back to article Wall Street's internet darlings require an endless supply of idiots

The following stories have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is around the dinner table this evening with your friends? Last week Samsung announced the acquisition of a crowd-funded startup called SmartThings for $200m. USA Today wrote that the deal “has also once again validated the power of crowdsourcing platform …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The first page was an interesting analysis of crowd sourcing. The second page seemed to lose its objectivity.

    1. Daniel D


      That's because it's a personal comment, by definition not objective. Perfectly ok in my non objective eyes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Even though I do agree with the last sentence and wholeheartedly.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    Not sure whether this goes beyond a very valid criticism of the party trick of raising money for capitalistic ventures with no counterpart given, cunningly commingled with the cry of the starving artists and panhandling writers that THEY are the ones who REALLY DESERVE to be remunerated instead of THAT GUY. Welcome to the world of content, and it's not one with weakend “IP”.

    “I don’t share the furious ideological objection (sharing economy = neoliberalism) that writers like Tom Slee and Evgeny Morozov advance.”

    Do I need to repeat that “neoliberals” are actually the third-way socialists? Apparently so. I really detest this scaremongering about free exchange. Oh no, there is people doing deals and I'm not in on it. Won't somebody think of the regulation!!

    “Now you can begin to see why Jimmy Wales espouses his medieval views on copyright”

    Err... No! First, I didn't know that medieval times had any particular view on “copyright”. Must have been difficult, not having a printing press and all that. Did I hear someone say that property rights should only apply to the paper on which the words are printed? Nah. Must be neoliberals.

    “And you could rely on the Left for "fairness" and the fair compensation of labour.”

    You can rely on the left for selling you unicorn steaks and equality fries every single day (AAH, no Mistress Warren, I will behave now, stop the spanking!!).

    Not every labour is compensable or even worth compensating. If Jimmy Wales has found the magic trick to ride on the riches created by a swell of interest in Wikipedia ... hell, why not? Should Wikipedia editors be compensated for this joyous happenstance? Possibly, possibly not. Apparently the care-o-meter on this is pretty low on the Internets, there is no “Occupy Wikipedia” movement to be seen, people are not pulling away to other servers. Or at least I haven't heard of it. So is there a problem?

    Of course, quality of quite a few articles is low, Wikipedia warrens are often clueless. You get what you pay for. You may want to choose to pay for “quality”, real or perceived.

    I’ve used AirBnB for ages, but when it comes to taxis, however, I stick to my favoured private firms and licensed Black Cabs – confident they’ll adapt to the technology.

    Yep, choice. See how that works!

    I suppose good articles come from scholars who are working on their course materials ... these also hold interesting blogs, post their course etc. No problems are being had. Where does the vague impression that someone is being fleeced coming from? The economy is not a zero-sum game, it never has been.

    “weakening property rights means everyone profits from the work except the person who creates it”

    Begging the question here. We have had NOTHING but extensions of the so-called “property rights”. It's getting frankly ludicrous, and no-one except Big Content profited.

    “Note that when The Guardian newspaper writes about Kim Dotcom it glosses over the manner in which he makes his money, and fails to mention his ownership of a signed copy of Mein Kampf.”

    So Dotcom has a non-downloaded copy. Which is nice. Where is the problem? More to the point, why bring “Nazis” in?

    “Far from being one of the most exciting decades in modern times, this has really been one of the shittiest.”

    But not because of Internet “sharing”. Because of wars, rampant money printing and endless fleecing schemes from inflation, “that one last tax increase, promised” and “economic bubbles” that hoover up the money you would hope the government were keeping safe instead of blowing it on bailouts and F-35s. Well, it's gonna get worse and intellectual property rights of online content will be the least of the problems. Oh, we were talking “IP”?

    “Getting an "internet economy" that benefits the people who do the work, take the risk, or provide the resources – and gives us a modicum of self-respect - should be a start.“

    More demand for unicorn steaks? It's all about contracts and positioning. An “Internet Economy” does not exist, and one that provides results as if they were coming from the left's Sheet Of Fairness cannot be gotten. If you want well-remunterated work, look for it. If you want to provide charity, do so. If you have problems with self-respect, work on it. If you want a guaranteed income stream, sadly, we cannot have that kind of nice thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ho-hum - Brillian!

      "Not every labour is compensable or even worth compensating."

      It's the best argument in favor of slavery I've ever heard. I'd love to have you counted among my properties, doing as many as possible of these labors which I happen to have around.

