Tagging copyrighted text

Timothy C. May tcmay at netcom.com
Fri Feb 12 09:40:38 PST 1993

Another thought on "ld231782"'s idea about high-speed networks and copyrights:

>But think about this: with the
>speed and ubiquity of networks, it now becomes possible for every
>author or creative artist to keep the only copies of his work. Then, he
>could post "links" to it anywhere in the world. When people pass around
>the work, they wouldn't pass around the work itself, they'd pass the
>"link".  Whenever someone wants to view the work, the link points to
>the unchanging address for instantaneous downloading.  A very small
>transaction charge is billed to the receiver by the sender.

With fast enough networks, we may see a big decline in sales of programs to
end-users, as the software is made available as "on-line services."
(Obviously this has always been going on, with service bureaus, circuit
design services, etc.)

To make this very concrete, I just installed a new release of the American
Heritage Dictionary, a complete edition with definitions, thesaurus,
anagrams, roots in Latin, Greek, German, Indo-European, etc. Look up a word
and one gets an entire screenful of stuff, including detailed etymologies,
usages, etc.

Now what happens when a "dictionary server" offers to look up a word for,
say, 10 cents? With fast enough networks, of the sort ld231782 proposes,
this could replace the current system in which folks buy their own copies.
(One would still need very high bandwidth programs like editors, word
processors, drawing programs, etc., but some classes of software would be
amenable to this kind of remote access use, especially with very fast

There may be attempts to limit this, as with the laws which ban rental of
CDs (but not videos, presumably because few people have two VCRS, while
those renting CDs can presumably easily diub them onto cassettes).

This could also reduce the costs of entry to the market, as new programs
could be offered for sale or access in a low-cost way, such as through
information markets like AMIX.

I'm not taking a moral stand on either side, just noting one more
consequence of extremely high-speed networks.

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