1150: Instagram

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Minstrel
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Minstrel » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

My agreement with Randall on this one hinges on the actual terms Instagram was proposing.

If they were saying: "In one month. we are claiming ownership of the copyright on anything you upload and we'll sell it if we feel like it, because, muhahaha, we own it", then I disagree. Well, sort of. You've still got a month's notice, so it's not like you can't just move your stuff. I dislike any licensing terms though that give the person storing the material the right to change the terms of ownership without due notice - they should be able to delete your stuff (IE kick the junk out of the garage to the curb) but not take ownership. Even though they did give a month's notice, could they have just as easily said "tomorrow we own your junk"? If so, I disagree with their terms strongly, despite the reasonable notice they gave.

If they were saying: "We're going to make a copy of this stuff and maybe use it somehow to make money, but you still own it", I agree. Not a huge deal for 99% of the people there who aren't pros planning to monetize their virtual monopoly on particular pictures. And again, they still have a month.

It's all a bit murky though as I don't have a thorough understanding of their original terms and the newly proposed ones.

What sounds like a good solution is what's proposed here. TL;DR - allow uploaders to set the terms of their licensing, but default to Creative Commons (preferably BY-SA, which allows anyone to copy/remix/sell). The professional photographers can keep their stricter terms and the other 99% will probably just accept the default, still have a legal right to what they uploaded and Instagram (as well as the worldwide creative community) has a huge library to paw through for stuff to use to make more moneys.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:35 pm UTC

jjcote wrote:Another thing to consider it what it means to own something at all. What does that entitle you to? If you own a house, maybe somebody will charge money to take tourists down your street on a bus and point it out to them. In Beverly Hills, that happens, right? But what if you bought some land and found people actually wandering across your property, and arranging sporting events there? Seems like that would be outrageous. But it's completely normal in Scandinavia. Keeping people away is not one of the privileges of land ownership in their legal system, everyone is allowed to wander wherever they like (with a few exceptions like secure military installations, and if you camp somewhere, you have to pack up your tent and move after a few days).


Your description is not entirely accurate. You are describing a residential street, not huge swaths of land, and in that case in Scandinavia (or at least Sweden, where I lived for about four years) a person absolutely can NOT come onto your property as they please. The concept of allemansrätten in Sweden is about access to nature, not restrictions on property conceptualizations. And you are only allowed on someone else's property in cases where allemansrätten DOES apply if you do no damage to the area you are occupying - no cutting down trees or vegetation (though picking flowers and berries and such would generally be allowed), hunting is not allowed, and more stuff along those lines. But in general, allemansrätten is allowed only in cases where it is not violating the privacy of the property owners, which is why it would not apply in an urban, residential area like what you are describing. This is because of the hemfridszon - the area immediately around a residence or dwelling that I don't believe is specifically given a size by law but can be as far as 75 meters or so from a house.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam

EDIT:

Minstrel wrote:My agreement with Randall on this one hinges on the actual terms Instagram was proposing.

If they were saying: "In one month. we are claiming ownership of the copyright on anything you upload and we'll sell it if we feel like it, because, muhahaha, we own it", then I disagree. Well, sort of. You've still got a month's notice, so it's not like you can't just move your stuff. I dislike any licensing terms though that give the person storing the material the right to change the terms of ownership without due notice - they should be able to delete your stuff (IE kick the junk out of the garage to the curb) but not take ownership. Even though they did give a month's notice, could they have just as easily said "tomorrow we own your junk"? If so, I disagree with their terms strongly, despite the reasonable notice they gave.

If they were saying: "We're going to make a copy of this stuff and maybe use it somehow to make money, but you still own it", I agree. Not a huge deal for 99% of the people there who aren't pros planning to monetize their virtual monopoly on particular pictures. And again, they still have a month.

It's all a bit murky though as I don't have a thorough understanding of their original terms and the newly proposed ones.

What sounds like a good solution is what's proposed here. TL;DR - allow uploaders to set the terms of their licensing, but default to Creative Commons (preferably BY-SA, which allows anyone to copy/remix/sell). The professional photographers can keep their stricter terms and the other 99% will probably just accept the default, still have a legal right to what they uploaded and Instagram (as well as the worldwide creative community) has a huge library to paw through for stuff to use to make more moneys.


