[cc-community] Benjamin Mako Hill on Creative Commons
email at greglondon.com
Mon Aug 1 11:42:52 EDT 2005
> On Monday, August 01, 2005, at 03:57PM, Greg London <email at greglondon.com>
>>12 people are taken hostage by a lone gunman in a bank.
>>If one hostage stands up and attempts to fight
>>the gunman, his chances of winning a hand-to-gun
>>fight are slim, he'll take all the risk, possibly
>>lose everything, and if he succeeds in tackling
>>the gunman, everyone immediately benefits from his
>>work, and he has no way of getting paid for his
> The hostage can of course grab the gun, shoot all the other hostages as
> well as the gunman, and throw some of the money out of the back window.
> Then when the police storm the building he can return the gun to the
> (dead) gunman's hand and play the heroic survivor of a massacre before
> going to pick up the loot. After this he can make more of a fortune by
> selling his story to the press, appearing on chat shows, writing a novel
> and selling the film rights.
Actually, no. the 1-versus-12 is a hostage scenario. As soon as one of the
12 rises up and takes the gun from the gunman, and wants to become a
gunman himself, it becomes another hostage scenario, this time
1-versus-11. And if the solution works for the first one, it works for the
second one as well. In which case, the person who does nothing until the
very end is the last person alive. So, I don't think this is a real
Also, and this took me some time to realize, the gunman isn't a PLAYER in
the game. The 12 hostages are the players. The gunman is actually simply
part of the circumstances. The game theory scenario is to figure out what
the hostages would do. In the prisoner's dillema, the guards and police
are not players, either. They are also part fo the circumstances that the
two prisoners find themselves in. The players that actually get to make a
choice is the two prisoners. The gunman, the police, the prison guards
are all simply part of the scenery.
The point being that even if all the players had the best intentions, they
would likely cooperate with the gunman as hostages and they would likely
testify against the other prisoner in the prisoners dillemma.
I think if one hostage got up, tackeled the gunman, and started shooting
the other hostages, compliance would no longer win out. I'm fairly certain
that if terrorists tried to take over an airplane in flight these days,
that the passengers would fight them immediately, knowing that if they
comply and let the terrorists get control of the plane that their chances
of survival are worse than if they fight immediately.
Bounty Hunters: Metaphors for Fair IP laws
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