When the reigning, and looming Kings and Queens had been sated, they got back to business. Once again, King started, this time with a question for his son, “Before we get to piracy, clarify something, please; anyone can get a Commonwealth membership?”
“Yes, anyone. Always free. Creator, or seller, or both. You can sell my stuff, I can sell yours. This is what Kevin Kelly was talking about when he said the real innovation is the network. The network is all ready to go. We’ve just been using it all wrong when it comes to ecommerce. Anyone can sell anyone’s stuff, so long as a contract has been registered with Commonwealth. The contracts state exactly who gets what percentage of a sale, and they can name more than two parties. For example, Madge, if your manager gets a cut of what you make, off an album, or a tour, that’s all in the contract. Let’s say they get 20% of album revenue, and you are getting eight bucks per. The moment a sale is made, $1.60 goes straight to the manager’s account. Same thing for ticket sales, and that’s the end of Ticketmaster.”
“Wow! Sly Stone would have been saved by that” Madonna replied.
“What happened to him?” Kitty asked.
“He got fucked by his manager for loads of money. Ended up living in a car, because his manager stole a fortune from him.”
“There’s no way for Sly to protect himself from himself in Commonwealth, but he would have gotten all his money. His manager would have gotten his cut. And it’s all on a blockchain, so everyone can see exactly where the money went.”
“Including the taxman?” asked King.
“Especially the taxman. That’s why governments will love it. In fact, contracts can stipulate that tax revenues go straight into the public coffers.”
King said, “Very interesting. But let me get back to who can sell.”
“So, the Red Sox could sell my books to their fans.”
“Yes, but here’s a better example, just to show you one of the things Commonwealth can do. European football. Soccer. The best player in the world, Lionel Messi. One of the most storied clubs in the world, and the current Champions League champions, Liverpool FC, who are owned by the same corp. that owns the Sox. Let’s say Liverpool wants to buy Messi from Barcelona, and the price is $200 million. Let’s say Liverpool has 20 million fans around the world. The club could commission a book on the club’s history from a football historian, one who can actually write. They pay the writer… let’s be absurd, and say a hundred grand. They put the book up for sale on their own Commonwealth store, and every fan buys one copy, at ten bucks. Bam! $200 million, and Messi is singing, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ at Anfield.”
“It’s brilliant,” said Kitty. “And let’s say Greenpeace, with their four million supporters around the world, want to sell Riff n Raff. Riff n Raff prevent a nuclear war, solve global warming, and end hatred, so all Greenpeace supporters would be all about the book. Let’s say they do a deal with the author, a 50/50 split, on a ten buck price. And they sell a half million copies to their supporters.”
“Then Greenpeace, and the author just made $2.5 million a piece,” Lance stated.
“And Amazon didn’t get a cent,” laughed King.
“So long as none of us sell on Amazon, Jeff Bezos is living in a car, with Sly Stone,” laughed Madonna.
“And this is how Commonwealth could save newspapers,” said Kitty. “They sell anything, and everything, to their readers. They replace all the ad revenue they’ve lost to Google and Facebook with sales revenue.”
“Yes,” Lance confirmed. “Better than that, since they are no longer heavily dependent of ad revenue, they can get down to doing some hard hitting reportage on rotten corporations, and their political pawns, who otherwise would have them on leashes. Same thing applies to TV news, radio news, bloggers, citizen journalists, podcasters… anyone. If you’re a union member, and wanna support your union, buy at their store. If you’re a Republican, shop at their store. Support whoever you want.”
“But you say anyone can sell through Commonwealth,” King said.
Lance smiled, “I know where you’re going. Yes, anyone, even neo-Nazi scum. But, they’re mostly trying to make money, so we beat them at the money game, because we have a lot more of it than they do. So, for every dollar they make, we donate five to people, and organizations that oppose their ideology. The more money the Nazis make, the more their opponents make to counter them.”
