3.1268 intellectual property (49)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Thu, 5 Apr 90 22:37:21 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1268. Thursday, 5 Apr 1990.

Date: 5 April 1990, 12:52:29 EDT
From: Sheizaf Rafaeli (313) 665 4236 21898MGR at MSU

The issue of fair compensation for rent/use of intellectual property
reappears constantly. I would like to refer HUMANISTS to my article
"SOAPWARE: the fit between software and advertising" _Information and
Software Technology_, Vol 31:5, (1989) p. 268-75.

To (painfully) summarize: Neither legal nor technical approaches have
ever or are likely to solve this "public goods" dilemma. This is one
case where a social technology can serve as an answer to a social problem.

One (partial) solution is by shifting the economic onus (who will pay
for software/electronic text?) from the user, to those interested in the
user's attention or time. A fair exchange of portions of the bandwidth
for sponsorship. Much of public communication has undergone this
transition. This is how modern news collection and dissemination is
funded. Much of modern music, drama, popular culture etc. is now funded
by advertising. Why not machine readable and/or executable knowledge?

Hence -- SOAPWARE (as in Soap Operas).

I will grant that the solution is not less thorny or controversial than
the problem. There are ethical, philosophical and psychological issues
to untangle. I have talked to several people who find this suggestion
offensive. Notice the uproar regarding commercial educational
television, and the recent books-with-ads controversy. The article
discusses some ramifications and complications. I have predicted six
years ago that this will occur for software and machine readable texts,
and it is beginning to materialize now. Not all current applications are
well done, but the idea is now less sci-fi (or maybe just less fi).

Is this of interest to HUMANISTS?

Sheizaf Rafaeli
313-665-4236 (USA)
02-827676 (ISRAEL)