Ridiculous Copyright Laws
Information flowing through the internet costs very little. And yet, having
access to information is probably one of the most empowering, enriching,
ennobling, enlightening and calming influences that societies, and the world,
Information should be virtually given away for
free, like basic food.
Further, unlike food, with information there
are no real warehousing problems. No real climate problems. No real transport
problems. No real deterioration problems. And, therefore, no real reason not to
give it out virtually for free!
And the copyright laws that currently prevail
in the western world should be blown apart.
In most cases, there is no justifiable reason
any more to protect authors and artists with copyrights for enormous periods of
time. Further, if their work is of real value, why should the rest of the world
for some 80 years or so be subjected to restrictions on making use of it?
The whole world clearly benefits when more and
more people are educated and enriched because they have unfettered access to
information. So, why should copyright holders be empowered to prevent this from
What utter selfishness!
What is wrong with, say, copyrights lasting
for only three years?
The big boys would still make a fortune if
they were producing work that was much in demand.
There is no God-given right for authors and artists to
be made wealthy through copyrights.
And, OK, maybe they would not make as much as
they would like to over the years, but, TOUGH! There is no God-given right for
authors and artists to be made wealthy through copyrights.
Teachers cannot charge copyright fees for the
continuing use of the information that they have hammered into the heads of
Policemen cannot charge copyright fees for all
the benefits that society continues to reap from their dealings with criminals.
Surgeons cannot continue to demand copyright
fees for the arteries that they have constructed around their patients' hearts.
And, surely, if someone's written or artistic
creation is much in demand, then, should it become copyright-free after three
years, it would spread like wildfire.
The reputations of the creator would truly soar - worldwide. And so the
creator could then make an even bigger killing with the next piece of work than
he would have done had the copyright continued to be enforced on the first piece
of work for 80 years.
(This might not be true for the tiny few at the
very very top of the pile - who often continue for many years to make fortunes
from their copyrights of very old material - but it would certainly be true for
99.9% of creators.)
And the little people would also benefit by
restricting the copyright laws because those who had faith in and admiration for
their work would feel free to disseminate it after the three years was up.
This could set the professional ball rolling
for unknown creators and artists without the need for them to have the resources
of well-heeled producers or publishers behind them.
Indeed, here on the internet, the material
published in newspapers and magazines are often posted on to websites and remain
in view for months, if not for years, promoting the publications, their authors
and their ideas when the printed versions of their work have completely
disappeared from view.
And what about the vast majority of authors
and artists who are struggling? Do not they count for anything?
the bulk of the talented are relegated immediately into
the realms of obscurit
While the wealthy corporations and the famous
spend huge sums promoting their sure-fired selves and grid-locking the whole
industry in their favour, the bulk of the talented are relegated immediately
into the realms of obscurity - outweighed and outgunned by the powerful and the
famous who call all the shots.
Notice also how the big corporations and the
publishers quite happily use works that are now out of copyright in order to
make themselves even greater fortunes - e.g. by FREELY using the works of
Shakespeare, Mozart etc.
And, of course, famous artists themselves
regularly take un-copyrighted material, re-arrange it in some way, and then
copyright the arrangement!
Why shouldn't smaller enterprises be released
from the control of those who currently pull all the strings?
Further, of course, with the new technology,
authors and artists can now access a vast worldwide market, thanks to the work
of scientists, computer experts, technicians, software engineers and a whole
swathe of people most of whom do not have laws of copyright to feed them monies
whenever somebody uses whatever it is they created.
And copyrights limited to three years gives
famous authors and artists more than enough time to make a fortune.
And the same is true with regard to software.
Why, for example, should Windows 3.1 - and its
code - not be available for anyone to distribute for free?
How can it possibly be right to prevent the
less well-heeled from enjoying the use of this old but empowering product?
Why should more impoverished people (MOST of
the planet) be denied access to music, art, literature, software - and
information in general - simply because large corporations and famous artists
wish to hog it all and control it!?
This is nothing but greed.
And, of course, this is why, for example, Hollywood and people like Bill
Gates are so rich.
By restricting copyrights to three years, markets would
By restricting copyrights to three years,
markets would open up, the associated industries would expand as more people
became involved with them and more consumers consumed their products, the
workers in these industries would have more power and more choice with regard to
whom they worked for, the worthier products would be far more easily promoted
and so they would float to the top of the pile without much effort and without
hindrance from the power groups that currently control the whole business, and
the whole planet would be the richer in very many ways.
Here is an example.
Stephen King writes another whopper. He's got
three years to make his money, which he will.
After his three years is up, that's it.
Along comes an entrepreneur who sets up a
successful business of shipping newly-freed-from-copyright works of famous
authors down the internet for a mere 10 cents. So the WHOLE WORLD can now access
Stephen King's work for virtually nothing.
The entrepreneur is delighted.
Stephen King is now more famous and more
widely read than ever before. And he writes another book.
But he can now make a deal with the very same
entrepreneur (who wouldn't have existed under the old copyright system) to allow
his new book (with three years of copyright protection) to be downloaded for 50
cents to a much bigger market than he would have had before.
And Stephen King can make 40 cents each time!
The same kind of thing goes for drugs patents. They last for 20 some years.
Why not five years?
The argument is, of course, that drugs
companies need to recover the costs of their huge investments in research and
Well, that's fair enough. But they can simply
charge a lot more in the first five years for use of their products.
And then, as soon as the five years were up,
other drugs companies, now completely unfettered by the patent, could start
producing the stuff by the bucketload.
And so more people all over the world would get involved in the business of
producing the very drugs that are wanted.
Quite simply, more manufacturing plants and
distribution systems, the world over, would be tempted into being.
And then, the next time that the drug company came up with something new,
there would already be in place for them many more outlets to many more millions
of people than there would have been under the 20-year drug patent law.
Restricting drug patents to 5 years instead of 20 would therefore not only
benefit millions more people with regard to accessing the drugs, but it would
also empower the workers in the drug industry by opening up for them many more
avenues for their work. Their skills would be in greater demand.
(And the same kind of reasoning could be
applied to the music and the software industries.)
Surely the wealthy and the powerful have no
moral right to continue to tend solely to their own aspirations via clever
lawyers and clever laws to the relative detriment of everyone else.
I do not begrudge them their wealth. Most of
them will have worked hard for it. But, for many years now, a few people have
been doing far too well out of the copyright and patent rackets, and they have
been depriving too many people of important resources.
Microsoft, the entertainment industry,
Hollywood, the overpaid 'stars', the hugely profitable drug companies, and all
the associated lawyers and human accessories that go with them have grown very
rich and fat by denying resources to others through legal maneuverings.
But the whole world would benefit hugely by
giving as many people as possible unrestricted access to the results of the
creators' intellects, their wisdom and their creativity.
And politicians should be made to understand
Besides which, I do not actually think that
they are going to have much choice in the near future.
Yes, there would certainly be a few creative
people who would be worse off (but most of them only slightly so) if copyright
and patent laws were to give protection for only 3 or 5 years.
But virtually everyone else in the world would
benefit in numerous significant ways.