Regulation

Be a Little Evil

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I should have quoted James Gibson's take on Google's settlement with the publishing industry when his article came out three weeks ago. But better late than never:

Google settled a controversial copyright case by agreeing to pay tens of millions in licensing fees to authors and publishers, with more to come….

[T]he settlement looks like a setback for Google. In the game of brinksmanship, Google blinked—losing its nerve like so many copyright defendants do. In reality, however, settling probably puts Google in a better position than it would have been if it had won its case in court.

Here's why: Google's concession has made it more difficult for anyone to invoke fair use for book searches. The settlement itself is proof that a company can pay licensing fees and still turn a profit. So now no one can convincingly argue that scanning a book requires no license. If Microsoft starts its own book search service and claims fair use, the courts will say, "Hey, Google manages to pay for this sort of thing. What makes you so special?"

By settling the case, Google has made it much more difficult for others to compete with its Book Search service. Of course, Google was already in a dominant position because few companies have the resources to scan all those millions of books. But even fewer have the additional funds needed to pay fees to all those copyright owners. The licenses are essentially a barrier to entry, and it's possible that only Google will be able to surmount that barrier.

Whether or not that's how the Google barons have been thinking about the subject, it's a fair description of the settlement's likely consequences. Once again, economic regulation—in this case copyright law—is serving as a barrier to entry, helping established companies at the expense of upstarts.

[Hat tip: Martin Morse Wooster.]

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  1. Reason #10^100 why copyright should be abolished.

  2. Once again, economic regulation — in this case copyright law — is serving as a barrier to entry, helping established companies at the expense of upstarts.

    One could say the same about private property rights. ie, if we libertarians got our dream of no more private-private transfers via ED, only gigantic corporations or organizations would be able to buy the land necessary to build large complexes in urban areas. Thus our commitment to private property is creating a barrier to entry.

  3. So Google offers a free service that would allow publishers to sell more books… and the publishers sue *bangs head on desk*.

  4. On plus side, it’s nice to know that a company can be younger than my godson and still be considered “established”.

  5. Reason #10^100 why copyright should be abolished.

    I suppose you think you have a right to make use of the work of others, who did the work expecting compensation for it, without compensating them. Here’s an idea: if you think it’s so damned easy to write a book that it deserves no compensation, you write the book yourself. If you think that’s too hard, then admit that you’re stealing the work of someone else.

  6. though, now that they’ve got this barrier against others in place, they may have secured some of the profits of this venture… this may mean that google will now invest much more in the irbook scanning effort…

  7. Of course the Google barons did this on purpose. They’d be fools if they didn’t. Google is no less or more evil than any other company. They’re a huge motherfucker who will use government regulation to their advantage when they can, as large businesses often do.

  8. Tulpa | November 24, 2008, 3:28pm | #
    Reason #10^100 why copyright should be abolished.

    I suppose you think you have a right to make use of the work of others, who did the work expecting compensation for it, without compensating them. Here’s an idea: if you think it’s so damned easy to write a book that it deserves no compensation, you write the book yourself. If you think that’s too hard, then admit that you’re stealing the work of someone else.

    It’s enough for me to point out that books still managed to get written when there was no expectation of compensation if someone else made use of it.

  9. So Google offers a free service that would allow publishers to sell more books… and the publishers sue *bangs head on desk*.

    You know, I hear this line from copyright opponents all the time. I call BS on it. I’ve never seen any evidence that a book being available in its entirety online increases sales of the physical books. Sure, I can see having short excerpts available for free could help sales, but it seems highly unlikely to me that many people will pay for something they can get for free. If that is the case, I’ve got to find these people so I can sell them Saddam Hussein’s skull from when he was a baby.

    Not to mention the fact that even if that were true, that doesn’t negate the rights of publishers to control the use of their works. Stupidity doesn’t abrogate property rights.

  10. Warren | November 24, 2008, 3:16pm | #
    Reason #10^100 why copyright should be abolished.

    Win!!

    /mathgeek

  11. It’s enough for me to point out that books still managed to get written when there was no expectation of compensation if someone else made use of it.

    Not nearly as many books as are written now. True, wealthy gentlemen with other sources of income could sit back and write books…but how many potential authors were unable to pursue their talents in those days, because they had to do some other work in order to survive? Talk about creating barriers to entry!

  12. @Tulpa:

    “I’ve never seen any evidence that a book being available in its entirety online increases sales of the physical books.”

