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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6283/copyrights-and-dancing/

Copyrights and Dancing

February 20, 2007 by

Yet another example of how copyrights and IP amount to partial enslavement: ‘Electric Slide’ on slippery DMCA slope:

The inventor of the “Electric Slide,” an iconic dance created in 1976, is fighting back against what he believes are copyright violations and, more importantly, examples of bad dancing.

Kyle Machulis, an engineer at San Francisco’s Linden Lab, said he received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice about a video he had shot at a recent convention showing three people doing the Electric Slide.

“The creator of the Electric Slide claims to hold a copyright on the dance and is DMCAing every single video on YouTube” that references the dance, Machulis said. He’s also sent licensing demands to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Machulis added.

Indeed, Richard Silver, who filed the copyright for the Electric Slide in 2004, said on one of his Web pages that the DeGeneres Show had been putting up a legal fight as he tried to get compensation for a segment that aired in February 2006 in which actress Teri Hatcher and other dancers performed the popular wedding shuffle.

[Thanks to BK Marcus for link]

[See also Copyrighting Dance Steps–The Death of Choreography]

{ 233 comments }

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Scarcity is caused by the ongoing imbalance between the people’s wants and needs (demand) and the resources available to meet those wants and needs (supply).

You cannot say that only one part – of only one determinant of demand – is causing this scarcity. If we had unlimited supply of DVDs, there would be no scarcity in this market, even if demand increased enormously (if the watching of DVDs became a matter of life and death).

It is no coincidence that people who are so unfamiliar with basic economics are the loudest in attacks against copyrights.

Cosmin March 12, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Sasha, take some basic reading and reading comprehension classes!

“DVD dusting by Mrs. Smith does not create any injury to DVD Company.”
I never said it did.
What I did say is that the DVD Company is tresspassing inside Mrs. Smith’s house. That trespass is aggravated to injury when Mrs Smith has to deploy extra effort in the course of her daily activities in order to navigate by this foreign impediment.

“You can’t park your car in you neighbor’s garrage – if you don’t have his permission – because that would be a trespass!”
You can’t park your DVD in Mrs Smith’s house – if you don’t have her permission – because that would be trespass!

“If you purchased personal use of someone else’s vehicle, you can drive it, pop the hood and dissect it, wreck it – do whatever your contract permits you to do (everything you are allowed to do now)!”
So now your position is that one may dissect and thus observe the inner workings of an object he has purchased. Isn’t that contrary to what you were saying about pharmaceuticals?
“Your contract, however, will not allow you to freely reproduce that same vehicle (if you own a car company).”
So the contract can deny you your most basic unalienable right to use knowledge from your brain, even when acquired lawfully (you said allowed to dissect), just so you don’t create competition for the original manufacturer?

“When we purchase limited use of a vehicle, most of us don’t do it in order to start our own manufacturing of that same vehicle.”
We would if it were easy. If I run out of paperclips, I can bend a few wires. I’ll know how, because I’ve observed existing paperclips (that I hadn’t even bought).
If I decide to start making chairs, it will be totally based on the knowledge I’ve acquired observing the chairs I’ve already purchased.
Etc.

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Poor Cosmin, I actually missed how insane your original posting was (I didn’t want to spend my time on someone in your condition).

You just showed that economic ignorance is not the only reason why SOME people are so loud in opposition to copyright. Some of them, like you, are suffering from serious disability, combined with delusions and hallucinations.

Have I ever claimed that this statement [""DVD dusting by Mrs. Smith does not create any injury to DVD Company."] was your? That statement was my explanation on why Mrs. Smith’s dusting and unintentional personal use (trespass) does not create any tort – but commercial endeavors with Dance-Man do create such tort.

—–

Then your examples become so idiotic that they are not even worthy of a joke at their expense. It’s just sad.

You said: “You can’t park your DVD in Mrs Smith’s house – if you don’t have her permission – because that would be trespass!”

Unfortunately for you poor Cosmin – DVD company did not enter Mr. Smith’s property – nor “park” any DVD without owner’s authorization. Mr. Smith voluntarily picked the DVD and brought it to the house. That DVD did not create any pollution and when properly used it does not create any injuries, so there are no product-defects issues).

