Monday, November 20, 2006

Australian copyright legislation rushes on!

A post about copyright law in Australia this time. Australia is seeing new legislation rushing through Parliament that would incriminate many regular Australians now and in the future by copyright violation.

New Copyright Laws Risk Criminalising Everyday Australians

Happy Birthday Song
It's very silly, but even scarier. At the moment, luckily enough, everybody I talked to finds this appauling and very silly. But what if this trend continues? Then you won't be able to whistle or sing anything from the radio in the street anymore since that counts as singing. The band next-door won't be able to perform in the bar two blocks away unless they pay royalties...

The danger of individual freedom and liberty is obvious. But what of the homogenisation this may inflict on our culture:

Consider a futuristic scenario where a very large computer will analyze written pieces of music with pattern-matching algorithms to see how much of the song is based on other songs and spews out a number which is what the person should pay in royalties?

If a system exists where we have perfect control over who listens to what and how this is distributed, then we will only be able to hear some new piece of music when you pay for it. Consider the bad implications. The radio stations and TV are the only means that you can hear something new, which most likely leads to massive homogenisation of the music industry. It is no longer the consumer who controls what is cool, but the production companies (maybe this is already commercially determined in this way at the moment, but not yet technically enforceable).

As a human being there are only x hours in the day / month that you can be provided entertainment. This means we continuously make changes on what to hear or see. If there would be zero piracy, the divulgence of unknown bands is very low (since there is a cost associated with its purchase and people in general don't like buying something that is not known what it is beforehand).

A little bit of piracy is just plain healthy, especially for culture. Music and films are not "material goods" where it can be directly associated with a cost. It's a lot more or less than that.

Check out the process for making a film:

Peter Jackson will not be involved in "The Hobbit"

Time for a new business model!

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