Should Information Be Free?

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21 Oct 2019 15:07 #344691 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Should Information Be Free?

Carlos.Martinez3 wrote: Is music and info different ?

Truthfully, my library has as many books as we do songs. Some one has to pay the bills right ?
Where does that balance kick in?

Edit: the music industry thrives on the masses - does the info industry do the same thing? Would be kinna different if they did like songs ...


information doesn't have to be a complete product. It could be, for example, the design of a chair. But its not a chair. You'd have to make the chair. Making the chair costs money. You got materials and labor. But the design is done once. So why not collect 200 different chair designs and pay each designer every time you sell a chair? But if you want to build the chair for yourself then it could be free. How many people are going to make their own chair? Not many. Which means the designer is going to be compensated as long as their design becomes an actual product that sells.

In the case of music, you have "parts" and then you have whole products. To me this is difference; whether or not its a finished product. The finished product isn't necessarily made by the same person who makes the "parts". All the parts deserve compensation based on the success they are contributing to; thus inspiring more content creation. But people should have to buy music just like they have to buy a chair. Just because something is digital doesn't mean it loses value.

If photographers couldn't sell images we would probably still have lots of images but not photographers might not survive. Just like with the print industry itself; magazines and newspapers... the threat to them is very real because the information they put into these printed materials is basically free online. So now they're trying to catch up and monetize it some way so they can keep reporting news. That's the danger when "finished products" aren't paid for or accurately compensated. Because then, even if you make some money, its not enough to cover payroll for all your reporters who make all that content possible.
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21 Oct 2019 19:46 #344703 by Rex
Replied by Rex on topic Should Information Be Free?
It's called intellectual property for a reason. Someone put some amount of work into creating an idea and making it accessible. Their patent, copyright, trademark, etc. is theirs on that basis and can be sold/licensed like any other good.

Musicians very often will buy small sound bites to include in a song, and there's a thriving industry for producers, gig artists, and sample pack writers. As much as you think music or content is "free" on YouTube, etc. the internet ad revenue model is just much more insidious in adding middlemen who reduce the take home for the actual content creators.

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ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
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22 Oct 2019 00:48 #344709 by Adder
Replied by Adder on topic Should Information Be Free?
Sorry your book is loaned out at the moment :( :D

I remember in 1995 finding that NASA Dryden (now Armstrong) provided most all its flight testing research papers online for free. My poor old 28kbps connection was not enjoying d/l engineering diagrams of aircraft but it was worth the 30min wait for each one!!

Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
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22 Oct 2019 01:42 - 22 Oct 2019 02:03 #344711 by OB1Shinobi
People who work to increase scientific knowledge deserve compensation, i dont think anyones disputing that. But people have to make decisions and our decisions have consequences, both for ourselves and for society. The more relevant the information is to mental health, relationships, or navigating wisely through the myriad cultural and political issues being wrestled with by contemporary society, the more important it is for people to have access to that information.

It might be perfectly justifiable to put protections on the specific technical details of the latest Ferrari engine but should we handle that kind of information the same way that we handle breakthroughs on, say, addiction or trauma research and treatment? What if a new treatment emerges for alcoholism which has a success rate of 80% after seven years? Thats really good. Such a modality would save many lives.

What if we discover a therapy that is genuinely effective at treating the PTSD of war veterans? Or the PRSD of survivors of date-rape or child molestation? Or what if we learn to objectively identify the traits which make for being a good husband and father and/or a good wife and mother?
Isn't there both an ethical and an economically pragmatic argument to be made that this sort of information should be made a available to those who need it even if they cant afford to pay for it? That it should simply be given to those for whom it is relevant?

Adder wrote: Sorry your book is loaned out at the moment :( :D
I remember in 1995 finding that NASA Dryden (now Armstrong) provided most all its flight testing research papers online for free. My poor old 28kbps connection was not enjoying d/l engineering diagrams of aircraft but it was worth the 30min wait for each one!!


I just wanted to quote you to say that this is one of the coolest things ever. Thank you for sharing that.

