Why do we have to pay for public transport?
Sure, the primary reason is to pay for it's operation and there's the fact that public transport in Wellington at least is no longer public, it's all run by foreign-owned companies like Toll and Stagecoach. But the current drive for transport is towards efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and dealing with traffic problems, and there are billions of dollars earmarked for road improvements when in fact we should be making road travel more difficult, discouraging it, not making it easier and faster.
Why isn't the government (and our city councils) providing (or encouraging the provision of) free mass transit in low emission vehicles rather than spending on making the car problem worse? It's not like it's an impossible or a new idea. Adelaide, for instance, does it to some extent. They also explicitly advertise the cash savings and environmental benefits of using public transport. I've mentioned Adelaide before when I went there a couple of years ago. But we're still improving roads rather than solving the problem of too many cars.
On there subject of "free", and for those interested in DRM, there were two very important data points made recently on ars technica.
Firstly, Trent Reznor had a turnover of over $750,000 in two days even though the music was being given away free right alongside. That's just from the 2,500 copies of the $300 (sold-out) limited edition of Ghosts. There will still be people buying the $75 Deluxe edition (such as ferrouswheel for one) and other's paying $20 for a CD and booklet, and still other paying just $5 for a digital download of four albums worth of material.
Secondly, this article makes the point that appealing to historical physical property rights when arguing for intellectual property rights does not support the imposition of ever more draconian law.
Here's a couple of selected quotes, with some emphasis added by me :
Getting users to stop sharing files and circumventing DRM is likely to prove just as hopeless as getting squatters to leave their homes. There are now millions of people who think nothing of evading the law, and there are simply not enough courts to try more than a tiny fraction of them. Sooner or later, Congress will have to do for the copyright system what it did for property rights in the 19th century: change the law to bring it back into line with peoples' moral intuitions.
The fundamental lesson is that property rights are not—and never have been—created by Congressional fiat. Property rights emerge spontaneously from the social fabric of a community. The job of the legislature is not to create a property system from scratch, but to formalize the property arrangements that communities have already agreed upon among themselves. A system of property rights will only be effective if it is widely viewed as legitimate.
If copyrights are a form of property right, then the history of American property rights provides clues about how the copyright system will need to evolve in the future. It suggests that Congress's current strategy of imposing ever more draconian penalties for breaking laws that lack broad public support is a recipe for failure. Congress may be forced to concede, as it did two centuries ago, that property law must accommodate the actions of ordinary Americans, and not the other way around.