Overwhelming sense of entitlement

Story: The Freeloading Digital EconomyTotal Replies: 39
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Mar 25, 2011
3:42 PM EDT
I don't know what else to call it, but there is a growing wave of entitlement that others should labor but I should profit and enjoy from it. Saying that music and electronic works aren't property so it's OK to duplicate and pirate is not being honest about the root of the matter.

“Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

An artist deserves to be paid for the art and entertainment regardless of the medium; a developer deserves to be paid for the code and support. The only way around it is twisting logic so badly it's barely logical anymore. If it's not worth paying for it, DON'T TAKE IT!

I do like your other hand statement about the *IAA orgs, though. They are desperately trying to make criminals out of people who otherwise shouldn't be.

Mar 25, 2011
3:59 PM EDT
I disagree.

I think the overwhelming sense of entitlement comes primarily from music publishers. I don't hear any whining from "freeloaders". They just copy what they want, when they want. This issue has been done to death on these forums in the past but I can't let that comment pass.

"An artist deserves to be paid for the art and entertainment regardless of the medium"

If that isn't a classic whinge of entitlement, I don't know what is.

Mar 25, 2011
4:06 PM EDT
> An artist deserves to be paid for the art and entertainment regardless of the medium;

Well, except for those who think politics trumps art. They deserve to have their works stolen. That's a political position, after all. Yes, I mean you Bruce Springsteen and Dixie Chicks, among others.

Mar 25, 2011
4:12 PM EDT
Horrible that people feel that they are `entitled` to the fruits of their labor. Everything produced must be free to anyone who wants it after all. We the people who do nothing are entitled to it for exactly what we had to expend to get it, nothing ... we are entitled to it simply because we want it.


Mar 25, 2011
4:30 PM EDT
The biggest freeloaders are the content publishers.

They rarely add value to artist's works and take the lion's share of the profits. They often demand ownership of the copyrights from the content creators as well!

More content creators are discovering self publishing: http://www.jakonrath.com/

Konrath found that dropping the price of his e-books down to $.99 increased sales and profits. Anything over$4.99 seems to be passed the point of diminishing returns.

That's for pulp novels. I'm usually willing to pay more for technical books in e format. (Thanks for your hard work TC:)

The booksellers that are trying to sell an e-book for the same price as a paperback need a sanity check. I know it costs less to make and distribute the e-book, so I 'know' that I should pay less.

People are willing to pay for digital content, but they don't perceive it as valuable as tangible content, so they are willing to pay less.

I'm hoping the digital economy does away with the biggest freeloaders, and turns content publishing into a quaint niche market.

Mar 25, 2011
4:46 PM EDT
jdixon>> They deserve to have their works stolen

I would return those if I were you. If their lawyers don't get to you first, their many bereft fans will.

kingttx>> a developer deserves to be paid for the code and support.

Well, many open source devs voluntarily give up this direct income potential from digital content. Many make money somehow regardless.

Here is a software developer who I think has made millions: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110303/02203613336/minecr... . He doesn't do open source, but he allows "piracy".

"Support" is different, as that involves you doing something repeatedly so cannot be digitized and cloned.. if it could that would be neat. Support takes advantage of your skill and time to deal with unique situations of high value to the client.

Here is a lady who took to giving away free quilting videos in order to increase sales at her shop. http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20110209/0...

Sita Sings the Blues is not only free to watch or download in high def, but you can take the video frames and do what you want with them as long as you adhere to the open content CC-by-sa license. Some people have used the frames to sell on products, and the author has reached out to them and benefited.

Ms Paley documented her earnings, which were over $140K in the first year. Everyone should not expect success like hers, but it certainly calls into question the idea that you can't make money off your brand, time, and by offering other scarce items for sale by yourself or through partners.

BTW, I am not condoning copyright infringement, and that is one reason I really like open source software and champion open content licenses as well; however, copyright law has gone too far. It lasts way too long, criminalizes ordinary human behavior, ignores that society gives culture its value and should get more in return, disallows too much by way of derivative works that offer much that is unique, etc.

What I am pointing out is that piracy can be leveraged for gain. There might even be evidence (from an ongoing trial) that the MPAA or one of those groups has known piracy has helped sales yet they have been crying the exact opposite to Congress, the White House, and in courtrooms.

Mar 25, 2011
5:00 PM EDT
> I would return those if I were you.

