17 July 2007

More Grist for the (Circumscribed) Copyright Mill

Although doing away with copyright altogether is probably not such a hot idea - after all, the GNU GPL, and the edifice of free software it supports, depends on it for its efficacy - there is increasing evidence that we should be limiting its scope.

Here's some more:

The 2001 Information Society Directive (2001/29/EC) is introduced thus: “If authors or performers are to continue their creative and artistic work, they have to receive appropriate reward for the use of their work…” (Recital 10). “A rigorous, effective system for the protection of copyright and related rights is one of the main ways of ensuring that European cultural creativity and production receive the necessary resources and of safeguarding the independence and dignity of artistic creators and performers”(Recital 11).

This study shows quite conclusively that current copyright law has empirically failed to meet these aims. The rewards to best-selling writers are indeed high but as a profession, writing has remained resolutely unprosperous.


Compared to the UK, writers’ earnings are lower and less skewed in Germany. This may reflect a more regulated environment for copyright contracts in Germany. It may also reflect the globalised nature of English language markets.

More about the study, and links to its consituent parts can be found on this page.

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