Monday, December 30, 2013

The Case Against IP "Copying is NOT Stealing"

Myth: Copyright is free market capitalism at work.

Despite what regressives would have us believe Copyright violates nearly every tenet of so-called free market capitalism. Under the current regime of copyright [in America], producers of content are entitled to a guaranteed, government instituted, government subsidized content-monopoly. It is guaranteed because it is automatic upon publishing, but most major commercial holders file a claim with the US Copyright Office for further legal protection.
Under current law, a copyright holder is entitled to their lifetime plus 70 years of monopoly status in America. A song copyrighted today by Justin Bieber, could easily still be under copyright in 2160, a 150 years from now.
Copyright is a system implemented and regulated by the government and backed up by a litany laws that allow for massive damages for minor violations. These excessive damages are unlike any other conventional tort law damages and are vastly disproportionate to any purported damages to the Copyright holder.

One good example is Limewire. They were sued in 2010 for $75 trillion, based upon Section 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Action enabling such large fines per violation. This potential award is more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877, and thus in no way corresponds to the actual demonstrated “damages,” to the record industry.

In my day Copyright was only 28 years.

By Congress creating an arbitrary statutory fine for damages the government has implemented its own system for discouraging copyright violators above and beyond conventional tort law for a perceived "property" like right. Copyright violators can face jail time, and government agencies are tasked with investigating copyright violations and stopping these activities.

We may debate whether this is a good decision or a bad decision, but it is a form of the government subsidizing the costs of recovering assets that are not actually taken from from another person, rather just copied.

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