've previouly critizised the Danish library institutions for being way too afraid (misunderstoodedly respectful, since who do they represent - not rightsholders, but we, the public!) of rightsholders and policy makers to create a vision for what libraries should be like now and in the future. They have been much much too careful not to insult anyone and have been doing way too little, much too late. I've completely lost any tiny hope I might've had, that some vision of change would come from that corner.
                 
                Best,
                Morten Blaabjerg
                mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net

                "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
                --Mahatma Gandhi


                On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 12:26 PM, k_r_johansen <kjetil.r.johansen@...> wrote:
                 



                --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Morten Blaabjerg wrote:
                >
                > @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have
                > much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine's monograph
                > Against Intellectual Monopoly, which is also available in an online version
                > here : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm
                >

                This quote from http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/ip.ch.4.m1004.pdf is interesting, he uses the parable of immigration to all sorts of innovation:

                "The first immigrant faces a large cost: he must cross the
                ocean (or desert, or mountain range) and he faces a high risk of
                failure. The cost of imitation is much less – it is known that the
                newfound land is hospitable and fertile – and the pioneers are
                available to inform newcomers about job opportunities and local
                laws and customs. Yet the common association of "early settlers"
                with "old money" confirms that there is still a substantial advantage
                to being first."

                - which I am sure the people on this forum also has an additional theory about besides first-mover advantages... :)

                Kj


              • k_r_johansen
                ... Do you know where that experience you mention were ... This article in norwegian describes the situation, and it refers to ereolen.dk.
                Message 7 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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                  --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Morten Blaabjerg wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  Do you know where that experience you mention were
                  > had?

                  This article in norwegian describes the situation, and it refers to ereolen.dk. http://www.minervanett.no/fremtidens-bibliotek-trang-fodsel/ I can't seem to find the article about market shares, but I'll post it if I can.

                  > I've previouly critizised the Danish library institutions for being way too
                  > afraid (misunderstoodedly respectful, since who do they represent - not
                  > rightsholders, but we, the public!) of rightsholders and policy makers to
                  > create a vision for what libraries should be like now and in the future.

                  Good. Our experience is that the different levels of libraries operate with different visions, and some are pretty radical. The National Library has more or less promised to put everything older than some years online (fully viewable, not downloadable though), which was considered way too radical by many politicians.
                  The local libraries OTOH, has pretty much obliterated video-rental shops. I don't know if that's a loss or not, but someone does lament that as well ofcourse :)

                  Kj
                • Robin Harding
                  As someone who dislikes the abuse of extended copyright, but works in an industry (newspapers) that has been devastated by the advent of the internet, I have
                  Message 8 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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                    As someone who dislikes the abuse of extended copyright, but works in an industry (newspapers) that has been devastated by the advent of the internet, I have mixed feelings about this. It is true that there are other ways to make money off cultural products, but certainly in my field they are only open to a few stars, while everyone else suffers a race to the bottom.

                    As I understand Boldrin & Levine, their argument is that in pure economics the optimal term of IP is not zero, but the political economy of rent-seeking means that may be the only practical option. I'm not sure I agree with that in principle and if that's the proposal for reform then those who benefit from extended IP will find it laughably easy to defeat. In my view, the list of more modest proposals from Boldrin & Levine are better avenues (shorter terms, vary by sector, take fixed cost into account) to explore.



                    On 6 February 2013 04:19, k_r_johansen <kjetil.r.johansen@...> wrote:
                     

                    Motern

                    Good stuff, thanks for the links. I must admit to very little concern over the fate of the music/book "industry", or the supply of cultural products in general. On the one hand, they have and are still produced regardless of economic incentives. On the other, there are countless ways, although it requires work, to profit from producing cultural products. Live performances, attractive physical products (the surge in LPs is an example that there are qualities that are demanded even if the costs are higher than digital distribution), pre-funding/crowdfunding. In some countries, such as my own, public funding is already an major source of income for artists, and IMO this further enhances the moral argument for not handing out monopoly rights on the final products.

