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Oct 25, 2004

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1.

In a way, this argument is a relief. For months I've had a budding resentment not unlike Burke's about the way that the MMORPG experience does not live up to my initial hopes. And it is true, we tend to look at the Devs, alone, for redress. But looking back now I recognize that the objects of my disappointment have not been just devs but also the player society, because it seems inappreciative of the incredible imaginative opportunity that's been presented. The A2A perspective allows us to critique the social structures of SWG as much as we do the design. In other words, it is too pat to say that the former always follows from the latter, and that therefore the dev-gods are ultimately responsible for all. Rather, devs are almost always working under a set of rules that sharply delineates things they can and cannot accomplish because of the nature of the user society. "No, an uber guild would exploit that." "No, powergamers would hate that." "No, gold farmers would eviscerate that." This new perspective allows us to ask why there are uber guilds, powergamers, and gold farmers, or alternatively it gives us, as critics and analysts, the right to assign some responsibility for outcomes to the users. This then opens up possibilities for a new avenue of design praxis: how do you design things so that your world is populated only by the people you want in it? Richard Bartle has some of this in his book, in the chapter on the dynamics of player-types. But I think he's operating in a mind-set that takes the players are largely exogenous - boys will be boys. Maybe from a design perspective (at least now) that's all you can do. But this paper opens our minds to the possibility that we analysts do not need to settle for boys will be boys. In assigning players some authorship rights, we become free to deplore or laud the way that they behave. It's an insight I hadn't thought of before, validating my ongoing resentments against communities that outrageously and sociopathically refuse to role-play on known role-playing servers.

2.

Not read the full paper yet (omg 74 pages, why are legal papers always so darn long!), but my initial reaction is that I really welcome some alternative takes on this stuff coming from the legal establishment (if I can lump Greg & Dan in that group being that they generally are pretty alternative).

Where I might differ is that I do think that VWs give us an opportunity (and indeed grounds) to re-think copyright some more – however I don’t think that there is sufficient market motivation to do so at this time (assuming that the US courts tend to lead the debate and that they will tend to look at things that have sufficient economic reason to do so, though the recent legal work and arguments that have occurred in China and Korea do give me hope).

Also, while we are on alternatives, for a long time I’ve banged the drum that concerns over identity and rights should supervene over certain property rights and Sal Humphreys I think is coming from a similar place with her foregrounding of Social Capital, so stirring a little more social into the mix is a good thing – also if we can get away for naratology vs ludology I’ll sleep better at night.

I have a slightly different take on Proff Bartle’s work than Dr C does though. In Proff B’s talk in Copenhagen he seemed to focus on feed back between designer, world and player more, what’s more central to his conceptualisaion of the psychological role of VWs, as I understand it, is the hero’s journey and the way that this enables one to assimilate or reject aspects of self – thus while some boy’s may be boy’s some might also fine they like being girls sometimes.

Right, time to get some more toner in the printer and read the paper.

3.

Ren>omg 74 pages, why are legal papers always so darn long

They're only half the length if you don't read the footnotes.

Richard

4.

Ted Casronova>But I think he's operating in a mind-set that takes the players are largely exogenous - boys will be boys.

It's not that all boys will be boys, but that enough boys will be boys that you can't ignore them.

>In assigning players some authorship rights, we become free to deplore or laud the way that they behave.

I don't think you need to assign them authorship rights to do that, but if it helps in analysis then yes, go for it.

I'd like to see it make a difference to the practice rather than just the theory, though.

>validating my ongoing resentments against communities that outrageously and sociopathically refuse to role-play on known role-playing servers.

It validates it, but what does it do about it? From the perspective of the people who refuse to role-play on a role-play server, it validates their ongoing resentments that there are socially ill-equipped, 1D people playing on their server who have to pretend to be someone else because they're too boring to get by being themselves.

Richard

5.

Greg and Dan,

Have just persued the paper, and I look forward to a more thorough reading.

I agree that "[t]he importance of the promotion function to copyright industries is hard to overstate." Pity you don't more thoroughly analyze promotion.

