Posts tagged “Question Copyright”

Keep questioning copyright: All Creative Work Is Derivative

All Creative Work Is Derivative


This is the second “minute meme” from Nina Paley for Question Copyright. Be sure to check out her walkthrough of her “Free Culture Lunch” process.

I’ve been using Nina Paley as the standard bearer for the modern notion of copyright in my classes. Some students have readily embraced the concept and others have pushed back (hard) that the corporatist copyright ethos will never die. But every single person admits that the system is broken. It has been a fascinating conversation and one that would have been much less lively without Nina’s example. Most important, though, is the fact that all of the students are questioning copyright. That is a victory in and of itself.

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Stop downloading! Stealing CDs is much cheaper.

I’m on a legal kick today. Here is an example of just how anti-human being and pro-corporation our legal system is today (arguably, always was). Jammie Thomas was recently re-convicted of illegally sharing 1700 songs and the record labels were awarded $1.92 million in damages. Jesus Diaz over at Gizmodo compares that to six other high-profile crimes and the comparative fine (emphasis mine):

Child abduction: Fine of $25,000 and up to three years in prison, which can be accounted as $50,233 per year (that was the median household income in 2007, probably down because of the economic crisis). Total: $175,699.

Steal the CDs: A total of $275,000, $52,500 fine for the CDs.

Steal a lawnmower from your neighbour: A total of $375,000.

Burn someone’s house while playing The Doors: Another $375,000.

Stalk a Gizmodo editor (yes, you know who you are): A Class 4 felony that will result in just $175,000.

Start a dogfighting ring: $50,000.

Murder someone on the second degree, a Class 1 felony: $778,495, which accounts for a $25,000 fine and four to 15 years in prison. Jesus Diaz
Senior Contributing Editor, Gizmodo

So, what does our legal system teach us about the values of our society? Evidently, it is much better to run into Best Buy and steal the 1700 songs ($1.64 million cheaper) on CD. I mean, in this economic climate, who can really afford the luxuries of digital stealing? Much better to risk getting yourself shot and impose the violence of burglary on the masses in a chain store. Bonus: Once you have the CDs, you can actually make your own digital copies in full fidelity, unlike the options offered by virtually all digital music retailers.

Ooh, wait, I have a better idea…get rid of the goddamn Digital Millennium Copyright Act!

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