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Posts tagged ‘public-good’

Digital products as public goods rather than private goods

Brett Caraway, ph.d. student at RTF, UT, has produced three research questions in his current work:

1. To what extent does the public have an understanding of actual copyright law?

2. What norms or principles inform the individual’s decisions with which he or she confronts copyrighted material?

3. What are the trends in the behavior of end users? To what extent are they utilizing peer-to-peer networks? To what extent are they utilizing copyright safe networks (like iTunes)?

I have a remark to #2:

I think there might be a tendency among people to see digital products, such as music, film, text, software, as public goods rather than private goods.

Digital products practically share the same characteristics as public goods, which are recognized by being non-rival and non-excludable. This means that consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce the amount of the good available for consumption by others; and no one can be effectively excluded from using that good.

Digital product can be copied practically without costs, and therefore a digital product is practically non-rival. A digital product can be distributed over the internet, making the digital product practically(?) non-excludable (And Sharon Strover (course instructor) could probably comment on this in reference to digital divide/digital inclusion (an EU-term)!)(And if it was up to ISP‘s then they would probably – this is there (short-term?) incentive – make the internet able to exclude, NetNeutrality Now!).

But the point is that a digital product is so similar to a public good, and that people are somewhat/somehow aware of this, therefore ignoring the normal rules (stated in law!) of the capitalistic system.

Maybe unable to scope the consequences of undermining the capitalistic system. But then again, should the capitalistic system be so omnipotent? Especially regarding cultural, non-rival public good products?

(See also gift economy)

And here is a real story:
A friend of mine (this is how all my stories on illegal content start) was called up by her internet provider, Grande Communications, they said – over the telephone – that her subscription was to be annulled, because – as of this moment – she was downloading illegal content through a peer2peer connection. So, had Grande Communication been informed by a “industry represent”. She of course did not at all know of any of this. But then she said “hold on” went into her sisters room, and yes, she was for sure downloading Weather Man, the newest film with Nicolas Cage, and twenty other films were in queue.

Hm. Grande Communication let her go if she made a digital signature on a text, where she promised not to ever download illegal content again.

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