                    An apropos to the conflict of reason and practice in this whole matter, is that of e-books and libraries. Norwegian libraries want to be relevant, so they want to be part of the whole e-book thing. It's yet to be resolved how this is to be done, as the publishers want the existing model of library lending to apply. That is, you borrow an e-book copy, and then have to hand it back before the next person can borrow it. As far as I understand, the experience in Denmark, with unlimited "borrowing", has been that the libraries have cornered the e-book market. So it's understandeable that in the current scheme of things, this is seen as a negative for the industry. But the whole concept of making e-books like traditional books in the libraries, is a hilarious example of the limitations we are setting for a technology that doesn't have them.

                    Kj



                    --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Morten Blaabjerg wrote:
                    >
                    > >
                    > > AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or IP as rent-seeking.
                    >
                    > I was wrong - in this part of their website they elaborate on how a
                    > copyright-ridden market for music might work - i.e. a market in which
                    > customers who've bought their music are legally fully entitled to resell
                    > and redistribute their music, as much as they are legally entitled to
                    > resell their car or make copies of their Armani suits (except for putting
                    > on a lable that says it's an "Armani" suit, which would be fraudulent) :
                    > http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/napster.htm
                    >
                    > Excerpt from the linked article :
                    >
                    > Naturally, the first CDs sold may command a rather high price, as they will
                    > > be in rather short supply. The earlier purchasers will no doubt be those
                    > > who value it particularly highly, or those that buy it with the intention
                    > > of reproducing it and selling it. By the time all the Napster users have
                    > > obtained a copy, the price will have fallen a great deal. At a low enough
                    > > price, even those that do not really care about the music or that would
                    > > listen to it once and then throw it away, would purchase a copy. But of
                    > > course, by this time, profits (technically rents) sufficient to cover the
                    > > production cost (including that famous "fixed" cost we talked about before)
                    > > will have been earned. "Gatekeepers", that is cartelized monopolists such
                    > > as the RIAA, will see their market power much eroded if not totally
                    > > eliminated. And struggling artists will get a fair chance of circulating
                    > > their music and recovering the (sunk) costs they are now prevented from
                    > > recovering by the monopoly power of the RIAA.If you are interested in more
                    > > details about the economics of such a market, click here
                    > > .
                    > >
                    > > But let us not understate the costs of what the RIAA and their ilk is
                    > > trying to accomplish. There are two technologies for the distribution of
                    > > music (and books, and movies and so forth): the old highly expensive
                    > > technology and the new cheap internet technology. Although the new
                    > > technology is vastly superior to the old, it gives the intermediaries like
                    > > the RIAA less control, and threatens their monopoly. Hence their desire to
                    > > suppress the new technology, for the Napster lawsuit is no less than that.
                    > > The social cost of allowing monopolists to protect themselves through the
                    > > suppression of vastly superior new technologies is costly indeed
                    > >
                    > http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/napster.htm
                    >
                    > Venlige hilsener,
                    >
                    > Morten Blaabjerg
                    > mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net

                    > *
                    > "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then
                    > you win." *--Mahatma Gandhi

                    >
                    >
                    > On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM, Morten Blaabjerg
                    > wrote:
                    >
                    > > @Matt and others like me with a vested interest in this subject will have
                    > > much to benefit from following the gentlemen Boldrin & Levine's monograph
                    > > Against Intellectual Monopoly, which is also available in an online version
                    > > here : http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm
                    > >
                    > > In this work, they oppose patents as well as copyright on economical
                    > > grounds. Their argument is simply that intellectual property makes markets
                    > > less efficient, not more so. AFAIR they do not touch so much upon rents or
                    > > IP as rent-seeking.
                    > >
                    > > Venlige hilsener,
                    > > Morten Blaabjerg
                    > >
                    > > Tlf 51 80 91 55
                    > > mortenblaabjerg@... - http://mortenblaabjerg.net

                    > > *
                    > > "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then
                    > > you win." *--Mahatma Gandhi

                    > >
                    > >
                    > > On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 5:45 PM, mattbieker
                    > > wrote:
                    > >
                    > >> **

                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >> A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have
                    > >> interest: "The Case against Patents."
                    > >> http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.3
                    > >>
                    > >> The authors suggest patents be abolished entirely, which I agree with.
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >
                    > >
                    >


                  • roy_langston
                    ... Why not just accept the fact that newspapers are obsolete? The idea of sending great wads of paper around to people who only want to see a small fraction
                    Message 9 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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                      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Robin Harding wrote:

                      > As someone who dislikes the abuse of extended copyright, but works in an
                      > industry (newspapers) that has been devastated by the advent of the
                      > internet, I have mixed feelings about this.

