Sharing Is Human

Imagine, if you will, a small tribe of hunter-gathers hole up in a winter cave in some long-ago time. The storyteller entrances his audience, sitting around the fire, with an inspiring tale of a fair maiden beset by an angry god and the hero that came to her rescue. Then, after he finishes, he tells them that he owns the story and if they want to repeat it to other people, they have to give him a banana each time they do.


Doesn't that sound stupid? How do you think the storyteller's audience would react to something that silly? I doubt they would even know how to react, the entire concept would be so out-there that they would probably think the storyteller was just possessed by demons or something. He was nuts. He certainly wouldn't be getting any bananas.

Welcome to the world of residuals, copyright law, and intellectual property. Where the hell did we go so horribly wrong? Why did we end up with such a nutty system?

Well, everything was just fine for a very, very long time. We were probably sharing information, freely, even before the time of Homo Habilis, certainly long before we became the humans we are today. For roughly 40,000 years after the first humans, like us, walked the earth, we shared information and culture. We traded stuff, but we shared information. Then came writing, and sharing information got much easier. Still, we shared. Then, along came the Industrial Revolution, and things changed. Suddenly, we could mass-produce items for sale; we traded lots more stuff. With the printing press, we could even package stories into neat bundles and trade them. Things started to get complicated.

First off, it took effort to design these thing for mass production. Inventions needed to be invented; books needed to be written. Mass production was actually the easy part. This caused problems because it was cheaper to just mass-produce someone else's idea than put the effort into making your own. So, to fix this, we started making laws. We made patent laws to protect innovative designs and we made copyright laws to protect artistic works, like the story part of a book. Both patent and copyright laws worked fairly well in protecting one corporation from another, which was all that was necessary at the time. After all, individuals couldn't mass-produce these things, and mass production made things far cheaper than any individual could make by hand. But, that changed too, at least for artistic works.

Along came the Information Revolution, and it became quite easy for individuals to make copies and share, just like in the old days when they repeated stories they had heard. In a very short period of time, the whole copyright system fell apart. They've tried to patch the laws, to enforce them in every way possible, but it just doesn't work. The laws try to prevent people from being human, from sharing stories, and songs, and ideas. Sharing these is what we've done, basically, forever. It was only during a tiny fraction of human history that we found ourselves in a position where ideas could be canned and sold like a product. This isn't normal, it was just a temporary artifact of the Industrial Age. But, that age is over, we're in the Information Age now. No amout of copyright law can change that; you can't pass laws against being human and expect them to be obeyed.

The Industrial Age is over, this is the Information Age, try to keep up.

What is Keliso?

Silly Laws

We need these laws to protect us, says RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) HBAA (Horse Breeders Association of America). If we allow these
pirates automobiles to continue, it will destroy our industry. If that happens, how will the artists stable boys earn a living?

These pirates drivers are a menace to society and we need these laws to protect us. These people flaunted our laws by providing a space where people could share copyrighted material not taking their cars apart and hiding them in the bushes when a horse and buggy wanted to pass. As such, they deserve jail time and a hefty fine, such that other pirates drivers will know to heed the law.

... you can fill in the rest.

In 50 to 100 years from now, people are going to be looking back at our copyright laws, laughing their guts out. What kind of idiots would pass laws making it illegal to copy digital information that's already being distributed? How stupid is that?

On the scale of all humanity, for a brief flicker of time it became possible to package ideas in a manufacturable product and sell it. It started with the invention of the printing press and ended with the invention of the photocopier and magnetic tape. It is not normal to package and sell ideas, it is not something that humans do. Just because it became possible, and profitable, for a little while does not make it right and proper.

In fact, it should be clear by now that attempting to sell copies of information when anyone can make their own copies for free is an absurd thing to do. Trying to enforce a legal system to prevent sharing of these free copies is even more absurd.

The entire book, recorded music, and movie industry is a product of the Industrial Age. It worked when it cost a lot of money to produce copies of things that contained these ideas, when copyright law could be used to make sure other manufacturers were playing fair. But, this is the Information Age now, the packaging for information is virtual, and nearly free. Anyone can copy it with little effort. The book, recorded music, and movie industries must adapt to this new reality. After all, there's not a lot of work these days for stable boys.

The Industrial Age is over, this is the Information Age, try to keep up.

What is Keliso?