Is Technology On The Verge Of Killing Copyright Dead?

from the doubtful,-but-worth-watching dept

While I have significant problems with copyright law, and believe that it’s been stretched and twisted to a breaking point, even I find it surprising to see a researchers’ prediction that technology will basically make copyright completely obsolete by some time next year. While the timeline may be a bit accelerated, the points raised are quite interesting. Basically, the researchers note a few different factors that are contributing — from the rapid rise in social communications online to increasingly sophisticated file sharing systems to note that it won’t be long at all until basically everyone will be able to easily and secretly share whatever content they want, with little chance of big copyright holders figuring it out. Obviously, some are already taking part in such things, but it hasn’t reached the average consumer… yet.

Of course, this won’t really represent the end of copyright, per se, but it will be a turning point. The old guard will continue to whine and scream about how “something must be done,” but I’d bet that an increasing number of smarter more understanding content creators will finally begin to regularly embrace the opportunities this creates. As an increasing number of content creators begin to recognize that they can do quite well (in fact, better than before) without relying on the crutch of copyright, the entire purpose for copyright will begin to lose meaning and it will start to fade away. Alternatives may pop up and even prosper — but traditional copyright will finally have to adjust to match with the times, rather than trying to adjust the times to match with the past.

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Comments on “Is Technology On The Verge Of Killing Copyright Dead?”

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21 Comments
Joe (profile) says:

a lot of content creators just don't understand what Word of Mouth can do

This is definitely interesting and I agree that it will take longer for copyright laws to die or redefine themselves. I also agree whole heartedly that some people just don’t get what open communications can do for a brand. Especially something already iconic.

For example I heard that the author of twilight wrote a 5th book but it got leaked online, so she is opting not to release that title. I don’t understand how that makes any sense, if the book was good people would still buy it because they want to add to their collection, and some will want to wait to read it until they can read the final version.

I fail to see why an author would do that especially for a brand they created just due to a leak of her work. She should still sell it and see how her sales do, if the title sucks it may tank, if it’s good and people know it through word of mouth she may see more immediate sales then she did with her previous work, and possibly more people buying a collection rather than just that one title.

Xanthir, FCD (profile) says:

Darknets

The linked article basically proposes that copyright will become obsolete due to the widespread adoption of ‘darknets’, tiny subsets of the internet that only a small number of people can access.

I find it interesting that copyright might push people to widespread adoption of darknets, because they actually *are* a somewhat dangerous tool. *Actual* bad stuff (like kiddie porn) is passed around on darknets already. This sort of thing might make it legitimately difficult for cops to crack down on real bad people.

Thanks a lot, copyright crusaders. Keep pushing us. You’re giving birth to the very uber-privacy world which you fear.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Darknets

I find it interesting that copyright might push people to widespread adoption of darknets, because they actually *are* a somewhat dangerous tool. *Actual* bad stuff (like kiddie porn) is passed around on darknets already. This sort of thing might make it legitimately difficult for cops to crack down on real bad people.

“actual bad stuff” happens with all sorts of everyday tools. people get stabbed with scredrivers, run over by cars, and hit with baseball bats. email systems are used to deliver scams, malicious web pages are loaded with malware, and pagers and mobile phones are used as triggers for explosives. that doesn’t make the tools bad, only the people who use them for bad things.

darkents and many other tools are simply a response to the need to communicate and move data while being actively prevented by any of a number of sources: government snoops, nosy employers, corporate spies, cheapskate ISP’s, draconian IT departments, authoritarian school administrators… the list goes on and on.

as with all tools, most uses are innocent, some are even noble, and only a few uses are bad. in all cases we should not blame the tools for the bad stuff, but the bad people that use the tools in the pursuit of their bad business.

Xanthir, FCD (profile) says:

Re: Re: Darknets

“actual bad stuff” happens with all sorts of everyday tools. people get stabbed with scredrivers, run over by cars, and hit with baseball bats. email systems are used to deliver scams, malicious web pages are loaded with malware, and pagers and mobile phones are used as triggers for explosives. that doesn’t make the tools bad, only the people who use them for bad things.

Ah, you misunderstand me. This wasn’t my point at all.

What I was trying to say that, *currently*, darknets are used heavily to traffic in illegal data. This means that, right now, if law enforcement can find a darknet, there’s a decent chance they can use it to arrest some bad people.

If the copyright nazis antics push ordinary people to start employing darknets (for morally neutral purposes, mind you), that reduces the useful correlation between darknets and illegal activity.

Thus the copyright nazis are making it harder for *themselves* to catch copyright infringers, and possibly making it harder for law enforcement to catch *actual* bad people.

It’s sort of like how encryption was originally a pretty strong indicator that you *were* doing something that you needed to hide. Nowadays there’s still a good bit of that feeling left, but encryption is used casually for many completely neutral reasons, which makes it more difficult to find people using encryption to do bad things.

This isn’t necessarily a *bad* trend (encryption really *is* useful for ordinary people), but it’s an interesting one. Darknets are a more interesting case, because they are *only* useful to keep yourself from being discovered by a powerful antagonist. The fact that ordinary people are being forced to employ these tools is *fascinating*.

Xanthir, FCD (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Darknets

What I was trying to say that, *currently*, darknets are used heavily to traffic in illegal data. This means that, right now, if law enforcement can find a darknet, there’s a decent chance they can use it to arrest some bad people.

A slight correction of myself here. Darknets are used *mostly* for legitimate corporate purposes, where they’re called “intranets”. ^_^ However, *personal* use of darknets is generally an indicator of nefarious activity currently.

Jonathan Zazove (user link) says:

bad example?

It’s definitely been a trend where copyright infringement has lead to widespread success (re: youtube, scribd, etc).

And sure, it does make sense that the copyright holders begin to understand that the distribution on the web is actually increasing exposure and diversifying distribution channels.

But, it’s quite a bad example to the young entrepreneur for companies to downright ignore the law. This will only lead to more distrust within the community.

Anneke says:

Unfortunately the failure of copyright also means that many creative people can no longer make a living from their work and are forced to quit.
Online distribution provides only a paltry income, and what income is generated usually goes to the pirate sites which earn revenue through on-site advertising.

People have to survive and piracy steals away someone’s income. I would not like it if I went to work and my boss told I’m not receiving a paycheck this week because another employer pinched the completed work from my desk.

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