Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'd think that this might be a surprisingly pro-American post by Boing Boing, except I remember that Boing Boing doesn't really think making money is a good thing.
And how exactly does Boing Boing propose that government keep us secure, since they're basically against government doing anything?
The government's evil and bad and has the Patriot Act and Bushitler and Cheney and Halliburton and all sorts of eavesdropping equipment that can track our every move and we Leftist bloggers are the only safeguards against attempts to take away our freedoms and freely traded MP3's that some of us paid for and everything!

But boy, those government agencies sure have ineffective computer systems, and should fix them pronto! Incompetent dolts, using contractors, even!
Something about this is just simply unappealing. Maybe it's European hygiene.*

*That was a lame attempt at humor. I actually don't know that European hygiene is any worse than American hygiene, except anecdotally. Well, there is that thing about European women and shaving, but I'm not sure if that's the same.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 4366 Diggs, is another story about some poor fool roughed up "unnecessarily" by the police. It's one side of the story, of course, which is bound to make the police officers look bad. Who knows, maybe it's a legitimate complaint.

But this is Digg, y'know?
And I suppose all this Internet traffic is the trading and/or viewing of perfectly legal, non-infringing personal content.
And here's an area where I agree completely with Techdirt: government has no legitimate authority to censor (except perhaps--perhaps--in times of national emergency and war, and then only to protect direct threats to national security). Indeed, censorship is one of the keystones of oppression. From what I can tell, though, Brits are used to this sort of thing.
I maintain my position: mixes and mashups are not original, "innovative" works. They're entirely derivative. They might be "creative," but that's not the same thing. I also don't believe that they constitute any sort of "fair use," and so they're common theft and should be treated accordingly.

It's interesting how the "artist" in this Techdirt story talks about how much his albums would cost if he were required to pay royalties to all the copyright holders he steals from. Interesting concept.
And here, Techdirt misses the point: Madison was talking about government-granted monopolies in the general sense, that is, one company being granted the legal right to control all production and sale of a given product, service, or raw material (e.g., a government-granted cable monopoly), as being evil things. And indeed, such monopolies, when granted by government, are evil things, because they infringe on the rights of any individual who may desire to do business in such property.

Protecting the right to control one's own intellectual property, which does not infringe on anyone's right to sell theirs or any other property, is not the same sort of monopoly. After all, we all have "monopolies" on the uses of our time and energy, for example Michael Jordon could always have withheld his preeminent basketball skills--to the detriment of us all--and been entirely within his rights. The same can be said of an author, artist, musician, etc.

Indeed, I'd guess that upon reflection, Madison would rather not have used the term "monopoly" at all with regard to intellectual property. He might rather have used the term "priviledge," which at the time meant the same as "right" today, as something that government should protect. As usual when considering what the Founders said about some issue, one must be careful to consider their use of the language and how it differs from ours.

Read the story to which Techdirt links. It's a bit different than Techdirt's version. I also concede that my reading might not be precisely the Volokh Conspiracy's, but then I'm not making entirely the same point.
This is ominous. But, no profiling!