    For copyrighted works, they don’t let you see the whole book. Try it yourself and prove me wrong. You can only read in full abandonware and public domain stuff.

    “Not to mention the fact that even if that were true, that doesn’t negate the rights of publishers to control the use of their works. Stupidity doesn’t abrogate property rights.”

    This is my opinion, and it may not mean much to you, but you can only own what you can fence in and put into a bottle. You cannot own what you cannot physically defend.

  13. Jesse Walker,

    would you have been able to write your various books if you weren’t paid for your work? It does strike me as ironic that Reason writers, whose livelihoods are entirely dependent on copyright laws, rail against them in such a manner.

  14. I’ve never seen any evidence that a book being available in its entirety online increases sales of the physical books.


    Uhh, Tulpa I suggest you do some cursory research before typing.

    Google’s plan, and execution thereof, was to scan the book and make it searchable. A small snippet, relating to the searcher’s query is available and shown (similar to the 30 second clip on iTunes).
    If the book is still in copyright, then links to purchase the book are presented (netting Google advertising revenue).
    If however the books are out of copyright, then a link to download the book is presented, making it far more accessible than a molding copy in a library thousands of miles away from the searcher.
    It is a win-win, at least it was until some copyright lawyers saw dollar signs.

  15. Drat the lack of closing italics. Preview should be my friend.

  16. This is my opinion, and it may not mean much to you, but you can only own what you can fence in and put into a bottle. You cannot own what you cannot physically defend.

    OK, you’re entitled to your opinion. However, you should be aware that were our society to take that position, there would be far less intellectual work going on, because no one would be paid for such work. Comparisons to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment are inapt, because (a) copying was very difficult in those times, and (b) much intellectual work was financed by nobles and wealthy churchmen who got their wealth by very unlibertarian methods, to say the least.

  17. would you have been able to write your various books if you weren’t paid for your work? It does strike me as ironic that Reason writers, whose livelihoods are entirely dependent on copyright laws, rail against them in such a manner.

    My livelihood has virtually nothing to do with copyright laws. And everything I’ve ever written for reason (and a great deal of what I’ve written for other venues, including my book) can be read on the Web for free.

  18. Kwix,

    I wasn’t aware of that. Still, however, I believe copyright holders have the right to be stupid with their copyrights. Just because I leave my lawnmower out in the yard to rust over the winter doesn’t give you the right to come over without my permission and put it in your shed, even though you may actually be helping to preserve my property for next year.

  19. If however the books are out of copyright, then a link to download the book is presented, making it far more accessible than a molding copy in a library thousands of miles away from the searcher.

    This is a red herring. No one is questioning the legality of Google doing as it pleases with uncopyrighted work.

  20. Tulpa | November 24, 2008, 3:51pm | #
    Just because I leave my lawnmower out in the yard to rust over the winter doesn’t give you the right to come over without my permission and put it in your shed, even though you may actually be helping to preserve my property for next year.

    False analogy. This is the argument you use for books with expired copyrights, in which the book may be replicated in its entirety, which is not the subject of the lawsuit (as I see you noted in your second post to me).
    The better analogy would be that you have a slightly used lawnmower, plus a few new ones of the same model you wish to sell. I, being the helpful neighbor, take a couple of photographs of it to help sell your surplus and make a small bird-dogging fee in the process. Sure, I did it without your explicit permission but photographing a lawnmower is not the same as counterfeiting it. I am not selling copies of your lawnmower, I am directing people to you who want to buy your lawnmower.

  21. Tulpa | November 24, 2008, 3:51pm | #
    I wasn’t aware of that.

    Yeah, little details like “wholesale copying” vs. “fair use” are what this lawsuit hinged upon. Why bother making the distinction?

  22. Kwix, I was misled by Jesse’s assertion that “copyright law is creating barriers to entry”. If what google is doing is fair use, it is the misapplication of copyright law that is creating barriers to entry, not the law itself.

    And considering the “get rid of copyright” knee jerk response stories such as this draw from many folks round these parts, I felt it necessary to address the more general issue.

  23. “OK, you’re entitled to your opinion. However, you should be aware that were our society to take that position, there would be far less intellectual work going on, because no one would be paid for such work. Comparisons to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment are inapt, because (a) copying was very difficult in those times, and (b) much intellectual work was financed by nobles and wealthy churchmen who got their wealth by very unlibertarian methods, to say the least.”

