Preliminary Thoughts On Preliminary Thoughts

Pamela Samuelson’s paper on the future of copyright law, Preliminary Thoughts on Copyright Reform has been stirring up a gentle buzz. Here is is on Google Blog Search, for example. I do think she makes some very sensible points, although I’m wary of *any* copyright reform in the present (especially the US) political climate, where there is such an advantage enjoyed by the management side of the media industries. Put simply, I’m inclined not to favour big-picture legislative reform as the process would (I suspect) be captured within moments by copyright maximisers and the ‘reform’ would just be further entrenchment of the right to monopolise and control. I’m not saying that those of us who favour moderate copyright laws should be afraid to debate – far from it – but that a full-scale project carries with it added dangers, and I’m not convinced that the forces of light, truth and all that is good in this world can come out of it with any significant victories. I suspect that for now, the best tactic is piece-by-piece while simultaneously challenging the lobbying and institutional power of the maximisers, building towards future wholesale reform…

That said, the paper and the vision are both very compelling.


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