3.807 copyright, cont. (51)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Thu, 30 Nov 89 21:41:51 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 807. Thursday, 30 Nov 1989.

Date: Wed, 29 Nov 89 22:17:11 EST
From: amsler@flash.bellcore.com (Robert A Amsler)
Subject: Nelson's scheme and variants

It seems to me that the problem with copyright is that we are all
trying to find ways in which NOT to pay people for things. What
probably ought to be done is to reverse this and try to find ways
to pay everyone involved something--but not very much--for every
use. Thus, electronic copyright needs to be operated the way
royalties for songs played on the radio are collected. There is
no need to initiate individual permission agreements, only an
assumption that you will pay for each playing.

Probably the fault is in the lack of standard fees for copyrighted
information which are based on some complex formula which combines
the product of the number of users occasioned by an access (the more
users, the higher the rate), the rank of the author (the higher the
rank in terms of books sold, published articles, etc. the higher the
payscale), the inverse of the number of years since the work's
release (the more years, the lower the rate), and the number of words
accessed (the more words the more the cost).

Then the only other thing needed is the concept of electronic debit
and credit for access and contribution. You could then cancel out
bills for access to copyrighted material if you contributed material
which was itself accessed by others. So, your `Comments on the works
of XXX' could earn you credits to pay off your charges for accessing
the works of XXX--unless of course, nobody wanted to read your
comments--but that is the free market place.

Roughly speaking, electronic access charges should come out to about
the same per access that the medium on which to store the material
costs. I.e. I'd guess $1/megabyte (100 per 1000000 bytes = 1 cent
per 10000 bytee or about a penny per average email message sized

What still seems to be missing is an adequate means of knowing what is
available and obtaining it. We need something for electronic
information that is a cross between the `yellow pages' and `Books in
Print'. Presumably access to this tool would itself be an expense,
not unlike `directory assistance' calls are billed at some modest