The Null Device

2008/8/12

The tragedy of the commons occurs when there is insufficient ownership of common assets, which, as a result, become overused. But now, in the age of monetisation, copyright expansionism and corporate legislative power grabs, we are seeing the opposite: the tragedy of the anticommons, where there are too many rightsholders needed to negotiate with and pay off (each doing their duty to their shareholders by being as greedy as they can be), and many endeavours are no longer viable:

The commons leads to overuse and destruction; the anticommons leads to underuse and waste. In the cultural sphere, ever tighter restrictions on copyright and fair use limit artists’ abilities to sample and build on older works of art. In biotechnology, the explosion of patenting over the past twenty-five years—particularly efforts to patent things like gene fragments—may be retarding drug development, by making it hard to create a new drug without licensing myriad previous patents. Even divided land ownership can have unforeseen consequences. Wind power, for instance, could reliably supply up to twenty per cent of America’s energy needs—but only if new transmission lines were built, allowing the efficient movement of power from the places where it’s generated to the places where it’s consumed. Don’t count on that happening anytime soon. Most of the land that the grid would pass through is owned by individuals, and nobody wants power lines running through his back yard.
Recent experimental work by the psychologist Sven Vanneste and the legal scholar Ben Depoorter helps explain why. When something you own is necessary to the success of a venture, even if its contribution is small, you’ll tend to ask for an amount close to the full value of the venture. And since everyone in your position also thinks he deserves a huge sum, the venture quickly becomes unviable. So the next time we start handing out new ownership rights—whether via patents or copyright or privatization schemes—we’d better try to weigh all the good things that won’t happen as a result. Otherwise, we won’t know what we’ve been missing.
This effect is the subject of a new book, The Gridlock Economy, by Michael Heller, a law professor at Columbia University.

(via Boing Boing, /.) behavioural economics copyfight copyright economics galambosianism intellectual property 0

2008/8/11

The latest threat to America's children is digital drugs, or MP3 files which affect the listener's brain to induce illegal and dangerous states of consciousness. Called "idozers", they're sold from web sites by evil drug dealers:

Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For example, some claim to help you develop extrasensory powers like telepathy and psychokinesis.
Other sites offer therapeutic binaural beats. They help you relax or meditate. Some allegedly help you overcome addiction or anxiety. Others purport to help you lose weight or eliminate gray hair.
However, most sites are more sinister. They sell audio files ("doses") that supposedly mimic the effects of alcohol and marijuana.
But it doesn't end there. You'll find doses that purportedly mimic the effects of LSD, crack, heroin and other hard drugs. There are also doses of a sexual nature. I even found ones that supposedly simulate heaven and hell.
It gets worse than is. I have it on very good authority that paedophiles are using similar technologies to remotely molest children with penis-shaped sound waves. There's no evidence to prove it, but it is a scientific fact.

The fact that the audio files are allegedly being "sold" by evil drug dealers is a dead giveaway. If today's kids are willing and able to download the latest movies and music, would they really pay or MP3s alleged to get them high or simulate heaven or hell?

I wonder what the provenance of this absurdity is. Could it be a particularly desperate RIAA-instigated black-ops campaign to bring the full force of the War On Drugs to bear against uncontrolled file-sharing and/or lock down the internet?

(via substitute) bizarre drugs fear hoax paedoterrorists war on drugs wtf 4