16 May 2011

Self-Perpetuating Copyright Enforcement

One of the most powerful emotional tricks used by the copyright industry against those seeking to reduce the term and reach of copyright to more rational levels is to invoke the poor starving artists who would suffer if this were to happen.

The fact that the vast majority of creators earn most money soon after producing their work, and relatively little years later, means that taking copyright back to the original 14-year term specified in the Statute of Anne would have minimal effect on them, but it's an undeniably clever pitch.

In reality, the copyright industry couldn't give two hoots about the artists it feeds off, as the following makes clear:

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy previously told TorrentFreak that the ‘damages’ accrued from piracy-related lawsuits will not go to any of the artists, but towards funding more anti-piracy campaigns. “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” he said.

If the copyright industry *really* cared about the artists, this money would go straight into their deserving pockets.

Moreover, this "re-investment" in anti-piracy programmes makes such actions self-fuelling: the money supposedly gained for those poor starving wretches, is actually used to fund the next action, which funds the next action, and so on.

This means that the copyright organisations have a real incentive to choose a strategy that privileges heavy-handed enforcement over new business models. The latter might result in creators getting paid more, while the former ensures that the fat-cats running the enforcement machine continue to lap up the cream....

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