Anyone who believes in genuinely free markets is a "communist"
In a 2005 interview, Bill Gates dismissed the free culture/open source movement as “some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises.”
Never mind Gates’ own hypocrisy on the subject. Never mind that he developed Microsoft’s BASIC compiler by a classic open source method: “The best way to prepare is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.” Never mind that this enthusiastic dumpster diver had the nerve to write a letter to the Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter in 1976, whining that the widespread infringment of BASIC was taking food out of his mouth (”most of you steal your software”) — despite being a multi-million dollar trust fund baby from birth.
Never mind what Gates practiced. Many a fortune founded in robbery has been sanctified by time.
What matters, rather, is what he preaches: if you don’t believe a return on effort should be guaranteed by the state, you’re a communist.
But as the American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker observed more than a century ago, removing privilege and monopoly means that free market competition will cause the benefits of innovation to be “socialized.”
The normal process, in a free market without entry barriers, is for an innovator to derive short-term economic rents from being the first on the market, and for those rents then to decline to nothing as competitors adopt the innovation and drive price down to production cost.
So anyone who believes in genuinely free markets is a “communist.”
Pretty much what I've always thought.
May 15th, 2009 4:56am
"Market Anarchism is the doctrine that the legislative, adjudicative, and protective functions unjustly and inefficiently monopolised by the coercive State should be entirely turned over to the voluntary, consensual forces of market society."
Now we just have to answer who are the "voluntary consensual forces of market society".
And of course there is the problem that markets are irrational unstable feedback systems based on greed. Not necessarily your best solution to all your social problems.
May 15th, 2009 5:35am
May 15th, 2009 5:39am
>"Market Anarchism is the doctrine that the legislative,
>adjudicative, and protective functions unjustly and
>inefficiently monopolised by the coercive State should be
>entirely turned over to the voluntary, consensual forces of
I do not agree with that.
>And of course there is the problem that markets are
>irrational unstable feedback systems based on greed. Not
>necessarily your best solution to all your social problems.
Something to consider next time you visit the fruit & vegetable market and buy some tomatoes. You're participating in an irrational unstable feedback system based upon greed.
Or maybe you're just buying dinner.
May 15th, 2009 5:53am
May 15th, 2009 5:54am
Yeah, incoherent horseshit.
> The Copyright Nazis believe the creator’s right to a profit trumps the right of people to enter the market freely and use their own property as they see fit.
There's no right to a *profit*, only the right to the income from publishing something. There'll only be a profit if lots of people think it's valuable.
Copyright is the only thing that makes creating something for *publication* potentially worthwhile. Why would you publish valuable information otherwise in a free market - you'd just sell it to whoever can profit from it the most *without* it being disclosed.
May 15th, 2009 5:55am
>There's no right to a *profit*, only the right to the
>income from publishing something. There'll only be a
>profit if lots of people think it's valuable.
When the product is software, the reproduction costs are negligible so it is sold at a profit.
>Copyright is the only thing that makes creating something
>for *publication* potentially worthwhile. Why would you
>publish valuable information otherwise in a free market -
>you'd just sell it to whoever can profit from it the most
>*without* it being disclosed.
The majority of people who publish music and literature do not make a living wage from their work, so the answer to your question is "I don't know *why* necessarily, but they already do".
If you mean, "why would we write software?" - well, most people who write software don't hold the copyright on it. Their employer does. And the chances are that software would still be needed without any form of copyright, so it would still get written...
May 15th, 2009 6:03am
greed and fear.
As far as participating in a system based on greed and fear and buying dinner, there's no contradiction.
The ironic thing about a pure free market is that it would take massive, uncorrupt government surveillance to ensure its survival.
May 15th, 2009 7:10am
"When the product is software, the reproduction costs are negligible so it is sold at a profit."
No, not necessarily. There are also fixed costs.
May 15th, 2009 7:11am
"When the product is software, the reproduction costs are negligible so it is sold at a profit. "
yeah, cos that stuff just magics itself into existence out of thin air.
eek-o-tourist (loves the booty)
May 15th, 2009 8:33am
Oh, so THAT'S why people think developing software "costs so much" -- because it SHOULD be basically 'free', sold only for manufacturing costs.
May 15th, 2009 8:34am
Or rather, it shouldn't be sold at all. There's no reason to enact laws to artificially create a market.
I don't know about you, but I've spent most of my career as a developer writing software that was never intended to be sold, or if it was, it was sold as part of a package of other things (e.g. support). So, it's not like software wouldn't get developed.
Indeed, it would probably be better for the industry, since the stranglehold companies hold over intellectual property would hold less and so you wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel in code everywhere that you went...
May 15th, 2009 1:03pm
>yeah, cos that stuff just magics itself into existence out
>of thin air.
No shit sherlock. Software costs money to build.
May 15th, 2009 1:04pm
"Software costs money to build."
Agreed. But that doesn't give the creator any God given right to charge people to use it.
If I can reproduce and run it at my own expense, then I don't see why I should pay you to use it. I haven't asked you to write it, after all.
