Betting on Free

I’m at Logan, moments from take-off for Los Angeles, so I won’t elaborate on Leveraging Free, my latest post at Linux Journal. Read and follow the links there for much more.

See ya on the far coast…

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One Response to Betting on Free

  1. Kelly trips up when he says “When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.”

    Kelly certainly understands the Internet and the folly of attempting to protect the price of copies via anachronistic copyright legislation.

    Unfortunately, his conclusion is grievously malformed. He should have said “When copies of things are free, you need to sell the things, not the copies”. It doesn’t matter whether things can be copied, unless you were hoping to profit from a state granted privilege of exclusive sale/manufacture of copies, such as patent or copyright.

    For example, it’s quite possible to sell GPL software (free as in speech, not beer) despite the fact that it can be freely copied (without charge). The consequence is not that people give up selling software, but that people give up selling copies of it (except added value affixed thereto).

    This doesn’t invalidate the many things that Kelly suggests can also be sold, but it remains perfectly possible to sell digital art despite the market for digital copies becoming quickly saturated.

    The value is in the art, not the copy.

    That the instantaneous diffusion of the Internet may devalue copies does not consequently devalue the art so copied. The art and its value remains unaffected.

    The notion that the value of art resides in each of its copies is an illusion created entirely by copyright.

    “When art may be freely copied at negligible cost, sell the art – not copies”

    Thus, sell the blockbuster movie – do not try and sell copies. People still value the movie just as much as ever, but the market for copies is over.

    Copyright is over.

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