In a recent Linux Outlaws podcast (http://linuxoutlaws.com/podcast/142), they discussed the status of the ‘Three Strikes’ bill up in England. The bill, seeking to permanent remove internet access for people breaking Copyright three times, again shows either that government members should not be making these decisions due to their ignorance of the issues or that they are in the back pockets of the recording and movie industries. The formally named Digital Economy Bill may stall, due to public outcry, but this just shows another example of these industries heavily lobbying governments to give them much more than the fair treatment Copyright provides, in all reality creating a monopoly on ideas.
In the US, of course, this is hardly new. The RIAA and MPAA work to lube up our Congressmen routinely with their rhetoric. Folks like Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, and Johnathan Zittrain try to work to not repeal Copyright, but make it make sense. Really, is that too much to ask? We continue to see the closed source nature of businesses, but will they really lose that much if schoolchildren can remix their content? Will it really hurt musicians if their songs play in the background of a baby dancing on YouTube? Just another example of how this great technology will fade away if someone does not budge.
Thanks to those who do release their content under sharing rights, such as the Creative Commons license. You have someone like Lawrence Lessig who releases a .pdf version of many of his books under a CC license. For that reason, his book Remix was the first I bought (yes, people DO still pay money when they can also get something free) with my new nook. Scott Sigler, who I refer to many times in my blog, began the freely distributed podcast novels. Because of that, me, along with many, many, many (New York Times Bestseller!!!) others have purchased hardcover copies. A related side note–Scott is set to release his third book since releasing all the podcast novels on April 1st. Check that out here: http://www.scottsigler.com/thestarter. So Scott is just one example of how the current ways CAN WORK for publishers and artists.
What can we all do? Continue to support these artists. Look for things such as authors who release under Creative Commons licenses. Donate to organizations such as the Creative Commons community. And blog about these folks. We can make a difference. I reviewed Lessig’s ‘Wireside Chat,’ recently where he did state we have to change this now. Now is the time, or we will see all governments do these types of things.