Wow, almost the stupidest thread on this topic I've ever read.
> When the product is software, the reproduction costs are negligible so it is sold at a profit.
I.. I.. no, too stupid.
> The majority of people who publish music and literature do not make a living wage from their work..
Possibly not.. but most all of them THOUGHT THEY POTENTIALLY COULD. No copyright, no chance.
> well, most people who write software don't hold the copyright on it
No shit, but guess what - they get paid for writing it by the copyright holder. Why is that?
May 15th, 2009 2:18pm
"they get paid for writing it by the copyright holder. Why is that?"
Maybe because the copyright is in the wrong hands?
Intellectual Property is just a naive idea gone bad. It was meant to serve society, now it only serves corporations.
So your preferred solution is what?
All tangible and intangible artefacts should be available at the precise cost of reproduction/manufacture and all design and development costs should somehow be borne by society?
Who decides which projects are worth pursuing?
May 15th, 2009 2:31pm
"All tangible and intangible artefacts should be available at the precise cost of reproduction/manufacture and all design and development costs should somehow be borne by society? "
Not necessarily. If creators find a way (i.e. a viable business model) to get paid for their work, good for them. Selling recordings used to be a fair way of doing this, because it provided a service to consumers. With the internet and digital technologies, that service is more and more obsolete. Time for a new business model(s). And no, it's not my job to find one for creators.
Mah head asplode
There cannot be a viable business model for the creators of easily-copied intellectual property in the absence of copyright or something like it.
Because any intellectual property that can be copied freely immediately it's public can be provided more cheaply by someone who only has to reproduce it and bears no design/development costs.
In the absence of copyright, the viable business model is obvious - copy other people's products and resell them. You'd have to be really stupid to develop something yourself that didn't need a manufacturing facility that you could keep secret initially and required a substantial elapsed time to reproduce (the manufacturing facility that is).
May 15th, 2009 3:35pm
>Selling recordings used to be a fair way of doing this, because it provided a service to consumers.
"Fair" only for the record companies. Artists have been getting screwed since the invention of records. And the record companies only provided value in being gatekeepers of the limited access consumers *used* to have to music. Back in those days, you'd be lucky to pick up a couple of AM stations, and FM wasn't significant until the later 50s.
>Worst of all, after all this, the band owns none of its work ... they can pay the mortgage forever but they'll never own the house. Like I said: Sharecropping. Our media says, "Boo hoo, poor pop stars, they had a nice ride. Fuck them for speaking up"; but I say this dialogue is imperative. And cynical media people, who are more fascinated with celebrity than most celebrities, need to reacquaint themselves with their value systems.
>When you look at the legal line on a CD, it says copyright 1976 Atlantic Records or copyright 1996 RCA Records. When you look at a book, though, it'll say something like copyright 1999 Susan Faludi, or David Foster Wallace. Authors own their books and license them to publishers. When the contract runs out, writers gets their books back. But record companies own our copyrights forever.
>Story after story gets told about artists -- some of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them authors of huge successful songs that we all enjoy, use and sing -- living in total poverty, never having been paid anything. Not even having access to a union or to basic health care. Artists who have generated billions of dollars for an industry die broke and un-cared for.
>And they're not actors or participators. They're the rightful owners, originators and performers of original compositions.
It used to be that bands made more money for themselves touring. But now, the record companies fuck them over with 360-contracts.
>Touring: After all standard “touring” expenses are covered (travel, equipment, set costs, staff) the label will now get 10% of what’s left over
>Merchandising: We’re no longer just talking T-shirts here. We’re talking endorsement deals, clothing lines, fragrances, energy drinks.. whatever the artist puts it’s name on the record label takes 10% of.
>The record industry's demand for bands to sign over a portion of their merchandise and tour revenues as part of a recording contract is an admission that selling music is not a sustainable business model.
May 15th, 2009 3:36pm
Colm can release his software to us for free, and all hippies can only use software that is free.
No one is really unfree in the process.
May 15th, 2009 4:02pm
> When you look at a book, though, it'll say something like copyright 1999 Susan Faludi, or David Foster Wallace. Authors own their books..
I picked 5 books off my shelves at random.
False in every case.
Copyright the publisher.
My sister is writing a book. She got an advance from the publisher, otherwise it would have been impossible for her.
May 16th, 2009 4:56am
>> The record industry's demand for bands to sign over a portion of their merchandise and tour revenues as part of a recording contract is an admission that selling music is not a sustainable business model.
OK. So, why would any musician that accepts that even bother to contact a record company? Why complain about the contracts at all?
Logically, if no revenue can be generated from recorded music then don't record it. Just play live.
Of course, you'd have to be able to finance a stadium gig to make any real money and strip search everybody who came for miniature recording devices.
I can't help feeling that the musicians are in a way in denial - that unstoppable piracy essentially puts the clock back to the time before recorded music and none of them will ever make money in that way again. And that somehow it's the record companies' fault.
May 16th, 2009 5:30am