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A World Without IP Law

WinkyWinky Frog RammerRegistered User regular
edited January 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
Previously posted in the SOPA/PIPA thread:
Winky wrote:
I think that we're just, as a society, on the verge of facing a truly horrifying revelation: information just isn't scarce.

The methods through which it is delivered are, and the methods through which it is created are, but the information itself is never scarce. As soon as information exists absolutely anyone can have it for only the cost of what it takes to deliver it. IP laws are perhaps the most astoundingly obvious violation of the laissez faire mentality and anyone who professes to support both has some huge cognitive dissonance going on. IP laws exist solely to impart artificial scarcity on something that just can't be scarce. There is absolutely zero intrinsic resource cost to any single piece of information (well, something something entropy enthalpy, but it's sufficient to say that a dollar amount would be many orders of magnitude of overkill). Delivery cost has always been the limiting factor on information, and scarcity has thus been imparted simply because of the difficulty of transferring the information (or, in the case of IP laws, the threat of retribution for transferring the information).

They worked well enough in the past where there was a huge resource investment in transferring information, meaning a smaller proportion of the population had it available to them and it was therefore easier to control, but information transfer has become consistently easier and more discrete since the industrial revolution and exponentially so. We will need far faster politicians and cops if they hope to write and enforce laws at the rate of Moore's Law. Talk about criminal escalation!

The truth is that IP laws, any IP laws, are just going to be a losing battle. You're forcing things into an unnatural configuration from an economic standpoint, and eventually the economy will break.

It's not just trying to pump water out of a sinking ship with a massive hole in it, it's pumping water out of a sinking ship with an exponentially growing hole that is going to consume the entire thing.

I mean, maybe when Moore's Law slows down or stops we will be in a position where we can attempt to write effective legislation, but there's no end in sight and I have the feeling that once we've reached our peak information transfer ability trying to enforce IP laws will be a little like trying to enforce a "No Smiling, not even in private" law.

Winky wrote:
Winky wrote:
The truth is that IP laws, any IP laws, are just going to be a losing battle. You're forcing things into an unnatural configuration from an economic standpoint, and eventually the economy will break.

And how would software and media creation be a profitable industry in a world with no IP laws? I'm not defending our current IP law, they're an abomination, but suggesting that there be no IP laws is not the answer.

I was actually just thinking about making a thread on this, because I was thinking of alternative ways to handle an information economy, and the answer seems clear; information isn't scarce, but the labor to produce it is. Therefore, the situation should be handled like other transactions in which labor is purchased; as a service. That is to say, you wouldn't pay for a product that has already been produced, you would pay in order to have the product produced.

Look at the relationship now between companies and software engineers: the company sees that there is a market demand for a potential product and they want to fulfill that demand. To do so, they stipulate the product that they want made, and they pay the engineers to make it. Now, the problem happens here: there is a market demand for the product, so the general public at large are willing to pay money for the product, but, since it is an information product and it already exists, there's no scarcity to it. Before the product exists it's scarce, after the product exists it is only artificially scarce.

Why don't we cut out the middle man? If there are people out there who are willing to pay for the product, they should directly pay the developers to make it. And if there are thousands of people out there who would pay for the product, they should all pay collectively.

Kickstarter is a good model of this idea. The developer advertises the project that they want to make and the amount of money they want in order to make it, then individuals can find which project they want to exist and pledge money towards it. The pledge money only goes through if the project generates enough money in total, and some projects are tiered (so, say, if they reach $5,000 they'll make the product, but if they reach $10,000 they'll make the product with such and such extra features).

There are, of course, a few problems with this model. For instance, there's no way to know the quality of the product before you purchase it. However, this is the case with all labor services, from haircuts to house renovations, and it is worked around by generating a rapport of consistent quality, and, for sufficiently bad jobs, legal action.

The other apparent problem is that there would be a sort of bystander effect that would prevent products from ever getting made: people would say to themselves "sure, I want it, but if other people are going to pay for it so I can get it for free, why don't I just not contribute any money?" If enough people adopted this attitude then no projects would ever go through, or if they did they would get considerably less funding and end up of much lower quality. This is a serious threat, but at the same time I'm willing to discount it. The reason being; there have been somewhat similar systems in the past that have been successful. For instance, I think it was Radiohead that successfully launched an album with the stipulation that you could pay whatever you want for it, and this was successful enough that it has been copied many times. I think a major driving force there is the notion that if you pay for this album and it's successful, then the band will make more music in the future. As for corporations, it's much easier to hold them directly accountable. For instance, a large group of corporations could all make an agreement that they would go in on a new version of Word or some other productivity-enhancing software only if the other corporations also do so.

