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Re: WSJ a useless copyright privilege

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  • roy_langston
    ... Protection against what? Trademarks are for the protection of consumers against fraud. ... Copyright pages of course do no such thing. Texts do not
    Message 1 of 233 , Apr 21, 2013
      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@...> wrote:

      > Right. The notion that trademark protection will do much for the protection of producers of cheaply and easily reproducible texts doesn't really make much sense.

      "Protection" against what? Trademarks are for the protection of consumers against fraud.

      > Harry is concerned that his name/brand not be filched. So in place of copyright pages protecting the entire text against unauthorized reproduction

      Copyright pages of course do no such thing. Texts do not need and cannot benefit by "protection" against unauthorized reproduction. Copyright notices merely notify potential REPRODUCERS of the material that GOVERNMENT intends to prevent or punish its unauthorized reproduction.

      > there would be a trademark page simply protecting itself against unauthorized reproduction.

      No, that is false and absurd. The trademark, like the text, does not need and cannot benefit by such "protection."

      > But nobody wants a copy of that page

      False. People who want Harry's work and no one else's want copies of that page attached to their copies of Harry's work to certify that their money is not being taken under false pretenses.

      > and even if somebody DID want a copy of Harry's latest pamphlet, it will be freely available in the coming utopia.

      As it should be.

      > Trademarks are intended to do two things--(i) protect consumers against buying dreck (stuff that only pretends to have been put together by Pollard Industries);

      Correct. It certifies a product's origin.

      > and (ii) protect the creators of designs so that the money they might make from producing stuff they have designed won't be pilfered by makers of faux-Pollards.

      False. There is no such "protection"; clothing designs, for example, can be copied freely without trademarks.

      > In a copyright-free world where the cost and trouble of making copies has dropped to nothing (i.e., the world dreamed of around here),

      The cost can never drop to nothing. It will always take some measure of time and resources to make copies -- most particularly, the time and mental effort needed to decide WHAT to copy, among the vast galaxy of material available to be copied.

      > there would be no benefit to the vast majority of authors from "trademarking texts," [ii]

      Just as there is currently no benefit to the vast majority of authors from copyright. So your point would be...?

      > so now we're hear about the alleged dramatic benefits to consumers [i] from being protected from the "fraud" of buying a faux-Pollard pamphlet--something they would never (never!) countenance.


      > But this alleged benefit is entirely illusory as well. You ask me when I email you the pdf of the Pollard pamphlet, "Is this a genuine Pollard?" and I say "Oh yeah--his latest!" If I need to worry about including the page with his name on it (which is extremely weird, but never mind, this is a brave new world), I simply won't put that page on in the file.

      I.e., you have to take the time and make the effort to separate it, proving your "copying cost is nothing" claim false. And the recipient sees there is no Pollard name page to certify the copy, and knows it might not be his work, as you have tampered with the file (and lied about it). The benefit is thus proved NOT entirely illusory.

      > It's important for Harry and Roy to pretend in this context that texts are like clothes or electronic objects or medicines, but, of course, they aren't.

      They are different only in degree.

      > When I was a kid I used to pick up paperbacks that had the cover and first page missing for less than a buck. I didn't worry about they were authentic Heinleins.

      Because you knew they were: no one would have produced books without covers and front pages.

      > When people download a book or paper from Scribd today, paying nothing at all, they also don't worry if there's no front page.

      I suspect they actually do. And they certainly would if they knew the author's name certified the authenticity of the copy.

      > As you say, David, discussing these matters here produces legitimate danger for geoists.

      As does discussing religion, or "Dancing with the Stars." So?

      > We're not looking for additional cranks (and, FWIW, in my own case, I'm not exactly desperate for additional libertarians).

      It is ironic in the extreme for a geoist to resort to dismissing those he disagrees with as "cranks." In fact, a perusal of IP-related discussions on the Net shows a very large number of people now recognize the severe problems and injustices IP monopolies are creating. In fact, there is vasty more mainstream recognition of those problems than of the problem of landowner privilege.

      > But patents DO prevent people from getting life-saving drugs, machinery, etc. or raises the prices of those items in a disgusting matter, so there are legitimate analogies. But to advocate for abolition of copyright on items like novels or screenplays, is really to descend into flat-earth lands.

