October 23, 2002

Compulsory licensing as attempting statistical payments

The ideas of solving the copyright logjam from Ed Felten's proposal of compulsory licensing music, and Ernest Miller's riposte of compulsory licensing pornography, seem to me to touch on something subtle - statistical payments.

Consider the typical hassle with micropayments - every penny, perhaps even every micropenny has to be shipped-around and accounted-for. That's true by definition. Nobody has figured out how to do this with any efficiency.

Perhaps we're looking at the problem the wrong way. Maybe a better way is to try to have some system that just comes out roughly even in an overall statistical sense. I think that's what being groped at (pun unintended) with the above ideas.

I don't know how to do this myself (if I did, I'd be doing it ...). By my suggestion is to, indeed, not special-case it to music, or pornography, or any particular item. Rather, if we somehow lift the constraint that every transaction must be paid, the focus was merely ensuring that overall, there was enough payment in the system somewhere to make it viable, could we have a workable protocol?

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on October 23, 2002 10:55 PM (Infothought permalink)

Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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