[Foundation-l] ASCAP comes out against "copyleft"

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Jun 28 18:33:03 UTC 2010

Jeffrey Peters wrote:
> Dear David,
> I'm going to donate to their cause.
> Music lyrics, just like poems and novels, should not be stolen and published
> everywhere, and yet it is. It is people like you that give the internet a
> bad name. I produce my own content and donate it because I chose to. You
> promote the taking of others who have not consented. To use this list to
> promote your own selfish desires bothers me.
> I would think it would only be right for you to lose access to this list for
> acting so inappropriately.

Old bullshit never dies. I was just reading an article in a similar 
vein, "The Ethics of Copyright" by Grant Allen in the December 1880 
issue of /Macmillan's Magazine/.  It still hasn't grown any roses. . . 
which says something about its lack of fertility.

By and large those who most loudly harangue about piracy fail to notice 
that interest here is seldom about reproducing the lyrics of current 
popular music, but about gathering the flotsam of intellectual efforts. 
The law of the sea clearly distinguishes between piracy and gathering 
flotsam. If the taking of music lyrics constitutes theft, no-one is more 
capable of maintaining that monopoly than the recording industry.

It often seems too that the Law of Copyright comes into conflict with 
the Law of Supply and Demand.  Your excellent articles about various 
significant poems of the English language may be excellent examples of 
original research that clearly deserves to be in Wikipedia, but demand 
is not solely derived from the excellence of an author's efforts.  The 
patent office records are replete with records of ideas that easily 
passed the test of originality, but whose utility was abysmally 
laughable.  Those inventors, like many authors, inflate the value of 
their own efforts well beyond the demand, and without regards to the 
effects of competition.  The costs of producing physical copies of even 
the best articles of literary criticism far exceeds the price that the 
market will bear.  The writer's efforts could be assembled in an 
anthology, but the the buyer needs to buy a packet of irrelevant 
material to have that one gem.  If that one gem constitutes 5% of an 
anthology, no publisher is suggesting that I could have a copy of that 
article alone for 5% of the price.

Novels may contain enough material to support separate marketing, but I 
would welcome a realistic analysis of the economics of a single sonnet.

> On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 6:35 PM, geni <geniice at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 25 June 2010 23:04, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
>> http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/ascap-assails-free-culture-digital-rights-groups/
>>> They're actually gathering money to fight free content.
>>> We may need to do something about this.
>>> - d.
>> They are effectively trying to fight contract law though which is
>> unlikely to end will for them.

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