Cory Doctorow on copyright and electronic media

From his presentation “A Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond” at the US Library of Congress: “Cory Doctorow discusses the challenges facing authors and cultural heritage institutions with the increasing use of electronic texts.”

I just watched this hour long talk on video from October 17, 2012–a well-reasoned, passionately delivered, engaging argument for open access to creative works.

We copy like we breathe, every click of our mouse generates hundreds of copies between here and there and notwithstanding the TPP one lead draft, proposed to license those intermediary copies and things like frame buffers and writer memory. We typically…say well that’s not the kind of copying we mean, and what we do though is we say that if we can detect your copying on the internet, we call you part of industry.

And that’s just materially…untrue, you know I don’t think regulations a bad idea, so I think licenses within regulated bodies is perfectly plausible, but if we had, you know, a financial regulation, which would be awesome, and that financial regulation said if you have a transaction that has a million dollars or more in it, that is a financial transaction, the SEC gets to know about it, that that wouldn’t be a crazy rule, we could probably enforce it because the number of people where a million dollars changes hands is a tractable number. But if we had hyperinflation and a sandwich cost a million dollars, we wouldn’t say everybody who buys a friend lunch is now a banker. We would find a different way of characterizing who was inside the scope of an industrial regulation.

Copying is a poor proxy for industrial regulation right now and so yes we can have license agreements, but try to impose license agreements on the general public…through adhesion, is not doable because…the only way that we can make it work is by putting the ‘I can’t let you do that Dave,’ program into the device.

YouTube video of his presentation (a plain text transcript is also available).
RUNNING TIME: 59 minutes


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