[Amazon.com:POD] From Monopolists To Censors To Dictators: How Taking Things To The Extreme Damages Your Own Credibility And Weakens Your Argument

by M. David Peterson

I recently received the following comment to my previous Amazon POD post from "Mary",

I'm sorry, but anyone naive enough to think Amazon is not going for the monopoly on POD publishing needs to really read that letter. And, from what I have read, Booksurge not only charges up front fees, but produces a shoddy end product. No thanks. I am cutting all ties with Amazon and believe most writers would be wise to take a stand on this. Do we ultimately want Amazon to tell us what is and is not publishable? What we can and cannot write? Dictatorships start with small, seemingly harmless inroads as well....food for thought.


A copy of my follow-up falls inline below with further commentary just after.

9 Comments

len
2008-04-18 06:02:21
Lessig threw tinder on the fire by weakening the rights of others to gain his own bit of popular authority. I doubt he can put it out now.


"As the twig is bent..."


The web is simply an amplifier. What we put in comes out the other end the same but bigger. So make as much as you can as fast as you can no matter who you have to take it from because once the laws are weakened, all you are left with is force and begging. Force understands money. Only money matters.


It's no dice for nice now. Take a look at the language on the abc news comments sites for the last two days. That is what you've been campaigning for, David: thugs.


Say NO To Thugs.

M. David Peterson
2008-04-18 06:44:35
@len,


>> Lessig threw tinder on the fire by weakening the rights of others to gain his own bit of popular authority. I doubt he can put it out now.


This post isn't about Lessig. I just used that quote from his TED presentation because I felt it applied well to the topic of this post. Nothing more, nothing less.


>> So make as much as you can as fast as you can no matter who you have to take it from because once the laws are weakened, all you are left with is force and begging.


Which laws are you referring to specifically? Again, this post is about how taking things to extremes doesn't make your argument stronger. While you could suggest that the laws pertaining to the abuse of monopolistic practices could be related, I'm not sure how this would apply directly to this particular topic.


>> Force understands money. Only money matters.


From the standpoint of sustainability, yes, I agree.


>> Take a look at the language on the abc news comments sites for the last two days.


/me will take a look after I post this follow-up.


>> That is what you've been campaigning for, David: thugs.


I'm not campaigning for thugs. Take a look at my post regarding DIS 29500 as it relates to Rick Jelliffe. That type of behavior is disgusting, and I personally won't stand for it nor will I participate in it. Not sure why or how you have come to the impression that I believe this type of behavior is the answer, but whatever the reason, my apologies for leaving that impression!


>> Say NO To Thugs.


NO To Thugs! :D

len
2008-04-18 13:56:52
Thanks David. I came to your post from reading the posts for anti-OOXML and the dreaded election. Let's skip the second topic because we can't agree on that. But it is so ugly out there, I want to shut the Internet down for two weeks for everyone to cool off. As for the anti-OOXML movement, as much as I respect Tim Bray, Steve Pepper et al, I think continuing to inflame people after the ballots are cast is simply wrong. We have a web that has lost the ability to debate any issue of commerce sensibly, and that unfortunately, looks like and is fed by our national elections moodwise. Thugs R Us.


Lessig will be dragged down by the continuing undertow of YouTube and the sites that believe it is OK to take other people's property. He doesn't say that and he doesn't believe that, but his commentary leads to that. Creativity is not strangled by intellectual property laws anymore than people have to be bitter to get a gun. Creativity can be strangled by being forced to do other work because creative work gets pilfered as soon as it is published. When I read the discussions of this over the years, the comments are simply too much like the other topics. The web has turned into evil clowns from outer space, or simply, thugs.


That was always the danger of turning on an unfiltered amplifier: runaway feedback given strong signals becoming noise. However much good we think these movements do, "wrath" is just wrong. It becomes hate. Hate leads to the dark side, and you know the spiel. I think we agree on this.


We can try to dampen as much as we like, but eventually the thought leaders have to decide what is worth fighting for. The danger isn't simply that extremes lead to extremes, it is that when the system is pushed to extremes, the center is lost and it falls in on itself. What you find at the end of that is exhaustion, degradation, abuse and poverty, not creativity.


