A somewhat naïve, but never-the-less important Norwegian article written and published by Tron Øgrim in PCWorld Norge, November 97, translated into English by .
I have tried writinig a book about why Internet is killing copyright (©). To make it an international hit that'll bring me at least 50 million, I've named it
«Why Pavarotti is going slim».
I have, unfortunately, not had the time writing it. But now I will explain I currently meet all too many kind people, who believe they can make big business selling information over Internet!
1) Infoshop on
Fx as «pay per view»: Click in on this article (when it's after a time ended up Under a Rock in the Forest) and you will have to pay ¢10 in the box to Tøgrim!
The price can be decided after how popular the subject is. For articles by The Times, maybe you'll have to pay ¢1, but for sex-scandals with ministers, at least several dollars! The same for movies: When I've grown tired of writing, I click my way in on Rambo VII, and suddenly 2 electronic $ gets drawn from my PC-box Or music. I want to hear Jacko sing duet with his monkey and then ¢7 a minute to Sony and a little extra to Mr. Fishcreek.
And software! When I want to write a new article, fx about why I don't want the old, puritan farmer's wife, Mrs. Grete Knutsen to become the new IT-minister, so I will need extra large letters, I can't use the old'n'tired WordPerfect 4.2 anymore. So I rent-borrow a new writing-program from LittleWeak or Son, or who ever it'll be, and pay ¢¼ per page for that! To put in a picture of Mrs. Knutsen, hanging in a parashute over the Empire State building, I rent an expencive picture-faking-program for a $.
However, this doesn't work yet. I don't know about anyone who have managed to make money to sell music, or text, or programs, transfered by Internet but you just wait and see:
Soon we'll get a huge Cybercommerse with NetTransferred Data fractions of cents running between all the countries, becoming billions and trillions. Dont you think?
No! And those who really are able to believe that, after investigating the case, are economic and/or computer-technical analfabets. The rest of you, I will here explain why it'll never work:
2) To sell shells
on the beach
Do you remember the old school-days where we practiced S and SH-sounds with this old sentence: «She sells sea-shells by the sea-shore»?
Maybe this is alright for training language-skills. But it's bad business! For if this girl stand on the beach, where there is nothing but Shells, and wants to Sell them to you what do you do?
You walk two steps aside walk and around her. And then you pick up Sea-Shells yourself. Totally free!
but to sell data-copies to people who can make data-copies themselves is purely economic, even more hopeless than selling shells on a beach.
The economical principle is that to sell something that anyone themselves can produce for free in the long run is economically impossible. Those who don't understand this, don't understand how an open capitalistic market works.
Who have I judged to death now? The whole software industry (i.e. those who live by selling software in the open market) but also the videobusiness, the CD-sellers, and maybe even the book publishers (at least from the moment we get book-binder-machines at the other end of our printers at home).
3) Why do we keep
But now the clever reader says: But we buy programs don't we? And the CD-shops flourish, any kiosk or gas station sells videos, and you, Tron Øgrim, have just published a new book on paper this summer, that you sell for money!
So you're bluffing, right? Answer: No. Because: We buy programs, rather than copying them ourselves ('cause none of you readers are thieve-copying, right?) becuase of (at least) four reasons so far.
We haven't yet got used to the thought that we can copy.
We are honest.
We pay for extra services. Paper-manuals, service from a living salesman
We have to
pop by a salesman to get the program a physical
And then we have no options.
Concerning music, video, books, etc. we've got an additional reason:
We don't own the right technology to copy just that kind of info yet We lack the hole to a music CD or video, we haven't got large enough monitors or good enough loudspeakers, or book-binding-machines.
But the economic principle that people don't waste their energy buying something they can just as easily acquire for free, is valid in the long run it needs time to work.
When we really discover that the Printing device excuse me, the computer is invented then we can say: «goodbye old munch who sits and hand-copy books, and hello Gutenberg!» Which in our time means: farewell to prices on mass-copied info-ware.
4) Good stories
Americans who come to Shanghai, risk bumping into people who sells CDs to let us say $29.90 with software that home in the US of A is priced fx $350.-.