I don't understand. If it it licensed via Creative Commons for anyone to reuse it, how is Instagram supposed to make money off it exactly?

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Adam H
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Adam H » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

Funny comic. But the few people calling it a "good analogy" are wrong.

1. Chad sent Dude a personalized note asking him to remove his stuff. If Instagram had done that, there would be less outrage.
2. Chad (presumably) did not invite/advertise/intice Dude to store the stuff in the garage. If Instagram had not done that, there would be less outrage.
3. Chad did not threaten to give out Dude's name and contact information to his buyers. If Instagram had not done that, there would be less outrage.
4. Chad is letting Dude know that he will be losing access to his stuff by physically removing it. If Instagram had done that... well, they would be telling their users that they are closing, and there would be less outrage.

And if you want to debate what it means to "own" a picture, you can do that, too.
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby jjcote » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:06 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
jjcote wrote:Another thing to consider it what it means to own something at all. What does that entitle you to? If you own a house, maybe somebody will charge money to take tourists down your street on a bus and point it out to them. In Beverly Hills, that happens, right? But what if you bought some land and found people actually wandering across your property, and arranging sporting events there? Seems like that would be outrageous. But it's completely normal in Scandinavia. Keeping people away is not one of the privileges of land ownership in their legal system, everyone is allowed to wander wherever they like (with a few exceptions like secure military installations, and if you camp somewhere, you have to pack up your tent and move after a few days).


Your description is not entirely accurate. You are describing a residential street, not huge swaths of land, and in that case in Scandinavia (or at least Sweden, where I lived for about four years) a person absolutely can NOT come onto your property as they please. The concept of allemansrätten in Sweden is about access to nature, not restrictions on property conceptualizations. And you are only allowed on someone else's property in cases where allemansrätten DOES apply if you do no damage to the area you are occupying - no cutting down trees or vegetation (though picking flowers and berries and such would generally be allowed), hunting is not allowed, and more stuff along those lines. But in general, allemansrätten is allowed only in cases where it is not violating the privacy of the property owners, which is why it would not apply in an urban, residential area like what you are describing. This is because of the hemfridszon - the area immediately around a residence or dwelling that I don't believe is specifically given a size by law but can be as far as 75 meters or so from a house.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam

I don't dispute the details, but my point is that the details about the nature of property ownership are quite different than they are in the USA. There certainly are things that that you can't do on someone else's property in Scandiavia (e.g. farm it or put up a building), but in the USA, if you own a piece of forested land, you can tell everybody that they have to stay off of it, and in some locales can probably legally shoot them dead if they trespass. Try arranging an orienteering meet in West Virginia on privately-owned land, and see how that works out. The expectations are different in different places.

(My intent in the two cases above was for two different scenarios, one where you live on a residential street and people are allowed to look at your house, and a different one where you own some non-residential land that people are walking through.)

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Reecer6 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

The only detrimental problem I see in the analogy is that Chad probably didn't buy a seperate garage just to store his friend's stuff, he doesn't need to sell the stuff to support his business. In any case, nothing is better than charging his friend a one-time fee! Or painting ads on his walls!

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Klear » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

Minstrel wrote:My agreement with Randall on this one hinges on the actual terms Instagram was proposing.

If they were saying: "In one month. we are claiming ownership of the copyright on anything you upload and we'll sell it if we feel like it, because, muhahaha, we own it", then I disagree. Well, sort of. You've still got a month's notice, so it's not like you can't just move your stuff. I dislike any licensing terms though that give the person storing the material the right to change the terms of ownership without due notice - they should be able to delete your stuff (IE kick the junk out of the garage to the curb) but not take ownership. Even though they did give a month's notice, could they have just as easily said "tomorrow we own your junk"? If so, I disagree with their terms strongly, despite the reasonable notice they gave.

If they were saying: "We're going to make a copy of this stuff and maybe use it somehow to make money, but you still own it", I agree. Not a huge deal for 99% of the people there who aren't pros planning to monetize their virtual monopoly on particular pictures. And again, they still have a month.

It's all a bit murky though as I don't have a thorough understanding of their original terms and the newly proposed ones.

