The idea that the triviality of making a digital copy of something renders current copyright law all but obsolete.

This idea has been mentioned in a fear and loathing context in a recent Harlan Ellison rant at

My opinion is that copyright is dead, mostly because it's impossible to enforce without having a police state. I think copyright is still enforceable in the cases of a central point of distribution that engages in commerce, but that's in increasingly limited case.

Many people reject this idea out of hand out of fear that people who create stuff won't get paid anymore. While I am sympathetic to this problem, I think the solution is to find new ways to compensate artists, not to scream, moan, and cry about a situation that cannot be changed.

People want stories, pictures and music. It's one of the defining elements of humanity. Somehow, things will arrange themselves so that these things can continue to be produced. The best thing to do is to help this happen.

In the node In defense of intellectual property laws smartalix writes "Let's say you write a song, perform it at a club, and then find out 100,000 people heard that performance via a bootleg recording. You can't sell the single to anyone now, and nobody paid you for the downloads. Were you raped or robbed?"

The answer is neither. If you wanted to be compensated for the time it took to write your piece, you shouldn't have performed it until you knew you'd get the money you wanted. As soon as the work makes it out into the Whole Wide World, it's there, and there's nothing reasonable that can be done to get it back under control.

A possible alternative to copyright, and the payment of royalties, does exist in Canada.

When you buy a blank videotape, etc., you pay tax that goes into a fund that is used to pay artists who have copyrighted material.

Libraries, in a similar manner, are members of co-operatives that allow for the limited photocopying of copyright works, and the payment of copyright owners.

In Canada, there are two legs that copyright protection stands on, illegal selling of the work, and the moral rights the author has in the work. It is hard to see hoe we at E2 are engaged in the illegal selling of a work, though an author might have legitimate claim for violation of their moral right.

The biggest motivation to sentiments such as those of Omnifarious above, is the unreasonable extension of copyright protection in the United States and England in particular. (See How Long Copyright Protection Endures) Even the American Constitution allows only for a reasonable time for this protection, to balance interests.

In countries, such as Canada, where the term of copyright protection is basically 50 years, a balance between the interests of the creator, and the public can be made.

The goal of an intellectual commons, maybe read the internet, is not impossible, but depend, as does most everything these days, on the reining in of corporate power.

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