Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Conversations on Copyright

Person 1:
The issue is that some people don't think that certain types of copying should be illegal, or should be called "piracy". And I don't mean just the no-copyright-freaks, I refer to ordinary people who think that they should be allowed to slip a copy to their best friend.
Person 2:
But because they believe it shouldn't make it true or correct...If Iwant a friend to hear a CD I like, I buy them a copy or tell them to buy it, or play it for them to hear. If as a creator I think that friends should be able to share my creation, I'll put it in thelicense that if you buy a copy you can make copies for 10, 100 or 1000 friends, but you as the purchaser can't tell me as the creator what I should allow people to do with my work. Can you?
Person 1:
You get to the essence of the debate. How to decide what "should be". In democratic systems, that is usually some version of what the majority wants, provided it doesn't offend the minority too much. For example, Germans like no speed limits on highways, Americans like speed limits (or at least they elect people who vote speed limits).In my opinion, times they are a-changing, and the publishing industry is going to have to adapt to the new technologies. Which does not mean that authors should not be compensated. But it does mean that compensation models might have to change.
See article here.
Person 2:
Yep - the majority decides in a democracy, but I don' t think they should be able to force me to sell my work at a price, license or for a use I don't want it to be used for. If I write a song, should I be forced to allow it to be used as a soundtrack to a porn or violent film? I'd prefer not to release the song in that case. Can the majority force creative people to produce and sell their creative product?It has been seen in several contract tussles in the music industry - you can hold the artist to the contract in principle, but you can't force them to create. If the majority decides that Metallica should allow copying of their CDs for friends, and they don't want to - then Metallica can just stop making music, so there are no CDs to copy. And that has already happened in a few extreme cases. When the majority is as creative as the minority, (yeah right) then they can decide what to do with their own works, but it is sounding very much like slave labour to have the majority determine what the creative minority should do with their creative output. In this case, the market and the pocketbook are how the majority can influence hte artists. If I put a price that's too high on my work - people won't buy it and I'll either drop the price or decide not to sell it. If you don't want to pay $18 for Britney Spear's new CD - don't buy it. If you don't want to spend $18 when you only ike 2 songs - go to iTunes and pay $1 each. BUT if she (or her agents) wants to be paid for her music, then how can I determine that she shouldn't get paid for it? Because I can get a couple of milllion people to agree with me?

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