I didn't say I stole anything from them, Jose_X. I said they deserve to have their works stolen. There's a significant difference in those two statements. In point of fact, all my Springsteen albums were legally purchased years ago, back when he still thought music was important. And I've never considered the Dixie Chicks worth either stealing or buying.

Mar 25, 2011
8:23 PM EDT
It's part of a larger societal problem.

For many years as part of my effort to "give back" I provided volunteer (free) tutoring to high-school students in math and science. In that role, you get used to the "why do I need to learn this?" question - but I can remember very clearly the day that one of my students said to me "only stupid people work - smart people get the government to give them everything!". Essentially, she was saying that welfare was her career choice (how very sad!). Even if she changed her mind a few years later, it would be much, much harder for her to get a GED than it would be for her to simply finish high school.

When I was growing up, welfare was seen as your friends and neighbors sacrificing to provide some temporary help. You took it if you were really, really desperate - but got off of it ASAP. Now it's seen as a "right" or an "entitlement" or something that you're "owed".

That wasn't what convinced me to stop tutoring though - it was the visit from the president of the local "teacher's association" (in a different state from where I live now). It seems that the local teachers were approaching tutoring as a second job and I was "stealing customers" from them.

Mar 25, 2011
8:57 PM EDT
> It seems that the local teachers were approaching tutoring as a second job and I was "stealing customers" from them.

So they wanted to be paid twice for doing their job? Perhaps that example is enough to give people some idea of why I loathe the public school system in the US.

Mar 26, 2011
4:21 AM EDT
Rush Limbaugh should crack down on people freeloading his ideas.

Mar 26, 2011
8:13 AM EDT
>> I didn't say I stole anything from them

jdixon, I was playing around, "gently" mocking your use of the word "stolen".

Could you imagine if someone had in fact stolen the music! What would all the fans do when they found out their music was gone?

"Who took the wonderful song!"

Mar 26, 2011
8:21 AM EDT
>> So they wanted to be paid twice for doing their job? Perhaps that example is enough to give people some idea of why I loathe the public school system in the US.

What came to mind (after thinking the same thing you wrote) is a reality that many teachers are not experts in many areas and few are among the best.

The better teacher might fill in gaps left by colleagues through tutoring in the private market.

We need "chaperons" in school and those who guide lessons and help out the "weaker" students. The school system does a lot. Teachers also don't get paid loads of cash, and you don't want them to be able to focus on the kids and try to be pleasant and with activities rather than be angry and totally neglectful. So what is most valued is not a brilliant "professor".

What the school systems need to do is to tap into experts even more -- those who are the best at presenting materials and have provided online lectures and other material. As is, teachers do leverage books, presumably written by experts, but we need to go further with the Internet, in particular, with activities that allow the students to create and lead.

Adding more people to the unemployment line or homeless does not help society and is not civil. That's not what I support. I don't expect brilliance (something I can't provide myself and neither could parents in general across all subjects).

We could shake up the system, however. I'm not sure how it can be organized, but I always lean towards openness and community ahead of "the profit motivation".

Mar 26, 2011
12:48 PM EDT
> The school system does a lot. Teachers also don't get paid loads of cash,

The school "system" does nothing. Some teachers do a lot.

> Teachers also don't get paid loads of cash,

Teachers in most areas get paid an above average salary for a nine month work year, and are largely immune to being fired or laid off.

> We could shake up the system, however

The system is completely broken. It doesn't need to be shaken up. It needs to be destroyed. Education is too important to leave in the hands of the government.

Mar 26, 2011
1:00 PM EDT
jdixon, you are completely wrong about teachers, and I am sorry to see you parroting tired old anti-teacher myths.

Mar 26, 2011
1:02 PM EDT
ABCC, anyone who steals Limbaugh's ideas should lose their right to vote, because that is rock-solid evidence they are too stupid to tell fact from fantasy, or worse don't care.

Mar 26, 2011
1:32 PM EDT
Quoting:Teachers in most areas get paid an above average salary for a nine month work year
I would like to live in one of these areas. My wife monthly income is about twice as much as mine and she has less education, not including the 3 months I don't get a paycheck. She also pays less for better benefits that are available to teachers. I think the biggest problem with education is that they do not use Free software. Instead they just teach the MS applications, and spend all kinds of money, that could be better used, on proprietary software. Although the worst proprietary companies are the Textbook publishers.