What sounds like a good solution is what's proposed here. TL;DR - allow uploaders to set the terms of their licensing, but default to Creative Commons (preferably BY-SA, which allows anyone to copy/remix/sell). The professional photographers can keep their stricter terms and the other 99% will probably just accept the default, still have a legal right to what they uploaded and Instagram (as well as the worldwide creative community) has a huge library to paw through for stuff to use to make more moneys.


From what I read, the outrage is caused by them not giving the users a proper notice, but rather changing the terms written in legalese so people wouldn't know about it. On the other hand, I'm still open to the explanation that their intention was a bit different and with a change of wording, nobody will complain about the new terms. In any case, I don't consider this a very good analogy...

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Minstrel
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Minstrel » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:I don't understand. If it it licensed via Creative Commons for anyone to reuse it, how is Instagram supposed to make money off it exactly?


So were they actually planning to take ownership of the copyright on the photos? Otherwise, the person who uploaded them would still possess the rights to them and they couldn't leverage sole ownership to monetize the photos either.

Anyway, assuming they were planning to take ownership, it's an increasingly losing proposition. There is so much free content out there (an ever-increasing amount in a world that isn't getting any bigger) that the profits to be made from taking a photo and then hoping to find a buyer based on your sole ownership and their lack of means to get it otherwise can't continue for long. Custom work and adapting existing material (using the free stuff to make custom adverts, posters, other printed or digital work) is a more sustainable long term model.
Last edited by Minstrel on Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:50 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby PFD Studio » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:There is a huge fallacy in that comic, that is just like going to the north pole, and then at that exact place, saying “I will now go north!”:
Just like the above statement in that context, saying “property” in the context of information makes no sense. It is not related to reality.
In reality, there is no such thing as “intellectual property”. It is physically meaningless/impossible nonsense.


I've seen this idea in a number of places ... the naive notion that there's no property except physical property. Property is what law defines to be property, and the U.S. Constitution (among others) defines intellectual property and gives Congress the power to create protections for it.

Moreover, if, as you suggest, there were no such thing as intellectual property, civilization would never have advanced beyond the agrarian stage. No inventions, manufacturing, arts and ideas would arise except perhaps as hobbies for their creators.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby cellocgw » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

Tualha wrote:Given that Randall also wrote this:

http://xkcd.com/743/

I don't think his point is that people are overreacting, but rather that people were foolish to think that companies like Instagram would continue to provide a free service forever, without ever trying to exploit their users. You know what they say: if you're not paying for the service, then you're not the customer, you're the product.

Some cogent thoughts from Schneier on the general subject:

http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-1212.html#1

I agree with these points. I have to admit my first reaction to the strip was more along the lines of "what, Instagram's shutting down?" like various other cloud services which shut down without any way for users to retrieve their files. Sort of like Chad locking his garage for the summer, or maybe his garage burning down (and your insurance doesn't cover goods on someone else's property.)
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Western Rover » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:16 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Angelastic wrote:I wish I hadn't read this thread. I liked the comic a whole lot more when I thought it was about people complaining about free hosting sites shutting down.


Did you not read the title? Or were you under the impression that Instagram is going away?


I too thought the same thing as Angelastic when I first read the strip. Of course I read the title, but I read the strip before I opened Wikipedia to find out what Instagram is. I don't think it's bizarre to want to read the strip first before doing the research to see what it's about. And yes, the strip gave me "the impression that Instagram is going away".

For years I have used [url="http://www.smugmug.com/"]a paid service[/url] to store my photos, precisely because I don't want to worry about my storage suddenly shutting down.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Diadem » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:There are scripts that let you block the ads on Facebook and elsewhere. Do you block them? Or do you reason that you're getting the service for free so you must not block the ads? There are zero legal repercussions if you block them, just your conscience. To block or not to block?

I used to not block ads for precisely this reason. Annoying as ads are, they are the reason I'm allowed to see all the great content in the first place. I don't want to undermine free sites by taking away their income.

But some ads are just too obnoxious.

I wish I could just block the obnoxious ones. But that's not very simple, alas.
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby mapspam » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

I get the feeling everyone is still missing the point people got upset about this proposed terms change. And I feel like Rand also is totally missing it.

