If someone invented the ability to copy food, or copy oil, there would be riots in the streets if everyone couldn’t have all the food and oil they wanted.
And today, with MASSIVE political upside to conservatives:
- We can promise the have-nots ALL the movies for FREE.
- We can promise them ALL the video games for FREE.
- We can promise them a copy of EVERY song for FREE.
- We can promise them a copy of EVERY single college course taught at an Ivy League school for FREE
Conservatives should & ought to do this.
We should do this because the Entertainment and Academic industries are not on our side, and we have no reason to support them.
We ought to do this because property rights do not and cannot extend to the digital. And we look foolish going along with it.
It isn’t the easiest to read article, but the gist of it is that since socialists are destroying real goods companies and economies with their politics, we should engage in economic warfare of our own, knocking the legs out from under their feel good products which bear no intrinsic worth.
To be honest, I’m not entirely persuaded by his argument. Maybe I don’t fully understand it.
It costs money and time to develop a video game, for example, and the best of any genre these days (Angry Birds aside) can easily run up millions in costs and marketing that the companies must recoup. Video game developers want to eat, too.
Authors that spend time writing books—maybe something like this one—put time and effort into their writing and want to be compensated for the ideas they share and the knowledge they impart. I cannot easily be convinced that the same author who publishes a physical book suddenly should lose his right to profit from it by the virtue of it being offered in a digital format.
Now, if what Warstler is really advocating is the crippling of DRM so that digital content can be resold by the purchaser the same way that a physical book can be resold or loaned, that I can get behind, providing the entire content is being sold, and is not merely being copied. Crappy pablum that I think his music is, Dave Matthews deserves to profit from the original sale of his album in whatever format that album happens to take. Once an album sells, however, the purchaser should be able to sell that copy; it is absurd that the album cannot be sold or transferred by the purchaser to someone else, simply to force another sale for the artist.
If that is what Warstler wants to do with digital movies, music, and video games, I can get behind that. If, on the other hand, he is truly saying that the digital format invalidates the worth of the effort, he’s on his own.
Education, however, is another area entirely.
I spent from 1989-1995 in college amassing a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A considerable amount of what I paid for (buying credit hours) was spent buy the school on physical facilities, offices, salaries, and other aspects of the university that did not contribute directly to the worth of the education or knowledge transfer at all. I strongly suspect that undergraduate courses that do not require physical interaction (labs, for example) could be replaced almost entirely by online courses. These will have both cost and worth, but they would not remotely justify the absurd costs required to pay for bloated staff, faculty, and physical facilities of a modern university where dozens to hundreds of students are crammed into classrooms to be taught by a T.A. or second-rate instructor (like a certain under-performing instructor turned President).
Warstler has found fertile, almost indefensible ground if he wants to target the indoctrination class. I don’t know if it is practical to make education free, but it is certainly reasonable to expect we can knock down costs by 90% or more, reduce the loan-shark racket of student debt, and make the world a far more educated place in the process.
Hell… it might even force academics to have to deal with the real world. How is that for a novel thought?