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Piracy Rates Plummet As Legal Alternatives Come To Norway 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the fancy-that dept.
jones_supa writes "Entertainment industry groups in Norway have spent years lobbying for tougher anti-piracy laws, finally getting their way earlier this month. But with fines and site-blocking now on the agenda, an interesting trend has been developing. According to a new report published by Ipsos, between 2008 and 2012 piracy of movies and TV shows collapsed in Norway, along with music seeing a massive drop to less than one fifth of the original level. Olav Torvund, former law professor at the University of Oslo, attributes this to good legal alternatives which are available today (Google translation of Norwegian original). Of those questioned for the survey, 47% (representing around 1.7 million people) said they use a streaming music service such as Spotify. And of those, just over half said that they pay for the premium option."
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Piracy Rates Plummet As Legal Alternatives Come To Norway

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  • And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @05:58PM (#44303013)

    The industry will still try and spin this off as being a side effect of their anti-piracy push.

    • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:08PM (#44303147) Homepage Journal

      The industry will still try and spin this off as being a side effect of their anti-piracy push.

      The industry continues to have faith in their method of exterminating hornets by hitting them with a sledgehammer.

      The way the industry has behaved would make great fodder for heroes and villains series.

      • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @07:14PM (#44303857)

        The industry continues to have faith in their method of exterminating hornets by hitting them with a sledgehammer.

        It's been an effort to resist change, the problem for them has always been convenience! When the legal method is less convenient than the illegal method (particularly when the illegal method is widely available) people will most often choose the latter. The music industry and - later when higher bandwidth connections became mainstream - the film industry spent so much time fighting the internet rather than embracing it that the piracy culture went mainstream, their lack of vision created a mammoth task of now having to try reverse the effects of their ignorance...hardly trivial when that's also coupled with their dickish behavior toward piracy.

        The fact that things are changing is good for everybody but all the piracy FUD needs to be dropped, the RIAA/MPAA caused their own misfortune so it's time to drop that and move on with serving the customer again.

        • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @07:26PM (#44303967)

          Honestly, if they'd set up for-pay streaming / downloading music for money back in 1999, I doubt I've have ever pirated any movies or music. I used to buy a lot of CDs, sometimes stuff just to see what it sounded like.

          It's still easier to pirate in some countries (e.g. Canada) than just buy stuff. I've started buying more movies now because my home theater shows the limits of the ripped movies (mostly sound, there's not much ranger in the ripped versions)

          And most (90%) of my music is legit indie rock lists.

          • by Inda (580031)
            You need better sources for your rips.

            We all know that a over-compressed video stream is still watchable but an over-compressed audio stream is distracting. Audio streams are left untouched for most rips above the 700mb level.
          • Honestly, if they'd set up for-pay streaming / downloading music for money back in 1999, I doubt I've have ever pirated any movies or music.

            This.

            Imagine an alternate world where the RIAA didn't sue Napster into oblivion but instead teamed up with it so that sharing was free for low-bitrate MP3s (say, radio-quality) and where links to official high-bitrate versions were available for a fair price. In this alternate reality, I highly doubt that music piracy would have taken off the way it did here. Instead,

        • by Tokolosh (1256448)

          ...caused their own misfortune so it's time to drop that and move on with serving the customer again.

          You culd say the same for:
          Wall Street
          Car industry
          Phone Industry
          Health industry
          Spy industry
          Education industry
          Agriculture industry

          sigh

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:21PM (#44303287) Journal

      I hope they make a movie about it.

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      The truth is quite the opposite.

      Rampant piracy over refusal to adhere to draconian media industry pricing and behavior have led to the emergence of reasonable internet based alternatives to piracy and overpriced physical media.

      Think $1 a song vs $15 for a cd buying online vs in store.

      • by Xicor (2738029) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:35PM (#44303461)
        1$ a song is ridiculous. i dont pirate songs because i have pandora, where i can listen to all the songs i want whenever i want for 20$ a year. that being said, movies are a different story... 12$ for 2 hrs of entertainment is absurd. i hope at some point the MPAA realizes that piracy isnt the cause for their lack of sales... piracy is the answer to their ridiculous pricing and they dont seem to understand this. any intelligent business would realize that ppl are pirating because they dont want to pay the absurd prices and find some way to decrease the cost so that people would be less inclined to pirate. if there was a system like pandora but for movies, im sure ppl would be willing to pay it. (dont say netflix....netflix also has ridiculous prices, and their online system has almost no good movies)
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:46PM (#44303583)

          Definitely

          For me once steam became a viable alternative and you can find any AAA title thats over 6mo old for 10$ or less, I basically stopped pirating games. The price point was awesome, and to have automatic updates and all the other benefits was worth it.

