Monday, August 23, 2010


Or, why downloading should be legal. Copyright is so important that the US Constitution has a special clause about it.
"To promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

Subsequent acts of Congress and judicial decisions have broadened this clause significantly. Copyright now is applied to music, even though music is neither a science nor a useful art. Art it is, but it isn't a useful art. Beautiful, pleasant, desirable, but not useful in the 18th century meaning of the word.

An act of Congress could end the current hassling of young folk by the record labels, by simply saying that recorded music is in the public domain at all times. The record companies would scream and cry and threaten to hold their breath, but they have been loosing sales for years. The musicians would support themselves off concert tickets, which is what they do now anyway, royalties from the record labels being few and far between. Enormous numbers of young folk would be overjoyed. A really clever Republican party would take up this issue. Young people vote in much greater numbers than the record labels do.

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