The Truth is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free

On the off chance there’s anyone out there who still believes open software’s “funding” problems reflect something special about software, have a read through Nathan Robinson’s recent editor’s note, “The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free”. Perhaps we can see in another what’s so hard to see in ourselves.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Good software charges for commercial licenses to allow creators to thrive, the bad stuff you can get for no charge?

I wrote a blog post and quoted a couple of points you made in your commentary.

Maybe the take away is that a social movement helps in both cases of software and journalism? Pay if you think there should be more like this?

Does licensing play a role for both journalism and software?

And: continued search for non-advertising business models.

Also, a note: I would hope to see you embed comments from this forum — or at least a link — on the original post.

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Whether you offer paid options for little-valued work or not, your result is likely to be nobody paying. You may not know how others value your work until you ask them to pay for it. But that’s nothing new.

As we say in law, facts aren’t copyrightable, only expressions. So I’m free to take the facts I learn from, say, a New York Times article and do with them what I please, free of copyright. Including write and sell my own news story about the same events. But I can’t take the specific wording of the New York Times article and do what I please with that, unless I get a license or stay within fair use.

It wasn’t always this way. There have been various IP and IP-like protection regimes for news as news in the past. The EU is heading back in that direction, with laws that effectively require Google and Facebook and the like to pay news outlets for use of their coverage on their platforms.

All of this very much parallels what we’ve seen with databases. The contents of databases aren’t usually creative expression. At best, they’re structured collections of facts in uniform, machine-readable, not-creative format. Nonetheless, the EU went ahead and created an IP-like protection for databases. The US did not.

All the same, the US and international “database industry” has thrived. In part because they reserve their work to paying customers via terms of service and subscriptions, rather than licenses. Sound familiar? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Oh, boy. I’ve never done that before. I’ll see what I can do.

@boris, where was your blog post? I looked but couldn’t find.

Hidden on my new microblog.

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Did somebody put this on HN? I see a bunch of comments there. Almost all negative. :stuck_out_tongue: