Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: Taran Rampersad <cnd@knowprose.com>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 18:14:12 -0400

Thomas Lord wrote:
> Censorship was implemented in the form of licensing a
> particular guild of printers, who colluded, thereby immediately
> creating a cartel that was engaged in price fixing for the new
> commodity. Book selling became a very lucrative business.
"Freedom of the Press is limited to those who own one." - A.J. Liebling.
> Many current debates (esp. DRM, net-neutrality, fair-use) seem
> to me to be about this question: is the digital network simply
> the next generation press? or is it something else? Is the net
> just the ultimate factory for reproducing the commodity? Or
> is it the end of certain forms of commodity?
Your use of words here confuses me (it has been a long day)... do you 
mean to write 'printing press' or 'machine' instead of 'factory'? You 
seem to have taken a leap in the analogy, and my basis on further 
comment is on this perceived leap. So if I screwed that up, disregard below.

> Those who see (or wish to force) the net to be the ultimate
> factory are naturally pro-DRM, anti-net-neutrality, and
> quite happy to throw elements of fair-use overboard to
> achieve those aims. They want (somewhat ludicrously)
> to seize that factory and partition its productive capacity
> among owners in such a way as to preserve some aspects
> of the limited monopoly.
Err. Right, this is where I disagree based on the above perception. I 
don't believe the net to be the 'ultimate factory', rather the 'next 
level' - which I'm guessing means one and the same here. That said, I 
believe the net is the next level, yet I am not 'pro-DRM' in the sense 
that you mean (I believe that we have digital rights, though not as 
commonly perceived) and I believe that our rights are partly managed 
(different rights, not referring to patents, copyrights and trademarks 
in the sense that most people use that phrase). I am pro-network 
neutrality, I believe in fair use and I mourn the Public Domain. So I 
don't know what you mean at all.

I think the difference we may be speaking of (if indeed I am on the 
right track with what you meant to convey) is where the value is 
perceived most - the value of the 'press', or ability to replicate, or 
the value of the act of creation itself. The latter is where I place the 
most value, yet they are linked.

If you create something of value off the network, will I know about it? 
:-) So network neutrality is needed, and copy-protection mechanisms 
(which a lot of people call 'DRM') need to become the exception rather 
than the norm. Sure, if you press me for a need for copy protection I 
may have to stretch to imagine one - but I haven't mastered reading tea 
leaves yet, so I leave the future uncertain to a degree - Monty Python 
has taught me that nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. :-)

-- 
Taran Rampersad
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cnd@knowprose.com

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