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Old 10-09-2007, 01:36 PM   #136
HarryT
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No, not at all. During MS-DOS days, M$ was one among many operating systems- like DR-DOS, PC-DOS, Concurrent, etc. When Windows 3.1 was released, it quickly became the most-pirated operating system ever. The piracy gave M$ overwhelming market share.
MS-DOS before the dominance of the IBM PC, then yes, I agree with you. I used to run Concurrent CP/M. Wonderful multi-tasking o/s years before Windows came along.

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These bundling deals (or "coercions," because that is what they were) didn't exist in Windows 3.1 days.
Sorry, but I must disagree with you. IBM approached Microsoft and licenced both ROM BASIC and PC-DOS (MS-DOS) in time for the release of the original IBM PC in 1981. Microsoft's core business at the time, as you may recall, was the supply of ROM BASIC to all the numerous models of personal computers out there - that's how Bill Gates made his few few million $. It was that deal which launched Microsoft on the road to world domination. I must point out that there was no "coercion" involved - it was IBM who approach Microsoft, not vice versa.

All that was in 1981. Windows 3.1 wasn't released for another 11 years, in 1992. By that time, MS-DOS already "ruled the world" and was shipped with basically every computer sold.

If you haven't read it already, try to read Robert X. Cringely's wonderful book "Accidental Empires", which is the story of how all this stuff happened.
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:41 PM   #137
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Are you talking about DVD region coding, Jon? That's nothing new; you can't buy a region 2 DVD from the UK and play it on your region 1 DVD player, and I can't do the opposite.
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I think he's referring to the HD-DVD fiasco in another thread, about how a recent HD-DVD was released with an updated DRM scheme that many manufacturers had yet to implement (or even start thinking about) just yet.

Regarding region-locked DVD's, I think this is still a throw-back to bygone days that should simply be abandoned. Why bother locking out sales of a DVD from potential buyers, online companies flourish with overseas markets so many region-locked DVD's end up becoming magically available on eBay with such impressive packaging you wouldn't know you were purchasing a bootleg. Yet the other region region-locking should be done away with, the counterfeiters can already remove this, so why bother? They, he powers that be, have vaguely lifted the lock by expanding/merging many regions with the latest iteration; i.e., BD-DVD's, so much of the world fall under the most common region.
Azayzel got it right. I meant the Blu-Ray DRM fiasco. Legally purchased DVDs unable to be played on legally purchased DVD players is a real issue. As for region problems I purchased my DVD player because it has 1080i upscaling, the ability to be hacked (using the remote) to allow region 2 DVDs as well as region 1 and it all works on my HD TV because of the upscaling so my TV doe snot need to support PAL.

I also find that the DRM used by Sony while slightly better then that used by Mobi is still just as bad. Both only allow so many devices. And after that, you are SOL. Let's say I wanted to give a reader to my mom, my wife's mom, & we have readers. That's 4 readers. We need at the minimum 3 computers. That's 7 devices and one device too many. Mobipocket is even more restrictive with 4 devices. But at least one doesn't have to be the computer.
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:09 PM   #138
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True, there is a lack of knowledge about Windows alternatives with most IT staffs. In fairness to them, however, they are often not in a position to pick and choose what hardware or software their company uses. Previous contracts and business arrangements with other partners (which are usually not written by IT staff) often demand Windows compatibility with specific OS and SW requirements..
Much of the time the IT staff is merely implementing, not planning. Lack of planning is sometimes amazing; it takes real commitment to move away from M$, even though the rewards can be great. Over the years, I have seen that cost concerns are one of the big factors in convincing a company to switch away from M$- that and concerns over stability.

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It is often only the isolated (little or no file swapping outside of their office) or forward-thinking company that manages to buck the MS trend.
File swapping is less of an issue, at least with file types used by MS Office. Last year I dealt with a company that used MS Office, and wanted to upgrade from Office 97 for just these file sharing concerns (they could not read files created by newer versions of Office). they balked at licensing costs for MS Office.

So, I had them start using PDF files for many communications, and upgraded most of their machines running Office 97 to the latest OpenOffice. Problems solved, and people were commenting on how much better everything worked with openOffice <G>. Spreadsheets were running much faster than under Excel, etc.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:23 PM   #139
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Azayzel got it right. I meant the Blu-Ray DRM fiasco. Legally purchased DVDs unable to be played on legally purchased DVD players is a real issue. As for region problems I purchased my DVD player because it has 1080i upscaling, the ability to be hacked (using the remote) to allow region 2 DVDs as well as region 1 and it all works on my HD TV because of the upscaling so my TV doe snot need to support PAL.

