Christian Engström, Pirat

22 augusti 2011

Falkvinge: ”Nobody Asked For A Refrigerator Fee”

Filed under: Copyright Reform,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 13:53

When technological progress made the icemen obsolete, nobody demanded special laws to keep them in business

Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge has written a column at TorrentFreak where he explains the basics of how a market economy works to any record company executives who are struggling to keep their now obsolete business model alive.

He compares it to what happened when the electric refrigerator made the iceman obsolete, and the ice delivery companies they had worked for disappeared:

We’re now seeing a repeat of this scenario, but where the distribution industry — the copyright industry — has the audacity to stand up and demand special laws and say that the economy will collapse without their unnecessary services. But we learn from history, every time, that it is good when an industry becomes obsolete. That means we have learned something important — to do things in a more efficient way. New skills and trades always appear in its wake.

Read Falkvinge’s column at TorrentFreak

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20 kommentarer

  1. ”But we learn from history, every time, that it is good when an industry becomes obsolete”

    I think that the icemen comparison is obsolete and by doing that comparison the Swedish Pirate Party is – obsolete.

    Ice is no invention. Music, movies, books and software requires work and skills to create, produce etc. Composers, movie makers, authors and programmers are not obsolete but they may be that in the future if the pirates will make it impossible to earn money.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 22 augusti 2011 @ 18:04

  2. @Nejtillpirater
    Classic.
    I’ll give you 2 points out of 5 for focusing on something it wasn’t about.
    It’s not about ICE, it’s about DELIVERING the ice.
    But sure, keep on grasping at straws.

    Answer this though. do you want a free market ? if you do, then by definition you do not want special laws to keep an industry alive.
    So, how about it, are you against a free market economy ?

    (not going to hold my breath waiting for an answer)

    Kommentar av Jay — 22 augusti 2011 @ 21:16

  3. @ nejtillpirater

    I think that the icemen comparison is obsolete and by doing that comparison the Swedish Pirate Party is – obsolete.

    What you think is one thing, what you can argue for is another. Nothing in your second paragraph supports your odd ”one group is obsolete because of one comparison (from one individual) which I personally think is obsolete”-logic. Not only is that paragraph completely irrelevant to your first paragraph, but to the entire blog post as well.

    Ice is no invention.(…)

    Highly irrelevant due to the discussing being about distribution and not inventing.

    (…)Music, movies, books and software requires work and skills to create, produce etc.(…)

    So does mostly all products being sold, so highly irrelevant once again.

    Composers, movie makers, authors and programmers are not obsolete but they may be that in the future if the pirates will make it impossible to earn money.

    Considering the fact that you can sell water, the substance that covers about 70% of our planet, on bottle here in the west, there’s no reason to question people’s buying power when it comes to things which enriches their lives. The research that has been done in this area supports this view. What really makes your argument highly irrelevant for the third time is that nothing the pirates or the Pirate Party do or propagates will make it impossible to earn money on digital goods.

    Kommentar av professor — 22 augusti 2011 @ 22:28

  4. @Jay

    ”Answer this though. do you want a free market ? if you do, then by definition you do not want special laws to keep an industry alive.
    So, how about it, are you against a free market economy ?”

    Yes I do want a free market. A free and LEGAL market. It doesn’t matter to me at all if CD pressers or record stores become obsolete. Or if newspapers, magazines and books will be digital only, leading to a number of people getting out of work, making their profession obsolete. But I do mind about artists and authors working hard to earn money while getting ”robbed” by pirates that wants access to their work for free.

    Shoplifting is the market for shoplifters, they may think of it as a free market. The rest of us think of it as an illegal ”market”.

    A seller and a buyer gives you a market. A seller and a thief does not. A seller and a freeloader does not.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 23 augusti 2011 @ 6:04

  5. @professor

    ”Ice is no invention.(…)

    Highly irrelevant due to the discussing being about distribution and not inventing.”

    Pirates want to reduce the problem to be about distribution only. It’s not, it’s also about the copyright owners right to decide if and when and in what form and to what cost their products are being sold. In the icemen example, the product is ice. There’s no copyright owner for ice, the example is indeed obsolete.

    ”What really makes your argument highly irrelevant for the third time is that nothing the pirates or the Pirate Party do or propagates will make it impossible to earn money on digital goods.”

    Not entirely impossible but it will make it extremely hard to earn money in the long run.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 23 augusti 2011 @ 6:10

  6. Interesting middleman analogy. Copyright industry rob creators and make the products more expensive for the consumer. The industry needs to adapt to new business models and develop digital services that people demand. There is no need for strict copyright legislation and special laws to enforce it. The good thing is that creators are starting to skip the unnecessary middleman step anyway. Strict copyright legislation won’t benefit anyone in the long run.

