by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, free, non-commercial

Rethinking Copyright: Letting Free Be Free

from the rather-than-locking-it-up dept

Lots of folks have been rethinking copyright lately, and there are some interesting ideas out there (some of which we'll be exploring at the SXSW panel I'm moderating in March on "what would copyright law look like if it were created today?"). Michael Scott points us to an interesting piece by someone at the Yale Law & Technology blog arguing that copyright only works for big companies and does more harm than good for "smaller" artists. I'm not sure I understand the reasoning of how it works better for some than others, and while I don't think copyright is a particularly effective or useful mechanism for nearly all artists, this separation of big and small artists seems like a stretch. In fact, I'm sure many smaller artists claim (perhaps not entirely accurately) that copyright keeps their works from being exploited by large companies.

The author's "solution" to copyright issues may be better than what we have now, but it seems like there would likely be many other problems. His solution is basically to use an attribution-non-commercial Creative Commons license as the default, and then let others (in his estimation, big companies) ratchet up their copyright protections, if they so choose. I'm not convinced this really makes that much sense. This just gives the big corporations more leverage to scoop up the rights from others, taking many artists further away from their fans. On top of that, we've explained many times why the whole "non-commercial" thing isn't as simple as some would have you believe, and that there are good reasons not to put in place a "non-commercial" caveat.

Still, it's nice to see more and more people recognizing that our current copyright system is hopelessly broken. Whether they'll ever be in a position to fix things is a whole different story.

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  1. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 9 Feb 2011 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You managed to figure it out okay, and you aren't exactly a beacon of intelligence and insight. So quit worrying about other readers: they are doing just fine.

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