Just as with our discussions on the efficacy of rain dances, I am most fascinated by stories of the baffling choices of copyright maximalists which, albeit unintentionally, most definitely promote content piracy/theft [insert Chris Dodd’s buzzword of the week]. With that in mind, my favorites list will consist of stories about various entities hilariously undermining copyright in spite of themselves.
Copyright Countdown: #7
Number 7 in my "A Week in Copyright" review is actually a multi–part post comparing the economics and psychology of parking to copyright. At first blush, this analogy seems a bit farfetched, but upon closer inspection the comparison is actually fairly on point. Larry Downes does an excellent job of calling out the content producers who want to reap all the benefits of essentially free distribution and reproduction, but not pass along any of those cost-savings to consumers:
Worse, even as the unit cost of media declines, the rules against unauthorized copying have become stricter. It’s as if there were suddenly millions of new parking spaces available across Manhattan, but parking lots keep charging more than $10 an hour. And all the meters are suspiciously broken.
Copyright Countdown: #6
Honestly, I had been waiting all week for a post tearing down Blizzard for their abysmal Diablo III DRM fiasco, but alas my gamer rage will have to settle for a different target. And so we have this post highlighting the generous offering by Crytek to let you play the game for which you paid. Wow. Although I wouldn’t fault someone for pirating/cracking a game they own, personally I wouldn’t play this game even if someone paid me. If they can’t figure out how to let paying customers play their games, I just can’t imagine the rest of the product is worth the time it takes to remove the shrink wrap.
Copyright Countdown: #5
Number 5 highlights the cognitive dissonance the American government seems to be experiencing with regards to free speech and copyright. This is particularly amusing/interesting for me because up here in Canada, we actually have laws against "hate speech." Sometimes it surprises me how even the most extreme hatred is covered by the American first amendment. Personally, I am undecided as to which approach is better. At any rate, call me disappointed to learn that while racist hatred is protected by American free speech laws, suppressing speech in the name of copyright is apparently totally fine because, you know, reasons.
Copyright Countdown: #4
The post about copyright infringement and the coming "singularity" was, frankly, quite disturbing. Just when I was beginning to think that death would be my only escape from the insanity that is modern copyright, Techdirt points out that even in the great beyond I will be infringing on copyrights and ignoring shrink-wrap click-through agreements to no end (bringing all new context to the maximalist goal of "forever minus a day"). I guess with that in mind, we can amend that old saying to, "Nothing is certain but copyright and taxes."
Copyright Countdown: #3
I have always said that if the concept of libraries hadn’t already been well established prior to modern copyright, they never would have been accepted today. Let’s pretend libraries were just invented last week: can you imagine the uproar this would create among book publishers? "Accessing knowledge? For free?! Madness! This is practically a physical manifestation of the Pirate Bay!!1!" Thankfully, we don’t have to exhaust our imaginations because the UK Publishers Association won’t let a little thing like "reality" prevent them from harping against such an evil as libraries.
Copyright Countdown: #2
This one is a doozy. Apparently, some TV people have just realized that many viewers don’t like commercials. So rather than, I don’t know, make commercials people actually want to watch, those same people want to make it illegal to skip commercials. I don’t really know what to say, but I think this may be one of those instances where a picture is worth a thousand words. [SFW, picture from A Clockwork Orange]
Copyright Countdown: #1
And finally, this
post, featuring Ethan Kaplan, once again offers some basic economics
lessons on supply, demand and artificial scarcities. Apparently, it’s hard to
build a successful business if you ignore these most fundamental principles.
But the most interesting point here was Mike rehashing a probable causal link
between file sharing and increased sales. It occurs to me: there is
method to their
rain dances copyright expansionism, and their evil
genius is much more sinister than previously thought. They are expanding
copyright to ridiculous extremes because they know this will only serve to
promote piracy, which in turn will ultimately trick us into increasing their
sales. How could we have missed that!?
So there we have it: 7 hilarious failures, one for each day of the week. But don’t be sad; I have no doubt there will be plenty more next week. And the week after that. Just when you think we’ve hit rock bottom, someone else steps up to the plate with another hilariously flailing attempt at salvaging the copyright monopolies of yesteryear, but in actuality they only further undermine respect for the law and drive even more people to functional alternatives, legal or otherwise. It’s so predictable and obvious, you almost want to charge them with inducement to infringe.