    There would be plenty of intellectual work going on. There would be more live performances as opposed to canned works. People would still write, as you can see by all the free blogs out there who make money mostly on ads. Authors would perform their books live, and be encouraged to write more books instead of clinging onto a single successful novel. The notion that you sit on your duff and make money doing nothing from ideas is a recent phenomenon. Why should artists be able to hide behind lawyers and no longer *work*?

    Also, you’d still be able to own something like Michaelangelo’s David, and it’s difficult to reproduce even in today’s time. So what if people are reproducing lesser versions of it without my permission, I’d still have the real thing in all its marblicious glory. In fact, it would be free advertisement so people would pay to see the real thing.

    Books and CD’s would become merchandise to push the real product: the actual artist, a means to an end.

  24. Kwix, my analogy is not more applicable to uncopyrighted works, which are no longer the intellectual property of the rights-holders. Even after it rusts out, the lawnmower is still my property to dispose of as I wish.

    As for your analogy, you can’t cut a single blade of grass with a picture of a lawnmower. But you can get the same information and enjoyment from an online copy of a book as you would from the book itself. So it is your analogy that is inapt.

  25. Also, to actually enforce all copyright laws we have now, you’d need a totalitarian surveillance state to keep track of every single copy of everything. At the moment we simply have selective enforcement. Don’t like somebody? Just sue them for copyright infringement. You’ll find a violation eventually. In fact this is what Scientologists do to silence their critics.

  26. I’ve never seen any evidence that a book being available in its entirety online increases sales of the physical books.

    Ask Jim Baen. They’ve been doing it for a while, and apparently it does increase sales of the back catalog.

  27. There would be more live performances as opposed to canned works. People would still write, as you can see by all the free blogs out there who make money mostly on ads.

    If you don’t like canned works, and are perfectly content to read only blogs that are ad-supported, why do you give a rat’s ass about copyright? This is my problem with copyright opponents: they elevate the things that are free already, and denigrate the very things they demand. If you think the RIAA and Hollywood produce nothing but crap, why do you even want it?

    Authors would perform their books live, and be encouraged to write more books instead of clinging onto a single successful novel.

    How nice of you to make that decision for them! Do you know how much work it requires to produce a successful novel? Didn’t think so.

    The notion that you sit on your duff and make money doing nothing from ideas is a recent phenomenon. Why should artists be able to hide behind lawyers and no longer *work*?

    Good question…but it brings up another one: why should you be able to make use of their work without compensating them?

  28. Don’t like somebody? Just sue them for copyright infringement. You’ll find a violation eventually.

    This won’t work. Only the holder of the copyright can sue for copyright infringement. The Scientologists’ behavior in this arena is despicable indeed — though they’ve lost several cases on fair use grounds. But that doesn’t invalidate copyright, any more than Starbucks charging for water on 9/11 invalidates property rights.

  29. “This won’t work. Only the holder of the copyright can sue for copyright infringement.”

    Third parties routinely sue for copyright infringement. Note all the cases suing people for downloading Britney Spears MP3’s. Rarely will you see the actual artist or even the record company filing the suit.

  30. Whether or not that’s how the Google barons have been thinking about the subject, it’s a fair description of the settlement’s likely consequences.

    With the quality of business talent they’ve hired, I would be shocked if this didn’t come up. It may not be a driver, but at the very least, it’s come up as a silver lining.

  31. The copyright hawks refuse to believe that copyrights were only inserted into the Constitution as a utilitarian measure while private property rights are considered sacrosanct. They don’t want to admit that fact because they can’t explain how the pursuit of property is inalienable, yet copyright is merely to “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” They can’t explain why copyright is limited in duration, while real property is limited only by statute of perpetuities. They can’t explain why in the U.S., copyright has little or no Droit Morale, yet the idea that a person can’t control their own real property is patently absurd.

    They are so far up Hollywood’s ass that they think it should dictate how a culture expresses itself. They’ll presume without any real support that the absence of payment for a work under the copyright model would lead to the end of all creative and scholarly work. It just doesn’t add up.

  32. Also I have yet to see anybody disagree with my reasoning: if you cannot defend the ownership of non-physical property through physical means, then a state cannot be justified in doing the same on your behalf.

  33. They are so far up Hollywood’s ass that they think it should dictate how a culture expresses itself.

    Er, if you’re referring to me, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hollywood’s inability to dictate culture expression is due more to the modern availability of alternatives to Hollywood, rather than the ability of people to illegally download Hollywood movies. Again, I fail to understand why someone who hates Hollywood would want their product so!

