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Piracy More Lucrative than Legal Downloads, Morality’s Role in the Copyright Debate, and More

  • Piracy much more lucrative than legitimate downloads
    Gaven sent me this link which substantiates claims that many rights holders make more from pressing damages against online file sharers than through legitimate sales, often by more than two orders of magnitude. One has to wonder how this is skewing traditional incentives to create and distribute, not just punishing file sharers.
  • Kaspersky chief wants to end online anonymity
    According to The Register, he thinks releasing the internet to the public at large with the capability for anonymous use the same as the original educational and military users was a mistake. Given his stake as a security vendor, I think this says more about his pessimism about effective security solutions more than it does about any architectural or policy mistakes in opening up the internet.
  • Canadian copyright lobby’s pressure to dilute anti-spam bill
    According to professor Geist, what is at stake is a current exemption that lets ISPs and investigators install monitoring software without consent for the purposes of finding infringers. If such a narrow interest guts the potential public good this bill is aiming to achieve, that would be a shame on two fronts, both the erosion of consumer protections and the furthering of the copyright maximalist agenda.
  • The role of morality in copyright
    Mike Masnick clearly frames his own thoughts on the matter in this Techdirt post. He’s definitely more of a utilitarian, not that in this case, with this argument, that that is a bad thing. He uses it to frame his citation of William Patry’s recent posts on the subject which advance the theory that morality is more often brought in as a rhetorical veil to cover the expansion of rights that are not sustainable for any other reason.
  • Questions around the lending of ebooks by libraries
    At Techdirt, Mike Masnick links to a NYT piece on the subject and calls out some of the pertinent questions. As much as I’d like to glibly agree with Masnick’s analysis, unfortunately the question of transfer of ownership for digital works is far from settled, legally, so I don’t think it is enough to cite the first sale doctrine. I think the far more compelling aspect of the argument is around the purpose of public libraries and how best the law and market need to work in order to satisfy that public mandate.
  • Should access to broadband be a right?
    This O’Reilly Radar piece digs into a question prompted by Finland’s recent commitment to that very proposition, the framing of access as a right. Joshua-Michele Ross cites work by Yochai Benkler that examines the effect of policy on broadband adoption and access. Not surprisingly, Benkler’s work suggests our current policies in the US which have stepped away from our past support of open access seem to be a large step in the wrong direction.

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The Command Line by Thomas Gideon
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