Author Topic: Digital Rights and Economics  (Read 53044 times)

Bear

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2011, 08:58:22 AM »
Often the "openness" of something is itself a desirable feature.  F'rexample, I have a machine which is used to drive a CNC mill.  Neither Windows nor Linux are real-time operating systems, and a real-time response is needed for reliable production.  Windows Users have woes about windows update interrupting their CNC drivers, flushing I/O caches, and making their machines destroy builds.  This kind of problem is rarer with Linux, but can still happen if a kernel process doesn't yield control fast enough.

But because Linux is an open system, someone was able to hack up a real-time kernel for it by working directly with the kernel source code.  And therefore my CNC-control box wins by running (a version of) Linux. 

The commercial nature of windows means they can't release source code or allow people to modify it for fear of losing control of the product.  And that makes the product less valuable, because it can't be customized for specialized jobs.

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2011, 01:37:08 PM »
Be that as it may, I don't think it entirely irresponsible to presume that the majority of Windows users do not need to customize their operating system for a special purpose, so the capacity for Linux to be specialized is of no value to them.

Even if you pirated Windows, you would not get the source code, so I'm not really sure what this has to do with software piracy.

siob

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2011, 01:44:43 PM »
take for example DVDs - i wouldn't use them even if they were free. i think the attached picture sums it up pretty nicely ;)

this is pretty polemic but the point is that content producers should focus on making the form of the content, the content itself and the way they deliver / provide the content more attractive as opposed to worrying about privacy.


Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #48 on: May 10, 2011, 01:56:03 PM »
this is pretty polemic but the point is that content producers should focus on making the form of the content, the content itself and the way they deliver / provide the content more attractive as opposed to worrying about privacy.
Making a product better is never a bad idea, but they should try to make it more attractive so people will stop pirating it? You are telling me that most pirates are just people that do not want to be inconvienced by what is in the product for sale, and that may or may not be true. Before you can say which they should focus on doing, we would need to find some way of judging the efficacy of what they are doing to prevent piracy and compare it to how many converts they would get if they used that money and effort made the product better (if they even COULD use that money and effort to make that product better); which is nearly impossible.

Bear

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #49 on: May 10, 2011, 04:35:12 PM »
I don't like people pirating stuff either.  But my solution has nothing to do with new incentives to buy stuff.  My solution has to do with providing stuff free.  Because I want to.  If I release software, audio recordings, movies, etc, all open source (or open content) and free, then nobody can pirate it.  Problem solved.  If the audience likes it so much they want to give me tips, so much the better. 

So-called "Intellectual property" is a good idea, but the implementation of it has gotten so onerous and restrictive that we need less of it, not more.  Maybe the more marginal providers who produce stuff people don't want to pay them for will have to get jobs in manufacturing or personally providing services like normal people, but I think that's okay. And besides, creative people *WANT* to provide music, movies, software, etc, because it's all created by doing things we like to do. 

There is an astonishing amount of excellent content provided free, by artists and artisans in the course of creative pursuits (There's also an astonishing amount of ... other ... content, so finding the good stuff takes some work.  But I digress.).  If you can live without the multi-million dollar ad campaigns that tell you to BUY COMMERCIAL STUFF, there is a whole new universe of really excellent stuff out there.  The artists who produce it are happy to be treated as a busker playing for the crowd.  If you like the tune, it's nice to put a dollar or two in the hat.  But if you don't wanna, or you can't afford it, then don't.

Bear

Z

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2011, 06:16:24 PM »
As I have said in my last post, I believe that we should promote crowd funding as an alternative to the current Intellectual Property system. The artists start by doing their job for fun and releasing it for free, as Bear said. But there is a limit there: some masterpieces such as AAA games and movies require so much work that it is not reasonable that anybody will do this for free. Thus, they register a project saying that they will create something if they get a given amount of money, and if they get the money, they release it to the public for free. For example, JK Rowling could write her first book (or just the first chapter) and release it on the Internet, and gain her fortune by requesting money for her following books. I think this model could work for everything that IP is currently for (art and inventions, science already works in a way which is a bit similar to this) and also solve the many current problems with pirates, poor/rich users, plagiarizers, lawyers, publishers, and authors in a natural way.

siob

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2011, 02:45:53 PM »
I'm not sure crowd funding will fix this for *everyone* but it's a good model! I agree! I think crowd financing is, for example, the only way to get decent media outlets but that's another story.

Today: another puzzle piece, another blog post. For now, without comment from me :)

Quote
You need some way to force people to pay. Not because they are evil or dishonest, but because they procrastinate. Registration is a pain. They'd rather be spending their time playing your game! If you don't do anything at all to make them pay, they'll just forget.

