Too Much Copyright: This Generation's Prohibition
The folks over at ReasonTV have put together a great episode about the state of copyright law today. Hosted by Zach Weissmueller, the video includes three guests. Professor Tom Bell, who is well known for his useful depiction of the insanity of copyright extension via the Mickey Mouse curve, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, and the MPAA’s Ben Sheffner.
It’s also nice to see ReasonTV highlight the ridiculousness of copyright laws today by refusing to use any material covered by copyright to demonstrate certain points. So, rather than show Mickey Mouse, they show three revolving balls, and ask you to imagine how they might come together to form a mouse-like shape.
The whole thing is worth watching, but the key point really comes at the end from Ben Huh, and it’s a point that we’ve been raising for years:
This disconnect between the public’s view of copyright and fair use and what should and should not be prosecuted vs. the copyright maximist’s view of the law is our generation’s prohibition. The law no longer reflects what the society believes to be true. And I think that if they continue to go down that route, they’re going to see even bigger backlash.
This is such a key point, and one we’ve raised over and over again. The disrespect for copyright law today is not because people are uneducated or immoral. It’s because copyright law just doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s so disconnected from reality and societal norms, that people can’t respect it. The fact that the industry’s response to this is to push to make the laws even more ridiculous and push them further away from people’s natural tendencies, is only going to serve the opposite purpose of the maximalists’ intentions. They are driving an entire generation into thinking that the whole of copyright law is entirely pointless.