Saturday, April 23, 2005

Deconstructing stupidity / Comment & analysis / Columnists - James Boyle: Deconstructing stupidity: "Since only about 4 per cent of copyrighted works more than 20 years old are commercially available, this locks up 96 per cent of 20th century culture to benefit 4 per cent. The harm to the public is huge, the benefit to authors, tiny. In any other field, the officials responsible would be fired. Not here."

This is an excellent summary of one of the few issues that I really get worked up about. Unfortunately, it's an issue that few others care about or think through. Trust me on this, you will run into the stupidity of current copyright and patent laws soon. You'll try to move all of that music you spent hundreds of dollars purchasing on iTunes to a new computer and discover you can't because a record company believes it has the "right" to protect an obsolete business model. You'll discover that a feature you've used in, say, Tivo will suddenly stop working because a broadcaster or film studio has activated a compliant politician. Intellectual property laws are a good idea (I make my living based on them), but they need to be limited.

Another good link (albeit a very old one) is Cory Doctorow's talk to Microsoft on why digital rights management is a bad idea.