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You've missed the point completely.

This was never about "I want stuff for free". It was about the avoidance of a hyper-invasive police state.

For what it's worth, I actually work as a producer. I'm on the sell side, not the take side. And moreover, I don't pirate. Between Pandora, Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, (not to mention the general firehose that is the internet) I have such an astonishing array of free and very reasonably priced stuff, that I have no need to pirate. I mean, I don't even have the time for the stuff I've actually bought.

When working, I pay strict attention to rights and clearances. Not just because I'm a nice guy, but because I have to. I mean, compliance is so deeply engrained in the system that it's unavoidable. It's just the way things work. Moreover, I support this system. In spite of the complexity, it makes a lot of sense. In terms of a system for governing interactions between industry players, copyright is as good as anything else I can imagine.

But I'm not just a producer. I'm also a human being. I recognize that what works in a small, professional circle cannot scale to the point where it can govern everybody with a laptop and an internet connection. That's like expecting people to get formal authorization from the SEC every time they want to transfer $100 from checking into savings.

More to the point, I recognize that attempts to scale the existing system mean the creation of auditing and enforcement mechanisms that are absolutely terrifying in terms of raw power, and susceptibility to abuse.

It's the difference between a nuclear reactor quietly purring on the outskirts of town, and a nuclear bomb detonating in the heart of the financial district. Saying "hey, they're essentially the same thing" is true on one level, but it ignores context to an extent that is batshit crazy.

So unlike the jerkswho say "I have my rights, all I care about is my money, so fuck you pay me" I actually have a social conscience. I recognize that the way I made a living was dependent on historical conditions that no longer exist, and that like society itself, I need to adapt. If that means avoiding a nightmarish police state by radically redefining the limits of property rights in the sphere on the intangible, so be it.

The point is that those of us who make a living from intellectual property need to understand that we'd be toast in a country without strong democratic freedoms (i.e. the First Amendment). And we need to recognize that the extension of existing copyright law into every nook-and-cranny of digital life entails the development of a surveillance apparatus that will destroy American democracy. No app, novel, song, or movie is more important than that. And the real artists understand this better than anyone. After all, they're the first to get murdered when things really go bad.

Fortunately, our privileges (or, as you call them lesser rights) are limited. They take a back seat to the much greater rights of humans to live in freedom from the kind of surveillance and policing that copyright law - carried to its logical extreme - entails.

Personally, I think we should limit the application of copyright law to incorporated entities only. That is to say, individuals should be free to do what they want with whatever they find. In essence, it's about taking the concept of Fair Use, and expanding it to comply with the realities of the present day. While I don't think that authors should give up all control, I think that control should be limited to what incorporated entities do with a work.

Obviously, this doesn't mesh with today's business models. But so what? Today's models are leftovers from a bygone era. It's a new foundation for new models which creative people can adapt to. What it allows for is tremendous freedom for people to develop the culture using the works within it. That's a benefit for artists and audiences alike. Any business that becomes successful enough to merit incorporating steps up to the role of box office. Unlike individuals, these businesses would be subject to copyright rules, and would have to work with artists and producers to the mutual satisfaction of all involved.




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