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In Serving Big Company Interests, Copyright Is in Crisis

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In Serving Big Company Interests, Copyright Is in Crisis

Postby MrFredPFL » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:47 pm

Story : https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/01/serving-big-company-interests-copyright-cr





Copyright rules are made with the needs of the entertainment industry in mind, designed to provide the legal framework for creators, investors, distributors, production houses, and other parts of the industry to navigate their disputes and assert their interests.

A good copyright policy would be one that encouraged diverse forms of expression from diverse creators who were fairly compensated for their role in a profitable industry. But copyright has signally failed to accomplish this end, largely because of the role it plays in the monopolization of the entertainment industry (and, in the digital era, every industry where copyrighted software plays a role). Copyright's primary approach is to give creators monopolies over their works, in the hopes that they can use these as leverage in overmatched battles with corporate interests. But monopolies have a tendency to accumulate, piling up in the vaults of big companies, who use these government-backed exclusive rights to dominate the industry so that anyone hoping to enter it must first surrender their little monopolies to the hoards of the big gatekeepers.

Creators get a raw deal in a concentrated marketplace, selling their work into a buyer's market. Giving them more monopolies – longer copyright terms, copyright over the "feel" of music, copyright over samples – just gives the industry more monopolies to confiscate in one-sided negotiations and add to their arsenals. Expecting more copyright to help artists beat a concentrated industry is like expecting more lunch money to help your kid defeat the bullies who beat him up on the playground every day. No matter how much lunch money you give that kid, all you'll ever do is make the bullies richer.

One of the biggest problems with copyright in the digital era is that we expect people who aren't in the entertainment industry to understand and abide by its rules: it's no more realistic to expect a casual reader to understand and abide by a long, technical copyright license in order to enjoy a novel than it is to expect a parent to understand securities law before they pay their kid's allowance. Copyright law can either be technical and nuanced enough to serve as a rulebook for a vast, complex industry...or it can be simple and intuitive enough for that industry's customers to grasp and follow without years of specialized training. Decades of trying to make copyright into a system for both industrial actors and their audiences has demonstrated that the result is always a system that serves the former while bewildering and confounding the latter.







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