[free-sklyarov] reasons for restriction of competition

Bob Smart bobds at blorch.org
Mon Aug 20 20:14:13 PDT 2001

On Monday 20 August 2001 14:58, you wrote:

> I've gotten no feedback on this.  Aside from the implausibility that our
> government would adopt separate standards for separate, predefined spheres
> of interaction, what do people think?

Since you ask: I think that in the bardic tradition, people paid for two 
things: novelty, and performance.  If I came to your town with news (or songs 
and jokes) that you hadn't already heard, you'd feed me dinner in exchange 
for the novelty.  If I came to your town singing songs you'd known all your 
life, but I could sing them better than you could, you'd feed me again for 
the performance.

However, if I told you a story you'd never heard, and then the next day you 
told it to one of your buddies, nobody in the Good Old Days would have even 
imagined for a minute that you owed me anything like a royalty or license fee 
for each repetition.

We even still do it today--how many times has Jay Leno told a joke on the 
Tonight Show, and the next morning everybody's telling it to each other 
around the water cooler at the office?  Is anybody compensating Leno?  Or is 
his only "compensation" indirect, in the form of a reputation--that if we 
listen to his show ("performance") again tomorrow, he might tell another good 
joke we also haven't heard before ("novelty")?  THAT's why he gets to live in 
the big fancy house.

> Well, I point you to Shakespeare, Euclid, Van Gogh, and myriad authors and
> inventors of the past who did their work for reasons other than artificial
> monopoly.

Indeed.  It's even true for pre-Classical authors, like the long-forgotten 
souls who bequeathed us the Epic of Gilgamesh (which, coincidentally, begins 
with the line, "It is an old story, but one that may still be told").

It sure is, and it sure may.  Let's see who's still reciting Baywatch 
scripts a couple of thousand years from today.


What I wrote above is hereby dedicated to the public domain and may be freely 
used, in whole or in part, with or without attribution.

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