    Kommentar av Anonym — 23 augusti 2011 @ 9:19

  7. @nejtillpirater

    @professor

    ”Ice is no invention.(…)

    Highly irrelevant due to the discussing being about distribution and not inventing.”

    Pirates want to reduce the problem to be about distribution only. It’s not, it’s also about the copyright owners right to decide if and when and in what form and to what cost their products are being sold.

    Aren’t you aware that they do actually get to choice ”if and when and in what form and to what cost their products are being sold” even after a reform in line with the Pirate Party´s vision? That right isn’t under scrutiny, their distribution monopoly is however.

    (…) In the icemen example, the product is ice. There’s no copyright owner for ice, the example is indeed obsolete.

    Well that was the point, wasn’t it? Nobody cried a tear for the Icemen so they didn’t get monopoly rights to protect their obsolete business models. They didn’t get the right to limit people´s freedoms and rights just so they could be lazy and enjoy a monopoly situation.

    ”What really makes your argument highly irrelevant for the third time is that nothing the pirates or the Pirate Party do or propagates will make it impossible to earn money on digital goods.”

    Not entirely impossible but it will make it extremely hard to earn money in the long run.

    I refer to the part of my text that you omitted from your quote:

    ”Considering the fact that you can sell water, the substance that covers about 70% of our planet, on bottle here in the west, there’s no reason to question people’s buying power when it comes to things which enriches their lives. The research that has been done in this area supports this view.”

    What people want is simplicity. If you can offer them a service or a product that will help them save time and efforts, you will get their attention. Add value to your products and with the right business model you will also be able to sell them. If you can sell water in our part of the world, you can certainly sell digital goods.

    Kommentar av professor — 23 augusti 2011 @ 9:34

  8. @ nejtillpirater

    @Jay(…)Yes I do want a free market. A free and LEGAL market. (…)

    Can you stop with the strawman-arguments? Should you remove these obsolete monopoly laws the market would not be any less legal than today.

    (…)It doesn’t matter to me at all if CD pressers or record stores become obsolete. Or if newspapers, magazines and books will be digital only, leading to a number of people getting out of work, making their profession obsolete. But I do mind about artists and authors working hard to earn money while getting ”robbed” by pirates that wants access to their work for free.

    You are contradicting yourself here. You begin by saying that you don’t care if people are getting out of work because their business models becomes obsolete, just to turn 180 degrees in the end by stating that you do actually care that people (only artists?) struggle with earning money. Anyway, your robbery-example is completely irrelevant and divorced from reality.

    Shoplifting is the market for shoplifters, they may think of it as a free market. The rest of us think of it as an illegal ”market”.

    We are not talking about shoplifting here or anything remotely similar. Your argument is therefore highly irrelevant.

    A seller and a buyer gives you a market. A seller and a thief does not. A seller and a freeloader does not.

    It seems like you are making a habit of throwing around irrelevant arguments. The question given to you was not to define what gives you a market, but to answer whether you want a free market and how that fits with the current restrictions given by the copyright monopoly.

    Kommentar av professor — 23 augusti 2011 @ 10:01

  9. @professor

    I want the market to be free (and legal), I don’t want the market for free like pirates.

    Water is for free but people are willing to pay for getting clean water where they live. Ice is just cold water.
    Water and ice are very simple ”products”.

    Music, movies, books, software, computer games etc. requires a lot of work to produce, it’s not OK and also not legal to get a copy of that work for free. The market is between the seller and the buyer. Price too high – the market response is low sales. The producer can cut their costs or accept low sales. The buyer shall only consider if he/she wants the product to the offered price or not. This is how a free and legal market works. The pirates wants the products for free, the market for free, not a free market.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 23 augusti 2011 @ 15:54

  10. @ nejtillpirater

    I want the market to be free (and legal)(…)

    No. You want a monopoly on distribution, right? And please stop the nonsense about a legal market. It’s just a strawman-argument really. I enlightened you about this in my last comment. The market will be fully legal even after a ”pirate”-reform (according to their current manifest). Do you deny this simple fact?

    Water is for free but people are willing to pay for getting clean water where they live.

    Distribution of information, just as distribution of water, can either be free or not free. And people are buying water on bottle even though they have access to clean water. That is just a sidetrack.

    Music, movies, books, software, computer games etc. requires a lot of work to produce, it’s not OK and also not legal to get a copy of that work for free.