I also find that the DRM used by Sony while slightly better then that used by Mobi is still just as bad. Both only allow so many devices. And after that, you are SOL. Let's say I wanted to give a reader to my mom, my wife's mom, & we have readers. That's 4 readers. We need at the minimum 3 computers. That's 7 devices and one device too many. Mobipocket is even more restrictive with 4 devices. But at least one doesn't have to be the computer.
I believe both companies can remove licenses for old machines you are not using any longer. Giving away to a relative is not within the license scope so your mother should buy her own license for her own machines.

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Old 10-09-2007, 03:26 PM   #140
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MS-DOS before All that was in 1981. Windows 3.1 wasn't released for another 11 years, in 1992. By that time, MS-DOS already "ruled the world" and was shipped with basically every computer sold.

.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with this. There were alternatives, good alternatives, at least in the 1980s. M$ certainly did not "rule the world." OS/2 was an option, as was DR-DOS. Concurrent DOS ran very nicely, as did Coherent. In the GUI market, PC-GEOS was probably a better GUI than MS-Windows (M$ didn't play fair here, and PC-GEOS now is the Nokia GUI, I believe).

I think it was in 1989 that I bought a couple of Dell's with Dell UNIX pre-installed, so at that time M$ hadn't coerced all of the manufacturers to buy into their OSs.

The nice thing today is that there are great alternatives to M$. And more and more people are switching to them. I have to work with M$ software, but honestly- if I was forced to use their OSs for my personal computing, I would not own a computer.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:34 PM   #141
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MS-DOS before It was that deal which launched Microsoft on the road to world domination. I must point out that there was no "coercion" involved - it was IBM who approach Microsoft, not vice versa.

.
Well, it certainly IS coercion when one is forced to buy M$ Windows on any PC they purchase. Before M$ tactics forced computer manufacturers to sell computers with ONLY a M$ OS, the consumer had choice. If he wanted UNIX from Dell instead of Windows, he could get it. If he already had an OS license, he didn't have to pay for an OS, period. Hopefully M$ will never be allowed to coerce the customer like this again.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:48 PM   #142
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That's a good point, bingle, but how much of that content would you consider paying for? Would the average person consider paying for? I know there's some worth it, but the vast majority, while interesting/entertaining, simply isn't of a grade that most folks would pay for. And that little bit that is, is kind of viewed as not worth paying for because it's all mixed in with the other. Ad revenue is about the only way to make an approach like that pay, and no one's developed an approach on that that works very well for books.
Sure. But my point is that, currently, I don't *have* to pay for it. A lot of people seem to be doing it just for fun, or for ad revenue, or because they happened to be there with a video camera when the dog caught fire. To me, it's not about whether the creator is getting paid, but whether they're creating. If someone is happy to create for free, (as I am, on many occasions!) then more power to them.

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Trouble with that is that at some point revenue for the work still has to be collected, so that doesn't really change things much, just shifts it so that this notional "employer" would be more in control of the process, they'd still want their purchased rights to the content protected.
Yeah, this is a good point. I should have been clearer about this. The software I write is mostly to add value to hardware. I'm sure my company protects it, and would be unhappy if I put it up on BitTorrent, but the fact of the matter is, it wouldn't really hurt them. It doesn't make any difference because they're not making their money off copies of the software.

A surprising amount of software is done this way - it's written not because someone is going to make money off of selling copies of it, but because it's needed for some hardware, or because someone needs software that does something specific, that doesn't exist yet. They don't care about exclusive access, just that the software exists.

I admit I'm having trouble figuring out how this would map to fiction books. But I'm really just trying to throw out ideas for *possible* business models besides "write the work for free, sell the copies".

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The first thing that comes to mind on this idea is that there's a reason that the patronage model passed out of common practice. Most likely a lack of patrons, at a guess. The multi-patronage model may work, but there are some serious challenges to overcome, and again, I think it just rearranges the paradigm, rather than shifting it -- instead of the readers paying royalties through the pubs, they're doing it directly, presumably things like copy-editing turn into a contract service that the authors use or don't as they choose.
Yeah, there are a number of other problems with this model, too. One is that patronized artists generally painted portraits of their patron, or composed symphonies in his honor, or whatever. I'm not sure "Tom Clancy's Bill Gates - Billionaire Sniper Squadron" would be a great work of art.

