The real pirates

arts and entertainment, politics, technology

When copyright owners extend the copyright terms of existing works, as they’ve done repeatedly in the past, they are taking works that would otherwise enter the public domain and keeping them private. That is a theft from the public, from you and me, and it surely amounts to tens of billions of dollars. So who’s the real pirate?

– the consistently thoughtful Dan Gillmor in “We must engage in copyright debate

This is an issue I hadn’t previously considered, and I think it may have indeed gotten a bit buried amongst the other demonstrated evils and examples of copyright holders’ greed.

Dan has promised to highlight concrete steps we consumers can take to protect our rights against the control-grabbing entertainment industry. In the meantime, I encourage all of us to not only chastise congresscritters who are in bed with the RIAA and MPAA, but also to praise those who are on the right side of copyright issues.

1 comment… add one
  • LeeAnn Heringer Aug 13, 2002

    I read Dan Gilmor’s article.  But he’s wrong when he says that consumers have been missing from the discussion of digital copyrights.  Consumers have been making quite a bit of noise.  It’s called Napster.  It’s called Gnutella.  It’s called whatever the flavor of the month is for downloading music.  We’ve raised a generation who don’t believe they should pay for content.

    If we demand that all our musicians have day jobs as accountants or barristas at Starbucks or aggressively license themselves as cartoon characters, well, you get Britney Spears, don’t ya?  We pay people unlimited sums to be celebrities, but not for their music.

    I believe that the real problem is that the traditional big record companies have demanded too big a payback for each download of digital content.  If record companies had understood and embraced micropayment 5-7 years ago, it could have worked.  But now…?  Do consumers have something to say beyond “heck, no, I’m not gonna pay?”  Congress, the RIAA, record companies, how are they stopping you and me from doing whatever we want with the music right now?  (Beyond the few experimental “copy-protected” CDs that all you need is a magic marker to defeat.)

What do you think?