In a Calgary Herald op-ed Kris Kotarski talks about the fundamental conflict between modern copyright enforcement and privacy, noting that in the pre-Internet days, "it was conceivable for copyright laws to be enforced in a manner that did not bring the state to anyone's doorstep." Whereas today, the entertainment industry has arrived at a consensus that copyright enforcement means universal network surveillance.
Given today's technological realities, this is no longer the case. If we look at legislation that either exists or is tabled across the Western world, sending a song to a friend by e-mail is a crime. Posting even a short clip of a copyrighted video on a message board for one's friends risks a fine whether the message board is public or not, and taping a television show and passing the tape to your mom or dad may be illegal as well.
No one likes stealing, but the problem lies in the fact that current copyright laws are completely unenforceable unless the government or industry groups start to read every e-mail and analyze every form of online communication done by citizens…
Such efforts aim to turn what citizens do in the privacy of their homes into criminal offences, and to compel enforcement, they aim to make Internet service providers (ISPs) liable for what users do with their Internet connections (just imagine your local grocer being held legally liable for selling a tomato that was thrown at a politician).
(via Three Quarks Daily)