      Have a downvote from me!

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Ho-hum - Brillian!

        > It's the best argument in favor of slavery I've ever heard

        Say what? I think you may have the wrong end of the stick.

        Do I get paid for washing the dishes at home? No. I could employ people to do it for me, but I do it myself and no-one pays me.

        Someone spends time and effort developing yet another torch app for mobile phones. Will they be compensated for their time and effort? Probably not. If we insist that they are, how would that work? How would we stop people expending effort on things nobody wants? Normally, by not compensating them.

        Look at the tortuous lengths that are gone to make sure something that is not inherently scarce, such as a digitised song or film, is kept scarce. There is plenty of media (and indeed physical product) which only sells because it is shoved into people's faces. I'm thinking x-factor here. The "productivity" is not raw materials (singers & songs) it is the marketing plan to monetise them. If fact, it isn't much of a plan as far as I can see. Flood advertising to exclude competitors and a glitzy appeal to vanity and "anyone can be a millionaire" mentality.

        Having said that, I do find kickstarter a bit use & abuse. I'd be happy to support for a share in the company, but I'm not doing it to get early access to the beta software and blue peter badge.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Ho-hum - Brillian!

          >>>>It's the best argument in favor of slavery I've ever heard

          >>Say what? I think you may have the wrong end of the stick.

          No, you don't quite get what they're saying. Labour done without compensation is slavery or exploitation. Only exception to that would be failed labour (nothing to do with Milliband).

          Your example of you not getting paid for washing the dishes at home falls down in that you are receiving the fruits of that labour. Were you to be doing it for someone else then it would be a parallel to the situations we're talking about in this article.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Do I get paid for washing the dishes at home?

          Yes you do. You get the payoff of clean dishes to eat in. If you don't wash them, you get the payoff of not doing the work (of course, you still have dirty dishes).

          Your example would have been better if you talked about washing your neighbour's dishes.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Ho-hum

      >>"Err... No! First, I didn't know that medieval times had any particular view on “copyright”. Must have been difficult, not having a printing press and all that"

      That's the point - the views are "medieval" because they're for a time before mass reproduction was possible. In medieval times there they didn't have copyright because the acts of creation and reproduction were both labour intensive whereas afterwards, only the act of creation was. The Wikimedia Foundation has been espousing a viewpoint that aligns with medieval views on this.

      The only points on which I diverge from the author are concerning Amanda Palmer. I don't believe there was any intent to defraud or cut costs. I'm very sure that she genuinely didn't think of it in terms of money and just saw it as a chance for lesser known musicians to participate with a more famous one on tour and drive community interest. She's a fascinating person and having seen a number of interviews, I'm certain there was no ill-intent there.

      The other point I diverge, if only slightly, is that I think more caveats are needed. Kickstarters can be great. There are high-profile cases such as in this article where people give money only to see others make a fortune, but there are many good kickstarters and that needs highlighting else the article seems wholly against it when really it's the exploitation which is a problem.

  3. thx1138v2

    A perfect example of Marxism in action.

    "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." has one glaring problem: who decides?

    1. Tom 35

      Marxism my ass

      It's pure capitalism, and it's not new.

      Most stuff is created by many but owned by few. And the few work hard to make the rules to their liking.

      How much do the session musicians behind a boy band make when a song reaches #1.

      What do the staff of a startup get when it's sold for billions? Often a pink slip.

      Life +70 copyright? Yes, that's for the poor starving artiest.

      The US Patent system? All for the inventor right?

      1. phil dude

        Re: Marxism my ass

        At least for the backing singer analogy, the interchangeability of singers, is the "spirit" that capitalism aims to place a value on. I mean, there is a spectrum from Bez to Sting (say...) as backing singers.

        Everything else, is just those in power exploiting those without...


      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Marxism my ass

        >>"It's pure capitalism, and it's not new"

        Agenda, much? Taking without compensation is not part of capitalism. Selfishness, yes. Capitalism no. Capitalism is about trade and the market. Because you dislike both X and Y, does not mean X is Y. Learn your definitions rather than just shoe-horn any bad thing into an attack on capitalism.

  4. Naughtyhorse

    in which the devoted contributors are ‘taxed’ without being represented.

    As the author has clearly not travelled a great deal in this fine world of ours, might I suggest a trip the the United States of Murica.

    There you will find a system that is fully 110% committed to the principle that in which the devoted contributors are ‘taxed’ without being represented. And it has been that way for quite some time.

