Who doesn’t like free stuff

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The web as we know it hasn’t just appeared, but has gone through a process, an evolution that has only been successful due to technological advancements.It began from Tim Berners-Lee who started the World Wide Web. His aim for the world wide web was so that he could allow for everyone to have access to his research information. It would be free information, information that is not based on matter which people have to purchase, but is online, digitalised. Barlow, J. P. also had a similar idea and concluded that “legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement and context do not apply to us (cyberspace),” and hence its information that should be available for free, able to be accessed by everyone.

I think this is a great idea, however I think not all information should be made accessible for everyone at no cost. There needs to be an economic return for the things people produce and create in cyberspace. There needs to be intellectual property rights and the notion to own information so that people do not lose the incentive for innovation; to create new things. Richard Stallman and Barlow, J. P. argues against this notion of property in cyberspace. Stallman refuses to a software license agreement; he says “I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along with any software that is not free.” But I think if this was the case for all the information and products in cyberspace then there would be no reward for those creators of new information. It would create a stagnant cyberspace, with only few individuals such as Stallman contributing to this potentially ever growing space.

But don’t get me wrong I love free information, free software and I’m pretty sure almost all of us has at least once downloaded music and movies online without buying it. However, I think we need a balance between what’s made available for free and what’s not. It can’t all be free because then there will be no incentive to produce new information, new software, and new things. However, basic software and information should be made available to everyone freely because people need it to make a start, so that they’re able to take the first step to create new information and products.

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1c1YIJI

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14 thoughts on “Who doesn’t like free stuff

  1. Interesting post 🙂 As an avid internet pirate (I know I’m a monster) I have a strange relationship with copyright. While I know it exists to protect intellectual property there’s still some little selfish part of me that’s thinking ‘nooooo, I like free things!’ I agree that copyright does work well to encourage content creation however I have found that some aspects of copyright law seem to be too strict. Luckily creative commons exist for us consumers to soften the blow of copyright laws. With these the producer of content can set certain parameters on their work to either enable or disable others from using their work.

  2. I too am a bit of a pirate and know what it feels like to skirt those copyright laws very narrowly at times. But I found it interesting that you made the point of reward for the creators in payment, I had never thought of it that way, only grumbled about why I had to sift through so many torrents to find the one I wanted. I definitely agree that basic software is required for people to make a start because after all, how can you expect cyberspace to be independent if people are excluded based on financial difference. The Internet is freedom, and it should be predominantly free.

  3. Great Post! I too like many others am guilty of illegally downloading from time to time. The issue of copyright and intellectual property rights is such a hotly contested issue. On one hand I believe it is important to pay for things such as music and movies because we as consumers want to support these industries and keep them thriving, but I don’t these big media corporations to use this as ammunition to rip off the consumer. Many critics have claimed “there is no money to be made in the music industry”, and I guess the rise of free music streaming sites such as Spotify is making this closer to a reality. I’m still so torn, don’t get me wrong I love Spotify and other free music streaming sites but if that means I am inadvertently preventing up and coming musicians from ever breaking through the industry I may have to reconsider the way I consume music and other types of media.

  4. An interesting point about how you think information should release on a commercial purpose. Without a doubt i believe people who create content should take the credit for their creation, and that’s why the Copyright is trying to protect. However i am not so sure about if everything should develop on a commercial purpose, as you said most of the basic software should be free, but what is “basic”? It could be different in everyone’s definition. I believe what important is, if we can using someone else’s idea or content we should give credit to the one who made it. The creator can decide if they are charging the costumer or not. Sadly, nowadays most of the owners seek Copyright as an excuse to law suit people so they can gain money in that way, such as Universal Music Com use Copyright to suit Stephanie Lenz just because she uploaded a 29s video of her son dancing to prince’s lets go crazy.

  5. Its a tricky issue, but unfortunately the current model needs consumer sourced funding to produce worth while content. We live in a society where production of anything is fueled by money and if the money dries up there will be no more goods being produced. I love the idea of free information, music, programs/whatever and it does work in small pockets of the internet, but if everyone pirates things that aren’t intended to be distributed that way, the money will stop flowing and as a result so will the content. Hopefully more businesses can start up that don’t rely on sales like a more perfected version of Spotify.