          For movies I still pirate them, there is nothing out there that can match the quality of what pirates produce. ALL streaming services offer shit quality in both audio and video at too high a price compared to what pirates offer for free. If there was a place that charged maybe .5-1$ for rental and maybe 5$ to own a download in 1080p quality with DTS sound, then they would start seeing the money again

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @07:26PM (#44303969)

            If there was a place that charged maybe .5-1$ for rental and maybe 5$ to own a download in 1080p quality with DTS sound, then they would start seeing the money again

            And yet there isn't online. I can go to Redbox and get a DVD for under a dollar (with regular coupons). I can easily rip the disk and keep a perfect copy. Yet, I can't stream the same movies for that price and even if I could, they wouldn't support Linux, because I might copy the stream. Someone is not thinking things out and it's not me.

            • Yup agreed 100%!

              Netflix and iTunes seem to be the only ones successful with "disruptive technology" because tthey are clued in with what customers really want -- cheap digital content -- and are capitalizing on the opportunity instead of living in fear and doing next to nothing about it !

          • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

            It is only too expensive if you pay for cable tv. At $5 per movie on itunes plus $10/month for Netflix, we spend about $35 per month watching ~20 hours of TV, and don't have to deal with commercials.

            As long as the price is commercial free, I say it is reasonable value. Add in commercials, and piracy becomes much more attractive at that cost.

        • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @07:42PM (#44304059) Homepage

          Which is completely opposed by this study, where both iTunes and Spotify are huge popular. Maybe in the US the market is different, but here in Norway most people are well off and don't mind paying. What has driven piracy has been a lack of alternatives and online being treated as second class citizens. The music industry has been choking it to preserve their CD sales but finally clued in that this market was going to die one way or the other and have finally embraced it, online streaming+sales now far exceed physical sales.

          TV series have also at least started with Netflix and HBO Nordic, the latter arrived like pompous asses and their interface needs work but at least they are delivering within 24 hours of the US release in a pure streaming service. For any other TV series though it's pretty bleak, Netflix only has old series. The movie industry is still clinging to the cinemas and physical discs though, there's still no online equivalent of a BluRay even though my side of the Internet is ready (90 Mbit now).

          Going back to music, what this study mainly shows though is that offline playlists are huge for those that use them. Those who listen to a lot of music don't want to stream, they want to load up their player and use it as if they had a bunch of MP3s on their phone and this provides a good substitute. I wish the TV and movie industry could also take a clue from this, there's no such thing as an "offline TV series" or "offline movie", I guess because they're still afraid of TPB. As if everything wasn't there already.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          In my experience, price is just a bonus; most pirates I know do so because piracy offers a better service. No hassle in playing it on different devices, no restrictive DRM schemes, no being treated like a criminal, and tons of other benefits that the official services rarely even come close to matching. Piracy is a failure of service, and it's only going to get worse if these dinosaurs can't figure it out, and learn to relinquish insane control and stop treating their customers like criminals.
        • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @08:33PM (#44304397)

          Actually it is worse then that. Sometimes I can't even _legally_ BUY the media because it is

          a) not available for sale due to bullshit "Region" locking aka PRICE-FIXING,
          b) no longer available for sale,
          c) outrageously, ridiculously expensive as you mentioned.

          Case in point: ST:TNG (Star Trek: The Next Generation) was $125 per SEASON when it came out. For something that I'm _maybe_ going to watch more then once that price is a total rip off. When a season is $20 THEN it is worth "owning." Until then the MPAA can fuck off. Their content isn't THAT valuable so I don't bother but I can certainly see some folks pirating "disposable media."

          The MPAA doesn't understand "The Long Tail" at all. Just because old content has little value to the majority it doesn't imply it has no value to the minority! Good luck trying to buy old 80's sitcoms that weren't AS popular. The master tapes have long been lost, the duplicates deteriorated and society suffers because we "lost" a generation of [popular] culture. That alone is almost a "crime" against history.