                      Why not just accept the fact that newspapers are obsolete? The idea of sending great wads of paper around to people who only want to see a small fraction of the information being delivered, and who then throw the whole works away, is clearly absurd.

                      > It is true that there are other
                      > ways to make money off cultural products, but certainly in my field they
                      > are only open to a few stars, while everyone else suffers a race to the bottom.

                      Part of the problem is that rent seeking has made everything so expensive that you have to make a lot of money just to survive. In a free economy, you would easily be able to make enough money from your intellectual work (if it was any good) to survive.

                      > As I understand Boldrin & Levine, their argument is that in pure economics
                      > the optimal term of IP is not zero, but the political economy of
                      > rent-seeking means that may be the only practical option. I'm not sure I
                      > agree with that in principle and if that's the proposal for reform then
                      > those who benefit from extended IP will find it laughably easy to defeat.

                      Maybe because they own the media and thus control the discussion?

                      > In my view, the list of more modest proposals from Boldrin & Levine are
                      > better avenues (shorter terms, vary by sector, take fixed cost into
                      > account) to explore.

                      In fact, it's known that the granting of monopolies or supply restrictions is almost always one of the least efficient ways to implement an incentive. There is no doubt that IP should be abolished entirely and replaced with a system of direct tax-funded rewards, which would cost society an order of magnitude less and be an order of magnitude more effective. IP can't be justified either morally or economically, any more than landowning can.

                      -- Roy Langston
                    • roy_langston
                      ... Heh. Did anyone else catch this ironic story? http://www.geekwire.com/2013/amazon-wins-patent-reselling-lending-used-digital-goods/ Amazon has been
                      Message 10 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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                        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "mattbieker" wrote:

                        > A bit off topic, but I know some of the members of this group will have interest: "The Case against Patents." http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.3

                        Heh. Did anyone else catch this ironic story?

                        http://www.geekwire.com/2013/amazon-wins-patent-reselling-lending-used-digital-goods/

                        Amazon has been granted a patent on ways of "maintaining the scarcity of digital objects" (!). So now the rent seekers will have to pay Amazon rent for permission to seek their own rents.

                        Our descendants are going to look back on these atrocities the way we look back on burning witches.

                        -- Roy Langston
                      • mattbieker
                        ... I hadn t seen that. Truly, that s rich. Once you go down the road of making property of ideas, the inanities are endless.
                        Message 11 of 21 , Feb 6, 2013
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                          --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" wrote:
                          >
                          > Heh. Did anyone else catch this ironic story?
                          >
                          > http://www.geekwire.com/2013/amazon-wins-patent-reselling-lending-used-digital-goods/
                          >
                          > Amazon has been granted a patent on ways of "maintaining the scarcity of digital objects" (!). So now the rent seekers will have to pay Amazon rent for permission to seek their own rents.
                          >
                          > Our descendants are going to look back on these atrocities the way we look back on burning witches.
                          >
                          > -- Roy Langston
                          >

                          I hadn't seen that. Truly, that's rich. Once you go down the road of making property of ideas, the inanities are endless.
                        • k_r_johansen
                          ... I don t know if it s obsolete. But as he says, there field is open only to a few stars, which means that there will probably still be someone wanting a wad
                          Message 12 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                            --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" wrote:
                            >
                            > Why not just accept the fact that newspapers are obsolete? The idea of sending great wads of paper around to people who only want to see a small fraction of the information being delivered, and who then throw the whole works away, is clearly absurd.
                            >

                            I don't know if it's obsolete. But as he says, there field is open only to a few stars, which means that there will probably still be someone wanting a wad of paper now and then. Specialist newspapers like the Economist and FT for example, and local newspapers may just be one of those who survive for a while longer, either digitally, in print or both.

                            > In fact, it's known that the granting of monopolies or supply restrictions is almost always one of the least efficient ways to implement an incentive. There is no doubt that IP should be abolished entirely and replaced with a system of direct tax-funded rewards, which would cost society an order of magnitude less and be an order of magnitude more effective. IP can't be justified either morally or economically, any more than landowning can.
                            >

                            As many countries do financially support both culture, media and research, there's a lot of room of restructuring these to be of public benefit in an open source-way, I agree. In fact, I'm often surprised by the stern reaction of some of my friends who works in the cultural field, when I suggest that the public support received ought to be attached to a requirement to put the final product in the public domain. They are very much attached to the idea of "ownership of works to art", (and not so much to ownership of income), and this is a big, right-wing, no-no to suggest. Which is ass backwards IMO.

