July 13, 2004

Matto Ichiban: In the Dark

by Guest Contributor

Gotta start checking my mail at work . . .

Anyway, the one area of law where Congress has completely missed the boat is copyright: everything passes unanimously, everything totally benefits special interests, and nobody cares. The lack of care to copyright has sometimes been borderline unconstitutional, like extending the terms for works already created by twenty years, and much of it is downright incoherent, like the monolithic right in digital sound recording performance rights.

Ironically, as technology makes it easier and easier for the common person to create, transfer, and enjoy works of intellectual property (and information in general), the law is making it harder and harder. In this area of the law Congress has virtually abdicated its role to private parties. Behind the shield of "protecting markets" and the fruits of authors' labors lies protectionist legislation that lines the pockets of the few at the expense of the public (literally: depriving the public of a thriving public domain is tantamount to a legislative taking pawned off on people over the last century).

The market for air would greatly increase if its supply was regulated by law, but that is no excuse to deny people the benefit of the free flow of it around them: to live, play, work, think, and do everything else that separates humans from animals. In this regard, more than any other, Congress is failing America, and if Orrin Hatch has anything to say about it, it will continue for years to come. Write your Congressman: tell them to get wise on intellectual property, visit Lessis Blog occasionally, and give people back the right to use works of intellectual property that technology is giving them.

July 13, 2004 09:48 PM | TrackBack

Once again, Matto is right on. If only there was some way to get the public interested in things like this, to drive politicians to make a difference.

Unfortunately, the general public is comprised of people who are much smaller nerds than the rest of us.

Posted by: Brian at July 13, 2004 10:01 PM

I agree! I don't have anything more to say than that, but I'm posting a comment so that this excellent post has another vote.

Posted by: DG at July 14, 2004 09:05 AM

I totally agree. Even as a future IP lawyer (most likely, although in patent law), I think it is very important that the law, and those who make the laws (Congress and judges, I'm looking at you) make sure that 1) IP law makes sense for its purpose (which is to promote innovation and creativity) and 2) Is designed for the good of the public as a whole. Very good post. In fact, I think you could have developed it more. Thanks for the link too.

Posted by: Unreasonable Man at July 14, 2004 10:08 AM

Very well done.

Posted by: Soupie at July 14, 2004 10:55 AM

The sad thing is those private parties are winning in court and in Congress, and I really wish there were a way to make people more aware of the rights were losing. While as creators we enjoy a copyright, as consumers we shouldn't be prevented from enjoying the fair use right to a cd or a dvd or even a book. But in the end it's all about the money, and it isn't necessarily the copyright owner that stands in the way, but the corporation that owns the license.

So anyway, yes, something needs to be done. Good post.

Posted by: yasmín at July 14, 2004 11:37 AM

No surprise that Matto and I--if only on this issue--are birds of a feather

Posted by: Nick Morgan at July 14, 2004 10:33 PM

blee blee blee

Posted by: W at July 15, 2004 08:47 AM

Just to note, Orrin Hatch is himself a published artist. www.hatchmusic.com Hence his readiness to approve anything suggested by the RIAA.

Posted by: Anthony2 at July 15, 2004 02:19 PM
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