    They’ll presume without any real support that the absence of payment for a work under the copyright model would lead to the end of all creative and scholarly work. It just doesn’t add up.

    I wouldn’t say ALL creative work would disappear, just the vast majority of it. Apparently the Founding Fathers thought so, too. Why else would they have given copyright power to Congress in order to promote intellectual progress?

    Those of you yearning for the Renaissance model of intellectual property law should compare the rate of creative output during those times to that of today.

  34. Also I have yet to see anybody disagree with my reasoning: if you cannot defend the ownership of non-physical property through physical means, then a state cannot be justified in doing the same on your behalf.

    I disagree with that assertion (it’s not reasoning). You realize this would imply that the state cannot punish someone for hacking into your bank account and withdrawing funds, as you can’t physically defend your bank account.

  35. egosumabbas,

    Usually the artist doesn’t own the copyright to their own works. I’m reasonably sure that to get a major label recording contract, the artist has to assign the copyrights to the label. Look at the back of a CD of your favorite artist. It doesn’t say “Copyright Elvis Costello”. It says “Copyright Universal Records, Inc.” or something to that effect.

    And I have to say you are flat-out wrong that third parties can sue for infringement. You must own the copyright alleged to be infringed before you can file suit.

  36. Setting aside whether or not copyright is good or bad, there are serious problems in the current enforcement of copyright.

    First, is the brute force that wealthy copyright holders are using to suppress fair use. Most people don’t have the resources to fight back when Bastards-R-Us, Inc. threatens to sue them for infringement. I am seriously disappointed that Google didn’t take this to court to help define the boundaries of fair use.

    The second problem is statutory damages, where Bastards-R-Us, Inc. can threaten six figure penalties without showing any actual damages due to an infringement. This is a classic example of wealth buying favorable legislation. This is the cudgel that makes the first problem so bad for anyone that Bastards-R-Us, Inc. decides to target for a suit.

  37. if you cannot defend the ownership of non-physical property through physical means, then a state cannot be justified in doing the same on your behalf.

    This would pretty much rule out any intangible property. I’m not sure how I would defend my partial, undivided ownership interest in a company, or that company’s unsecured debt to me.

  38. “Those of you yearning for the Renaissance model of intellectual property law should compare the rate of creative output during those times to that of today.”

    You’ve never been to the Vatican, have you?
    Florence?
    It’s called “Renaissance” for a reason.

    Even the medieval period farted out a constant stream of high-quality art, and they were arguably an anarcho-capitalist society (according to Hoppe anyway).

  39. Ok, let’s go with the copyright hawk’s belief that copyright should be defended like a patent. Why should a copyright last longer, by decades, than a patent?

  40. Tulpa, I didn’t really read the comments section, but there’s always somebody arguing that copyright is no different than land, and that the industries that make money from government protection couldn’t possibly find another way to make money.

    Additionally, you misunderstood or I misstated what I meant by Hollywood’s ability to dictate how we communicate. I didn’t mean that Hollywood is the communication. I meant that Hollywood’s lawyers have defined the copyright debate. You’ve said a few times that you don’t understand why people who hate Hollywood would want their products! It would be helpful if you would analytically separate the activities of those who copy movies and Hollywood’s lobbying apparatus.

    “I wouldn’t say ALL creative work would disappear, just the vast majority of it. Apparently the Founding Fathers thought so, too. Why else would they have given copyright power to Congress in order to promote intellectual progress?”

    They believed it to be a necessary evil to jump start America, which was a backwards country. Nevertheless, I appreciate your point of view. I’m not in favor of abolishing copyright. But let’s recognize that it is not like real property, and that nobody has an inalienable right to be paid for their ideas or expressions. The government grants them such a right as a useful tool. By contrast, property rights are at the very foundation of our society.

  41. I will agree with kinnath that there are problems with current enforcement of copyright. The fundamental problem, without which the others would be tolerable, is the ever-growing duration of copyright (thanks Disney!). Were copyrights still only in effect for 20 years, you wouldn’t have the situation you have now where very few creative works from the past 100 years can be used without untangling a mess of red tape.

    But, again that doesn’t invalidate the utility and justice of copyright law in principle.

  42. “This would pretty much rule out any intangible property. I’m not sure how I would defend my partial, undivided ownership interest in a company, or that company’s unsecured debt to me.”

    That’s why unsecured debts are risky business. And a company is a creation of the state, much like copyright. It is useful, but there is certainly no inalienable right to incorporate.