                            As to research, and how awards can be structured, incentives and all that, I'm not quite sure what successfull models there is, maybe you can name some examples?

                            Kj
                          • k_r_johansen
                            ... The question is, and I don t mean to be flippant, isn t the big problem the advent of the internet, which is already here, and not the hypothetical threat
                            Message 13 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                              --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Robin Harding wrote:
                              >
                              > As someone who dislikes the abuse of extended copyright, but works in an
                              > industry (newspapers) that has been devastated by the advent of the
                              > internet, I have mixed feelings about this. It is true that there are other
                              > ways to make money off cultural products, but certainly in my field they
                              > are only open to a few stars, while everyone else suffers a race to the
                              > bottom.
                              >

                              The question is, and I don't mean to be flippant, isn't the big problem the advent of the internet, which is already here, and not the hypothetical threat of abolishing IP-rights?

                              And the race to the bottom, well, that's from the producer's perspective. Trade-unions calls international labour-competition a race to the bottom. That's ignoring that internationally, wages tend to get pushed up for the new entrants. As for final product quality, big changes do change product quality, but that may very well be what the market wants, even if it doesn't seem like it from the status quo perspective. The information flow after the advent of the internet is a multiple of what it was when newspapers were the only channel of information, of every quality possible.

                              Kj
                            • Robin Harding
                              I absolutely agree that it s the advent of the internet that has beaten up the newspaper business and printed news is going the way of the buggy whip. What
                              Message 14 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                                I absolutely agree that it's the advent of the internet that has beaten up the newspaper business and printed news is going the way of the buggy whip. What made newspapers profitable was the distribution monopoly - the product was obsolete before anybody could copy it - but good riddance from society's point of view.

                                Any future prospects for commercial news, whether paid for by subscriptions or advertising, now rest on copyright. If there's no copyright at all then anything published online can be instantly scraped and republished so there's no way to charge for it. In economic terms, it would make news non-excludable as well as non-rival in consumption - in other words, a pure public good.

                                The only ways to fund a pure public good are taxation (regardless of how you structure the payments) or charity. It's further possible that a few high profile journalists might be able to justify writing as promotion for other activities, such as speaking. I personally find this prospect unattractive: if you consider news biased now, just imagine what it'd be like if it can only be funded at the whim of generous billionaires, interested parties or the politicians currently in power. The situation for other forms of media would be similar.

                                Many of the philosophers who first identified the harm of economic rents (Smith, Bentham, Mill) also recognised a utilitarian and/or moral case for some degree of intellectual property. I don't think that has changed. What has changed is that the system has become vastly skewed in favour of a few rich rights holders which undermines its social utility. But I'd rather see that system reformed than abolished.

                                There are arguments otherwise, but people making them need to set out a clear solution to the public goods problem they propose to create, so we can judge whether that is preferable to a minimal system of IP. 


                                On 7 February 2013 04:33, k_r_johansen <kjetil.r.johansen@...> wrote:
                                 



                                --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Robin Harding wrote:
                                >
                                > As someone who dislikes the abuse of extended copyright, but works in an
                                > industry (newspapers) that has been devastated by the advent of the
                                > internet, I have mixed feelings about this. It is true that there are other

                                > ways to make money off cultural products, but certainly in my field they
                                > are only open to a few stars, while everyone else suffers a race to the
                                > bottom.
                                >

                                The question is, and I don't mean to be flippant, isn't the big problem the advent of the internet, which is already here, and not the hypothetical threat of abolishing IP-rights?

                                And the race to the bottom, well, that's from the producer's perspective. Trade-unions calls international labour-competition a race to the bottom. That's ignoring that internationally, wages tend to get pushed up for the new entrants. As for final product quality, big changes do change product quality, but that may very well be what the market wants, even if it doesn't seem like it from the status quo perspective. The information flow after the advent of the internet is a multiple of what it was when newspapers were the only channel of information, of every quality possible.

