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A conversation about intellectual property and libertarian and property theory with my old friend J. Neil Schulman. We discussed our differing views on IP, as a result of my comments on a recent post Patrick Smith: Un-Intellectual Property. Hey, I tried my best, but we never quite saw eye to eye.

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discussions

  • Let’s kick this off! How are you able to have a successful photography company without the state to enforce copyright and/or IP laws? I personally have a very successful wedding photography company and one of my biggest selling points is my philosophy on intellectual property. I’d love to hear other’s successes, or problems, and will happily explain how I do it!

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  • Wasn’t sure exactly were to put this, but here’s this question. In an anarcho-capitalist society, how would copyright and patent disputes be handled? I.e., what systems might be put in place to protect innovators and creators from theft of ideas?

    Jump to Discussion Post 33 replies
  • Seems no one has linked to the Bip Cot concept yet so I’ll just make a quick intro post and see what comments move the discussion along. “The BipCot NoGov License allows any use of software, media, products or services EXCEPT by governments.” From the FAQ Q. So, the BipCot NoGov license…..is this a joke? A. No. It’s a license we wrote that we’re comfortable with. We are using it on software, media, products and services of our own, and we encourage others to use it. And it’s getting used and spread. For more on whether or not the BipCot license has “teeth”, please see Email conversation I had with Mark from Negativeland about BipCot.

    Jump to Discussion Post 2 replies
  • I know that project ideas are a dime a dozen. They are useful only if someone takes them and executes a plan to make them a reality. The idea I’d like to share with you would require more skill, energy, and time than I alone could devote to it. So I’d like to get your feedback and measure the interest. Here it is. Since bitcoins can be paid in fractions (e.g., .0001 BTC) and since payment transactions carry little or no transaction fee, it is feasible to create a micropayment website for digital. As you also know, for most of history, artists were supported by patrons, not by property rights in copies of their works. Well, with bitcoin micropayments, nearly everyone can afford to be a patron of the arts, and they can reward the artist according to the value they perceive they got from the work (there are some songs I just cannot do without), and according to their own financial ability.I am convinced that if copyright was less restrictive, artists would benefit in ways that perhaps they cannot now envision. The idea is simple. Creators upload digital content to the site. They assign certain hashtags to it and post in one of several categories. Videos, music, photos, datasets for 3d printing, writing, art, advocacy and causes. Any content posted to the site is downloadable if a bitcoin tip of any amount is paid for it. The content can be played/viewed on site for free, but to download and copy, you need to tip the creator at least, say, .00001 BTC. Imagine a musician who posts a song in either audio or video or both. The more tips she earns, the higher she gets ranked. The higher he gets ranked, the more tips she receives. It’s a relatively frictionless way for a creator to get content to the end user and get paid for it in a way that could work in a filesharing world. So the concept is similar to twitter, instagram, tumblr, with hashtags that enable searching, but it also employs other performance ranking methods like the bitcoin tip data. Content creators are paid through a voluntary payment system. It’s sort of like crowdfunding in that regard. All content uploaded is royalty free and can be used for any purpose by anyone who gives a tip of any amount and downloads the content. Maybe you use a creative commons license to make sure nobody else claims it as their intellectual property. I really don’t think artists need the governments’ guns pointing at folks who copy their works. I think people would reward them anyway. Say someone uploads a dataset for a 3d printer to the site. Folks can tip him/her in increments that would be too small to pay via paypal, credit cards, etc. The transaction fees are too high. You could tip .0001BTC for a download and pay no transaction fee. Revenue for the site would come from advertising and/or by charging artists a small commission on their monthly or annual gross bitcoin tips. Creators could even assign a portion of their gross bitcoin receipts to be used in advertising on site to get featured ranking, ala Google or Facebook. Say you’re in Copenhagen, across the street from a building you’re curious about. Your phone alerts you that the 3d dataset for the building is available on gratuity2. You’re feeling generous so you tip .001BTC for the dataset. Back home, a 3d printer spits out a scaled down copy for your desk. Imagine that a kid in Latin America puts together a little music video with his phone. He uploads it to gratuity2.com and it goes viral. A million kids throughout the world tip him .00001 BTC. A small thumb drive he bought at the local market holds a free bitcoin wallet in it. The next time he plugs it into any internet device, bang, he has 1000 BTC in his wallet. Say an artist posts an original song and it goes viral. Fans around the world tip her because they love the song. The higher her ranking, the more BTC tips she receives. Now say some advertiser grabs the song and uses it in their commercial for something (let’s say shoes). The terms of the license require only that the creator get credit (Maybe her QR code for her bitcoin wallet is on screen in the corner for a few seconds). More people hear the song in the ads and decide to download it and tip her (confession – I bought a Lady Gaga song because I heard it in a car commercial and liked it). There is the potential for a frictionless, direct relationship between artist and fans. And no strong arm copyright police. No centralized power in the hands of a few media companies. Maybe it turns out that copyright law is not needed because it is clear that this system both rewards creators and is an incentive to innovate. I.P. need not be a political issue. If a system like this took off, copyright law could become irrelevant. It’s a pro voluntary payment system. That’s the idea in a nutshell. Maybe it would fit somehow within liberty.me. It’s actually pretty close to what liberty.me is already doing. I invite your feedback and any interest in collaborating to make something like this a reality.

    Jump to Discussion Post 3 replies