Re: Napster: stealing another's vs. giving away one's own

From: roger hurwitz <rhhu_at_LIFE.AI.MIT.EDU>
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:27:56 -0400

Whatever the merits of the analogy or disanalogy of napster to scientific
eprints, your response indicates considerable ignorance of the exploitation
in the recording industry. Suffice it to say that most recording artists
do not control any circumstances of the distribution of their product and
the issue is accordingly not one of intellectual property but property of
the recording industry. most musicians do not gain from recordings, but
have no academic job either that is promoted by their work. They are
consequently interested in the greatest exposure of their products, which
is something that napster enables. like most art, this is based much more
on the notion of gift than on exchange. I realize Steve that you want to
protect your project from attack on any side, but your misinformed attack
on napster does you a disservice

At 10:41 PM +0100 5/19/00, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>On Fri, 19 May 2000, Eric Hellman wrote:
>eh> Although a number of lawsuits have been filed trying to shut down
>eh> Napster because of its potential for copyright abuse, the music
>eh> industry's war against Napster is one they have already lost, even if
>eh> they win numerous legal battles. The genie is out of the bottle...
>That may or may not be the case, but what is certain is that the kind of
>bootleg and piracy that Napster makes possible is certainly NOT what is
>being advocated for the refereed research literature.
>The decisive disanalogy between napster-based music piracy and the
>self-archiving of research is that it is the PRODUCERS (the authors)
>who are giving away their own texts in the latter case, whereas in the
>former case it is the CONSUMERS who are stealing it.
>The musicians whose work is being stolen in this bootleg enterprise are
>certainly not willing collaborators in what is happening to their work.
>Nor is it at all clear how the music industry is to survive if all
>products can be stolen in bootleg form.
>It seems to me that if people can steal all the grain a farmer grows,
>the farmer goes out of business, and there is no more grain to steal;
>back to everyone having to grow their own. (Unlikely that it will
>continue to be grown for any secondary "advertising" revenues
>piggy-backing on the bootleg.)
>eh> The music industry has many parallels with the books and serials
>eh> industries; in fact, there are very strong parallels between Napster
>eh> and the recent efforts to develop interoperable archives for
>eh> technical articles.
>I would completely reject this. Napster may have parallels in the
>bootleg piracy of digital texts, but that certainly is not what the open
>archiving initiative is about. One of the reasons for the prominent
>emphasis on author SELF-archiving is precisely that it is only author
>give-aways that the initiative is focussing on. There is no intention
>to condone or facilitate crimes.
>Note that, unlike in music and trade-book production, in research
>journal paper production there is and always has been a conflict of
>interest between the author and publisher: the publisher needs to sell
>their joint product, the author would prefer to give it away. The
>solution to this is for the journal publisher to scale down to becoming
>a quality-control/certification (QC/C) SERVICE-provider, instead of a
>producers of papers, which can instead be given away by being
>self-archived online in the open archives. The (minimal) costs of the
>QC/C service can be paid for by the author's institution out of a small
>portion of its annual institutional savings from cancelling all
>payments for the (now-free) PRODUCT (formerly paid for by
>Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View S/L/P access tolls).
>There is no such conflict of interest in the case of music and
>trade-book production. There, author and publisher are completely
>united in opposing the theft of their joint product. Not so in the case
>of the refereed research literature.
> Harnad, S., Varian, H. & Parks, R. (2000) Academic publishing in
> the online era: What will be for-fee and what will be for-free?
> Culture Machine 2 (Online Journal)
> Harnad, S. (1995) The PostGutenberg Galaxy: How to Get There From
> Here. Information Society 11(4) 285-292. Also appeared in: Times
> Higher Education Supplement. Multimedia. P. vi. 12 May 1995
> Harnad, S. ( 1995) Sorting the Esoterica from the Exoterica:
> There's Plenty of Room in Cyberspace: Response to Fuller.
> Information Society 11(4) 305-324. Also appeared in: Times Higher
> Education Supplement. Multimedia. P. vi 9 June 1995 eh>
>eh> Similarities:
>eh> 1. Both are distributed content distribution schemes.
>eh> 2. Both are catalyzed by uniform identifier systems.
>eh> 3. Both are driven by grassroots rather than by incumbent industries.
>Irrelevant. Only the conflict of interest in one, and not the other, is
>eh> 4. The supply of content exceeds the demand.
>For the non-give-away literature, Napster allows theft by the consumer,
>pure and simple. "Auto-piracy" by the (co)-producer is not piracy at
>all, and indeed it can be done completely legally, as described repeatedly
>in this Forum.
>To put it another way: Like music and trade books, research journals are
>at risk of consumer-theft. But that is certainly not what it being
>implemented or advocated here. What is being implemented and advocated
>here is merely legal (but subversive) self-archiving by the give-away
>(co-)-producers of the papers in question, the authors.
>That "subversion" is intended to force a rational restructuring and
>downsizing of refereed research publication, in line with what is best
>for research and researchers, so that publishers can be paid fairly for
>the service they provide (the value they add) through QC/C, once they
>have scaled down to providing that essential service, and that service
>alone (the rest no longer being essential, hence no justification for
>continuing to hold give-away research hostage to its needless expenses
>in this PostGutenberg, open-archiving era).
>eh> Differences
>eh> 1. Rock Stars get megabucks from the music companies. Nobel winners
>eh> are not significantly compensated by publishers.
>This is relevant, though obscurely stated: Rock-stars do not wish to
>give away their work; researchers do. That's the trade/nontrade,
>nongive-away/give-away dichotomy described above. Rock-stars make
>their money from the sale of their work; researchers make what money
>they make from the (research) impact of their work on other researchers
>and their research. The barriers of S/L/P, denying access to their
>research, are eo ipso IMPACT-barriers. Hence the conflict of interest.
>eh> 2. Music is youth-driven; print is not.
>eh> 3. Many Napster-enabled activities are clearly illegal. e-print
>eh> archives are clearly legal.
>Not only not illegal, but not analogous, being (give-away) producer
>"auto-piracy" rather than consumer allo-piracy. The latter (stealing
>what is another) is wrong, and a crime; the former (giving away what is
>one's own) is legal, right, and optimal for research and researchers.
>eh> 4. Napster has no stored content, whereas archives have storage as
>eh> part of their mission.
>eh> For the print publishing industry, the key to avoiding the fate of
>eh> the music industry is to recognize early on which initiatives are
>eh> likely to be conducive to orderly change in their industry, and to
>eh> realize that the sort of control over distribution which existed in
>eh> the past is a thing of the past.
>This is irrelevant, or at best should be addressed to the trade
>publication industry (books and magazines).
>eh> For example, the music industry has
>eh> belatedly realized that RealAudio is a better alternative than
>eh> Napster. In a similar situation, the Biomedical publishing community
>eh> has raised a particular stink about PubMed Central, which will seem
>eh> awfully benign in the face of the more Napsteresque publishing
>eh> systems which are sure to arise.
>Again, this is based on no substantive analogy (except the general
>at-risk state of all digital texts). I hope no one will confuse or
>equate the legal open self-archiving of their own work by research
>authors with these new and deplorable means of stealing the work of
>Stevan Harnad
>Professor of Cognitive Science
>Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
> Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
>University of Southampton
>Highfield, Southampton

Roger Hurwitz
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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