I want to make this post short. I really do! I have an agenda with a concrete subject I want to address, but I can't stop myself writing a short, abstract introduction first. Please, forgive me...
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation the purpose of copyright is twofold:
"To encourage a dynamic culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public."
On the other hand, the adjectives for the other main aspect of copyright's definition are far from sedated: widespread (spread to a great distance; widely extended; extending far and wide. [1913 Webster]) and affordable (That may be afforded. [1913 Webster]); which shows exactly what should be the focus of copyright: to benefit the PUBLIC, fostering creativity, spreading far and wide the works of human invention.
No, that's not what copyright stands for today: defying its own definition, copyright is being actively and effectively (ab)used to prevent the widespread access to content for the public, and to maximize profits in detriment of affordability for the masses.
In a time when the actually affordable widespread access to creative content is finally made possible through technology, the very own copyright holders resort to any means, licit or illicit, sometimes even immoral (harassing and bullying people), to prevent the very own realization of copyright's utmost objective.
|Poor housewife fined $1.5M|
To add insult to injury, these corporations "hire" the support of corrupt politicians and governments that pass laws and acts to legitimate their coercive and abusive practices for "protecting the author's rights", aiming to tighten their grip over creative works, broadening and twisting the concept of copyright into something that serves exclusively to secure their profits and protect their own interests. This was an evil that Robert A. Heinlein detected back then in 1939, in his book Life-Line:
"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."Two things strike me most in this brilliant quote by Heinlein:
- How can someone be so adept at writing as to summarize in such few words, and with much more impact and precision, everything that I'm trying to say in this whole (and still unfinished) post?
- How things didn't change even a bit since 1939. You can take Heinlein's quote verbatim and apply it to what is happening today. Government and corporations working against the public interest, to stop the clock of history, to guarantee the profits they have been making out of this very same public...
|RIAA sues severely sick teen|
The concrete motivation behind this post was the fact that I tried to BUY an audio track from a musician that I admire but due to unfair, discriminatory, xenophobic, profit-maximizing and restrictive policies enforced by record-labels and accepted by Apple I was PROHIBITED FROM BUYING IT!
Yes, you read it right! The very same lords of copyright, in their amazing wisdom, think they can increase their revenues by preventing legitimate, loyal customers like me from buying "their" goodies. They have segregated the world into areas to maximize profit, and, in violation of copyright, they are actually preventing access to content instead of promoting its widespread availability (at an affordable price). If you live in Brazil (like me) you can't buy ANYTHING in iTunes. I own an international credit card issued in Brazil, and if it was not for the Kindle for the iPhone (the phone alone costs a hefty U$ 800,00 around here) I would have nothing to read on the device unless I resorted to pirated books. I guess the U$ 240 that I spent the last month alone on Kindle books (thanks but no thanks Amazon) is not good enough for Apple, record-labels, copyright holders and ultimately authors.
Legitimate customers like me have to judiciously and consciously spent a lot of effort and go to immense extents to simply pay for the copyrighted work they want to buy. I can't see the reasoning behind this. You want to maximize profit, why do you make it difficult for people to pay you?
When the pirated product offers greater quality (did you ever saw a fan-sub anime? They are way better than any official offerings), more options, no restrictions and widespread availability then you know there is something terribly and deeply wrong with the way the "big guys" think!
Let's face it! There is no cost anymore with distribution, it's been shown that customers are more than willing to sponsor themselves the distribution of content in peer-to-peer networks. Going all-digital also offer a lot of other savings, even the cost of "pressing" physical media will be gladly accepted by customers too. The key to success lies just in following copyright's own aims: to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.
|The Xeelee are unavailable to Latin America customers.|
On the other hand I could easily download anything (and I really mean anything) for free, and almost instantly, by using the lovely µTorrent + Google combination. And it would play flawlessly on my WD TV, PS3, Linux box, DVD...
Is it too hard to see that as "they" get more and more restrictive, people are more and more willing to (sometimes even having to) resort to "piracy"?
As it stands now, piracy is more in line with copyright's original idea than its twisted version promoted by the powers that be.
Piracy is certainly wrong in many contexts, but current copyright law is nothing bu draconian and evil. This is so unreasonable.
Piracy may be the last stand of reason after all!
PS.: In case you were wondering, the tune I wanted to buy was "Rondo alla Turca (Turkish March)" by Italian drummer Andrea Vadrucci (vadrum). My Brazilian friends who cannot buy anything from iTunes, you can listen (and watch) to this tune/video for free on YouTube by clicking here. For my US readers, please, do what I couldn't, buy it on iTunes here so that Andrea can have some returning value for his creativity and amazing work (which he has been putting for free on YouTube for many years already!)