The worst part is the entitlement attitude that we seem to have. At the end of every term I have students asking why they didn't get a better grade. And I tell them every time "because your work was not up to the standard for the better grade, you had all term to improve it but you didn't, now it's too late." It's amazing how many complaints I get that I don't accept late work past the end of the term.

Mar 26, 2011
1:57 PM EDT
> ...you are completely wrong about teachers, and I am sorry to see you parroting tired old anti-teacher myths.

These aren't anti-teacher myths, TC. They're facts. Easily checked and easily proven. I know all the pro-teacher arguments. While there is some truth in them, they don't change the facts. Teachers aren't underpaid.

And I'm not anti-teacher. I've known my share of very good teachers. They do a commendable job in a system which is stacked against them. But the problem isn't the teachers, it's the system. Like I said, education is too important to leave in the hands of the government.

> I would like to live in one of these areas.

The figures are readily available. Check them and move. West Virginia is one of them:

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income

Average median household income: $37,435

From http://teacherportal.com/salary/West-Virginia-teacher-salary

Average teacher salary: $38,284

And please note that's household income versus a single person income. So it's actually much worse than it looks.

> I think the biggest problem with education is that they do not use Free software.

Agreed, and again, that's not the fault of the teachers.

> The worst part is the entitlement attitude that we seem to have.

Which brings us back to the topic at hand. It's not just a FOSS issue.

Mar 26, 2011
3:27 PM EDT
> ...you are completely wrong about teachers

Tuxchick, I think you are spot-on about most things, but in this case I have to disagree. Inadvertently, we wound up essentially following jdixon's idea about destroying the schools and starting over but I realize I haven't given you enough information, so here goes:

The setting is a small town (30K people), just over the county line from a mid-size city (500K people). When the town was small it didn't make sense to create it's own school system so the county paid a per-student fee every year to send its kids to the city school system.

I became involved in tutoring this way - while helping my son with his math homework (what a novelty- an involved parent) I became concerned about how little he was learning, so I asked him about how his teacher conducted classes. What the teacher did was this: he assigned homework problems from the book and the next day if he could figure out the assigned problems (with the help of the teacher's book which had the answers in the back, but not how to work the problems) he would work the problem in class. If the teacher couldn't figure out the answer, he would say "the answer is 73.6, did anybody get it?" (who's teaching who here?) and if nobody got it he would say "don't worry about it, it won't be on the test" (it doesn't matter whether you learn this or not, just as long as we can say we covered it). I found this hard to believe so we asked if my wife could sit in on some of my son's classes, and she reported that this was indeed the way that the class was run.

We tried to make every excuse in the book for the teacher - maybe he was the football coach who got drafted into teaching math (no, he trained as a math teacher), maybe he was a pretty good teacher but there was this one small area that just didn't click(no as time went on, we concluded that he was just incompetent). We even talked to a friend of ours that taught at another school (without mentioning the teacher's name or what school he taught at) and she told us that it was school-board policy to put the worst teachers in charge of the honors classes with the reasoning that "these kids are pretty smart anyway, they don't need a good teacher".

At a PTSA meeting, we met the mother of another student in my son's class and she was also concerned about her son's education. She was aware that I am an engineer and she asked if I would be willing to tutor her son. Since she was a single mom trying to support three kids on a nurse's salary, I agreed to tutor her kids for free. The word spread and within a few months i had nearly a dozen kids that I was tutoring.

The real kicker is that the teacher in question already had tenure, so any effort to get a better teacher would have to wait until he retired 20 or 30 years later.

My job transferred me, so I had to leave the area but I kept in touch with friends from there.

A couple of years after I left, the citizens of the county decided that it was now large enough that it made sense to start its own school system. The county floated a bond referendum, built an elementary, middle, and high school and broke away from the city school system (effectively "destroying" the old system). All of the teachers who wanted to teach in the new county system had to apply and surprise, surprise not all of the teachers that wanted to come over from the city system got hired.

Things got much, much better after that in the county school system, but the city school system has continued its downhill slide.

I know that there will be those that will trot out the old bit about the suburban schools stealing resources that the city school system needs, but this is false - the resources (concerned parents, tutors) were available to the city school system, but the city system chose to defend its turf (as any bureaucracy will do) rather than use the resources that were available.