          Why is it against the law to "pirate" software when the original company is no longer offering it for sale, or worse, no longer even in business?
          i.e.
          * Windows XP -- can't buy it from Microsoft because they refuse to sell it.
          * Vivacity - can't buy it because Topaz Labs refuses to sell it. http://www.topazlabs.com/vivacity/ [topazlabs.com]

          • by mark-t (151149)

            STTNG is priced at $125 a season because there are people who want it that are willing to pay that much for it. That they might sell more copies by lowering their price is immaterial to this point Even though they would sell more, they would not make as much money on each individual sale, and by having to make more sales to make as much revenue, a larger amount of that revenue gets spent on manufacturing and marketing the product (including salaries).

            I'm not saying I think $125 a season is fair... I'm j

            • by jedidiah (1196)

              > STTNG is priced at $125 a season because there are people who want it that are willing to pay that much for it.

              It's funny that Trek should be mentioned here because those shows are available on the pay-per-month streaming services now. There's really not much reason left to buy those sets at any price. Never mind an unrealistic one.

        • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @09:07PM (#44304573) Journal

          ppl are pirating because they dont want to pay

          Full stop. Right there. You don't need any further qualifiers.

          The notion that the prices are aburdly high is a naive perception that corporations which make entertainment somehow have an obligation to provide the general population with as low a price as is reasonable while still making a profit. When in actuality, like anything else, it is priced as absolutely high as possible that the target demographic is demonstrably willing to pay. And of course, there's the fact that people who do think the costs of movies is too high are not really in their target demographic in the first place, since there are plenty of people who still gladly pay that kind of money for the theater experience, and the corporations are only too happy to separate these people from their money.

          • So what's your explanation for the falling numbers of people who are willing to pay for the "theater experience"?

          • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @09:41PM (#44304747) Homepage

            You can only charge what the market will bear.

            There is nothing "naive" about that. No what's naive is the assumption that any pirate represents a paying customer. A pirate is someone willing to "buy" your product for $0. That represents the value of "infinity" on your price/demand curve for an inelastic luxury item.

            Some people will alway pirate. On the other hand, there is likely some price at which more people will pay you. It may even be to your advantage to price your good at that level.

            It's all about making money.

            Crime and punishment and artistic megalomania are nothing but red herrings.

            It's not that the entertainment industry owes us something. It that the entertainment industry is not owed something. They don't have a right to make money. If they price themselves out of the market or abandon it entirely, then that's no one else's fault but theirs.

            Degenerate moochers are just something to distract you from your own failure as an artist or businessman.

        • by Ash Vince (602485) *

          1$ a song is ridiculous.

          Are you sure? I earn $1 in about 5 minutes so it seems fair to pay that to me, especially for the amount of time and effort someone has to put in to create a song that I like. The problem is that to most young people (who engage in most piracy) that 1$ is worth far more since they earn less. A cup of coffee that last about 5 minutes costs twice that and can't be consumed twice.

          When I was a kid I would go round gathering up supermarket trolleys to return that people had walked off and left the coin deposit

    • ...and continue to push oppressive laws that privatize and lock up culture.
    • by jythie (914043)
      The spin is probably less about the 'industry' and more about the careers of various executives who pinned their reputation to that particular narrative.
  • by jdastrup (1075795) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @05:59PM (#44303021)
    If I want to rent a movie, I have to either:

    1. Use my favorite torrent site, or
    2. Check netflix (doesn't have it), check Amazon Instant video (maybe has it), check vudu (maybe has it), find a local Blockbuster store that hasn't shut down (unlikely), Find a redbox (probably doesn't have it), buy it at Walmart (don't want to), return to step 1.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:03PM (#44303067)
      I couldn't help but notice that you check for a free pirated version before checking legitimate sources.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:05PM (#44303095)

        To be fair, it was "1 or 2" not "1 then 2".

        For many shows currently being broadcast, particularly on HBO and Showtime, of course the option it "1 or wait 6 months then try 2 because paying now isn't possible"

      • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:09PM (#44303157)

        I couldn't help but notice that you check for a free pirated version before checking legitimate sources.

        You missed his point. He wasn't telling you the order he uses, he was giving you the two options for watching content.

        One is much easier than the other. Why would he go around to several streaming sites or resort to buying a physical DVD if the movie he wants isn't available for streaming when, for any relatively recent movie, he could just go straight to downloading the torrent. And, unlike with streaming content, once he downloads it, he can be sure that it will still be there in a month when he wants to watch it again, and he can load it on his phone or laptop to take it on the go.

        • You missed his point. He wasn't telling you the order he uses, he was giving you the two options for watching content.

          He is specifying the order. Why else would he say at the end of #2, "return to step 1"?.

        • Or rent via iTunes or Google play or XBox.

