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Morality of Copyright

by nightlock

It appears to me as though very few people ever consider the moral side of copyright material. A few hours ago I was reading a Dutch geek news website and in between all the new hardware, new electronics, and new software there are newsposts about countries trying to make piracy look like murder. In Sweden, the creators of 'The Pirate Bay' are on trial for public distribution of copyrighted material or at least for providing a common ground for people to distribute copyrighted material. In New Zealand and France, laws are being written that will allow them to ban people from the internet alltogether when they are found to be in so called illegal possession of copy righted material. In France, they apparantly want to go through a third time's a charm kind of ritual. Two warnings and on the third offense 3 months to a year without internet.
In Canada, ISOhunt, a torrentsite has started a trial, requesting the judge to claim TorrentSites are fully legal companies.

It's absurd, really. I think it is time to bring the entertainment industry out of the dark ages. Internet is here to stay and banning people from the internet for a year is simply undoable. In New Zealand, one ISP has already stated not to comply with government demands, and refuse to ban clients for downloading. CopyRighted material is everywhere.

If a Dutch company allows their employees to listen to the radio they are already required to pay "BUMA/STEMRA" an author-rights organisation that works for any copyrighted material in much the same way as the MPAA in America does for movies. I already have questionmarks here, BUMA already get's paid by the radiobroadcaster, who are the one that are publically distributing the material, so why does a simple sheetmetal plant have to pay for that same material AGAIN, because their employees listen to the radio?
But recently, an incredibly gullible judge declared that allowing your employees to bring and listen to their ipods also constitutes as public distribution of copy righted material. What the hell?

That means that if I buy a CD, legally, upload it to my Ipod and listen to it (all still very legal, and personal and paid for) while I am at work, my boss has to pay for it? But wait, there's more. What of all those IPod wearing yuppies in public transit? Do the Dutch RailWays have to pay BUMA for each passenger that happens to listen to their Ipod while in the train? What of listening to your IPod in the hospital? Or, like me... when you are working on complex code at college. If I look around me at any given point at this college, I see dozens of kids listening to CopyRighted material on their IPods, I think my college might be going bankrupt soon-ish.

But there's another way, if only the recording industry could pull their heads out of the clouds, their eyes away from the money and look at the GNU licence. The GNU General Public Licence is a Software initiative that allows programmers to use software written by others for free. Not all software these days is published under GNU's GPL. But most of the best pieces of Software are, and some of these companies are not only powerful, but they make money. Somehow they make money by distributing free software. This initiative is older than I am.

If it works for Software, why not for other CopyRighted materials? How can you put a price on thoughts anyway? Intellectual property? Am I to ask a few bucks because you have been reading my thoughts? Is it moral to limit the availability of our thoughts?

I think no. What do you think?

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"This is here." :smt104
- March 2009
Morality of Copyright
   Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:35 am

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