You also asked: “So now your position is that one may dissect and thus observe the inner workings of an object he has purchased. Isn’t that contrary to what you were saying about pharmaceuticals?”

You hallucinate again. I say that anyone can also dissect and observe chemical composition of medications – but if you decide to make replications of such product, you must pay the price that was specified in your contract (stipulated damages). There is no such thing as “unalienable right to use [any] knowledge” in order to commit a breach of contract or tort. If you received someone’s good under condition that you will pay certain amount of damages if you replicate it – that’s the price you voluntarily paid.

But why do I even waste time on someone who thinks that a voluntary purchase of DVD is analogous to someone’s physical invasion of your property (my garage example). Find some help dude.

Cosmin March 12, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Sasha, try using your brain whilst reading.

“Mr. Smith voluntarily picked the DVD and brought it to the house.”
Sure, but it’s Mrs. Smith’s house. So everything you just worte was a waste.

“But why do I even waste time on someone who thinks that a voluntary purchase of DVD is analogous to someone’s physical invasion of your property”
Mrs Smith didn’t purchase the DVD. Mr. Smith did.

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Ha ha ha…

Cosmin tells me to use my brain. O tempora, o mores!

It’s not Mrs. Smith’s house – it’s their co-owned house – what now you poor child?

But even if we change a scenario to one in which Mr. Smith purchases DVD, while LEGALLY living in someone else’s house (paying rent) – DVD company did not trespass against that property (it did not use that house without authorization)… You are clueless about terms like “trespass,” “injury…”

I hope you’re just drunk and not permanently like this

Cosmin March 12, 2007 at 10:17 pm

“But even if we change a scenario to one in which Mr. Smith purchases DVD, while LEGALLY living in someone else’s house (paying rent) – DVD company did not trespass against that property (it did not use that house without authorization)…”
How did it not trespass? It uses that house as storage space for its property without the owner’s authorization. Is there another definition of trespass you’ve dreamed up?

In fact, we didn’t even have to change the scenario. Let’s go back to where Mr. and Mrs Smith are co-owners in the house. If neither of them had bought the DVD, it’s presence in their house would clearly constitute trespass by the DVD company.
However, Mr Smith did buy the DVD, so his claim for trespass is null. But is Mrs Smith’s claim of trespass also invalidated? I don’t think Mr Smith’s purchasing contract can enforce on Mrs Smith the obligation to authorize the presence of DVD company’s property.
Mr Smith not being the owner of the DVD, he is not empowered to demand that Mrs Smith authorize the presence of the DVD on the premises. Only the DVD company can do that.
What happens then is that Mrs Smith drops claims for trespass only under the condition that the DVD company reciprocates and drops claims of trespass against her for using the DVD in question.

Cosmin March 12, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Also, you said:
“I hope you’re just drunk and not permanently like this”

What if I am permanently drunk?

Cosmin March 12, 2007 at 10:24 pm

“If neither of them had bought the DVD, it’s presence in their house would clearly constitute trespass by the DVD company.”

Should read: … ITS presence…

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 10:40 pm

Poor Cosmin…

If Mr. Smith is a tenant in someone else’s apartment, his lease allows him to bring anything legally obtained into that apartment.

But even if Mr. Smith is a guest somewhere – if he brings a DVD into that apartment – it is not the DVD company that committed any trespass. In order for you to claim that they used someone’s apartment for their storage purposes, you must prove that they stored it there. If someone steals or even rents your property – and then stores it somewhere without owners consent (trespasses) – that’s NOT going to be your trespass (you don’t even need a storage service for that item, since you rented it).

Plus, there is no injury to homeowner, so you it is obviously that you are drunk. Try to sober up – just for the heck of it – and then come back here.

Regards.

Sasha Radeta March 12, 2007 at 10:45 pm

Anyway,

if the apartment owner does not take any steps to remove unwanted property of someone else (instead she takes care of it by dusting) – there can be no injury for storage costs – even for the actual trespasser who placed that item there. It was obviously there with the owner’s consent.

Go to sleep now :) Enough jokes from you for tonight.