                                Kj


                              • roy_langston
                                ... The Nobel Prizes, for one, and the MacArthur Fellowships for another. The UK gives knighthoods to a few researchers. It would be a trivial exercise to
                                Message 15 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                                  --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "k_r_johansen" wrote:

                                  > As to research, and how awards can be structured, incentives and all that, I'm not quite sure what successfull models there is, maybe you can name some examples?

                                  The Nobel Prizes, for one, and the MacArthur Fellowships for another. The UK gives knighthoods to a few researchers. It would be a trivial exercise to create a computerized system to identify useful technologies and award substantial prizes to those who had developed them based on the record of publication, as is now done with scholarly priority. There would be no time limit, either, so if a technology only became useful decades after it was released to the public domain, the inventor could still be rewarded commensurately.

                                  But post-hoc prizes are not the only way to support intellectual work. For a cost of $50K, the Kremer Prize for human-powered heavier-than-air flight mobilized many millions of dollars worth of research and development, and solved in 20 years a problem that people had tried to solve for at least 500 years. Lots of companies would be willing to put up prize money for solutions to specific technology problems, especially if it got them some sort of tax deduction, first access to submissions, etc.

                                  -- Roy Langston
                                • roy_langston
                                  ... The advertising model does not rest on copyright. Consider product placement in movies and TV shows. It should be obvious that the primary source of
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                                    --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Robin Harding wrote:

                                    > Any future prospects for commercial news, whether paid for by subscriptions or advertising, now rest on copyright.

                                    The advertising model does not rest on copyright. Consider product placement in movies and TV shows. It should be obvious that the primary source of funding for commercial sites on the Net -- advertising revenue -- does not depend on copyright.

                                    > If there's no copyright at all then
                                    > anything published online can be instantly scraped and republished so there's no way to charge for it.

                                    Yet publishers seem to find a way to charge for books that are in the public domain, like the Bible. Information might be inherently free, but packaging, customer participation, employees' attention, etc. can be charged for, as the online gaming industry proves. For example, it would be a trivial matter to create a subscription-funded news site that allowed its paid subscribers to discuss the news with paid journalists in real time, and ONLY paid subscribers.

                                    Wait a minute...

                                    I CLAIM THAT IDEA AS MY PROPERTY!!

                                    > In economic terms, it would make news
                                    > non-excludable as well as non-rival in consumption - in other words, a pure public good.

                                    See above. There are ways to fund production of what would seem to be pure public goods by packaging them with excludable and/or rival private goods.

                                    > The only ways to fund a pure public good are taxation (regardless of how you structure the payments) or charity.

                                    I don't see anything wrong with either of them. We pay a great deal of tax money to safeguard our rights through the military. It would seem justified to spend a microscopic fraction of that amount on safeguarding our rights by keeping the voting public informed. You'd just need to make the public funding of news reporting independent of political control. That could be achieved by paying publicly employed journalists strictly according to their popularity, as measured by downloads from unique addresses, periodic surveys of readers, etc. There are technological fixes for such problems.

                                    As for charity, an enormous amount of charitable journalism is currently undertaken by amateurs on the Net, and that is not going to change. The openness of the Net has actually led to substantial quality gains, as bad information is quickly exposed as such.

                                    > It's further possible that a few high profile journalists might be able to justify writing as promotion for other activities, such as speaking.

                                    In many fields, especially business reporting, private consulting would also be highly lucrative.

                                    > I personally find this prospect
                                    > unattractive: if you consider news biased now, just imagine what it'd be
                                    > like if it can only be funded at the whim of generous billionaires,
                                    > interested parties or the politicians currently in power.

                                    It's not true that charity only funds the whims of generous billionaries or interested parties, and public spending only funds the whims of politicians currently in power. There are mechanisms to ensure transparency, public oversight, accountability, etc. in public spending, and I suggest you are underestimating the extent to which the IP rent seeking model of journalism itself _already_ biases the news. The vast and growing movement for information freedom is dismissed and lied about, when it is not pointedly ignored.

                                    > The situation for other forms of media would be similar.

                                    We need to find a willingness to trust freedom and liberty to find solutions, even if they might not look much like the solutions we are used to.

