Copyright and the sun.

Rowan has asked a pretty pertinent question, following the scrapping of the Section 92a of the copyright amendment act.

For those not up on the play, 92a basically said that people could have internet suspended if they were accused, presumably by music/movie companies, of infringing on their copyright. The ‘accusing’ word got a lot of people rightly worked up, and considering how ridiculous the clause was, it got a long way before being stopped. Judith Tizard, who in a fit of , well, not sure really, I guess just a fit, was the champion of the amendment, got this completely wrong. And so, after a lengthy process, the clause has been scrapped.

So Rowan asks… now what?

So my comment, and partial answer is: The landscape has changed forever. This cannot be legislated against. If I want to download your song/movie/et al that you spent ages and millions making and its on the web, I can. For free. You can argue about right and wrong, but you might as well argue against the sun coming up.

The thing that can be legislated against is me downloading your song, then using it in a commercial enterprise. This is already covered by copyright law. If it can be established that I am making money by unlawfully leveraging your IP, sue my sorry ass.

But if I am playing your song/movie, and giving it to my mates and they’re giving it to their mates, that is the nature of the landscape. There are winners and losers, I suspect more winners than losers, but thats another story. This is the reality. You cannot legislate against reality. Oh look, the sun is up.

So what does this mean? Whats the solution? There are a million examples of highly profitable industries being buried by technology changes. Artists need to ensure that people want to pay for the add-ons only they can provide. Movies need to generate revenue from cinemas. Like, well, you know, they used to, profitably, before the advent of the video player. Musicians sell concerts, and meta data type add-ons. And industry companies sell convenience, eg, ITunes store.

The industry has changed. In some senses, its just gone back about 50 years in terms of how to raise money from being an artist. In others, like being able to reach billions more people, the future is here. The world for artists therefore, should be a much bigger, better place. Interested in comments…!

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Copyright and the sun.

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