Cosmin March 12, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Can you even read English, man?

“instead she takes care of it by dusting”
She’s dusting the DVD shelf. She would have dusted that even if that DVD was not there. It’s presence is an obstacle she must navigate around.

“If Mr. Smith is a tenant in someone else’s apartment, his lease allows him to bring anything legally obtained into that apartment.”
I figured you’d try to turn this into a discussion on renter’s rights as soon as I let your first “paying-rent” blurb slide. However I don’t see how that is in any way related to our current discussion.

“But even if Mr. Smith is a guest somewhere – if he brings a DVD into that apartment – it is not the DVD company that committed any trespass.”
Wait a minute. I find a DVD i didn’t buy in my house. I didn’t put it in my house, so I naturally assume that it is lost. I decide to find its owner and return it to him. Are you saying the owner that I have to return it to is NOT the DVD company?
Mr Smith, being merely licensed to use the DVD, has no say in where the DVD can be stored. The DVD company has that priviledge and responsibility and has to clear storage with all the owners of the property where the DVD will be placed. It must also accomodate Mr Smith’s usage rights by either shipping it to him in a timely fashion everytime he wants to use the DVD, or clear its storage rights with all those involved.
What you’re saying is that Mr Smith can somehow extend the absolution of trespass of the DVD to all other owners involved, but oddly cannot extend the reciprocal absolution of trespass to the same owners when they become users. That’s why you’re just not making sense.

“… so you it is obviously that you are drunk.”
That is a weird turn of phrase. It actually looks like that phrase was constructed by – dare I say it? – a drunk person!

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 12:14 am

Can you read any language you poor guy?

If Mrs. Smith navigates around DVD while dusting – without any attempt to throw it out, she cannot claim that anyone owes her any compensation for that “complicated” dusting (idiocy) or for any storage fee. She did not take a reasonable action to prevent this from occurring.

As far as rent rights go – of course that you didn’t understand how this relates to our topic. You are perhaps “differently able.” Under contract, renter is allowed to keep lawfully obtained items in that place of rent – otherwise, all his furniture and clothes could be thrown out by a landlord whenever he feels like it.

Finally, if someone placed a stolen property in your house – you are not going to have any trespass and let alone any tort claim against the victim of theft. That theft victim did not store anything – so he does not owe any storage – plus, that person did not force you to store anything. The owner may choose to reward you for your action…. But that has nothing to do with our example.

I wish you a quick recovery.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 12:34 am

An owner of a stolen vehicle does not owe damages for thief’s actions – whether it’s a body injury with that stolen car – or a simple storage fee.

Cosmin’s spam has nothing to do with our topic. He is probably still confused after the rebuttal of his theses that a “DVD company parked its DVD in Mrs. Smith’s house” and his failure to find a single inconsistency in my free-market copyright theory.

Cosmin March 13, 2007 at 1:03 am

“If Mrs. Smith navigates around DVD while dusting”

I didn’t say Mrs Smith navigates around the DVD. I said that she is forced to do so by the DVD’s presence.
First, she takes the step of contacting the owner of the DVD (the DVD company) and tells them to remove their property that is trespassing on her property. A reasonable action.
The company comes and takes the DVD.
Mr. Smith then calls the DVD company because he wants to make use of his right to use the DVD, as per his purchasing contract.
The DVD company ships him the DVD in less than 2 minutes.
When he’s finished watching the DVD, Mrs Smith calls the DVD company again, so that they remove their trespassing property from the premises.
The DVD company doesn’t have the manpower to continually do these operations, and satisfy both Mr Smith and Mrs Smith. They leave the DVD there. They are now trespassing against Mrs Smith. A mere trespass. No big deal, right? She decides not to prosecute.
Mrs Smith then decides to dust the bookshelf. As she isn’t the DVD company’s slave, she doesn’t have to move their property. She calls the company, so that they lift the DVD, while she dusts the bookshelf.
They send someone over and he does as asked.
The following day, she decides to rearrange her living room. She calls the company again. This time, they refuse to comply. The trespass has been aggravated to tort.
What are the damages? Well, the value of Mrs Smith’s labor is subjective. She decides that her labour is worth a million times that of those working for the DVD company. There being demand for the labor of moving the DVD, as long as she’s the only one available to do the job, she can really set her own salary.
In order to avoid this situation, the company has to have someone on call, for everytime Mrs Smith wants the DVD moved. This way, they can avoid having to pay tort damage based on her exhorbitant hourly rates.
Does the example illustrated above seem contrived? Of course it does. But that’s just because the original premise that you posited (that the purchaser doesn’t own the DVD he purchased) is incredibly stupid.
Good night!

