10 March 2010

The Big Guns

The letter sent by the Open Rights Group and published in the FT today, spelling out objections to the web-blocking amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, is well reasoned and no more than should really be expected.

What did surprise me is the list of signatories. Somebody's done a fantastic job of rounding up some big hitters to put their name to it.


Robin Smith said...

Whats your view on copying digital music. Is that unfair to the artist ?

Paul Lockett said...

I find that a difficult one to answer. Other than ripping a CD to put on an MP3 player, it's not something I do personally, but, if you put the law to one side, I don't think the act itself is absolutely morally wrong.

Our entire culture and ability to function is based on other people's ideas being re-used, the English Language being probably the most dramatic example, so I don't think it's possible say that the ability to continue to control ideas that you have made known to the public is an automatic moral right.

I view the copying issue a bit like standing and listening to a busker in the street. If you take the time to listen to and enjoy the entertainment he's producing, then I think it's "good form," for want of a better term, to throw some money in his hat, but I don't think that means he is entitled to a guaranteed income from me and that I'm, in some way, stealing from him by listening but not paying.

Robin Smith said...

That makes sense. I'm still struggling with this one. I find it hard to see how you can write a book and others can copy it for free and make money on it, beyond supplying the materials and delivering it.

The book itself is not an idea, it is a work of art, a combination of words that attracts people. You have used labour to shape words into a work. Effort.

An idea, in say a patent, is something that many can discover independently. It has not required the same amount or kind of effort.

The difference is between an idea and the work.

The work deserves individual reward. The idea might not. I'm still thinking on that one.