Instagram proposed giving themselves the ability to sell your photo, name and likeness to be used in advertisements. That means the photo of your grandmother you put on instagram could be used for an advertisement for adult diapers. Your own face could be used in an ad for HIV treatments.

Plus, very much unlike Randall's Chad, Instagram's business up until now was very much based on getting you and all your friends to put, not just "stuff" you own, but photos you *take* of yourself, your life, your family, into their "garage" for your friends and maybe others to see. Now, unlike Randall's Chad who sounds like he just wants to get rid of your stuff sitting around for good, Instagram wants to license your photos and your likeness without your consent to other companies for use in whatever advertisements they wish.

Instagram proposed making your face, family and other photos into their own stock art library.

Randall is off-base here.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Azkyroth » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:13 pm UTC

mr.meker wrote:Mouseover: I'm gonna call the cops and get Chad arrested for theft, then move all my stuff to the house across the street. Hopefully the owners there are more responsible.

Very good analogy.



It's only a good analogy if we further posit that Chad built the garage explicitly for people to store their stuff there and invited them to do so for free - THEN, once people had gotten used to storing stuff there and made plans around doing so, announced he was going to start selling stuff left there.

I imagine that isn't illegal either, but it is certainly dishonest, as is the comic's representation of the situation. Yes, even if people "should" anticipate this kind of dishonesty from corporations. I had come to expect better from Randall.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby ctristan » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:35 pm UTC

The analogy would have worked better if Chad has instead said that he was going to be charging other people to let them use his stuff. Even if Instagram sells the image the user still has access to it.

TimXCampbell wrote:There are scripts that let you block the ads on Facebook and elsewhere. Do you block them? Or do you reason that you're getting the service for free so you must not block the ads? There are zero legal repercussions if you block them, just your conscience. To block or not to block?


I actually make it a point not to use any ad-blocking software or scripts since I want to support the sites I go to. If a site has ads that are so obtrusive or dangerous then I decide I no longer want to visit that site anymore, since I don't want to support them if they're going to do that to me. I've had sites I used to visit daily until one day Chrome tells me the site has malware, I find out that the potential malware is in one of the flash ads their ad company serves up every so often, and I never visit their site again.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Nathan » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

PFD Studio wrote:Property is what law defines to be property,


True.

PFD Studio wrote:and the U.S. Constitution (among others) defines intellectual property


False.

PFD Studio wrote:and gives Congress the power to create protections for it.


Maybe. Anyone can read the Copyright Clause, and reasonable minds can disagree as to just what it means. Without question it does not mention "property", and arguably it's talking about something very different.

There are fundamental differences between the exclusive rights granted to holders of intellectual property and those granted to holders of real or personal property. Critics argue that the term intellectual property is harmful because it tends to obscure these fundamental differences in people's minds.

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thevicente
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby thevicente » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

People seem to think putting/painting ads somewhere makes magic money appear. Advertisers want revenue. They are the customer and it's hard work to give them that.

Some 10 years ago the internet was for sharing information, now it's a marketplce. it disgusts me. Instagram (just one example)'s practices keeps people from sharing their information by simple html and ftp or whatever open standard.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:47 pm UTC

PFD Studio wrote:
BAReFOOt wrote:There is a huge fallacy in that comic, that is just like going to the north pole, and then at that exact place, saying “I will now go north!”:
Just like the above statement in that context, saying “property” in the context of information makes no sense. It is not related to reality.
In reality, there is no such thing as “intellectual property”. It is physically meaningless/impossible nonsense.


I've seen this idea in a number of places ... the naive notion that there's no property except physical property. Property is what law defines to be property, and the U.S. Constitution (among others) defines intellectual property and gives Congress the power to create protections for it.

Moreover, if, as you suggest, there were no such thing as intellectual property, civilization would never have advanced beyond the agrarian stage. No inventions, manufacturing, arts and ideas would arise except perhaps as hobbies for their creators.


Well, that statement would confirm BAReFOOts statement for the Netherlands. Dutch laws only defines property in relation to physical goods. What I want to say with this is that the legal definition is not suitable for generalisation to a general definition as it is restricted to limited regions where the laws in question are valid.

