At 7:41 AM -0800 on 1/21/01, Somebody wrote:

> <x-flowed>You've all seen this - I'm just trying to figure out what
> I think  about at least the part that applies to Apple and iDVD.

I think Gilmore's right.

On the other hand, and, quite frankly, it is the *market* that
ultimately determines the salability of something, and not government
regulation, or even the litigiousness of the recording industry.

I think the reason we don't have digital out jacks on minidisc
players is because people don't want to *pay* for them. The fact that
the recording industry's lawyers have a massive incentive to increase
that cost as much as they possibly can, is, oddly, orthogonal to the
basic value proposition that people *play* music on the things, and
not record it on them.

Sharing music in digital form may eventually change that dynamic, in
the much the same way that people beam applications back and forth
with their Palm machines today, or with Napster on the net. But, that
will happen only if the physical cost of a digital out port is worth
it in the marketplace. At the risk of sounding like a Republican, or,
better, an anarcho-capitalist, here, supply creates its own demand,
same as it ever was. If it's cheap enough, hardware companies will
put them there, just because they can.

Remember the Go dual video-recorder case, where the movie business
fought a simple copying technology tooth and nail, and, after much
blood and money, nobody bought the damn things when they *did* get to
market because the physical *cost* of copying a video -- and the
value of a movie you've seen once -- was considerably more expensive
than the few bucks it cost to rent a video from, say, Blockbuster.

So, the reason we have copy protection schemes (scams? :-)) is
because the people who *finance* recorded art and software (not those
who *make* it, notice the distinction) can not, currently, make their
money back without hiring lawyers and using the governments guns to
keep in business.

Not a bad thing, frankly; it's value neutral, like the weather. It's
just the way the world works right now. At least we get the music
that way, after a fashion. And, given the inertia of the capital
involved, it's currently the *only* way to get music and make enough
money to stay in business.

Of course, that will change, both with internet cash-settled auction
markets for content, where the first copy is the most valuable and
the last copy is worth only marginally more than the bandwidth used
to distribute it, and of course, in a world of ubiquitous strong
cryptography, which creates a very precise, and non-legislated form
of private property: if it's encrypted with my key, then it's *my*
property, and there's not much you can to with lawyers, or guns,
frankly, to keep me from controlling that property.

In a geodesic market like that, copy protection becomes mere
friction, and it will go the way of all copy protection throughout
the ages, once again, because it *costs* too much.

Oddly enough, this idea auctioning the first copy of something for a
lot of money and each subsequent copy being auctioned off for
asymtotically smaller prices per copy is exactly what happens now.
That's what publishing and recording advances are, what recording
contracts themselves are.

It's just that it's done with laws and the monopolistic force of the
state now, and we're moving into a world where we're going to trade
guns and lawyers for networks and financial cryptography.

Of course, if that new world cost *more* than the current regime of
guns and lawyers, it doesn't *deserve* to live, all moral
protestations of the latter's adherents like myself to the contrary.


Version: PGP 7.0

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: [EMAIL PROTECTED]>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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