We've argued for years that stricter enforcement doesn't stop "piracy," no matter how many times industry folks and politicians insist it otherwise. There's been some recent new empirical evidence
that enforcement doesn't work, from the massive SSRC report, but still politicians and industry folks seem to think enforcement is the only way forward. Rick Falkvinge questions how far it needs to go before people realize enforcement won't stop copying when copying feels totally natural. He points to the situation a few centuries ago in France, where the king set up (and sold) monopolies on certain fabric patterns -- and when people kept copying the fabric patterns, they kept ratcheting up enforcement mechanisms until it was punishable by death
. And out of that, sixteen thousand people
ended up dying.
But at least copying went down, right? Nope. There was no noticeable change in the amount of copied fabrics:
Capital punishment didn’t even make a dent in the pirating of the fabrics. Despite the fact that some villages had been so ravaged that everybody knew somebody personally who had been executed by public torture, the copying continued unabated at the same level.
So why do politicians and industry folk still think that greater legal threats will make a difference?