  43. But let’s recognize that it is not like real property, and that nobody has an inalienable right to be paid for their ideas or expressions. The government grants them such a right as a useful tool. By contrast, property rights are at the very foundation of our society.

    I think; therefore, I am.

    I believe intellectual property is more important than physical property and that I have an innate right to own it.

    That being said, the current set of laws governing intellectual property are a travesty.

  44. “Ok, let’s go with the copyright hawk’s belief that copyright should be defended like a patent. Why should a copyright last longer, by decades, than a patent?”

    I wouldn’t play the utilitarian game, too much wiggle room, so you’ll never get the answer you’ll want. Though, Steamboat Willy tends to be involved in it somehow.

    I can’t get a rational refutation of my moral reasoning against copyright beyond “ZOMG THERE WOULD BE LESS ART!”

  45. You’ve never been to the Vatican, have you? Florence? It’s called “Renaissance” for a reason.

    Yes, and it represents centuries worth of work. Our modern society produces similar amounts of intellectual work in a day or so.

  46. Tulpa,

    I agree that copyright has a place, but the term length is ridiculous.

    Think of it this way. We are making a purchase of an artist’s labor to make creative works. The deal is that if the artist makes a creative work, we’ll give the artist a monopoly over the distribution of his work for a limited time. When the monopoly expires, everyone will be able to build upon that work, use it as they see fit, etc.

    The question is “are we getting a good bargain?”. I think the answer is a very obvious “no”. Who really believes that before the last term extension in 1998 that artists were withholding their works because a term of their life plus 50 years wasn’t enough of a deal for them?

    I have no data in front of me, but a shot-in-the-dark guess is that most audio or video media makes about 95% of its revenue 5 years from the date of release. How many copies of Pain by the Ohio Players as sold last year? Not too many, I’d bet.

  47. I can’t get a rational refutation of my moral reasoning against copyright beyond “ZOMG THERE WOULD BE LESS ART!”

    And I can’t get you to answer whether you have no prob with someone hacking into your bank account and withdrawing funds electronically! Or have you devised some way to physically defend the electrons in your bank’s web servers?

  48. “I believe intellectual property is more important than physical property and that I have an innate right to own it.”

    If that is the case, how do you (not the government) defend the right for your idea to be only contained in your own head? Do you start drilling holes in people’s heads until they stop thinking the same thoughts you are thinking without your permission? I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but how do you defend something with meat-force that does not exist in meat-space?

  49. If that is the case, how do you (not the government) defend the right for your idea to be only contained in your own head?

    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.
    Copyright does not cover ideas.

  50. Nathan A Smith, I agree. Unfortunately the phrase “limited Times” in the relevant part of the constitution has been interpreted by SCOTUS to allow any finite amount of time as a copyright duration. One wonders why Congress hasn’t just extended the term to a trillion years and gotten it over with.

    I don’t think the framers intended for such a situation to occur. Then again, they lived in a time when it was very expensive and time-consuming to copy intellectual work, so they probably couldn’t anticipate how much money would be at stake in this stuff.

  51. . . . but how do you defend something with meat-force that does not exist in meat-space?

    Cover bands play other peoples music all the time. This is allowed by copyright.

    Recording those performances and distributing the recordings would infringe the original copyright. The recordings and the distribution of the recodings all exist in meat space.

  52. “And I can’t get you to answer whether you have no prob with someone hacking into your bank account and withdrawing funds electronically! Or have you devised some way to physically defend the electrons in your bank’s web servers?”

    Money is fungible. It physically exists upon command and you cannot copy it (well, unless you’re Henry Paulson or Ben Bernanke). Putting it into a bank is no different than me locking into a box and burying it. It still exists even if it has (temporarily) been entered into a computer.

    Though you are correct. The money is no longer truly mine, though I have entered a contract with the bank so that we have an understanding: our “fences” are linked so to speak. It is still mine as long as the bank is solvent and able to respect my contract. That is the risk I take.

    Music however can be copied, converted, remixed, transposed, performed… The only physical manifestation of it is a physical record or sheet music. Those you can defend.

    Say I memorized the song and reproduced it onto my own sheet music, it would no longer be in your control, I could fence it in, and it would then become my property.

  53. Say I memorized the song and reproduced it onto my own sheet music, it would no longer be in your control, I could fence it in, and it would then become my property.

    A copy is a copy is a copy is a copy . . .

    An infringement, however, is supposed to involve actual damages (regardless of what Bastards-R-Us, Inc. might think).