Francisco Torres March 13, 2007 at 1:06 am

You already proved that you are unfamiliar with the very definition of scarcity, so there is no need to show your complete ignorance.

I a familiar with your penchant for using strange definitions to suit your needs. Scarcity is defined as something you find a posteriori, by placing some thing at price zero – duh.

Available services derivable from DVD are scarce – because demand would exceed supply when there is no price to ration who will actually get to view it (rationing role of price is one of the first lesions in economics).

Sir, you are indulging in intellectual dishonesy – now you are invoking “derivable” services – what is a “derivable” service? The issue is the viewing of an event, and a person using that viewing for his or her benefit. A person bought a DVD with information on it. Is the DVD scarce? Yes, because the materials themselves are finite. Is the information contained in it scarce, even by your definition (price zero) – NO, because the information can be copied and reproduced ad infinitum, in a computer, or downloaded from the net – you could ALWAYS meet demand.

So what is the issue? You have been trying to run a roundabout to prove what is unprovable – that a “work of art” or information is “scarce” and thus subject to the protection that private property is afforded. This is preposterous – ideas cannot be homesteaded


Please, take at least the introduction to microeconomics at college, before you even dare to talk about these elementary topics.

I would advise you to be more humble, because the way down can be steep. This discussion has been held on a philosophical level, based on aprioristic principles and logic – you, sir, have been trying to add mathematical-neoclassical (aka B.S.) definitions in order to muddle the waters, the usual ploy of someone not willing to debate in an honest way.

You are also confusing the determinants of demand, such as the price of substitutes (the total price, including opportunity cost of time) – with the issue of scarcity which is actually caused by that demand (at some supply level).

Sasha, I am not confusing anything – you were the one that mentioned the viewing of a DVD is “scarce”, thus people pay for the DVD – you beg the question, again and again and again. What is veing viewed is the information reproduced by a DVD machine, but the viewing (the information) is NOT scarce – you can download a movie or the damned dance steps from the Internet as many times as you want – the price IS ALREADY ZERO!

This is not the reason why people buy DVDs. It is not the viewing which is scarce. Your runabout to “prove” that IP is property is not reasonable. Your ploy to prove that a person that copies dance steps is indulging in theft is illogical. Every time you try to prove this you end up begging the question.

Cosmin March 13, 2007 at 1:15 am

Observe how he also avoided responding to this:
“”When we purchase limited use of a vehicle, most of us don’t do it in order to start our own manufacturing of that same vehicle.”
We would if it were easy. If I run out of paperclips, I can bend a few wires. I’ll know how, because I’ve observed existing paperclips (that I hadn’t even bought).
If I decide to start making chairs, it will be totally based on the knowledge I’ve acquired observing the chairs I’ve already purchased.
Etc.”
Why is replicating cars different than replicating a wheel, or chair, or whatever?

When called upon it, he usually makes a comment to the sort that a particular argument is beneath him, so he doesn’t have to respond. That is crap. All arguments deserve response. Weak arguments are only easier to respond to.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 11:04 am

Cosmin,

you poor unintentional comedian :-)

DVD company is not responsible for storage of DVD that someone else places on Mrs. Smith’s property (and furthermore Mrs. Smith can throw it out – the end). But even if we talk about something larger than a DVD – imagine if every owner of stolen or rented merchandise was responsible for storage costs that someone else causes. That’s insane! Person who STORED the merchandise is responsible for STORAGE costs. It is people who cause trespass, not the items.

You ask: “Why is replicating cars different than replicating a wheel, or chair, or whatever?