Mar 26, 2011
4:43 PM EDT
Can someone explain to me why we need to have the same lessons taught over and over by people who don't have the best understanding or skill (comparing to those who stand out in the subject area) when it doesn't take much to record a decent lecture and pass it around the Internet to all classrooms so that every student has access to the best lectures?

The county just needs to contract some of the best teachers to cover every item to the taught for the year across all grade levels. And counties/states can share some of this work. The recording can be done as the class is taught during the year. It can even start off as "open source" with optimizations and customizations being added afterward.

We can also make sure (again, invoking the open source approach) that many problems exist with fully explained solutions.

There is no guarantee that a teacher with skills in the various/all subjects will stay with the job or stay enthusiastic over time. Teachers have more issues to deal with than simply "teaching" a subject. In fact, an important job (or the system's job) is to facilitate bringing access to the students even if it doesn't come from the teachers themselves. After all, we do leverage text books written (supposedly) by some of the top educators in the topic. I know it's possible to learn almost exclusively from text books, open resources, and some practice (as long as you are motivated.. which is really what the teachers should focus on). In addition, teachers have to deal with "growing up among peers" issues kids face (and other issues since not all kids come from stable families), as well as simply be there to make sure they don't do anything crazy. Yes, schools serve as a day care center of sorts, to watch over all millions of school aged kids in this nation year after year.

Anyway, what I am saying is that it wouldn't take much to improve access to acquiring knowledge, and providing the actual examples, explanations, etc, is realistically not going to come primarily from the teachers when you average across all teachers in this nation.

Aside from this, why would a nation of the People not make providing reasonable jobs for all citizens a high priority? We need to adjust the system at least to make sure that each student gets decent access, but performance goals need to be flexible. If a teacher were an "expert", there is a fair chance the teacher would move to an industry that pays higher for that expertise (and I know obviously that this isn't the case across the board because I have known some very good teachers). We have to assume we will have a wide distribution of skills.

I'm in favor of adjusting the system and in some of the worse cases maybe shaking it up some, but nothing like scrapping it. We don't need more homeless nor more competition for grocery store clerk type of job. As long as this nation doesn't provide a decent safety net, where a person can slide down in standard of living some but not down to "homelessness" while they seek out more education, then we have to be careful about every fair job we destroy. A low/medium paying job nearly guaranteed with "bonuses" (carrots) for high performance is humane and smart. We can accommodate providing learning material to students (and encouraging collaboration) while still allowing a sufficient number of teachers to be more "chaperones" than teachers. I am not a huge fan of the profit motive, lightly checked. Many tend to cut corners or seek to monopolize and sweep up all the cream to investors. I prefer a system where the "profits" can be guaranteed to be earned by the teachers who perform well and with fair distribution. And we don't need rock stars or rock star salaries for anyone.. except maybe for the stars features in the quality lectures.

... my opinion of course.

[Hmm, maybe I should get back to trying to write out little lectures and problems/solutions. Software can play a great role.]

Mar 26, 2011
4:55 PM EDT
I would like to know when the burden of succeeding or not succeeding in getting our children to learn passed from the Parents to the Teachers whose children they are not? If more parents spent as much time participating in their children's education as they did having an opinion on whether teachers are worth their pay this whole debate would be mute.

And I will ask the question..

What does this have to do with FOSS and the readers of LXer?

Mar 26, 2011
8:39 PM EDT
> If more parents spent as much time participating in their children's education as they did having an opinion on whether teachers are worth their pay this whole debate would be mute.

I don't have any children Scott. If I did, we would have home schooled (my wife and I agreed on this when we got married), so I would have been spending quite a bit more time "participating in their education" than most teachers do. As to my opinion, I'll gladly give up my opinion on whether teachers are worth their pay (please note that I've never said that they're overpaid, merely that they're no longer underpaid) if the country will refund the percentage of my taxes which have gone to the school system over the years. Somehow, I don't see that happening. However, this isn't the place to air those opinions, and I'll drop the matter. Hopefully everyone else will too.

> What does this have to do with FOSS and the readers of LXer?

See the above comments about a sense of entitlement. It's a societal problem which impacts both the school system and FOSS. As with many things, it's not a FOSS only problem.

However, I'm obviously the one who precipitated the matter with my response to wvjones53 above. That wasn't my intent, and I (also obviously) should have resisted responding to the "Teachers also don't get paid loads of cash" comment. I'll try to do better in the future.

