[Melbourne-pm] Meeting Reminder (TONIGHT): Wednesday the 13th of February, 2013

Michael G. Schwern schwern at pobox.com
Mon Feb 18 18:53:59 PST 2013

On 2/19/13 1:22 PM, Sam Watkins wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 11:55:25AM +1100, Michael G. Schwern wrote:
>> I'll post up about it at a later date, probably going to be a month
>> before I can come back to this.  The discussion at the meeting was
>> excellent and the idea is rapidly evolving towards something implementable.
> Can you inform us non-attendees what, vaguely, your amazing idea
> is about in like one line, now?

Aldi, Myf, $very_beared_gentleman (whose name I forget) and I came up
with a working title "PayTron".  It combines the idea of payment with
the idea of patronage with the idea of awful puns.

It provides an API to answer the question "tell me about this file (or
other digital thing)" which includes "how do I pay for this digital
thing".  Once the content creator has registered their thing with the
system anyone can get at the metadata.  Since its an API, anything can
query PayTron and build tools to do so.  Since its discoverable, it
requires no interaction between the content creator and the thing doing
the displaying.

For example, https://www.comic-rocket.com/ is my favorite comic
aggregation site.  For each comic I read it could query PayTron for
metadata about each comic URL (in this way it can absorb Flattr) and
display it if available.  If it includes payment information it can
display a "pay for it" button.  As the "distributor" or more correctly
"entity who got the payment button in front of your face", Comic Rocket
gets a small cut providing a new revenue source for web sites.  PayTron
gets a small cut for operating costs.  The notary (which may be a
traditional publisher/label) which verifies who has the right to sell
what gets a cut negotiated with the content creator.  The content
creator gets the rest.

If you charge $1 for something and get 80 cents on the dollar it takes
100k sales a year to make a very nice living.  This is still a lot of
sales, but its more achievable than the millions of sales necessary to
make a living in a traditional system where the content creator gets
pennies on the dollar.  My friend who has music on Spotify gave me some
numbers... they got $1.52 for 200 downloads of a song or less than a
penny per download.  Yuck.

There are a great many details and sub-problems and legal issues which I
will not get into right now but can later.  The notary system.  The
payment system.  The identification system.  Legal issues.  Social
engineering users to pay.  Social engineering artists to register.  We
have first order solutions to them.

The meeting turned into a huge discussion about how one might make it
distributed.  That would be neat and protect it against the inevitable
subpoena from the MPAA/RIAA/USgovt ("hey look, its a database of
piracy!").  I'm interested in the shortest technical, social, economic
and legal path to getting it off the ground, which means side-stepping
interesting but difficult problems like how we make it distributed.

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