This particular comment is really beneath me – but I answered it so many times before: you cannot prove that someone replicated your particular wheel, so proving the breach of contract or tort would be impossible – on the other hand, it would be easy to prove that I replicated Audi A6, if I start producing cars identical to them. There’s is nothing mystical about the original works of authorship and copyright: they are just easier to prove in court.

Someone asked me: what if I get caught on tape admitting that I replicated your particular wheel (for which we had an absurd copyright agreement…) Well, that’s an admission of contractual breech, and I would be forced to pay damages. But such situation is unrealistic and absurd.

——

Francisco, poor Francisco,

I am not invoking any “mathematical-neoclassical” definitions. Consult Mises institute for a definition of scarcity. You actually thought that only one determinant of demand (actually one part of it) is causing scarcity – which is ludicrous.

If you had any contact with basic economics, you would know that the ongoing imbalance between demand and supply is called SCARCITY and this condition is causing price formation. In other words, if we forced markets to abolish prices in some communism – we would have widespread shortages. It is the role of market prices to ration who gets goods and services (unlike socialism, in which government takes this role for some part or totally).

Services that can be derived from a particular good are scarce, because the supply of these goods is finite – while people’s wants and needs are virtually infinite. If you had intro to economics, you would know this. If you don’t know what “derivable” means, consult the dictionary. I know that you are unfamiliar with business world, but the supply of useful business ideas (recorded on some hardware) is scarce – because the demand for such information exceeds available supply. The owners of XXX pay-sites use contractual agreements to create limited supply of their porn videos, just so they don’t get into a situation in which there is no scarcity for their services (and they make no money). The same goes for inventors….

They all have property right to create contractual copyrights because that right comes from the very definition of ownership. If you own a particular good, you can demand the terms in which your good can be used by others.

You asked: “you can download a movie or the damned dance steps from the Internet as many times as you want – the price IS ALREADY ZERO!

The price is not a zero if the owner of a website demands you to pay for its view – and he also demands that you accept the terms of use which will prevent you from replication and distribution of that material. In this way, we have situation in which the supply of content is not unlimited and demand exceeds it. Capitalist often take measures to restrict the market supply and you can’t blame them for this. But I know you have problems with property rights – just like anyone who is clueless about the basic economics.

Regards.

Cosmin March 13, 2007 at 11:50 am

“and furthermore Mrs. Smith can throw it out – the end”

It’s only the end until Mr Smith wants to watch the DVD again. That’s when the DVD company must re-ship it to him to satisfy his usage rights stipulated in the contract.

“imagine if every owner of stolen or rented merchandise was responsible for storage costs that someone else causes.”
If the owner is not responsable for storage, then he can have no claim of trespass against his product when it is being used. Are you saying an item can be stored without the owner’s authorization, but can’t be used without same?

I use the gas pump at the gas station sometimes. Can I store it in my garage when I’m not using it, without the gas station owner’s permission?

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Cosmin,

Stop embarrassing yourself.

DVD company did not force its entry into Mrs. Smith’s home and it did not store anything there. It does not need to reship anything if its not responsible for product damage. Your cognition is seriously impaired.

And again – you are clueless about the definition of trespass. While DVD company is not responsible for any trespass when a person steals or rents their merchandise and stores it somewhere (they are not doing any use of someone else’s property) – the DO have a claim when someone uses their product without authorization.

If you steal someone’s gas pump – that’s a straight theft. Are you out of your mind?

Dan Coleman March 13, 2007 at 1:42 pm

I haven’t checked this thread in a week or so but I see that we’re in the same place. Sasha claims that ideas can’t be owned, that content is in fact scarce because people charge money for it, and that lawsuits based on 3rd party replication of content are somehow based in property rights. . .even though content can’t be owned.

Oh well. I can’t tell what’s most fascinating about this thread: seeing all of the different holes poked in Sasha’s theory, watching as he has nothing new to say (excepting personal attacks, which will undoubtedly be his response to this), or the fact that Sasha can’t quit. He just can’t. I’m willing to bet that he’ll have the last post in this thread.

There’s no need to respond to this, Sasha, although I’m positive that you will. It won’t matter to me either way, of course, since I won’t read, much less respond to, anything else that you say in this thread. Cheers!

