It seems that more people are realizing many of the problems with our current intellectual property system. Here's an opinion piece from Australia saying that copyrights distort the market and are unnecessary. The writer points out all of the writers, musicians, and artists who produced works prior to the idea of intellectual property (Shakespeare, Beethoven, and da Vinci, for example) and how many of them created their great works by building on the works of others. Then, he makes the really important point that, despite everything you hear from the various "industries" most artists do not make money from royalties on their copyrights. "A very, very small proportion of artists make money from royalties. Most writers and musicians and painters - and software developers - are paid by the hour or by the project." The counter argument, of course, is that without copyright, the people who pay these artists won't bother to any more - but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of business models that don't involve relying on intellectual property. What's really at issue here, is that digital content removes the need for the middleman - the distributor - in the content business. The artists can now go directly to the customers, and can create new business models on their own. So, the next time you hear the entertainment industry talk about the need to protect copyright "for the artists", know that they're really just trying to save their increasingly obsolete selves.
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