The value of promotion is the commons for which free-riding is the greatest problem. Reliably motivating tens-of-thousands (let alone hundreds-of-thousands or millions) of people to act conteporaneously, as a business model, will always be expensive, whether centralized or de-centralized.

Check out Duncan Watts and others re: scale-free networks and percolation models. If they are correct, a 'hit' may have less to do with promotion and more to do with the social network's structural footprint at the time of promotion.

Decentralization almost certainly will not significantly reduce total cost of promotion, and might well increase it.

It's romantic to recount the fluke hits, and attractive to believe them reliably reproducable (pun intended). But they aren't.

Very good job framing issues (especially promotion); unfortunately, your axe-grinding undermines your analysis.

Jeff Cole

6.

Ren>he seemed to focus on feed back between designer, world and player more

It's as I say in my book: the designer creates the world and sets up the conditions for it to prosper in whatever directions he or she sees fit, but the moment it goes live it's not the designer's any more, it's the players'. "It's our world now, but the moment I press this button it's yours".

>what’s more central to his conceptualisaion of the psychological role of VWs, as I understand it, is the hero’s journey and the way that this enables one to assimilate or reject aspects of self

That's correct, although it's perhaps somewhat idealistic. The lack of atonement in many of today's virtual worlds and the complete disregard for the feelings of their fellow players that some people have is debilitating.

I also see design as a hero's journey by the designer, by the way, but that's another paper...

Richard

7.


In assigning players some authorship rights, we become free to deplore or laud the way that they behave.

I don't think you need to assign them authorship rights to do that, but if it helps in analysis then yes, go for it.

However, doling out (authorship) rights may inject enough accountability into the discussion to help it along.

8.

Ted>In assigning players some authorship rights, we become free to deplore or laud the way that they behave.

Richard>I don't think you need to assign them authorship rights to do that, but if it helps in analysis then yes, go for it.

Nate> However, doling out (authorship) rights may inject enough accountability into the discussion to help it along.

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for player authorship rights as a legal matter (those authorship "rights" may well exist without the need for advocacy, but they're mitigated by EULAs and market forces, which puts us back in a copyright/contract question that is interesting, but is pretty well-traversed in legal literature). Instead I'm advocating for player authorship recognition by critics of virtual worlds.

Likewise, in the A2A paper, we're not advocating that distributed and disintermediated authorship should require that copyright rights should expand to cover that new territory (some people have argued in that direction, e.g., assigning national IP rights to the distributed collaborative creation of folklore, etc.) Neither are we doing the copyleft shtick (that Jeff seems to think we're doing), where we lament the corporate capture of Mickey Mouse.

Instead, we're trying to shift the mode of discussion in copyright, and recognize that there is an elephant in the parlor. Amateur information practices (like this blog, this post, and the various comments) are nominally covered by copyright law, but exist outside of copyright's system in all practical ways. Amateur practices are becoming a huge part of our information ecosystem, but they are completely ignored in discussions of information policy and the social function of copyright.

Mapping this onto virtual worlds, the player is regularly cast as a non-authorial consumer in the standard model of Hollywood movies, videogames, and other cultural products. But MMORPGs are a special case where we need to find a different critical language, one that pays attention to the players, their role in running the world that is given to them, and attributes to them some of the credit and some of the blame for the pleasure of the game experience. I think we can do all that without bridging the question of "rights."

Apply this to the Trader Malaki issue. (Caveat that I've never played, just read reviews.) The vast majority of reactions from our Slashdot influx blamed the offended players and many praised the sophisticated vision and intention of the designers. If you read it from an dev=author perspective, player=reader perspective, this follows, because you've got two options: 1) the event was bad, offensive art, 2) the event was noble, ground-breaking art and these players were not sophisticated enough to appreciate it.

Yet if you take the player=author perspective, which I think is what should happen, you get another option. You can say: the event misfired because 1) the ground rules of collaboration weren't understood and 2) some people found the creative vision offensive. So it's more like a band breaking up over artistic differences, or a film project turning sour -- much harder to pin the blame on anyone in those situations.

9.


