Thursday, 7 August 2014

A World with No Copyright

Attorney General Brandis and Communications Minister Turnbull are busying themselves playing good cop/bad cop over the media, but their end game is pretty clear: implement changes to Australian law so as to accommodate for the copyright monopoly’s wishlist. After all, the Liberals owe their souls to Murdoch.
In order to convey my thoughts on the ensuing debate, I will ask you to take part in a short thought experiment. Imagine closing your eyes. Think for a moment on how your life would change if, for some fantastic reason, copyright was to all of a sudden disappear out of our lives. Let's avoid nuances, such as whether this would mean others could sell your work as theirs, and concentrate on the core scenarios in which copyright affects our lives today.
Now pretend to open your eyes again. What did you see?


I will tell you what I saw: I saw nothing. That is, nothing in my life had changed because of copyright disappearing. I still read the same books, watch the same shows, and listen to the same music. I still get all of the above through exactly the same methods I am getting them now, in this real world of ours.
I strongly suspect your vision was similar to mine. The reason is simple: the vast majority of us does not care much for copyright; we just go on with our lives, doing what we can with what's available to us. When a friend gives us a copy of a recording, we do not stop to preach them; we take it. When we record a TV show on our PVR and watch it again and again, we do not stop to consider that the second time we watched that show we were pirating it; we just watch it.
I don't know about you, but I do not take the threats that copyright legislation imposes by law into account in my day to day life.
What can be concluded out of this thought experiment? That copyright does not matter to the majority of consumers, not in the least. What we truly care about is being able to access the media that we wish to consume, being able to do so comfortably, and being able to do so fairly at a cost we deem reasonable. Don’t need no copyright for that, just common sense.


Image by gaelx, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) licence

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