          Honestly at this point between iTunes, Netflix, and the XBox Marketplace chances are I can stream the movie I want to see whether it is a new release or older film. And of the older films, chances are I already own it on DVD or Blu-Ray.

          iTunes is how I watch Game of Thrones.

        • unlike with streaming content, once he downloads it, he can be sure that it will still be there in a month when he wants to watch it again, and he can load it on his phone or laptop to take it on the go.

          This is my biggest issue with the legal alternatives these days. Yes, there are more and more popping up, which is great, however almost all of them are streaming services - which isn't what I'm after. I want files preferably in an open format, but failing that a widely-accepted format that can be downloaded

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Well yes, if you're used to them failing you often then usually you go straight to the solution that you know works. From time to time you try the alternative again and see if it works better now. Does that surprise you in any way?

    • http://gowatchit.com/ [gowatchit.com]

    • Except for a very few movies, iTunes has everything. Including most indie movies. Only annoying thing is they take off rent sometimes and only offer to sell them

      For anything I buy I buy a blu ray with digital copy which includes an iTunes and/or vudu copy you can streAm any time

    • by OverlordQ (264228)

      1. Use my favorite torrent site, or
      2. Check netflix (doesn't have it), check Amazon Instant video (maybe has it), check vudu (maybe has it), find a local Blockbuster store that hasn't shut down (unlikely), Find a redbox (probably doesn't have it), buy it at Walmart (don't want to), return to step 1.

      Or you know, not watch it. Since the content creator has made it clear they dont want you watching it.

    • You think the US is bad? Canada is worse, although our CR law is somewhat saner.

      Netflix has about 1/10th the stuff you guys get in the States because the 2 content owners also own the telcos, so they surprisingly don't want to sell the IP to Netflix.

      Vudu won't play in Canada. Neither will Amazon Instant. We don't have Redbox. We can get some movies from the library though.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @04:30AM (#44306243)

      If I want to rent a movie, I have to either:

      1. Use my favorite torrent site, or
      2. Check netflix

      Not available in my country

      check Amazon Instant video

      Not available in my country

      check vudu

      Not available in my country

      find a local Blockbuster store that hasn't shut down (unlikely)

      Sign up, prepare to pay A$7 only to find out it hasn't been released... In my country. And wont be released for at least 6 months.

      Find a redbox (probably doesn't have it),

      Not available in my country.

      buy it at Walmart (don't want to), return to step 1.

      No Walmart in my country, but I'll run with it. I could go down to JB HiFi, Target or Big W, prepare to pay $30 minmum and find out that it's either not released in my country yet or not in stock.

      So...

      Return to step 1.

      Yep, bit torrent. Always available in my country.

      Dearest media conglomerates,

      You're probably not reading Slashdot but in case you are, I have X dollars to spend per month on entertainment, you can have a share in that but only if I find the price reasonable. Your artificial monopoly is gone and your competition is piracy, Seeing as you cant provide me with a cheaper service, provide me with superior service at a price point I find acceptable AND on a time table I find acceptable. Otherwise I'll go to your competition.

      Choke and die, Erm, I mean have a fantastic day,
      A regular Australian.

  • Not piracy, assholes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fnj (64210)

    Piracy is an Illegal act of violence, detention, or plunder committed for private ends (illicit profit) by the crew of a private ship against another ship on the high seas. It has been expanded logically to air piracy. Period. Any appropriation to utterly unrelated acts is illiteracy committed by stupid people with an axe to grind.

    Get the fuck over it. You got a problem with copyright circumvention, start by calling it what it is. Don't demonize it. 99% of what is called piracy in this context involves no p

    • Yes because we all know the english language is known for not evolving.

      Merriam-Webster defines piracy as:

      1) an act of robbery on the high seas; also : an act resembling such robbery;
      2) robbery on the high seas;
      3a) the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright;
      3b) the illicit accessing of broadcast signals

      It is correct to refer to copyright infringement as piracy.

      • by chilvence (1210312) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @10:40PM (#44305081)

        Newspeak is designed to change the language in such a way as to prevent independent thought.

