[FoRK] A FoRK at Cato

Mike Masnick < mike at techdirt.com > on > Sun Apr 30 13:38:55 PDT 2006

At 08:47 PM 4/28/2006 -0700, rudy rouhana wrote:
>When the PFF guy went after you for claiming his opinion was biased by the 
>organizations they represent - you should have drilled him on the 
>differences between Fair-use for other copyright works vs. digital works 
>under DMCA.  It's an expansion of copyright protection by subtraction of 
>the Fair-use choice from the purchasers of content - and it clearly caters 
>to specific industries.

Good point.  Though, the really amusing part is that I *didn't* claim his 
opinion was biased by the organizations PFF represents.  It was bizarre to 
me that he claimed that after I never once brought up who funds his 
organization (and if you look at all the posts on Techdirt that mention 
him... again, I never once have brought up the issue of who funds him).  It 
seemed he was so worried that I would bring it up, that he brought it up 
himself... To me, that says a lot...

Meanwhile, plenty of others have pointed out that who funds PFF certainly 
is relevant information.  However, to me, it's a lot less interesting than 
his actual points -- which were what I did focus on.

It was amazing to me that he would accuse me of not discussing the actual 
issues as a way of avoiding discussing the actual issues.  Afterwards, 
someone mentioned to me that's how Washington DC works.

>That said, I do agree with him that there doesn't need to be a dilution of 
>copyright protection just to accommodate an environment where reproduction 
>cost is zero.  Reproduction cost really isn't the issue, transaction costs 
>are.  The same technology that allows for zero reproduction cost can get 
>the transaction cost that manages the bundle of rights to approach zero as 
>well (less a reasonable fee, of course).  If you can handle rights 
>efficiently, for essentially no cost, then there is no reason to reduce them.

Hmm.  I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here.  My question is still 
where is the market failure that requires such added protection?  If you're 
a free market believer, then the only time you should want gov't 
intervention is in cases of market failure.  So, where's the market failure 
that requires such strict copyright law?  My point was I still haven't seen 
the proof of market failure.

And I guess I don't quite see the distinction you're discussing between 
reproduction and transaction costs.  In the case where reproduction costs 
are zero, then transaction costs are the same.  There is no transaction 
cost, because you're no longer selling anything...

In that scenario, it doesn't really matter what the rights are, only how 
they're used.

>I also completely disagree with what I believe I heard the law prof. say 
>when he mentioned that "amateurs" don't care about copyright.  That is 
>absolutely false from my experience.  Amateurs do care about copyright, 
>they just don't care to manage the transaction.

I think you may have taken his comment out of context... though I certainly 
won't speak for him.

However, my understanding was that he wasn't discussing "amateur" as in 
pre-professional, but amateur as in anyone.  Me writing this email for 
instance or you writing yours.  In that case, are you particularly 
concerned about the copyright on it?

>Of course, one might ask where is such a system to seamlessly manage 
>copyright of online content created on blogs, photo album sites, 
>etc.?  Like I said, press release this month ;)  I will say no more.

I'm assuming the press release you're talking about is different than the 
company you were named as being associated with in the attendee 
booklet?  Or do I have a head start?  :)

>Anyway, sorry I couldn't hook up with you.  I had to catch up with all the 
>free-marketeers afterwards and the crowd disbursed quickly as soon as the 
>food was done.

No worries.  I had to run out pretty quickly myself afterwards.

Mike 


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