Common Sense & Copyright

Last night Jeremy Toeman sent me an email asking for my support on his recent blog post.

I didn’t get home until 1am so I just read it a few moments ago. His post, “A note to Nancy Pelosi regarding the PRO IP act”, is a response to the US Congress recent efforts to increase penalties for copyright infringement.  

 Jeremy is right on when he says,

"Now truth be told, I am no legal expert, nor am I an expert in copyright. But I am pretty good at common sense. Common sense tells me that the maximum penalty for transmitting an MP3 file should not be over 1000-fold the maximum penalty of shoplifting a CD from a store. Common sense tells me that if over 80 MILLION people are transmitting files to each other, there is something wrong with our system that makes such an activity illegal.

To be pointedly clear, I very much believe that record labels, TV studios, networks, producers, actors, writers, and everyone else involved in media production deserves their fair share, or even more than their fair share. I do not believe that these peoples’ livelihoods should be infringed simply because the American public is doing a lot of free downloading. What I do believe, on the other hand, is that when faced with new business challenges that technology innovation has spurred, these companies should be forced to meet these challenges head-on. They should not be sheltered and coddled by Congress, with their proverbial heads in proverbial ostrich holes. ” 

Before Jeremy’s post, I was actually feeling a little bit encouraged this week. Wired blogs about the labels not going after Mp3 bloggers. It appears the labels are starting to understand/embrace the value of bloggers, posting about bands, new music, shows and sharing music. One Mp3 blogger remarks:

"Actually, we’ve been contacted by labels, promo agencies and even musicians and bands to help promote them. Which we’ve done, free of charge," the blogger wrote by email. The blogger also has the impression that the site has helped expose people to music they wouldn’t otherwise hear, and may even help drive CD sales, although there’s no hard evidence of this." 

That’s the future. That’s where this is going. It’s a good thing. For content creators & consumers.