EDIT: Oh, however... I don't know if you've attended a classical music concert recently or not, but most of those seem to run basically on the patronage model. They charge ticket fees, obviously, but every second thing is paid for by some generous grant from some rich family or corporation. So there's a possibility. "Funding for _Revenge of the Octopus Galaxy_ generously provided by the McClosky family".

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Yes, well Mr. Doctorow is a very unusual animal, I should thing that very few individuals (out of many quite good writers) could make that approach work for them.
Yes, this is true, sadly. And strangely, part of his success with alternate business models comes *because* he's trying alternate business models. It won't be as interesting to hear someone talk about giving their books away for free when everyone does it.

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I'm afraid that both my first and most considered response to this is the sound made by sticking out one's tongue and blowing forcefully. That's kinda my reaction to most suggestions that the gubmint should solve things for us. I just don't see that there are too many things that are worth the bloat, waste and corruption that come from letting the gubmint "help" us. But that's another kettle of fish for another type of forum (the type I generally stay far away from, actually), so I'll leave it at that.
You have some good points, but theoretically, at least, we give the government money so that they can spend it for the good of society. Books are for the good of society, so....

Although of course, there are major problems with this possibility, as well. I'm not sure "Naked Lunch" or "Lady Chatterly's Lover" could have been written as government-sponsored books.

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I suppose that the market will likely sort it out, but I'd love to come up with the magic bullet that gets the process moving in a good direction without a huge amount of growing pains. That being said, I freely admit that I have no idea what that answer would be.
Yeah, that would be nice, but I suspect it has to be an organic thing. People will want to write, and they'll want to make money doing it, and they'll find a way they can do that. The only way the solution can arise is from a motivated individual like that - a top-down approach probably won't succeed.


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Logically, all the past approaches were abandoned because they didn't work in some wise, and the current ones need to be left behind because they don't really work all that well either (though they do seem to work better than most of the previous approaches, whatever warts the have, and they do have them).
Yeah. The problem is that the world keeps changing, and business models have to change to keep up. I wonder what the artists did when all the patrons went away? Did they end up doing the equivalent of flipping burgers, and how many artists did we lose? It would have been a shame had society tried to fix the problem by punishing art museums, or something, though.


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I wonder if the question will be definitively resolved in our lifetimes? If it ever will be resolved?
Given Internet speed, I think this particular problem will be somewhat resolved in our lifetimes. Since a new problem will arise soon enough, though, we'll be struggling with new questions all the time... (See the fact that 3D desktop printers are becoming cheap enough and good enough for homes to start producing their own simple plastic goods... That's going to be another storm brewing, right there).

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One thing I do believe is true, and it's been said around here by others: we, as a culture, and as a collection of cultures, need to change our way of thinking on the point of paying for stuff that can be easily copied. It's one thing to take things for free that are explicitly given away, it's another to take them when they're not. I think that's why we see less shareware than we used to (another tangent, that). You and I, and most of our fellow MobileReaders grok that point, but until the majority of the human race accepts and believes in its collective bones that intellectual property should be paid for just like anything else, we'll have copyright issues, and things like DRM plaguing us.
See, I'm not convinced. I think the tide is such that information *will* be free, one way or another, and rather than trying to force people to pay for it directly, we need to find a new way to encourage authorship. The fact of the matter is, people are too shortsighted to do things like pay for a movie in order to keep the studio around in a few years, when they can get the film for free, now. It just won't ever happen. In the face of that, the studio needs to make the hard decisions about how they're going to keep alive while people distribute their movie for free.

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Old 10-09-2007, 04:12 PM   #143
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But if people did not have that protection, most "creative" works would not exist, especially in fields like software writing. Most software is written as a commercial enterprise, not for the "good of society".
I disagree with your first statement - obviously, there was a time before copy protection, and obviously, works were created.

As far as your second statement goes, I think you misunderstand me. I'm not saying that people create for the good of society, but that it is in the interests of society to have people creating. A subtle distinction, but important - much like people don't spend money for the good of the economy, they do it for their own reasons. However, it's in the interest of the economy and society as a whole that people do spend money.

