4 Responses to All Your Brain Are Belong to Us

  1. Anon2 September 1, 2007 at 9:22 pm #

    These greedy capitalists are living in another world Dr. Long. This year they made billions in profits but anytime profits go down they blame file-sharing. If at some point their pollution diminishes the oxygen supply of the earth, I have no doubt there will appear articles in the Wall Street Journal justifying “oxygen property rights” and that anybody caught breathing in an unauthorized zone or growing their own plants to compete with corporate-produced oxygen will be jailed and/or have to pay fines to the OIAA (the Oxygen Industry Association of America). Then I’m sure countries with more athletes will have their Olympic teams extradited to the United States for consuming more than their share of global oxygen reserves.

  2. William H. Stoddard September 2, 2007 at 8:25 am #

    Sure. It’s got nothing to do with what copyright law as it now exists attempts to control. Never mind the dubious case of standing reading in a bookstore, which bookstores tend to discourage for straightforwardly mercenary reasons; you can walk into a library and do the same thing without hindrance, or even take the book home. Transcribing books into your brain is one of the intended uses of published books. What copyright law attempts to prevent is not transcription, or even discussion of the transcribed material, but rather reproduction of the transcribed material in a form accessible to others—that is, publishing the material.

    Which is not to say that copyright law in its current form can remain viable. It was devised when the publication of copyrighted material had a substantial capital cost, both for the physical means of making multiple copies and for the means of distribution to buyers; now both those functions are byproducts of a nearly ubiquitous technology, which lowers the cost of copyright violation and raises the cost of enforcement. I think whatever we have in another century is going to look substantially different from the current regime, even if it’s still called “copyright.” But I don’t find this particular analogy helpful either in predicting which way things are likely to go or in deciding which option I personally favor. It seems like too much of a straw man.

  3. Administrator September 2, 2007 at 10:09 am #

    To William Stoddard:

    The point of the comparison is not that copyright law is likely to go in this direction but rather that if copyright law were justified then it would be justified in going in this direction — but modus tollens. It’s a reductio, not a prediction.

  4. Kevin Carson September 3, 2007 at 3:19 pm #

    Damn. I unsubbed from LRC blog’s feed because I got sick of all the “Ron Paul, all day, every day” bullshit, and then they run something like this.

    When they get all the bugs worked out of the microchip-cerebral cortex interface, I’m sure brain DRM will be mandatory. And MS will probably hound you with “updates” so you can download Genuine Advantage into your head.

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