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm

I know that Dan will not read anything I write, since I get him frustrated so much. I simply drive him crazy. Dan is showing different type of copyright hater: one that lies without any feeling of shame, knowing that he will not convince anyone.

I didn’t say that: “content is scarce because people charge money for it”

I said that services that can be derived from a good (controlled by their owners) are scarce because there is an ongoing imbalance between demand for these services – and supply of these goods. Market prices emerge when the owners try to ration this demand and decide who will get their good’s services.

PS
Of course that third party copycats can get sued, if they trespassed in order to make such copies (used my property without my authorization).

Francisco Torres March 13, 2007 at 3:57 pm


I am not invoking any “mathematical-neoclassical” definitions. Consult Mises institute for a definition of scarcity. You actually thought that only one determinant of demand (actually one part of it) is causing scarcity – which is ludicrous.

Uh, no. YOU are applying a concept on ONE part – the information. You commit the fallacy of composition, implicit in your comment about the “Available services derivable (???) from [a] DVD”. That comment is irrelevant to the issue at hand, if one person copying dance steps he or she saw is commiting Tort, or in the case of a person copying a DVD into his computer, is he or she commiting a tort. You are just trying to make a runabout to the illogical concept of IP by applying the scarcity concept on something that is NOT scarce.

If you had any contact with basic economics, you would know that the ongoing imbalance between demand and supply is called SCARCITY and this condition is causing price formation.

Sir, I have made clear that the concept is not beyond me. What I find absurd is your application of the concept to Ideas (you have many times, in a very dishonest fashion, tried to distance yourself from the copyright concept, when your very arguments demand that copyright be a valid concept, which is not).

In other words, if we forced markets to abolish prices in some communism – we would have widespread shortages.

Again, sir, this is not beyond me. That is not the issue. It is your application of the concept, to convert that which is NOT scarce into something that IS scarce, in order to support your contention that a person copying something he or she SAW is commiting tort, that I find objectionable and incorrect. It does not matter how many times you call me an ignorant, the fact that your argument begs the question has not changed.


Services that can be derived from a particular good are scarce, because the supply of these goods is finite – while people’s wants and needs are virtually infinite.

Irrelevant. The issue are not the services “surrounding” an idea. The issue is the information itself and if using that information for my benefit constitutes a tort. You have argued that the very action of “seeing” the information without consent is a tort (!), even when no property has been taken or exchanged – ideas are NOT property, because they are NOT goods (they are non rivalrous, cannot be homesteaded. You cannot place a fence arround them once they are in people’s minds or media.)

If you don’t know what “derivable” means, consult the dictionary.

No, what I say is that you are now flying off a tangent by bringing that up. These derived services are IRRELEVANT to the issue. If you want to argue that copyrights are importat to protect the profitability of these services, then you would be honest in doing so. You would also be arguing in favor of monopolistic competition and protectionism.

What is the issue? Person A copied some dance steps and charged money to show them or is making money using them. Another person, B, alledging that the dance steps belong to him, and that
A has commited a tort. Does he have a case?

No, because A did not take anything from B. Even if A saw the dance steps in a DVD that he rented, it does not mean that A commited a tort – the image in itself is NOT property – you cannot build a fence around an idea that is already made public. And once made public, it can be spawned as many times as people like, which ipso fact invalidates the concept of scarcity that you are trying to (mis)apply.


I know that you are unfamiliar with business world,

You must be omniscient. Not humble, that is for sure, but omniscient, to assert such a thing.


but the supply of useful business ideas (recorded on some hardware) is scarce – because the demand for such information exceeds available supply.

That is false. This is what I have been talking about since the begining, and yet you said you were against the idea of copyrights, remember? Business ideas, whatever they may be, are NOT scarce, for the simple reason that they can be copied – if they can be recorded, then they can be reproduced, ad infinitum. What you are doing is confusing the uniqueness of the originator of an idea with the “scarcity” of the idea, but that is preposterous – it is not like there are a few clever people in this world and that only they could come up with ideas.

