Why PROTECT IP Will Fail: Cultural Acceptance, Not Fear Of Punishment, Makes People Abide By Laws
from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept
Lawyer Ron Coleman has a post about the PROTECT IP Act, called “We’re all infringers now,” that’s worth reading. While it covers similar ground to what we’ve said before, there’s one line in there, towards the end, that is absolutely worth highlighting and repeating:
This new proposed law is a terrible way to try to solve [infringement]. Its passage would only drive the culture further yet from any respect for the rule of law as it applies to intellectual property. But if Big IP hasn?t figured out yet that it is cultural acceptance of legal norms, not fear of punishment, that makes a free society a law-abiding one — if Big IP doesn?t understand what the de facto attitude of consumers regarding copyright has already become, and where it is already going — then heck, maybe at this point the law professors and the rest of us should just let Congress already go ahead and give them enough rope.
This is the key point that many of us have been trying to drive home for years. It’s the same key point that the SSRC report made in pointing out that “enforcement” and “education” are simply not strategies that work. And that wasn’t based on theory. It was based on years and years of detailed research. And yet, to the industry and to the government there seems to be only one single tool in the box for dealing with the challenges of infringement: to scare people. But that only works if people are stupid. And we now have plenty of experience in recognizing that people don’t culturally accept the claims of the industry on this issue, and no amount of threats and punishment are likely to change that.