Freedom or Copyright? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Matthias-Christian Ott ott at
Sat Feb 9 21:48:57 UTC 2008

Alex Hudson <home at> wrote:

> On Fri, 2008-02-08 at 21:48 +0100, Matthias-Christian Ott wrote:
> > Sure, if you stick to law you can open a restaurant. You could also
> > compose your own music for example, but if there's a huge industry which
> > is flooding the market with advertisements and repeating certain songs
> > over and over again you have no chance, because they are "indoctrinating"
> > the people and they make them "dependent" by DRM.
> You're confusing two entirely different issues. DRM is a technical
> issue, and large sections of the music market are already rejecting it.
> The perceived size/power/etc. of the music industry is almost completely
> unrelated, since it's only really direct sales of music online which
> have DRM applied in any case.

I didn't say that DRM is a source of evil for culture itself, but for
the accessibility of culture.
Digital Restrictions Management is a technique make consumers dependent
after having stimulated them, because DRM is a control mechanism and
dependence arises form this control. This control means control of the
market, because DRM helps to maintain factitious scarcity.
This stimulation results in demand and due to the "stable" scarcity in
"stable" prices which is desirable for the culture industry.

Thus DRM restricts the user for the benefit of the industry.

But maybe the emphasis an DRM in connection with the topic was not that
appropriate, because the main point is the stimulation which results in
monotone culture.

> > Or do you think the average Joe will search for "free (as in freedom)
> > music by artist I don't know who is not advertised and is making
> > music not because of money jut because he likes to share his music
> > with others"?
> I don't think that's relevant. We have more people being paid to create
> music right now than at any time previously, and the advertisements etc.
> are what build cultural awareness of music. Music isn't culturally more
> valuable if it isn't advertised, or if the musician is poor - actually,
> it's usually the complete inverse of that. 

I can't really understand what you mean.

> > Just look at the German "Schlager" music: It's music with the same
> > contents and composition, produced for masses, sold and promoted by
> > mass media.
> You're passing a judgement on the quality of the culture based on the
> mode of production. That's what I meant by 'elitist'.

I don't see why this is elitist. But essentially my critique is a
critique of the mode of production.

> > > Again, I have no problem with a gift economy, except for the suggestion
> > > that it should be "the way" rather than "a way". There are substantial
> > > problems with gift economies which many academics have written about:
> > > there's nothing wrong with making money that way, but it's no perfect
> > > solution.
> > 
> > Do you have some openly accessible academic works that you cite.
> It depends on which aspect of the criticism you wish to look at. Gift
> economies deal badly with scarcity (abundance is virtually a
> pre-requisite by definition), and while that works from a materials
> point of view (little/no material required to manufacture digital works
> themselves), the actual copying can only take place once the works are
> actually created.
> Fundamentally, the main issue is participation - the lack of it. I heard
> Jimmy Wales say the other day that Wikipedia is primarily authored by
> some figure in the low thousands, yet is consumed by probably millions.
> See, e.g., particularly the references in this paper:
>         "Although the communities that facilitate such economies are
>         themselves unstable and rely, like other ‘alternative’ economic
>         systems, upon a narrow band of active participants, such gift
>         economies may emerge as the most significant and problematic
>         legacy of the ‘new economy’"
> --

A gift economy doesn't really mean that some is producing for example
music like someone is producing chairs. In a gift economy nobody will
ever become very rich, maybe just a few people work full time. The
donations are just necessary to make it possible for the artist to
survive, because his aim is not money it's just arts.

> > Because the only thing that's wrong with such a gift economy with our
> > economical framework is the consciousness of the people. But as the
> > first artists stop making art, people will recognise, that it's
> > absolutely necessary to donate.
> Donation is no way to reward people. It subjugates them, and turns them
> into beggars. Art by patronage exists but is limited, but having moved
> into a world where artists are properly paid for work and not reliant on
> hand-outs, I doubt the majority of artists would go back.
> That's the fundamental economic difference between this idea and free
> software: free software essentially precludes a single business model
> from several. This gift system effectively precludes all business
> models. That's unjustifiable.

Well, that's your opinion. If you do everything just because of money
and to get rich, we have different world views.
I didn't say that gift economies work as well as scarcity economies in
terms of making money.
I just said it's possible with a little help from the solidarity of
the people. You wont become a millionaire by accepting donations, but I
could do concerts etc.

> Cheers,
> Alex.


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