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Pooled IP Commerce

The world buys IP products, not individuals.
  [vote for,

This idea is for those who are dissatisfied with the currently used system for commerce in "intellectual property." Particularly, there are many people who agree with the philosophical statement that "information should be free", and yet want those who produce their favorite IP products to continue getting paid to do it. Today's vendors of information products (such as music and computer software) work very hard to force their wares to behave like conventional physical objects - which, once sold, can only be truly owned by one person, and cannot be given away without relinquishing ownership. I think everyone knows what I am talking about. However, information refuses to conform to the merchants' norms, and graciously allows itself to be copied at no cost by anyone with sufficient skill and desire. Thus, we get the perpetual "war" between the vendors and the "pirates", something familiar to all. What I am proposing is for manufacturers of IP goods to concede that once a product is released, it will be owned by the whole world. How, then, would they profit from its making? This is where the new method would be used. Products would be sold *before* they are released. For example, suppose you want to purchase a song. You would go directly to the artist's distribution website (as CD manufacturers are obsolete), and enter your account/credit information as you normally would when buying an item via the web. However, you would *not* receive, as you currently might, an "MP3" or other kind of recording of the song which you paid for, combined with a forced promise not to redistribute it. Instead, you would receive the privilege of being a "stock-holder" of that piece of music. In fact, when you paid, the song had not yet seen the light of day. It either has not yet been sung, or has been recorded but is hidden away in the artist's desk, for example. The artist had made a public, binding promise to release the product (in this case, the song) immediately upon the collection of some pre-determined sum from sales of "stock certificates." In effect, instead of attempting to sell an IP product again and again to each individual who wishes to use it, producers would sell it to the world at large. This model is also appropriate for vendors of software, or even authors of books. The producer would produce the product and withhold it until "the world pays"; after that, it would enter the public domain. A possible fault one might point out in this proposal is that everyone would simply think "let others pay", and wait for the product to be released, hoping to simply "freeload" from the contributions of others by using the product after it enters the public domain without having contributed a cent to its "release fund". However, it is likely that this problem would be somewhat self-correcting, as people would quickly realize that "waiting for others to pay" would simply result in an utter lack of product releases. Thus, I think this might be a workable method by which we could have BOTH unrestricted distribution of all information (no censorship), AND the continued existence of paid production of information-type products.
dsm, Jun 10 2002

Street Performer Protocol http://www.firstmon...es/issue4_6/kelsey/
IP for ransom. [bookworm, Jun 10 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Service Exchange & Reviews http://www.halfbake...nge_20_26_20Reviews
A variant of this idea. [phoenix, Jun 10 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Gawd, I thought this was a Vernon idea, although it was missing the first paragraph and --- line...   

       You just invented 'music by pledge drive'. Just like PBS stations in the US ask for pledges from their viewers and do pledge drives...   

       You're asking people to pledge money for something that does not yet and may not ever exist. I don't expect that to go over well...   

       Never understood the whole 'information wants to be free' thing. Nobody expects GM to give away cars. Nobody expects artists to give away art <Although I think the world would be better off if a lot of 'artists' were to give UP art...>, why should musicians be expected to give their work away free?
StarChaser, Jun 10 2002

       I was asking myself how many people would pay for music that had not yet been recorded, then I realised that I have done that very thing. The band November Project financed their album "A Thousand Days" by a similar method.
angel, Jun 10 2002

       I agree with [angel] that this is pretty well baked: both for records and for films. The band Dodgy used a similar method for their album "Real Estate", where they invited fans to pay GBP 25 in advance to sponsor recording of the album.   

       An alternative method is that used by Momus, who invited fans to pay USD 1000 to have a song on his album "Stars Forever" be written about them, but that's not ideal for people who believe in self-expression.   

       Other well-tried options include patronage (having one person pay for the production), charitable grants to artists, and state funding of the arts, as found in communist Russia, and to a lesser extend in Western countries through institutions such as the Arts Councils in Britain.
pottedstu, Jun 10 2002

       Baked. It's called the Street Performer Protocol.
bookworm, Jun 10 2002

       I recall a similar idea floating around, so this may be Half-Baked already.   

       Beyond that, who decides what the work is worth (how long can I expect to wait for release)? What happens if an artist sells rights to a work not completed or not in progress (how do I know it's not a scam)? What happens if I don't like the work? What happens if I die before the work is released? What happens if the artist dies before the work is released? Blah blah blah blah blah.
phoenix, Jun 10 2002

       phoenix - Under the SPP:   

       The artist decides what the work is worth. Like any good, supply and demand help set the price. If the artist can't or won't deliver the work, the pledgers get their money back, with interest (the money is held in escrow until the work is released). If you don't like the work, too bad. You probably won't be supporting that artist any longer.   

       The main problem with the SPP is that artists have to build interest in their work before they can expect to make money with it.
bookworm, Jun 12 2002


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