Actually intellectual property, unlike traditional property, is a 19th century invention that was forcibly recognised by many countries over the course of a century. However, the terminology varies by country and "intellectual property" as a term is not necessarily recognised, only monopoly positions for certain rights-holders is currently widely legislated. I think intellectual property is propaganda term to create an analogy with traditional property which makes it more defensible. Moreover, I think it has been a propaganda term since its inception in the 19th century and is still controversial after more than a century.

Physical property on the other hand has historically been widely recognised, by mostly unrelated cultures. It was, amongst other cultures, already present in Roman culture, ancient Chinese culture (at least since Confucianist times) and I think in Aztec culture. I therefore think "intellectual property" is distinct from actual property and is mostly a misnomer, although it is a convenient one for its defenders.

This difference can also be seen in what it entails. If I own a cushion I cannot keep anyone from copying it. As long as the original, which is my property, is unharmed and not taken from my possession my rights are not violated. If, in modern times, I draw a cushion on the other hand, copyright law applies, but it cannot stop people from taking it from my possession without violating my rights (though, if I still own it property rights could) but copying the drawing would violate my copyrights.

In summary:
Property:
  • is an ancient concept
  • widely recognised
  • does not prevent copying
  • does prevent taking possession
"Intellectual property":
  • is relatively modern
  • controversial
  • does prevent copying
  • does not prevent from taking possession


So there is very little overlap in major properties, being their origin, acceptance and actual meaning.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby rigwarl » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:06 pm UTC

Briefly stepping aside from arguing about how "valid" the analogy is, I thought this comic was really funny on it's own without knowing anything about the Instagram situation.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby hyperflux » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:15 pm UTC

Here's the problem with the analogy.

- He started storing his stuff at Chad's for free.
- Lots of other people started doing the same.
- Chad appeared to be providing a popular service, with lots of people (and therefore potential revenue) surrounding him.
- Stuffstorers Inc. noticed this potential and offered Chad $1 billion for his garage.
- Now Chad's garage is beholden to provide a return on Stuffstorers Inc.'s investment.

There are a couple of ways Ss Inc. could go about this.

1. The devious way - Claim the rights to everything that was left in Chad's garage and then use it to generate revenue.
2. The ethical way - Inform the users of Chad's garage that the service can no longer be offered for free, so either people must accept that money will be made off their stuff OR they may opt to pay a subscription to continue using the service as previously.

Ultimately, Chad's garage would never have attracted a $1 Billion investment from Stuffstorers Inc. without the many people who chose to use his free service and make it appear to be valuable. Those people therefore have a right to be included in decisions about the future of the service that they helped build into a saleable platform.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Amaroq » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:23 pm UTC

I still didn't get the comic until I did some googling to find what they were doing. An article I came across claims that their ability to do this was always in their terms of use, and that the change they made just made it a bit more explicit.

But anyway,
BAReFOOt wrote:It is a horrible completely invalid analogy.


Actually, it's a perfect analogy. BAReFOOt here is just pissed off because he wants to benefit from other peoples' mental labor without having to pay for it and some people/companies don't go for that.

The fallacy is in the notion that the only justification for property is scarcity, therefore intellectual property can't be property because it isn't scarce.

The proper justification of property is that it allows the individual to be the beneficiary of his own actions. If you create a value, you get to exploit it for your own personal gain. This equally applies to intellectual property. If I create a book or a song, I have the right to demand compensation for every copy and to include terms of use that say you aren't allowed to copy my work. I have the right to profit off of -my- creation.

It's pretty telling that the primary attitude of "freedom of information" types in this context is "We hate the greedy businesses who are trying to control the flow of information". It doesn't matter. If you think Wal-Mart is greedy, you still don't get to shoplift from their stores while claiming to advocate the "free flow of merchandise". If you think record companies are greedy, you still don't get to steal copies of the work that their artists created. You don't have a right to get something from someone for nothing in return unless they're willing. (There are some artists who like to give out their work for free. More power to them.)

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby dudiobugtron » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:24 pm UTC

I didn't know anything about the problem, so I googled it and found this:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/20 ... er-outcry/
Instagram is going back to its original policy related to advertising after an updated policy triggered outrage among users.


