[LINK] The Future of Copyright
kim at holburn.net
Wed Jun 11 07:11:33 AEST 2008
Swedish Pirate Bureau founder's essay on copyright for Cato
From Boing Boing:
> Rasmus Fleischer is a co-founder of The Piracy Bureau, a Swedish
> group critical of copyright, and the parent organization of
> BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. This month he has a new essay up
> at Cato Unbound, the Cato Institute's online magazine of ideas. In
> it, he argues that attempts to impose 20th-century copyright
> standards on digital media are doomed to failure -- indeed, they're
> failing already, and threats to privacy and civil liberties are
> This change has taken place because previously distinct media are
> now simulated within the singular medium of the Internet, and
> copyright law simply seems unable to cope with it.
> This domino effect captures the essence of copyright maximalism:
> Every broken regulation brings a cry for at least one new regulation
> even more sweepingly worded than the last. Copyright law in the 21st
> century tends to be less concerned about concrete cases of
> infringement, and more about criminalizing entire technologies
> because of their potential uses. This development undermines the
> freedom of choice that Creative Commons licenses are meant to
> realize. It will also have seriously chilling effects on innovation,
> as the legal status of new technologies will always be uncertain
> under ever more invasive rules.
> Today, to use digital information is to copy it.
> Computers operate by copying. They couldn’t care less whether the
> physical distance between original and copy is measured in
> micrometers or in miles; both work equally well for them. Copyright
> law, on the other hand, must somehow draw a line between use and
> distribution. That means putting an imaginary grid over the chaotic
> myriad of network nodes, delineating clusters of devices that can be
> attributed to individuals or households.
> Whatever happens inside such a cluster is defined as private use,
> while any trespassing of these borders is potentially criminal. But
> what can this strict division between private and public mean to
> someone with 400 “friends” on Facebook?
> Another important consideration is that the digital is larger than
> the online. According to one recent study 95 percent of British
> youth engage in file sharing via burned CDs, instant messaging
> clients, mobile phones, USB sticks, e-mail, and portable hard drives.
> We already have access to more film, music, text and images than we
> can possibly incorporate into our lives. Retreating from this
> paradigm of abundance to the old paradigm of scarcity is simply not
> an alternative. Adding more “content” will strictly speaking produce
> no value — whether culturally or economically. What’s valuable is
> supplying a context where people can come together to create meaning
> out of abundance.
> Music is far from unique in demonstrating how the pendulum has
> swung. Kelly mentions how writers increasingly make their money from
> appearing in person, promoted by their books, which may well be
> available for free. The computer game industry has understood how to
> make big money not by selling software, but by selling access to
> online worlds.
> The real dispute, once again, is not between proponents and
> opponents of copyright as a whole. It is between believers and non-
> believers. Believers in copyright keep dreaming about building a
> digital simulation of a 20th-century copyright economy, based on
> scarcity and with distinct limits between broadcasting and unit
> sales. I don’t believe such a stabilization will ever occur, but I
> fear that this vision of copyright utopia is triggering an
> escalation of technology regulations running out of control and
> ruining civil liberties. Accepting a laissez-faire attitude
> regarding software development and communication infrastructure can
> prevent such an escalation.
IT Network & Security Consultant
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Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny.
-- Lloyd Biggle, Jr. Analog, Apr 1961
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