Yet if you take the player=author perspective, which I think is what should happen, you get another option.

This is an excellent point, esp., as you pointed out, it was well illustrated by the Trader Malaki issue/discussion.

IMO - clearly establishing "rights" in some matter (non-legal) would be useful if it can deconflict different perceptions of individual's rights involved. The issue rarely seems to be a lack of "rights" per se - its just that everyone has their own perception of what rights they have and what are at stake. Clay Shirkey - suggests this point, "A Group is its own Worst Enemy."

http://www.shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html

10.

Nate> The issue rarely seems to be a lack of "rights" per se - its just that everyone has their own perception of what rights they have and what are at stake.

Well, yeah, if those kind of unprotected authorship "rights" are what you all were talking about, then I'm fine with the word "rights". As a member of the legal persuasion, I just get kind of anxious when I hear the word "right" invoked -- I start looking for a legal source of the right and an associated remedy.

This happens a lot -- e.g., there's plenty of free speech talk being bandied about in the context of virtual worlds, but as I read it, the First Amendment as it stands today doesn't apply to virtual worlds (or to AOL or Yahoo! or the rest of the Intarweb), because of state action doctrine. As Dan and I noted in the paper, and as Peter Jenkins has argued, you could pull out a Marsh argument, but I'm kind of dubious that we'll see that anytime in the near future. So all this talk of "rights of free speech" (and there was a fair amount of that in the Malaki discussion too) can be more confusing than instructive.

11.

I wouldn't say you're doing schtick (though I would agree that much of the copyleft argument is such >;)), but there is definitely a grindstone when you season the stew with, among other spices, talk of Faustian bargains and manning the barricades. But such isn't the point of the thread, and my schtick was more appropriately an e-mail.

But I was very excited about your recognition of promotion's importance, and your further recognition of its lack of recognition (or something) because it is that commons (and not the general commons of public knowledge/discourse) that copyright really protects once one gets over the collective euphoria of incenting individual authors.

That's why I suggested Watts, et al.. It may indeed be true that a social network's position and momentum may play a much greater role than we might think in determining what breaks and what doesn't. To the extent they do, promotion has always been decentralized (or, if such netowrks are indeed scale-free, then perhaps re-centralized somewhere other than in the content producers?) and decentralization (re-centralization?) of other aspects of the consumption chain likely only increase costs associated with promotion.

And that's the parallel to VW's I failed to express. A given VW (including different shards/servers of the same VWs) have their own subtle flavors based upon their individual social networks.

That said, I can only imagine that there is also a Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle at work in social networks and to the extent that observable events provide a snapshot of the network, they necessarily change it ... and any conculsions one might draw must be taken with an appropriate grain of salt.

Jeff Cole

12.

Greg,

Among other matters (Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Reefer Madness, and I stopped about there), you argue that the "copyright industry" serves previous (and current) functions of social groups -- or, put broadly, "culture."

And you question whether the assumed incentives for individual creativity are in fact provided by copyright laws. Eg, "...those who write weblogs are clearly not acting in accord with a theory of copyright as a required incentive for content production."

I'm wondering, then, if you choose to criticize the copyright industry and, specifically, question its claimed benefits regarding content production, could you not equally choose to criticize "culture" and question its claimed benefits regarding content production as well?

Seems to me, for instance, that the typical player guild (as an example of mmorpg culture or a "social information" group) is much more often concerned with what its members can't do than with what they can do. Ie, just like the copyright industry.

Perhaps I could then at some point say, "Those who play mmorpgs are clearly not acting in accord with a theory of guilds (or, even better, a theory of 'culture') as a required incentive for content production."

13.

Jeff> talk of Faustian bargains and manning the barricades

Dan has a piece kind of on point: Marxist-Lessigism. The law review version is Culture War, forthcoming in Texas.

I'm glad you think the promotion function is a key point. It seems to me that this is one place to anticipate major shifts in the future.

Dave> Perhaps I could then at some point say, "Those who play mmorpgs are clearly not acting in accord with a theory of guilds (or, even better, a theory of 'culture') as a required incentive for content production."

