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From: Ted Nelson <>

Date: Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Subject: :tco: Richard Stallman-- more on content micropurchase

To: Richard Stallman <>

Cc: Ted Nelson <>

Dear Richard:

I am very happy that you are turning your attention

 to the issue of payment for on-line content.

 And thank you very much for crediting me--

>Ted Nelson proposed it in Dream Machines in the mid-70s, too.

 (-- except I believe that was my proposal from 1960,

 though I didn't get a chance to publish it then.)

There's one more aspect I'd like you to

 think about, and that's payment for quotation--

 especially, to enable people to quote in quantity

 with no negotiation and a fair system of reward.

I may have tried to tell you about this

 payment and permission model the night

 we walked on the beach at Hackers 1,

 in 1984, when you told me about

- a recently-ended romance (I was sympathetic)

- your scheme for your own version of Unix

 (I was sympathetic but incredulous)

- your proposed permission scheme,

 now called copyleft (which I think I had

 trouble understanding).

Anyway, the Xanadu payment model (at least

 the one I advocate-- note that there have been

 about a hundred people in with the Xanadu

 project, with many different views), was as follows--

A proposed micropayment scheme whereby--

1. Not just a whole article or object may be purchased,

 but parts of it, down to the character level.

 Which Bitcoin, for instance, can now enable.

2. Anyone may quote parts IN ANY QUANTITY

 by reference, provided that the downloader

 purchases the quotes by dereferencing from

 the original.

3. The purchaser now owns that content;

 if any other document is sent for that quotes

 part of that content, it is plugged in from the

 already-purchased cache (OR the server

 recognizes it as pre-purchased-- but that

 involves tracing mechanisms, which we don't like.)

4. Nothing can be "quoted out of context"--

 in the sense that the original context is

 "right there", only a click away, presumably

 under the same micropurchase scheme.

Naturally, there has to be a license or permission

 scheme. The matching permission scheme

 (called "transcopyright") is as follows:

"I, as rightsholder, allow any content of this work

 to be included by reference in any new context,


- that the content is obtained from my server of choice

 [which may or may not impose payment,

 no reason the content can't be offered for free]

- that the address of the content, including the

 surrounding addresses of its original context,

 remains available as part of the document."

This has several powerful advantages--

- it allows a system of commerce beneficial

 to creators (as you are advocating)

- it frees everyone to quote huge chunks

 without permission or reproach

- it assures the availability of the original

 context, for study and understanding

- it assures the 'moral right' of the creator--

 (not to the degree the French would like,

 to veto any new context, but at least to

 make available the real original context

 without red tape or difficulty).

- it allows someone to start reading something

 without having to pay for the whole thing--

 since many of start reading more documents

 than we finish.

Please consider the equity and generality

 of this approach.

With continuing admiration and best wishes,


---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Richard Stallman <>

Date: Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Subject: Re: [EE CS Colloq] Fixing media's business model * 4:15PM,

Wed May 01, 2013 in Skilling Auditorium

To: Frederic Filloux <>


    As far as anonymous micropayment system applied to a paid-per-article is

    concerned, the idea dates back to the late Nineties (Nicholas Negroponte

    advocated it)...

Ted Nelson proposed it in Dream Machines in the mid-70s, too.

The point is to implement it.

    -- In a complete news information system, some pieces of news "subsidies"

    others -- like a well-read sport article will "pay for" an expensive

    reporting produced by a foreign correspondent that will catch much less


I believe you, but I don't think that relates to this issue.

If a company publishes both sports recording and foreign reporting,

it can use income from one to support the other

regardless of the business model it uses.

It is equally true that, regardless of the business model used,

we cannot assume that company WILL make any effort to support

more important but less profitable kinds of articles. I expect

that most news publishers nowadays don't care.

    -- The second thing is a news organization needs to establish a recurring

    relationship with its readers ; hence the subscription models which worked

    quite well for the newspaper and the magazine industry

If the reader expects to find interesting articles on a site,

that alone creates a recurring relationship. I have a recurring

relationship with, for instance, although they

do not know which articles I am reading.

    But yes, we need to have strong rules for all the information collected.

That is ineffective. No organization in the US is in a position to

have "strong rules" about the use of personal information, because the

PAT RIOT would not allow it to carry out those rules.

More generally, the only way to prevent data from being abused is not

to collect it in a form that invites abuse. (See, for instance.)

Society has needs too -- for instance, freedom and privacy.

Especially privacy about what we read.

Our political/ethical needs trump media companies' "needs", especially

since they are not really needs (businesses will adapt to lots of

things). Subscriptions are not the solution.


Dr Richard Stallman

President, Free Software Foundation

51 Franklin St

Boston MA 02110


Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.

  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call


Theodor Holm Nelson PhD

Designer-Generalist, The Internet Archive

Distinguished Professor of Computer Science,

 Chapman University

People seem to be enjoying my YouTube series,

 "Computers for Cynics." Start with #0,

 "The Myth of Technology".


Theodor Holm Nelson PhD

Designer-Generalist, The Internet Archive

Distinguished Professor of Computer Science,

 Chapman University

People seem to be enjoying my YouTube series,

 "Computers for Cynics." Start with #0,

 "The Myth of Technology".




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