Mar 26, 2011
9:18 PM EDT
jdixon, some of your points I can agree with, but that veers into the political so I'll stop there.

Those are cr@p wages for people who are often required to have master's degrees, who put in hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime, who are the first to be pink-slipped at every manufactured budget crisis, the first to be blamed and scapegoated, who are expected to not only teach but be psychologists, emergency medical personnel, babysitters, guardians of morals, janitors, their own assistants, and fund their own classroom supplies. I have decades of personal experience with the real world of schools and teachers, and my executive summary is "You can't kick a dog into loving you."

Tutoring is not getting paid twice for the same work anymore than getting paid for any extra work is getting paid twice.

In fact they're cr@p wages for nearly anyone-- try raising a family on $38k. ~$50k is the average American family income; that's with multiple wage earners. Wages for working people have been stagnant for a century, even with amazing gains in productivity and value of output per worker. We don't share in those gains. You've probably seen charts like this: http://survivalandprosperity.com/2011/02/17/will-growing-inc...

So the correct yardstick is not that teachers get paid a little more (on paper only, in the real world they're bled white) than some other working people, it's that most American workers are underpaid.

Scott, it has a little bit of relevance to the topic-- those who demean the value of creative works (even as they enjoy them), and have the weird idea that creative artists should happily give their work away. Just like we want the best and the brightest for teaching our kids, but don't want to pay them anything or give them any respect.

Mar 26, 2011
9:32 PM EDT
kingttx, I forgot to say thanks for a succinct and spot-on comment. Az, your sarcasm warms my bones. Az always.

Mar 27, 2011
2:44 AM EDT
Quoting:Scott, it has a little bit of relevance to the topic-- those who demean the value of creative works (even as they enjoy them), and have the weird idea that creative artists should happily give their work away. Just like we want the best and the brightest for teaching our kids, but don't want to pay them anything or give them any respect.

That part of the conversation was lost on me Carla, Thank You. And I agree with you all the way. Being compensated, by means of market value and/or credibility/respect attained is not asking for something unwarranted or undeserved as far as I am concerned.

So everyone understands my point of view, I am painfully close to finishing a dual degree in special and elementary education and it has been the blatant and continued degradation of the teaching profession that has kept me from wanting to pursue finishing it in any serious fashion.

Good Teachers are the kind of people who want to better the lives of children who are not their own. I find that to be a noble and I do not care if anyone agrees with me or not.


Mar 27, 2011
9:16 AM EDT
Actually, i didn't intend to be a bomb-thrower either.

If you look at my original post, I was trying to point out that this is not a purely FOSS or "creative work" issue alone, but it represents an attitudinal shift in society as a whole.

As an example, I cited the case of one of my tutoring students who felt "entitled" to have others support her and thus saw no need for an education. I do not see this as being good for our society, but it is an attitude that I see becoming more and more prevalent.

As another example, the state that I live in now has a policy of paying in-state college tuition from lottery proceeds. It was 100% of tuition but because of falling revenues, it has been changed to 100% of tuition for anyone carrying over a 3.7 GPA in high school, and 90% for anyone with less than a 3.7 GPA in high school. There have been numerous protests about the cuts. Completely lost in the shuffle is the fact that AT LEAST 90% of in-state tuition is being paid for ANY student that can get admitted to college.

Scott, for the record I have a daughter that is a teacher (3rd grade), so I am well aware of the issues they face. That doesn't relieve the rest of us from doing what we can to help.

Mar 27, 2011
10:14 AM EDT
TC, I agree. You have mail. :)

Mar 27, 2011
10:34 AM EDT
So I have thought about the issue, added very political rants - which luckily got lost by middleclick-tab accident - but it seems lots of people are talking about the entitlement of _other_ people.

To break this trend, let my tell about my own sense of entitlement.

Of course, I think I'm entitled to live in a save environment, but when there's an argument in front of my house because someone thought they were entitled to priority or entitled to sniff white powder, I don't intervene - because I'm a coward.

And when I need Windows, I download it without paying. After all, people like me are generating wealth for people like Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates - who are only consuming wealth. So why should I help transfer more wealth from the people who create it to those only consuming wealth? Why would I work for them sitting on their bottoms - and only rising from their chair to make bad commercials?

