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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Infringement? · Friday November 26, 2010 by Crosbie Fitch

How do you stop people enjoying their natural liberty to communicate? How do you prevent them telling each other’s stories, singing each other’s songs, engaging in free cultural intercourse?

How do you end the war against file-sharing? How do you stop immortal corporations persecuting and predating upon the populace?

There are three final solutions:

  1. Draconian enforcement – ‘cultural terror’
  2. Cultural mulct
  3. Copyright abolition

In the first case, the law is so extreme that file-sharing ends, and the war against it ends. There is ‘peace’, but the populace are effectively subjugated into content consumers, too scared stiff to do anything else.

In the second case the copyright cartel’s persecution (deliberately directed at the most naive and innocent victims) catalyses the populace into paying the mob’s protection money. A cultural mulct is collected from all citizens in exchange for immunity from prosecution (no longer based on guilt or evidence). Thus the people pay an unjust rent to those publishing corporations who’ve received and amassed the stolen good that is their cultural liberty (Statute of Anne 1709) for its temporary restitution.

In the third case, the people rub the scales from their eyes and realise the emperor is naked, that they had never lost their liberty, that it was all an illusion, that their children have been innocent all along. Artists learn to exchange their intellectual work for the money of their fans in a free market, no longer intermediated by immortal corporations taking most if not all of the revenue for copies that can no longer be priced as if they were expensive to make.

The only reason the third solution is unthinkable is that those in a position to champion it cannot confront the possibility that all their lives they have been wrong in supporting copyright. Copyright MUST be right. That it is an unethical anachronism and instrument of injustice is too horrific to countenance except as incoherent ranting. People have been indoctrinated by copyright as if it were a religion, to believe that it is the only thing able to encourage author to put pen to paper, the only means of enlightening mankind out of cultural oblivion. This is its ‘truth’, that it is as essential to our species as circumcision, that any questioning of this is heresy.

Being unable to imagine a world without copyright is a failure of imagination.

To succeed starts with a question.

The answer is in a song that I cannot share:

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

From Imagine by John Lennon

______________________

1 This is edited from my response to Cory Doctorow’s comment to How Do You Measure The ‘Benefits’ Of Copyright?



 

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