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.
- There’s a marked difference between the two in terms of artistic skills. [↩]
- 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. [↩]
- Something that, in digital media, is pretty much impossible. [↩]