Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Copyright Law fun and games

The evolution of copyright and the (often bad) laws that flow out of that evolution, especially when it comes to how it gets interpreted on the Internet, usually doesn't lend itself to a funny, insightful article.

But that's exactly what Cory Doctorow (of Boing, Boing bloggin fame and noted science fiction author) accomplishes in this lengthy piece written for Internet Evolution which bills itself as "The macrosite for news, analysis and opinion about the future of the Internet." I highly recommend the site if you're interested in this sort of thing.

But back to Cory's article, titled "Big Entertainment Wants to Party Like It's 1996."

Here's a sample, about some of the stuff that's been happening here in Canada:
It's not that these companies can't get their laws on the agenda, and not that they can't cook the process to make it run favorably for themselves. For example, when Canada was considering its own version of the WCT, the entertainment giants saw to it that the parliamentarians in charge of the process only talked to multinational entertainment giants, without conducting any kind of embarrassing public consultation. They wouldn't even talk to the Canadian record companies -- just the multinationals.

The proposed laws -- Bill C60 and Bill C61 -- were complicated and took a lot of explaining. But here's what didn't take any explaining at all: "Your government is about to introduce sweeping, controversial regulations to the Internet, and they won't talk with anyone except the jerks who are suing all those music downloaders in the States about it -- they won't even talk to Canadian record companies!"

This made the Canadian lawmakers who backed the proposal look like sellouts (which they were); made the laws look like conspiracies (which they were); and made the geeks who cared about this stuff look like heroes (which they were). The complicated story about the law became a simple story about the process.

Here's the link to the full article.

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