Casey sent me an email a while back asking me to comment on a music/copyright post he'd found. I still intend to weigh in on that in some detail, but in the meantime I thought I'd throw this Locus Magazine piece by Cory (Boing Boing) Doctorow up here for other Contrarians to comment on. This is good stuff that gets to the root problem with copyright law and the Internet. . .
Copyright law valorizes copying as a rare and noteworthy event.
On the Internet, copying is automatic, massive, instantaneous, free,
and constant. Clip a Dilbert cartoon and stick it on your office door
and you're not violating copyright. Take a picture of your office door
and put it on your homepage so that the same co-workers can see it, and
you've violated copyright law, and since copyright law treats copying
as such a rarified activity, it assesses penalties that run to the
hundreds of thousands of dollars for each act of infringement.
There's a word for all the stuff we do with creative works —
all the conversing, retelling, singing, acting out, drawing, and
thinking: we call it culture.
Culture's old. It's older than copyright.
The existence of culture is why copyright is valuable.
The fact that we have a bottomless appetite for songs to sing together,
for stories to share, for art to see and add to our visual vocabulary
is the reason that people will pay money for these things.
Let me say that again: the reason copyright exists is because
culture creates a market for creative works. If there was no market for
creative works, there'd be no reason to care about copyright.