So, what do you guys think?

What do you see as the problems with this model? Are there any other viable economic models in a world without IP?

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Posts

  • override367override367 misogynist/MRA/socially irresponsible Registered User regular
    The only way a world without IP works is if governments subsidize content creators (as in, the individuals not the corporations)

    Which I honestly think we should do anyway, and abandon prosecution of file sharers as last I checked we'd have to sue something like 25% of the population

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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    The only way a world without IP works is if governments subsidize content creators (as in, the individuals not the corporations)

    Which I honestly think we should do anyway, and abandon prosecution of file sharers as last I checked we'd have to sue something like 25% of the population

    Why that as opposed to the system I proposed?

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    We had a world without IP law, it was known as the Renaissance.

    I just wanted to say that I don't care if it is or isn't factually correct.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    So no patents, either?

    I'm pretty dubious. Commissioning things might work for products for which there aren't any ready substitutes, like personal services or works of art (though I doubt they would support anywhere close to as much creation as occurs now), but I doubt they would be very effective for other products.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Winky wrote:
    The only way a world without IP works is if governments subsidize content creators (as in, the individuals not the corporations)

    Which I honestly think we should do anyway, and abandon prosecution of file sharers as last I checked we'd have to sue something like 25% of the population

    Why that as opposed to the system I proposed?

    Your system makes it virtually impossible to start up as a content creator. Someone, or some company, with an established reputation will probably survive and be fine but there is absolutely no incentive for me to invest in any start up company or person. Take someone writing a novel for instance, someone who has never published a novel before and has no name recognition, how the hell does he get me to pay for his book? Basically, anyone who wanted to produce anything would have to attach themselves to someone or something else with name recognition which would kill any pretense at 'indie' games, art, music or writing and those corporations and people would have more power than they do now because they could demand any terms they liked.

    Then of course you have other issues in paying for a product before you have any idea of what it will actually look like at the end. Would I have paid for Portal in development? Hell no, I thought the idea sounded really stupid and confusing. It took a finished product to convince me it was actually a good and cool idea, and thats impossible under your model.

    Worse than that, it punishes innovation and anything beyond quick and cheap iteration. We'd go back to the days of pulp fiction, writers paid to churn out crap as fast as possible thats as samey and generic as you can get because anything else means you have no base of people to pay for it. Add to that the free rider problem, and I think your model is completely unfeasible.

    Z0re on
  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I think the example of the Radiohead album and the similar occurences have a lot to do with it in a large part also being a political statement.

    The easy road is always to go, it's okay if I don't pay anything.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Winky wrote:
    Kickstarter is a good model of this idea. The developer advertises the project that they want to make and the amount of money they want in order to make it, then individuals can find which project they want to exist and pledge money towards it. The pledge money only goes through if the project generates enough money in total, and some projects are tiered (so, say, if they reach $5,000 they'll make the product, but if they reach $10,000 they'll make the product with such and such extra features).

    There are, of course, a few problems with this model. For instance, there's no way to know the quality of the product before you purchase it. However, this is the case with all labor services, from haircuts to house renovations, and it is worked around by generating a rapport of consistent quality, and, for sufficiently bad jobs, legal action.

    The other apparent problem is that there would be a sort of bystander effect that would prevent products from ever getting made: people would say to themselves "sure, I want it, but if other people are going to pay for it so I can get it for free, why don't I just not contribute any money?" If enough people adopted this attitude then no projects would ever go through, or if they did they would get considerably less funding and end up of much lower quality. This is a serious threat, but at the same time I'm willing to discount it. The reason being; there have been somewhat similar systems in the past that have been successful. For instance, I think it was Radiohead that successfully launched an album with the stipulation that you could pay whatever you want for it, and this was successful enough that it has been copied many times.

    I know a lot of artists of various types who absolutely loathe Kickstarter. Part of that has to do with implementation decisions unique to Kickstarter - their recommendation system, the types of projects that are approved or killed, etc. Part of it is because of issues inherent to the model itself - for an up and coming artist, it's basically a way of begging your friends for money. You post to Facebook, "Hey, donate to my Kickstarter," which is just basically the same thing but clumsier and more annoying than just asking them for donations directly.

