Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Copyright, fraud and window taxes

Danny O'Brien has an interesting essay on the confusions of attempting to monetize culture in a digital age in the same way we did it before the internet came along.

"Hanging around IP lawyers quickly teaches you that no matter how complex and mind-binding you thought your model of copyright law was, the real thing is always sixteen times more so.

Regardless of that, I continue to be interested in real human's naive beliefs about how copyright is supposed to work. Even when they're wrong about the letter of the law - especially when they're wrong about the law I think these attitudes illuminate the modern problems the public wants solved with copyright; and why sometimes it is not the best tool.

One behaviour I see a lot is a general tolerance towards copying, mixed with an absolute moral fury at passing-off. The fact that both activities are seen as straightforward violations of IP law both by the general public and by the legal system I think is confusing for everybody...

I think... her confusion comes from two very separate matters that get blurred in the idea of "intellectual property": copying as the tapping point for revenue redistribution, and correct attribution and sourcing as a side-effect of that. Copying is important in the process of creative remuneration, I feel, because it used to be an excellent tapping point from which to extract value and distribute it back to the creator... In a digital world, many people don't see the act of copying as a particularly momentous or profitable event. Copying isn't what we do as an act of purchasing; copying is a thing we do to our valuable artifacts. People are scandalised when its suggested that you should pay for a copy copied to backup drives, or iPods; they're amazed when vested interests demand that cached copies or transitory files should count as extra purchases. Copying is no longer a good proxy for incoming revenue; which means it is no longer a good place to extract remuneration."

No comments: