Nobody cares about your copyright.

In the Internet era, copyright laws are just getting tougher. But people really, really don’t give a shit. 61% of 15-25-year-olds in Sweden fileshare personally, and heavy sharers have gone up. (Translated Swedish news report.)

Industry education about copyright provokes “fight the power” — it turns out people think record companies are lying fountains of shit and if they said the sky was blue people would first assume it was green. And politicians who do what Hollywood wants cause a healthy general disrespect for the law. Oh, and these kids are voting now.

What you need to do is work out how you’re going to make a living when, not if, copyright is cut to a straight fourteen-year term. At least your competitors will be in the same boat.

11 thoughts on “Nobody cares about your copyright.

  1. So, you think 61% of 15-25 year olds will stop sharing if copyright only lasts 14 years?

    Don’t lose sight of principle in pursuit of palatable compromise.

  2. Um, that isn’t even close to logically what I wrote there and leads me to question whether you did a Burroughsian cut-up in the process of reading it.

    I do, however, think that a term on that order is (a) a plausible thing to happen (b) has actual support from economists as enough of a term to serve as an economic incentive to creation (I can’t find the study, but here’s an editorial) (c) is 100% more likely to be respected even in principle than the present outrageous bullshit.

  3. I’m just suggesting you reconcile a term of 14yrs with your observations.

    You still seem to be of the mind that copyright incentivises creation, vs profits publishing corporations. Beware of copyright’s pretext vs motivation for its enactment.

  4. It’s generally been my understanding that the most effective means to combat piracy is to offer a legal bullshit-free alternative, with “bullshit-free” typically meaning convenient and affordable. Apple made major strides in cutting down music piracy just by making it actually easier to pay 99 cents and get the track than it was to hunt it down on Limewire or Kazaa or whatnot. Netflix and Hulu made similarly useful strides.

    Would a fourteen-year term be a part of that? Probably not for most users, but I think it would probably affect the share of users who are ideologically pirates or high volume pirates at least somewhat.

  5. @Crosbie Fitch
    What’s the problem with reconciling them you mean?

    Constantly ramping up the copyright term will create generations of copyright abolitionists. By restoring the balance there is at least a chance that copyright supporters can present credible reasons why to respect copyright law. Besides, by making the public domain more extensive it would be possible for people to legally access works that are still of interest. Today we lock up works for five generations. Surely that’s unreasonable.

    Some people would rather let “perfect” be the enemy of the good and say that piracy has to go away before the copyright term can be reduced. That doesn’t make sense to me and seems quite short-sighted.

  6. Can’t remember where I first found it, but record label DigSin gives all their music for free download; they make money from advertising. If more artists/labels did this, why would anyone illegally download?

    The problem is can you make enough money this way, for it to be worth it for artists (who could presumably give their music away for free anywhere…)

  7. @Tor, there is no ‘balance’ between the people’s cultural liberty, their right to copy and the annulling of that right to copy by copyright. Either we have liberty or we do not.

    The public domain comprises all published works – this, after all, was the pretext behind copyright: to encourage the delivery of new works into the public domain. It is only very recently (last few decades) that ‘public domain’ has come to mean its initially esoteric use of ‘works not protected by copyright’.

    What is unreasonable is to support copyright at all.

    As to ’14 years’, I’m just suggesting that David re-evaluate why on earth the file-sharing youth are suddenly going to become picky about the copyright status of what they share simply because copyright’s term has reduced. Do they really only share today because they can’t wait 50-150 years? But, they would wait 14? What proportion of works shared today were published more than 14 years ago vs less? Sharing is natural, irrespective of publication date. Copyright is not.

    It may be that copyright holders believe they can sleep a little more soundly when their publisher bankrupts or imprisons file-sharers – given 14 years is ‘perfectly reasonable’.

    I suggest those who think that copyright’s fundamental problem is too long a term and a short term is ‘the solution’ have stopped thinking.

  8. Copyright terms will lengthen, legislation will become more restrictive and intrusive, and legal attempts to enforce it will intensify – and impose more punishing sanctions, on a wider base, than this lottery of five-figure ‘damages’ on an unlucky few.

    The RIAA drones are too deeply embedded in our legislative machinery, and our legislators our financially dependent on them.

    I use the term ‘legislators’, not ‘elected representatives’: Britain, the USA and Australia, we have descended into a morass which resembles a one-party state: voting changes nothing. Some European states *may* make progress against laws imposed from America; but this has all been judicial activism, so far, and one or two ‘Pirate Party’ parliamentarians will change nothing.

    Those youthful voters with no problems about file-sharing? They don’t matter. If economic sense and the democratic will had any relevance in government, we’d have legalised marijuana forty years ago; and *that* campaign doesn’t strike directly against the commercial interests of the mass media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.