    Kickstarter won't let you have any of the money unless you raise the entire amount. That's an understandable decision, because the alternative is kind of weird. What happens if you raise 75% of the money, then produce a product that is shorter & has less production values than promised? That kind of screws the people who did donate to you. Neither method (letting artists keep partial pledges, or forcing them to return partial pledges) seems perfectly fair.

    Anyway, I don't think that IP is doomed to failure, because I think people pretty readily understand that paying an artist is what keeps him producing. Besides that, it definitely has an effect on highly visible entities - like corporations. Sure, there will always be casual pirates. We might even decriminalize casual piracy. But if we eliminate IP law entirely, yes that lets us download The Lion King for free without worrying about repercussions, but it opens up an even worse evil - it would let a company like Disney copy and redistribute creative works made by lesser-known artists without compensating them.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Unless we're looking at a government level, I think this is really just the tip of the iceberg - look at the merit pay thread (apart from the teacher's bit). We're kind of running out of things for people to do faster than we are running out of things to compensate the people doing stuff with over and above what we consider the basic acceptable standard of living.

    We're still a long way off but we're already at the stage where part of the world is able to compete with another part of the world by using increasingly advanced technology and established information networks versus reversed engineered/ever so slightly older technology and practically unlimited man power.

    Not necessarily talking national governments though, no reason local governments couldn't link up with others or even sell their bug fixing and implementation experience on. As I said before, problem comes from working out how the work is distributed and how it's paid for - again local government has the advantage in that it might be able to offer a lot of non-monetary perks (because of 90% of what you spend your spare money is on stuff generated on IP, money over a certain level is near worthless. If I can print Xboxs myself, then short of raw material what else do I need to spend money on?)

    Tastyfish on
  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I also think that getting enough capital to make a 50M dollar movie will be impossible without a corporation that know they will hold the rights to it.

  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    If you turn IP to the reverse mechanism, you kill the drive to create the best possible project, because you have the money already. It upends the process for improvement. If I have to wait for money to add a new feature, you are destroying the speed of innovation, because there is no point to add it unless you have the money already. In the current world, adding the feature makes your information bits better than my information bits, making you more money. In the reverse world, if I propose it first or have the better rep, I get the money, even if I thought of it later or flat out stole the idea.

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  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    Z0re wrote:
    We'd go back to the days of pulp fiction, writers paid to churn out crap as fast as possible thats as samey and generic as you can get because anything else means you have no base of people to pay for it.

    Um. That world never went away. They just moved to paperbacks.

    PSN: allenquid
  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    Quid wrote:
    Z0re wrote:
    We'd go back to the days of pulp fiction, writers paid to churn out crap as fast as possible thats as samey and generic as you can get because anything else means you have no base of people to pay for it.

    Um. That world never went away. They just moved to paperbacks.

    Yes, but that is all we'd get because its all the system would reward.

    At least right now we do get other stuff in addition to the pulpy crap.

  • GarthorGarthor Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    [deleted because I can't read]

    Garthor on
    Pony_Sig.png
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Kipling wrote:
    If you turn IP to the reverse mechanism, you kill the drive to create the best possible project, because you have the money already. It upends the process for improvement. If I have to wait for money to add a new feature, you are destroying the speed of innovation, because there is no point to add it unless you have the money already. In the current world, adding the feature makes your information bits better than my information bits, making you more money. In the reverse world, if I propose it first or have the better rep, I get the money, even if I thought of it later or flat out stole the idea.

    You kill the means to fund those projects, the drive is actually something you can use to motivate people. The problem wouldn't be getting people to do the work, it would be when it comes to (being able to) pay them to do it.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Actually as kind of an interesting note. I know a musician who hated shilling his cds because he didn't make shit on them. He used to tell his audience to download as much of his music as they wanted, but buy a t-shirt. Would sell 600 t-shirts and hats in a night and end up with 7k in profit (2k after he split it with his band, covered expenses and agent), merchandise is king.

  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Z0re wrote:
    Winky wrote:
    The only way a world without IP works is if governments subsidize content creators (as in, the individuals not the corporations)

    Which I honestly think we should do anyway, and abandon prosecution of file sharers as last I checked we'd have to sue something like 25% of the population

    Why that as opposed to the system I proposed?