  5. John Merryweather Cooper

    And we all sing . . . nada . . .

    The Right sees every attempt to regulate anything (including the Internet/e-commerce) as an affront to "free market" capitalism. But they're so intellectually bankrupt that they don't notice that the "free" in the market hasn't been there in ages.

    The unwashed independent "middle" is so star-struck by all the "wealth" that the Internet/e-commerce is supposed to be providing them that they haven't notice that their ranks are shrinking fast.

    And the Left . . . the Left is so captured by "grass-roots" mobilization and the sex-appeal of litigating issues in the courts that they haven't noticed that they've bcome a strident whisper in the night.

    I am not amused.

  6. Raumkraut

    All of this has happened before.

    As far as I can see, there is nothing specific to the Internet about this.

    Kickstarter is not an investment platform. It's a speculative pre-order platform. Pre-ordering products has existed for a long time before Kickstarter was a thing.

    Or how about freelance and contract workers not getting a cut of the sale value when the business they work for is bought? This is new to the "sharing economy" is it?

    > In short, you’ve been a mug.

    AFAICT the ultimate argument seems to be that anyone who isn't a shareholder, or an employee of a cooperative (ie. where all employees have part ownership in the company), is a mug.

    I'm inclined to agree, tbh. We need more cooperative enterprises.

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      We need more cooperative enterprises.

      Ah, the Tony Benn argument. Laudable, but it hasn't happened yet.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: We need more cooperative enterprises.

        Any business in which the workers are rewarded with part-ownership of the business is a cooperative enterprise to greater or lesser degree. Such businesses exist and all else being equal they tend to do pretty well.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: It's a speculative pre-order platform.

      Except when it isn't. The concert certainly wasn't. Found out a convention I attended a year or two back got funding from a kickstarter. It wasn't a pre-order either. Convention may have worked out a bit better than the concert since it was done on an NPO basis.

      Kickstarter is what it is: a fund raising mechanism. One in which the ancient maxim caveat emptor prevails. Which is sort of the author's point. To many clueless idiots out there waiting to be fleeced. Of course, it only bothers you if you are worried about the clueless idiots. Maybe Darwin should prevail for a spell.

  7. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Wall Street is as it is, was and ever shall be profit without end amen?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "Dinner Party Punchup The following stories have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is around the dinner table this evening with your friends?"

    Godwin!! No??

  9. phil dude


    and here's the rub. Over the years the shareholder has become less and less significant - ultimately, the executives can choose not to issue a dividend, and there are shares that "can't vote". In fact non-binding votes is a tricky issue, as whose capital is it anyway....

    So the only way you (via your pension fund) can make money is to "buy low, sell high", since there is no dividend to provide an income.

    Well does someone have to lose when you buy low?

    Or is that the purpose of pumping money into the economy, to devalue the losses of those selling...?

    Just a thought...


  10. Sureo


    The internet is no different than any other human endeavor. If it can be exploited, the exploiters will be there. And they are, in droves. But I believe that those who contribute without payment get some satisfaction or sense of achievement for their efforts.

    BTW this includes Reg commentards, who add a lot of value to this site.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exploiters

      The example of if it can be exploited is alluded to here...

      "You used to be able to rely on the Right for advocating property-based markets, but then they went all starry eyed and barefoot hippy on us. And you could rely on the Left for "fairness" and the fair compensation of labour. Then they decided that not paying people is actually pretty alright."

      Everyone just realised that the quickest way to make money is by keeping it all for yourself and not rewarding others for their contributions (where appropriate). By using phrases such as "new paradigm" you can then condition the public to expect little more and/or accept that it is the way things are done and for the greater good. In some aspects you can draw parallels with the war on terror and the erosion of personal rights and freedoms - "it is for the greater good and/or the way things are done these days. Just look are country X who are already doing this and haven't had any occurrences of event Y since starting it". A giant parasite sponsored crock of shit in my opinion.

  11. Eliot B
    Thumb Down

    'And another thing...'

    This mostly just sounds rather bitter - and also, gets down to ad hominem attacks. You conflate Wikipedia, Uber, Kickstarter and a recording artist trying to blag musicians to work for free (and who incidentally raised money on Kickstarter). I really feel like no-one should need to explain these are different things, but that does not seem to be the case.

    A general point - you say the customers and providers of labour/services will not, in most cases, benefit from the creation of value they are contributing to. Yes. So? This is not new - you even cite the Apple/Beats deal as an example where the musicians who gave the company much of its worth will get diddly squat. That's capitalism for you - and yes, it's shitty. So far all these new platforms haven't done much to change it - but I'd wager they offer a better shot than the status quo.

