It’s a pervasive article of faith amongst the digital believers in a future utopia that copyright is a bad thing. That it retards creativity and innovation and protects the entrenched privileges of powerful corporations.
In a word, this is … CRAP.
Crap in its purest form.
This pernicious belief was seeded and propagated by self interested web entrepreneurs who saw the benefit to them of appropriating other people’s creations and using them to turn an easy buck.
Unfortunately, a bunch of academics weighed in, confusing the practice of freely sharing the fruits of their labours in universities with what professional writers, musicians, and film makers do.
Well, hello Lawrence Lessig, and many others of that ilk. Freely sharing your creative work is all very well when you’re a tenured professor on a fat annual salary. It’s not the same for the average songwriter, or struggling Indy film maker.
So, between cynical exploiters and Ivory tower ideologues, a whole generation of freeloaders have built up some damned erroneous ideas about what is fair, and right; and especially about what copyright actually is, and what it does and does not do.
For instance, there are a lot of people who have no idea that copyright and patent protection are two completely different things.
So, for the benefit of anyone who actually wants to learn something about copyright, here’s a marvellously straightforward explanation. You might be surprised.