Scribblings of an Abolitionist

by I. S. Harrison

Copyright Monopoly

23 May 2014

My politics had no name

Before the Pirate Party was created by Rick Falkvinge in Sweden, I didn't have a massive understanding of what I called at the time, the Copyright Industry. I already had negative feelings about it, as I refered to it as an "industry", which it clearly became a long time ago. I now refer to it as the Copyright Monopoly, based upon numerous excellent articles by Mr. Falkvinge (see http://falkvinge.net/).

I was initially quite easy on copyright term lengths, feeling that it should be reduced to no more than 20 years. At the time I thought it was a fair concession to the existing over-bloated system that would allow them to continue to innovate and in the future move toward even lower terms. But 20 years sounded like a reasonable value at the time.

When the Pirate Party was founded it showed that I wasn't alone, for once bringing digital rights into the political arena with knowledgeable people who grew up with the Internet from its early beginnings (and pre-Internet). We of the computer clubs, those weirdos in the 70's thru 90's who would meet up at the gasworks or something and share software and information. This is how we lived, there was no real copyright in software back then. I'm digressing, better get back on point.

Now that we have Pirate Parties around the world (we still need more), there is a movement that is building, and I agree with Mr. Falkvinge and his conclusion that Europe holds the keys in terms of the political. The monied monopoly industries are doing everything in their power (read: throwing as much money at the problem as possible, but in the wrong direction) to hold onto control of their content.

There is no control and hats are over-rated anyway

As has become clear over the years however, they are not in control of their content, it is impossible to exert such control, and the desire to do so only drives customers (and fans) away. I would like to say, "It will become increasingly difficult to control content moving forward," but that would be untrue. As harsh as that statement might sound to industry ears, it is already impossible to control content, there is no increasing about it.

As I convolutedly noted earlier in this scribbling, I was all for 20 years term, but now I am of the opinion that abolishment can be the only way forward. Not simply because of the egregious violations of decency that the copyright monopoly decided to pursue (They could have used all that money Creatively rather than Destructively, perhaps?), but also by facing the reality of the world in which we live.

Yes, I propose that the entire copyright system in abolished. I'm not pussy-footing around here. The reason for it's existence was to help writers earn money from performances of their work, which would be in addition to any normal sales they would make. Which as any writer would tell you, was not enough. But these were the days of horse-drawn carriages and men with hats.

Freedom of information vs. the religious order

Nowadays, some of us have in our hands the power to publish, distribute, share, donate all from the comfort of our favourite bipedal seating device. The existing copyright monopolies now only exist to enrich the rich and is therefore no longer fit for purpose. As they are so very rich anyway, I am certain that the "losers" will simply find other business.

The continuation of the desire to restrict the free flow of information will hold back innovation. In Civilization terms, this means less Science and Culture, and no matter the aimed-for Victory Condition, both are vital components for that Victory (I call this The Civilization Scenario).

The Copyright Monopoly has become the new Religion, and they will plunge us back into the Dark Ages to retain control. My personal favourite way to deal with this vile entity is not to deal with it at all. I still download the odd movie now and again, but I'm not really that bothered about watching movies anymore. There's so much better stuff out there. And most of it is given away freely, through choice. If an industry wants to hoarde their content, then I say (for now) let them continue down the path of their own destruction, the more you hoarde, the less relevant a source becomes.

I hope to hear in the future, "The large media conglomerates that previously controlled the worlds entertainment simply faded into obscurity, as the Open Internet marched on." A sad indictment against them but a real hope for the future of humanity (and maybe getting off this rock before its too late).

Profanity doth follow

All that will happen if this continues, is that real information, useful information will follow suit (not that Universities don't already do this). Why keep the information locked up? I have go to the meatspace library to find a fucking book or paper? Bullshit. This whole bullshit parade of locking away information for profit just cannot be allowed to continue. What if they lose the information? What if its life-saving information? The whole system is fucked.

I'll maybe move on to drug patents and all that murky world some other time. Abolitionist on this too, I'm afraid.