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I am a professional software developer, and run my own business writing and selling software aimed at amateur astronomers. Copyright law is the only method whereby people like me are able to make a living. If anyone could legally duplicate and give away my software, I'd be out of a job, and my software would never have existed in the first place.
OK. Consider (WARNING, thought experiment!) a world in which you hadn't been able to stop your works from being copied. Either it was legal, or it was so prevalent that the legality didn't matter. What would your reaction be? You don't have the power to make it difficult to copy your work. Will you stop creating this work, and find another job? Will you find a way to be paid for it, despite the fact that it can be copied infinitely? Will you do it strictly for fun, and not worry about the monetary rewards? I don't know. It would be tragic if the response was to stop creating works - but I believe we're headed towards a world (or we're already there) where you do have to make that choice.

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I strongly disagree with your suggestion that the "state" should pay me a salary to write software for the "good of society". That's not the way to encourage free enterprise. History shows that state-run businesses rarely prosper because they have no incentive to be innovative or profitable.
Well, maybe. It does have a lot of problems. But I point to things like the NEA and NSF in the US, which have a lot of success giving grants to artists and scientists. Or in the UK, you have the best example available, I think - the BBC. I'd trade almost any for-profit TV creator in the US for the BBC, even if it meant paying a TV tax. That's a prime example of how the government can fund creative works of very high quality.

Another, more germane to software, is the US military. They often fund basic engineering research and development, and they do it simply so that they can have the result. They don't care if the IP is owned by the government, they have a goal in mind and set out to solve it by giving grants and sponsoring contests.

To go back to my earlier analogy - the US Federal Reserve doesn't force people to spend money. But it implements policies that encourage people to spend money, for the good of the economy. Recently, the British government backed Northern Rock not because they're communist, but because a run on banks is bad for society.

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Copyright law is absolutely essential if you want companies like mine to exist. No copyright protection = no creative works.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe the world is changing in such a way that small, for-profit software houses can't exist any more. I hope not, really. But looking at the trend of software - Google, the most successful current software company is giving away almost every product they have. There's tons of open-source stuff out there, and people doing all sorts of other free tools and apps. You can run even a Windows PC without paying for any software besides the OS, these days.

I don't know how this problem will shake out, but I do think that holding on to the existing paradigm with both hands is just going to lead to sinking along with it, and doing damage to society in the form of unjust laws in the meantime.
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:39 PM   #144
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I'm not sure "Tom Clancy's Bill Gates - Billionaire Sniper Squadron" would be a great work of art.
It would make a heck of a "B" movie though!

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Although of course, there are major problems with this possibility, as well. I'm not sure "Naked Lunch" or "Lady Chatterly's Lover" could have been written as government-sponsored books.
You're probably right, those aren't nearly nasty enough to get NEA funding.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:49 PM   #145
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See, I'm not convinced. I think the tide is such that information *will* be free, one way or another, and rather than trying to force people to pay for it directly, we need to find a new way to encourage authorship.
That's what copyright laws are for! And yes, for the record: If I couldn't make money off of my books, they wouldn't be on my website right now. Why bother? I'll just go back to my HTML job, and find some other way to amuse myself.

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The fact of the matter is, people are too shortsighted to do things like pay for a movie in order to keep the studio around in a few years, when they can get the film for free, now. It just won't ever happen. In the face of that, the studio needs to make the hard decisions about how they're going to keep alive while people distribute their movie for free.
Since when are movies free? They're not even free on broadcast television... advertisers pay for them, buying their entertainment and letting you see it to help sell their soap.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:50 PM   #146
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But looking at the trend of software - Google, the most successful current software company is giving away almost every product they have.
And making their money off of advertisers. Google's no charity group, either.
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:02 PM   #147
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That's what copyright laws are for!
But my point is that copyright laws are ineffective. They don't prevent people copying information any more. They only really worked when copying things was difficult and expensive.

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Since when are movies free? They're not even free on broadcast television... advertisers pay for them, buying their entertainment and letting you see it to help sell their soap.
Ahh, well, when I mean "free" I mean "free to the consumer", which ad-supported stuff is. Someone pays for it, to be sure, but consumers don't, because they're not willing to, generally speaking.

