Pushing For More Stringent Copyright Laws Is The Opposite Of Allowing 'Market Forces' To Act

from the why-so-much-confusion dept

We've seen this mistake in the past, and it's a shame that politicians and defenders of stronger copyright still make this claim, but it's flat out wrong to say that copyright (or patents, for that matter) are about "allowing market forces" to act. By definition, copyright and patent laws are the opposite of allowing market forces. It's the government stepping up and providing monopoly rights because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that basic market forces don't work in those areas and, thus, the government needs to step in and "correct" some sort of imbalance. So it's really a shame to see Canadian politicians defending the proposed copyright reform bill there, C-32, by claiming that it's about enabling "market forces." That link (found via Michael Geist) highlights a Twitter debate that took place between well-known author/blogger/speaker Cory Doctorow and the leading voice behind C-32, Canadian Heritage Minister, James Moore.

Moore, famously, last week attacked any critics of the bill by calling them "radical extremists" and "babyish." While he later denied saying these things, unfortunately for Moore, the whole thing was caught on video tape. The episode has resulted in many concerned Canadians to speak out, and point out that having concerns over the bill does not make them "radical extremists." Doctorow took particular offense to the whole thing and started asking Moore a bunch of questions via twitter, which we'll try to embed at the bottom of this post (if it doesn't work, the link above to David Eaves' website has some screen shots).

Eaves points out just how many times in the conversation Moore resorts to claiming that this is all about "market forces" saying things like: "Have some faith in market forces - is working w/music & movies. Let creators create, and consumers consume what they want." Eaves counts that Moore resorts to the claim of "market forces" six times in a total of 22 Twitter messages. It's not only a dodge by Moore, it's blatantly false. As both Eaves and Doctorow point out, the whole point of this bill is to remove free market forces, and have the government tilt the scales to one side because it believes the market, without government monopoly protection, fails.

Doctorow tries to point this out to Moore, who doesn't appear to actually be paying attention -- or understanding the issue at all. Eaves points out the ridiculousness of the whole situation:
That a Heritage Minister doesn't understand this is troubling. That he would accuse those who seek to point out this fact and raise awareness to it as "radical extremists" is scandalous. Canadians have entrusted in this person the responsibility for creating a marketplace that rewards creativity, content creation and innovation while protecting the rights of consumers. At the moment, we have a minister who shuts out the very two groups he claims to protect while wrapping himself in a false cloak of the "free market." It is an ominous start for the debate over copyright reform and the minister has only himself to blame
It would be great if we could get past this myth, but it seems like many politicians like to hold up the myth that copyright is about "market forces" to get away from having to actually defend the harm that overly aggressive copyright law can create.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2010 @ 1:21pm

    That was a great exchange between Cory and James Moore, I laughed a lot seeing Moore squeaking and getting cornered and trying to run.

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