Yes, good point, though a little murky to me -- maybe you can clear it up in New York. I think I kind of see where you're going. The thing I get is that there's a problem in attaching the concept/expectation of "content production" to play.

14.

"So how does the player contribution to authorship balance with the designer contribution?" -Terra Nova

"Finally, the tools and the freedom to author your own adventure" was our step toward building the tools by which players will alter the environment and conduct their own survival sim in the Frontier 1859 Virtual World project. Starting with an un-civilized wilderness, the world will attract all kinds of denizens and emigrants just as it did in real life frontier history. They will be walking across someone else's back-yard though (Native Americans). -Daniel


"...Social authorship is as important to virtual worlds as it seems to be, I think it *should* influence the way we theorize virtual worlds." -Terra Nova

It is. In fact, everything is built around templates (sort of say) that offer "non-intrusive direction" so that player initiative can be self-conceived, but socializing alone isn't enough. People need to feel like their effort makes a difference in the world around them. However, many MMO's on the market today build a static world with extraneous interactivity potential. And that is the real trick! Aiding and abetting social authorship to be inclined toward "extraneous interactivity potential." Up until now, exploration is limited, and role playing is defined as conforming to a level treadmill that requires hundreds of hours and down-time penalties before a player can feel like they make any difference at all. Alas, they go out to discover that their experience flat-lines with thousands of other players whom already attained the same goals. I'm proposing to evolve this trend into a dynamic based upon freewill initiative, survival, and growth opportunity. Thus, we will equip players with the freedom and the tools to author their own experience, guiding players to focus on helping or hindering each other's survival in a harsh environment. This is a step in the right direction, and will offer excellent insight into the arguments you have presented in the "Player To Player" article. In Frontier 1859, players will find it necessary to enforce their own laws (or not), and otherwise suffer the consequences of chaos. Communities, both Native American and Emigrant Settler will be forced to work together to survive. -Daniel
-Daniel

"...Critiques should include discussions of player culture, player motivations, and player contributions to design and performance." -Terra Nova

Absolutely! In most cases, those critiques should be players. So we've listed "Player authored journalism" as part of the game. We want players to manage the land and directives. Thus, we will enable players to build (hobby-kit style) other portions of land, towns, and other major projects such as RR, and add them into the mainframe. This will create a lot of player motivation and initiative. -Daniel


"Players make MMORPG environments tick because." -Terra Nova

In the sense that they invest their time and effort into manipulating accessible data, such as "avatars" and "experience points" yes they do. However, another way of looking at it might be: "Developers create the environments by which players tick." Even MUDs were not stream of conscience. Until that happens, the IP rights are exactly the content that is published, rather than an idea of "what it is" (as pertaining to any content created within any virtual world). ;) -Daniel

15.

greglas> Yet if you take the player=author perspective, which I think is what should happen, you get another option. You can say: the event misfired because 1) the ground rules of collaboration weren't understood and 2) some people found the creative vision offensive.

But this doesn't make sense as the conflict was with the devs not between the players themselves... The event misfired because of power issues and perceived policy changes, not authorship issues? Also, the premise that player=reader only makes sense if you talk to narratologists, if you want to communicate with devs that probably is a straw-man...

16.

Having now read the paper...

I see where you're coming from, and the A2A approach to analysing interactions has strong potential for critiquing virtual worlds (as Ted points out).

However, I do feel that the existing copyright system does have some features worth preserving. For things like books, that can take many months to write, the possibility of financial reward remains a motivator.

I already had my book given away free without my permission via a torrent. I wasn't too happy about it: I was hoping to sell some copies to students on courses that use the book as a reference work, but that's not going to happen if they all have versions they can read on their PC. If copyright were to disappear, I wouldn't write a second book (yes, I know, some would say this is a good reason to get rid of copyright!).

The thing is, although A2A is laudable, P2A2A is problematic. Things written professionally then passed around by amateurs will ultimately mean that professionals can't make any money out of it; they'll therefore cease to be professionals. This must affect the quantity, if not quality, of their output.

Richard

17.

