In my new Guardian column, "Copyright law should distinguish between commercial and cultural uses," I argue for a new kind of copyright law, one that mirrors the "folk copyright" that individuals have lived by for decades -- the alternative is to try to get kids and fans to participate in the "real" copyright, a system of industrial regulation so complex that it can barely be understood by full-time copyright attorneys.
This is a genuinely radical idea: individuals should hire lawyers to negotiate their personal use of cultural material, or at least refrain from sharing their cultural activities with others (except it's not's really culture if you're not sharing it, is it?).
It's also a dumb idea. People aren't going to hire lawyers to bless the singalong or Timmy's comic book. They're also not going to stop doing culture.
We need to stop shoe-horning cultural use into the little carve-outs in copyright, such as fair dealing and fair use. Instead we need to establish a new copyright regime that reflects the age-old normative consensus about what's fair and what isn't at the small-scale, hand-to-hand end of copying, display, performance and adaptation.
One of the music industry’s dumbest, most pernicious talking-points is the “value gap” (AKA the “value recognition right”) which is code for, “Online platforms should employ an army of copyright lawyers to assess everything that users share for copyright compliance.”
In 2011, the Canadian Conservative government rammed through Bill C-11, Canada’s answer to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in which the property rights of Canadians were gutted in order to ensure that corporations could use DRM to control how they used their property — like its US cousin, the Canadian law banned breaking DRM, […]
Ten years ago, a group of engineers and media executives sat down to decide what was, and was not, a real family. The results were predictably terrible.
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]