The owners of XXX pay-sites use contractual agreements to create limited supply of their porn videos, just so they don’t get into a situation in which there is no scarcity for their services (and they make no money).

You just described artificial scarcity – again, information is not scarce. And porn sites do not create a limited supply of their videos – they would carry a certain variety of videos, Sasha, which is NOT the same thing. A video can be downloaded and copied as many times as you want. The porn sites do not make money by simply supplying porn videos – anybody can do that. They make their money by making it convenient to their customers. Also, the profitability is not insured by copyrights – that is naivette of the unicorn-sighting kind. They make the money because they keep offering an ever changing variety of photos and videos, not because their videos are “scarce”.

They all have property right to create contractual copyrights [here we go again - FT] because that right comes from the very definition of ownership. If you own a particular good, you can demand the terms in which your good can be used by others.

Ideas are NOT goods. They are non-rivalrous, nor can they be homesteaded. Who is being confused here, Sasha?


The price is not a zero if the owner of a website demands you to pay for its view – and he also demands that you accept the terms of use which will prevent you from replication and distribution of that material.

Big “if”. And if he does not, then it IS zero, right? What happened to demand outstripping supply? Because I can download a video, copy it zillion times, and distribute it to my pals. Am I making money? Maybe not. But here is the thing, Sasha – YOU confuse PROFIT, with MONETARY profit.

In this way, we have situation in which the supply of content is not unlimited and demand exceeds it.

In what way? If I agree to terms? And what happens if I not? Would that create a shortage? Of course not, Sasha! You are treating the idea originator as the scarce resource! But we are talking about here is one idea that already EXISTS, and THAT can be copied over and over and over – supply indeed can meet demand.


Capitalist often take measures to restrict the market supply and you can’t blame them for this.

I can – if they use your phony arguments to ask Papa-government to squelch the competition. That is what copyrights do, in actuallity.


But I know you have problems with property rights – just like anyone who is clueless about the basic economics.

Don’t flatter yourself, you are not that clever. And get this: I have absolutely NO qualms with property rights, when property is something I can HOLD and HAVE and not one else can. Ideas are not like that – they can spawn in people’s minds ad infinitum. What you just did was to treat THE ORIGINATOR of the idea as a scarce resource, somebody that should enjoy some kind of special treatment over property rights of others so as to avoid competition.

You also commit the very childish fallacy of the false dichotomy – assuming that anybody not in favor of copyrights MUST BE against property rights per se.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 4:20 pm

Francisco,

That’s too much talk about nothing.

You cannot escape from the fact that you demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of definition of scarcity and what it implies. You tried to deny that scarcity is nothing but an ongoing imbalance between demand and supply for services that can be derived from those goods (we demand only those goods that can be “used” / put into SERVICE). But I hope that we corrected your errors.

When it comes to issue of copyright – you miss the application of ownership and scarcity. If own something – you have a right to control services that can be derived from a good. As an owner, you can control who can use your DVD and under which condition they can enjoy those services (“terms of use” determine the price/damages for commercial use or replication). Unauthorized use of a DVD by a third party is a trespass by definition.

Every scarcity for man-made product is “artificial.” It is caused by both demand and supply. Scarcity of diamonds could be much smaller to almost non-existent, if its producers wanted to exploit much more and advertise less (so much that demand only comes from industrial use). On the other hand, if producers were not able to control supply and influence demand (play with scarcity) – many producers would not have profit incentive to serve us with many wonderful inventions and other goods. That’s what communists don’t get.

greg March 13, 2007 at 6:20 pm

“I didn’t say that” — Sasha Radeta

“I didn’t say that! You said that! Did I say that? I didn’t say that! I think that’s so funny that you think I said that! You can’t prove I said that. That isn’t what I said. You said that, not me. I didn’t say that!” — Nathan Thurm

You’re looking more and more like a cartoon character.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Greg,

Thanks. Your “intelligent” comment about my denial of statements I never made (common tactic of some copyright statements) says enough about you. You look more and more like someone who has nothing to say about our topic.

