Thursday, May 22, 2008

Passive Mode

I've spent the last two weeks reliving my old gear lust days.  As a result, I've spent a lot of time (a lot of time) watching video demos and listening to audio examples and reading reviews on the web. In the past few days, my internet travels have landed me on copyright issues.

Specifically, I watched a talk by Larry Lessig on copyright... and this reminded me of a post where I made an ass of myself a few weeks ago.  I also read another article (very long) at CDM about copy-protection on virtual instruments.  I found myself getting sucked into reading the comments on these two CDM posts... something I very, very rarely do.  (My experience with comments has been one of flamewars (resulting from appropriate bait), back-patting, and generally lame opinions from extremists).

I thoguht I would make my stance clear in a post, here, in two quick points and a pre-emptive defense:
  1. I think copyright laws stiffle creativity, and that copyright lawsuits are harmful in all but the most extreme cases.
  2. I think copy-protection on software is profoundly lame. I believe the solution is dual-pricing, where a nominal fee ($20-$50) is charged for (download-only) non-commercial users and a higher fee ($200 and up) is charged for commercial use.
When I say things like this, people inevitably ask me (lame, IMO) questions, so I'll pre-emptively respond:
  • Yes, I own the software that I use.  (Despite the fact that I release my music for free and have never earned a penny for it.)
  • Yes, I have stolen software.  ...It so happens that I'm not using any now, but I will admit that I have in the past, and may do it in the future.
  • Yes, I will buy the software once I deem it's a tool I will consistently use.  Like I said, I own everything I use now.
  • I am a software developer.  Yes, I know what goes into development.
  • No, I am not a commercial software developer, my I suppose my paycheck doesn't come directly from software sales, so I can't speak to that.
  • No, if someone used my music in a commercial way (even a complete rip-off), I would not sue them.  Unless they attempt to tell me that I cannot freely release the originals anymore, because that's ridiculous.  I release my music cc-by, only because they removed the non-by option from cc.  I don't care if I'm credited, as long as I am allowed to (truthfully) say I wrote it.  I don't release it non-derivs, I don't release it non-commercial.  In fact, I think both options are lame lame lame lame lame.  They violate the whole spirit of cc, and I cannot respect that.  cc-by I kinda get, just because some people really need acknowlegement.  So be it.
  • Yes, that is a promise, and yes, you can call me on it if I ever violate that.
  • Yes, I would buy tons more software if they would follow the dual-pricing scheme.  Zebra and Z3ta+ and Albino3 and MMV and Jupiter 8V and Morphine and Toxic3 and...

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