Cory Doctorow, esteemed editor of BoingBoing, has made the case again that "intellectual property" is a wrong-minded idea -- You can't "own" knowledge, ideas or data:

"Intellectual property" is a silly euphemism

I've been making essentially this same argument since the early 1990s. The current system of copyright law is untenable, because it is based on the idea of "scarcity," just as traditional property law is. But when you can instantly make a perfect copy of something, without diminishing the original, then the idea of "property" just falls apart. There's no scarcity at all. This is why the music, movie and publishing industries have been scrambling to cope with an old business model that was built on scarcity, distribution and access control. But the rug has been pulled out from under this model by the Internet and computers. The law has just not yet caught up, and in the meantime, we get stupid videos that compare downloading movies to "stealing," and a lot of screaming about "pirates" and "theft."

Believe it or not, it wasn't just the Internet that started me thinking down this path: It was Star Trek: The Next Generation. Specifically, replicator technology. If you can make a perfect copy of an object, down to the molecule, what happens to the value of the original? The value given by scarcity is gone. Let's imagine that I make a perfect, down-to-the-molecule copy of the Mona Lisa, so that even an expert couldn't tell them apart. Have I diminished the value of the original? Isn't it the actual creative work that da Vinci put into it what makes it valuable, not the physical matter of the painting itself?

Mark my words, someday, when we invent perfect replicator technology, human beings are going to have this same argument over property rights.
MTV has declared 2007 to be "The year that the recording industry 'broke.'"

It's been a long time coming -- I've predicted for years that the recording industry in its current form (as well as the motion picture and publishing industries) would be put out of business by the Internet Revolution. The current business model of "scarcity" won't work when anyone can easily copy any work at any time -- and that's exactly what computers do: make fast, accurate copies. The business model for the recording industry has depended on the fact that you couldn't easily copy a song or album.

But those days are over. Just like the Gutenberg Press sparked an information revolution, and put all of the monastic scribes copying manuscripts out of business, today the people who make money off of controlling copies of music are facing the same extinction. The world has moved on, but the traditional recording industry isn't aware that it's already dead.

But it looks like MTV finally sees it.

Here's what Cory Doctorow had to say about it on BoingBoing:
MTV has a three part series on 2007, the Year that the Record Industry Broke, about the incredible missteps, boners, and idiocies that the recording industry scored in 2007, and the losses they suffered as a result. When MTV declares the record industry dead, you know there's something going on.
"October 16: Madonna finalizes a massive 10-year deal with Live Nation, believed to be worth $120 million. It's the largest so-called "360 deal" in history, involving not only Madge's future studio albums but her tours, merchandising, film and TV projects, DVD releases and music-licensing agreements. "For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited," Madonna says in a statement. "The possibilities are endless. Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future?" The deal brings to an end the singer's 25-year relationship with Warner Music Group, which has released all of her albums to date."
Notice that Madonna's now being brought to you by a concert promoter that makes most of its money by getting bums in seats. Every time a Madonna song is copied, it increases the market for her concerts. Talk about a 21st Century business model.
Good riddance, RIAA. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.


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