        You know, with services like Steam and GOG, I find it very easy to pay for games. Sometimes I throw money at games I am not even going to play. When I was young I lived in Hong Kong, a place where piracy is so efficient there are entire shopping complexes devoted to it, where the counterfeit products sell for the price of a pack of crisps and are indistinguishable from the real thing. Places like China, south east Asia and India have no problem doing things like this, because the prices of things made in the west are set at an extortionate rate compared to the average daily wage, IE compared to things like FOOD and SHELTER. I have exactly no moral reservation about downloading something to see if it works for my computer. How exactly did the game industry manage to save my soul then eh?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Get the fuck over it. You got a problem with copyright circumvention, start by calling it what it is. Don't demonize it. 99% of what is called piracy in this context involves no personal gain by anybody.

      Hey, guess what? Your grandparents think your notion of "correct" English is completely wrong.

      (And their grandparents thought the same of them...)

    • by Lendrick (314723) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:32PM (#44303423) Homepage Journal

      The term "piracy" when it refers to making unauthorized duplications of a copyrighted work is actually in reference to how pirates used to board merchant ships and make exact copies of everything on board, leaving the crew and cargo unharmed, but devaluing the goods slightly.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        The term "piracy" when it refers to making unauthorized duplications of a copyrighted work is actually in reference to how pirates used to board merchant ships and make exact copies of everything on board, leaving the crew and cargo unharmed, but devaluing the goods slightly.

        Um, what? I've never heard of this. Citation?

    • by brit74 (831798)
      Extra! Extra! GrammarNazi demands that no words are allowed to have more than one definition. Demands that one billion English speakers alter how they use tens of thousands of words. News at 11.
    • Get the fuck over it.

      Right back at you.

      ... piracy had a "technical meaning" in the seventeenth century: "a pirate was someone who indulged in the unauthorized reprinting of a title recognized to belong to someone else by the formal conventions of the printing and bookselling community." Beyond this technical meaning, piracy "soon came to stand for a wide range of perceived transgressions of civility emanating from print's practitioners."

      -- Copyright and Incomplete Historiographies: Of Piracy, Propertization, and Thomas Jeffers [ssrn.com]

    • by mark-t (151149)

      Piracy also refers to the unauthorized copying of another person's works. The word has been used in this sense for about as long as copyright itself has existed... it is not something new.

      Just a heads up.... words can have more than one meaning... and it's also entirely normal for definitions of words to evolve based on how they are actually used.

  • I think companies are finally starting to learn. They are still stuck on the old format pricing tho for some reason. Charging the 60.00 dollars for a digital download of a game is insane seeing as they dont have any manufacturing, processing or logistics costs on said item. That being said i recently picked up Far Cry 3 on XBLA for 20 dollars. A game i would have never otherwise bought, and certainly not bought new.
    • by brit74 (831798)
      The idea that you can base the cost of an item on the per-unit production costs is wrong. There is an overhead cost associated with developing the item in the first place. If a game costs $10 million to make, and you're going to get 200,000 sales, then you're only going to break-even at $50 each. You have to factor that overhead cost into the pricing and expected sales numbers. (Yes, yes, I know that decreasing the price can increase sale numbers, but there is a curve there. Where the optimal price is
  • Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by labnet (457441) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @06:34PM (#44303455)

    If music/movie execs owned WalMart, they would have a big board level meeting to try and control shoplifting by:
    - Put everything in locked glass cabinets.
    - Ask for photo ID before entering stores.
    - Strip search everyone on exit.
    Then they would be scratching their heads as to why they were going broke, blaming it on the dishonest consumer.

    99% of people don't want to steal, they just want convenience at a fair price.
    They could have agregated all their contect, with music 10c/track, movies $2, no DRM, problem solved.

    • by brit74 (831798)
      > "music 10c/track"

      You mean that they should lower the price so much that they'd go bankrupt?
      • by pipedwho (1174327)

        I don't know. If tracks were that cheap, I'd probably spend $20+/month just downloading tracks trying to find good ones. At $1+ per track, I'm far more careful, and spend less than half that, only buying a track or two every so often. Most of which I only listen to a few dozen times at most.

        Worse is seeing a 'highly acclaimed' movie for $25+ at the cinema and being left bewildered as you realise the movie is really really really bad and you've wasted both your money (and 2 hours of your life while you sat t

    • by dirk (87083)

      Spoken exactly like someone who has no idea how a business works. Yes, they could sell songs for 10 cents a piece, and they would sell more of them. Let's say they sell 3 times as many songs as they do now. Their revenues have just dropped by 70% (and their profit by more) because they are while they are selling more, they are making basically nothing off each one. And yes, they could sell DVDs at $2 a piece, but again, would they sell 10 times the amount they do now? If not, they end up making less mone

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Quit expecting everything for free or close to it.

