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

Michael G. Schwern schwern at pobox.com
Mon Feb 18 19:50:26 PST 2013

On 2/19/13 2:11 PM, Sam Watkins wrote:
> Michael G. Schwern wrote:
>> PayTron
> Good name.


> Would that include supporting free software authors?  I think it useful
> to provide a "pay once, support many" feature, so e.g. I could donate
> $100 to be spread somehow among the many project I'd like to support.

That's the Flattr model.  I'm not particularly interested in that model
but PayTron can be used to implement it.

> My take on how to do that, is just choose a random project from my list
> and give the whole $100 to that project, that prevents people getting
> annoyingly small donations, and tends to be fair on average when there
> is a large number of supporters.

Over a large enough set of people and projects, won't that result in
projects getting exactly the same amounts they do now?  Over small sets
it makes the system a crap shoot.  I'd rather have $20 for certain than
$100 maybe.  Part of making a middle class is certainty of income.

>> 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.
> If such a subpoena is undesirable / potentially disasterous for the service,
> then it would be important to deal with that (perhaps by being distributed
> right from the beginning).

We talked about this a lot after the meeting.  PayTron must be perceived
as (and actually be) a legitimate way to pay for things which does not
expose the user to legal problems.

I don't think it can be distributed without allowing the MPAA/RIAA from
running nodes and collecting information.  Its basically the Distributed
Hash Table bit torrent problem.  OTOH a few systems which defend against
this problem, such as Bitcoin, were brought up for possible examination.
 If somebody can solve this problem, great!

My strategy is to assume we're going to be penetrated, so simply not
store incriminating data.  Detailed logs would be thrown out after a
very short period (days) and long term info only stored as aggregate

Part of the strategy is to make sure that anything we DO store is
evidence of a legal purchase.  There was discussion even about how these
receipts can be made only readable by the purchaser.

Even then, its possible some overzealous US Federal Prosecutor will have
a beef with the idea that you can make "stealing" something legal by
paying after you've stolen it.

> I would not use a service, if as a result I
> might get sued by the MPAA or whatever.  But using the would not necessarily
> imply that you pirated the content in the first place...

Seeing an IP address downloading an illegal copy of something doesn't
mean a specific person committed a crime, but that hasn't stopped the US

But this is all lawyer, security and crypto stuff best left to
professional.  Its also stuff that's only a concern *after* it gets off
the ground and successful.  People tend to get hung up on how it might
fail without really having the knowledge to know if it will.

I'd rather hear about what you might do with such a system.

> I don't think you'd be able to give money to publishers, only to the
> original artists who are willing to accept it.  I don't think publishers
> will accept small donations in lieu of normal payment, but most artists
> will say "thanks for the support".

I have an "embrace, extend, destroy" strategy which entices the
publishers in with money.  "Embrace" is to demonstrate there's money to
be made on what was previously being lost as piracy because it was too
difficult to pay or the price was wrong.

"Extend" is getting publishers to put their own artist's content into
the system with their existing suggested prices and existing artist's
contracts.  They get paid and then they pay their artists.  Whereas
before it was lost to piracy, now they have a new source of revenue.
There are legal and social issues, but the basic strategy is to start
with small publishers, gather success stories, and how much PayTron
sales impacted other sales.  Then go larger.  All the while enticing
with money money money.  More money, new revenue streams.  Money from
pirates!  It's like free money!

"Destroy" is when the artists realize they don't need their traditional
publishers any more and can now self-publish and keep a much larger
share of their sales.

> I think you should not take a cut.  Just allow people to support your
> service if they choose, as they would support any other creative content.
> Seeing as every user is thinking "thanks for this service", you'd be likely
> to get plenty of support - even too much - that way.

Steady income is important, both so the people behind the service can do
it full time and so they can pay for reliable infrastructure.

Also the intent is for the user to never even think about the service.
They register once, then they just click the "pay" button and interact
with the artist.  We're the sewer.  Nobody should have to think about
the sewer, it should just take care of itself.

Do it right and the artists will be making WAY more than they could
before both in terms of profit per dollar of sale and in terms of
volume.  Did you know Kickstarter takes 5% of a project's donations?
*TOTALLY WORTH IT* for the service they provide.

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