    Kickstarter - it IS an investment platform, in the sense that backers/investors are invited to pay money in exchange for a specified, non-financial return. No-one ever promised backers they'd get a financial reward in the event of major success - just as, say, Apple doesn't give back money to buyers of new, expensive products once they become much cheaper and better later on. Oculus Rift backers will get an Oculus Rift headset (or whatever else they asked for) - and maybe it will even be better than it would otherwise have been, thanks to Facebook's investment. Ditto for SmartThings.

    Here's the thing with KS, though - for creative types, such as musicians or artists, it enables them to benefit directly from their fan-bases, with KS/Amazon's 10% cut replacing the much, much larger cut a label or publisher would take. It doesn't replace labels or publishers - but it's an alternative option, where fans and creators can both get a better deal. Yes, there are problems - but it's a step forward. How is that not good?

    Uber, Airbnb - ok, here you have a point. Drivers or hosts are being exploited, and ending up with poor returns. BUT - thanks to the wonders of the market, providers of these services can just walk away if they feel they are not getting sufficient remuneration. That's the joy of supply and demand - and for the less-joyous elements of supply and demand, there's a healthy and vigorous debate going on about what rules and regulations are needed for these industries. It's shaking things up.

    Wikipedia - yes, it's a mess. And yes, El Reg has a stiffie for sticking it to the Foundation. But again, if people don't like it, then they won't spend time on it - and this is happening. Great - free market at work again. The current feedback loop probably has a way to go before WMF is forced into making systemic changes - but it seems to be in the pipeline.

    Amanda Palmer - yes, she did a shitty thing, was called out on it, and did a u-turn. Her raising the money on Kickstarter isn't really super-relevant here - because the scam she tried to pull was the much older "for exposure" variant, something I think almost all writers, musicians, artists and photographers will have had waved in front of them at some point. But it isn't symptomatic of a great fault in the "sharing economy" - if anything, it's a demonstration that this bullshit is becoming less acceptable than ever.

    As to the comments about Kim Dotcom and The Pirate Bay founder's supposed Nazi sympathies - so what? So they are not very nice people in their personal lives - how does this make them a) unique among business leaders, or b) symbols of the failure of the sharing economy? If we really want to judge companies based on the personal belief systems of their leaders, then we're going to need a whole different system here. (Also, in that case, please provide detailed breakdowns of the political, religious and ethical beliefs of every El Reg staff member, along with detailed inventories of their personal possessions, so we can make sure you're all up to snuff.)

    What you COULD have emphasised is that both Megaupload and TBP make or made their money not through sharing, but stealing - and that's a shitty thing to do. Yes, anyone who holds them up as shining examples of the sharing economy deserves to be called out.

    There are lots of problems with all this sharing stuff. There are lots of scammers out there, along with misguided fools, greedy corporates, and all the rest - it's a wild frontier. But instead of sounding like some bloke down the pub grumbling incoherently over a beer and crying "bah humbug" (sorry, but that's really what came to mind), why not focus on the specific issues?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kickstarter is just a way of seperating idiots from their money

    Its no different to gambling, except that at least with gambling you have a fixed odds of getting something back.

    There are too many stupid people in the world with too much disposable cash. IMO its a public service taking that cash off them and giving it to people who can do something useful with it. Even if that is just buying a ferrari and disappearing.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Kickstarter is just a way of seperating idiots from their money

      ...and still far too many people with good ideas and talent who can't pay their rent.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Jaymax

    "and fails to mention his [Kim Dotcom's] ownership of a signed copy of Mein Kampf."

    Because that is relevant how?

    You're an idiot, and Dotcom isn't a Nazi.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Its pretty damned relevant to anyone who may have an issue with State sanctioned mass murder. I have a problem with a German citizen owning a copy of a book signed by one of the most truly evil people to ever have existed that happened to be the Chancellor of Germany for 12 years and lead the institutionalized and Government sanctioned death of so many people that no one is quite sure how many.

      I'd say that the very fact that he possesses it professes an admiration for a Genocidal maniac. There's no other reason to own a copy of that book signed by Hitler himself.

      The same could be said for a Russian admiring Stalin as many do, an American admiring Andrew Jackson, or for a Chinese citizen to profess his or her admiration for Mao.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Your second paragraph is jumping to wild conclusions, but more importantly borderline slander that could put El Reg in hot water.

