When We Copy, We Justify It; When Others Copy, We Vilify Them
from the everything-is-a-remix dept
As he notes, this is psychologically understandable. It's all about "loss aversion." People feel a sense that they "own" something which they really do not -- and that's often boosted by the concepts of intellectual property that really spread the idea that you can, in fact, own an idea (and, yes, technically neither copyright nor patents apply directly to "ideas," but that's a nuance that most people fail to grasp when they see how content and inventions are considered "owned" under the laws of today).
The video then talks about the continued expansion of copyright laws, and the more nefarious effort to continue to ratchet things up through trade agreements like ACTA and TPP. But he also points out that this is somewhat ironic, since in its early years, the US refused to sign similar trade agreements, and was a "pirate nation" that ignored copyrights from around the globe.
The video doesn't just cover copyrights, but digs into patents as well -- with specific attention paid to broad software patents that do little to contribute any knowledge to the world, but instead take broad concepts and seek to lock them up for the purpose of suing and trying to extract settlements from those actually creating and innovating.
From there he breaks out the original purpose of both copyrights and patents under the US system. In both cases, they were about benefiting the public: to encourage learning or to promote the progress of "useful" arts (inventions). But when the laws fail to do that, then we should see the system as broken and seek to remedy it.
All in all, Ferguson's series is a great introduction to many of the issues we cover around here. I don't fully agree with everything in all of the videos -- and the latest one has a slight undertone suggesting that capitalism and markets in and of themselves are bad (which I think is conflating a few different issues). But overall the videos are fantastic -- and in terms of production quality, it seems like each one in the series is better than the previous one. He keeps maturing as a video maker, which is cool to see. Ferguson is now moving on to a new project, called This is Not a Conspiracy Theory, for which he's raising funds on Kickstarter, so check it out.