Flutterby™! : The Destruction of Society?

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The Destruction of Society?

2002-04-24 18:45:20+00 by Shawn 7 comments

Over on /. there is an interesting discussion going on about the duplication of music CDs. Somebody has posited that the existence of a generic "duplication" device (which allowed anybody to duplicate anything) would destroy our [economic] society. Others are poking holes in his assumption. Some interesting points being made.

[ related topics: Intellectual Property Music New Economy Consumerism and advertising ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-04-24 21:36:55+00 by: Dan Lyke

All the "It would destroy society" arguments seem similar to the attitudes behind the Luddite revolts. People who've become superfluous are trying to justify their existence in the creator to consumer supply chain by violence, rather than by economic necessity. It's telling that "the recording industry" calls themselves that, because technology has indeed made "the recording industry" largely replaceable.

The existence of a cheap duplication device would do two things: It would create incentives for the creators to build products for market segments which respect intellectual ability, and it would put a whole lot of economic leeches out of business. Both seem like positive outcomes to me.

#Comment made: 2002-04-24 22:05:31+00 by: Pete [edit history]

People are not superfluous, Dan. Professions may be, but people are not.

#Comment made: 2002-04-24 22:51:56+00 by: Dan Lyke

Aaah, the joys of fundamental philosophical differences.

#Comment made: 2002-04-24 23:53:28+00 by: TC [edit history]

Perhaps people in general are not superfluous but I would argue that some people are indeed an excess we could do without.

#Comment made: 2002-04-25 02:52:17+00 by: other_todd

Dan, as always this comes back to the starving writer in me - I just can't see the discussion through any other filter. And as always, I can't look at the (admittedly huge) excesses of the recording industry without thinking of how the same sort of attitude would affect writers if it were applied to the publishing industry. But bear with me - I think the analogy holds.

I mean, okay, if Major Publishing House publishes my novel, then I get slightly screwed in that I may not be getting full value for my creative output. On the other hand, as far as I can see, no one has come up with a solution WITHOUT going to Major Publishing House that allows me to get ANY value returned. I mean, what sort of "incentives for the creators" are you talking about?

Right now, as a musician or a writer, I don't see that there is ANY incentive for jumping outside the existing system. Sure, it's corrupt, but it's the only game in town. Self-publish? Good way to starve. Web publishing? Not even with a viable micropayment scheme.

I guess what I'm saying is, if I were a recording artist and you were talking to me about the downfall of the recording industry as we know it, I would not be able to be on your side unless you could - pardon the phrase - show me the money. Wide exposure, respect, and acclaim are noble goals but they don't pay the bills.

#Comment made: 2002-04-26 00:28:54+00 by: ebradway

What's posited here is one of the premises behind the Federation culture in Star Trek. With the existence of 'matter replicators', the gross accumulation of wealth becomes superfluous. People have to really find and work towards what they believe is right for themselves and society - and not for financial gain.

Of course, there is the matter of acquiring replicator credits - and Voyager threw a new loop into the replicator concept - not enough power to use it regularly.

#Comment made: 2002-04-29 02:11:25+00 by: meuon [edit history]

But why is 'latinum' of value to Ferengi? And I can think of superfluous people.. besides my ex...