Piracy and IP

I’ve been listening to the first five episodes of Decline to State so far and I’m impressed at everyone’s handling of hard questions and enthusiasm. Their discussion on IP or No IP (IP as in Intellectual Property) has set a light off in my mind about the issue triggered by this definition of reputation by comparing it to prices:

Just like a price is the aggregate monetary value judgment of a thing by market actors, reputation is the aggregate nonmonetary value judgment of a person by market actors. Of course, the amount of (resp.) money / reputation that a single individual is willing to pay for / ascribe a thing / person, varies from person to person. When one isn’t willing to pay the market price for a thing, he says “it’s too expensive” (for me). When one isn’t willing to believe the average reputation of a person, he says “he is overrated” (in my judgment).

Reputation should also be extended beyond just belief, for if you value the reputation of a person, you should desire to provide evidence of your aggregate monetary value judgments (a really obtuse way of saying “BUY THEIR STUFF”) with the hope that the money gets to the correct person. If you’re spending $10 for a digital download of an artist’s latest album, you’re doing so either because it’s convenient to you or you wish that artist to receive some benefit for their work and reputation.  

Piracy wrt Known and Unknown Reputations

Is piracy an aggression upon reputation and a violation of the non-aggression principle?
It depends.

There’s If you’re giving away someone’s work because of their reputation, you’re either hurting them if they’re relatively known or helping them if they’re relatively unknown.  There is no defined boundary between the two states, except for the action of the owner of the reputation: if the reputation’s owner indicates that they are happy with the amount of reputation they have earned from the market, the market should stop piracy and honor their request. [I know, fat-chance from the poor starving student, but you highly successful an-caps who pirate should be feeling  guilty and open up your wallets…]  If the owner accepts affordable prices and makes their works available where the market desires, based on their reputation, they’ll collect significant monetary value and the market is happy—remember the Summer Steam Sale?

Should Intellectual Property Exist?

Before this I hadn’t really thought of my view of whether or not IP should exist and have decided this:

IP doesn’t exist because it was an invention of the State and “improved” upon by corporations like Disney who persistently lobby the State for ever longer extensions of copyright duration.  These corporations of course then attempt to use the State to collect on this fiction.

But there is a market of reputation and an implicit contract to support reputation monetarily whenever and wherever you benefit from it.  If you downloaded a song and never enjoyed it to begin with and deleted it, you’re happier that you didn’t monetarily lose. If you’ve listened to it 30 times a year, perhaps you better brace yourself for the next paragraph…

Sort your pirated music library by “times played”, group by artist, and spend some of your hard earned money.

Dealing With Your Personal Guilt

If you benefited from piracy, you incurred an anonymous debt to the performer and the performer had better opened a digital tip-jar (BitCoin, LiteCoin, PayPal, doesn’t matter how…) to collect your debts, no questions asked.  Maybe you only have $100 to spend a year, so proportionally allocate it based on your benefits. If Artist-A received 20% of your attention and Artist-B received 80% of your attention, send $20 to Artist-A and $80 to Artist-B.  Each artist at least receives something for your reputation of them.

For those performers who don’t have any methods of receiving “tips,” well, you’re missing out on a lot of lost income driven by piracy, a real SUATMM failure when someone just wants to play your music on the devices they prefer. If you benefited from piracy and can’t increase the artist’s monetary income, you should by all means at least try to increase their reputation: write recommendations, reviews, and so on—but not by more P I R A C Y. That would be silly.


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