Richard> However, I do feel that the existing copyright system does have some features worth preserving. For things like books, that can take many months to write, the possibility of financial reward remains a motivator.

I think I'll probably be doing this for the next few years, but yes, I agree with you. I'm not anti-copyright. I think we were striving to make a nuanced point in the paper, and perhaps some of our critical asides about the current scope of copyright law has made the nuance less capable of coming through.

There's nothing bad about copyright for books. The Statute of Anne was about books and it was a great innovation that overthrew a monopoly. Indeed, in my opinion, copyright has been a great, splendid legal system to get people to write books and publishers to send them all over the world. It would be perfectly fine with me if we continued for the next hundred years with copyright for books. I'm not at all arguing for the abolishment of copyright law because it is out of touch with current practices, including A2A practices.

All I think we wanted to point out, and which we finally point out in Part III, is that we've got two spheres of production and practices. One is a professional, commercial sphere, and one is an amateur-distributed sphere. And both are valuable. The amateur sphere has not generally been recognized in the copyright literature -- or if it has, it has been denigrated as unimportant & worthless or associated with concerns about derivative copyright infringement. All we want to do is have it recognized, in the policy debates, that the amateur sphere is valuable, vast and at least *as* culturally productive as the professional sphere.

Now that sets up a conflict between two spheres of legal and social ordering that are bound to come into conflict, the standard professional sphere and the A2A sphere. We don't explain how to solve the conflict in this paper. Even if we could, the paper is probably long enough as is. :-)

18.

greglas>The amateur sphere has not generally been recognized in the copyright literature -- or if it has, it has been denigrated as unimportant & worthless or associated with concerns about derivative copyright infringement.

All I've ever read up until now about the amateur sphere (which isn't much!) seems to be concerned with weaving what is actually the practice into the theory that is the law. In other words, people are trying to phrase public licences so they both fit the attitude that prevails among the creators of "content" and also fit copyright laws designed for different purposes. Your paper is the first one I've come across that recognises the difference between the requirements of (what you call) professionals and amateurs.

>Now that sets up a conflict between two spheres of legal and social ordering that are bound to come into conflict, the standard professional sphere and the A2A sphere.

This is what I meant by P2A2A. It would be nice if systems designed for facilitating A2A didn't also facilitate P2A2A, but I don't think that's likely to happen (there are just too many people who think "information" should be free).

Richard

19.

>Richard sez, "Things written professionally then passed around by amateurs will ultimately mean that professionals can't make any money out of it; they'll therefore cease to be professionals. This must affect the quantity, if not quality, of their output."

I'm curious about this as to 1) whether it's true and 2) if it's true, whether affecting the quantity (as opposed to the quality)of "professional" output is a good or bad thing exactly.

As to number one: Seems like there are social rules regarding who or what gets admiration/respect/and such which (long before copyright laws jumped in) have provided rewards to innovators more valuable than any hypothetical "monetary incentive." Just for instance, suppose you got to chose either the legacy of Tim Berners-Lee or the legacy of Bill Gates. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/146434_msftpatent01.html. Which would you choose?

As to number two: Does this mean that the quantity of professionally produced fps shooters, d&d online ripoffs, or, gad, television sitcom sexual innuendo jokes will decrease? Or Star Wars limited edition figurines? Or Lord of the Rings ceremonial daggers? Or Harry Potter replica wands? Frankly, I just might be willing to sacrifice some portion of Metallica's future monetary incentives for the greater good here.

20.

It is nice to see some recognition of the fact that players do produce content. So many discussions get tied up in pointing out that the player's sword, while blacksmithed by them, was not created by them, that they miss the much more serious issue.

It will be interesting to see how the legal status of these sorts of amateur 2 amateur networks evolve.

- Brask Mumei

21.
Greglas: All I think we wanted to point out, and which we finally point out in Part III, is that we've got two spheres of production and practices. One is a professional, commercial sphere, and one is an amateur-distributed sphere. And both are valuable. The amateur sphere has not generally been recognized in the copyright literature -- or if it has, it has been denigrated as unimportant & worthless or associated with concerns about derivative copyright infringement. All we want to do is have it recognized, in the policy debates, that the amateur sphere is valuable, vast and at least *as* culturally productive as the professional sphere.