And I was actually thinking of the vast number of movies you can download, for free, on the Internet. The movie studios, and the musicians, and the authors, are going to have to deal with that reality. Copyright law doesn't cut it anymore, and the genie isn't going back in the bottle. There's already a generation of people who are seeing every form of their entertainment be free. They won't want to buy a DVD or a CD when they can download it. Content creators can be unhappy about that, but I don't think they can change it. The world is changing, and they have to adapt - cursing the darkness isn't going to achieve anything.
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:51 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by bingle View Post
But my point is that copyright laws are ineffective. They don't prevent people copying information any more. They only really worked when copying things was difficult and expensive.
They never really did prevent it, only allowed for redress when someone did so.

If I'm (finally) understanding what you're getting at, you're saying that copyright laws (mostly) worked when copying required a lot of infrastructure to do on any sort of scale, because only a few fairly large players could do it in enough quantity to make an impact, and those few were relatively easily tracked down if they got out of line.

But now, copying is so simple, cheap and easy, and distribution the same plus largely anonymous, which makes enforcement next to impossible because there are a multitude of small, more or less invisible "operations" which can have a great impact, individually and collectively.

So it's not so much that the copyright laws have stopped working as it is that the paradigm has shifted in such a way that what was enforcible, no longer is enforcible.

Am I following/extrapolating more or less correctly what you mean, bingle?


If that is what you're saying ... then I have to agree you have an excellent point (which we all seem to have been missing rather badly). I also don't see any flaws in that reasoning.


If we consider a situation where IP laws are not enforced simply because it is no longer physically possible to do so, that could be a ... significant market force toward changing the way we do things.


The two responding approaches I see are try to create some new way to enforce the laws which is possible (though DRM is already failing rather badly), or try to find a totally new approach to realizing gain for the IP generators' efforts. Which of course brings us back full circle.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:27 PM   #149
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The democratization of copying technology is a huge sea-change. It's the next step after the development of the printing press-- effectively putting one in every home. Given that the old laws don't seem to work that well in the current situation, and DRM seems to have failed miserably by both reducing usability and enraging a portion of the user base, the only option is to look at new revenue models.

One option is through advertising: we're already seeing this in games. I've a downloaded copy of Far Cry on this machine that was completely free. Whenever I start it up, I see an ad, and another when it shuts down. That's one model. Another model is product placement. That's already showing up in some games and may show up in more.

Another model is Baen's where what you're really paying for in many cases is time. Buy the eArc and you get it before it's out in hardcover. After that you pay the webscriptions price until x amount of time after the paperback release and then it moves into the Free Library. They aren't doing this for all books, but it's the model Eric Flint follows and it's working very successfully for him. However, it's not really paying for the content-- that you can eventually get for free. It's paying for getting it now.

We'll have to see what ends up working in the long run.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:28 PM   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
If I'm (finally) understanding what you're getting at, you're saying that copyright laws (mostly) worked when copying required a lot of infrastructure to do on any sort of scale, because only a few fairly large players could do it in enough quantity to make an impact, and those few were relatively easily tracked down if they got out of line.

But now, copying is so simple, cheap and easy, and distribution the same plus largely anonymous, which makes enforcement next to impossible because there are a multitude of small, more or less invisible "operations" which can have a great impact, individually and collectively.

So it's not so much that the copyright laws have stopped working as it is that the paradigm has shifted in such a way that what was enforcible, no longer is enforcible.

Am I following/extrapolating more or less correctly what you mean, bingle?
Ahh, yes. That covers it. Amazing how you can say in a few sentences which I've been failing to say in pages and pages. One would think I really was being paid by the word ;-)

Also, I don't think this paradigm shift is negative (which is the main difference, I think, between my view and others). It's change, surely, but I think it brings greater benefits than it does costs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
The two responding approaches I see are try to create some new way to enforce the laws which is possible (though DRM is already failing rather badly), or try to find a totally new approach to realizing gain for the IP generators' efforts. Which of course brings us back full circle.

My other point, which I didn't make quite as much, is that I think approach one is impossible and/or too harmful. DRM will be broken, and more laws will merely reduce our freedoms while not stopping the flow (unless we go so far as to no longer be a free society).

So the only option for anyone who wants to see IP generation continue is approach two. I put out a few ideas about how that would work, but there are problems with all of them. I honestly don't know the way forward.
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