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Too Much Copyright: This Generation's Prohibition

The folks over at ReasonTV have put together a great episode about the state of copyright law today. Hosted by Zach Weissmueller, the video includes three guests. Professor Tom Bell, who is well known for his useful depiction of the insanity of copyright extension via the Mickey Mouse curve, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, and the MPAA's Ben Sheffner.
There's a nice animation of the Mickey Mouse curve which is even more powerful than the standard image version:
Sheffner trots out the usual lines about property rights and how we're going to see less content going forward, which Bell rightly scoffs. The video then uses our Sky Is Rising report to highlight how silly Sheffner's claims are. Sheffner also has the unenviable task (because it's a despicable position to take) of claiming that site blocking is a perfectly reasonable solution. Go censorship!

It's also nice to see ReasonTV highlight the ridiculousness of copyright laws today by refusing to use any material covered by copyright to demonstrate certain points. So, rather than show Mickey Mouse, they show three revolving balls, and ask you to imagine how they might come together to form a mouse-like shape.
Is this an exaggeration of the restrictions in place today? Sure. They have a perfectly valid fair use claim to showing Mickey Mouse -- but they're being safe in an era where people are getting sued for the same sorts of things all the time. And, in an era where the MPAA argues, with a straight face, that blocking entire sites is a reasonable remedy, you can understand why they'd rather be safe than sorry.

The whole thing is worth watching, but the key point really comes at the end from Ben Huh, and it's a point that we've been raising for years:
This disconnect between the public's view of copyright and fair use and what should and should not be prosecuted vs. the copyright maximist's view of the law is our generation's prohibition. The law no longer reflects what the society believes to be true. And I think that if they continue to go down that route, they're going to see even bigger backlash.
This is such a key point, and one we've raised over and over again. The disrespect for copyright law today is not because people are uneducated or immoral. It's because copyright law just doesn't make any sense at all. It's so disconnected from reality and societal norms, that people can't respect it. The fact that the industry's response to this is to push to make the laws even more ridiculous and push them further away from people's natural tendencies, is only going to serve the opposite purpose of the maximalists' intentions. They are driving an entire generation into thinking that the whole of copyright law is entirely pointless.

Filed Under: ben huh, ben sheffner, mickey mouse, sky is rising, tom bell
Companies: mpaa, reasontv

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2012 @ 10:35pm

    I think you have North and South Korea confused. Which is a little alarming given the differences between the two.
    Secondly, Singapore isn't a cheap 3rd world country. Singapore is actually #8 on the list of the most expensive cities in the world.
    It may just have a better standard of tech worker when it comes to animation etc

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