So I guess this comic wins the 'relevant for the least amount of time' award.
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Zylon » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:41 pm UTC

Oh look, another comic where Randall speciously craps on the prevailing opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place.

I always wonder WTF he's thinking when he does this. Trying to stir up more page views perhaps?

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Minstrel » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:50 pm UTC

Amaroq wrote:The proper justification of property is that it allows the individual to be the beneficiary of his own actions. If you create a value, you get to exploit it for your own personal gain. This equally applies to intellectual property. If I create a book or a song, I have the right to demand compensation for every copy and to include terms of use that say you aren't allowed to copy my work. I have the right to profit off of -my- creation.


At least as far as US law goes, that's not the original intent of copyright. What you state is a personal property oriented view that's often stated in these discussions. It sounds reasonable because we're so used to the concept of individual ownership and the idea that if you work hard, you deserve compensation.

The copyright clause is clear about intent though:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Linky link

You don't get to own an idea or other non-physical good just because you worked hard at it (and doggone it you deserve it!). You get to own it for a limited time because it gives you incentive to create ideas that are useful to society. Unfortunately current copyright law has been taken, under that guise, to the point where copyright holders continue to hold copyright long past the point where the incentive is needed (or past the point where the creator or their children are even alive), and the inaccessibility of their past work now hinders rather than promotes those useful Arts.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Rotherian » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:53 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:Oh look, another comic where Randall speciously craps on the prevailing* opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place.

I always wonder WTF he's thinking when he does this. Trying to stir up more page views perhaps?


* [citation needed]
There are two general categories of opinion: regular opinions and informed opinions.
Please do not argue with me unless your opinion falls into the latter category.
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:53 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:Oh look, another comic where Randall speciously craps on the prevailing opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place.


What demographic is that and how is this comic crapping on their opinion? By what logic are XKCD readers more likely than not to be offended by making fun of people who were naive enough to believe that THIS Internet service wasn't out to make money when all the others are?

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby boXd » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:59 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Zylon wrote:Oh look, another comic where Randall speciously craps on the prevailing opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place.


What demographic is that and how is this comic crapping on their opinion? By what logic are XKCD readers more likely than not to be offended by making fun of people who were naive enough to believe that THIS Internet service wasn't out to make money when all the others are?


It is a truth universally acknowledged that all xkcd readers are hipsters.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby TimXCampbell » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:00 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:... Randall speciously craps on the prevailing opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place .... Trying to stir up more page views perhaps?

I don't understand your theory of generating more page views.

rigwarl wrote:... I thought this comic was really funny on its own without knowing anything about the Instagram situation.

Agreed! And even though Instagram seems to be reconsidering its position, the comic still represents certain types of people we can recognize.

Diadem wrote:I used to not block ads for [the reason you stated, but] ... some ads are just too obnoxious. I wish I could just block the obnoxious ones. But that's not very simple, alas.

I've used my Windows “hosts” file to block 15 ad-server services that have, in my opinion, done too little to enforce ethical advertising. If an ad server delivers blatant lies (e.g. “You are the 1,000,000th visitor to this web site — click to collect your prize!”) I add them to the list.

There are extensive lists for the “hosts” file, including many hundreds of sites. I don't use such lists. I don't mind seeing ads, as long as they're well-behaved and don't lie to me too egregiously.

I'd love to say more but the whole topic of lying ads could get me going on a rant, so I'll stop here.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Zylon » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:11 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:By what logic are XKCD readers more likely than not to be offended by making fun of people who were naive enough to believe that THIS Internet service wasn't out to make money when all the others are?

Not very bright, are you?

There is a vast, vast gulf between "out to make money" and "all your pictures are belong to us". Nobody has an issue with the former. Everyone has an issue with the latter.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Zylon » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:12 pm UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:I don't understand your theory of generating more page views.

By being deliberately controversial in his views, durr.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby TimXCampbell » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:29 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:
TimXCampbell wrote:I don't understand your theory of generating more page views.

By being deliberately controversial in his views, durr.

As I understand your theory, it works like this:

1) Attract lots of people with very funny cartoons
2) Write deliberately offensive cartoons that annoy regular readers and irritate newbies
3) ???
4) Profit!


Please explain Step 3. Thanks.