                                    > Many of the philosophers who first identified the harm of economic rents
                                    > (Smith, Bentham, Mill) also recognised a utilitarian and/or moral case for some degree of intellectual property.

                                    It's called, "privacy." If you want your information to be your private property, don't let it out into the public domain. Simple.

                                    The original impetus for patent law was not that there was insufficient incentive to innovate, but that innovations were often kept secret to maintain their scarcity value, and thus consequently lost. Systems of priority recognition, cash prizes, etc. would ensure that secrecy (to the extent that it is even possible these days) would not be a significant barrier to dissemination of newly gained knowledge.

                                    > What has changed is that the system has become vastly skewed in favour of a few
                                    > rich rights holders which undermines its social utility. But I'd rather see that system reformed than abolished.

                                    It can't be justified, either morally or economically.

                                    > There are arguments otherwise, but people making them need to set out a
                                    > clear solution to the public goods problem they propose to create,

                                    The public goods problem is inherent in the nature of information, not something advocates of liberty and justice could create.

                                    > so we
                                    > can judge whether that is preferable to a minimal system of IP.

                                    See above. Why not just trust people to find consensual solutions to the problem of how to fund public goods?

                                    -- Roy Langston
                                  • Robin Harding
                                    Hmmm. Well, I ll look forward to the future where I: (a) Write brought to you by the good folks at Goldman Sachs! into every story to earn advertising
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                                      Hmmm. Well, I'll look forward to the future where I: (a) Write 'brought to you by the good folks at Goldman Sachs!' into every story to earn advertising revenue; (b) Write solely about a cute kittens caught up trees in order to win the public vote for tax revenues; or (c) Selectively disclose any information I learn to the highest bidder. It sounds delightful. Alternatively, it might be worth considering that some social institutions have evolved to answer genuine problems, and seek to reform rather than overturn them.

                                      On 7 February 2013 15:51, roy_langston <roy_langston@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Robin Harding wrote:

                                      > Any future prospects for commercial news, whether paid for by subscriptions or advertising, now rest on copyright.

                                      The advertising model does not rest on copyright. Consider product placement in movies and TV shows. It should be obvious that the primary source of funding for commercial sites on the Net -- advertising revenue -- does not depend on copyright.

                                      > If there's no copyright at all then
                                      > anything published online can be instantly scraped and republished so there's no way to charge for it.

                                      Yet publishers seem to find a way to charge for books that are in the public domain, like the Bible. Information might be inherently free, but packaging, customer participation, employees' attention, etc. can be charged for, as the online gaming industry proves. For example, it would be a trivial matter to create a subscription-funded news site that allowed its paid subscribers to discuss the news with paid journalists in real time, and ONLY paid subscribers.

                                      Wait a minute...

                                      I CLAIM THAT IDEA AS MY PROPERTY!!


                                      > In economic terms, it would make news
                                      > non-excludable as well as non-rival in consumption - in other words, a pure public good.

                                      See above. There are ways to fund production of what would seem to be pure public goods by packaging them with excludable and/or rival private goods.


                                      > The only ways to fund a pure public good are taxation (regardless of how you structure the payments) or charity.

                                      I don't see anything wrong with either of them. We pay a great deal of tax money to safeguard our rights through the military. It would seem justified to spend a microscopic fraction of that amount on safeguarding our rights by keeping the voting public informed. You'd just need to make the public funding of news reporting independent of political control. That could be achieved by paying publicly employed journalists strictly according to their popularity, as measured by downloads from unique addresses, periodic surveys of readers, etc. There are technological fixes for such problems.

                                      As for charity, an enormous amount of charitable journalism is currently undertaken by amateurs on the Net, and that is not going to change. The openness of the Net has actually led to substantial quality gains, as bad information is quickly exposed as such.


                                      > It's further possible that a few high profile journalists might be able to justify writing as promotion for other activities, such as speaking.

                                      In many fields, especially business reporting, private consulting would also be highly lucrative.


                                      > I personally find this prospect
                                      > unattractive: if you consider news biased now, just imagine what it'd be
                                      > like if it can only be funded at the whim of generous billionaires,
                                      > interested parties or the politicians currently in power.

