Steal this post

Copyright law, in the US and in much of the rest of the world, is broken. No, that’s not the word for it. I’m not sure there is a word for “mangled into obscene wrongness”.

Copyrights now are in effect, basically, for eternity. Fair use is nearly nonexistent, and its limits are defined arbitrarily and nonsensically. (Example: Parody is fair use, satire is not.) There are no penalties for wrongful takedowns.

The copyright system was originally meant to promote creativity; now it stifles it. It criminalizes innocent and harmless activity. It has been crafted to feed the insatiable maw of the largest content distributors — not to benefit the creators — and the irony is, by throwing creators under the bus, it endangers the food supply of those distributors. In the long run it’s bad for everyone, but corporate greed cares nothing for the long run.

Lots of people understand this, but the lobbying efforts of the MPAA and RIAA are such that very few in politics are willing to say it. Stunningly enough, the Republican Study Committee (the conservative caucus of House Republicans) said it on Friday. Some of their wording and some of their arguments I have some trouble with, and their proposed remedies might not be what I’d prefer, but it was a bold step in the right direction, toward a complete overhaul of the system.

And the next day the RSC retracted its report.

Apparently the MPAA and RIAA told them something.

Recall that one of the reasons the GOP got kicked so badly a couple weeks ago Tuesday was because they have nothing that much appeals to young voters, who overwhelmingly preferred Obama to Romney. Getting on the right side of copyright reform would have given the GOP a position attractive to young people. (And to a lot of older people too, of course.) They had a chance to make inroads in that demographic… and decided they’d rather have Hollywood’s money.

So now, of course, the issue is wide open for the Democrats to own, to cement their position among young voters. Will they take it? Of course not.

No, this will just disappear quietly, and the next time Disney finds itself in danger of having a copyright expire, the law will get further mangled into even more obscene wrongness. And then they’ll wonder why people don’t respect copyrights.

You can read the withdrawn RSC report here:

Copying of this blog post is permitted and encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work by Richard S. Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.


One thought on “Steal this post

  1. Stupid is as stupid does. You may like this. I’ve been spending a lot of time at that blog lately. Liberals and libertarians talking to each other, and only a little bloodshed.


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