      The issue is much more acute in software. I know of a small engineering company that is happy using its current Windows XP-based CAD software, but Microsoft will soon stop supporting XP, and has said it will turn off their software if they don't pay for the required upgrades. The upgrade cost? $25K _PER_WORKSTATION_. IMO this is blatant extortion, but it is implied by the copyright monopoly model.

      The owners of software copyrights can extort immense rents from users once a certain program is established as "the standard" by the user community. That is what made Bill Gates the richest man in the world, not any sort of commensurate contribution to production on his part.

      One can easily imagine a more extreme form of Windows's market control emerging in the future, where the owner of a software standard essentially controls everyone's access to the Net, and thus to economic opportunity; or where a breakthrough in robotics software sweeps away the entire manufacturing economy, making most current human labor obsolete and giving the IP owner effective ownership of the whole planet. Or consider the author of a computer virus so ingenious and invincible that it takes over every computer on the Net. Only he can provide the defense against it -- and he charges $1K/copy. If you accept copyright in principle, you have to accept such potential results. But IMO, such possibilities constitute an outright reductio ad absurdum refutation of all attempts to rationalize or justify IP monopolies.

      > And it doesn't help in the slightest to talk about the "protection against fraud" made possible by retaining trademarks. It's all not only piffle, but irrelevant piffle.

      False; it is very relevant, as shown by David's resort to absurdity in claiming equivalence between IP monopolies and signatures.

      -- Roy Langston
    • David Reed
      @TJAlthough my remarks about some opponents of copyright being, perhaps, happier with Communism were in the nature of a wind-up, there is a splendid
      Message 233 of 233 , Apr 28, 2013
        Although my remarks about some  opponents of copyright being, perhaps, happier with Communism were in the nature of a wind-up, there is a splendid dotCommunist Manifesto by Professor Eben Moglen 2003 first sentence "There is a Spectre haunting multinational capitalism -the Spectre of free information ."The whole thing is spun as a homage  to the Communist Manifesto, couched in class terms, with no little wit. As such, it is a good deal more appealing than some of the more right-wing arguments normally adduced in support of copyright abolition. However the affinity of anti-intellectual property arguments to Communism is stressed throughout.
        P.S I am having trouble with the sentence below "All other monopolies in it's are entirely law made." I would also be grateful for some more quotes from the classical economists you mention -or even their names .Have drawn a blank with Smith and Hume who see monopolies as things granted (Smith) or sold (Hume) by governments.

        To: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
        From: kjetil.r.johansen@...
        Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 17:18:14 +0000
        Subject: [LandCafe] Re: WSJ a useless copyright privilege


        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, David Reed <dbcreed@...> wrote:
        >If they think they should get computer whatevers on the cheap the same way large families are supposed to get accommodation on the cheap via super- lite LVT then I would imagine that their beef is really with laissez -faire capitalism and its Achilles heel of inevitable monopoly.<

        Exactly not. Classical economists have been concerned with monopolies since the beginning, and the Georgist section of classic economists ever much more so. That's why these things get discussed here. It's not uneasiness about markets at all. With regards to land, as long as we are to have private property in land, and we are, monopoly rents has to be adressed, including the natural monopolies that follow from conditions of location and scarcity. All other monopolies in it's are entirely law-made. Creating these monopolies may or may not be a positive, but the burden of proof lies on those who defend these rights, not vice versa.

        >So great is this sense of political distress, that you have to wonder if they would n't be happier with Communism, that recognises no inventor is bigger than the culture s/he was informed by ,so should not receive any financial gain from being born along by the development of the culture in general.Also when any monopoly develops it would be used in the public interest. Quite possibly this would involve operating at a "commercial loss". And what's the problem as Chamberlain said when taking the Birmingham Water Works into public control in 1876 (private sources of water were poisoning everybody) "Our profit will be the health of the people!" Or increased production by computer operatives!!<

        Where exactly are you going? Sure, public waterworks works, I'm very much in favour of public operation/regulation of most natural monopolies, some sort of regulation of some types of market failure, pro-redistribution, and generally in favour of liberalisation of everything else, why would I be more comfortable with communism? States who follow liberal market policies, uphold property rights, regulates and adresses natural monopolies and have some sort of redistribution mechanisms (as compensation for not adressing land enough), are generally richer and freer compared to anywhere anytime in history, why would I want communism instead?


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