5 Mar 2001 RyanMuldoon   » (Journeyer)

I am enjoying reading the "Moneyflow" article discussion. The more I think about it, the more certain I am of a few things. First, the Internet is kind of at a crossroads right now. It has the potential to start getting really cool, or keep getting less and less useful. Second, I am fed up with copyright law, and I am planning on starting to write my various governmental representatives. Third, I think a lot of the problems with payment on the Internet, as well as nifty peer to peer filesharing techniques, can be resolved with a robust, standardized system for Metadata. How else can you find the little guy? How else can you know who to pay? We can't work under the assumption that the consumer will go to the creator's website to get whatever there is to offer. Building copy protection and payment mechanisms into protocols and file formats is a really bad idea. It institutionalizes the middle man, and hurts Free Software. It also encourages piracy rather than diminishing it. Systems that will work are ones that don't treat people like criminals, and allow individuals to pick a proper "reward" for content creators. Furthermore, I refuse to believe that artists create just to get paid. If they do, the really are just not artists. Whenever I choose to create something, there is not much profit motive there. Some of the greatest works ever were created without any notion of copyright. I do believe in the original ideals of copyright law, but as it stands now, it is vastly contorted and rewritten to favor distributors rather than the people that matter - artists and appreciators.

I am becoming more and more interested in figuring out ways to leverage public domain works for the public good. There is a lot of absolutely incredible stuff out there. I have the feeling that a lot of people don't take advantage of it, either because it is hard to find, or they don't know they can. I want to figure out a way to unify a lot of the "virtual library" type projects out there, so people can search and access this stuff using something with more of a napster feel. Websites are all well and good, but we should be thinking of them more as "leisure" sorts of things. We need better searching so we can find what we want initially, and then can choose if we want to bother with the website or not. Sometimes I just want to browse through some Van Gogh. Other times I want to read about each painting, and find out about their relationships. We need ways to facilitate this. We need solid metadata systems. We need means of cross-referencing large bodies of work on the fly. We need ways to tip the people that make this all available for us. And we need it all to be in open file formats that are designed for searching and portability. Documents should be in well-structured XML. Audio should be in open formats like Ogg Vorbis. Images should be in JPG or PNG. Ok, enough ranting on this. One more rant to go:

On the topic of people complaining about various features (or lack of features) of advogato: Really, I think that the current structure of advogato is what makes it a unique and well-defined community. The diaries allow everyone to see what various community members are working on, and the public conversations are interesting to follow. The articles have no real need to be threaded - there are typically few responses to articles, so we may as well keep them as open conversations. Threading can be nice, but at the same time I see it as limiting conversation styles. The other thing that I have been kind of annoyed at is people asking for certification to a given level. It seems kind of antithetical to the idea of *trust* metrics that people ask for a given level of certification. The idea is that you prove yourself in some manner. While I'd like to be ranked higher than Apprentice, I realize that since I haven't been ranked higher, there is probably a reason. So I am perfectly content with my Apprenticeship, and am confident that when I actually deserve it, I'll be ranked higher. I certify people as a result of taking part in discussion with them. To me, that is the best indicator of where they should be in the trust metric system. The trust metric is a pretty damn cool system, and I see it as having a ton of useful applications. But it becomes pretty pointless once it is no longer about trust. So if you're not being certified up, it is probably because you haven't shown that you should be yet. Ok, that's the end of my rant.

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