Tragedy of the Commons

The following is a rough transcript of my Thiel Finalist 1-Minute Lightning Talk. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but considering I got the Fellowship, I think it went okay.

Copyright is broken.

Copyright lasts a lifetime, plus 70 years, by default. Something’s up. Copyright was meant to be a compromise between creators & consumers. Nowadays, it helps neither.

But I found an alternative.
My name is Nicklaus Liow*, and I will make copyright obsolete.

Here’s how I did it. I got a few artists & musicians together, and we made a bundle of our previously copyrighted work. We put it up for sale, but with a twist - once the creators have earned enough money, everything is automatically released to the public domain.

This resonated profoundly with people. The artists earned $1000 from 150 buyers in 4 days. We even have Creative Commons staff as our official advisors. With their help, I’ve launched a new platform, and we can push our vision much further.**

The vision for a post-copyright economy.

Copyright is not sustainable, enforceable, or even desirable.
But here’s what copyright is.

It’s an excuse for monopolies to sue their competition.
It’s filing a DMCA to shut up and take down your critics.
It’s SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA... et CETERA.

Copyright was meant to be a compromise.

That compromise has been compromised.


* I now go by “Nicky Case”. I've always wanted to make a name for myself. Hah.

** Later on in the Fellowship, I organized the followup to this project, The Open Game Art Bundle. It was bigger, better, and raised $12K from 700+ people to release all that art & music to the public domain.