But tread lightly. Once you have any barrier in place at all, you'll get your payment from all the honest people, the people who know that, if nobody pays, you won't make more awesome games for them. Anything beyond that will inconvenience your paying customers and do little to nothing to prevent piracy.

http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2011/05/final-answer-for-what-to-do-to-prevent.html

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2011, 05:35:15 PM »
From the article:
Quote
The system was confusing, and this wasn't helped by the fact that we were the only ones ever to use it.
Maybe there was a reason that he was the only one to ever use it; maybe even because it was confusing. This man's own failures do not mean very much to me. He may well be incompetent, or his methods may not work for all.

I don't like people pirating stuff either.  But my solution has nothing to do with new incentives to buy stuff.  My solution has to do with providing stuff free. Because I want to. If I release software, audio recordings, movies, etc, all open source (or open content) and free, then nobody can pirate it.  Problem solved.
Problem not solved. The very reason that piracy is a problem is that people DO want to make money, so any "solution" that does not involve making money is no solution at all! This makes as much sense as preventing murder by committing suicide.

Maybe the more marginal providers who produce stuff people don't want to pay them for will have to get jobs in manufacturing or personally providing services like normal people, but I think that's okay.
What do you mean by "normal people"? Anyway, if consumers do not want to pay for something, the manufacturers would need to find different employment in ANY industry, so I do not see your point. People are willing to pay, which is why the industry exists at all.

And besides, creative people *WANT* to provide music, movies, software, etc, because it's all created by doing things we like to do.
  • All of these things described require use of equipment that is not free, and they require spending time, and time is also valuable. Answer me this: shall I not seek a job in a field I like, simply because I would be pleased to do it without pay?
  • These people can and do create things things, but these things, as they are built by people doing what they love, may not meet general consumer desires and demands.

There is an astonishing amount of excellent content provided free, by artists and artisans in the course of creative pursuits (There's also an astonishing amount of ... other ... content, so finding the good stuff takes some work.  But I digress.).  If you can live without the multi-million dollar ad campaigns that tell you to BUY COMMERCIAL STUFF, there is a whole new universe of really excellent stuff out there.
Excellent stuff.... according to you. Other people may like and be willing to pay for the things that come out of commerical studios; in fact, if they did not, there would be no commercial studios at all. We are talking about entertainment here, not critical medical equipment, so no one NEEDS to buy any of it.

Besides, maybe people do not care to search; well, obviously they do not, for they do not! People can not use products that they have not discovered, and advertising campaigns bring products into their perception, but advertisers need money to do that at all.

The artists who produce it are happy to be treated as a busker playing for the crowd.
Not all artists may be satisfied with the same.

If you like the tune, it's nice to put a dollar or two in the hat.
We must needs be guaranteed that enough people are that nice.

But if you don't wanna, or you can't afford it, then don't.
One might ask the same of the pirates.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 03:22:56 AM by Fenrir »

Bear

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #53 on: May 13, 2011, 04:23:32 AM »
I am not suggesting that you don't seek employment in a field you enjoy because you'd be happy doing it free; I'm suggesting that employment in the field you like may not be available because  other people will happily do it for free.  The sooner you accept this the more time you have to be happy with the rest of your life.

You know why being a singer generally doesn't pay?  It's because there are a million singers who are actually good -- the business isn't driven by singing talent, it's driven by marketing.  For every top-selling artist out there, there's a team of marketers, promoters, agents, producers, etc, who cut deals to get airtime and buy advertising slots, etc.  That team could have made the same sales numbers and profits with any of a thousand different equally available artists.  The "talent" is completely interchangeable.  Most singers who get signed to exclusive contracts get signed specifically to prevent them from competing with the singers who the marketing effort is being spent on. 

So singing winds up with this weird two-tier system where the "big names" get a tiny, tiny slice of huge marketing-driven sales, a whole lot of wanna-bees get signed to an exclusive contract and then not marketed (making zero money) and the "indies" get just about 100% of their sales but don't have a huge marketing engine behind them.  On average, the pay to the singer is about the same whether they go "indie" or get a studio contract.  Read 'Courtney Love Does The Math' if you want details.  Of course everybody wants to be the studio's cash cow, but the average singer signed with a studio makes squat because the studio doesn't market them. 

And we're starting to see a similar thing in the games industry.  People go to work for a big-name game studio and they get an hourly wage, with overtime, which is the tiniest slice of huge marketing-driven sales of a huge team-created product.  Other people produce something small without getting paid, and then get donations and tips from people who like it, and increasingly the money's the same per hour worked, either way.  The studio job will make you work sixty hours a week, and pay you for it, and the "indies" usually don't spend more than fifteen hours a week on their projects, so the money's different.  But the hourly money?  Nearly the same, and declining.