    It may not be ok according to your own personal moral, and what’s legal is completely irrelevant for this discussion. Many industrial revolutions that has made certain jobs obsolete has gotten rid of jobs that required ”a lot of work to produce”. You are once again coming here with non-arguments.

    (…) The market is between the seller and the buyer. Price too high – the market response is low sales. The producer can cut their costs or accept low sales. The buyer shall only consider if he/she wants the product to the offered price or not. This is how a free and legal market works.

    This is how the market will look after a ”pirate”-reform according to the manifest of The Pirate Party.

    (…) The pirates wants the products for free, the market for free, not a free market.

    People in general want things for as low cost as possible, ultimately for free. I would like to see you try and deny this simple fact. Nice strawman-argument there.

    The pirates want to get rid of this obsolete monopoly in an otherwise free market. They want these monopolists to adjust to the reality, just like other industries have to do. They don’t desire an arbitrary monopoly that is limiting human freedoms and rights, and that without any proof at all that this monopoly is needed to uphold the purpose of the copyright.

    Kommentar av professor — 23 augusti 2011 @ 16:35

  11. @professor

    ”I want the market to be free (and legal)(…)

    No. You want a monopoly on distribution, right?”

    Totally wrong. It’s not the distribution that is the problem, it’s the access.

    The creator needs to be able to control the access, to be able to get paid for all the work involved in the creation. It doesn’t matter in this case if the distribution cost is zero. There is no monopoly on distribution, the monopoly is about giving access to the creation and that access is limited by controlling the distribution and the production of copies of the original.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 23 augusti 2011 @ 18:44

  12. @nejtillpirater

    ”Ice is a simple product”? ”Ice has no owner”? Are you being dense here? We are talking about delivering ice in the middle of summer. Without access to refrigerators. You think that is simple to do? That you could just take the carefully stored ice without paying? Yes, you are being purposely dense.

    Your arguments are equally dense. ”It shouldn’t be allowed since it’s illegal”! Circular reasoning. Fail!

    Look, I want to be able to control the access to the air in the town where I live. Most of the molecules have probably been through my body at one time or another. And breathing is hard work. I demand control!

    Kommentar av Oldtimer — 23 augusti 2011 @ 23:21

  13. @ nejtillpirater

    @professor

    ”I want the market to be free (and legal)(…)

    No. You want a monopoly on distribution, right?”

    Totally wrong. It’s not the distribution that is the problem, it’s the access.

    So now you don’t want the monopoly on production and distribution that the copyright creates? But you still defend it?

    The creator needs to be able to control the access, to be able to get paid for all the work involved in the creation.(…)

    You can only control access to information to a point. When the information has been released to the public you would be a fool to think that you can control what people do with it. However, this doesn’t mean that the creator himself can’t make money with suitable business models though. People will pay for things that enhances their lives, that simplifies things, that provides faster results, or that in other ways add value to a reasonable price.

    The creator does certainly not need the power to deny people their human freedoms and rights, just because they irrationally believe that they have the right to own things that can’t be own, control things that can’t be controlled, and are too lazy to adapt to the reality and come up with modern business models.

    (…)It doesn’t matter in this case if the distribution cost is zero. There is no monopoly on distribution, the monopoly is about giving access to the creation and that access is limited by controlling the distribution and the production of copies of the original.

    It’s rather remarkable how well you are contradicting yourself here. You begin by saying that there’s no monopoly on distribution, just to turn 180 degree and state that the monopoly is about controlling the distribution and production of copies.

    The monopoly of copyright grants exclusive control over the production and distribution of copies.

    Kommentar av professor — 24 augusti 2011 @ 12:53

  14. nejtillpirater: Listen to yourself. You are arguing that the access to something has become ”too cheap” or ”too easy”, so that we must restrict it.

    Exactly the same argument could the icemen have made, and the tailors in the 1800s when they were being made obsolete by spinning jennys, and the manual labour in automobile factories, when we invented mass production (T-Fords which for the first time made it possible to produce cars cheap enough for almost anyone to buy).

    The question is, what would the world look like today, if those conservative people would have gotten such crazy claims through earlier in history? Then we would probably still be in pre-industrialized medieval times by now! Cars and even clothing would be a luxury that only the privileged could afford.

    Kommentar av ForskarGurra — 24 augusti 2011 @ 14:15

  15. @ForskarGurra

    Anyone can compose, produce and sell music, there is no monopoly to protect. The comparison with icemen or tailors doesn’t work, the ”copyright industry” have no problems with competition from other composers, movie makers etc. Not even from other distibuters.

