Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


(Private) Big Brother Trolls the Internet

IP Bots roam the Internet searching for malfeasance. Just imagine if such efforts were directed for social goods. Delaney, Kevin J. 2006. "Copyright Tool Will Scan Web For Violations." Wall Street Journal (18 December): p. B 1. "Privately held Attributor Corp. of Redwood City, Calif., has begun testing a system to scan the billions of pages on the Web for clients' audio, video, images and text -- potentially making it easier for owners to request that Web sites take content down or provide payment for its use. The start-up, which was founded last year and has been in "stealth" mode, is emerging into the public eye today, at a time when some media and entertainment companies' frustration with difficulties identifying infringing uses of their content online is increasing. The problem has intensified with the proliferation and increasing usage of sites such as Google Inc.'s YouTube, which lets consumers post video clips."


This is not quite as bad as it may seem.

It still exhibits evidence on the part of the infringement prosecutor's clients that they haven't quite grokked the Internet.

It's like a famous person requiring the removal or payment for all photos of them throughout the web. All they'll end up doing is removing themselves into obscurity leaving the field open for those unconcerned by the revenue 'lost' through fame.

If you create a device that adds friction to information, you don't generate revenue, you devalue the information, and lose revenue from market alienation and decreased promotion.

A lawyer with a far better grasp of friction and copyright is Lawrence Lessig who long ago realised that if you create a device to remove friction from information you increase its value, and gain revenue from increased promotion. This mechanism is the assortment of Creative Commons licenses. This perversely confuses people into thinking that it is copyright that enables the granting of liberty, but that's another matter. The point is, that each member of the audience is more valuable than each copy, and the audience values the artist far more than they value the publisher.

The only benefit an infringement detection device will have to society is in hastening the demise of those who believe the public does not deserve liberty to enjoy, share, and build upon public works.

Excellent comment, Crosbie.

My first thought was to wonder if these bots will respect robots.txt. Something tells me the answer is "no." While "they" would be outraged if Google ignored robots.txt, I'm sure "they" think it's just fine since they are the good guys.

But as Crobie points out, it's all for the better if they want to hide their pearls instead of letting us swine wallow with them.

(off-topic for this post), have you seen this GAO report on patenting:

A report by the General Accounting Office concludes that current patent law discourages drug companies from developing new drugs by allowing them to make excessive profits through minor changes to existing pharmaceuticals.

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