“Okay, it’s genius. How do we, if I may, stop piracy? What new tech have you come up with?” asked Madonna.
“None,” Lance answered, “There’s is no new tech to do that. Never will be. No one has ever written a code that can’t be cracked. No one ever will. It’s been proven over and over. Sooner or later, if someone wants to crack it badly enough, and has the resources to do so, they will”
“But you said we could stop piracy,” said Kitty.
“We can. We can stop anyone from pirating my book by using tech that’s already available, and old fashioned name and shame.” Lance waited to see if anyone figured it out, but lost patience after five seconds. “Every product has a unique, digital identifier, so we know exactly who bought a copy that ends up on Pirate Bay, or anywhere else. We ban them from buying again, and post their names where everyone can see them. And then the hackers go after them. No, we have nothing to do with the hackers. They will rise up themselves as a police force, or more like a court, and they have all the evidence they need to convict, and punish.”
“Like they used to do at the tills in general stores in the Wild West,” said King. “Everyone in town knew who didn’t pay their tab.”
“Exactly,” Lance confirmed. “I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think most pirates are out to fuck the artists, so much as those who exploit us. And the exploiters are out of the game with Commonwealth. They don’t own us anymore. So, piracy will drop off, anyway. It remains to be seen, but that’s how I see it.”
“They don’t own us anymore, and the pirates can’t, or won’t fuck us anymore,” said King.
Lance smiled, and said, “Free at last, free at last, thank Commonwealth almighty, we are free at last!”
Father asked son, “There’s a lot more to this, isn’t there?”
“Maybe we pick it up after we get some sleep, yeah?” asked King, reasoning, “Kitty’s yawning, and fading, You two have had a long day, especially Kitty. And you’ve put down a lot of food for thought.”
“Yes, long day. Kitty tired,” said little Miss Kaboodle.
“You can read me a bedtime story,” King said to Queen.
“Read you a bedtime story, and put you to sleep,” chuckled Madonna.
“Oh, kinky,” laughed King
Lance couldn’t help his knee jerk reaction to the thought of old people having sex, “Eww. You two need to get a room.”
“We have every room in the place, and you happen to be n ours, so get out,” laughed Stephen.
“You really holding down the whole hotel,” asked Kitty.
“We are. Paying the wages of all the staff to stay the fuck home, and leave us alone. Just enough to provide what we need,” answered Madonna. “So, if you wanna get your rock star on, go ahead and drain all the mini fridges, and trash the place. Two hundred and sixty four more rooms, here, plus the pool and spa.”
Kitty liked that idea, and expressed her gratitude by handing Madonna her copy of The Riff n Raff Rebellions Volume 1, saying, “Read him this. It’s his fave.”
“Hey, I was gonna read that” said Lance.
“Oh, no, you’re my beta boy for KILLGOD, lover boy.”
Madonna expressed he gratitude, and curiosity, “Thanks for the book. He won’t shut up about it, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. And your new game is called Kill God?”
“KILLGOD. One word, all caps. You’ll love it. In the penultimate stage, before going to Heaven to KILLGOD!, you have to do away with the Pope.”
“Sweet,” the Catholic girl chuckled. “I’ve done it, in my dreams, many times.”
“I bet you have,” said Kitty, “But in my game it’s probably a lot harder than it has been in your dreams.”
“You kids need one room, or two,” King asked.
Lance had no idea how to answer. Kitty smiled, ”Two, please. Maybe adjoining.” All but Lance grinned. And with that, the kids were off.
King saw them to the door, as his Queen stripped herself bare. “Lance,” Stephen said, as the boy who would be King, and the girl who would be his Queen trundled down the hall. Lance turned back. “How much bigger is this idea?”
Lance smiled, “Within a year, we have our own bank, the largest in the world. Within five, we have our own sovereign nation.”
King thought about that, and said, “I believe you.”
Lance said, “Dreaming is free; why dream small?”