    The icemen story only focuses on the distribution of something and that something is regarded as free to use. Like ice. But there’s a lot of work involved in composing and producing music, that’s why copyright is necessary and needs to be protected. You can’t reduce the value of music, a movie or a book to what the cost is for making a copy and distributing that copy to the consumer. You’re totally ignoring the value of the contents, that the user wants and that is accessed when music is played, when watching a movie or reading a book.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 24 augusti 2011 @ 22:04

  16. @ nejtillpirater

    @ForskarGurra
    Anyone can compose, produce and sell music, there is no monopoly to protect.(…)

    Are you sure that you are replying correctly here? ForskarGurra hasn’t even mentioned monopolies in his comment. So the question is, what monopoly are you referring to and what is the relevance to his comment?

    (…)The comparison with icemen or tailors doesn’t work, the ”copyright industry” have no problems with competition from other composers, movie makers etc. Not even from other distibuters.

    That doesn’t matter at all, because that wasn’t the point. See below.

    The icemen story only focuses on the distribution of something and that something is regarded as free to use. Like ice.(…)

    Like information…

    (…) But there’s a lot of work involved in composing and producing music, that’s why copyright is necessary and needs to be protected.(…)

    Are you serious? There are many things that require ”a lot of work” to create in our society (and being an iceman was certainly not a picnic). This is no argument whatsoever in favor of current copyright laws. You don’t get handed monopolies from the state just because there is ”a lot of work” behind your creations…

    (…)You can’t reduce the value of music, a movie or a book to what the cost is for making a copy and distributing that copy to the consumer. You’re totally ignoring the value of the contents, that the user wants and that is accessed when music is played, when watching a movie or reading a book.

    And stop with these lame strawman-arguments already. You are completely misrepresenting what ForskarGurra wrote. The point is that all those industries were hit by more modern technology that changed the playing field forever, with the difference that now some spoiled monopolists are doing whatever it takes to hold back the future.

    The reality is that the current copyright laws cannot be upheld without attacking human rights and freedoms. They cannot be upheld without creating a surveillance society unprecedented in history. They cannot be upheld while still respecting ordinary people´s private lives. The politicians know this, so they try to enforce their protection of these obsolete laws the back way, through hidden undemocratic trade agreements (ACTA).

    Kommentar av professor — 24 augusti 2011 @ 22:50

  17. @Pelle/Urban/nejtillpirater — 24 augusti 2011 @ 22:04

    > ”Anyone can compose, produce and sell music, there is no monopoly to protect.”

    Each intellectual work has a monopoly associated with it, that initially is privileged to the author. A monopoly that grants the copyright holder with a legislative exclusive right to manufacture copies of that particular intellectual work.

    This monopoly forbids all other people to manufacture their own copies of that particular work, something that they are fully capable of doing, with their own physical property, which the copyright monopoly therefore performs an intrusion into.

    This monopoly is the only thing that the filesharing debate is about, and the fact that hundreds of millions if filesharers disregard this monopoly on a regular basis, because they morally feel that it’s intrusion into their own physical property is unjust, and that the monopoly should be dismantled.

    These are indisputable facts about what economical mechanisms the copyright legislation provides to the copyright holder.

    Why are you denying these facts over and over again, that this monopoly exists, and in fact is an actual monopoly, that stands in the way of an actual free market, according to the correct use of these terms?

    This is the monopoly that you continuously argue is needed, although you, or the content industry, has never been able to submit any evidence to sustain this claim. These monopolies are exactly what the content industry is trying to protect, no matter what the cost.

    >”The comparison with icemen or tailors doesn’t work, the ”copyright industry” have no problems with competition from other composers, movie makers etc. Not even from other distibuters.”

    That’s exactly what they have a problem with, other distributors!? Anyone can manufacture and distribute these particular copies, but they want their monopoly upheld no matter what, and they are refusing to operate on a free market, where anyone can manufacture and distribute these copies. Again you are trying to deny the very core of the filesharing debate.

    > ”But there’s a lot of work involved in composing and producing music, that’s why copyright is necessary and needs to be protected.”

    The fact that a lot of work is involved is in no way any sort of evidence that the copyright monopoly actually is needed? It is no evidence that the monopoly works. It is no evidence that the monopolies intrusions into peoples property is proportionate, or that the cost of upholding this monopoly is proportionate.

    Just because you say so, is in no way any sorts of proof of that copyright is needed.

    > ”You can’t reduce the value of music, a movie or a book to what the cost is for making a copy and distributing that copy to the consumer.”

    Nobody is doing that? The value of the work, and the value of the copy are two separate things.

    > ”You’re totally ignoring the value of the contents, that the user wants and that is accessed when music is played, when watching a movie or reading a book.”