The Internet means you no longer need all the intermediaries to reach your market.  The marketers, promoters, and so on, are no longer making contributions that make things more available to the consumer, and their value is accordingly reduced.  It also means you have competition from anybody who's willing to do the job cheaper than you, including those who want to do it for free.  So, the price point for creative work is in a race to the bottom and has been declining for several years now. And the bottom?  The bottom is free. In another couple of decades, singers, artists, game designers, programmers, and novelists will be working mostly at day jobs, doing their creative stuff out of passion alone or on commission from a single patron  who's paying for a specific product that that individual patron wants, the way painters get paid for portraiture.

Expensive products are undesirable in the presence of cheaper (or free) products that are equally good or better.  "Piracy" is just the marketing people complaining about consumers recognizing how worthless the marketing people have become and refusing to provide the revenue that their former status deserved.  But it's not what's going to kill their jobs.  What's going to kill their jobs is when better stuff becomes available for free and people notice.

Piracy becomes a nonissue when the race to the bottom is finished.  And it will be finished.


MrMorley

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2011, 02:35:29 PM »
The race to the bottom is being accompanied by a race to providers like Valve's Steam, which will also do a better job at solving the piracy problem and personally I'm all for. The sooner software sales go purely digital like games are the better...does anybody even buy PC games on CD any more?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 02:37:01 PM by MrMorley »
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Bear

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2011, 10:20:57 PM »
Yeah. Steam has a model where they provide ongoing services, which people are willing to pay for.  They don't bother with DRM stuff on their progs, they don't get in people's face, they don't make it inconvenient to buy, and hey, people buy their stuff. 

Even people who pirate the games eventually want the services, so they buy a password.  The guys at Steam spend most of their time providing services; the software itself functions as a compelling advertisement for their services.

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2011, 03:52:45 AM »
I am not suggesting that you don't seek employment in a field you enjoy because you'd be happy doing it free; I'm suggesting that employment in the field you like may not be available because  other people will happily do it for free.
They would do it the more happily if they can obtain payment for it, and they can do that without much more effort.

The sooner you accept this the more time you have to be happy with the rest of your life.
I recently started my own business, I’m in good health, and I’m surrounded by loving family, but, no, my happiness hinges upon the availability of employment in the video-game industry. I am also spending much time worrying about it. Your assumption is almost amusing.

You know why being a singer generally doesn't pay? It's because there are a million singers who are actually good -- the business isn't driven by singing talent, it's driven by marketing.  For every top-selling artist out there, there's a team of marketers, promoters, agents, producers, etc, who cut deals to get airtime and buy advertising slots, etc.  That team could have made the same sales numbers and profits with any of a thousand different equally available artists.  The "talent" is completely interchangeable.
Obviously, singing is not as valuable as marketing. Singers are everywhere, and marketing is expensive.

And we're starting to see a similar thing in the games industry.  People go to work for a big-name game studio and they get an hourly wage, with overtime, which is the tiniest slice of huge marketing-driven sales of a huge team-created product.  Other people produce something small without getting paid, and then get donations and tips from people who like it, and increasingly the money's the same per hour worked, either way.  The studio job will make you work sixty hours a week, and pay you for it, and the "indies" usually don't spend more than fifteen hours a week on their projects, so the money's different.  But the hourly money?  Nearly the same, and declining.
Note the words “big” and “small” here. A team of people that are working full-time can create a far superior product more quickly than a single man, so the lone wolf will not be able to somehow make the company obsolete, as his game is far inferior. Wages rise as employees become more scarce, so, if they really are “nearly the same, and declining,” for which I have naught but your word, it is unlikely the wages will descend below the lone wolf’s profits.

The Internet means you no longer need all the intermediaries to reach your market.  The marketers, promoters, and so on, are no longer making contributions that make things more available to the consumer, and their value is accordingly reduced.
This is incorrect and naive. The Internet does not guarantee visiblity to the target market at all. People usually find things out in the wilds of the Internet with a search engine. You need to discover which keywords they will be using. Better use of the right keywords will get you better rankings of course, but there are thousands of other websites out there with the same idea. It’s not just as simple as using the right keywords either. Search engines have different ways of prioritizing the soup of billions of pages that they get. Even if you devote your time to studying search-engine-optimization techniques, it is difficult.

The Internet does not equal visibility, and it is ironic that the popularity of the Internet is precisely what has done that.

Expensive products are undesirable in the presence of cheaper (or free) products that are equally good or better. “Piracy” is just the marketing people complaining about consumers recognizing how worthless the marketing people have become and refusing to provide the revenue that their former status deserved.
It is not just about marketing. As I have previously mentioned, a team of people working full-time on game project can do far more than any single man working alone on both his project and a full-time job.

I have already explained in this thread why piracy is immoral; it is not just someone “complaining”.

You have also suggested that piracy is directly linked to the uselessness of marketers, but there is no perceptible correlation, especially since marketing is not useless. If it is, we should go call all of the businesses that use it, as I am sure that they would like to save the millions of dollars that they spend upon this useless practice.