Also, I think I'm entitled to a cheap payment system. Where I can pay with money I already earned, without being screwed by US credit card companies - which pretty much look like a cartel if you ask me. I think I'm entitled to a worldwide payment system like iDeal, the best e-payment system in the world, far cheaper than creditcards, much safer - because it relies on challenge / response cryptography and not a dumb 'cleartext' number. And if 'they' won't arrange cheap payment systems for me (though I'm perfectly fine with PayPal, I think rules here for PayPal Sàrl in Europe are different than in US), then screw them, I simply won't pay. And if the content creator has the bad luck their content is available for free - and especially if I think it's too expensive (like most CD's), lots of times I'll leech it. Especially if the people owning the company are pure "wealth consumers" and don't add anything positive to the world.

There, I said it. Even while I know it's morally wrong to rob the content creators, I do it anyway. So those "other people" feeling entitled to stuff: Here, I belong to that group!

But, how to fix this? Well, I think there are several steps:

-Provide the content 'cheaper', meaning cutting out Apple / Google, MPAA / RIAA and publishers; I don't want to add to their wealth. Like said, distributing content can be done today for almost zero cost. Of course, I'm OK with paying more for paper books. But e-books should be cheaper than paper ones.

-Provide for an easy and cheap way to pay. Most of people in Europe are reluctant to use creditcards and don't own one. Moreover, it's better to pay with money you have than to pay with money you "might earn" tomorrow, and being screwed if tomorrow you don't.

-For content creators: Trying to connect to the content consumers! I bought Carla's Network Cookbook, because even though we never met, I have a feeling I "know Carla a little". Social media could help here. Also, when at some concert of some band I turned out to like, I personally bought the CD directly from them, giving me a pretty good feeling.

-Maybe, consider making content available to people after they Flattr'ed you. I think for those who write 'shorter' articles (like Carla, and myself sometimes), earning 5000 times 3 cents from people who Flattr'ed may still make us feel recognized and awarded. If there's a song for 3 cents and enough people buy it, it still could be profitable.

Because the most important thing I think I'm entitled to, is paying such an amount that the content creator can eat and pay the bills, _without_ making the content creator a billionaire.

Mar 27, 2011
2:56 PM EDT
I just re-read my post..I apologize for coming off like a prick. It is an emotional issue for me in that I have wanted to be a Teacher for a long time but..I am not going to bore everyone with my emotions.

Mar 27, 2011
5:42 PM EDT
Scott, I think at this point it would take special, deliberate effort to make a boring comment on this thread. ;-)

Mar 27, 2011
5:48 PM EDT
> It is an emotional issue for me...

It tends to be an emotional issue for everyone, Scott.

Mar 27, 2011
6:02 PM EDT

Passion is a good thing - it is what drives people toward excellence. It is far, far better than apathy.

FWIW, my daughter says that quite often she has to educate the parents as well as the kids.

Carry on!

Mar 28, 2011
8:25 AM EDT
hkwint, I won't condone copyright infringement (though I believe fair use and Constitutional standards to promote the progress do leave a fair opening which may or may not apply in your case), but thanks for the perspective about the views I think many citizens hold of wanting rational laws that allow many to make money without making it too easy for some to dominate so much.

Without copyright law, consumers and other who might co-produce will frequently have a sense of reasonableness (even if it's biased towards themselves, "me"), and authors can use persuasion, bring up facts, and appeal to this good sense. They can invoke future and present intentions (see kickstarter as example of people contributing ahead of time if they have confidence).

The consumers know that information is intangible and a part of everyone's head. It is "me" sharing something I know or have "written down" with someone else. It helps spread valuable goods, and every such sharing adds goodwill to the originator of the information and grows their popularity. A book is costly to replicate, but information is not, especially if the negligible costs are born by those sharing.

Remember that a copyright is a monopoly restriction applied to everyone. The author always has the choice not to write or to write and keep things private or among friends or business acquaintances without having the government step in to keep people from sharing information they otherwise come upon. The author can sell books and numerous other tangibles, partner with many people (endorsements) so that they get a cut of what they earn related to the author's work, and can certainly seek to provide custom expert services where the author's past works may certainly be leveraged to command a premium (whether via brand value or quality of service realities).

If authors had expectations to 10 year copyright, they would live with that. If they had expectations that writing the work was merely the first very important step of several steps, they would also accept. When copyright runs out, they don't lose the primary advantage in any related business for being the primary creators and experts.