Spoiler:
Step 3: Be consistently brilliant. As hinted, this works for South Park. It can work for Randall, too. It wouldn't work for me, though, because what little brilliance I have flickers rather than shines.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Weeks » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:03 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:Oh look, another comic where Randall speciously craps on the prevailing opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place.

I always wonder WTF he's thinking when he does this. Trying to stir up more page views perhaps?
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby ysth » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:26 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
Angelastic wrote:I wish I hadn't read this thread. I liked the comic a whole lot more when I thought it was about people complaining about free hosting sites shutting down.

Did you not read the title? Or were you under the impression that Instagram is going away?

Maybe, like me, Angelastic was blissfully ignorant of the existence of Instagram.

Though my first thought wasn't even about free hosting sites, it was that this was some kind of bizarre role-reversal of the epic Landlord of the Flies.
A math joke: r = | |csc(θ)|+|sec(θ)| |-| |csc(θ)|-|sec(θ)| |

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby VDZ » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Amaroq wrote:The proper justification of property is that it allows the individual to be the beneficiary of his own actions. If you create a value, you get to exploit it for your own personal gain. This equally applies to intellectual property. If I create a book or a song, I have the right to demand compensation for every copy and to include terms of use that say you aren't allowed to copy my work. I have the right to profit off of -my- creation.

Perhaps that would be a proper justification, and it would be a perfect argument for an ideal world. However...

The people who create 'intellectual property' are often not the owners of it. The music industry is a perfect example. Becoming a professional musician without becoming a slave to a major record label or one of its subsidiaries is almost impossible (due to their huge influence; it's no coincidence that 90% of the Western world's people only ever hear 0.01% of its music). And if you decide to go with a record label because you really want to reach an audience beyond a few people on the internet, all of the 'intellectual property' for the music you create goes to the record label, and you need their permission to even play your own music. The record labels use this 'intellectual property' monopoly to make lots of cash, paying the actual musicians only a fraction of it.

Also, copyright is a right that needs to actively be enforced. If I make music and you sell it for profit without my permission, I have to drag you to court in order to put a stop to that. For companies, this is not a problem - try pulling anything like that with Disney and they'll make sure you regret it. For individual creators...yeah, you're pretty much screwed if someone "steals" your 'intellectual property'. Lawsuits are expensive and individual creators generally don't have the money, time or motivation to get dragged into a possibly lengthy legal battle. This basically means that companies can pretty much "steal" 'intellectual property' from people who can't sue (as has recently been frequently the case with social game developers cloning flash games) and face little to no repercussions for it.

It gets worse. Originally, US copyright law was limited to 5-7 years after publication. Currently, US law says that the duration of copyright is the entire lifetime of the creator plus 70 years. That means for 70 years after the creator has died and no longer has any use of his 'intellectual property', usage of his works can still be restricted by parties not involved in the creation of the work. And this copyright duration keeps being extended further and further; considering Disney's extensive lobbying efforts, it's not unthinkable this will continue to be retroactively extended (as it has been before) to prevent modern key 'IPs' like Mickey Mouse from falling into the public domain.

In an ideal world, copyright law would allow creators to profit from their works. In practice, it does nothing to help individual creators, allows companies who may not even have been involved in the creation to have a monopoly on other people's works, and at times even prevents creators from doing anything with their own works (for example, when Piranha Bytes, creators of the Gothic video game series, had a falling out with publisher JoWood, Piranha Bytes was forced to abandon the series (they no longer had the rights), while JoWood was able to get some other studio to make an unrelated games and slap the label 'Gothic 4' on it).

The idea may be nice, but the reality is a nightmare that only works against creators.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:36 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:By what logic are XKCD readers more likely than not to be offended by making fun of people who were naive enough to believe that THIS Internet service wasn't out to make money when all the others are?

Not very bright, are you?

There is a vast, vast gulf between "out to make money" and "all your pictures are belong to us". Nobody has an issue with the former. Everyone has an issue with the latter.


But ... the comic is making fun of the naivety that would lead someone to believe that Instagram is any different from any other "free" Web service. I mean, unless the "demographic" you are ranting about is "people too stupid to understand the meaning of the comic." But then, I don't think that's the demographic that made XKCD popular.

