[PP-main] Political/philosophical

Joakim Ziegler joakim at simplemente.net
Fri Mar 3 14:41:01 CET 2000

On Thu, Mar 02, 2000 at 05:52:45PM -0500, Rusty Foster wrote:

> For anyone who hasn't seen it, that thread begins here: 
> http://www.kuro5hin.org/?op=comments&sid=2000/2/29/173438/397&cid=14#14

>> Now, he states that journalists usually can get paid for every
>> republication in the system as it is today. This isn't really true. The
>> system of republication is a vastly smaller one than the one of wire
>> services, in which the writer gets a one-time fee, no matter how many times
>> things are published, and republication happens on an immense scale, world
>> wide.
>> I think the recognition given to a writer by wide publication, especially a
>> young, up and coming writer, far outweighs whatever compensation she would
>> get from republication rights, especially in the long term.

> I agree with the above, and have a little bit to add. People said that
> distributing free software was crazy, because programmers would starve.
> This has obviously not happened. Now the two cases are not the same, but
> they are *similar*. Basically, I'm of the opinion that the system we're
> designing is supposed to benefit publishers, in the sense that it makes
> it much easier to get relevant and interesting content. It is also
> supposed to benefit readers, in that their favorite community can be
> exposed to a source of more, better, and more consistent news and
> content for them to discuss.

Paul Dunne claimed that this was not the same because a program is incomplete
without source, which doesn't apply to writing. This is true, of course, but
that doesn't mean the same revenue model that's used for free software can't
apply for "Free writing".

> If writers want lots of readers, and publicity, here's a free publicity
> machine for them to take advantage of. If their attitude is "pay me or I
> don't write word one." then it's not the sort of thing they're going to
> be interested in participating in, and they're welcome not to. Same as
> Free Software, basically.

> I don't think our job is to provide for the livelihood of anyone. We're
> attempting to create a network of shared-content weblogs, not provide a
> great financial opportunity for writers.

> That said, if anyone has an idea how this could be made attractive to
> writers (financially or otherwise), beyond good publicity, please do
> share. :-)

I think the ways could be the same as for free software. In other words, like

* You're a website, you're creating some content yourself, and contribute
  that too peer press, and then you use the peer press feed for what you
	like. You have banener ads or make revenue in some other way, so you can
	pay journalists/writers. This is how most websites that employ journalists
	these days work, just with the added peer press interaction.

* You're a company that wants to promote discussion about a certain area, set
  of products, etc., so you provide all your press releases, software update
	news, etc. over the feed, and pull down whatever you think will stimulate

And many more. I'm sure you see a pattern here. Dunne's concern is valid for
a single case, though: The freelance journalist. He can't really make much
money and still stay independent. But then again, neither can a freelance
free software coder, so both of these probably take consultancy jobs and the
like on the side.

>> Now, should we require the site to return the favour? I think this is hard
>> to quantify. Should a site have to open up all their content just because
>> they use a single item from us? Sounds a bit dubious. In particular if the
>> item is used in a paper publication, which might not even publish all their
>> content on the net themselves. Also, I would consider it a good thing if
>> our content got picked up by more traditional sites, given that we would
>> get attribution.

> I think again the GPL is a good model to look to here. IBM doesn't have
> to release all their software under the GPL, just because they sell some
> GPL software. I think the "derived works" idea is sufficient. If a
> publication (web, or otherwise) runs a PeerPress story or derived work,
> it must be licensed under our license, independent of the rest of the
> publication.

The GPL actually does a bit more, since it affects what you're allowed to
link with the software, even. That was the reason I asked about the "rest of
the site", "returning the favour" thing. But I think we should limit
ourselves to derived works, which places us somewhere between the GPL and the
LGPL. That's a territory I feel comfortable in, at least.

> Yes, again. The only limitation on commercial use should be that no site
> can take a PeerPress article, reprint it, and say "No one else can copy
> this." This includes "derived works" as well. Hey, people do need to
> make a living somehow, and I think commercial media outlets will need to
> play some role in content distribution if this is to go anywhere.

I agree. I'd love to see Peer Press become a substantial provider of news to
the traditional media. I'd consider that a victory.

Joakim Ziegler - simplemente r&d director - joakim at simplemente.net
 FIX sysop - free software coder - FIDEL & Conglomerate developer
      http://www.avmaria.com/ - http://www.simplemente.net/

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