                                      It's not true that charity only funds the whims of generous billionaries or interested parties, and public spending only funds the whims of politicians currently in power. There are mechanisms to ensure transparency, public oversight, accountability, etc. in public spending, and I suggest you are underestimating the extent to which the IP rent seeking model of journalism itself _already_ biases the news. The vast and growing movement for information freedom is dismissed and lied about, when it is not pointedly ignored.


                                      > The situation for other forms of media would be similar.

                                      We need to find a willingness to trust freedom and liberty to find solutions, even if they might not look much like the solutions we are used to.


                                      > Many of the philosophers who first identified the harm of economic rents
                                      > (Smith, Bentham, Mill) also recognised a utilitarian and/or moral case for some degree of intellectual property.

                                      It's called, "privacy." If you want your information to be your private property, don't let it out into the public domain. Simple.

                                      The original impetus for patent law was not that there was insufficient incentive to innovate, but that innovations were often kept secret to maintain their scarcity value, and thus consequently lost. Systems of priority recognition, cash prizes, etc. would ensure that secrecy (to the extent that it is even possible these days) would not be a significant barrier to dissemination of newly gained knowledge.


                                      > What has changed is that the system has become vastly skewed in favour of a few
                                      > rich rights holders which undermines its social utility. But I'd rather see that system reformed than abolished.

                                      It can't be justified, either morally or economically.


                                      > There are arguments otherwise, but people making them need to set out a
                                      > clear solution to the public goods problem they propose to create,

                                      The public goods problem is inherent in the nature of information, not something advocates of liberty and justice could create.


                                      > so we
                                      > can judge whether that is preferable to a minimal system of IP.

                                      See above. Why not just trust people to find consensual solutions to the problem of how to fund public goods?

                                      -- Roy Langston


                                    • Jock Coats
                                      ... Sorry I ve come into this a bit late. I ll try and find the rest of the thread in a minute, but I can comment here. Basically prizes or patents have
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                                        On 7 Feb 2013, at 19:59, "roy_langston" <roy_langston@...> wrote:

                                        > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "k_r_johansen" wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > As to research, and how awards can be structured, incentives and all that, I'm not quite sure what successfull models there is, maybe you can name some examples?
                                        >
                                        > The Nobel Prizes, for one, and the MacArthur Fellowships for another. The UK gives knighthoods to a few researchers. It would be a trivial exercise to create a computerized system to identify useful technologies and award substantial prizes to those who had developed them based on the record of publication, as is now done with scholarly priority. There would be no time limit, either, so if a technology only became useful decades after it was released to the public domain, the inventor could still be rewarded commensurately.
                                        >
                                        > But post-hoc prizes are not the only way to support intellectual work. For a cost of $50K, the Kremer Prize for human-powered heavier-than-air flight mobilized many millions of dollars worth of research and development, and solved in 20 years a problem that people had tried to solve for at least 500 years. Lots of companies would be willing to put up prize money for solutions to specific technology problems, especially if it got them some sort of tax deduction, first access to submissions, etc.

                                        Sorry I've come into this a bit late. I'll try and find the rest of the thread in a minute, but I can comment here. Basically "prizes" or "patents" have long been the two opposing ways of rewarding invention and openness. Here in the UK the 1660 Royal Society started with a membership obligation to share inventions.

                                        And its 1754 offspring the Royal Society For the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, or the RSA for short (member one Mr B Franklin, as well as Adam Smith and Karl Marx - I wonder if there's any other organisation in the world can boast both of those two as members!) was itself started as a scheme to raise money to promote invention by the award of "premiums", or prizes effectively, on a theme set by the society from time to time trying to guess in what areas the economy would need new technologies.

                                        Jock
                                        --
                                        Jock Coats
                                        Warden's Flat 1e, J Block Morrell Hall, OXFORD, OX3 0FF
                                        m: 07769 695767 skype:jock.coats?call
                                        jock.coats@... http://jockcoats.me
                                      • roy_langston
                                        ... Product placement is pretty unobtrusive these days, compared to what it was like in the beginning, and advertising is getting smarter. The future will see
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Feb 7, 2013
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                                          --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, Robin Harding wrote:

                                          > Hmmm. Well, I'll look forward to the future where I: (a) Write 'brought to you by the good folks at Goldman Sachs!' into every story to earn advertising revenue;

                                          Product placement is pretty unobtrusive these days, compared to what it was like in the beginning, and advertising is getting smarter. The future will see almost imperceptible ads very precisely targeted to people who are likely to be interested in that product or service. Ads will consequently become more like editorial content. You must surely be aware that much of what passes for editorial content nowadays, under the intellectual property model, is in fact _already_ advertising, or at least PR.

