Copyright and the Right to Copy
The battle for control over mass-reproducible media is still far from over. The record companies are still not ready to embrace the way music can be distributed in our connected world. Now though, most people are tired of the debate. Back in 2003, Orson Scott Card wrote an interesting article about the competitors in the fight, and I found some points worth talking about.
1.) The difficulty of technologically enforcing copyright
Using encrypted DVDss as one case, it is extremely easy to install DeCSS or similar libraries to circumvent the encryption. It is very annoying that I can’t legally play DVDs at all in Linux. (Unless I get a particular distro OEM.) Aggravating customers is a bad business move.
2.) The money makers are producers, not artists
Most musicians make their big bucks on live concerts. Easily distributed mp3s have only made musicians more popular, and the crowds at their concerts bigger. Changing the copyright law will only hurt the big companies which are necessarily made obsolete. We don’t keep carriages around for fear of putting the drivers out of a job. Big record companies are an artifact.
3.) The technology is getting faster
The technology that initially incited the debate is only going to improve over time. It will not stop because some want to still make money the way they used to. It should be their loss, not everyone else’s.
I only use software, music, and movies that I got legally. Like myself, most people are willing to pay a reasonable amount for things they like, and make donations to developers and artists who improve our quality of life. When laws outlive their purpose, it’s time for a change.