I guess I just don't get the nuance. Is the point merely that we have two spheres of production/practices?

What is it that you want A2A to be able to do and copyright prevents? Certainly, it's more than children drawing Mickey. Given Dan's writings, I can infer some practices (e.g. bnetd), but it's not clear to me from the paper.

Considering just Part III ('copyright' to be read 'American copyiright'):

A copyright grant is the grant of a property-like interest, conferring a state protection against the general societal appropriation or use of information as a “thing.” (emphasis added).

I do not think it is being pedantic to point out that copyright is supposed to protect an expression of an idea and not the idea itself. Especially in a paper about copyright-creep, it is important to maintain scope, if only to underscore the idea/expression dichotomy.

In the case of intellectual property, the need for some animating justification is even more necessary because the “owner” of a copyright is in no way physically or financially harmed when a given pattern of information is replicated. (emphasis added).

"Pattern of information" is better, but "expression," would be better yet.

But is the statement true? Ignore any independent content provider. Take any band that self-finances its recordings, manufacturers its own merch., and tours constantly (i.e. promotes!). Are you really arguing that there is no harm if I rip and distribute one of their records for free on the internet? OR if I make up a tee-shirt with the band's logo and sell it outside the show? Or make a greatest hits comp of their various records and sell it outside the show?

Indeed, if one were to speak of the general animating goals of average artists and authors, they probably do not seek to become rich by preventing others from gaining access to their creative products. Instead, they probably seek an opposite goal—attaining fame through the maximal social access to their work.

How is "rich" per se the opposite of "fame"? Aren't you really talking about different currencies? In both cases aren't the authors looking to miximize an expression of value?

There has always been a majority of unpublished and unrecognized artists, but until recently it has simply been too expensive for these artists to make the wider world aware of their creativity.

Though you earlier state that is is impossible to overstate the value of promotion, you do so late in the paper and quickly drop the subject. Sure, you can point to the fluke hits. But even though Blair Witch was made for only tens-of-thousands of dollars, Artisan spent $15M to put the trailer in front of Star Wars.

To rely on the caprice of the consumption network as a business model guarantees only bankruptcy, not success. Lord of the Rings will never get made via an opensource model. If only for one of the reasons you earlier stated: the creator's fame and ego it feeds.

The [first,] obvious sphere is a traditional, copyrightdriven sphere of professional information practices. ... The second sphere, which creates essentially the same type of content, is a distributed, volunteer, amateur-to-amateur sphere of information practices not committed to copyright’s social structures. ¶ The two spheres, unfortunately, cannot co-exist peacefully. Participants in the first sphere have financial incentives to ensure that the second-sphere amateurs do not threaten their profits.

This is what I take to be your nuanced point. But is it nuanced or do you just obfuscate? Certainly, the two spheres per se cannot co-exist. Current copyright holders are not threatened by my release on the 'net of my original work of authorship. Well, to they extent they are, copyright is not a club they can wield against me.

So why do your A2A publishers threaten? What is it they want to do that copyright purports to prevent?

I suspect whatever "it" is, it's presents the traditional issues of copyrightability, infringement, and fair use.

Jeff Cole

22.

Bleh.

"Certainly, the two spheres per se cannot co-exist."

Should be:

"Certainly, it's not that the two spheres per se cannot co-exist."

JC

23.

Jeff> Current copyright holders are not threatened by my release on the 'net of my original work of authorship. Well, to they extent they are, copyright is not a club they can wield against me.

That's the point.

24.

Is that really the point?

I don't see the rub, then. A2A away with you original works of authorship ... if another A or P infringes your work, assert your rights if you want.

But to the extent your work is not so original ... don't be surprised that somebody asserts their rights.

I've got a feeling you and I do not agree on the definition of "original," among others. I know Dan and I don't.