“As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinders, all you see is yourself apart from everything else.”
-Don Juan Matus
Last edit: 22 Oct 2019 02:03 by OB1Shinobi.
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22 Oct 2019 02:21 #344712 by Rex
Replied by Rex on topic Should Information Be Free?
At the same time you have to play define the categories (or set up criteria/process for deciding on individual cases) if you want to make buckets for what's in the public's interest or not. The idea is interesting, but raises quite a few questions I can't satisfactorily answer.

If research is beneficial to the public, but can't be used directly by then (e.g. new method for manufacturing flu vaccines), is it justifiable for the government to buy out that research even though it will only be used by a small number of groups/people who would've bought access anyway?

If say there is research in North Korea that's beneficial to the public, how would Tibet access and financially compensate for it?

Also how do we evaluate the financial compensation of researchers/publishers whose content is essentially nationalized?

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ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
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22 Oct 2019 20:53 #344728 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic Should Information Be Free?

Rex wrote: At the same time you have to play define the categories (or set up criteria/process for deciding on individual cases) if you want to make buckets for what's in the public's interest or not. The idea is interesting, but raises quite a few questions I can't satisfactorily answer.

If research is beneficial to the public, but can't be used directly by then (e.g. new method for manufacturing flu vaccines), is it justifiable for the government to buy out that research even though it will only be used by a small number of groups/people who would've bought access anyway?

If say there is research in North Korea that's beneficial to the public, how would Tibet access and financially compensate for it?

Also how do we evaluate the financial compensation of researchers/publishers whose content is essentially nationalized?


In my view, you license the information as free for personal use. If someone could buy the ingredients for the vaccine and mix them in their own home they should be able to. However, if they're synthesizing and manufacturing a vaccine based on this research then they're going to profit. And if they're going to profit then they should have to pay. If they're not going to profit then it should be treated as "non-commercial" or fair use.

In the case of research, I was suggesting that it could be paid by R&D budgets of universities which then is supported by the tax base. And foreign tax payers can license the results of that research through their state or local government which then goes back to the governments supporting the schools. It could come back as a budget surplus and used to lower taxes or paid out to tax payers in the form of a refund similar to oil in Alaska. This is basically the same thing as subsides for farmers. You can simply subsidize information in order to make it free for citizens.
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23 Oct 2019 04:56 - 23 Oct 2019 04:57 #344742 by Gisteron
What if a team of researchers is comprised of individuals from different countries? Should each state involved be subsidizing their respective researcher from each of the countries' respective taxes? What of the profits, should each country profit in proportion to the quantity and quality of contributors they provided for the collaboration? So the suggestion seems to entail that the different countries both cooperate with and compete against one another in the very same project. I'm not sure that sounds very healthy... Besides, how do we force each government involved to play by the same rules without compromizing their individual sovereignty in so doing? And if one of them refuses, must it be excluded from the global scientific enterprise? Is there any reason this might be either a necessary or a desirable thing?

Last edit: 23 Oct 2019 04:57 by Gisteron.
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23 Oct 2019 06:26 #344746 by CaesarEJW
Why is this such a debate guys?
Someone please fill me in, I don't understand.

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” - Alan Watts

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23 Oct 2019 06:45 #344747 by Gisteron
Reading the OP is what I'd recommend. It elaborates on what is meant by the question which can, sometimes, help illuminate why the answer isn't as obvious and universal as reading the title only might have one think. There is also the rest of the thread with both short and elaborate answer considering the question in the OP from different angles.
Since you ask, though, what "this" do you feel is there a debate about exactly, and do you think anything can be gained from entertaining it?

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23 Oct 2019 07:02 #344750 by CaesarEJW
In short, my honest answer would have to be, I'm not really sure, I don't really know, and finally, a resounding I don't really care (in the sense that I recognize that my opinion on the subject does not change the existing reality of said subject).
However, I do not say this to seem impertinent at all, I truly am fascinated by all of your opinions on the matter.
To put it simply, I believe I am thoroughly out of my element on the subject, so naturally my opinion would be of little value.
But please, carry on.

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” - Alan Watts

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