Copy Wrong

This copyright issue is getting out of hand.

All of these legal technicalities either exist, or are being formulated, to prevent you from doing things with books, movies, or music that would be natural and completely legal otherwise, and the only conceivable reason is that the producers, publishers, and record labels are scared to death that they’re going to lose part of their already-ridiculous wealth.

I get the idea of copyright, don’t misunderstand. I copyright everything that I write before submitting it for publication. I don’t want someone to steal my so-called intellectual property in the sense that I don’t want it being taken and twisted into something that I never intended the story or the character to be. That said, though, I also recognize that whatever I create…and whatever any artist creates…is there for the greater good, and I want as many people as possible to be able to read what I write. So, when publishers do things like limit libraries’ access to their books, it really frustrates me.

I’m finishing a book tonight that was loaned to me by a friend. The book isn’t his, though…it was loaned to him by one of his friends, and he loaned it to me with that friend’s permission. I’m sure that publishers would make this illegal if they could…somehow implant some sort of tracking chip in it that would bring a secret copyright infringement police kicking in my door in order to prevent what they would see as a $15 theft. That’s the same logic, after all, that launched the concept of DRM, which has at least been stripped from most music, but is pervasive in ebooks, especially at the hands of Amazon.

And so it remains questionable whether or not it is okay to make a copy of a DVD that you legally purchased to watch on your iPad. Even though you legally purchased it. Even though you’re not sharing it with others. The MPAA prefers that you pay, pay, pay for the privilege of doing anything with their material.

Here’s the thing: most people that I know, even those who wouldn’t classify themselves as creatives, prefer to pay for what they read, watch, and listen to. I am one of those people, as well, because I recognize the pain, sweat, and tears that goes into any form of creative expression. The artist deserves to be paid, and I would never steal their work. Loaning their work to another person to read, however, is the highest compliment to be paid to a writer, not stealing. Nor is owning that book, or movie, or recording in such a way that allows you to read, watch, or listen to it in whatever medium you choose.

An artist’s creation should be properly attributed, paid for, and respected. I would never advocate stealing. What the so-called entertainment industry considers “stealing,” however, is becoming more and more expansive, in very troubling ways.

Are we facing a dystopian future in which books aren’t permitted to be owned at all, only rented? Movies only streamed, not purchased? The artists don’t want that. I find it wholly disrespectful to the artists…and to the pubic at large…that the executives do.

Photo Attribution: gaelx under Creative Commons

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