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osOpinion: Is Copyright Obsolete Yet?

Aug 07, 2000, 06:23 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Nadeau)

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[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"When copyright was first invented (that's right, somebody had to invent it -- it is not a naturally occurring element!), one of the main reasons for doing so was the copying was difficult and expensive. The percentage of capital required to produce a copy of a book, for example, was a high percentage of the total cost of the book (at least at the wholesale level). Since copying was a technological feat based on capital investment, marketing, and even some R&D, it seemed to make sense to provide a governmental crutch or subsidy (through protective enforcement) to stimulate the business of copying information...."

"Personally, I get the impression that copyright issues have turned America into a kind of "lawyers' paradise" where huge piles of money are extracted from a potentially efficient system in order to subsidize an obsolete, lethargic bunch of corporate dinosaurs. I see that a handful of writers, musicians, and actors garner the vast majority of big-money contracts and opportunities to showcase their talents, while a thousand other who are just as great -- or maybe even better -- are shunted aside because of the low-risk mentality of these giant distribution houses."

"A revolution is coming -- a revolution from the production side, and a revolution from the consumption side -- where both sides have a lot to gain and most participants have little to lose. It is only the middlemen who are truly challenged to provide something of value, or else get out of the way. Copyright may not be obsolete as a concept, but its current implementation and the current array of legal precedents are about to be shaken to their foundations. The paradigm has already shifted; it is only a matter of time before the people catch up with it."

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