Copyright, part II

Seeing that Norman responded to my previous post about Copyright issues today, and seemed to have misinterpreted some of the more vague points in my article, I’ll write a followup. Note that Norman’s writing in German, so while I want to encourage you to read his blog (and buy his books), you might not follow his argument.

So here are the three main points I wish to clarify:

I am not against copyright

Copyright is a law intended to protect artists, and therefore culture.

I am against stricter copyright laws, however, which would make copying my legally bought CD to my legally acquired iPod a criminal offense, and it’s this sort of thing that is and has been discussed.

Laws like that would have no effect on criminals, who, by definition, have no problem breaking the law. They would criminalize how we’ve treated culture for centuries though, namely by reproducing art.

From a copyright perspective, I see no difference between me grabbing my guitar and playing a song someone else composed, and me popping a recording of said song into my audio player1. Either way, once I’ve legally acquired a copy of a piece of art, I want to be able to reproduce it in a non-commercial setting without restrictions. That’s what culture is built upon.

We need a new model for dealing with art and culture

Our current model is built on facts that have existed for centuries, but are no longer given. In the digital world, making a copy of a piece of art costs virtually nothing2. In a world in which creating a copy costs nothing, you won’t be able to stop people from creating copies.

Our law must recognize the fact, instead of trying to come up with ways of making copying a little bit more illegal than it already is. There are only two ways to tackle this technological breakthrough: you either must make it impossible to create copies3, or you must ensure that artists get their dues independently from how many copies of their work of art exist.

I’m advocating the latter — though I have no idea how to achieve this.

  1. There’s a marked difference between the two in terms of artistic skills. []
  2. Yes, you need some sort of machine to create copies, such as a computer, but those are or will soon be available even below the poverty level. []
  3. Something that, in digital media, is pretty much impossible. []
  • Norman Liebold

    Yeah, you lay the finger in the wound (can i say that in english?). I think, i don’t have misunderstood your previous article, i say i have as an artist a other point of view on this matter. And i have, you know this, i problem with some modern ways to handle with “art”, for example – it is the theme from my novel ‘kulturgeist’ (‘ghost of culture’, is, i think, no good translation) – the significant difference between a real performed piece of musik, literatur (i mean upon stage like a reading autor or an narrator or an theatre) or something else and the record of, f.e. a song. It makes, i think, the absolute difference. To grab an guitar and play from notes (correct word?) is /not/ the same as ut a record in your player (or an mp3 in your ipod). And a copy of a book is not the same as the price of paper and ink and some clue. It is also the little bit of money that make the honorar of the writer.
    I say in my answer of your first article: If the people pay for a digital copy this, mh, obulos for the work of an human, than in my opinion it is the same. But – an you say it in your post – how control it? The only good way, i think, is: Let the people decide. (I make it often my performances, and often it works – if the people are over 30, for example, and there is some pressure under the eyes of the other people – in the web you don’t have this social control)

    I think you have to read my “Kulturgeist”, it’s in more than one detail based upon discussions between us. And the end of the problem is very hard and my old fashion: There is only one way to hear musik, then: Live from the artists. (Or you grab your guitar an play for yourself, but then you are the artist) No one way left to /see/ an story as by the play of living people. To hear a story only, if a living human read it loud. Okay, no globalism and very slow growing from cultur. But, see, maybe we are a bit to fast…

  • Norman Liebold

    Have a good trip to your new home!

  • Norman Liebold

    Save at home?