[Getting Rid Of ‘IP’] Why Should They?
Three people launch independent careers in their fields of interest. The first person becomes an independent farmer. He works long hours, produces quality food, and sells it to processors as well as to individuals who patronize the local farmers’ markets. Once someone pays him for his food, he’s done. The buyer can sell or give away the food without the farmer getting any more money out of it.
The second person becomes a carpenter, creating beautiful hardwood desks to support people’s computers. She works long hours, produces quality hardware, and sells it to wholesalers as well as to individuals who patronize her occasional showroom sales. Once someone pays her for her furniture, she’s done. The buyer can sell or give away the furniture without the carpenter getting any more money out of it.
The third person becomes a musician, creating stirring and poetic music to unleash people’s emotions. He works weird hours, records his music and provides it by digital download to people who have paid for it. Once someone pays for a copy of a song, he’s just beginning the process. Thanks to technological usage restrictions (TUR, often euphemized as DRM or digital rights management), if the buyer wants to play the song on a different kind of device, they have to re-buy the content.
The question for Americans is why should they music, movie, software, and publishing industries get to re-sell you the same content over and over? Why should they prevent you from selling or giving the content you purchased to someone else (as long as you don’t retain a copy after the sale)? Why should they?
I would suggest that we really need to take another look at copyrights and patents, with an eye toward making it easier to comply with the rules and with rules that balance society’s benefit (e.g., more public domain works, which is the justification the Constitution uses for permitting monopolies such as copyrights and patents) and the interests of creators. Not the interests of large media and software and publishing corporations who create nothing and divert the bulk of the royalties to fatten their own coffers. Society and creators.
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