- a campaign (also including TV commercials and in-theater pitches) aimed at convincing us all of a single point — that it’s wrong to infringe on copyrights.
Well, of course it is, especially when the purpose is to get something of value for nothing or deprive someone else of what he or she has legitimately earned. But in its typical overstated way, the film branch of the entertainment cartel is demanding a whole lot more, too.
The industry insists that its customers bow to copyright holders’ absolute control over how buyers may use what they’ve bought. It demands a veto on innovation with entirely benign uses, if that innovation also might be used to infringe. And it sneers at the bargain that copyright holders once made with society — a deal that would reward creativity while constantly refilling the well of public knowledge and art.
….The site is, as you’d expect, totally slanted in a single direction. It offers no hint that customers or users of copyrighted materials have any rights beyond those the copyright holder decides to grant.
….The point of copyright is not solely to pay creators. It’s equally designed to get ideas and inventions — arts and sciences and scholarship — first into the public sphere, and ultimately into the public domain, where other creators build on them to make new art, new science, new scholarship.
Part of the process involves “fair use,” the ability to quote in limited ways from copyrighted works. Fair use, in the modern world, also has come to include our right to make backup copies of what we have purchased; to “time shift” entertainment so we can watch TV programs when we, not the networks choose; and (among other things) the right to copy a song we’ve bought into a format that plays on another device (such as a car cassette player).
But the cartel believes it has the right to allow or forbid any and all of those uses if they involve digital copying. It plans to enforce these regimes through “digital rights” (read: “digital restrictions”) technology, which has the ugly byproduct of destroying customers’ privacy, and through harsh, frequently abused laws like the rigid Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The cartel believes — and basically says — that fair use is something copyright holders may provide or withhold at their whim. [Mercury News]
Citizens and consumers must push back as hard as they are pushed against. There are many more of us there there are of them.