Decklin Foster on Sun, 14 May 2000 07:50:50 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Napster Hurts Free Software

Buffalo Bob writes:

> But ultimately the copyright starts with the artist herself.

*sigh* I see you have had some of the Kool-aid too.

Copyright starts with the public. In a democratic society, there is no
other justification for any law or policy. Copyright is a trade; the
public gives up the freedom to copy written or artistic works so that
artists and writers have an incentive (money) to produce more of them,
and ones of higher quality. The trade was done because there was an
overall benefit to society at the time. There is absolutely nothing
moral or inalienable about it.

We need to ask ourselves two things: (1) Does our government still
represent the public? and (2) Is copyright still a good trade?

Do note that (2) is not an all-or-nothing issue. It may be that case
that trading away the right to copy benefits society up to a certain
point, but things like authors-life-plus-70-years and the DMCA are far
into the land where the costs outweigh the benefits. Because of the
staggering influence of mega-corporations (and their mega-campaign-
dollars) on the government, and the relatively small voice of
individuals pursuing copyright reform, the tradeoff point has been
moved to a place where the corporations' benefit is maximized instead
of society's benefit.

[P.S. Neither Napster nor MP3 is a ``program''.]

There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There
are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)

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