Normal Americans are happy. But now and then the buyer is grumpy and think this is wrong! He shows off a disc on the Telly at home:
The Chinese are criminals! he cries.
And the poor minister of comerce in the US of A takes a plane to Beijing. And reminds the Chinese that China has «Most favoured Status» as Uncle Sam's Favourite Trading Partner.
And the Chinese minister says: Oh no, so sad, this we must make an end to! And then the Police Strikes, and 20.000 brilliant CDs gets buried by bulldozers on a garbage dump while American Television is present.
And since the Americans believe everything they watch on the Telly (except for those who bomb federal buildings; these extremists believe that everything on the Telly is communist-lies, including the clock) then the kind people believe that China has ended all thief-copying.
Until three months later. For then another Mr. Grumpy who returns from Kunming, has bought a disc for $19.90, with American software to a $1.000,- recorded on it.
I have been explained two reasons for why this occur:
The easiest and simplest explanation, is that China is a corrupt country. And many factories have the government no control over (among other in factories run by the People's Popular Army).
So the best the ministry can do (if it really wants to!), is to ask the copyists to lower their profile for a while, and maybe provide a couple tens of thousands of CDs of last years largest fiasko of popstars, that can be dug down in front of the American TV-cameras.
The other explanation, is that Chinese law-tradition, which is 3.000 years old, don't recognize the idea of Copyright quite contrary, beautiful art-artifacts and wise inventions and beautiful poems and other kind of useful things were automatically considered to be the society's public property, available to be copied by all!
So what is this thing about Copyright («©») ? Some nonsence the barbarians invented 200 years ago!
So the westerners who wants to convince the Chinese that they have to pay for software, has got about as much chance as a mountain sheik from Yemen who arrives at the homtown of the Moral Majority, December the 24th, walking up and down the streets during the «Christmas-rush» with the Koran under his arm, trying to convince the people that they must stop celebrating X-Mas.
I don't know any China-expert who know enough Chinese history of law to confirm this story But anyway, a known Asian computerman told me yesteryear's autumn: «The Chinese demand to get software for free! They will never agree to pay for it!
paradise of the free copyists
We've got much money, but little time. For us it's easier to buy a MusicDisc for $15, than borrow an original, copy it in truetime, deliver back the original, and all that bullshit.
And that's how it was yesterday. Therefore the Russians and Turks, and Asian Indians, and Africans, and Chinese, thief-copied more music, because they had more time than money. While we didn't bother, and bought it in the store.
But today Internet appeared!
Now the Net is at our place, and it comes in racing speed, to them.
Then Copying of everything becomes quite easy. It can happen momentarily. Stored on the same, large disk. And immediately sent accross the world.
Then our arguments to buy, instead of copy, falls powerless to the ground! The only thing that prevents us now, is our conscience and maybe that is an endangered species?
Not to mention the Chinese and the Russians and the Asian Indians (Brasilians, Nigerians, Indonesians, Vietamese) we can just continue to reel off the names of poor countries where the Net now grows beyond any imagination.
Tomorrow it'll be illegal to trade on the Net with everything that can be copied by the Third World. Books with writings in them, ordinary computer programs, Rambo XXVII, the newest tune where the monkey sings without Jacko! They can hide behind crypting codes and country borders, and the speed of it will make it howl!
And of course we pity the Spice Girls and the Bill Gates, and everyone of those who have survived by selling terribly many copies of copyware.
But the fact that Pavarotti becomes slim, is really a myth for he can make money on Wimbeldon and demand hundreds of dollars from people who can watch him on a distance of 100 metres. So he and Bill, and several other sly foxes'll probably keep to their fat
Have I forgotten anything now?
Did someone mention copy-protection on videos and such?
No, that I haven't forgotten, for that I believe nothing about! If you agree with me, I won't bother to write anymore about that. But if anyone of you wonder, you may send me an e-mail.
Then, maybe I'll write another article later, about how I think I in theory will be able to hack any form of copy-protection, the large Info-Sellers has invented, or can invent!
|Tron Øgrim is publishing Norwegian articles about computing and society at his «secret net-place», Under a Rock in the Forest.|
Important article about self-exhalted censors on the Internet, translated into English for you by .