      2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        "There's no other reason to own a copy of that book signed by Hitler himself."

        (Pssst, don't let FrankAlphaXII know about the history shelves in the library. Or the biographies. Or the autobiographies. Or the library. He's going to go apeshit.)


      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "There's no other reason to own a copy of that book signed by Hitler himself."

        My guess is that it will go up in value over time whilst the dollar diminishes in value over time courtesy of inflation. It may not be an incredibly socially or morally acceptable one but it seems to fit the parameters of an investment. Besides, I've often wanted to read a copy of it myself - not because I'm a sympathiser but because I'm interested in understanding just how much of a nutcase the man was through his own ramblings. Chances are I'd get a chapter in and lose interest but I am not readily afforded that choice.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You're an idiot, and Dotcom isn't a Nazi."

      "You're an idiot"

      Someone seems to be. Normal Reg practice does not generally permit comments on Orlowski articles, for reasons which will be obvious before long.

      "Dotcom isn't a Nazi."

      I don't know whether he is or isn't, but ownership of Mein Kampf (signed or otherwise) doesn't seem like conclusive evidence either way.

  15. Daniel D

    Improved stance

    Thank you. Now I have better ideas for my argument with those of sharing persuasion. I would add here the group of open sourcers even though they seem not mentioned explicitly. The weekend edition works for me although I tend to use the RSS feed more. Cheers.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Godwins before the comments have even started. Could this be a record?

  17. Bruce Ordway

    >> Getting an "internet economy" that benefits the people who do the work, take the risk,

    >> or provide the resources

    Who's the dreamer now?

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, Down Deep in the Dotcom Lair ........

    Yet the professionals whose job it is to describe the world, and make public policy fit for it, seem to be in the greatest denial.

    Considering the titanic festering pig’s ear that they make of that colossal enigmatic task, is it mighty impossible to not view them and their ignorant clients as the new terrified and terrorising nazi idiots on the block/in the hood/top of the class and fit for incarceration in the asylum …… and there can be sugaring of the pill nor denying of that perfectly relevant and pertinent impertinent fact whenever the reality for sharing is ridiculously compromised and perverted to present a false view ……. Ridiculous. A world run by terrified and terrorising idiots

    Getting an "internet economy" that benefits the people who do the work, take the risk, or provide the resources – and gives us a modicum of self-respect - should be a start. Our media, MPs and policy wonks are still off dreaming of Unicorns, though. Maybe we need a new lot entirely.

    Maybe, we need a new lot entirely, Andrew? You’re ‘avin’ a larf, mate, but it aint funny, is it, for of course we need a new lot entirely.

    The Register could always grow a pair and start supplying new lots with feeds and seeds of truths uncovered and discovered to render the terrified and terrorising a figment of the imagination in the history of the past. With IT and Media and CHAOS [Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems] and Creative Cyber Command and AI and Computers Controlling Communications and Virtual Machineries/Ab Fab Fabless Foundries, is it not difficult. One just needs to know how easy IT is to do in Global Command Head Quarters, and that is just simply a matter of following quite obviously what would be are seriously sophisticated sets of relatively basic instructions so that the ridiculous can be transformed by the sublime.

    Wanna give IT a Go, El Reg/Andrew? And are El Reg commentards up for some revolutionary virtual action and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Deliveries with SMARTR IntelAIgent Salvos, too.

    Or will what may be well worthy of way above top secret classification and a wild wacky westernised delight take invisible and wayward engaging flight to be an exotic and erotic and esoteric eastern confection and sweet sticky flower that attracts all comers to the benefits accrued for mass private public provision of intelligence and information laced with protective hindsight for immaculate foresight which reinforces intentions with mutually advantageous support facilities/utilities/abilities?

    Sitting on fences is for scaredy alley cats and no longer a viable option available to thinking mans’ kind if they be into thinking at all and wanting things to change for bad to good and worse to better, and you don’t need to ask for dumb permission from any politically incorrect and inept subset in these matter. One just does IT.

    Carpe Diem, Amigos/Senoras, loose and lose those contrived market chains which encircle and enslave you, and watch and listen to the nightmare disappear and destroy itself with perfectly presented and promoted dreams. Capiche?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile, Down Deep in the Dotcom Lair ........

      Uhm, most people can barely turn on their phones and the PC is still a magic box of Satan.


      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile, Down Deep in the Dotcom Lair ........