  6. Very interesting post! I guess it’s sort of that catch 22 of “I don’t want people stealing my work… but I don’t want to pay to download that movie”. I definitely agree with you wholeheartedly about the point that if everything was free there’d be no incentive to produce new information and software etc. I sort of think that the reason we want everything to be free is because we still aren’t convinced the internet is completly real – like deep down we know it’s just a bunch of pixels? I mean people wouldn’t expect a free table and chairs, but deep down we kind of do want free photoshop (or at least I do). Maybe this will change when everyone was born into a cyberspace era. Until then, democratic ideology about free information and valid points about commercial production will continue to come into conflict.

  7. Props to you for writing about such a tricky topic, really brought to light a lot of strong points. Before I had read this post I had always thought that all information should be free. In my mind I used the analogy that information is everything, it is as simple as when I talk to people and tell them something interesting about my day, I don’t charge them for it so why should any other information have a cost and well as the point that the more information accessible the better as it will create a deeper educated society who can share and collaborate rather then hinder and limit one another’s work.

  8. Totally agree! Money is pretty much everything, I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to dedicate hundreds of hours of work to produce software that will be distributed to the public for free. I think money is what keeps us advancing at such rapid rates

  9. I love free stuff! But unfortunately for me, nobody does anything for free. I’ve heard stories from those terrible people who download things off the internet without paying, and they tell me that those websites are full of advertisements! And the price they pay for free entertainment is 20 pop-up windows all over their screen at once. But the best way for me to get free stuff is to sell something that I have, and they want; my personal information. It’s working for Facebook and Google, and it works fine for me. I get free stuff, and they get my information to aim certain advertisements toward me. I’m stingy and hardly ever buy anything anyway, jokes on them!!

  10. Enjoyed this post! I like getting free stuff as much as the next person, but the nature of the world is that nobody does anything for free. I think while some things need to be paid for and should come at some cost, I would also say that information should always be free. You can make things free but continue the advertisements, like what Youtube does.
    Good read!

  11. It is definitely an interesting topic to discuss. For some reason I do just expect everything about the internet to be free, unless I am buying hard tangible products online. The separation of material from matter and information or knowledge as a product is something a lot of us still can’t fully wrap our head around. But we are only going to continue growing and adapting to this concept (through future generations especially) and hopefully as we do that we can find a better solution to issues like copyright infringement. I would like to hope that information can remain free and inexpensive.

  12. I agree with your idea of a balance needing to be made with what should be free and what shouldn’t! I will sheepishly admit that I occasionally do the old, downloading of movies and music rather than pay for it, heck we’re Uni students who live off Mi Goreng! I love that there is free information out there, our generation today doesn’t realise how lucky we are to be privy to such knowledge, something our forefathers can’t boast about.
    At the same time, if it were me and I had information and knowledge that was to be shared on the internet, I would be more than happy to be paid for it! People are always looking for new information and products, so there is always going to be a high demand, however these days it just can’t be done, because guaranteed whatever you write, someone has also written it a second before you did in some far away land. If anything, the only payment people can really receive these days, is credit for their work.

  13. Great discussion of both sides of the piracy debate. To a certain degree I definitely agree with you that not everything can be free. Like you’ve noted, if everything is free where is the incentive to innovate? for organisations and corporations to compete to have the best technologies, the most interesting new developments? I feel like much of the piracy debate surrounds music artists and how because we download music illegally (I saw we because, come on, we all do it, I dont think i’ve bought a cd since Year 9 and I almost cried when the FBI shut down Limewire) and therefore artists make no money. Artists like Radiohead have released albums for free online to avoid this whole issue because the way they see it, they are going to create music and art whether someone is buying it or not. It is because of this issue that platforms like Spotify were created, which is superb. I even pay to have premium access to Spotify. In a strange way, the solution to stealing music from the internet is to provide genuinely free music which in turn gives incentive to people to actually start paying for a higher level of access to that music.. its funny how that works.

  14. Balance is something that is very hard to achieve when it comes to copyright. I do agree with your points that it would be great if all information technology was free but creators do need to get paid. I also agree that there needs to be incentive for people to create new content. I do disagree though that the basic should be free. The basics were also created by someone who deserves to have their work recognised too. The basics are also what is needed by everyone so economically it makes no sense to make it cost nothing, given that the return on such products would be high. I am also not particularly sure by what you mean by the basics. It is programs like word processors or internet browsers or the platforms from which you access the internet? I really like the idea of advertising making things ‘free.’ That way information remains (almost) free to us and the producer still gets paid. And business get their own information out there too (http://www.exa.com.au/services/web_advertising.php). It’s a triple win situation.

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