    Your system makes it virtually impossible to start up as a content creator. Someone, or some company, with an established reputation will probably survive and be fine but there is absolutely no incentive for me to invest in any start up company or person. Take someone writing a novel for instance, someone who has never published a novel before and has no name recognition, how the hell does he get me to pay for his book?
    .

    Don't all start-up service companies face these exact same problems, even in our modern economy?
    Then of course you have other issues in paying for a product before you have any idea of what it will actually look like at the end. Would I have paid for Portal in development? Hell no, I thought the idea sounded really stupid and confusing. It took a finished product to convince me it was actually a good and cool idea, and thats impossible under your model. Add to that the free rider problem, and I think your model is completely unfeasible

    This is where rapport, portfolios, demos, and proofs of concept comes in. These are all concepts already heavily used by service companies. Would your opinion have been swayed if you got to play a one-level demo before paying?

    As an aside, I totally would've paid for Portal in development, I was hooked on the idea the first time I heard about it. In fact, for many products people already pay for them before they come out. I pre-order video games all the time.

    And again, I am still unconvinced of the "free rider problem". Massive positive externalities don't reduce the value of a service. People will recognize their importance in the contribution to the project just as they recognize that it's necessary for them to vote even when their vote counts for very little in a relative sense. I am confident that they will realize that if they don't pay, the project doesn't happen, and they don't get what they wanted. There's also a very real sense in which the quality of the project in increased by every contribution.

    Like I mentioned before, if this "free rider problem" is really an issue, then why are "choose your own price" schemes so successful?

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  • HonkHonk Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Also the issue of using other people's work in your own work for profit.

    Studio exec finds an absolutely gorgeous matte painting online and sticks it as the backdrop to the defining scene of the greatest film made that year. The guy who drew the matte painting doesn't get compensated and was never asked for permission. Situations like those are also tied into IP issues.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    What's the old joke? There are 26 patents on the books for The Jetsons-style flying cars but there are still no flying cars?

    That probably isn't true. Just a blurb from TV.

    emnmnme on
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  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Deeply tied to the requirement of that artist to sell his work in order to live. If he doesn't and it gets used, then he gets a lot credit (some would say a true value reflecting the impact of his work), and if they specifically ask him to create one the he's given a purpose and an incentive. If the film flops, then his work added no value.

  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Kipling wrote:
    If you turn IP to the reverse mechanism, you kill the drive to create the best possible project, because you have the money already. It upends the process for improvement. If I have to wait for money to add a new feature, you are destroying the speed of innovation, because there is no point to add it unless you have the money already. In the current world, adding the feature makes your information bits better than my information bits, making you more money. In the reverse world, if I propose it first or have the better rep, I get the money, even if I thought of it later or flat out stole the idea.

    You don't kill the drive to create the best possible project at all; that's like arguing that an employee has no drive to do their job as well as possible because they are getting a fixed wage this week. The drive is to produce a product that will make people want to come back to you for your next product, and pay you more. I want to add here that if you're offering the finished product for free to anyone, you have just obtained an incredible amount of advertising for no additional cost.

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  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Musicians and writers have already adapted to this shift, at least outside of the world of superstars. Bands now concentrate on their live performances and merchandising, with the payoff being licensing music to a commercial or movie. Recorded music has just become another form of advertising.

    In the nonfiction and literary fiction set, the goal has become to publish two novels and then score a teaching gig at a university, since two novels is the standard point at which a writer with a masters is eligible for a tenure track teaching position. Again, the actual distributed product - the book - is almost secondary to the career plans.

    It's going to be movies that will be fucked in a copyright free universe. The level of collaboration, infrastructure and technology to put together a feature film is going to be hard to sustain in a world where people just steal films. On the other hand, the movie industry has been investing hard in renovating theaters, 3D and other spectacle to bring more people into the movies, so maybe they'll adjust too. Even if it didn't, the U.S wouldn't be the first nation to support its film industry through the government.

    If copyright does simply evaporate - and I do think there's a good chance that technology is just going to make sharing too easy to prevent - the thing that's going to diminish is the ability for people to get wealthy as a content creator. Even so, there are still a lot of niches for people to make a living through the work - as performers, teachers, staff creators, etc.

  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Winky wrote:

    So, what do you guys think?