        Uhm, most people can barely turn on their phones and the PC is still a magic box of Satan.

        Seriously..... ecofeco

        When/If ever that be the case, are such folk just as putty for moulding/phishing and phorming and pawns for playing and sacrificing for the greater good cause in the hands, hearts and minds of this down deep in the dot com lairs, ecofeco.

        And the are such folks all helpless and powerless to do anything effective and instrumental against that which the future conspires and aspires to present and produce from deep down.

        Thanks for the heads up, and jog onto another path.

        And El Reg[ers]/Andrew, that earlier question of/for you was for real and not just idle inane chatter .....

        Wanna give IT a Go, El Reg/Andrew? And are El Reg commentards up for some revolutionary virtual action and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Deliveries with SMARTR IntelAIgent Salvos, too.
        ..... for you gotta admit that the status quo has lost it senses and the plot and the kindest thing is to put it out of its misery with IT and Media Command and Control of Creative CyberSpace, Computers and Communications.

  19. dave 93

    You don't get it

    When some people create a platform for others to make money; that is the deal.

    All the big names you mention are explicit about the arrangement, so what is the argument?

    "Hey! You have been letting me use your platform to make money, and now you're making money too!"

    I believe it is a bit of a stretch to call all customers investors in the business, even if they are the very first customers. I cannot think of any business that gives away equity in the business to customers, can you?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well it isn't any different out of the internet sharing economy. How many people have their names on several patents and receive nothing for it. Ok, they got a paycheck at one point but it's entirely possible that their old company is going through their old notebooks and filing patents on the contents.

    Just last year I got some patent paperwork to sign from a company I left back in 2005 to verify I was one of the original inventors, I know I won't get squat but I sign it because I know it adds to my list of patents which may make me more employable. I know my former company is far more likely to make real money from those patents than I ever will or did but the option is to not sign and they patent it with someone else's name. The Kickstarter folks only kicked in a few hundred probably less and got their really expensive tee shirt or beta prototype and that's fine, they went in with eyes open and knew what to expect. You might argue the Wiki-contribs are more naive in that the rules can change at any time but they should know that too yet they walk into the door knowing what's currently on the other side.

    That's the nice thing about living in a more or less civilized society. You can play the game by the current rules or make your own game with your own rules. If, like Uber, that screws the establishment then they will have to adapt to the new rules or try to get you to play by their rules.

  21. cordwainer 1

    Best quote, which I want to send to thousands of people...

    "...weakening property rights means everyone profits from the work except the person who creates it."

    Amen. A point apparently lost on those who try to claim copyright and patents are infringements on free speech. A point that should be driven like a spike into their tiny brains until they get it.

    Sure, intellectual property law desperately needs overhauling. The ridiculous over-extension of copyright, the bullshit patent extensions for alleged but non-existent "significant" changes, and many more abuses exist and need to be righted. A lot of families and corporations got greedy, and lobbied and bribed a corrupt Congress to help them profit forever from someone else's work. The law needs fixing.

    But I'm tired of hearing idiots try to claim piracy is not theft. If they're going to steal, they should at least have the balls to admit that's what they're doing, not resort to chicken-shit whining about "ideals" or "rights". You don't fight lies with lies.

  22. Rick Brasche

    this is how the Modern Enterpreneur in Silicon Valley makes his/her business case

    Take something that's already been done, but do it now in such a way as to foist off as much of your operating expenses onto other suckers..errr..investors, and the general public/your neighbors, etc.

    then brag about the big profits you make because you don't pay for infrastructure, or insurance, or backend hardware, or parking spaces/floor space, or "volunteers". Crow about how your "new" idea is "superior" to established products that actually pay for their operating costs.

    Then, sell your company/idea for $billions before public backlash, regulation enforcement, and legal issues catch up and shut your "new thing" down. Don't forget to complain about "Conspiracy!" before that, too.

    Sure, Big Corporate does Evil Things like that too. How this "justifies" a thousand penny-ante "enterpreneurs" crapping all over where they live, is beyond me however.

    The regulations got put in place by will of the same people who pride themselves on dodging them, around here.

    Now I'm off to make Big Money with my sewage/toxic waste disposal service, where you call into an app and an "independent" truck picks up the stuff and makes it disappear. We don't actually do it, but we have "rules" for our drivers to it's not our fault if these "independent contractors" don't follow the rules. Besides, we're cheaper than that Big Disposal Outfit that pays all those oppressive EPA fees.....

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