Copyright T-Shirt

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Tue May 11 19:01:54 UTC 2004

Hash: SHA1

On 11 May 2004 at 18:09, João Miguel Neves wrote:

> Yes, I've thought about it and I haven't found anything better. If you
> got to any other conclusion, I'd love to hear about it.

What about a system whereby all zero-copy cost human output is 
recompensed via general taxation? I include books, music, video (all 
television), software, blueprints, designs etc.

Everyone puts their work on some high capacity central servers which 
are available to all citizens who create an account on the servers. 
Each copy downloaded increments a counter for the thing downloaded.

1% of income tax in all countries goes into a pot. After operating 
expenses, the pot is divided up based on the relative proportions of 
copies downloaded. The artists get recompensed fairly, people get 
their entertainment and there's a strong competitive element for 
producing the best quality of output. There are no entry barriers and 
it's highly efficient as it's virtually entirely automated.

While people can pass around copies to each other freely, chances are 
you'd use the central servers as they're always there, fast to 
download from and it's simply more convenient. There may be problems 
with gangs orchestrating mass votes for crap products in order to get 
an illict share of the pie so some human oversight would be needed 
but I don't think it would be too bad (having each user register 
enables various statistics-based automatic red flagging).

Best of all, such a system is vastly superior to any copyright based 
system for all involved. Of course it means dismantling of powerful 
existing corporate interests and a level of international cooperation 
never before seen globally, but after we emerge from the Bretton 
Woods system collapse the environment would be right. Certainly when 
it collapses corporate enterprise will simply cease to exist, being 
replaced by highly diverse cooperatives and SME's (eg; like in 

I doubt free software as the FSF defines it will last the course. It 
depends too highly on there being a large body of affluent people 
with other sources of income. However, its cooperative mode of 
production is VERY interesting and strongly hints at how all future 
production shall be achieved especially in the non-hierarchical 
structure required by the likely post-collapse economy. After all if 
companies are never bigger than a few hundred people, the correct way 
to do large distributed projects is how free software currently does 


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