Friday, April 15, 2005

Copyright Cold Comfort

(Edit note: moved from Common Veil )

Over on Electrolite a few weeks back, there was a lively discussion about the intended purpose of copyright laws, and how that intention is being subverted by rampant greed. From being a way to protect a creator's ability to benefit economically from their work and simultaneously encourage additional creation and innovation, copyright has become the new battleground over which corporations (not individuals) try to hoarde all the marbles.

It can’t be said often enough. Copyright isn’t a “right” in the sense of the
“rights of Man.” Copyright is a bargain. The object is to foster a society in
which innovation is encouraged and rewarded. It isn’t to create a source of
perpetual rents for an owner class.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
March 30, 2005

What I'm seeing is a precedent set by coporations to hoarde and control which is flowing over into individual creators to do the same thing, lest they or their creations get gobbled up. I think it's indicative of the sense of resource scarcity people are reacting to in the current political climate both in the US and abroad. There's not enough for everybody, so I have to get mine first.

Of course, the economic pundits keep talking about how we're in a period of unprecedent prosperity.

Uh, huh. Maybe we are, but you can't tell it by the way either people or corporations are acting.

relevant articles that prompted the debate:
Not an IPod the Washington post editorial that prompted Matthew Yglesias to wax, well, if not poetical, then at least pragmatically.


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