    No, nobody is doing that. No pirate denies that content has a value. But the fact that content has a value is not the same thing as that it is the value of the content consumers pay for, or that the single particular business model of manufacturing, distributing and selling copies has a value, or is a necessity for society, or that the copyright monopoly is needed.

    The fact that content has a value is what makes it possible to build up different business models around the use of that content. But it is never the content that you are selling. It is the added value of the individual business models product or service that the intellectual work is used in, that you are selling. It is therefore that value alone that is relevant, and not the value of the content.

    There are many different business models that you can use an intellectual work in, to try to get revenues. Using an intellectual work in the single particular business model of manufacturing, distributing and selling copies is only one of those many business models.

    But society doesn’t need that particular business model any longer, since it no longer adds any additional value. The reason for that is because the public can add that value themselves.

    Copyright is not, and has never been, about privileging the copyright holder with a right to demand what additional value the consumers must appreciate, accept and pay for. Copyright is not about forcing a particular business model on the consumer, when they in fact no longer require it.

    These are fundamental facts about what copyright is, and isn’t. We can easily prove this to you, in black and white.

    The only thing you do, and have done for over two years, is to continuously deny what copyright is, and it’s core purpose, even though it’s spelled out in plain English.

    You deny every single fundamental fact about how society works.
    You deny every single fundamental fact about in what direction legislation affects people.
    You deny every single fundamental fact about how legitimte legislation must be drafted.
    You deny every single fundamental fact about what copyright is.
    You deny every single fundamental fact about why society has copyright.
    You deny every single fundamental fact about which party copyright is suppose to benefit.
    You deny every single fundamental fact about the copyright monopoly, and what economical mechanisms it provides.

    And now you even deny what the debate is about.

    Are you trying to prove a point, by denying every available fundamental fact about absolutely everything relevant? The point being that you are completely lost, more now then ever before?

    If so, point taken. No doubt.

    Kommentar av Fredrika — 25 augusti 2011 @ 0:12

  18. Nejtillpirater: The work that has been done and is published is out there. That is the new practical reality.

    Like it or not.

    And that is a great opportunity for consumers to move the economic power from the labels to the artists and from the publishers to the writers. The only real way to ”protect” the creators is to give them control over the money directly.

    Then it is up to the artists and writers if they feel the need to pay any of the icemen of the copyright business for their ”help”.

    Kommentar av ForskarGurra — 25 augusti 2011 @ 11:21

  19. @ForskarGUrra

    ”And that is a great opportunity for consumers to move the economic power from the labels to the artists and from the publishers to the writers. The only real way to ”protect” the creators is to give them control over the money directly.”

    The creators already have control over the money but they are also free to sign contracts with anyone, exactly like plumbers, lawyers, doctors, circus artists etc. The buyer shall only consider if the price matches the value of the product – the value of listening to the music, watching the movie etc.

    ”Then it is up to the artists and writers if they feel the need to pay any of the icemen of the copyright business for their ”help””

    Already is. But in both cases, artists that do all work by themselves or artist signed up for a record company, they will be robbed by pirates that want their products for free.

    Kommentar av nejtillpirater — 25 augusti 2011 @ 18:39

  20. @Nejtillpirater:

    But you just can’t view it as a ”product”, since it isn’t a product anymore. Its copyable and redistributable for free – without any extra work needed – ergo it is not a product.

    Now, how hard was that to grasp? Can you copy an IPod, a car, a CD-case? Can you send it over the internet? No you can’t. There is no economical value in immaterial content as such, but only the service of producing the first copy and perhaps in some special cases distribution – where file sharing is not yet reliable enough (although that area is steadily declining, I think).

    The service of producing immateria that is bound in a product – sure – that may have a value for those selling that product. But yet again it is then the service which has that value. For instance – medical equipment needs software to run. A trip company needs artwork to market and sell their trips.

    In those cases these companies could hire a software developer or an artist to do their work and then the price would be bound in the product or service in the end. But if the software already existed or the artwork was already done – then it would be like paying for old work – since no new work is required to copy/distribute old software or old artwork.

    There is something repulsive about the idea that some people or industries should have the lawful privilege to claim money for old work – when others can’t. The copy right laws were ugly necessities earlier on – in the 1900s – when there was no other way than industrial scale production to bring music, all kinds of literature and art to the people and also no other way to pay the creators for it. Now, when both these two conditions are vastly different (file sharing and electronical microtransactions over the internet) we just have to wait for the copyright industry to die.

    The question is only – how many people can they afford to fuck with before that happens?🙂

    Kommentar av ForskarGurra — 25 augusti 2011 @ 19:53


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