Firms will always exist because it is expensive to reliably exploit the social network. Sure you might get one for free, but the next two will cost you more to make up for it. Copyright is (has become) about recovering promotion costs. For many of the reasons you identify, promotion is (has become) the dominant variable, especially with respect to the music industry (the music industry is also very hurt by the fact that they market singles, but sell records).

JC

25.

You explain that we still need firms due to the high cost of promotion. But, we need promotion because we need a hit to pay for the high costs of promotion. Doesn't this seem like a cyclical argument?

If we don't have expensive promotions, we need only recover the production costs, so don't a mega-hit to profit.

As for being able to A2A inside a copyright world? I think the counter point is two fold:

1) Copyright owners will want to prevent A2A from succeeding. As mentioned, the commodity is the receivers time. Time spent enjoying A2A content is lost dollars for P2A systems. The two options are to compete or to suffocate A2A systems. The easier choice is to suffocate A2A systems under the claim that they are engaging in rampant piracy. (The fact that most A2A distribution channels *are* engaging in rampant piracy certainly doesn't help the legitimate A2A market) They will not be content with preventing piracy. They want to prevent A2A. Look at most DRM systems. How do I publish under such a system? They are, by design, methods of preventing amateurs from publishing.

2) A2A systems under the current copyright laws are very fragile to being tainted by copyrighted content. Ever see those company websites with their offensive: "Anything you submit to this site becomes our property"? Their fear, I presume, is that they repost someone's question as a FAQ and get hit with copyright accusations. This is, of course, the typical lop sided producer/consumer theory. The average person is presumed to be incapable of publishing anything worthwhile, so it seems logical that all IP should reside with the company which provides the bulk of the real goods. I personally think the "ownership" (in terms of attribution, at least) should reside with the submitter of the comment. Said submitter should also retain their rights to make further derivitive works of their comment. Ie, while I agree TerraNova should have the right to disseminate and archive this comment, I would want to retain the right to use it for my own purposes.

I saw a discussion about Wikis and Versioning. Most Wikis record a history of transactions. The question was: If someone posted something copyrighted to a Wiki is it sufficient to merely delete it? It would still be in the history of that item! Theoritically, one must also purge the history log. Of course, the fact that any posting is copyrighted by the author unless clearly stated otherwise leads to other problems...

I think the point of this paper is that we should ask what would be a sensible copyright system to address the needs of A2A networks? I'm not sure if an answer was provided.

- Brask Mumei

26.
If we don't have expensive promotions, we need only recover the production costs, so don't [need] a mega-hit to profit.

Sure. Problem is that for any business model based on promotion, your 'if' is never reliably true (i.e. discounting the fluke case). Even in the fluke case, the next one costs you more because the promotional outlets will want to capture the value of the services you got 'for free' with the fluke.

Technology may have reduced some costs associated with promotion, but it has also increased others and imposed new ones. As important (perhaps moreso) it has fundamentally changed the nature of the social network.

At the end of the day, technology doesn't change the fact that promotion involves convincing people to do something, and there is great value there.

Jeff Cole

27.

dmyers>Seems like there are social rules regarding who or what gets admiration/respect/and such which (long before copyright laws jumped in) have provided rewards to innovators more valuable than any hypothetical "monetary incentive."

I can't say that Roy Trubshaw or I have received any rewards whatsoever for having been innovators, let alone ones more valuable than money. Then again, we weren't doing it for reward, we were doing it for fun.

Richard

28.

Brask> I think the point of this paper is that we should ask what would be a sensible copyright system to address the needs of A2A networks? I'm not sure if an answer was provided.

No, you're right, we didn't. We did consider trying to solve the problem, but the paper would have been even longer... Instead we contented ourself with just describing the problem, i.e.:
1) comparing/contrasting the issue of the A2A production sphere with copyright,
2) pointing out that technologies (P2P) that facilitate productive A2A threaten copyright at two levels (facilitating P2A infringement and providing unwanted competition for attention space), and
3) stating that we would really like the A2A sphere to be recognized in legal information theories and peacefully co-exist with copyright (and obtain some legal protections for its own model)--but noting that, given the history of copyright struggles, that would be unlikely.