        Million of people manage to put up free web sites. And torrents. And a huge variety of free media. Google, vimeo and others even manage to put up huge amounts of free video. And yet the distribution cartel can't seem to manage even an approximation of that.

        Pardon me if I don't take you or them too seriously. They're just middlemen who need to be disintermediated.

  • > "Olav Torvund, former law professor at the University of Oslo, attributes this to good legal alternatives which are available today"

    Or possibly the people who would pirate music already have most of what they want, and the remainder they can get from friends via a USB drive. Modern hard drives are absurdly large compared to music files. Once someone has downloaded what they want, why would they need to download again, unless they hear about a new group? If a friend has some new music, a 32 GB USB dr

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > Or possibly the people who would pirate music already have most of what they want, and the remainder they can get from friends via a USB drive.

      And no new movies or songs are coming out that anyone wants?

      Um, wait... actually, that's plausible. Never mind.

  • Why are so many insistent on free exchange of copyrighted material? Content creators don't like the idea, they'd like to earn a living. Publishers hate it even more, they want monopolies to extract every bit of value from their 'properties' as possible. The only people who like it are consumers who must go through the walled gardens publishers have set up. And therein lies the problem, publishers seek to extract perpetual rents, coddling a slim number of creators while sucking up value created for free by the general populace.

    Jaron Lanier recently came out with a book, Who Owns the Future? [amazon.com], where he argues that digital networking has had a decimating effect on the middle classes of the world. In this Nieman Journalism Lab interview [niemanlab.org] at the Harvard School for Journalism, Lanier outlines a micropayment solution whereby the general public would be paid back for information collection and content creation directly in a distributed manner, thereby cutting out the centralized collection and distribution points that content monopolies have created.

    The point is that people are doing a tremendous amount of work for free all across the 'net, often in ways that don't resemble pure craft work yet represent tremendous value for large companies like Google, Microsoft, Sony, Facebook, and the other big players. Yet those companies want every cent in perpetual rent for the work they perform in creating and distributing their goods. He is not arguing 'income inequality' in the sense of wealth redistribution - say, using government taxation to collect revenue and provide welfare payments to an underclass - but instead to distribute payments to every value add created.

    For example, were you to translate a document from one language to the next, and google uses it as part of for statistical analysis in their language translation engine, then every time your work is referenced you should get paid for that effort. If you use a camera to document and tag a new pothole in the street, and Google Streetview uses that as part of a pothole map, you should be paid for that effort every time this is referenced (until the data becomes defuncts). This is similar to copyright in that for content creators, many of whom craft and distribute work for free instead of receiving payment for the work.

    It's as if whole populations have decided that because content monopolies are taking all the work out on the net for free they can get to monetize, while demanding enforcement of intellectual property rights in an unequal exchange, that people are justified in taking what they want for free. Yet even if this were the case, the trade is still pretty bad for the people doing so much free work. You can't eat a pirated song or movie. And yet every step we take on the internet is used by the big players to aggregate vast wealth at our expense.

    I can see some problems with Lanier's approach. For example, he's like to do away with monopolies and move to a distributed payment system. Yet how is one to handle those payments without a banking monopoly? Bitcoin? How do governments tax those transactions? (Yes, I know many people would prefer they didn't - but that doesn't mean such a system is viable given political realities). How do governments control and track criminal trade? (Yes, I know many people would prefer they didn't - but that doesn't mean such a system is viable given law enforcement realities).

    Still, I think Lanier has put his finger on the central problem of inequality between people and these companies. It's not income inequality per se, but that the system provides no payment for value add to the vast majority of people while at the same time monetizing that very value to sell back to us. All while IT systems automate labor that used to be paid work, and companies outsource across national lines to the lowest bidder. People ar

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > Why are so many insistent on free exchange of copyrighted material?

      Such a long, articulate article, to be starting from an incorrect presumption. Oh, I'm sure there are some people who would argue such, but the great majority of us, I think, are insistent on convenient access for a reasonable price. I believe TFA is making the point that when you provide a reasonable product at a reasonable price, piracy plummets. The business model has unrealistic expectations on how much the product is worth, and

  • I am curious as to why he is a FORMER professor?

  • Just over half of the people PAY for the premium spotify option. How many people are USING the premium spotify... I know from friends the numbers are not the same.

    But still, overall I agree if people have a way to pay they generally will.

  • He's been saying all along that piracy is a distribution problem. And was using STEAM to fix that (and make a boatload of money too!) Turns out he was right.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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