A whole bunch of folks sent over Andy Baio's recent brilliant post entitled No Copyright Intended
, after the exceptionally common phrase found all over YouTube, where uploaders (mostly young uploaders) declare that, or the slightly modified "no copyright infringement intended," with videos they post. These are almost always on videos of songs or remixes -- in other words, content that almost certainly does infringe on someone's copyright. But the key point is that young people today intrinsically recognize that this doesn't make sense -- and they assume that their non-commercial use
and intent not to profit
mean that it should be fine. Legally, it's not. But it's certainly important to recognize that very few young people seem to recognize or care about this:
How pervasive is it? There are about 489,000 YouTube videos that say "no copyright intended" or some variation, and about 664,000 videos have a "copyright disclaimer" citing the fair use provision in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.
As he notes, many kids really seem to hope that just explaining their intentions will ward off a takedown, even though so many takedowns are automated these days. But the key point that Baio makes is at the end, where he notes that "no amount of lawsuits or legal threats will change the fact that this behavior is considered normal..."
And from there, he suggests that as this generation ages, and begins voting, the trend of ever more draconian copyright laws is going to start to look pretty silly:
Here's a thought experiment: Everyone over age 12 when YouTube launched in 2005 is now able to vote.
What happens when — and this is inevitable — a generation completely comfortable with remix culture becomes a majority of the electorate, instead of the fringe youth? What happens when they start getting elected to office? (Maybe "I downloaded but didn't share" will be the new "I smoked, but didn't inhale.")
Remix culture is the new Prohibition, with massive media companies as the lone voices calling for temperance. You can criminalize commonplace activities from law-abiding people, but eventually, something has to give.
We've been arguing the same thing for a while. We're often told that as these kids grow up and "learn" more about copyright they'll change their minds. I just don't see it. It may happen for a small percentage, but it's tough for these kids to deny reality. Sharing content, remixing content and building on content is so natural to them. The idea that it should be illegal simply makes no sense at all. No amount of "education" (even if it involves McGruff the Crime Dog
) can fool people into believing that nonsense is reasonable.