People can not use products that they do not know exist. Businesses must reach consumers. Marketing serves that end.

Piracy becomes a nonissue when the race to the bottom is finished.  And it will be finished.
What you have written here is based upon incorrect assumptions, so I see little reason to believe you.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 03:55:50 AM by Fenrir »

jim

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2011, 02:25:46 PM »
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/05/13/136279162/an-internet-rock-star-tells-all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyJeC99QO8A
(LA face with the Oakland booty.)

Let's agree at least that there are multiple threads here with conflicting conclusions. I forget what the courtroom objection is that goes over testimony that's unreliable due to the likelihood that the witness has a big incentive to lie in his own favor, but it's safe to say that most geeks on the net who argue that piracy = progress had better watch their asses very closely.

But that said, there are (contested but valuable) arguments from all over the world suggesting that one of the biggest current impediments to human progress, from vidya games, to medicine, to the quality of beef, is itself the stranglehold that corporations MUST ensure if they are to continue to ensure their primacy. The Randian argument breaks down at the point where the titans of aggressive, legal competition in the marketplace start to game the system - and the titans do this eleven times out of ten, for they are motivated not by any dedication to a larger picture, but solely by their bottom line. Another win for Ouroboros.

Oh, hey, the new Game of Thrones just finished downloading! gtg cya




EDIT:
Quote
Obviously, singing is not as valuable as marketing. Singers are everywhere, and marketing is expensive.

0_0

Fixed your typo.

Quote
http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/784/
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 02:36:34 PM by jim »

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2011, 04:27:59 PM »
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/05/13/136279162/an-internet-rock-star-tells-all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyJeC99QO8A
(LA face with the Oakland booty.)
Yes, one man managed to win fame and glory on the Internet. I did not say that it could not be done; I said that it was not at all easy. I was pointing out that the Internet is not the marketer-killing pancea that Bear thinks it is, because, as it becomes more accessible, competition increases. Of course, someone has managed to use it to their advantage, but, for every Internet rock star singing churlish songs about a woman's fat hindquarters, there are a legion of other people that are not making a dime.

Let's agree at least that there are multiple threads here with conflicting conclusions.
What conclusions? Have our threads (within this thread) reached conclusions? How do they conflict? If you mean that we should agree that people here disagree, agreeing on the obvious is far from something that I care to do.

But that said, there are (contested but valuable) arguments from all over the world suggesting that one of the biggest current impediments to human progress, from vidya games, to medicine, to the quality of beef, is itself the stranglehold that corporations MUST ensure if they are to continue to ensure their primacy.
What in the world does intellectual property have to do with corporations maintaining a stranglehold? Is your inability to copy Call of Duty a sign that large corporations are oppressing anyone? You shall need to explain precisely how it is that you think manufacturing a product and releasing it to the public under a license is somehow hurting market competition.

The Randian argument breaks down at the point where the titans of aggressive, legal competition in the marketplace start to game the system - and the titans do this eleven times out of ten, for they are motivated not by any dedication to a larger picture, but solely by their bottom line. Another win for Ouroboros.
Again, explain how intellectual property is “gaming the system”. You want what they made, and they will not give it to you unless you promise not to copy it, and they get annoyed when you break the pact you made.

Yes, they are dedicated to their bottom line. It is called “efficiency”. Spend the least amount of effort and resources necessary to achieve the goal. It is the consumers that decide what the goal is, as they decide which businesses to reward with trade, so it is the consumers that decide what is acceptable.

When everyone has a different idea of what the “larger picture” should be, it is foolish to require anyone to keep to any particular vision of it.

EDIT:
Quote
Obviously, singing is not as valuable as marketing. Singers are everywhere, and marketing is expensive.

0_0

Fixed your typo.

Quote
http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/784/
Firstly, that is T. S. Eliot. He is not a singer. That is not a song, it is a poem. Secondly, what is valuable is subjective. Bear and I were talking about the marketplace. In his example, since singers were not scarce, so they were not particularly valuable to the marketplace. Scarce resources cost more, and that includes talent and labor. Due to competition, abundant resources cost less.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 04:34:51 PM by Fenrir »

Z

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #59 on: May 14, 2011, 04:53:15 PM »
The fact that marketers earn much does not mean that their work is valuable or useful for the community as a whole. I think most marketers, spammers, and propagandists do jobs whose usefulness for community is questionable (and also mafia bosses, casino owners, tobacco manufacturers, etc). They also tend to justify their anti-piracy actions by saying "artists are losing money instead", not "we are losing money instead" (even if the artists earn only a tiny fraction of these money), so apparently people consider artists' work more valuable.

Obviously, marketing is useful for the person who hires a marketing specialist, and free market/free speech means that everyone is free to hire one.