  54. Money is fungible. It physically exists upon command

    Really? I don’t seem to be able to command it to physically exist. Maybe I’m not saying the command right.

    Putting it into a bank is no different than me locking into a box and burying it. It still exists even if it has (temporarily) been entered into a computer.

    Ah, but it is different. It remains physically defensible when you bury it. Not so if it exists only as bytes in a computer record. And you’ve asserted that physical defensibility is necessary for something to be considered property worthy of govt defense.

  55. “Cover bands play other peoples music all the time. This is allowed by copyright.”

    No, I think its just covered by ASCAP/BMI royalty payments so nobody thinks about it.

  56. I’ve never seen any evidence that a book being available in its entirety online increases sales of the physical books.

    Baen Free Library

  57. No, I think its just covered by ASCAP/BMI royalty payments so nobody thinks about it.

    One of two answers. If you buy the sheet music your covered. Or it doesn’t matter because it’s fair use. I do not actually know the answer, so I may have over reached in my earlier post

  58. “Money is fungible. It physically exists upon command

    Really? I don’t seem to be able to command it to physically exist. Maybe I’m not saying the command right.”

    Don’t be obtuse. You go up to a teller and ask for it. command -> money.

  59. “Ah, but it is different. It remains physically defensible when you bury it. Not so if it exists only as bytes in a computer record. And you’ve asserted that physical defensibility is necessary for something to be considered property worthy of govt defense.”

    We’ve covered this already. You’re giving your money to the bank. It is now theirs. You only get your money back because you’ve signed a contract with the bank and you have a mutual understanding. They could of course, refuse to give your money if they’ve had a run. That’s the risk you take.

  60. You only get your money back because you’ve signed a contract with the bank and you have a mutual understanding.

    I’ll tangentially note the interesting fact that most people who want to completely abolish copyrights, even libertarians, are utterly against EULAs and other contractual agreements not to redistribute a producer’s works.

  61. Tulpa, you have my sympathy, here. I’ve given up on IP discussions out of disgust for both sides after trying to argue a moderate, pro-fair use, pro-copyright position fairly close to yours.

  62. Once again, economic regulation — in this case copyright law — is serving as a barrier to entry, helping established companies at the expense of upstarts.

    See, this comment I entirely agree with. But when Roderick Long attempted to go from this to claim that economic regulation always leads to fewer actors and more centralization, I had to demur. Sometimes the established incumbents are many in number and locally based. Sometimes economic regulation is a barrier to entry to globalization, centralization, and economies of scale. See (previous) branch banking regulations, car dealership regulations, no-sale-on-Sunday regulations in Germany, no-excessive-discount sales in Germany, and a host of other regulations.

    I realize that some anarcho-capitalist libertarians want to believe that in the absence of regulation, there would always be more entrants. I suspect that in many cases it would be a mix. Take radio– fewer regulations would probably mean more tiny start-your-own stations, but it would probably mean more owned&operated national networks instead of locally owned corporate Top40 stations as well.

  63. I think something that we’re all missing in these comments is the fact that copyright, supposedly a utilitarian tool, has the effect of reducing competition.

  64. Yes, and it represents centuries worth of work. Our modern society produces similar amounts of intellectual work in a day or so.

    Lets compare quality, not quantity.

  65. Eric,

    Tulpa, you have my sympathy, here. I’ve given up on IP discussions out of disgust for both sides after trying to argue a moderate, pro-fair use, pro-copyright position fairly close to yours.

    I am willing to discuss a position like that once FIRST the pro-copyright side reverts all copyrights back to the length they were when originally copyrighted, publicly domaining a bunch of shit. Until then, Im in favor or burning the system down and starting over.

    You first though.

    The PRO side has to take the first tiny step before Im willing to discuss anything.

  66. Robc, you quote two sentences of mine.

    I invite you to re-read the second one slowly and carefully.

  67. Eric,

    I read it carefully. I said I will discuss that with you after you have PASSED INTO LAW what I want as a miniumum good faith first step.

  68. I read it carefully.

    Insufficiently so.

    Also, keep in mind that you and I are not negotiating. I’m not passing shit into law on behalf of anyone.

    I’ll leave you to figure it out.

  69. Tulpa, you have my sympathy, here. I’ve given up on IP discussions out of disgust for both sides after trying to argue a moderate, pro-fair use, pro-copyright position fairly close to yours.

    Se, that’s your problem, hemibee. Get back to me when you can formulate an extremist pro-fair-use/pro-copyright position.

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