Information Wants To Be Free

Some people like John Perry Barlow and maybe Esther Dyson believe that Information Wants To Be Free. This doesn't mean "IP (Intellectual Property) protection is bad", it means "IP protection is a losing game as info becomes digital, so look for another source of cash flow".

Stewart Brand was the original generator of this. On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.

If this is "true", then what is left for Business Models For Information?

see also: Invisible Content, Economics Of Abundance

(Hmmm, as money becomes increasingly abstract/informational, does that mean that Money Wants To Be Free?)

  • no, it means information in the digital realm is within the model of abundance, as opposed to material goods within the model of scarcity, which capitalism is based. on. information is "set free" when it is digitized. once there, there's no going back. (

  • but as we get more and more efficient at DoingMoreWithLess, and more and more of the New Economy value creation comes from bits instead of atoms, what does that imply for Money? (And nation-state monopolization thereof...) (By the way, this is just a random Brain Fart...) --BillSeitz

free information? WHERE????? TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! --2003/07/23 00:46 GMT
Gee, glad to hear it! Um, when does it begin?

See, information COSTS A LOT OF SWEAT AND MONEY TO DISCOVER, REFINE, and ORGANIZE. It took LOADS of money to devlop a primitive vaccum tube into a advanced BEAM POWER TUBE, which is a FAR cry from the primitive thing that Dr Lee De Forest TRIPPED OVER when he was experimenting with FLEMING VALVE variants.

All that research resulted in lots of new facts, but it cost lots of CASH. OK, someone (several someones) spent the bread, did the experiments, measured things, thought about it, compared notes (sometimes) and came up with TETRODES. They studied these, noticed limitations, and came up with PENTODES. They studied what went on in them, and refined it with BEAM or POWER pentodes. Studying these, they came up with THE BEAM POWER TUBE.

That 6V6G or ^6L6GT or 6146RGB were the result of a LOT of work, and a HUGE stash of cash.

OK. Now, we have to ask, why?

Partly because assorted people, states, some corperations, and even the national governement offered grants to advance pure science research.

And some of it was because FIRMS wanted to devlope a new better product.

When the first beam power tube was offered, it was easier to make, and therefore less expensive, and gave GREAT results. The firm recovered it's costs partly by offering licenses to other tube manufacturers, who also made the thing. It also had a head start on making the tube, and established it's presence in the market as a maker of fine electronic devices.

This was not free information by any extent. It cost a HEAP.

OK. So, inventing firm creates first such tube. Patents it to protect the invention. Anyone can make one. Yes, the patent prohibits SELLING such a tube, not MAKING it. You can MAKE one to study all you want. Make a thousand if you like. You just can't SELL any- commercial exploitation was prohibited. BUT, you could aquire a LICENSE to do this. It cost money is all. ANYONE could (for a modest copying fee) obtain a copy of the patent for the thing. But although the information was 'free' (acknowledging the copying cost existed, and postage to get it from the US Patent office to you), in reality it cost bucks to use it commercially. Because the infenting form had PATENT RIGHTS on the invention.

That's just one example, in the realm of inventions.

Where the internet is coming into real conflict is not so much on inventions, but on COPYRIGHTS.

When you create an artistic work, a text of instruction, a how to manual, you (usually) want to be rewarded for it. by copyrighting a work, you have rights- rights to demand reward for your labor.

You do NOT have to offer access to your manual on rebuilding classic VW's. You can set the terms to whatever the laws allow. IT IS YOUR PROPERTY. You own the original- not just the paper and inkspots, but the CONCEPTUAL STRUCURE THEY CONVEY. You own the right to declare under what condition someone else may posess a COPY- that is, you own the COPYRIGHTS.

You can GIVE THEM AWAY. You can RENT them. You can SELL them.

Frankly, the lure of GREED, a vice, has led many firms into the error of demanding FAR too much money for something that is duplicated VERY easily. And GREED should NEVER be rewarded, because greed is a VICE; it is an expression of AT LEAST unethical conduct, and AT WORST is EVIL. (How this applies to certain firms vending software products and operating systems I dare not write publically...)

TradeSecret-s --2003/07/23 00:57 GMT
Coca-Cola syrup, prime example.

Never registered, patented, copyrighted. 12 people on earth, TOPS, know the complete formula. A dark mystery.

Coke will not tell ANYONE. There was once a grand law case, where several BARRELS OF COKE SYRUP were sued. Yep, you read that right, the very barrels were the defendant. Coke-Cola appeared not as defendant, and did not care to say a word. The content was being demanded. Coke refused to say. BIG case, many years ago. Trade secret, they insisted. Went up and up the judiciary all the way to the supreme court, appeal after appeal, since there was something of a comtempt of court charge resulting by their refusal.

Guess what? They have a right to their secrets. They do not HAVE to reveal any information. They DO have to refrain from using substances not fit for human consumption; they stipulate that all components for the syrup are fit for such use. THAT IS ALL they say.

You don't have to buy coke, and they don't have to tell you their formula or method of preperation. It's a trade secret.

money --2003/07/23 01:04 GMT
and besides, Money is fictious anyway.

ARG?!? (orcish for 'Oy!')

Look; Paper is real. Ink is real. Silver is real. Gold is real. Peices of paper with pictures of dead presidents on them are real. MONEY is a game we play, a beleif system we all seem to subscribe to, a FAITH. Mammon is indeed the god of this world, and it is the one true universal faith system.

That which has (damn near) no value has become the arbiter of all values.

Chew on THAT one a spell...

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