September 22nd, 2004

Brainiac

RB:

I'd like you to perform an exercise in selective attention. Forget every other consideration — even though they're fair and important considerations — and see if you can acknowledge that a world in which everyone has free access to every work of creativity in the world is a better world. Imagine your children could listen to any song ever created anywhere. What a blessing that would be!

Let me stress that I am not arguing for free music, for no copyright, for not paying artists. I am only pointing to a value that should influence the discussion of how to pay for music, how long copyright should hold, and how artists should be supported.

Distinguish works from effects. Artists should be compensated if we reproduce their bits outside our home. Not pay-per-view or even pay-per-bit. But tying compensation to the moving of bits like bikes makes sense. But loosen up the strictures on how we appropriate works of art. Ease up on the copyright insanity; you've really gone overboard with that one. End the war on your customers. That's not just evil, it's bad business. Let us do what we want with your bits in our own homes. In the US, don't support the Broadcast Flag. Let us appropriate creative works because that's what it means to be a creative work. Keep fair use as the norm and compensated use as the exception.
Brainiac

RB:

We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work - after all, we would've never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.

Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We like our customers. We don't treat them like potential criminals, and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people want.

We saw that you were old and weak. So we took advantage of it: told you things that you wanted to hear so we could kick you in the head in twenty years.

[ed: More research. Read and comment on the bloody story, because these RB posts are only here for myself, and are only temporary anyway.]