Sasha Radeta March 13, 2007 at 6:57 pm

In spite of all misunderstandings of basic economics (the inability to understand that scarcity is also caused by seller’s manipulation of supply – and not just by only one determinant of demand), Francisco actually raised a valid point:
- can we tolerate an artificial scarcity that is caused by contractual restrictions (private property rights)?

The answer is: yes! We must uphold property rights in all of their applications, or the entire market system would crumble and fall. If we accept the principle that private property rights can be invalidated if they restrict supply (cause more scarcity), soon enough you will have people who will say that any intentional restriction of supply of goods and services is invalid (claiming it is “artificially” creating hunger and poverty) – and you will have a nationalization of the entire economy. As the result, you would actually have less supply, because the profit incentive of producers would disappear. That’s deja vu for those of us who grew-up in socialism.

PS
Find me an anarcho-communist or any left libertarian who supports copyright! There is no one? What a surprise.

Fred Mann March 14, 2007 at 11:45 am

Nathan Thurm!!!
Yes!!
“I know that! It’s so funny you think I wouldn’t know that!!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOLBQxk72NY
(Not the best Nathan Thurm specimen, but still pretty funny. I have a better version, but apparently I don’t own my copy.)
Anyway ….

Fred Mann March 14, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Sasha writes:
“Go back to Mises’s definition of ownership:
- Ownership implies the control over services that can be derived from a good – and those services are scarce. If you own a DVD, you get to control who will participate in its use (services).”

I can see why you like this vague definition of ownership. But let me help you out. Using this definition, you could avoid all this hassle and simply claim ownership of ideas themselves, which is what you really want to do. After all, we own our brains, and ideas are “services” that can be derived from our brains. In fact, you might say that this is the main function, or “normal use”, of the brain. — i.e. ideas are one of the main products of our brains. And since we own our brains, we own the product of cognition — we own ideas.
Of course any ACCURATE definition of “ownership”, “property”, or “scarcity” MUST include a reference to rivalrousness.

Sasha Radeta March 14, 2007 at 6:31 pm

That’s not a “vague” definition of ownership. It is precise and exactly describes what ownership is. Ownership of ideas does not exist (although you dream about someone saying such nonsense, so that you finally can refute someone advocating copyright). You can only own physical goods – and that ownership means that you can control who uses your product (you control services that can be derived from your good).

Use your brain however you want, but if I don’t have any contract with you – you can’t use my product. On the other hand, if we form a contract when it comes to your use of my work of original authorship, I will make sure we have a copyright agreement that will make any replication very expensive for you.

Regards.

Sasha Radeta March 14, 2007 at 6:34 pm

By saying that scarcity is an ongoing imbalance between people’ wants and needs and the ability to satisfy those needs (demand exceeding supply and price ceiling) – we actually imply ravenousness, but some people are not intelligent enough to understand it.

Sasha Radeta March 14, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Correction: “we actually imply rivalrousness”.

If demand was equal or smaller than supply – there would be no rivalry and no basis for price formation. But such conditions do not exist for useful services that can be derived from scarce goods. That’s why owner’s can contractually restrict the use (services) of their scarce goods and charge money – but socialists do not see the big picture and can’t deal with this.

Stephan Kinsella March 14, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Sasha: “That’s not a “vague” definition of ownership. It is precise and exactly describes what ownership is. Ownership of ideas does not exist (although you dream about someone saying such nonsense, so that you finally can refute someone advocating copyright). You can only own physical goods – and that ownership means that you can control who uses your product (you control services that can be derived from your good).”

you control services that can be derived from your good — wow, interesting. This right to control services “derived from” one’s goods seems to have a lot of potential applications! Why, we might even build up a form of copyright and patent law out of it!

Sasha Radeta March 14, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Mises’s definition comes from the fact that the owner has sovereign right to “use” his property. And the verb “use” means “to put into service.”

Regardless of our potential disagreements on what constitutes “use” (or “services” derived from property) – we should all agree that the owner should have a right to fully control all of them.

This control should include the right to regulate the use of his product based terms of contracts (market exchanges) with other individuals….
- OR the right to restrict third parties from use of his product – and to demand damages for all injuries that result from such use.

Common law is enough. Private property rights would survive and do well even without state’s formation of artificial branches of law.

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