Copyright in the digital age

This is from a couple of months back, so some of you may already have seen it. It’s an opinion piece on the Guardian technology blog by Canadian science fiction writer Cory Doctorow, who’s also involved with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

I found it a thought-provoking, rationally argued, and also quite sobering examination of the effect that the internet has had and will continue to have on copyright issues, and the incredibly short-sighted, naive, and even dangerous legislative responses pushed by lobbyists from the entertainment industry (if you think threats to free speech are dangerous).

His argument is basically that attempts to stop illegal copying of music, movies and e-books are doomed to fail, despite attempts to hold internet service providers liable for illegal downloads, or legal action against suspected infringers. As he says:

“Hard drives won’t magically get bulkier but hold fewer bits and cost more. Networks won’t be harder to use. PCs won’t be slower. People won’t stop learning to type ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ into Google. Anyone who claims otherwise is selling something – generally some kind of unworkable magic anti-copying beans that they swear, this time, will really work.”

Highly recommended.

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