    What do you see as the problems with this model? Are there any other viable economic models in a world without IP?
    I agree. Trying to enforce artificial scarcity in a world of zero marginal cost is ridiculous. It stifles innovation, and concentrates all profits in the hands of only a select few.

    My solution is for the government to give everyone enough to live on, so that anyone who wants to create intellectual property (which many, many people do want to) can do so without having to worry about whether they'll starve to death. Fund it by taxing the bejeezus out of the superstars like J.K. Rowling who have the hot IP that everyone wants to buy.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Winky wrote:
    Kipling wrote:
    If you turn IP to the reverse mechanism, you kill the drive to create the best possible project, because you have the money already. It upends the process for improvement. If I have to wait for money to add a new feature, you are destroying the speed of innovation, because there is no point to add it unless you have the money already. In the current world, adding the feature makes your information bits better than my information bits, making you more money. In the reverse world, if I propose it first or have the better rep, I get the money, even if I thought of it later or flat out stole the idea.

    You don't kill the drive to create the best possible project at all; that's like arguing that an employee has no drive to do their job as well as possible because they are getting a fixed wage this week. The drive is to produce a product that will make people want to come back to you for your next product, and pay you more. I want to add here that if you're offering the finished product for free to anyone, you have just obtained an incredible amount of advertising for no additional cost.

    We just don't work that way, the drive is to do something with the aim to do it well and/or be recognised for it or because it means something. Getting money for it is an added bonus and might make us pick doing that over something else - but it isn't why we want to do something.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    Winky wrote:

    So, what do you guys think?

    What do you see as the problems with this model? Are there any other viable economic models in a world without IP?
    I agree. Trying to enforce artificial scarcity in a world of zero marginal cost is ridiculous. It stifles innovation, and concentrates all profits in the hands of only a select few.

    My solution is for the government to give everyone enough to live on, so that anyone who wants to create intellectual property (which many, many people do want to) can do so without having to worry about whether they'll starve to death. Fund it by taxing the bejeezus out of the superstars like J.K. Rowling who have the hot IP that everyone wants to buy.

    The government would actually own the IP (and the means of replication/access/infrastructure as well) in that scenario. It's not even a wildly revolutionary idea - just a shift on who actually is getting paid for the use of their services.
    With the recent UK government idea to make Co-Ops and easier/the automatic type of new business, I could see it not beyond belief for creative Co-Ops to start to emerge.

    Tastyfish on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    The day IP is no longer protected is the day I quit making games for a living and start a new career as a motorcycle mechanic. At least then if people don't pay me for my work I can keep their motorcycle.

  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Tastyfish wrote:
    We just don't work that way, the drive is to do something with the aim to do it well and/or be recognised for it or because it means something. Getting money for it is an added bonus and might make us pick doing that over something else - but it isn't why we want to do something.

    Pretty much, people need to eat, so we really should be thinking about new ways to ensure artists and innovators have the ability to live comfortably and continue to create. Although in the case of science it becomes tricky because research is more often then not prohibitively expensive. I actually kind of like the idea of patents but I wish that patents and research would become more of a form of government activity with temporary licenses granted to businesses only in certain cases where we knew it made sense to hand something over to the private sector.

    Right now we've commoditized information so much that businesses have quickly turned to wield it as an anti-competitive weapon.
    zilo wrote:
    The day IP is no longer protected is the day I quit making games for a living and start a new career as a motorcycle mechanic. At least then if people don't pay me for my work I can keep their motorcycle.

    If you don't do something because you love it, then why don't you get another job? Is money really more important to you then professional happiness?

    Fallout2man on
    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    Winky wrote:

    So, what do you guys think?

    What do you see as the problems with this model? Are there any other viable economic models in a world without IP?
    I agree. Trying to enforce artificial scarcity in a world of zero marginal cost is ridiculous. It stifles innovation, and concentrates all profits in the hands of only a select few.

    My solution is for the government to give everyone enough to live on, so that anyone who wants to create intellectual property (which many, many people do want to) can do so without having to worry about whether they'll starve to death. Fund it by taxing the bejeezus out of the superstars like J.K. Rowling who have the hot IP that everyone wants to buy.

