Improving Copyright (was: Re: Copyright T-Shirt)

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Wed May 12 20:52:35 UTC 2004

Hash: SHA1

On 12 May 2004 at 9:16, Guillaume Ponce wrote:

> That sounds interesting: a public infrastructure for freedom of
> speech, expression and publication.
> But wait a minute.  Haven't we yet got such a thing that everyone
> (well, not everyone, but many many individuals) can publish on?  It is
> called Internet.

No, we're one step along a pretty long road. For one thing getting 
government to let money leave their control is a nightmare - note how 
the US has been in arrears to the UN for decades.

> The big difference is that there is no central autority that can count
> downloads.  But having no central autority is - to my opinion - one of
> the big features of Internet.  Just to be able to count the copies
> downloaded, someone have to be - more or less - in control of this
> central server.  That's a big power for big brother.

No, you're thinking in very old technology terms. There's no reason 
at all why the central server system has to be geographically in the 
same place. In fact I would think it advisable if it were as 
distributed as possible.

Also, you forget that the internet today is very centrally managed. 
The DNS servers control everything and they are directly under the 
control of a quasi-US government entity.

> > 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.
> I strongly disagree with this.  TV has proven that bigger audience
> certainly does not mean better quality.

TV's programming is centrally managed. The system I illustrated is 
entirely driven by the individual viewer's desires and the 
individual's wish to upload content. I myself watch only a few hours 
of TV per week and only known shows that I like. If I had broadband 
again I'd download them rather than watch them because then I can 
choose when I watch them rather than having to orientate my life 
around someone else's choice of when to air programmes.

You will find most people wouldn't watch most things on TV except for 
the fact that they're on during peak viewing hours. Therefore you can 
seriously expect quality to improve.

> In a system based on audience, and supposing it would not be censored,
> the bigger share of income would probably go to the porn industry,
> followed by more "conventional" entertainment.  And a very little
> share for scientific publications.

I think you'd be surprised. One good thing in the UK is its high rate 
of high-quality documentaries and everyone agrees it's due to the 
influence of the BBC. Weird thing is that the commercial advertising 
driven channels show more high quality documentaries than the BBC 
itself - why? Because high quality documentaries regularly attract 5-
10m viewers (compare to EastEnders at around 25-30m).

> This would be an incentive for someone like Newton or Darwin or
> Einstein to become a pornstar or a catcher or a boys-band singer
> better than a scientist and I don't think that this well fits what is
> the most usefull for the public good.

I know what you're saying and I see your point. However I think 
everyone will agree that all TV is orientated around attracting young 
people with high disposible income which clearly shows how strongly 
advertising concerns influence what's on during peak viewing times.

If you remove the advertising and make it directly consumer-led, I am 
absolutely sure you will see a major increase in quality of 
programming because no longer will people who like documentaries have 
to put up with watching "Pop Idol".


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