[sclug] Payments and "rights"

Dickon Hood sclug at splurge.fluff.org
Sun Mar 16 22:08:16 UTC 2008

On Sun, Mar 16, 2008 at 21:22:20 +0000, mail at europa.demon.co.uk wrote:
: On Sunday 16 March 2008 17:01:35 you wrote:
: > On Sun, Mar 16, 2008 at 01:40:47 +0000, mail at europa.demon.co.uk wrote:
: > : As a "rodney" (please retract that if we are to continue any discussion)
: > : I understand "licensing" perfectly well, I simply consider it morally and
: > : ethically wrong, and I can inform you that copyright is not required for
: > : Free Software, it is merely a mechanism (the "copyright hack" to turn it
: > : into copyleft) which we use under the current legal system that
: > : recognises copyright to enable Free Software in the society we live in
: > : today.

: > That software -- or, as you've stated *anything* copyrightable --
: > television programme, film, book, or recording, was not produced for
: > nothing: it takes resources to produce all of these things.

: > Is it not morally and ethically right to allow the entity which spent
: > those resources some mechanism to recover those costs?  Surely it isn't
: > ethical to deny a writer or a filmmaker the fruits of their labour?

: There is no absolute right to expect payment because you've worked
: hard... The question is what the market value of the work done might be.
: And if you produced something which was not of value... hope you have a
: second job!

That's quite true, however my software, by dint of being useful, has a
value to someone, and they're willing to pay me for it.  I can enforce
that payment by means of copyright.  What I don't understand is why you
have an issue with that.

Clearly my software has value, or people wouldn't pay for it.

: There is more I might say, I'm sorry, I'm momentarily distracted, I must
: catch a plane tomorrow morning, the economics of the whole thing is
: however fascinating and I'm in the process of writing about that.

: > There wouldn't be much left of the entertainment industries left if not.

: People have a certain amount of disposable income to spend on
: entertainment (much much less than the full retail price per instance x
: infringing copy made under current law.. do you doubt me?).

I don't doubt you.

: Do you think that in a free market, that clever entrepreneurs would not
: find a way to exploit what is available, and make money in the process?

They may well do, however that's not quite fair.  Writers, music-makers,
actors, and software engineers, in the main aren't clever entrepreneurs:
they depend on others doing the business side of things.  Mike Oldfield
gave an interview to the BBC recently (plugging some new album or other)
saying that he didn't have a clue about the finances to begin with, and
made a loss on the original Tubular Bells.

I don't doubt some clever entrepreneurs would make quite a lot of money
out of other people's creations.  Bill Gates has done quite well out of
QDOS, for example.

: It's so funny to me when people think I'm communist, when I'm proposing
: to abolish anti-competitive monopolies, and let the market find a
: solution!

There already is a solution, and it works.  I don't see the need to fiddle
with it, except to possibly reduce some of the terms.

: But I'm a bit tired tonight, I will write later in the week.


Dickon Hood

Due to digital rights management, my .sig is temporarily unavailable.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.  We apologise for the
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