    The government would actually own the IP (and the means of replication/access/infrastructure as well) in that scenario. It's not even a wildly revolutionary idea - just a shift on who actually is getting paid for the use of their services.
    With the recent UK government idea to make Co-Ops and easier/the automatic type of new business, I could see it not beyond belief for creative Co-Ops to start to emerge.
    What? why would the government own the IP? Why would there even BE an IP? Just let people copy it for free if they like it. That's what they're doing now anyway, the only difference is that we're putting them in jail for it, and all the profits go to the megacorps while artists struggle to survive.

  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Honk wrote:
    Also the issue of using other people's work in your own work for profit.

    Studio exec finds an absolutely gorgeous matte painting online and sticks it as the backdrop to the defining scene of the greatest film made that year. The guy who drew the matte painting doesn't get compensated and was never asked for permission. Situations like those are also tied into IP issues.

    This doesn't bother me the same way that remixing music doesn't bother me.

    The artist already got paid for the work, and while the studio exec is a dick if he doesn't credit the artist, that is a moral issue.

    Actually, this might be a different discussion, but I don't think an artist should have any entitlement to how their work is used. In the current system, that's the only way that the artist ever gets paid, off of royalties, however if this wasn't the case then I don't think an artist should be able to control the eventual fate of their art. For instance, I think that one artist should be able to use another artist's work in expressing a viewpoint that the infringed upon artist doesn't agree with.

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  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Winky wrote:

    Don't all start-up service companies face these exact same problems, even in our modern economy?
    They can get loans and startups with publishers if their sales pay the publisher back. If they don't get paid anything but up front there is no incentive to give these people advances or loan them a damn cent. It goes from difficult to nigh-impossible to start things up.
    Then of course you have other issues in paying for a product before you have any idea of what it will actually look like at the end. Would I have paid for Portal in development? Hell no, I thought the idea sounded really stupid and confusing. It took a finished product to convince me it was actually a good and cool idea, and thats impossible under your model. Add to that the free rider problem, and I think your model is completely unfeasible

    This is where rapport, portfolios, demos, and proofs of concept comes in. These are all concepts already heavily used by service companies. Would your opinion have been swayed if you got to play a one-level demo before paying?

    Maybe, but it also would have been totally off my radar. I learned about Portal, and how good it was, almost exclusively by word of mouth. I'm not going to waste my time downloading a demo of a game I think looks and sounds stupid. That is how I acquire a good deal of my media, through reviews and reactions from others and I am loathe to actually preorder anything. Hell, I barely even put up a $5 preorder from Mass Effect 3 despite the fact I love Bioware games because I don't like paying for a good before I can actually see and know about the finished product. I still won't for basically any other studio or artist, even if I love something they've produced.
    And again, I am still unconvinced of the "free rider problem". Massive positive externalities don't reduce the value of a service. People will recognize their importance in the contribution to the project just as they recognize that it's necessary for them to vote even when their vote counts for very little in a relative sense. I am confident that they will realize that if they don't pay, the project doesn't happen, and they don't get what they wanted. There's also a very real sense in which the quality of the project in increased by every contribution.

    Like I mentioned before, if this "free rider problem" is really an issue, then why are "choose your own price" schemes so successful?

    And there's a double-edged sword where people paying for a product before they get it makes them feel entitled to certain bits of content. How would your model handle something like Dragon Age 2. Even though I personally enjoyed the game, many felt betrayed and still wail and gnash their teeth in anguish about paying for it. Would they be entitled to a refund? What level of control should they be able to expect and exert if they pay for it beforehand? How do you determine what to do if hundreds of people are investing and want you to change things in a dozen mutually exclusive directions? Does the homophobic white male gamer get to dictate "no gay stuff or 'exotic' wimmins?" like the infamous Bioware poster?

    Also, so the super-fans will pay for it. What about all the people who would only buy it on a sale, or when they were curious? Its in their best interest not to pay for it because there is no guarantee that the product will be anything to their liking. I might throw down 5 bucks on XCOM after its been marked down to that price and it got rave reviews, but there is no way in hell I'm paying a cent up front. And in your model that makes me a free rider for nearly everything.

    Z0re on
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Feral wrote:
    Anyway, I don't think that IP is doomed to failure, because I think people pretty readily understand that paying an artist is what keeps him producing. Besides that, it definitely has an effect on highly visible entities - like corporations. Sure, there will always be casual pirates. We might even decriminalize casual piracy. But if we eliminate IP law entirely, yes that lets us download The Lion King for free without worrying about repercussions, but it opens up an even worse evil - it would let a company like Disney copy and redistribute creative works made by lesser-known artists without compensating them.