YouTube has to up their IP protection. Lessig has to take a position that moves to the center: artists DO have rights over their creations, and derivative works need to be licensed. The anti-OOXML forces have to stop and consider the damage they are doing and understand there are many corporations happy to sponsor them while they rip up ISO and Microsoft. It's a lot easier to make progress in a fractured market. Is it worth it? I don't think so.


Thuggery creates a culture of thugs. Once the laws are too weak, once the only rule of force is the rule of programming code, expect the code to become thugs too. No one will like it but some will profit by it and because they will, they will see to it the race to the bottom speeds up.

Helen
2008-04-18 19:10:27
Your comments on this site and on your personal blog clearly show that you are intellectually incapable of seeing beyond race when discussing the issues facing the nation during this election.


Today, you have reached a new low by calling people who believe in the free sharing of ideas and people who do not support your candidate, "thugs".


You are a disgrace to the human race. Shame on you!

Helen
2008-04-18 19:12:58
@Len


The previous comment was addressed to you.

M. David Peterson
2008-04-20 06:27:48
@Helen,


Whoa! WTF? Maybe you should spend more time reading Len's blog, because the last thing I would be accusing him of is being racist. And of all the people on this planet I have come in contact with, Len is at the top of a list of folks in whom I would call "Intellectually capable of anything." Len and I don't agree on everything, but I can't help but agree with his point regarding "Thugs", which is exactly what you are representing with your comments.

M. David Peterson
2008-04-20 06:36:07
@len,


>> Thanks David. I came to your post from reading the posts for anti-OOXML and the dreaded election. Let's skip the second topic because we can't agree on that.


Agreeing to disagree is what civilized people do, so yes, lets do exactly that. :)


>> But it is so ugly out there, I want to shut the Internet down for two weeks for everyone to cool off.


Let's do it! Got any connections with Vint Cerf? ;-)


>> As for the anti-OOXML movement, as much as I respect Tim Bray, Steve Pepper et al, I think continuing to inflame people after the ballots are cast is simply wrong. We have a web that has lost the ability to debate any issue of commerce sensibly, and that unfortunately, looks like and is fed by our national elections moodwise. Thugs R Us.


I agree. I really don't get the reasoning behind the continued attempt at attacking MSFT/OOXML/DIS 29500, which is why I stopped commenting about it, and make every attempt to ignore it. A difficult thing to do, but both of us have made honest attempts to talk some sense into the various folks involved with the bashing, and it does nothing to help. So what's the point?


re: Lessig et. al: If there is one thing I am coming to appreciate about Lawrence Lessig it's that he is willing to listen, learn, and adapt his thinking about various topics. I believe that the core of his "Free Culture" message is correct, but when applied from a real world perspective, impractical.


If you watch/listen to his testimony to the FCC this last Thursday, you may see what I am referring to. > http://lessig.org/blog/2008/04/testifying_fcc_stanford.html.


e.g. "Obviously I'd prefer a world of flat rate, fast service. And if we actually had any meaningful ISP competition, we might get to that. But the narrow question I've addressed here is whether it would violate neutrality principles for ISPs to offer different bandwidth commitments for different prices. I don't believe it does."

len
2008-04-20 12:58:34
The rate scales bother me but as an opportunity, it proves to be irresistable for the service industry. Speed is money. What it does lead to is increased regulation where costs will get passed to the customer.


Socially, we will have to work harder. One change in technology could change the dynamics. The inner most layer for virtual worlds are room worlds. Think of that as the simulation of your local Facebook as say a 16 person room good for small virtual parties. Intimacy sometimes leads to pacification of bitter spirits. One can hope.


@Helen: I'm not ashamed. Not even a tiny bit. However, if you want to join that conversation, you're welcome to comment on my blog as long as you use your real name. That's the compact.


Say NO To Thugs

M. David Peterson
2008-04-21 05:02:42
NO To Thugs! :D