                                          > (b) Write solely about a cute kittens caught up trees
                                          > in order to win the public vote for tax revenues;

                                          If that's where your talents and interests lie, go for it. I doubt that it is fruitful to try to second-guess what the public considers worthwhile journalism -- and it's not like the current IP monopoly privilege model spares us any coverage of kittens up trees. At least under a voting model, coverage of substantive issues would respond to the public's priorities, and not solely to the narrow financial interests of advertisers and publishers. I think you might be surprised to see MORE coverage of substantive issues when those issues are not actively being suppressed to serve the interests of advertisers and publishers.

                                          > or (c) Selectively
                                          > disclose any information I learn to the highest bidder.

                                          Journalists deal in information. Some information that is not of interest to the reading, viewing or listening public might be of great interest to a private party. Why not sell it to them?

                                          > Alternatively, it might be worth considering that some social
                                          > institutions have evolved to answer genuine problems, and seek to reform rather than overturn them.

                                          The institution of private landowning evolved to answer a genuine problem, too. So did the institution of slavery. The fact that people get accustomed to unjust institutions that evolved to answer genuine problems, and can't imagine how the world could function without them, does not constitute an argument for their preservation:

                                          "When the emancipation of the African was spoken of, and when the nation of Britain appeared to be taking into serious consideration the rightfulness of abolishing slavery, what tremendous evils were to follow! Trade was to be ruined, commerce was almost to cease, and manufacturers were to be bankrupt. Worse than all, private property was to be invaded (property in human flesh), the rights of planters sacrificed to the speculative notions of fanatics, and the British government was to commit an act that would forever deprive it of the confidence of British subjects." – Patrick Edward Dove, The Theory of Human Progression, 1850

                                          -- Roy Langston
                                        • k_r_johansen
                                          ... If in doubt, apply vouchers. I have proposed reforming our governments existing media-subsidies in a relatively simple way. Divide the budget up into a
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Feb 8, 2013
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                                            --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" wrote:
                                            >

                                            > I don't see anything wrong with either of them. We pay a great deal of tax money to safeguard our rights through the military. It would seem justified to spend a microscopic fraction of that amount on safeguarding our rights by keeping the voting public informed. You'd just need to make the public funding of news reporting independent of political control. That could be achieved by paying publicly employed journalists strictly according to their popularity, as measured by downloads from unique addresses, periodic surveys of readers, etc. There are technological fixes for such problems.
                                            >

                                            If in doubt, apply vouchers. I have proposed reforming our governments existing media-subsidies in a relatively simple way. Divide the budget up into a per-capita amount (one should do this with all spending items, if anything as just an exercise), and allow every voter to direct their funding to one/several qualifying institutions (has editorial content, no paywall-websites) of their choice. The undecided ones will be distributed according to the distribution of preferences of those who vote.

                                            Kj
                                          • roy_langston
                                            ... Ah, another good solution. Even the people who actually spend their own time looking at kittens up trees will typically _vote_ for hard-hitting political
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Feb 8, 2013
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                                              --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "k_r_johansen" wrote:

                                              > If in doubt, apply vouchers. I have proposed reforming our governments existing media-subsidies in a relatively simple way. Divide the budget up into a per-capita amount (one should do this with all spending items, if anything as just an exercise), and allow every voter to direct their funding to one/several qualifying institutions (has editorial content, no paywall-websites) of their choice. The undecided ones will be distributed according to the distribution of preferences of those who vote.

                                              Ah, another good solution. Even the people who actually spend their own time looking at kittens up trees will typically _vote_ for hard-hitting political journalism over kitten-up-tree stories -- a case of "Do as I say, not as I do." I can offer a personal mea culpa: I have OFTEN caught myself looking at celebrity gossip web pages that made me think, "Why would anyone put such stupid, shallow junk on the Net? Don't people have anything better to do than look at this crap?" Well, yeah, I _do_ have better things to do... but that didn't stop me from reading the latest on Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber (am I the only one who thinks he looks like a 10-year-old girl?).

                                              -- Roy Langston
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