    Why would anyone buy creative works that Disney has copied and redistributed if they can just download the original for free?

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  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    Winky wrote:
    Feral wrote:
    Anyway, I don't think that IP is doomed to failure, because I think people pretty readily understand that paying an artist is what keeps him producing. Besides that, it definitely has an effect on highly visible entities - like corporations. Sure, there will always be casual pirates. We might even decriminalize casual piracy. But if we eliminate IP law entirely, yes that lets us download The Lion King for free without worrying about repercussions, but it opens up an even worse evil - it would let a company like Disney copy and redistribute creative works made by lesser-known artists without compensating them.

    Why would anyone buy creative works that Disney has copied and redistributed if they can just download the original for free?

    Name recognition. How would they know about the original?

  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    Winky wrote:

    So, what do you guys think?

    What do you see as the problems with this model? Are there any other viable economic models in a world without IP?
    I agree. Trying to enforce artificial scarcity in a world of zero marginal cost is ridiculous. It stifles innovation, and concentrates all profits in the hands of only a select few.

    My solution is for the government to give everyone enough to live on, so that anyone who wants to create intellectual property (which many, many people do want to) can do so without having to worry about whether they'll starve to death. Fund it by taxing the bejeezus out of the superstars like J.K. Rowling who have the hot IP that everyone wants to buy.

    The government would actually own the IP (and the means of replication/access/infrastructure as well) in that scenario. It's not even a wildly revolutionary idea - just a shift on who actually is getting paid for the use of their services.
    With the recent UK government idea to make Co-Ops and easier/the automatic type of new business, I could see it not beyond belief for creative Co-Ops to start to emerge.
    What? why would the government own the IP? Why would there even BE an IP? Just let people copy it for free if they like it. That's what they're doing now anyway, the only difference is that we're putting them in jail for it, and all the profits go to the megacorps while artists struggle to survive.

    Money has to come into it somewhere. Reputation is not a self-sustaining income generator, unless you are in the top echelon. Stepping back, where is the money that the government is giving everyone to live on? Are you taxing everyone who makes scarce goods to pay for the intangible information? Because guess what, I'm still paying for it - except now I'm funding everything.

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  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    Kipling wrote:
    Money has to come into it somewhere. Reputation is not a self-sustaining income generator, unless you are in the top echelon. Stepping back, where is the money that the government is giving everyone to live on? Are you taxing everyone who makes scarce goods to pay for the intangible information? Because guess what, I'm still paying for it - except now I'm funding everything.

    And realistically that's the only solution. Piracy will not go away by making IP more scarce or trying harder to crack down on piracy. It exists for a number of socioeconomic factors but bottom line, information is not scarce and any business model that depends on this is doomed to eventual failure. So either we go the egalitarian route and decide to sponsor everything and make art back into a cultural commons we all pitch in for because it makes society better, or we can go the draconian way and start throwing people in jail or shooting them for downloading a torrent.

    The second approach however, is far less likely to ever do what it aims, and even less likely to actually benefit our society positively.

    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    Kipling wrote:
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Pi-r8 wrote:
    Winky wrote:

    So, what do you guys think?

    What do you see as the problems with this model? Are there any other viable economic models in a world without IP?
    I agree. Trying to enforce artificial scarcity in a world of zero marginal cost is ridiculous. It stifles innovation, and concentrates all profits in the hands of only a select few.

    My solution is for the government to give everyone enough to live on, so that anyone who wants to create intellectual property (which many, many people do want to) can do so without having to worry about whether they'll starve to death. Fund it by taxing the bejeezus out of the superstars like J.K. Rowling who have the hot IP that everyone wants to buy.

    The government would actually own the IP (and the means of replication/access/infrastructure as well) in that scenario. It's not even a wildly revolutionary idea - just a shift on who actually is getting paid for the use of their services.
    With the recent UK government idea to make Co-Ops and easier/the automatic type of new business, I could see it not beyond belief for creative Co-Ops to start to emerge.
    What? why would the government own the IP? Why would there even BE an IP? Just let people copy it for free if they like it. That's what they're doing now anyway, the only difference is that we're putting them in jail for it, and all the profits go to the megacorps while artists struggle to survive.

