Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Piracy is the Creation of the Content Industy

The content industry is creating piracy. How so? Well - the content industry has been actively changing the law to make formerly legal activities criminal in nature. It is time to re-orientate our thinking on this.  Just because there is a "law" does not mean that the "law" should be considered just.

Recently, I posted SOPA/PIPA Follow-Up, Fox News Wants Examples of Media Bias, Steven Titch on SOPA and PIPA for Non-Techies, and Eliminate Piracy Now! in which I raised demonstrated that the content industry has been lobbying to change the copyright law to their benefit and that they are not interested in "compromise".

Mike Masnick, at TechDirt, made a much more extensive analysis in "How Much Is Enough? We've Passed 15 'Anti-Piracy' Laws In The Last 30 Years". Mike notes that the content industry, despite the passage of 15 pieces of favorable legislation, continues to complain that more needs to be done to stop piracy.  Mike concludes with "All we've seen is expansion after expansion after expansion, always using questionable claims of rampant infringement that is supposedly destroying industries. Each time, the various industries would create a moral panic about why this law was absolutely needed. Forgive us for being a bit skeptical. We've seen this game pretty damn frequently."

In reviewing the comments left by readers, I noted that several readers made comments that require further exposure. Cicero raised the issue of property rights. One of the foundations of property rights is that they emerge out of scarcity. Seems to me, that if you have an infinite resource (digital content) then, logically, the (ersatz) property right (to digital content) vaporizes.

TtfnJohn raised the issue of technological advancements. Seems that the content industry believes that advances in technology give them additional rights. Why should it? I would advocate that the content creators are NOT entitled to any new "rights".

Lets look at the example of a paper book. You can take that book anywhere, you can read it anytime, and you can sell it. So why should the development of a new technology give the content creators the "right" to deprive the reader of the ability to read the book out-of-region, to limit your ability to view content at your leisure, or to prevent you from selling it, or to even "brick" your devices.  The content industry should not have a "right" to deprive, at their will, a person of their property rights.

Along the theme expressed above Mike Masnick coincidentally wrote: "MPAA: Ripping DVDs Shouldn't Be Allowed Because It Takes Away Our Ability To Charge You Multiple Times For The Same Content."

To conclude, it is the content industry that is creating the pirates that they claim are destroying their industry. The content industry can solve the piracy problem by compromising with a restoration of the copyright law as it was originally envisioned and recognizing the property rights of those who buy content to freely use it.

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