Revisiting The Question Of Who Deserves Copyright
from the no-one-deserves-it dept
That post kicked off quite the discussion. Last I looked, there were close to 800 comments on that article, which may set a record. What struck me as interesting was that many critics of the post jumped to the conclusion that if you say it is wrong that anyone "deserves" copyright, it means that there should be no copyright at all. But that wasn't what the post said at all. It was pretty explicit (I thought!), that it was merely saying that any debate over copyright needs to focus on that question of whether or not it promotes the progress, and not on the moral argument that anyone "deserves" such a government granted monopoly. It was nice to see that much of the discussion in the comments was reasoned and well thought out (as always, there were a few exceptions to that), but so much of the debate simply seemed to assume that by arguing against using moral arguments, it was the equivalent of arguing against the entire system.
It may very well be that we'd be better off with no copyright system at all. I've seen arguments to that effect, but I don't think we have nearly enough data to support that position. I do think it's clear that if we had only two options: what we have today or no copyright at all, that no copyright would likely lead to greater societal benefit. But that's just an indication of how bad copyright law is today, not necessarily a total condemnation of copyright law itself. So, I'd like to restart this discussion, by making the point of that earlier post clear: by saying that the moral argument for copyright isn't valid, it's not saying that copyright itself is not necessarily valid. I'm just saying that the debate over copyright should be on the key factor: does it promote the progress or not, and are there better ways to promote the progress?
So, can we focus the next 800 or so comments on that?