You didn't answer any of the questions in my previous post. What is the demographic you think made XKCD popular, and why are they more likely to be dumbasses than anyone else is?

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Jeff_UK » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:58 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:But ... the comic is making fun of the naivety that would lead someone to believe that Instagram is any different from any other "free" Web service. I mean, unless the "demographic" you are ranting about is "people too stupid to understand the meaning of the comic." But then, I don't think that's the demographic that made XKCD popular.


I declare blowfishhootie winner of the internets!

Great comic, proving, as always, that the 'Demographic that makes XKCD popular' is the dude with the pen ;)

Merry Christmas XKCD!
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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Belgand » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:46 pm UTC

Just because they don't charge for the service doesn't mean that they aren't a business and that there shouldn't be an expectation of properly managing your assets. Many banks have free checking accounts and nobody would claim that they aren't businesses because of it. Nor would it be considered reasonable or somehow "you get what you pay for" if the bank suddenly decided to just keep my money. Their business model simply depends more on having people store their assets there rather than charging them for that service.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby blowfishhootie » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:37 am UTC

Belgand wrote:Just because they don't charge for the service doesn't mean that they aren't a business and that there shouldn't be an expectation of properly managing your assets. Many banks have free checking accounts and nobody would claim that they aren't businesses because of it. Nor would it be considered reasonable or somehow "you get what you pay for" if the bank suddenly decided to just keep my money. Their business model simply depends more on having people store their assets there rather than charging them for that service.


As far as I can tell, at this point in time, instagram has no significant source of revenue and operates at a major loss. That's what the story I linked to earlier in the thread when I raised this exact point suggest to me, anyway.
Last edited by blowfishhootie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:52 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby ShuRugal » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:38 am UTC

PFD Studio wrote:This is a TERRIBLE analogy. It would be closer if Chad had said "Hey, come put your stuff in my garage! It's free and everyone can see it." And later, Chad decided to sell everything.


No, the analogy would be better if Chad's note read "Hey dude, I'm going to start collecting money to show your stuff to other people."

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby Zernin » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:42 am UTC

Belgand wrote:Just because they don't charge for the service doesn't mean that they aren't a business and that there shouldn't be an expectation of properly managing your assets. Many banks have free checking accounts and nobody would claim that they aren't businesses because of it. Nor would it be considered reasonable or somehow "you get what you pay for" if the bank suddenly decided to just keep my money. Their business model simply depends more on having people store their assets there rather than charging them for that service.


Quite to the contrary, banks are a great analogy for what Instagram is (or was) basically trying to do. Banks don't make money by having people store their assets, they make money by using a portion of those stored assets for other business ventures and investments. Instagram wouldn't be taking anybody's photos, but they would be using them for other ventures and investments. You have no say in the how that happens or how risky those investments can be for a financial bank. Why would you expect any different with a picture bank? All you have is a somewhat reasonable level of government enforced regulation, which in the case of banks includes things like requiring a certain level of cash reserves to cover existing deposits, and which in the case of the picture bank boils down to things like taking the pictures of your cheerleader child and turning them into child porn.

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Re: 1150: Instagram

Postby drummerpatch » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:47 am UTC

Zylon wrote:Oh look, another comic where Randall speciously craps on the prevailing opinion of the demographic that made his strip popular in the first place.

I always wonder WTF he's thinking when he does this. Trying to stir up more page views perhaps?


Yes, Randall clearly writes comics purely and utterly for the enjoyment of others, without any reference to his own opinions or values.

Come on, really? Clearly, this comic is the result of Randall having an opinion. His opinion is that people who are trying to claim that Instagram is doing them wrong aren't the brightest (once again, his opinion) and he wanted to show it. He thought of a good analogy, and decided that he wanted to draw it. He wanted to prove a point, so that those who held a different opinion could see the other side of the argument (even if they weren't convinced, it's often good to look at things from all sides) and those who held the same opinion could agree with him. He decided to upload to xkcd because that's how Randall expresses himself. If he were doing xkcd just to reflect the opinion of everyone else, or just for money, I don't think xkcd would be nearly as funny, original, or interesting as it is. It's just a guy saying the things he wants to say, often trying to make it funny, and those of us who enjoy it come back because we want to hear what he has to say.


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