Abolish copyright.

You can charge for material things - paper, ink, packaging material, the time of the workers to prepare it. You can even charge for bandwidth, server upkeep, and electricity. But information has no material cost and therefore cannot be sold.

Exercise civil disobedience: it's your obligiation as a good citizen to be a pirate. We can negotiate again when they change the law to make copyrighted works enter the public domain within our lifetimes.

@sir alright, I'll start using GPL code in my proprietary projects from now on without releasing the source code.

@newt I know this is sarcastic, but this does not follow from what I said. What actually follows is that the copyright of your proprietary software ought to be invalid, too. If I get your source code, I'm gonna leak it, and if I get your binaries, I'm going to reverse engineer them.

@sir this actually wasn't sarcasm. Copyright laws work both ways. GPL is a form of copyright specifically designed to abuse it for the sake of free software.

@newt no, but you're still not getting it. Copyleft is a hack which uses copyright to subvert copyright. In a world without copyright, copyleft would not be necessary.

@sir no, I'm getting exactly what you are saying. I'm just disagreeing with you.

@newt let me try another angle. Another effect of the GPL is to require the disclosure of source code. This is not really related to copyright, but more of a contractual agreement which depends on copyright. If copyright ceased to exist, then yes, this would cease to be effective.

However, I think that this requirement to disclose source should ALSO be covered by law, as a separate matter. We can abolish copyright AND require disclosure of source.

@sir I know where this is going since I've had this argument before. I'm also old enough to remember the wild west we had with software licensing mere 25 years ago.

I agree that the copyright system we have right now is ugly and abused as hell, and this has to be changed. Invasive DRMs must not be a thing. Endless copyright extensions must be stopped and reverted to something sane, maybe several years after the product release. But I'm also saying that no copyright system isn't better. It is already a pain in the ass for a small software shop or indie devs to make a living from making software. With no copyright it probably wouldn't be possible since warez sites would kill it.

@newt maybe you shouldn't be questioning the abolishment of copyright on the grounds that it's a necessary means for people to make a living, and instead question why people need copyright to _make a living_. Why is the human needs for food and shelter contingent on having a viable business model? Should we infringe upon the individual rights to share information for the sake of making that business model more viable - or should we maybe make sure that people's basic meets are met, period?

@sir oh, people don't need copyright to make a living in the exact sense. I mean, I could flip burgers in McDonald's and get paid enough to get by, and so could you. But if I want to continue maintaining my lifestyle, then sure, having my work protected is nice.

@newt no one is entitled to a viable business model or a certain lifestyle. I believe you are entitled to basic human needs, including happiness, and that this extends to authors as well as everyone else. With this axiom in place, the whole economic model of the human experience changes. I'm getting kind of tired of explaining this (fourth time today)... but try to question your assumptions and build up an internal model of how you might survive and achieve happiness under these constraints. It's possible.

It's not the role of the law to limit rights to make more businesses viable. If it were, we wouldn't be able to take a piss for lack of someone to charge us for the pleasure.

@sir happiness is a very subjective thing. Am I entitled to a dozen hookers if only they can make me happy? Even in your space communism fantasy this won't work.

Then again, I could argue that you aren't entitled to my source code either.

Btw, I'm quite happy right now. I have a nicely paying job which is partly based on the fact that software is copyrighted. So yeah, you see where I'm going.

@newt happiness is subjective, but let's not open that can of worms. I was using it as a shorthand for the lifestyle you argued that you are entitled to.

@sir I didn't say I was entitled to it. I don't even thing I'm entitled to anything for that matter, the whole concept doesn't really make much sense to me. But I'm able to maintain my lifestyle, and I consider this a nice thing.

@newt if you (and anyone else) could achieve that lifestyle without copyright, would you still argue for copyright?

@newt oh, and I would point out that demanding the legal right to sue people for copying your copyrighted work is the same as being entitled to it

@sir I would probably agree with you here. The right to sue for a breach of contract is a much better thing.
@sir if I could achieve this without copyright while doing what I enjoy doing (writing software as a part of a small company in this case), then sure. But I don't see this happening without some form of legal copyright protection.

@newt that's because you're viewing it through the lens of an economy which has not been adjusted to account for the lack of copyright.

@sir perhaps. But then again, the system you are trying to describe probably can be abused as hell too.

@newt well, we haven't tried, so who's to say

@sir we haven't tried many things. Doesn't mean they are all good.

@newt well, what we are doing now isn't working. So we know that it's not good, and we ought to try something else.

@sir again, isn't working for whom? It works for me. It works for a lot of other people.

@newt it's not working for the commons. Public domain is a joke. No one is alive today who was alive the last time something entered the public domain. It's working for you in only the most short sighted and immediate sense.

@sir public domain has always been a joke. It's not even a thing in some countries. Again, I agree that the current copyright system isn't ideal and is readily abused by big players like *cough* Disn *cough*.

@sir @newt I agree with your principle, but that’s... not true? There’s a lot that entered the public domain this year - see “Entering the public domain in the United States” en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_i

@sir @newt I think Tom Scott’s video on the YouTube copyright system [0] would be a good addition to this discussion, and I think many of the points he makes can also be applied to software.

Super short abstract: the system is broken, but it’s the best we’ve got right now. It should be fixed, but doing so properly is difficult and will take a long time because of how copyright systems can be - and are - abused.

I’m inclined to agree with his assessment.

[0] invidio.us/watch?v=1Jwo5qc78QU

@reykjalin @sir @newt Given that it's 42.5 minutes long, I haven't had time to watch that yet, but the super short abstract reminds me of Jim Sterling's "Copyright Deadlock" trick for giving the finger to people abusing YouTube monetization to steal ad revenue on videos they don't have a right to.


@reykjalin @sir @newt

Three years later, the state of things then prompted a video explaining how to play the system to use Content ID yourself to ensure that, no matter what happens to your account, nobody else can take 100% of the revenue.


(The TL;DR is that there exist distribution companies like cdbaby you can partner with, who have access to Content ID, so he composed an outro tune to use on his videos and had them monetize that for him, minus cut.)

@reykjalin @sir @newt OK, watched it and anything I could say to praise it would feel like an understatement.

The combination of length, quality, and topic remind me of Ross Scott's `"Games as a service" is fraud.`


@sir Any chance the arguments make it into a blog post?

I'd love to read it in a structured way, since it seems like you put a lot of thought into it. Not just copyright law, but the whole societal support of humans without forcing false scarcity.

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