We didn't offer a solution because we don't have one at the moment (nor to we have one for the fact of player production in virtual worlds). We just wanted to spot some of the issues we felt were being overlooked in the current copyright=good / copyright=bad formulations.

29.

Richard> I can't say that Roy Trubshaw or I have received any rewards whatsoever for having been innovators, let alone ones more valuable than money. Then again, we weren't doing it for reward, we were doing it for fun.

Isn't fun a reward?

30.

Jeff Cole> Problem is that for any business model based on promotion...

Exactly! I agree with you here. However, the disconnect is in the words "business model". One could posit (and I don't necessarily do this) that business models are unnecessary.

Content is produced in the absense of business models. That's what A2A mostly is. What's the business model of Linux-as-a-codebase? As such, you don't need your returns.

If there was no music industry, would there still be music? Yes. There is music in every culture of humanity, suggesting that we don't actually need business models in order to create music. Would it be so bad if no one felt the need to spend dollars to convince me to listen to a certain type of music and I were instead left to listen to the music that I happen to stumble into?

So long as we see intellectual property as a valid business model, one will need promotions, and hence high costs, and hence require hits, and hence need strong protections. But this is a circle!

One thing I would like to see summed up is how much the copyright law *costs*. How much does the United States spend because of the existence of copyright law? With the view of copyright as a form of welfare this is a very valid question.

(Personally, I'm in favour of copyright and support the notion that one should be able to make money from intellectual property. However, I recognize that I can't use the business model as justification for the business model)

- Brask Mumei

31.

Brask,

Due respect, but I am not using the model to justify the model.

Promotion is expensive. Technology does not significantly reduce the cost and may actually increase it.

To that end, in the absence of copyright either (1) business models that rely on promotion will not be viable, or, and much more likely, (2) such models will adopt new technologies, models (i.e. that impose exclusivity), or legal regimes (e.g. contract) to impose exclusivity.

JC

32.

Byron Ellacott>Isn't fun a reward?

Well it is, yes, but it's one that people give to themselves. We were talking about the kind of reward that people give each other: "social rules regarding who or what gets admiration/respect/and such" (dmyers).

Richard

33.

Byron Ellacott>Isn't fun a reward?

Not an insignificant point, and an important realization that not all human behavior is, after all, socially determined -- so that social engineering (of the soft soft offered by the lawyers and copyright laws, or of the harder sort suggested by Kang) must fall short (thank goodness) of finally determining creativity and play.

Richard> I can't say that Roy Trubshaw or I have received any rewards whatsoever for having been innovators, let alone ones more valuable than money.

It just might be that you under-estimate the (non-monetary) rewards your innovative activities have provided you. Perhaps your reputation is better -- and more valuable -- than you think it is.

And, of course, there's always what happens after the artist's death to consider. (hoho)

http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/viewbook.asp?isbn=0300077408

34.

I've got a big old law review article in the works on authorial reputation as incentive, which has sucked up most of my time during the past two months. And I do endorse your (hoho) there, Dave. Me personally, I've just got no clue who Tom Clancy and Britney Spears are, I only see authorless texts adrift in a blanket of Foucauldian/Barthesian fog... not.

35.

Oh, and I should mention that if anyone wants to throw me any links / book titles re empirical literature on the dynamics of reputation incentives for creative authorship, I would be glad to hoard them. Cory actually mentioned on his SOP2 panel that reputation was the primary interest sought by creators in Second Life, which made my heart skip a beat -- and then I realized my mistake. Can't really footnote that observation. :-)

36.

dmyers>It just might be that you under-estimate the (non-monetary) rewards your innovative activities have provided you.

Or it might be that you over-estimate them.

>Perhaps your reputation is better -- and more valuable -- than you think it is.

Well, let's suppose that someone in a newspaper article completely trashed my reputation in a series of lies, and I sued them for libel. Could I expect the courts to shower me in riches? No. At best, I'd get a retraction at the bottom of page 27.

>And, of course, there's always what happens after the artist's death to consider. (hoho)

I don't consider value ascribed to me after I've died to be of any personal consequence whatsoever.

Richard

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