And don't tell Nike or any of many groups that brand has no meaning. Even Coke losing taste tests still wins when people buy with the sticker in tact. Building and feeding the brand is an ongoing process just as is writing. It has been made all the cheaper to build with the Internet and social networks and such. And the best thing is that, once written, that fact exists forever. You can't undo or neutralize that an author created something. If it takes 30 years for one particular work to gain awareness, even then the author gains "full credit". You have to build the brand, and you can even partner with experts at brand building.

As open source has shown, a work can go much further when many contribute, and there is room for many to benefit. I mean, imagine if 10,000 worker ants went out with incentives to "sell" Audacity to their friends. And these people knew the primary players around audacity. Would those central figures not be better off this way? I can understand why a J K Rolling, Stephen King, or Michael Crichton might not want to share today (and they do not need any more copyright protections.. though the law is giving it to them regardless), but most every other author stands to gain (and these three have made plenty so I wouldn't feel sad for them) by having motivated people spreading the author's "ecosystem".

Again, these are my opinions. I can't say a world without free open source software would be a better world. Don't expect me to sell Microsoft or most other proprietary software to anyone. I almost only sing the praises of FOSS because there is something in it for me and because I'm grateful as would be any other human (to some extent anyway).

I can't wait for micro-payments to be commonplace (meaning every single page on the Internet pretty much offers a way to donate to one or more people). You will oftentimes see many many thousands of people give cents (while some give more others participate in tangible goods or services buying). Flattr's mechanism is not something I really like. I would prefer for the person to have full control over how much they give on each occasion.

Mar 28, 2011
12:49 PM EDT
If there is any entitlement involved, it is the equivalent of a carpenter putting up a drywall and from then to life + 70 demanding a cut of the rent.

Mar 28, 2011
5:03 PM EDT
My thoughts of entitlement hadn't even encompassed content providers and labels/movie houses. I agree, most of them are putting out crap content and still wondering why their sales are tanking. Oh suuuuure, it just absolutely *must* be pirates. That's it! Ignore the crap content and blame it on others.

I do agree there's a general decline in good entertainment nowadays, just look at the Friday song by Rebecca Black. That was painful to listen to.

That still doesn't entitle people to grab this stuff and use twisted illogical arguments when trying to rationalize theft.

Wow, though, this whole thread went waaaaaay off in left field. My dad was a teacher and a coach. Telling me that all teachers are overpaid is like peeing on my head and telling me it's raining. We were poor, almost dirt poor, with some weeks with nothing but beans and rice for dinner all week. My dad started a family business just to make ends meet. I still remember his comment about some book for executives, something like "How to live on just $45,000 a year." He said, "I would LOVE to make $45,000 a year!"

On the other hand, you have teachers that can't even pass the competency tests on the very subjects they teach, yet they find ways to hang on for decades.

Mar 28, 2011
5:16 PM EDT
> Telling me that all teachers are overpaid is like peeing on my head and telling me it's raining.

Where in this thread does anyone say teachers are overpaid?

Mar 28, 2011
8:06 PM EDT
Good teachers deserve everything they can get for what they do.

For that matter, so do bad teachers.

The problem I see, as JD has outlined, is that excellent teachers and bad teachers are pretty much the same in terms of salaries, tenure, benefits, etc. And it quickly becomes impossible to fire the bad ones.

So not all teachers are overpaid. Some are underpaid. Which one deserves the label "most" is a matter of opinion.

Can we at least agree that the moral hazard of "public sector unions" is utterly destructive?

Mar 29, 2011
10:09 AM EDT
> Where in this thread does anyone say teachers are overpaid?

Teachers' pay was talked about so I'm dragging in some baggage. :)

Mar 29, 2011
11:07 AM EDT
> Teachers' pay was talked about so I'm dragging in some baggage. :)

That's fair. But just to be clear, I've never said that teachers are overpaid. Merely that, in comparison to everyone else, they're no longer underpaid.

Mar 29, 2011
4:38 PM EDT
And, "no longer underpaid" is probably fair. I don't personally know what teachers make right now. A quick google for teacher pay in Texas brought back $50k+ in larger Texas cities. That's at least $15k more than my dad brought in per year before he retired, and no pay for summer break.

What a tangent! :)

Mar 30, 2011
10:52 AM EDT
@Scott No teachers, no LXer readers.

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