    Money has to come into it somewhere. Reputation is not a self-sustaining income generator, unless you are in the top echelon. Stepping back, where is the money that the government is giving everyone to live on? Are you taxing everyone who makes scarce goods to pay for the intangible information? Because guess what, I'm still paying for it - except now I'm funding everything.
    Well my preference would be for the government to just print the extra money, or run a larger deficit. It's not like the government is going to run out of money...
    Main problem is inflation, but if you're worried about too much money chasing too few goods and services, you can get rid of it by taxing the super high income earners like Bill Gates, who made like 100 billion dollars just from one IP that happened to catch on while his competitors were destroyed.

  • zilozilo Registered User
    zilo wrote:
    The day IP is no longer protected is the day I quit making games for a living and start a new career as a motorcycle mechanic. At least then if people don't pay me for my work I can keep their motorcycle.

    If you don't do something because you love it, then why don't you get another job? Is money really more important to you then professional happiness?

    I almost don't want to dignify this nonsense with a response. Loving my job doesn't mean I'll do it for free. Yes, money is really important. No, there's nothing else out there I like better that I could get paid for (unless somebody knows of a way to get paid for sitting on my couch, drinking beer, and watching Netflix all day?).

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2012
    I think the free rider problem is insurmountable. For example, drug companies could abandon R&D and just focus on reverse engineering. The problem with the pay what you choose comparison is people like and want to encourage artists. Pfizer, not so much.

    spacekungfuman on
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  • gavindelgavindel You were sent from my sight When your heart grew darker than your nightRegistered User regular
    Exposure gives you frostbite. Notoriety is a nice email in your inbox when you wake up.

    I'm all for a commune world where we all have a bed, food, and spend 20 hours in the fields so that we can devote most our lives to art; lacking that, I kind of feel like this proposed system doesn't improve the objectives. Right now if i want my novel published i have to (1) scrape before an endless line of faceless gatekeepers or (2) cut and kick my way out of a jungle of 50,000 other people trying to stand out as the next Brandon Sanderson on the internet. If we remove the IP laws, #1 goes away...but how does #2 get any better?

    Also, how does this address remix culture? How do I guarantee that my work will maintain artistic integrity on the public commons? I mean, I've been on 4chan. I have no faith that my ideas won't be chopped up for Rule 34 and memes - which could actually be a worse fate than simply never getting published.

    (Though actually we should probably talk about the doujinshi grey market in Japan, as it is a great example of "live and let live" in IP.)

    FFXIV: Shiawase Ranya (on a break).

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  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    zilo wrote:
    I almost don't want to dignify this nonsense with a response. Loving my job doesn't mean I'll do it for free. Yes, money is really important. No, there's nothing else out there I like better that I could get paid for (unless somebody knows of a way to get paid for sitting on my couch, drinking beer, and watching Netflix all day?).

    So you do like your job, you just want to be able to live comfortably? So why does that mean you can't live comfortably and do the same job without IP? Doesn't mean everything will be exactly the same but by failing to imagine a new way of life you are dooming yourself to forced obsolescence. Everyone has to adapt and change with the times, I develop software too and I'm keenly aware of this. Instead of telling people I want stronger IP though? I just say I'd rather like to find a way to be able to live comfortably without it. Because that would actually get us out of our currently forced false-dichotomy of either forcing artists to starve to death or shooting kids in their parents basements. Here's a hint, both answers are wrong, there are more then we may even realize ourselves now.

    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    I think the free rider problem is insurmountable. For example, drug companies could abandon R&D and just focus on reverse engineering. The problem with the pay what you choose comparison is people like and want to encourage artists. Pfizer, not so much.

    I would imagine people with currently incurable diseases would be willing to contribute quite a bit of money to a research project that intended to find a cure.

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  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    Information is not scarce, but information was never scarce. The purpose of IP laws was not to exploit scarcity but to create it. It was always an artificial restriction created by the government in order to punish copiers and to reward content creators (and in the long term to benefit society as a whole). This has not really changed in the information age.

    What HAS changed is the economics of content creation, and the methods of enforcement. I think a strong argument could be made that IP laws are going to grow in importance in the future, as the reasons for the creation of the laws will also become more and more important. Dissolving IP laws will probably not lead to more egalitarianism in the marketplace, but will lead to more secrecy and actual hidden information (at least in the realm of things like patents). It will also completely destroy profits (and taxes) from any kind of content creators. Say goodbye to the book, music, movie, and game industries.

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